PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Those flying with Alaska Airlines in and out of Portland International Airport were stranded at the airport Friday as dozens of flights were halted due to pilots picketing contracts.
Thirteen flights were canceled out of PDX, while another 11 flights headed to the Rose City were nixed — all flying under the Alaska Airlines banner.
Meanwhile, more than 120 flights have reportedly been canceled at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport leaving 15,300 guests without a flight to catch.
Alaska Airlines pilots are reportedly picketing in cities across the country on Friday over contract negotiations. A spokesperson with Alaska Airlines told KOIN 6 News that a shortage of pilots has forced them to cancel some flights.
The spokesperson said that around 250 pilots and other personnel from Alaska Airlines and others are participating in Friday’s picket at PDX, which is set to go at least until 2 p.m. An advertisement truck outside PDX is displaying the phrases “break the stall, contract now” and “we do our job, now do yours” is driving outside the airport.
Pilots with the airline allege the company did not plan for increased travel demand, nor did the airline try to attract new pilots and keep its current workforce. Further, the pilots say Alaska Airlines received $2.3 billion during the pandemic to help retain its employees.
According to the release, Alaska Airlines is “trying to distract the public from their mismanagement and blame the pilots who helped save their company. Pilot leaders have been warning for years that pilots will choose to fly for other airlines due to an inadequate contract that will only exacerbate existing staffing challenges.”
Employees will be picketing in five cities across the U.S.
Alaska Airlines warns guests should be prepared for more cancellations over the weekend.