American Airlines pilots ask Congress for emergency aid

Sean

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Aug 20, 2002
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The pilot union for American Airlines Inc., on Thursday called for immediate federal aid to help airlines pay for higher security and insurance costs and keep the industry from collapsing.
The grim projections for the airline industry are symptomatic of a larger problem that the companies, workers and experts agree needs to be addressed to keep the industry from collapsing, said Capt. John Darrah, president of the Allied Pilots Association, the union representing American''s 13,500 pilots.
But employees and companies can''t do it alone, Darrah said, calling it a national crisis, making airline employees the first casualties in the war on terrorism.
The U.S. airline industry''s crisis needs the U. S. Congress to urgently enact immediate, temporary relief measures that can save the industry and assist all the workers whose fates are beyond their control, said Capt. Bob Ames, vice president of the Allied Pilots Association and the union''s political and legislative coordinator.
Calling the industry vital to national security and critical to all aspects of the economy, Ames said the financial burden imposed on carriers due to the effects of the war on terrorism will cause a cascading effect across the U. S. economy ultimately reaching tens of millions of workers across all sections of our nation if Congress doesn''t act now.
Major U.S. airlines have asked their employees for major concessions to insure continued operations, Ames said, but no matter how much the workers are asked to contribute, their sacrifices alone still will not alleviate this extraordinary financial crisis.
Fort Worth-based American, which lost $3.5 billion last year, has asked employees for $1.8 billion in annual wage and benefit concessions, about one-third from pilots.
The crisis has not been caused by the employees and cannot be placed on the backs of workers. That''s why we''re calling on Congress to step up and provide temporary assistance so these vital airlines can keep operating and our pilots, flight attendants and mechanics can keep America''s transportation system working for everyone, said Capt. Steve Blankenship, communications chairman for the Allied Pilots Association.
The magnitude of this situation is far worse than anything previously seen in aviation history, said Blankenship. The rising cost of insurance premiums and the unfunded security mandates that airlines have had to deal with since Sept. 11, 2001, combined with federal taxes and rising fuel costs have seriously sapped the ability of every major carrier to continue providing the service Americans need.
Blankenship added that with the airline industry already among the most heavily taxed in the country, to expect airline workers to continue subsidizing in a significant way the nation''s war on terrorism is not only unfair, it''s unrealistic.
© 2003 American City Business Journals Inc.
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DFWCC

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Aug 19, 2002
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Shouldn't that be a function of upper mgt?
Gee. if they want to give me a couple of days off with pay, confirmed seating, hotels, taxis and meals I'll volunteer to ask congress for some tax releif on fuel, security costs and even tckt sales tax.
 

DLFlyer31

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Aug 20, 2002
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While I might agree that the gov't should bear a larger part of the security burden (everyone benefits from having safe air travel....even those who never fly), I don't think this industry needs anymore handouts. If things were so bad, why aren't FL,JBLU,WN asking for handouts? I realize those carriers don't have international exposure, but even still they aren't asking for help.

More gov't help won't stabilize the industry nor will it save jobs. Sure the ATSB loans might have saved a few jobs at US, however it creates job losses at other carriers. Propping up poorly run airlines like US, only serves to weaken other carriers (CO,DL,NW,etc) and forces those airlines to furlough more. I can pretty much guarantee you that if US had gone under, carriers like DL/CO/NW would not have furloughed anywhere near the numbers they have now.

If airlines get a bailout, then why not hotels? Many hotels have lost money because of the poor economy and many hotel chains have high levels of international exposure. Should the gov't prop them up to? What about Walt Disney World? They've suffered because of the economy and seen a notable drop in international tourists. Should Uncle Sam give Mickey Mouse a handout?


P.S. JFK777, there's no way the Big Six employ 1 million people. Even pre-9/11, they didn't employ that many.
 

