United Airlines began advertising Sunday to hire "permanent replacements" for the 5,200 pilots and co-pilots who went on strike last week.
Airline spokesman Chuck Novak said that United already has 5,500 applications in hand and that the first group of replacements began a 10- to 14-day company training program last Friday.
This first group, he said, should be available for regular flight duties within two weeks. Meanwhile, United was still operating about 14% of its schedule with management personnel who are still qualified jet transport pilots.
Representatives of the company and the striking Air Line Pilots Assn. agreed to meet with a federal mediator here this morning, in the hope of resolving some of the issues that remained in dispute when the strike began at 9 p.m. PDT last Thursday.
Pilots' spokesman Capt. Jim Waters said the resumption of talks had nothing to do with the company's "permanent replacement" ads but merely signals the union's willingness to bargain "any time, any place."
The meeting with National Mediation Board officials was scheduled for an undisclosed location. Representatives of the company and the union said they are not certain whether the mediators will hold separate sessions with each side or will try to set up a joint session.
The strike began after contract talks broke down over a company demand for a two-tier pay system that would put newly hired pilots on a lower scale than their predecessors. The pilots, who had not struck since 1951, had worked without a contract since April, 1984.
The strike's effects were widespread as ticket agents scrambled to find alternate bookings for passengers holding United tickets. Some other airlines added flights to absorb the extra passengers.
United expected to have 220 departures Sunday, 14% of its normal schedule of about 1,550. At Los Angeles International Airport, only eight of 77 scheduled United flights left on Sunday.
The ads in Sunday newspapers offered experienced captains $75,000 and first officers $50,000, plus benefits, and added: "These positions are permanent replacements for striking employees."
Applicants were required to have at least 250 hours' experience in the last 12 months in one of the types of aircraft used by United, with a minimum of 3,000 pilot-in-command hours for captains and 1,500 such hours for first officers.