Release #05.AWA
February 28, 2005

ALPA America West Pilots Spearhead Campaign to Help Tsunami Victims Rebuild Their Lives

$100,000 Donated to the American Red Cross International Response Fund

PHOENIX - The pilots at America West heard the survivors' call for help and took action after a tsunami devastated parts of southern Asia and killed more than 160,000 people. Pilots spearheaded a companywide campaign to benefit the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which is working to help tsunami victims rebuild their lives.

"Whether we're in or out of the cockpit, we strive to make our world a better place to live," said Captain CJ Szmal, chairman of the America West Airlines unit of the Air Line Pilots Assoc. Int'l. "Each one of us was affected by the tsunami tragedy. As pilots, we have experienced first-hand the compassion of others helping us rebuild our industry after 9-11 and knew we had to step in to help survivors of the tsunami."

The pilot group utilized a two-pronged approach to support the American Red Cross International Response Fund. The pilots banded together to raise nearly $50,000 for the cause. Additionally, the pilots approached America West management and asked for their support. America West not only encouraged all employees to contribute to the cause, but also donated $36,000 to help the tsunami survivors. Combining the pilots' contributions to those of America West and its non-pilot employees, the effort raised $100,000 to benefit tsunami survivors.

"Although America West plays a very active role in local and national philanthropic programs, and tends to focus on the communities it serves, it became clear that this catastrophic, global event warranted action," said AWA CEO Doug Parker. "We salute the outstanding efforts of the America West family, who, through combined efforts, donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross Tsunami Relief Fund."

"While the spotlight on this catastrophic event seems to have died down, tsunami survivors continue to rebuild their lives," Captain Szmal concluded. "We are proud of our efforts to help those in need and hope that our contributions go a long way to facilitate their rebuilding."

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

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ALPA Contact: Lydia Jakub (602) 306-1208 

AWA Contact: Janice Monahan (480) 693-3734