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American Eagle halts pilot hiring in bankruptcy

December 14, 2011
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FORT WORTH, Texas—American Eagle, the regional-flying affiliate of American Airlines, has suspended new hiring of pilots since parent AMR Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection.

A spokesman for Eagle said Wednesday that the airline canceled a training class for 20 pilots that started last week "due to AMR's recently announced restructuring."

The spokesman, Tim Smith, said the pilots were furloughed, or laid off with rehiring rights, as required by the airline's labor contract with the Air Line Pilots Association.

AMR filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors on Nov. 29. It hopes to reduce debt and labor costs and emerge from bankruptcy protection better able to compete with rivals such as United and Delta, both of which went through bankruptcy in the past decade.

Eagle had 14,350 employees, including part-timers, and American had about 74,000 on Dec. 1, Smith said.

Fort Worth-based AMR has announced plans to spin off Eagle to AMR shareholders as a separate, publicly traded company, however the deal has been postponed because of the bankruptcy filing. Eagle could use the bankruptcy case to reject leases on its small jets, which are costly to operate at current high prices for jet fuel, and to reduce flying.

Eagle had $2.3 billion in revenue last year, or less than 10 percent of the AMR total of $22.2 billion.

AMR shares rose about 6 cents to 67 cents in midday trading.

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