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May 01, 2014

With American parking regional aircraft, Envoy will need 47 percent fewer pilots

IMG_E-175_American_Eagle_8_1_9H15HS7H_L27111394American Airlines Group has told Envoy Air's pilots union it plans to park 59 small regional jets and transfer 47 larger regional jets away from its subsidiary carrier.

As a result, Envoy will need 47 percent fewer pilots than it has today, the Air Line Pilots Association said in a note to pilots on Thursday.

The news comes about a month after the pilots voted down a proposed contract that would have given Envoy Air larger aircraft to fly in exchange for a pay scale freeze until 2018 and other concessions.

ALPA-MEC chairman Bill Sprague said the company intends to park 59 Embraer 140s and transfer 47 CRJ-700s to another third-party regional carrier to operate under the American Eagle brand.

"Currently the future looks very bleak," Sprague said, adding that the carrier won't have any aircraft to replace the ones they are losing and anticipate that a displacement bid for pilots will be available shortly.

Last week on American Airlines Group's earning call, president Scott Kirby confirmed that the airline is in final negotiations with a couple of regional carriers to fly new, larger Embraer 175 aircraft and will announce at some point who will fly them using the American Eagle brand.

It will not be Envoy Air, the regional subsidiary owned by American that used to be called American Eagle, Kirby said, reiterating that "Envoy is still an important part of the airline."

Keep reading for the full letter from Sprague to pilots.

-Andrea Ahles

Message from the Chairman

Fellow Eagle Pilots:

It has now been just over a month since the TA ratification failed.  I know that many of you are wondering what will happen now, so I'd like to provide an overview of what we know and also what we can anticipate.  Much of this information is based on statements the company has made both publicly and to our group. 

The company has made it clear that Eagle intends to park our 59 EMB 140's and transfer our 47 CRJ 700's to another carrier.  We don't know what that drawdown timetable looks like, but we do know:

  • We will need about 47% fewer pilots than we have on our list today 
  • We don't have any aircraft to replace those we will lose
  • Anticipate a halt on any upgrades
  • This would require a significant displacement bid including downgrades
  • There will be serious questions on the viability of our current domiciles
  • We have been advised that a displacement bid will be out shortly
  • The company may choose to keep all four bases open, but it's difficult to imagine how well that will work with only 118 aircraft 

AAG executives indicated last week that they are in the final stages of placing the EMB 175's intended to re-fleet us on another property.  We have not been advised who will receive the aircraft.  It has been suggested that 20 will go to a carrier that can begin taking delivery early next year, and another 20 will go to a different carrier with deliveries taking place sometime later.  If this is true we will not have any expectations, based on AAG's current aircraft orders, of being offered any new aircraft for about four years.

American Airlines has been hiring 45-50 pilots per month for most of 2014.  They expect that number to continue for the rest of the year, but staffing needs are currently being re-evaluated.  There is a possibility the classes will get smaller.  The company is still withholding pilots below the 50% required by the 824 award.  We have an outstanding grievance regarding this dispute that should yield a ruling within the next six months.

SkyWest Airlines is beginning to operate as American Eagle out of ORD with CRJ 200s.  We've been told that this is due to CHQ drawing down their American Connection flying. 

There is a rumor floating around that we are working on a merge with Piedmont.  There is absolutely no truth to it.  We have been in contact with the ALPA Piedmont leadership regarding the current bargaining environment, but there have not been any discussions about merging.  The Piedmont chairman advised their pilot group that they will be meeting with company executives next week to discuss re-fleeting options.

Our CEO, Doug Parker, recently stated that we deserve competitive compensation and that employees need to be given the tools they need in order to succeed as a carrier.  It is heartening to hear this from the top leadership, but we see no justification for further concessions so soon after ratifying the steep cuts in the bankruptcy agreement.

The tools we need for success are new aircraft to replace the ones being parked.  We are prepared to fly those aircraft with the same unparalleled professionalism and safety that have made us a top tier airline.  We are not prepared to fly them for wages that will quickly fall behind our peers doing the same job.  No pilot that has reached the level of sitting in our cockpits should be paid near the federal poverty level.  We are not willing to lock those wages into an agreement that cannot be renegotiated for ten years.  We are not willing to have our compensation limited if the flow-through stops again. 

This begs the question of what we are willing to do.   You have made it clear that we are committed to the success of our carrier.  We are prepared to join with company executives to achieve a solution that we can both support and be proud of. 

Currently the future looks very bleak.  We stand ready to improve that outlook.

Fly safe.

Bill Sprague

MEC Chairman



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M. Clemens

I'm sure the pilots affected will have no problem finding flying jobs with other regional airlines,hopefully they find one that doesn't have miserable management like American Eagle.

Mike Morales

Can you say ouch!!! Well will Envoy be a short lived company and will the other carriers flying under the American Eagle name fly those bigger RJ's Into DFW.

Joe jones

Why are you being so disrespectful to Envoy pilots? They are only asking to be paid what other pilots are being paid. AE management needs to be parked.


So the Airline busness as a whole are short pilots and the largest Airline with one of the largest Regional Airlines in the world with over 2000 pilots are looking to give airplanes to other carriers. So there pilots will leave not a very good busness plan.

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