Good evening, APFA Members. This is Tommie Hutto-Blake with a special hotline for Wednesday, September 14th.

Today has proven to be an eventful day for our industry as two more of our nation’s largest air carriers filed for bankruptcy protection within an hour of each other. Number 3, Delta and Number 4, Northwest have now joined Number 2, United and Number 7, US Airways in seeking BK protection.

Also announced today via the bankruptcy court is that US Airways creditors and America West shareholders have approved the merge between US Airways and America West which will create the nation’s largest low cost carrier and the 6th largest airline in the U.S. The merge may be completed as early as month’s end under the USAirways flag with the merged airline being headquartered in Tempe, AZ.

Now what does all of this mean for our employer and to us – the membership of APFA? I wish that I could give you a solid forecast for our collective future. I will say that we must continue to focus on the overarching goal of protecting and preserving our AA Flight Attendant career. I have personally worked toward that end for over 35 years and I am more focused today than ever before. I urge you to join me in this common interest.

The good news is that American is not in bankruptcy which means we are still in control of our own destiny. Both AA’s senior management and union leaders are intent on keeping this control in our own hands. Of course the big unknown in the months ahead is the cost of fuel. But for that continuing crisis AA would be profitable and able to begin paying back some of the debt that we have accumulated during this now four year struggle.

What I can assure each of you tonight is that both the three unions on AA property and senior management are intent on not only surviving but restoring this company of ours to profitability. This is not something we can do as a small group. We are now employees and union members of the only remaining network airline who has never resorted to using the bankruptcy system to force change. There is no doubt that our challenge is greater today than it was yesterday. I urge you to be a part of this collective challenge of ours.

As a specific example next week for the third week in a row the leadership of the four institutions on AA’s property – the corporation, the TWU, the APA and the APFA will be headed to Washington, D.C. to continue our efforts to protect our pension plans. This latest round of bankruptcy filings will impact the focus of our legislators on pension reform issues. We urge each and every member, if you have not already done so, to write all of your elected U.S. representatives and urge them to allow the pension reform measures that AA needs to keep our pension intact. A hand written letter to the home offices of your representatives is the most effective way to communicate at this time. Please visit the APFA website at www.apfa.org for more information.

It is now up to each of us to stay informed and connected to the issues that will impact our futures. Call this hotline weekly. Visit the website weekly. Read all union mail and postings on the base operations bulletin boards. An informed, unified membership will be one of the finest tools we could have in the months ahead. And now please stay on the line for the remainder of this week’s hotline.

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