ARPEY Press Conference - Remarks


Aug 20, 2002
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Thank you, Ed. Thank you Roger, and good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. As you might imagine, today is an emotional day at AMR.

Yesterday, we said good-bye to Don Carty. A man who has guided this company through some of the most turbulent times any organization has ever had to face.

And through it all, he never wavered on his commitment to ensure AMR and its airlines would still be standing when the storms passed. We wish him, Ana, Michael and Donny every success as they enter a new era in their lives.

We, too, enter a new era here at AMR. I appreciate the board''s confidence and look forward to working closely with them as we strive quickly and diligently to rebuild the financial strength of our company.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the 100,000 plus members of the American Airlines and American Eagle family have been engaged in the noble effort of trying to save this great company.

Today, the Allied Pilots Association, the Transport Workers Union, and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants have agreed to ratify the agreements recently voted on by our employees. Those agreements have been amended to include a new incentive plan that ties our management and our employees together in the future success of this company. I very much appreciate the leadership they are showing and their dedication to helping save our great company.

The leaders of our unions have joined me here today and I sincerely appreciate their show of support - I will introduce them in a moment.

To reach these agreements we needed help. One of the absolutely critical components of this success was the convening of all parties on Wednesday at the urgent request of the North Texas Congressional Delegation. These members of Congress, together with Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn, have been actively involved for weeks doing everything they can to keep this process moving forward.

In particular, late Tuesday we were asked by Congressman Martin Frost, who was joined by Pete Sessions, Joe Barton and Michael Burgess, to meet with them and our union leaders in one last-ditch effort to reach an agreement. Without that push, and further assistance from Jim Oberstar and Peter DeFazio, we simply wouldn''t be standing here today. I am pleased that both Martin Frost and Michael Burgess could join us today.

In my 21 years with this great company, I believe I have earned the respect and trust of all those I have worked with, from employees, to stockholders, to suppliers, to those in the community in which I live.

As I step into this broader leadership role, I want employees to know that I will continue to lead by example. Actions, of course, speak louder than words. And you can expect me to ensure my actions are consistent with the high standards we set for all employees of American Airlines and American Eagle.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that there is a definite need to rebuild trust within our company. Not just between unions and management - but between every member of the AMR family. And that starts at the top.

During the time that I have been the Chief Operating Officer of American, I have made a point of spending as much time as I possibly can talking, and, most importantly, listening to people through the company.

As CEO, I will be doing even more of that. I cannot possibly know what is happening in this airline exclusively from the 6th floor of this headquarters building.

Moving forward, I also want to ensure that our efforts to simplify and restructure our business continue.

And I''m a guy who knows that two heads are better than one. I will be looking to the strong management team here at AMR and to our employees throughout the system for their thoughts on how we make our company the strongest, most efficient competitor that it can be.

To our passengers and cargo customers, I pledge that the men and women of American Airlines and American Eagle are here to serve and will do a terrific job for you.

To my fellow employees, I commend you for taking this important step to move our company forward. We must implement these agreements rapidly and without disruption.

I recognize that these new contracts involve enormous sacrifices by our employees. Many will lose their jobs because of the productivity provisions in these agreements.

During the transition period, I would ask them to serve our customers with grace and dignity and we will do our best to get them back as fast as we can.

By any measure, we have our work cut out for us - we are clearly not out of the woods yet. As the new CEO of AMR I am up to the task.

I will do my very best to serve this great institution and its employees and I will always do what is right. Working with our employees, we will together put American Airlines back on top.

As I mentioned a moment ago, I will obviously need the support of our three labor unions if I am to be successful, and I have pledged to work collaboratively with them as we chart AMR''s future.

Joining me today are John Darrah, President of the Allied Pilots Association and John Ward, President of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants. Due to a commitment, Jim Little, director of the Air Transport Division of the TWU, could not be here.

I would like to recognize Congressman Frost and Congressman Burgess as well. Thank you again for your efforts on our company''s and employees'' behalf.


Aug 20, 2002

I think this guy is part of the problem, not the solution.