FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Captain Sam Mayer
ALLIED PILOTS ASSOCIATION ISSUES STATEMENT REGARDING PILOT RETIREMENTS, FINANCIAL CONDITION OF AMERICAN AIRLINES
Fort Worth, Texas (Oct. 3, 2011)—The Allied Pilots Association (APA), certified collective bargaining agent for the 10,000 pilots of American Airlines (NYSE: AMR), issued the following statement today:
“For each of the past two months, a larger than usual number of American Airlines pilots have chosen to retire. This increase in retirements can be attributed in part to the stock market’s decline during that same period.
“Another likely factor behind recent pilot retirements is the change in mandatory pilot retirement age from 60 to 65 that Congress legislated nearly four years ago. That change in retirement age created a backlog of pilots who otherwise would have retired upon reaching age 60. As many of these pilots now approach age 65, they are making individual judgments about the right time to retire. Stock market volatility—along with concerns about the global economy and, by extension, prospects for the industry and our airline—has likely prompted a number of them to decide that now is a good time to conclude their careers.
“By way of explanation, a pension provision enables pilots to protect part of their pension benefit from recent market fluctuations. When pilots age 60 and older retire, a portion of their pension is based in part on a 60-day ‘look back.’ As an example, pilots who retired on Sept. 30 secured the pension unit value that was in effect on July 31 before the bulk of the stock market’s decline.
“We have seen some rumors suggesting that our pilots are acting on inside information about the financial state of American Airlines. That is not the case. APA’s rank-and-file members are not privy to inside financial information. Our advisers have in fact indicated that the airline does not face any immediate liquidity crisis and possesses respectable cash reserves.
“Last week’s announcement by American Airlines that the carrier would offer aircraft- backed 10-year enhanced equipment trust certificates (EETC) for $726 million, along with an additional offering for $232 million, indicate a continuing ability by the airline to refinance debt and maintain sufficient liquidity, which is good news. It’s clear that American Airlines would likewise benefit from good news about long-running contract negotiations with its represented employees. To that end, we remain focused on intensive bargaining with management, with the goal of reaching agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement in the near future that benefits both the airline and its pilots.”
That is the full text of the union’s statement.
Founded in 1963, the Allied Pilots Association—the largest independent pilot union in the U.S.—is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. APA represents the 10,000 pilots of American Airlines (NYSE: AMR), including more than 1,000 pilots not yet offered recall from furlough. The furloughs began shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Also, several hundred American Airlines pilots are on full-time military leave of absence serving in the armed forces. The union’s Web site address is www.alliedpilots.org. American Airlines is the nation’s largest international passenger carrier and fifth-largest cargo carrier.