WASHINGTON, D.C.—- The following statement was issued today by Captain Herb Mark, chairman of the American Eagle pilots’ Master Executive Council (MEC), a unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, International, in response to American Eagle Airlines’ announcement of its intent to sell Executive Airlines, one of four carriers merged in 1997 to form American Eagle:
“It is extremely frustrating to the pilots and union leadership of American Eagle to learn, by reading it in the morning newspaper, that a major part of our company and consequently a large number of jobs have been sold. We have been asking our management for months to engage in meaningful discussions over the direction of American Eagle so that our pilots can assist management in the growth and stability of American Eagle. Management has failed repeatedly to respond to our offer. Apparently AMR’s plan is to sell off, downsize and outsource the most profitable portion of its operations, American Eagle, in order to sustain its least profitable subsidiary, American Airlines. This same type of strategy has had devastating consequences in the past for other airlines including Braniff, Pan Am and others. Will this strategy work at American Eagle? I don’t think so. If that’s AMR’s plan for recovery we are going down a very rocky road.
In 1997 American Eagle pilots and management reached an agreement that eliminated the possibility of strikes for 16 years. In exchange for this agreement, a merger of the four then-separate American Eagle carriers with a single pilot seniority list was negotiated. The sale of Executive repudiates the basic promise made by American Eagle at the heart of that agreement - a single carrier, a single contract and a long-term commitment to the development and growth of the American Eagle system. The irony here is that the sale of Executive will cause American Eagle to incur millions of dollars in training costs as Executive pilots exercise their seniority rights to re-position themselves within the American Eagle system. How does it make sense in these difficult economic times to spend that much money to rid yourself of your most profitable parts?”
Commenting on these events, ALPA’s president, Capt Duane E. Woerth, said, “This is the third network carrier that has recently spun off all or part of a wholly-owned subsidiary to its own long-term detriment, causing immediate and substantial harm to its employees.”
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s oldest and largest pilot union representing more than 66,000 cockpit crewmembers at 43 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA Web site at www.alpa.org.