FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — American Airlines subsidiary American Eagle, which handles mostly commuter traffic for the airline, expects to have trouble recruiting pilots because it is likely to have fewer planes, officials said Friday.
That is the fallout after leaders of the local Air Line Pilots Association chapter rejected a contract offer from the company.
In a letter to pilots, Eagle vice president of flight Jim Winkley said that after the rejection, American won't give Eagle the 60 new Embraer aircraft it recently ordered and will place those planes with another regional airline. American is likely to give Eagle's Bombardier jets to another carrier too, he said.
Winkley said that Eagle expects to get fewer applicants for pilot jobs.
"Now, with the future of our flying so unclear, we anticipate having a difficult time staffing our cockpits," he wrote in the letter.
The pilots' union did not immediately respond on Friday to messages seeking comment. Last week, union leaders said they rejected the 10-year offer because it would have locked in wages lower than those paid by other regional airlines.
American relies on Eagle to connect passengers from smaller airports to its major hubs. American believes it can reduce costs by letting other regional airlines bid on that flying. Eagle, which will be renamed Envoy, expects to shift increasingly to providing airport ground services.
Republic Airways said this month that it would ground 27 planes because it doesn't have enough pilots, which it blamed on new federal rules for minimum experience. Three days later, the airline later announced an agreement with the Teamsters to put its pilots at or near the top for pay among similar carriers. Pilots must still vote on the deal.
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