American To Integrate Reno Air
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) _ American Airlines will fold employees and airplanes of Reno Air into its own operations by the end of the summer, nearly eight months after the nation’s No. 2 carrier bought the low-cost airline for $124 million.
When the integration takes place on Aug. 31, Reno Air employees will be wearing American Airlines uniforms, Reno’s jet aircraft will belong to American’s fleet, all of Reno’s flights will be American flights, and all airport signage will be changed to American, according to the company.
One issue that still won’t be settled will be pilot pay.
American pilots contend that the airline has continued to bypass its contract with the Allied Pilots Association by not paying Reno Air pilots at the higher American salary rates from the Dec. 23 purchase date.
``They’re changing uniforms and paint schemes,″ Drew Engelke, a pilot with American and union spokesman, said Wednesday. ``The fact of the matter is we’ve believed the Reno pilots have been flying all along as American pilots and should have been paid at American rates by Dec. 23.″
Andrea Rader, a spokeswoman for AMR Corp., parent company of American, said details involving pilot pay have yet to be settled. The company is expected to soon consider when salary rates will change for the pilots, she said.
``If the company is going to continue integration without changing pay rates it’s adding insult to injury,″ said Engelke.
The disagreement over pay rates reached a boiling point in February when nearly 6,700 flights were canceled and thousands of passengers were stranded because disgruntled pilots called in sick to work. The work action cost the company millions of dollars.
The sickout ended after a federal judge held the union and its two top officers in contempt and fined them $45 million for initially ignoring his order to tell pilots to return to their cockpits.
The pilots union will appeal both the contempt ruling and the compensatory damages as soon as the judge formally issues his ruling, said Engelke.
American’s acquisition of Reno Air will help it better compete in California against United and Southwest airlines.
When Reno Air’s operations are finished being folded into American, they will add more than 150 nonstop flights a day to American’s West Coast route network.
AMR also has created a frequent flyer program relationship with Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air.
In addition, the carrier said it is nearing the completion of the first phase of a $245 million improvement project for its passenger terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.