Release #07.EGL4
December 7, 2007

Eagle Pilots Warn that Breaking Up American Eagle Would Harm Employees And Passengers

Euless, TX – American Eagle pilots, a unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l., have condemned AMR CFO Tom Horton’s public comments that he would consider selling off parts of American Eagle to interested buyers.

ALPA said that any deal that would separate all or part of Eagle from AMR to lower the wages of experienced pilots could cause many Eagle employees – not only Eagle pilots, but also professional maintenance technicians and flight attendants – to rethink their career choice at Eagle. It’s no secret that Eagle is currently having an extremely difficult time recruiting pilots. Being part of the AMR family provides stability, and without it, Eagle recruiting problems may be even more difficult as the busy holiday season approaches.

“Mr. Horton’s statements are irresponsible and cavalier. Splitting up Eagle flying would be a deal killer to our pilots,” said Captain Herb Mark, chairman of the American Eagle pilots’ union. “Our pilots do not want a return to the Eagle of the mid-1990s when four carriers made up Eagle and pilots were pitted against each other with no clear-cut work rules, different collective bargaining agents, and a lack of operational consistency.”

Dividing up American Eagle flying could potentially cause travel nightmares for the flying public in several cities the union said. The American Eagle route network is designed as one unit with a single goal—to feed American Airlines with the right aircraft on the right route. Dismantling that network would weaken American Airlines. Selling off routes or aircraft to existing carriers would also create a classic case of whipsawing—using one pilot group against another as leverage to drive down pay rates and alter work rules.

“Profit margins at regional carriers are already very slim. If managements try to take more from the labor groups, you will see a lot of pilots begin to leave the profession because the pay will be so low that working as an airline pilot will no longer be a worthwhile career choice,” said Captain Mark. “It’s not our responsibility to underwrite the profitability of airlines.”

He continued: “Lower costs must not come on the backs of pilots by leveraging experienced Eagle pilots against its competitors for work currently done by Eagle. Mr. Horton’s remarks have created uncertainty among our pilots and have become a huge distraction as they move passengers across the country this holiday season. We are already hearing from our pilots that they see little future at Eagle, and many are already making plans to seek employment elsewhere.”

ALPA approached the sales announcement with an open mind, but lacking a detailed plan, a clear leadership message, or the identity of an investor, it is impossible for the pilot group to think that this sale is a good thing.

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 or
Doug Baj, ALPA, 703-481-4456 or