FORT WORTH, Texas - American Airlines today applauded Congress for its vote to appropriate funds to help reimburse airlines for some of the additional security costs they have incurred since Sept. 11, 2001. This measure, included in a bill to finance the Iraq war, provides valuable relief for U.S. carriers operating in a difficult economic environment made worse by the effects of the war. In a statement released today, the company said:
“We want to recognize the leadership of House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), whose unwavering commitment to the airline industry helped make this legislation possible. American also would like to specifically thank Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.); Sen. Assistant Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.); Sen. and House Appropriations Committee Chairmen Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Bill Young (R-Fla.); as well as Sen. Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Trent Lott (R-Miss.); Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) for their leadership on this issue.”
AMR Chairman Don Carty said the action by Congress, in addition to improved prospects for an early end to the war in Iraq, offer much-needed optimism to the U.S. airline industry. Carty also praised the American Airlines employees who traveled to Capitol Hill to lobby on behalf of the industry. “They, along with other employees who called or wrote members of Congress, shared their concerns about the financial burden that security costs and taxes put on airlines. Their hard work and dedication to this airline and this industry clearly made a difference in Washington,” Carty said. “These developments are a series of bright spots in what has been an otherwise bleak picture, and with our employees’ help, we are heading in the right direction.”
American believes that while the one time federal payment is much needed, it is still necessary for American Airlines to achieve $4 billion in permanent, annual structural cost savings, including $1.8 billion in employee savings, to survive. On March 31, the company reached tentative agreements with the company’s three major unions to restructure labor contracts; employees are now in the process of voting on ratification of those agreements.