Best break down yet

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May 6, 2007
Western hemisphere
This is fairly long but it was too good not to post. DISCLAIMER, POSTER DID NOT WRITE THIS.

As an AWA pilot, and as a furloughed AAA pilot, I believe that every single one of the 5 tenants were adhered to in the Nicholau award. Obviously there are different opinions of what “windfall†means, and one must put himself in the others shoes to attempt to see what “windfall†looks like from the other side.

In reality some AAA pilots fared better than some AWA pilots, and vice versa – but there simply was not a way to give every pilot on both sides every thing he wanted.

I challenge any pilot to make a rational argument debating my beliefs without resorting to the normal heated accusations that mostly dominate this web-board under this topic.

The following is an excerpt of the ALPA merger policy and its 5 tenants. Following each of the 5 merger policy rules are outlined why I believe that the current award is one that adheres to the ALPA merger policy.

ALPA Merger Policy (following in bold) states in part that;

The merger representatives shall carefully weigh all the equities inherent in their merger situation.

There are obviously a great many opinions as to what “equities†refers to here. I believe that this where the various arguments that cover each airlines financial condition, rate of growth, existing pilot contracts, and such come into play.

There is a great deal of reference by AAA pilots that AWA was very nearly in bankruptcy itself. This fact is highly debatable, and really one can only reference actual fact and legal documentation to come to this determination. Referencing rumors such as the Zanzibar Project, and Doug Parkers “brown bag lunch†comments designed to manage employee expectations, are all things that have never surfaced in any SEC filing by AWA. Remember that SEC filings are legal documents, and that a company, and its officers are held legally accountable for the facts contained therein, both to the SEC, and to the stockholders of the company.

Quoted from the AWA SEC statement in 2005:

“As of June 30, 2005, Holdings unrestricted and restricted cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments totaled $413.9 million, of which $322.3 million was unrestricted. Although there can be no assurances, we believe that cash flows from operating activities, combined with these cash balances and our financing commitments, will be adequate to fund our operating and capital needs as well as enable us to maintain compliance with our various debt agreements through at least December 31, 2005â€.

Also remember that during this time frame AWA had 19 Airbus aircraft scheduled for firm and imminent delivery, and AWA was in a continuous pilot hiring mode to staff these aircraft.

This is quite a contrast from the airline (AAA) that was parking airplanes, furloughing employees, and had no coherent plan for exiting bankruptcy ready to present to the bankruptcy court. As a furloughed AAA pilot, I can tell you that my career expectations at AAA were very sketchy indeed, and that if I ever was offered a recall, I expected to return as a bottom feeding F/O on reserve in a narrow body airplane. I seriously had doubts that the company would ever survive the second bankruptcy. These were my career expectations, and these expectations caused me to walk in to a job interview at AWA, and within 5 minutes announce that I was ready and willing, without ever looking back, to immediately resign my seniority number at AAA in order to have a job at AWA!

These facts above are those that Nichoau rightly used when he came to the conclusion that AWA was clearly in better financial condition than AAA was prior to the merger. This is the fact that led him to believe that the AWA pilots had a relatively better career expectations than that of the AAA pilots.

When you look at an AWA pilot with positive career expectations at a company that was actively taking delivery of new aircraft and growing, then his advancement up the seniority list (retirement plus openings due to additional aircraft deliveries) was probably greater than that of any AAA pilot in this time period prior to the merger. The AAA pilots career advancement was strictly based on attrition that was unable to outpace the rate of shrinkage and the hope that someday the airplane parking would come to a stop so that the attrition would actually allow someone to upgrade, and someone to get recalled from furlough! You can retire your pilots at 4 times the rate of AWA, but if you don’t stop parking aircraft, then zero advancement occurs.

As a furloughed AAA pilot, I remember looking at the AAA retirement calculator, thinking “cool, I will be number 900 on the AAA seniority list at retirement, but I wonder if I will be senior enough to hold a job!†Honestly, can any furloughed AAA pilot, prior to the merger announcement, claim that he has not entertained a similar thought process? Can any AAA pilot honestly say that he had complete confidence that AAA would successfully negotiate their way out of the second bankruptcy?

If you look at the two pilot groups career expectations in light of the above facts, then the award we have today, and the future it provides each individual pilot, is possibly not to far from what might have occurred absent the merger.

