Former AMR chief executive Bob Crandall again stated that merging American Airlines with US Airways will make the Fort Worth-based carrier more competitive, but only if a pilot seniority agreement is in place before they form one company.
Crandall, who spent 13 years as CEO from 1985, recorded the 7-minute message over the weekend which was posted on Sunday on a blog written by an American Airlines pilot who is a check airman and opposes a merger with US Airways.
“I think a merger which would create a larger carrier which could serve more destinations with more frequencies probably makes sense,” Crandall said in the video. “But without cooperation the merger would almost certainly fall far short of expectations and might even cause such serious problems that the company could fail again.”
Union and management representatives from both American and US Airways have been meeting for the past week to discuss an integration agreement that addresses seniority for pilots. AMR’s board of directors is scheduled to meet on Jan. 9 to further discuss a possible merger.
Speaking directly to the camera, Crandall discussed the problems US Airways has had with integrating two pilot groups since it merged with America West in 2005.
He also warned American pilots not to leave the fate of their professional careers up to an arbitrator.
Under the McCaskill-Bond Amendment passed in 2008, if airline unions cannot come to a seniority agreement in a merger, an arbiter would decide the issue.
“If I were you I would choose to decide for myself and because I think it’s the best bet for a successful and prosperous American — whether independent or merged — I hope that’s what you’ll do,” he added.
Before American filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2011, Crandall had advised against merging with another carrier, saying it should concentrate on joint business agreements with British Airways/Iberia and Japan Airlines.