December 13, 2007
Eagle Pilots: Sale of American Eagle Could Mean the End of Service in Several Cities
EULESS, Texas – The American Eagle pilots' union, a unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l. (ALPA), today said that November’s sale announcement of American Eagle Airlines by AMR Corp. could cause the elimination of “point-to-point” service between several popular destinations. It appears that certain American Eagle flights to and from Dallas-Love Field, Kansas City, Raleigh-Durham, San Jose, and Santa Ana-Orange County could be eliminated due to the current contract between American Airlines and its pilots that prohibits independent carriers from flying those routes for American Airlines.
“American Airlines spokesmen have suggested that the flying public will see little if no change in service as a result of a sale,” said Captain Herb Mark, chairman of the American Eagle pilots’ union. “At the same time, Eagle President Peter Bowler has told his employees that flying may be shifted to other destinations due to ‘restrictions on flying of non–wholly owned regional partners.’ This is just another example of the lack of any strategic vision or coordination over the sale of this airline. It’s been more than two weeks since the sale announcement, and we are still waiting to be briefed by management on a business strategy or rationale for divesting American Eagle.”
In a recent document distributed to American Eagle employees, Mr. Bowler referred to a section of the collective bargaining agreement between American Airlines and its pilots’ union, the Allied Pilots Association, that requires all flights that do not fly to or from an American Airlines hub to be flown by a wholly-owned carrier of AMR. American Eagle currently is wholly owned by AMR but if American Eagle is divested, a number of those flights would no longer be operated. A point-to-point flight is one that does not begin or end in an American Airlines “hub” and represents approximately 250 of American Eagle's 1,700 daily flights.
“Such a change would represent a significant contractual concession by the Allied Pilots Association, and in light of massive management bonuses while simultaneously demanding pilot pay cuts, it does not appear that AA pilots are in the mood to give concessions,” Capt. Mark said.
ALPA believes the motivation for the sale by AMR is to try to reduce pilot costs, as well as to use American Eagle as a pawn in contract negotiations between American and its pilots' union. The pilot unions believed they had reached an agreement with American Airlines and American Eagle on a plan that would have significantly reduced costs and benefited both pilot groups. At the last minute, management negotiators terminated the agreement, and the sale announcement followed a few weeks later.
“We had an agreement that was a win for everyone involved,” said Capt. Mark. “Now everyone loses, including our valued customers in California, Texas, Missouri, and North Carolina, who are likely to lose quality, convenient air service.”
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world's largest pilot union representing more than 60,000 pilots at 42 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. With more than 3,000 pilots, American Eagle is a wholly owned subsidiary of AMR (NYSE:AMR) and provides feed to American Airlines as well as point-to-point service in North and Central America and the Caribbean.
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Capt. Brian Sweep, (817) 685-7474
Doug Baj, ALPA, (703) 481-4456 or Doug.Baj@alpa.org