Here are the 5 tenants of ALPA merger policy:

In joint session, the merger representatives should attempt to match equities to various methods of

integration until a fair and equitable agreement is reached, keeping in mind the following goals, in no

particular order:

Preserve jobs.
This provision as well as the “Merger Transition Agreement†prohibits a Date of Hire integration methodology followed by recall of Furloughed AAA pilots, and Furlough of AWA pilots.

In order for all pilots actively working to retain their existing jobs, then a method like relative seniority (among active pilots) is the only method that will honor this provision.

Avoid windfalls to either group at the expense of the other.

Placing the junior active AAA pilot (Colello) with his 19 years of active service next to the AWA pilot (Henderson) with 19 years of active service would have placed the junior AAA pilot senior to all but 364 AWA pilots, and would have placed this bottom man at AAA in a point that is also senior to over 747 AWA Captains! In my mind, this is a clear windfall that has no counter-argument for Mr. Collelo.

Think about the man who was 1 number junior to Mr. Collello. He was on furlough, not able to even hold a job at AAA. Would it not have been a flagrant windfall for this man to accept recall, and go straight to the left seat as a Captain? This is what DOH would deliver!

The AAA pilots have stated that a windfall occurred to the AWA pilots because they have a higher rate of retirement than AWA pilots. It is true that AWA’s retirement rate is significantly less than that of the AAA pilots. However, claiming that a furloughed pilot has a career expectation of attaining a senior widebody captain position is a stretch at best given AAA’s 12 year history of shrinkage.

During this time frame AAA has shrunk by approximately 50%, all but negating the effects of retirements, and the ability of AAA pilots to hold a new Captain slots. New Captain slots have been virtually non-existent for many, many years.

There is simply no guarantee that absent this merger, that AAA would not have continued to shrink as fast as pilots retire, thus not providing any further opportunity for upgrades, and recalls for the AAA pilot group. Prior to the merger not a single pilot hired after 1989 even had the capability of holding a job.

Providing a furloughed, unemployed AAA pilot a fast track to a Captain seat is simply called “windfallâ€.

Maintain or improve pre-merger pay and standard of living.

In order to maintain a furloughed pilots “pre-merger pay and standard of living†those pilots must remain furloughed. Zero income before the merger equals zero income after the merger.

Absent a merger, upon recall a furloughed AAA pilot goes to the bottom of the USAir seniority list. By the same token, if he was to accept a job at another carrier, whether it be AWA or SWA he would go to the bottom of the seniority list as a new hire. This merger should be no different, and cannot be, in order to satisfy this provision of the ALPA merger policy.

Maintain or improve pre-merger pilot status.

This provision would require that all active pilots remain active (both AWA and AAA), and that all inactive pilots (AAA furloughed pilots, being that there were no furloughed AWA pilots) remain inactive.

Minimize detrimental changes to career expectations.

AWA career expectations pre-merger were to continue on roughly a 7 year path to a Captain upgrade. This pattern is established and has been very consistent for most of the 25 plus year existence of AWA.

Should furloughed AAA pilots be allowed a seniority number senior to active AWA pilots, due to a length of service slotting method, given the AAA pilots greater length of service, then this would seriously alter the seven year expectation of upgrading for the AWA F/O’s. Since nearly every one of the AAA pilots on furlough have a greater longevity, or length of service than hundreds of the AWA F/O’s, then placing the 1100 junior AAA pilots (the most junior group of AAA pilots, whom have 1-3 years of service) ahead of the bottom 346 AWA pilots (these were hired between Jan 2003 and April 05) would cause a very long stagnation period for those AWA pilots. All other AAA F/O’s above these last 1100 have enough longevity to fall senior to all other AWA F/O’s as well as hundreds of AWA Captains!

Lets look at the 352 AAA pilots (I am a member of this group, hire date at AAA 10/16/89) who endured 7.5 to 8 years of furlough in the early to middle 90’s. These pilots now have 6-7 years of active service. Slot them in with AWA pilots with 6-7 years of service (these pilots are captains at AWA) and they are immediately junior captains at the merged company.

Think of the career stagnation that would occur to the AWA F/O’s in order to facilitate a Length of Service slotting method! Hundreds of AAA furloughees would return to work a after years long furlough periods directly to the captain seat, and end up senior to every AWA F/O! Street to left seat = “Windfall†in my opinion.

AAA career expectations are best established by tracking AAA’s track record, of mostly shrinking faster than the pilots can retire. This pattern has occurred since 1991 when the first furlough occurred at AAA. The pilot numbers at AAA have shrunk from approximately 6400 in early 1991 approximately half that number prior to the AAA/AWA merger. A pilot hired in 1989 at AAA could still not hold a job at AAA in 2003.

