Plan for American means changes, closing Alliance Fort Worth



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Posted on February 1, 2012 at 4:59 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 1 at 11:19 PM

FORT WORTH — American Airlines' senior vice president of human resources sent out a letter late Wednesday afternoon saying the company's new plan to emerge from bankruptcy would include making some major changes.

Ever since American Airlines filed for Chapter 11, employees knew this day was coming.

"This is an incredibly important day for American and all of our employees, and it's a very difficult day for all of our employees, no question about it," said American spokesman Bruce Hicks. "From senior management all the way to newest employee of the company."

As many as 400 pilots may be laid off as part of the job cuts. Allied Pilots Association spokeswoman Jennifer Ewald said the carrier's proposal is not necessarily how things will turn out.

"This is the company's opening position," Ewald said. "We recognize that we will negotiate with them from here going forward. Obviously, there are areas of the contract that we were really not happy with, that our pilots will not be happy with."

American also wants to replace its pension with a 401(k) plan, stop paying for retiree medical care, and outsource some maintenance.

But even as it proposes cuts, American also talks about spending money.

Over the next five years, the airline will invest $10 billion in new aircraft and increase the number of departures in five major hubs in the U.S., including its home at Dallas/Fort worth International Airport.

But if unions and the company can't agree on cuts, a bankruptcy judge could make them instead.

Jeff Brundage said in his letter to employees that the restructuring plan would mean the closure of Alliance Fort Worth. That would include outsourcing a portion of aircraft maintenance work.

Alliance maintains the 767 fleet of plane for American. There are an estimated 2,100 workers at Alliance; 1,500 of them are engine mechanics.

The company also wants to change work rules to increase productivity. That is an idea that the company had asked for during recent negotiations with its unions.