JFK777

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Aug 20, 2002
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CONGRESS,

AIRLINES NEED HELP! When Chrysler needed help you gave Lee Iaacocoa a check (and got repaid with interest). When Iran wanted to by part of Pan Am in 1970's you extended a helping hand. When Lockeed made L-1011 and was on its knees you saved it in the name of national security. When I think of the 1,000,000 people who work for the Big Six airlines, they need jod protection too. What is the price of these people being unemployed in unemployment benefits?

Saving these jobs and airlines is good for politicians (especially in TEXAS). These people vote and are heavily unionized, unions have long memories and will reword those politicians who help them.

1. The security cost should be paid by Defense Department not the airlines.

2. Kill all those little nickel and dime aiviation taxes.

3. Give them loans, even if it is at the rate of inflation.
 

twambassador

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Feb 19, 2003
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Unfortunately, all this talk is going to fall on deaf ears. It is very well known that government officials think Airline Employees are a bunch of overpaid workers, and we are to blame for higher fares and the industry’s cost structure. If it is up to the current regime in power right now, we’d all be working for close to minimum wage. This is the perfect opportunity for members of our government to force labor into substandard wages, so that Mom, Pop and Aunt Milie can fly crosscountry for 50 bucks. The Public has no sympathy for us. We are all rude and arrogant (and yes, they are jealous of our flying perks).

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JFK777

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Aug 20, 2002
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DLFLYER,

Security costs at airports are for the same goals as the Coast Guard and other national security assets. Is it in the interest of the country to have all the current airlines go broke and replaced with lower paid inexperienced workers?

With Continental and American based in TEXAS will the Bush Administration let two of its home states largest employers go BK?
What this industry needs is reform of the labor structure, the one that presently exists based on railroad and shipping from the days before planes sucks. It is not doing the job for its workers or the companies. I'm for worker represntation by unions but against all those crazy railroad era practices our beloved airline industry has killing it. Can you imagine if the auto industry was on its knees? Washington would have imposed a solution. Travel is one industry governments love to tax since the burden is paid by tourists, all those pesky little fees are what is killing the industry. Washington are you listening.
 

wn737

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Feb 28, 2003
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a couple points to consider.
The federal government did bail out the airline industry right after 9/11. 5 billion in direct cash (no payback required, thank you tax payers) and the loan guarantees (essentially loans with no risk).
Secondly, what this industry needs more than anything is a reduction in capacity. Less capacity means each seat costs the customer more.
Finally, the entire industy is acting as if their is no recession and that everything should just be the way it was in 2000. The harsh reality is that the recession (not the economic one-that is over according to Mr Greenspan-the psychological one is still here) has changed the economic environment. Either evolve to meet the challenges, or be cast off.
 

JFK777

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WN737,

Most of the loan application to the Loan Stabilization Board were rejected. It great to say these loans exist but no major airline other then America West got a loan from these folks. UA was pleading for one in November before it went BK and was told to beg the state of Illnois. So much for Washington's helping hand.
 

RV4

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Aug 20, 2002
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It has also become a well known fact that there are too many seats flying and this is the fundamental problem with the industry.

More Government assistance does nothing to correct the problem. In fact, further Government handouts and assistance will actually compound and sustain the problem.

If the Pilot's want more Government assistance, maybe they should have not left the powerful AFL-CIO for independence. Satire of course!
 

MrMarky

Advanced
[blockquote]
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On 3/1/2003 4:54:06 PM RV4 wrote:
...there are too many seats flying and this is the fundamental problem with the industry.

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[/blockquote]

That problem could be solved very quickly if the majors would all reconfigure their fleets' seating to an all-first-class arrangement.
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MrMarky

Advanced
[blockquote]
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On 3/1/2003 6:59:05 AM JFK777 wrote:

WN737,


Most of the loan application to the Loan Stabilization Board were rejected. It great to say these loans exist but no major airline other then America West got a loan from these folks.
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Actually, US Airways $1 billion loan guarantee request has now been approved by the ATSB. Frontier and ATA also got loan guarantees. While I felt that United should have gotten one too (because of their size and importance), I must admit their management continues to be a disaster. Flakey operations like Midway and Vanguard were turned down.