FORT WORTH — American Airlines CEO Tom Horton did not dismiss a possible merger when he talked to pilots union leaders last week, a company official said Monday.
John Hale, American's vice president of flight, in a note sent to pilots denied reports that Horton had reiterated his support for the Fort Worth-based carrier to emerge from bankruptcy as a stand-alone airline.
In that Thursday meeting with the Allied Pilots Association's board, Horton reviewed the restructuring process of American to date and highlighted the opportunities for pilots at the new airline, Hale said..
“For pilots this is growth and opportunity unseen for more than a decade,” Hale wrote in his memo. “And, importantly,” he says, Horton “was impartial about a merger, contrary to what you may have heard.”
Hale added that pilot pay would increase 50 percent by 2017 and the carrier planned to hire 1,650 new pilots as it brings new aircraft into its fleet.
American also released a redacted version of a 45-page presentation that Horton made to the union. Much of the presentation, including plans to strengthen the airline's hub network, has already been publicly discussed by American executives.
The APA declined to comment on Hale's memo.
Separately, American announced that it has signed code-share agreements with LATAM Group's TAM Airlines and LAN Colombia.
The carrier said it will add a new route between Dallas/Fort Worth Airport and Bogota, Colombia, in late 2013, as well as new service between Miami and Curitiba and Porto Alegre, Brazil.
American previously had a code-share agreement with LAN, which is part of its Oneworld alliance, but it did not have an agreement with TAM. LAN and TAM merged this year to create LATAM.
Also, regional carrier American Eagle said its dispatchers ratified a new agreement with the company.
The dispatchers, who are represented by the Transport Workers Union, were the only union group at the AMR subsidiary that did not have a new, cost-cutting contract.
“Achieving labor cost savings was an absolute necessity for the company, and this marks a huge milestone as we now have ratified agreements with all of our union work groups,” American Eagle spokeswoman Andrea Huguely said in a statement Monday.