Hello. Today is Friday, January 23, 2004. This is George Price, APFA National Communications Coordinator, with the APFA Hotline.
Ballots for APFA National Officers are due by 0900 Central Time on January 29, 2004. The ballot count will take place at the Radisson Hotel in Irving, Texas. The hotel is located South of the DFW Airport on Airport Freeway. The count will be conducted by the APFA National Ballot Committee in conjunction with Whitley Penn. All members in good standing are welcomed and encouraged to attend the count. Results of the count will be made available on the APFA Hotline and on the APFA Web site once they are final. Please keep in mind that results may not be available until very late on the evening of the 29th.
AMR announced fourth quarter and year-end financial results on Wednesday. The Company posted a net loss for the quarter of $111 million. After special items and taxes, AMR recorded a $95 million loss. This is compared to a net loss for the fourth quarter 2002 of $828 million. For the quarter, AMR had an operating income of $103 million, excluding special items. This is compared to an operating net loss of $679 million for the fourth quarter 2002. For the year, AMR posted a net loss of $1.2 billion, which compares to a net loss for 2002 of $3.5 billion. A link to the breakdown of the AMR financial results is available through the opening page of the APFA Web site. On Thursday, several aviation industry analysts raised their earning estimates for American Airlines. Analysts estimate that American could earn up to $1 per share in 2004. This news sent American stock to a 52-week high. A link to AMR’s current stock price is also included on the opening page of the APFA Web site. On Wednesday, American also announced a new codeshare agreement with Mexicana Airlines, which will begin in April. The airline also unveiled plans to “depeak” the Miami hub similar to what has already been done in DFW and Chicago. The Company said that this move would allow it to operate more flights in and out of the hub using fewer aircraft. The Miami “depeaking” will begin May 1.
American and United on Wednesday agreed to a proposal by the FAA to help relieve congestion in Chicago. The plan includes a 5% reduction in flights between the hours of 1 P.M. and 8 P.M. This equates to a reduction of 35 flights for United and 27 for American. The FAA was prompted to take action by an extraordinary increase in delays that began in early November, which were blamed on overscheduling of flights at peak times by both American and United. The reduction in flights will begin with the March schedule, and will remain in effect for no less than six months.
A survey on workplace fatigue has been linked into the opening page of the APFA Web site. This survey, which was introduced by APFA Health Coordinator Emily Carter in the November/December 2003 issue of Skyword, is being conducted in conjunction with the University of Denver. The information that is collected through this survey will allow us to compare the fatigue level of Flight Attendants with other work groups governed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, and will be very useful in addressing other issues such as reduced layover rest. More information on the fatigue survey can be found in the Health Department article in the current issue of Skyword, which can be accessed through the web site. APFA Members are encouraged to take the time to complete the survey. Also, please urge your flying partners to do the same.
From the APFA Safety Department: In today’s security environment, it is paramount that we communicate information and coordinate efforts when responding to security events. Recognizing the security concerns and challenges faced by our crews, and in a spirit of cooperation, APFA President John Ward along with APA President John Darah and representatives of the APFA Safety Department and the Allied Pilots Association Safety and Security Department recently received a highly confidential briefing from American Airlines managers regarding SOC assets and procedures employed in evaluating security threats. As a result of that briefing, we have an increased level of confidence in the SOC process and ability to provide valuable assistance to our crews in evaluating threats.
The information that Flight Attendants provide to the cockpit during both security and safety events is of the utmost importance. The Captain will then communicate the information to the appropriate personnel at American Airlines. All Captains have been encouraged to use the SOC Center Manager as their single focal point for assistance in evaluating any serious security threat. The SOC Center Managers have immediate access to both local and worldwide resources, including American Airlines Corporate Security, the FBI, TSA, NSA, FAMs and US Embassy security personnel.
