APFA SPECIAL HOTLINE UPDATE
Statement from Laura Glading – President, APFA – regarding American Airline’s announcement of historic airplane purchase:
This morning, American Airlines management announced that the company has ordered 460 new narrow-body planes. The company plans to acquire 260 planes from the Airbus A320 family and 200 Boeing 737s. The company will be taking advantage of approximately $13 billion of committed financing provided by the two manufacturers.
I applaud management’s decision to take the company in a new direction, diversify our fleet, and modernize the in-flight experience for our passengers. I am especially encouraged by the fuel efficiency these new planes will provide. This purchase represents a calculated and strategic move to bring our airline back to profitability. Frankly, it is the first such effort we have seen in years.
But the work is not done. Shareholders should not be satisfied until management has secured both the physical and human capital to be successful and addressed a labor situation that has lingered for three years. Today’s announcement shows the company is capable of making strategic decisions. We call on management to put the same effort toward reaching a comprehensive agreement with its employees that recognizes the sacrifices flight attendants and others made to avoid bankruptcy and allow for today’s promising announcement.
That Boeing and Airbus were willing to provide American Airlines with favorable financing terms is a testament to the sacrifices that Flight Attendants and others made in 2003 when the company was on the verge of bankruptcy. Without the generous salary and benefits givebacks of the APFA, totaling over $2 billion, American Airlines would have neither the capital nor credit needed to make such an ambitious purchase. Now that the Board of Directors has made this important and forward thinking decision, it is time to address the needs of the employees that will enable these new planes to fly, particularly we Flight Attendants that have been negotiating a new contract for over three years. The introduction of the Airbus A320 family shines a bright light on all of the unionized employees who will need to be trained and certified to operate and maintain the new equipment.
I have already had extensive conversations with American Airlines management about this development and how it relates to our ongoing contract negotiations. I look forward to continuing our contract talks in light of this new reality. In fact, I will be writing to each member of the American Airlines Board of Directors urging them to jump start negotiations by utilizing this new optimism in the company’s direction.