- The Washington Times - Friday, March 28, 2003

FORT WORTH, Texas, March 28 (UPI) — The union representing flight attendants at American Airlines said Friday it presented the carrier with a concession deal that will meet the airline's goal of achieving $340 million in cuts it is seeking from the organization.

"We've presented a proposal to the company that will meet the figures they requested," said George Price, a spokesman for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants. "Hopefully they will look upon this proposal favorably."

Price declined to comment on the details of the plan.

American Airlines continues to seek concessions from its pilots amid a report that it may have to file for bankruptcy soon.

On Thursday, the world's largest airline announced a tentative concession deal with the Transport Workers Union, which represents 16,300 ground workers. American sought $620 million in concessions from the TWU workers but officials did not disclose details of the tentative deal, which must be approved by members.

AMR Corp, the airline's parent company, has said it needs $1.8 billion in annual wage and benefit concessions from its employees.

The New York Times quoted sources Thursday who said American is seeking $1.5 billion in debtor-in-possession financing from potential lenders and it could file for Chapter 11 protection within the next week.

American officials refused to address the report directly.

"There has been rampant speculation on this issue for many weeks," said spokeswoman Tara Baden. "Our commitment, our plan and our focus is to do everything possible to avoid bankruptcy."

The employees affected by the tentative agreement handle baggage, de-ice planes, operate vehicles, and other ground duties. The airline had initially proposed that they accept a 16 percent cut in wages along with other cuts.

American is seeking $660 million in concessions from pilots and a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association said they hoped to have a tentative deal by Monday. The airline wants $340 million in givebacks from the flight attendants.

The war with Iraq is aggravating the financial troubles of American and other airlines. Airline traffic fell 10 percent after the war started, according to the Air Transport Association, an airline trade association.

American has lost $5.2 billion in the past two years due to a downtown in business travel, higher fuel prices, and discount airline competition. The airline began a program last year to save $4 billion in annuals costs in hopes of returning to profitability.

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