Allied Pilots Association States “Unequivocal Opposition” to Antitrust Immunity for American Airlines

Dépèche transmise le 9 octobre 2009 par Business Wire

Allied Pilots Association States “Unequivocal Opposition” to Antitrust Immunity for American Airlines

Allied Pilots Association States “Unequivocal Opposition” to Antitrust Immunity for American Airlines

FORT WORTH, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Allied Pilots Association (APA), certified collective bargaining agent for the 11,500 pilots of American Airlines (NYSE: AMR), urged the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to decline American Airlines’ application for worldwide antitrust immunity with British Airways and Iberia, citing European Commission (EC) concerns and the airline’s refusal to address job-security, anti-competitiveness and national-security issues.

“As a result of two significant developments during the past several days, we urge the DOT to decline American Airlines’ application for worldwide antitrust immunity,” said APA President Captain Lloyd Hill. “The first of those developments was the EC’s announcement earlier this month that American Airlines’ plans may violate rules governing restrictive business practices. Given those stated concerns, we question the advisability of granting approval to a deal that may fail to pass muster with the DOT’s European counterparts.

“Closer to home, American Airlines management has refused to provide industry-standard job protections for our pilots, despite APA’s concerted efforts,” Hill said. “We can only conclude that our worst fears would be realized in the event American Airlines is permitted to proceed with what amounts to a virtual merger with British Airways and Iberia.

“For those reasons, we must now state our unequivocal opposition to American Airlines’ application for worldwide antitrust immunity and related joint business agreement.”

Before these two latest developments, APA had been urging policymakers to proceed with caution and conduct full due diligence before making any decision on the airline’s plans, citing concerns about the negative impact on the airline’s workers, the inherently anti-competitive nature of antitrust immunity and the implications for national security. On the latter point, U.S. carriers must remain ready to be deployed as needed for Civil Reserve Air Fleet duty. That readiness could be compromised by cross-border airline alliances or a relaxation in foreign ownership restrictions.

“The same concerns we have expressed regarding American Airlines’ plans apply to all immunized airline alliances,” Hill said. “These alliances have cost American jobs and they have proven detrimental to consumer interests around the world.”

Hill noted that the EC has been investigating the oneworld Alliance—which includes American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia—as well as the Star Alliance for possible illegal conduct.

“The EC’s ongoing investigation is yet another indication that the DOT should step back from the brink of permitting ever more collusive behavior in the airline industry,” he said. “Otherwise, airline workers and customers will pay a high price indeed.”

Founded in 1963, the Allied Pilots Association—the largest independent pilot union in the U.S.—is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. APA represents the 11,500 pilots of American Airlines, including 1,889 pilots on furlough. The furloughs began shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Also, several hundred American Airlines pilots are on full-time military leave of absence serving in the armed forces. The union’s Web site address is www.alliedpilots.org. American Airlines is the nation’s second-largest passenger carrier and fifth-largest cargo carrier.

Business Wire

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