Fellow American Eagle pilots:
I wanted to provide you with a status update regarding our new contract and our progress in the bankruptcy process.
First, we have now largely transitioned to Personal Time Off (PTO). Beginning on January 15th, your January 1st PTO balance should display on your HI1 header. Management is also finalizing the software changes that display your total PTO and also the breakdown of what was accrued via vacation and what was accrued via sick on your Pay Activity sheet.
Second, we are in the final stages of implementing Pay Banding and expect to post a list of all Captains in each band, the size of each band, and the Captains who are “red circled” by next week. Once posted, please review this document and contact the people or departments specified with all questions or concerns.
Third, management has now posted the results of the NYC Co-Domicile “opt out” award, and with limited exceptions, all of those status changes will be effective for the contractual month of February. The number of pilots who successfully “opted out” of LGA and JFK was sizable enough that management has now posted a vacancy / displacement bid which will be processed the week of February 18th.
Fourth, Eagle’s Finance and ALPA’s Economic & Financial Analysis departments have reached agreement on the IAI calculation for 2013. Even though there will be no IAI adjustments made to pay rates for 2013 and 2014, the calculation is still performed in order to determine whether or not it results in a percentage higher than 1.5%. If this is case in 2013 and/or 2014, then that overage is banked and paid out to the pilot group in 2015. The calculation for 2013 yielded .48% for Captains and .53% for First Officers, therefore no overage is banked for 2015.
With reference to the flow-through, AA has informed us that it has filled its first class in February largely with pilots who had previously deferred recall. Therefore, it appears unlikely that Eagle pilots will flow through to AA until the first class in March. If you were unable to attend one of management’s road shows regarding the flow-through process, please reach out to your chief pilot to receive the information you have missed. We also want to encourage pilots who wish to transfer to AA to carefully fill out your PRIA paperwork. We have heard from AA that a number of pilots have incorrectly filled out this paperwork or are leaving pertinent entries blank. It is our advice that you to submit your contact information to AA along with your completed PRIA paperwork so that AA can contact you if they need additional clarification. In addition, AA has provided us with an example of filled out PRIA paperwork and an explanatory document. We have posted this document on the EGL-ALPA website under the “Flow-Through Information” tab. Please reference it when completing your PRIA paperwork.
In relation to staffing, you have likely heard that Eagle is not meeting its pilot recruitment targets. We have begun working with management on a comprehensive program to bolster our recruitment, as well as assist our senior pilots who elect to transition to AA. We do not yet know whether an agreement will be reached but we are working diligently on this front and hope to have some news for you shortly.
Keep in mind that Eagle is removing EMB-135s and ATRs from its fleet in 2013. Therefore, Eagle will experience some shrinking in 2013 and will not grow until we begin to replace the retired fleets. This is important because it will provide us with a small amount of temporary relief while we work to ramp up a more robust recruitment program.
Despite this small relief caused by the removal of the 135s and ATRs, immediate action is required, or we are likely to face a staffing shortage of historic proportions. Further exacerbating our staffing shortage will be the implementation of much needed new Flight Time – Duty Time rules in January 2014. In mid-to-late 2014, we could be implementing a Preferential Bidding System that would slightly alleviate staffing pressure. Suffice it to say, there are going to be some growing pains as we ramp up recruitment, implement a major contract revision, negotiate and potentially implement PBS, and comply with a significant change to flight time and duty time regulations.
Eagle is not the only regional airline feeling this pain. Contrary to recent press articles and comments by mainline public relations “experts,” many regionals are now missing recruitment targets and are unable to create an applicant pool due to the lack of pilot applicants who meet the new Congressional pilot employment requirements. While mainline carriers want the public to think this is not affecting them, this is simply untrue. American Airlines receives from its regional network over two billion dollars in connect revenue each year. If American is unable to maintain or grow that regional network due to a lack of qualified pilots, then it will lose connecting customers and the associated revenue, and will simply have fewer customers.
The American Eagle pilots demonstrated a united front during the divestiture negotiations and also in the bankruptcy negotiations. That unity was invaluable and resulted in us reaching an historic bankruptcy agreement. Now we are in a different phase of this process and your unity and assistance is as important as ever. We need you to engage your MEC Pilot-2-Pilot volunteers with questions and concerns so that they can funnel that information back to us. 2013 is going to have its challenges. Some of those will be easily resolved and some of them are going to be difficult. Rest assured, your MEC is as dedicated as ever to protecting your interests and your future.
In conclusion, many of you have expressed concern over the fact that management has yet to publish the fleet plan associated with its bankruptcy restructuring. Please remember that the fleet plan cannot be published until the UCC approves AMR’s bankruptcy restructuring plan. And while AMR’s bankruptcy nears completion and the normal next step would be to seek approval of that plan, that process is currently on hold while AMR explores whether a merger with US Airways is advantageous to its stand-alone plan. We expect this analysis to be completed near the end of January and for management to seek approval for its bankruptcy restructuring plan shortly thereafter.
Captain Tony Gutierrez