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American estimates over 500 pilots to take early retirement, union says

Pilots have three voluntary options that could cut costs for the Fort Worth carrier.
Credit: AP
This Wednesday, July 17, 2019 photo shows American Airlines planes at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. American Airlines, Inc. reports earnings Thursday, July 25. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

American Airlines estimates more than 500 pilots will take early retirement, according to a message the Allied Pilots Association sent to members.

The APA, which represents nearly 14,000 American Airlines Group Inc. pilots, negotiated an agreement with the company last week that gives pilots three voluntary options that would shave costs for the airline — early retirement, short-term leave and extended leave.

The APA opened the bidding process for early retirement Monday. Bidding for early retirement, which is being offered to pilots 62 or older, is open through 5 p.m. Central Standard Time on Wednesday. Early retirement awards should be known by Friday afternoon, the APA told members.

If pilots choose early retirement, they will receive approximately 60 percent of their pay in addition to medical and travel benefits until they reach the mandatory retirement age of 65, said APA spokesperson Captain Jason Goldberg.

"The company has stated that a minimum of 563 pilots will be offered this package, although it's not mandatory for any pilot," Goldberg said. "APA considers this a good faith effort to help American cut costs during the short term, while preserving value for our pilots."

After early retirement leaves are awarded, the union will then begin the bidding process for short-term and extended leave.

To read more about details of those options, see this story.

American employs 3,415 pilots in Dallas-Fort Worth, according to its website.

The agreement American reached with pilots is separate from agreements reached with other employees. Other than reservations employees who are dealing with high call volume, American offered nearly all its employees two unpaid, voluntary options last week: early out and voluntary leave of absence. The deadline for employees to apply for these two options was extended to midnight March 30, a company spokesperson said.

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