December 9, 2004
ALPA America West Pilots Respond to Management’s Decision to Cancel Bid for ATA
Captain CJ Szmal, chairman of the America West Airlines unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, made this statement today following the company’s announcement that it declined the opportunity to bid for ATA in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
"From the beginning, America West Airlines management told us that they would only pursue the opportunity if it was in the best interest of the airline and its employees.
"We had been kept apprised of details in the America West proposal, and it is fair to say that it was not a back-of-the-envelope plan. However, without the support of ATA aircraft lessors, America West senior management was ultimately unable to proceed with a proposal based on solid financial footing. We are disappointed that our airline has declined the opportunity to bid for ATA; however, we recognize the detail that management put forward into making the proposal happen and respect their efforts to secure the future of all America West employees.
"Over the past several weeks, the AWA Master Executive Council (MEC) has worked intensely to ensure that we were prepared should America West submit a successful bid and the rights of the America West pilots would be protected. These efforts culminated in an agreement on labor-related issues amongst the AWA MEC, the ATA MEC and AWA management.
"We were determined not to be behind the power curve, and we succeeded. The lessons learned from this experience will only make us stronger as the airline industry continues to consolidate. In fact, AWA CEO Doug Parker said in his statement today that he anticipates being a player in future growth and acquisition opportunities as the industry continues to evolve, and we will be prepared.
"We sincerely hope that whoever the future investors in ATA are realize the value its employees would bring with any assets they are acquiring. Having worked with the ATA MEC, it is fair to say that if America West submitted a successful proposal, our airline would have been enriched with the integration of ATA pilots. With their now uncertain future, the AWA MEC would like to extend the promise that I will meet with America West senior management to explore the possibility that any unemployed pilot of ATA be afforded preferential hiring at AWA as we continue our planned growth."
The Air Line Pilots Association is the bargaining agent for the nearly 1,900 pilots at America West Airlines. Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing 64,000 pilots at 43 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org.
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ALPA Contact: Lydia Jakub (602) 306-1208