Graham Warwick/ATLANTA

AMERICAN AIRLINES wants to establish a low-cost short-haul operation within the carrier, using its Fokker 100s.

The proposal to the carrier's pilots' union is designed to compete with the low-cost operations already started by United and planned by Delta.

Under the proposal, pilots involved in the short-haul operation would receive 70% of the normal hourly rate, while the monthly flight-hour limits would be increased. The short-haul operation would be limited to aircraft with 115 or fewer seats and would be capped at 20% of American's total operations. American operates 75 Fokker 100s.

The American proposal is similar to one tentatively accepted by Delta's pilots' union. Delta's low-cost short-haul operation will involve 18-25 Boeing 737s, and pilots will be paid 70% of the normal rate while flying more hours. Shuttle by United, already operational on the US West Coast, involves some 40 737s and pilots are paid 91% of the normal hourly rate.

The Allied Pilots Association, which represents American's pilots, has criticised the proposal as "harsh". In December 1995, the union proposed a short-haul operation using new 50- to 70-seat aircraft, flown under existing work rules, which set pay scales according to aircraft weight.

Source: Flight International