Airlines negotiate pilot pay

Janet Babin Sep 20, 2006

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: A couple of U.S. airlines start contract talks with their pilots this week. Janet Babin reports from North Carolina Public Radio.


JANET BABIN: Southwest pilots put in more flying time than those of any other airline, but they’re also some of the highest paid. During negotiations, the company will look for ways increase productivity even further as its fuel costs rise.

At American Airlines, the challenge is tougher. Three senior executives got bonuses of more than $1 million this year. That after pilot concessions in 2003 helped the company stave off bankruptcy.

Airline consultant Robert Mann says American got the concessions by touting itself as a team player, but the million dollar bonuses ruined the strategy, and will make negotiations much tougher.

ROBERT MANN:“Employees generally at American feel that they’ve been taken in this work together win together concept. It turned out to be work together and we win big, speaking of those particular managers.”

American changed the bonuses from cash payouts to mostly stock, but Mann says the damage has been done.

I’m Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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