A lot of American Airlines employees are worried about what the airline’s bankruptcy filing will mean for their wages and salaries, according to Reuters.
Earlier this week, American became the last of the legacy carriers to file for bankruptcy in the past ten years. United, Delta and US Airways went this route shortly after 9/11 and in the process dropped their pensions.
American: Too Soon to Tell on Pensions
American spokesman Tim Smith told us that it’s a little early to talk about what will ultimately happen to employee pensions: “A company’s Chapter 11 reorganization does not necessarily mean that a company’s pension plan will be taken over or terminated, or that retiree medical benefits were be terminated, though that is a possible outcome,” said Smith, adding, “Once in Chapter 11, a variety of factors, including creditors’ interests, heavily influence a company’s financial decisions.”
Some Pilots Choose Early Retirement
However, clearly there is concern about the future. Earlier this fall, scores of American pilots retired – some earlier than planned – as rumors swirled about their airline and some wondered whether pensions would suffer. As an American pilot quoted by Reuters said of his decision to retire early, “I look like a genius now.”
Capt. Sully saw Salary Slashed
Another possible “genius”: US Airways’ “Miracle on the Hudson” Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who retired not long after gently landing his crippled aircraft in the Hudson River and saving the lives of all onboard. The man known as the “hero pilot” had seen his salary erode by 40 percent in the wake of his carrier’s bankruptcy. He is now an author and aviation safety consultant.