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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Some straight talk and a little credit where credit is due...

Although most were unaware, in late 2010 and into 2011 there was a large internal struggle at AMR.  On one side was avocation of further retrenchment and "shrink to profitability."  On the other, an argument that the fleet must be updated and the airline must grow.  Otherwise, there was no way for the revenue to outpace the cost increases associated with ever older, more senior employees.  Moreover, any company must always grow its revenue base (at least keeping pace with inflation) to cover an ever expanding fixed overhead cost structure.

Enter the then President of American, Tom Horton.  He personally argued in front of AMR's Board for growing and expanding the airline.  He eventually won the argument and took the initiative to negotiate the largest order of jets in the history of aviation.  All creatively financed on the manufacturers' balance sheets.

Then, after numerous breakdowns in union negotiations, the AMR Board decided to enter into court supervised restructuring.  They named Tom Horton CEO. 

Under his leadership the company has nearly completed restructuring - all in record time.  Absent restructuring charges we are posting profits. 

American is reshaping the image of our airline - inside and out.   Most importantly for our employees, our new planes coupled with the growth plan will provide unprecedented job opportunities.  Although he has yet to get credit for these efforts from the unions, he has set the stage (absent a merger) to grow this company.  All while restoring profitability.  In the event of a merger, we are poised to minimize the rationalization of the systems.  This is good for all of us, our customers and the communities we serve.

Unfortunately, in response to the brand roll out an APA spokesman took shots at Tom Horton, his management team, the business plan, etc.
The fact is, without Tom's leadership, there would not be any new planes, a new livery, or a new brand.  We likely would still be mired in stagnation waiting for the world around us to improve.  Still bemoaning our status as "victims" of a cruel airline business environment.  
At the end of the day, regardless of whether we merge or not, give a little credit where credit is due.  Tom Horton is not the "big bad wolf."  He executed a relatively quick restructuring unlike nearly any other in the industry.  A restructuring where employees saw hourly raises and did not see defined benefit pensions terminated.  Some work groups (Pilots and Flight Attendants) are seeing hiring or recalls of laid off workers.  Oddly, they are his most vocal of critics.
In a world where other restructurings have resulted in 40%+ pay cuts,  massive layoffs, terminated pensions and unresolved seniority disputes after 7+ years I will take Tom Horton any day of the week. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The New Look of American...

Come and fly with me on the New American!
The above is the end result of a decade of hard work, sacrifice and tribulation by myself and my co-workers. It would be a shame to be forced to share the opportunities this new day brings with 30,000 folks from outside of our company.
Nonetheless, if this merger occurs I will welcome our new co-workers from US Airways to our ranks and on board our new aircraft.  I am hopeful these new AA'ers will remain grateful to the Allied Pilots Association, Association of Professional Flight Attendants and Transport Workers Union for the opportunities afforded to them.  I am sure they will join with me in hoping for a brighter future.