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American Airlines looks to other carriers after American Eagle pilots reject contract concessions

  • Reuters
  • Published Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, at 4:56 p.m.

American Airlines Group will start looking for other carriers to operate new regional jets from Embraer after labor leaders at its American Eagle Airlines subsidiary’s pilots union rejected a concessionary labor contract, the unit’s president said in a note to staff on Thursday.

Pedro Fabregas, president of American Eagle Airlines, also said in the note that he has “no reason to believe American will offer us new, large regional jet flying after these unsuccessful negotiations.”

Still, he said American Eagle had a strong ground handling business and was not planning to shut down. American Eagle operates at airports in Wichita, Manhattan and Garden City in Kansas, according to an American Airlines website.

American declined to comment beyond American Eagle’s statement.

Leaders of the Air Line Pilots Association union at American Eagle voted Wednesday to reject a tentative labor agreement, declining to send it to rank-and-file pilots for a ratification vote. The agreement included concessions in exchange for American placing the new, larger Embraer 175 jets it recently ordered in service at American Eagle Airlines.

In a statement, union leaders said the sought-for concessions were too much for pilots who had also agreed to givebacks when the former AMR Corp was in bankruptcy in 2012.

AMR and US Airways merged in December to form American Airlines Group, the world's largest carrier.

The union said company representatives had made clear during contract talks that should an agreement be rejected, American would seek to put regional planes in operation with other carriers.

American Eagle, which plans to change its name to Envoy in the spring, is one of a number of carriers that operate regional flights for American. It started flying in 1984 and has more than 12,000 employees.

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