American Airlines is nearing the end of its bankruptcy restructuring with the completion of its pilots deal, says chairman and chief executive Tom Horton.
"We have restructured debt and leases, optimised the fleet and facilities and negotiated improved supplier contracts," he says in a letter to employees on 7 December. "All of this, along with streamlining the management structure and the many changes we have made to be more efficient in every facet of our business, will achieve our targeted cost savings."
American parent AMR anticipates that the savings from the pilot agreement will be about $315 million per year, according to a court filing.
The carrier's Allied Pilots Association (APA)-represented pilots approved the tentative agreement by a 47 percentage point margin with 73.7% voting for the agreement on 7 December.
The US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York will hear a motion to approve the tentative pilots agreement on 19 December.
Horton says that American will reach a conclusion "soon" on a possible merger with US Airways, naming only its non-disclosure agreement with the Tempe, Arizona-based airline and none of the other carriers that it was rumoured to be in talks with in the letter.
"By reaching a contract settlement with American Airlines the Allied Pilots Association removed one of the last major hurdles to American Airlines exiting bankruptcy and merging with US Airways," says Kate Bronfenbrenner, a senior lecturer at the School of Industrial and Labour Relations at Cornell University,