December 9, 2004
ALPA ATA Pilots Blast Management, Lessors for Not Cooperating with America West’s Plan to Save ATA Jobs
Capt. Erik Engdahl, chairman of the ATA Airlines unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, made this statement today following America West Airlines’ announcement that it was canceling plans to make a bid for ATA’s assets in U.S Bankruptcy Court. Capt. Engdahl, a resident of Brown County, IN, is a Boeing 757 pilot based on the west coast.
"We’re deeply disappointed that America West has decided not to acquire ATA. We have believed from the beginning that the America West plan was the best deal available to preserve the jobs of ATA’s employees. Today’s decision increases the likelihood that thousands of ATA employees – including several hundred pilots and flight engineers – will be out of work within six months.
"After several intense weeks of work with America West senior management and our pilot counterparts there, we were ready to announce a plan today for a seamless integration of the ATA and America West flight crews. We had completed final language for this plan late Wednesday night, and were ready to take it to our members for ratification. While we are disappointed, our next step is to review the remaining bankruptcy bids and continue to press for a plan that protects as many employees as possible while making ATA a viable competitor.
"We’re furious that ATA’s aircraft lessors apparently refused to cooperate with America West, even though the AWA plan was the best one to keep all of ATA’s airplanes flying. And we’re outraged that ATA didn’t do more to save its own employees by helping facilitate the America West plan. It appears that the highest levels of ATA’s senior management are focused more on their personal job security than the welfare of their fellow workers. We truly believed that ATA was ‘an honestly different airline’ when it came to taking care of people, but now we know better.
"Unless a White Knight materializes tomorrow, it’s going to be a bitter Christmas at ATA.
But our focus remains the same as it was before – to preserve the jobs of as many ATA flight crew members as possible. We have a lot to offer and we are open to discussions with anyone who appreciates our value."
The Air Line Pilots Association is the bargaining agent for the 1,100 pilots and flight engineers at ATA. ALPA is the world’s oldest and largest pilot union, representing 64,000 pilots at 43 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA Web site at http://www.alpa.org.
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ALPA CONTACT: Rusty Ayers, 773-284-4910