TWA Pilots Formally Support Deal

Friday, February 16th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Trans World Airlines pilots are officially behind the proposed sale of most TWA assets to the parent of American Airlines, AMR Corp.

The pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, on Friday submitted their official support to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

``We believe that, at this time, American is the only airline that has recognized the tremendous benefits TWA and its employees bring to the table and respected these benefits with a complete, fair and sound offer,'' said Bob Pastore, chairman of the TWA ALPA Master Executive Council.

The pilots also said the American buyout provides job security and protects medical and retirement benefits for pilots and other TWA employees. ALPA represents about 2,300 TWA pilots.

The St. Louis-based airline filed for bankruptcy on Jan. 10 in Delaware. That same day, American and TWA announced American had agreed to buy most TWA assets for $500 million in cash and would assume about $3 billion in leases.

An Arizona group, Jet Acquisitions Group Inc., has also said it will offer to buy TWA for $1 billion.

Speaking on Thursday to St. Louis civic leaders, American chairman and chief executive Donald Carty said he didn't take that offer seriously because the newly formed company had not conducted due diligence research on TWA.

TWA officials said they had not received any requests for records from bidders other than American, including Jet Acquisitions Group. Prospective bidders have until Feb. 28 to submit a bid to the bankruptcy court.

TWA's pilots, like all of its employees, have made concessions in pay and benefits to help the long-struggling carrier survive. TWA has lived through two previous bankruptcies over the last decade.

Pilots say they agreed to more than $600 million in concessions such as reduced salary and work rule changes. TWA pilots currently earn far less than pilots at other major airlines.