Like it or not, AAA had their chance to do it alone and give it all to just the AAA pilots but failed to do so. So, how can a AAA pilot claim that he alone is entitled to all AAA retirements and the openings they create? The company will only stop parking airplanes and begin growing if it is successful. That seems to be occurring today, post merger and not pre-merger. This success is occurring while both AWA and AAA pilots work for the very same company – the “new†USAirways. All future growth and openings should now be shared by both pilot groups as one successful pilot group.

Nicholau has stated, and it is entirely logical, that retirement based career expectations had no merit unless a carrier was growing. If the shrinkage is faster than the attrition, then retirements will never provide a career path to the left seat. AAA has not shown any growth patterns except for a brief period in 1998 to 2000 when 1100 pilots were hired, and this was the only period since 1991 that AAA pilots upgraded to the left seat prior to the AWA/AAA merger. Most, if not all of the AAA pilots who upgraded in the 1998 time frame have lost their captain positions due to the resumption of the shrinkage pattern marked by the latest furlough of nearly 2000 AAA pilots. All these pilots plus many more that had never before experienced a furlough were then furloughed around the 2002 time frame.

So there you have it. Reality as I see it. Maybe not your reality, but I think it is a pretty accurate one. I have a few friends that are very bitter at the company that “promised them a 5 year upgrade to the left seat†People that think that the promise AAA gave us of a rosy future was a guarantee, and any company that dares take that promise away is vile and evil. I was given that story by AAA in 1989, and I laughingly tell my friends that AAA simply forgot to mention what company I would be working for as a captain 5 years after they hired me. Turns out it was American Trans Air, and not AAA.

No one is “entitled†to anything, and fact of the matter is, life has no guarantees. We simply just have to accept what comes along, and be thankful that we are still healthy enough to enjoy our lives with family and friends.

On another note, I would like to apologize for the “grammatically challenged†AWA pilot that is being widely quoted in various circles. He is probably the same jerk I flew with just out of IOE at AWA! He does not represent the common individual at AWA. I have flown with some individuals that were idiots and spoke without thinking at every airline I have worked for in my 20 year career as a pilot. They work here, they work there too. I know because I flew with them at AAA as well, as well as other places.

There is mostly, just a vast majority of good people at both airlines that are a pleasure to be with for 4 days at a time.


Feb 25, 2007
Oh boy here we go again. Not that I don't agree with everything you said, it's just that this is starting to sound like a broken record. I'm sure Mr. auto fixit will be chiming in shortly. :rolleyes:


Mar 1, 2006
Mods, another post on the same topic from the same poster. Can they not all be combined into one?


Sep 13, 2005
This is fairly long but it was too good not to post. DISCLAIMER, POSTER DID NOT WRITE THIS.
As an AWA pilot, and as a furloughed AAA pilot, I believe that every single one of the 5 tenants were adhered to in the Nicholau award. Obviously there are different opinions of what “windfallâ€￾ means, and one must put himself in the others shoes to attempt to see what “windfallâ€￾ looks like from the other side.

What airline is AAA? Do you mean American Airlines...

MOD NOTE--PLEASE refrain from quoting entire posts, especially if they are on the same page. Using the single line or paragraph you are referring to is enough.


May 6, 2007
Western hemisphere
Mods, another post on the same topic from the same poster. Can they not all be combined into one?

Hey flight attendant!! why don't you police all the threads and see if they say the same thing?? Now I told you I didn't write it sweetie one of YOURS DID!!! Slow your role a bit!! BTW if you've got nothing to say to HAWKHUNTER then you've got nothing to say to me!!!!
Hawkhunter Today, 02:10 PM Post #99

Group: Registered Member
Posts: 118
Joined: 11-July 05
Member No.: 7,480

Still sitting in the right seat Hawk!!!

Now lets look at your 21 yrs, how many ACTIVE people are below you??? 1986 hire for you I am guessing? You have on the AAA active list maybe 200 to 300 below you. Then that's where you should be on the combined list. You were bottom before and should be bottom after. You as well as all AAA pilots were asking to place us at the very bottom while you took 50% jumps up the new combined list. Windfall?? I thinks not!!

You are nothing but a smart a$$ and I am done trying to convince some idiot that he just won the lotto. You girls and guys know it but just wont admit it. I should not be below some 3 year little #### and I promise, you will never be welcome out east. So go make love with yourself.
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