WASHINGTON — Pilots for US Airways are suing to have an arbitrator settle a standoff with American Airlines pilots over seniority rights as the two carriers are combined.
The US Airways pilots say they have been unable to agree with the pilots’ union at American on how to combine their groups. They are trying to invoke a federal law that requires arbitration to settle seniority disputes.
Seniority is crucial to pilots. Those with more seniority earn more by flying bigger planes on more lucrative routes such as international flights.
For American, a simmering dispute between pilot groups could complicate the already difficult job of merging two airlines.
The US Airline Pilots Association sued US Airways, American Airlines, and the Allied Pilots Association at American. The new parent company of both airlines, American Airlines Group Inc., Fort Worth, Texas, declined to comment on the lawsuit Tuesday.
The Allied Pilots Association said the two cockpit groups had an agreement last year on a process for combining seniority lists, and it accused the US Airways pilots of trying to break that deal.
The lawsuit was filed last week in federal district court in Washington.