Three employes of Continental Airlines have applied to the Civil Aeronautics Board for authority to create an employe-owned airline based at Dulles International Airport.
The three--two pilots and an engineer--were involved in Continental's unsuccessful attempt last year to turn control over to its employes as a means of thwarting the takeover by Texas International Airlines. The two pilots are Walter E. Collier Jr., who will be chairman of the new venture, and Brent E. Hippert, interim president and chief executive officer. William F. Gilmore, a Continental engineer, is listed as vice president of operations.
The newly organized airline told the CAB that EOA, an acronym for Employee Owned Airlines, wants to begin service this summer on a triangular route system between Dulles, Houston and Denver. "It will be the first low-cost carrier in these markets and will provide a high-quality, low-frequency, low-fare service," the CAB petition states.
The group envisions two round-trip flights a day between each pair of cities, using four Boeing 727-100 aircraft. Those planes, being phased out of major airlines' fleets, are available easily for under $3 million each. According to the CAB filing, the new airline estimates the cost of equipment purchases at $11 million, with the financing handled through leaseback arrangements with financial backers.
According to the filing, the airline will reconfigure the 727s to seat 118 passengers in a comfortable "business class" arrangement. The new airline projected that during the first year it will fill 60 percent of its seats, starting off with fares of about $75 and increasing them to $130 after a few months.
The airline's organizers said they are seeking to take advantage of the current industry recession by purchasing available aircraft at bargain prices and by hiring employe talent laid off by the major airlines. "EOA intends to draw the strength and experience of these individuals together in an employe-owned company that will give it a unique competitive advantage because of maximum employe participation with management and profit-sharing," the CAB was told.
Employes will be paid the standard industry wages, but a large part of their salaries will be paid in profit-sharing and stock ownership, a policy that will promote productivity, the founders told the CAB. "The employes will work harder and treat the traveling public with more respect under this philosophy," they said.