Bankruptcy is facing other carriers, and AMR employees are offering
concessions to try to avoid bankruptcy.
DALLAS, March 29 (Reuters) - More labor groups at
financially strapped American Airlines reached wage concession deals
with the airline on Saturday, as banking sources said the world's
largest carrier may file for bankruptcy next week.
The Transport Workers Union (TWU) said it reached
tentative deals with American, a division of AMR Corp. (NYSE:AMR
- News), for five of
its eight working groups, representing about 2,260 workers.
The TWU represents about 34,500 workers in eight
groups at American and the airline said earlier this week it had
reached a tentative agreement with 16,300 TWU fleet service workers.
The TWU said its stock clerks, technical
specialists, dispatchers, meteorologists and simulator technicians
have reached tentative agreements with the airline. Terms of the deals
were not released.
"One consideration driving our discussions is
the simple fact confirmed in our (talks) with the company officials
that American's potential debtor-in-possession finances will demand at
least half a billion more in employee concessions if the company files
for bankruptcy," Jim Little, director of the TWU's Air Transport
Division, wrote on the union's Web site.
"It was also made clear that without such loans
the company could not operate," he said.
The union is in expedited talks with American on
deals for its other work groups. The largest remaining TWU group
without a deal are the 16,200 mechanics represented by the union.
"We are pleased with these additional tentative
agreements and appreciate the TWU's intent and seriousness," said
American spokesman Bruce Hicks. He said progress is being made and the
negotiations are continuing around the clock.
The TWU is one of the three major unions at
American, which has about 101,000 employees.
The union representing 26,000 flight attendants at
American said on Friday it presented the carrier with a concession
deal that will meet the airline's goal of achieving $340 million in
cuts it is seeking from the group. American said it was looking over
the deal's numbers along with the Association of Professional Flight
The union representing 13,500 American pilots said
they expect to have a deal by Monday that they will send to union
leadership for a vote.
AMR has said it needs to cut structural costs by
about $4 billion a year to avoid bankruptcy. It is in talks with all
three of its major unions over a call it made for $1.8 billion in
annual wage concessions from its employees.
Banking sources told Reuters on Thursday the Fort
Worth, Texas-based carrier had ramped up discussions for $1.5 billion
in debtor-in-possession financing and could file for bankruptcy
protection as early as next week.
Discussions among the bank groups were continuing
over the weekend, the sources said, including debates on where the
potentially massive Chapter 11 filing -- the largest in global
aviation history -- would take place: in New York or Texas.
Analysts agreed time was of the essence in the case
of AMR given the decline in air travel since the Iraq war began.