The SOC Center Manager, in concert with the In-flight Security Coordinator (Captains), should be the focal point in evaluating and managing security threats. As security threats or in?flight events unfold on a specific flight, multiple agencies will likely become involved. While the Captain should serve as the on scene coordinator for the efforts taking place, the SOC Center Manager along with other law enforcement and intelligence assets at their disposal, can provide invaluable assistance in evaluating the credibility of a threat and follow?up security action.
In Washington, D.C. this week, Senator Ted Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, asked the Senate to pass an extension of unemployment compensation benefits for up to six months for workers who have exhausted their 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits. Unfortunately, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Don Nickles, Republican of Oklahoma, objected to the motion. Kennedy had explained that supplemental benefits expired in December and that nearly 90,000 laid off workers would have benefited from the extension. Senate bill S.2006, which was introduced on January 20, 2004, would provide 13-weeks of additional benefits to those who exhaust their 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits. In states where there is a particularly high unemployment rate, jobless workers would get 26 additional weeks. Members of Congress, especially Senator Don Nickles, must hear from those who are affected by layoffs and who need the funds that would be provided by this bill. Members can send e-mails in support of this bill by going to the Government Affairs page of the APFA Web site and then clicking “Capwiz,” which is APFA’s Internet legislative service. Click on the bill number and then “Take Action Now” and follow the directions to send your e-mail asking for the support of your Representative and Senators. Senator Nickles can be contacted by calling 202-224-5754 or by fax at 202-224-6008.
Also from Washington: The U.S. Senate passed an amendment to a bill previous passed by the House of Representatives that would provide airlines with two years of pension relief. The amendment would allow airlines and some other companies to pay 20 percent of what they would otherwise owe in what are referred to as “catch-up contributions” to their pension funds in the first year. During the second year, they would be required to pay 40 percent of what they would otherwise owe. In addition, it would substitute for two years a higher corporate-bond interest rate for the now-required 30-year Treasury bond rate used to compute pension liabilities for all companies. The airline industry could realize a savings of millions of dollars if the legislation is signed into law. Representative Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, sponsored the legislation, which is opposed by the Bush White House. Pensions nationwide are currently underfunded by an estimated $350 billion. Larger U.S. airlines have among the largest underfunded pensions.
New Horizons will host an AA-sponsored career seminar for furloughed TWA, American and American Eagle employees at 2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29 at 2345 Millpark Drive in St. Louis. Funds from the Emergency Grant provided to the State of Missouri by the Department of Labor and endorsed by the APFA make events like this possible. New Horizons provides job search assistance and placement along with basic skills training and counseling. Seating is limited, so please register by Monday, January 26th by calling (314) 429-3311 ext. 243. For additional information please visit http://www.aacareers.com/support.
In Rumor Control this week: The APFA continues to receive calls from furloughed Flight Attendants regarding a possible recall by American. APFA has received no information from the Company that would indicate they plan additional recalls in the near future. American said on their JetNews furlough hotline in early December, that they had no plans to recall additional Flight Attendants in 2004.
A new installment of APFA Rumor Control was posted on the APFA Web site this week.
In Industry News:
American announced this week that it would add flights from STL. On January 31st, AA will increase mainline service from STL to DCA and Boston. Most of the additional service will be flown by the American Connection. The airline said it would also consolidate operations in STL into Concourse C by mid-February.
United Airlines announced on Friday that it would discontinue flights from Miami to Buenos Aires and Miami and Sao Paulo on May 1st. As a result, the airline will close its crew bases in Miami. This will affect 481 Flight Attendants and 99 Pilots. Pilots at US Airways have agreed to talks to consider additional contract concessions that would further cut costs at the airline and help ward off threats by low-cost carriers. US Airways previously announced it would consider selling key assets in order to keep from defaulting on loans.
Additional airline industry news can be found on the News and Events page of the APFA Web site.
That is it for this edition of the APFA Hotline. For the latest information, past editions of the hotline, and rumor control, visit the web site at www.www.apfa.org.
There are 5,760 American Airlines Flight Attendants currently on furlough.