Transport Airlines

American Airlines and pilots union in tentative contract deal

Nov 10, 2012 7:37 am

Skift Take

This deal, if ratified by the pilots’ union membership, is big and could impact American Airlines’ fate as a merger partner or standalone carrier post-bankruptcy

— Dennis Schaal

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Following more than a month of negotiations, bankrupt American Airlines and its Allied Pilots Association have reached an agreement-in-principle on a tentative contract, company and union executives said late Friday.

Neither American nor the APA provided details of the tentative contract, which must be ratified by the union’s 8,000 members.

In August, the pilots rejected the company’s tentative contract offer, the concessions it contained, and a 13 percent equity stake in the reorganized company, saying the APA deserved an industry-standard contract.

Today, the APA is the only American union without a contract. The Transport Workers Union and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants agreed to contracts in August.

APA officials said the union’s board of directors on Friday presented American a counter-proposal that the company accepted.

“APA designed our comprehensive counter-proposal to provide our pilots with an industry-standard contract while enabling American Airlines to complete a successful restructuring and compete on a level playing field with its network-carrier peers,” APA executives said in an email to members on Friday.

American spokesman Bruce Hicks said the company worked with the APA to develop an agreement that includes items important to pilots while keeping within economic parameters supported by the Unsecured Creditors Committee for American’s successful restructuring.

The tentative contract agreement follows a summer of discontent and disruptions at American between the APA and management.

After the union rejected the company’s tentative contract offer, a bankruptcy court judge in September granted American’s motion to nullify the APA collective bargaining agreement.

At that point, American’s flight delays and cancellations rose sharply as pilots reported equipment malfunctions and mechanical problems.

American executives, who proactively canceled up to 2 percent of the airline’s flights through October, said the rise in mechanical write-ups were organized job actions in retaliation for the rejection of the APA’s collective bargaining agreement.

The pilots said the problems were due to mismanagement of aircraft maintenance and the advanced age of American’s fleet.

D.R. Stewart 918-581-8451

don.stewart@tulsaworld.com ___

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