Pilots at American Airlines Hold Second Contract Vote

DALLAS (AP) -- Pilots at American Airlines will vote again on whether to approve a contract offer from the company, which has been operating under bankruptcy protection for nearly a year.

The Allied Pilots Association said Friday its board voted 12-4 to accept a tentative agreement with American.

The 7,500 pilots rejected a previous company offer in August, and American responded by getting bankruptcy court approval to impose pay and benefit cuts.

The pilots are the last union group that hasn't approved a cost-cutting contract since American and parent AMR  (UNKNOWN: AAMRQ.DL  )  filed for bankruptcy protection. Approval of the contract would help AMR emerge from bankruptcy protection by locking down long-term labor savings. American aims to reduce annual labor costs by about $1 billion.

"We are pleased the Allied Pilots Association is putting the tentative agreement out for a vote," said AMR spokesman Bruce Hicks. Without offering specifics, he said American tried to address pilots' concerns while still getting a contract that meets the company's cost-saving target.

The union promised to release more details about the agreement later Friday.

Separately American said that more than 20,000 people applied to become flight attendants after the company announced last month that it planned to hire 1,500. In some cases, they will replace veteran attendants who took buyout offers of up to $40,000 to leave.

After interviews in December, the first class of new flight attendants is expected to begin training in January and start working in April.

American said it was thrilled with the response and has enough candidates but is still looking for applicants who speak Korean, Mandarin, Finnish, German, Italian, or Japanese.


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