’ pilots union is objecting to scope changes proposed for colleagues at sister carrier Airlines.
Eagle’s unions last week were issued their plan of reorganization under parent company AMR Corp.’s Chapter 11 restructuring. For the pilots, that plan includes a change in the current language applicable to the largest aircraft type, adding six seats to the 70-seat limit on jets and four seats to the 74 currently allowed on turboprops.
These changes are opposed by the Allied Pilots Association (APA), which permits just 47and 43 to be operated by third parties under its current contract with American. “We are strongly opposed to management’s attempt to unilaterally change the terms of our contract and to have larger aircraft operated by American Eagle or any other commuter affiliate carrier,” APA tells its members in an internal message.
“Despite management’s assurances that larger aircraft at commuter affiliates would result in growth at American Airlines, we are deeply skeptical about such claims based on past experience. A significant number of city-pairs formerly flown by American Airlines are now served by American Eagle. The reality is that the substantial growth in American Eagle flying has come at the expense of American Airlines flying, contributing to a decade of career stagnation at our airline.
“The new small narrowbody aircraft management has indicated to APA that the aircraft they want to acquire—the so-called “large RJs”—possess near-transcontinental range, surpassing that of the Fokker 100s American Airlines used to operate,” the union adds. “Our adamant opposition to management’s plans for a vast expansion of 70-plus-seat flying on new, larger-gauge aircraft at American Eagle centers on management’s evident desire to outsource yet more American Airlines flying. We will vigorously resist any attempt to do so. We will likewise resist any scheme that would result in such flying being performed by any non-AMR-owned entities.”
Outsourcing is a key element of AMR’s restructuring, although there is little evidence of that in its Eagle proposals. Indeed, the term-sheets provided for public consumption detail little about AMR’s network plans and avoid any mention of the return of 39ERJ 135s that the Brazilian manufacturer has confirmed it will take from the U.S. carrier. According to these term-sheets, revised pay rates (using SkyWest Airlines as a benchmark), new work rules and revised pension payments alone will meet the $43.1 million in savings requested from Eagle’s pilots.
Similar requests are made of Eagle flight attendants, who are being asked for $9.2 million in annual cost reductions, mechanics ($7 million), independent workers (another $7 million), fleet service clerks ($4.8 million) and agents ($2 million). The remainder of the $75 million Eagle wants to cut from its annual labor expense are distributed among its other work groups, including Eagle Aviation Services, aircraft cleaners, stock clerks, dispatchers and instructors.