Pilots back American’s Beijing plans

The Allied Pilots Association has authorized American Airlines to immediately begin flight operations between Dallas-Fort Worth and Beijing, China, pending the DOT’s decision on route authority for new China service. The DOT is expected to announce within the next several weeks which of four carriers vying for new China service—American, Continental, Northwest or United—will be granted the route authority.

“APA recognizes how valuable DFW-Beijing service would be to American Airlines, north Texas and the broad domestic and international network our airline serves through its DFW hub,” said APA President Captain Ralph Hunter. “We are pleased to be a part of our airline’s effort to develop this new market opportunity.”

APA presented American Airlines management with a signed letter of agreement today that authorizes DFW-Beijing service. The current APA-American Airlines collective bargaining agreement contains language governing extended long-haul flying such as DFW-Beijing on a city pair-specific basis only, which means airline management must secure an agreement with APA for this new service. This letter of agreement specifies what the pilots will receive in exchange for providing the necessary contractual relief.

“We are seeking a number of no-cost items for our pilots, while the minimal cost associated with the remaining items will be more than offset by the additional revenue and cost savings potential our agreement will generate,” said Hunter. “Given our pilots’ role as critical partners in our airline’s ongoing recovery, we are confident that American Airlines will acknowledge this agreement as a fair exchange of value.

“With the stroke of a pen, American Airlines can signal to the DOT that it is ready and willing to operate DFW-Beijing,” said Hunter.