American to seek other carriers to fly new jets, regional unit says
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[February 14, 2014]
(Reuters) — American Airlines Group <AAL.O> will start looking for
other carriers to operate new regional jets from Embraer <EMBR3.SA>
after labor leaders at its American Eagle Airlines subsidiary's
pilots' union rejected a concessionary labor contract, the unit's
president said in a note to staff on Thursday.
Pedro Fabregas, president of American Eagle Airlines, also said in
the note that he has "no reason to believe American will offer us
new, large regional jet flying after these unsuccessful
Still, he said American Eagle had a strong ground handling business
and was not planning to shut down.
American declined to comment beyond American Eagle's statement.
Leaders of the Air Line Pilots Association union at American Eagle
voted on Wednesday to reject a tentative labor agreement, declining
to send it to rank-and-file pilots for a ratification vote. The
agreement included concessions in exchange for American placing the
new, larger Embraer 175 jets it recently ordered in service at
American Eagle Airlines.
In a statement, union leaders said the sought-for concessions were
too much for pilots who had also agreed to givebacks when the former
AMR Corp was in bankruptcy in 2012.
AMR and US Airways merged in December to form American Airlines
Group, the world's largest carrier.
"Our pilots decided they were not willing to work for less than the
company is already paying our peers," William Sprague, chairman of
the ALPA's executive council at American Eagle, said in a statement
emailed to Reuters on Thursday. "We will now begin the process of
assisting our pilots in identifying alternative career options
within the industry."
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The union said company representatives had made clear during
contract talks that should an agreement be rejected, American would
seek to put regional planes in operation with other carriers.
American Eagle's Fabregas said in his note that American "has
informed us they have no choice but to begin looking for another
regional carrier or carriers to operate their E175s."
American Eagle, which plans to change its name to Envoy in the
spring, is one of a number of carriers that operate regional flights
for American. It started flying in 1984 and has more than 12,000
(Reporting by Karen Jacobs in Atlanta;
editing by G Crosse)
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