On Monday, we did an item about Moody’s decision to change its outlook on AMR to negative. On Tuesday evening, the item attracted a long, thoughtful comment from an American Airlines pilot, known online as DFWAACapt.

I’d like to break it out as its own item as the pilot was responding to another reader who thought American/AMR should go ahead and file for bankruptcy (I’ve broken it into paragraphs to improve its readability):

“I’ll regret this, I’m sure… but here goes.

“The employees of American Airlines do in fact (for the most part) appreciate the fact that we’ve been kept out of bankruptcy and have continued to weather the storms of global financial collapse, fuel prices reaching record levels, etc., etc.

“The reason we stayed out of bankruptcy is in fact the large sacrifices made by ALL the labor (union and non-union) groups back in 2003. The pilots gave the most (measured in billions of real dollars).

“Today an AA Captain flying a Boeing 737 makes over $40.00/hour less than his counterpart at Southwest. He makes no more and substantially less than his counterparts at all the other major and ‘low-cost’ airlines. In fact he makes what he made in 1996.

“More or less, the same applies to other labor groups (not all are as competitive, but that would open a whole ‘nuther can ‘o worms).

“AMR has been eating the costs of Eagle for years. They are now assuming ALL of Eagle’s debt and buying their aircraft so as to start them out ‘fresh’. That’s really nice, but adds our debt load and accomplishes nothing except shedding an albatross that should have been sliced off a long time ago.

“35 and 50 seat jets became obsolete almost the moment fuel prices started to climb and that was well before all of the financial collapse ‘stuff’. Just look around the industry. If it doesn’t have at least 70 seats, it’s being parked and turned into Coke cans (unless it’s a turboprop).

“Employees don’t get to make those decisions, nor the myriad other decisions that go into the making of this airline.

“Our jets are full. We strive to get there on time with minimum fuel burn. No job actions, no ‘sick-outs’, some complaining, but the job gets done day in and day out with aging equipment and a demoralized workforce (ask a gate agent if they’re really happy with being undermanned and underpaid compared to every other carrier… they don’t have a union to be the whipping boy).

“Bankruptcy would devastate the company’s credit and would have multiple negative impacts on an already thinly stretched workforce. Why would MarkY think that bankruptcy would suddenly get ‘everybody on board’?

“We were all on board in 2003 and management squandered that goodwill by taking (I know, I know… at-risk compensation) bonuses every year since, while every ‘labor’ group has gotten further and further behind.

“It’s the story of many carriers in this industry, ours just happens to be local and good for throwing darts at….”

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