Exclusive: United Airlines Newark-Based Pilot Leaders Call for CEO's Ouster

NEWARK, N.J. (TheStreet) -- Leaders of the largest local chapter of the United (UAL) pilots union are calling for the ouster of the airline's CEO Jeff Smisek.

"It's time to find a new CEO who understands how to run an airline, not just make excuses for his failures," said the top three officers of Local Executive Council 5, the Air Line Pilots Association chapter that represents New York and Newark-based United pilots, in a strongly worded letter to the local's 2,300 members.

The letter was sent April 25, the day after United reported that it lost $489 million excluding items in the first quarter, which produced record profits for both American (AAL) and Delta (DAL) , its two key rivals. A copy of the letter was provided to TheStreet.

"No one else has a greater financial stake in United Airlines than the collective stake of our pilots," the letter said. "Our careers should not be jeopardized by the worst senior management in the airline industry.

"We have absolutely zero confidence in the ability of present management to lead a turnaround," wrote LEC Chairman Glenn Johnson, Vice Chairman Mark Leneski and Secretary-Treasurer Tim Boyens.

The three listed United's faults, including these: It has "a disengaged and incompetent CEO is leading a terrible management team." Also, "a merger that should have been completed in three years or less remains incomplete after nearly four years (and) interdepartmental communication and cooperation are nearly nonexistent."

Also, "terrible employee morale and excessive outsourcing have combined with chronic operational and IT issues to drive away our elite frequent fliers in droves, driving our revenue and (passenger revenue per available seat mile) downward," the letter said.

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