American Airlines Seeks to Shore-Up Rights to Firm-Up Bombardier CRJ700 Options, says the Allied Pilots Association

It seems there is some confusion over at American Airlines and its regional sister American Eagle Airlines over whether management has the right to exercise options for 25 more Bombardier CRJ700 regional jets.

A tentative agreement (TA) covering seniority protection for American’s pilots and career progression for Eagle’s pilots has fallen apart after management attempted to insert language into the pact that would establish rights to purchase the 25 70-seaters, according to the Allied Pilots Association (APA), which represents the mainline pilots.

The APA claims management has been unable to document rights to purchase these aircraft under the pilots’ existing contract, and that its language add-on demonstrates “underhandedness”.

American Eagle began operating the CRJ700 in January 2002 (photo from AA.com)

There IS language covering the CRJ700 purchase in a 2003 agreement between American and the APA. See for yourself if the pact covers a firming of those 25 options now.

Here’s the “Letter Agreement on CRJ700 Aircraft” in its entirety:

This Agreement is made and entered into in accordance with the provisions of the Railway Labor Act, as amended, by and between American Airlines, Inc., hereinafter known as the “Company” and the Air Line Pilots in the service of the Company as represented by the Allied Pilots Association, hereinafter known as the APA.

Whereas the APA and the Company have agreed that in the future, Commuter Air Carriers operating under Section 1.D. of the Agreement shall utilize only aircraft that are not certificated in the United States or Europe with a maximum passenger capacity of more than 50 seats and that are not certificated in any country with a maximum gross takeoff weight of more than 64,500 pounds;

Whereas American Eagle Airlines currently has twenty five CRJ700 aircraft in service or on firm order, and also has options on an additional twenty five CRJ700
aircraft:

Now, therefore, the parties hereby agree to the following:

1. The Company and APA shall have one year from May 2003 to meet and negotiate in good faith the transfer of the CRJ700 aircraft currently in service, on order, or on option at American Eagle to the Company’s operating certificate in a manner that shall be cost-neutral as to labor costs under collective bargaining agreements.

2. The APA hereby grants to the Company an exception from the 50 seat and 64,500 pound limitations on aircraft at American Eagle for the CRJ700 aircraft during the time period of negotiations pursuant to paragraph 1, above, and for one year after reaching agreement with the APA under paragraph 1, above, in order to effect the transfer to the Company’s operating certificate of all CRJ700 aircraft operated by the Company or an Affiliate.

3. If the parties do not reach agreement under paragraph I of this agreement, the APA grants to the Company an exception from the 50 seat and 64,500 pound limitations on aircraft at American Eagle specifically for the CRJ700s currently in use, on order or on option as of the signing of this letter. This exception is for a maximum of fifty (50) CRJ700 aircraft with the understanding that the cancellation, transfer or expiration of any of the current (as of DOS) orders or options reduces this maximum number by a like amount.

For the American Airlines, Inc.
signed/ Mark L. Burdette
Director, Employee Relations

For the APA
signed/ Captain John E. Darrah
President, Allied Pilots Association