American Airlines plans to "significantly downsize" its pilot base in St. Louis over the next six months, according to the pilots union.
In an update sent to members on Friday, the Allied Pilots Association said the carrier announced its transition plan that will affect over 400 pilots in the network.
"The magnitude of this move will have impacts across the system as flying is reallocated to other bases and as some pilots currently in the [St. Louis] bid statuses proffer/displace into other positions," the APA said.
American had previously announced in 2012 that it planned to shut down its pilot base in St. Louis and as part of its new pilot contract negotiated during bankruptcy, the carrier agreed to not close other pilot bases until at least the fourth quarter of 2013.
Keep reading for the full negotiations update from the APA.
UPDATE: American Airlines spokesman Paul Flaningan issued this statement on Friday afternoon: "Since the start of the Supplement CC process, the company has been committed to working to find a balanced solution for our pilot workforce that provides former TWA pilots with appropriate flying opportunities in the American system. The company is focused on working collaboratively with all parties to efficiently implement the arbitrators’ final award and to move forward in building the new American."
APA Negotiations Update
The company has indicated its intentions to significantly downsize the St. Louis pilot base over the next six months. The company has communicated to APA that it envisions transitioning to:
- Seventy-five S80 Captains and seventy-five S80 First Officers in St. Louis.
- Eighty-six domestic 767 Captain and First Officer protected positions in MIA.
- One hundred eighty-five S80 protected positions in DFW.
The number of protected positions can be adjusted depending on the number of TWA pilots bidding to other Captain or Group IV First Officer positions using system seniority.
The magnitude of this move will have impacts across the system as flying is reallocated to other bases and as some pilots currently in the STL bid statuses proffer/displace into other positions. Concerns arose over how this would play out under the normal monthly bidding process. To provide more certainty and visibility for all pilots potentially impacted, APA requested a change to the process for effecting Supplement C. The company has agreed to our request and plans to proceed as follows:
In the current bid run, which closes Oct. 5, for Dec. 1, 2013, effective dates, there will be no displacements out of STL, and there will be no awards into any protected positions in MIA or DFW. In this bid run and in the future, former TWA pilots can bid for any vacancy system-wide that the pilot can hold using system seniority.
In late October, the company will conduct the Supplement C Transition vacancy run forall former TWA pilots, as well as the AA pilots currently flying as STL First Officers. This bid run will determine:
- Those pilots who will occupy the protected pilot positions at STL.
- Those pilots who will occupy protected positions at MIA and DFW.
- Where the remaining pilots will displace to in the system.
TWA pilots have priority for bidding to protected positions. Pilots not awarded protected positions will be displaced based on displacement preferences and system seniority. The Supplemental Bid Run is expected to close at the end of October, with a goal of having pilots assume these positions over the following months (based on training availability and the reallocation of flying) but ideally no later than May 1, 2014.
Rather than forcing a significant number of pilots (both inside and outside of St. Louis) to live with month-to-month uncertainty as the normal bidding process plays out, the Supplement C Transition vacancy run will provide a six-month forward look at what things will look like for several hundred pilots who will be affected by the downsizing of the St. Louis pilot base. The normal monthly bid runs will continue without interruption. More details will be provided in the weeks ahead. As in every bid run, we strongly encourage pilots to review their bidding and displacement preferences.