Contact: Captain Paul Onorato (202) 624-3540

Washington, D.C. (September 16th, 2010) — On September 15, 2010, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law met to mark up and vote on HR 4677 a bill which will reform the bankruptcy process, including airline Chapter 11 filings. The Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA) representing over 28,000 commercial passenger and cargo pilots enthusiastically supports HR 4677 the “Protecting Employees and Retirees in Business Bankruptcies Act of 2010” which now includes language of significant importance to all airline employees.

CAPA has been campaigning to have language included in HR 4677 which would require airline management and labor to return to the section 6 bargaining process during Chapter 11 filings in order to change the wages, work rules and pensions that were collectively agreed upon prior to the bankruptcy filing. This is the same process that happens during a railroad bankruptcy under the Railway Labor Act.

Captain Paul Onorato, president of CAPA says, “CAPA is pleased that Chairman Conyers, Chairman Cohen, and Representative Maffei voted to level the playing field for airline labor negotiations.” Congressman Maffei (D-NY) offered the CAPA/IBT language as an amendment arguing that the amendment more closely adheres to the Railway Labor Act as it was originally intended.

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law held a hearing on this issue in December of 2009 where Captain Chesley Sullenberger testified about airline bankruptcy and the effects it has on the professional pilot. More than 170 airline bankruptcies have cost over 150,000 jobs and 180,000 pensions. Captain Sullenberger said at the hearing, “For professional pilots to have their retirement commitment broken – in large part because they do not have the same rights during a business bankruptcy as every other organized employee in the United States – is an injustice that needs to be rectified.”  Today that injustice moved one step closer to rectification.

The Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations is a trade association which represents over 28,000 professional pilots at carriers including American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, UPS, US Airways, Southern Air, ABX Air, Atlas Air Cargo, Kalitta Air, Polar Air Cargo, Arrow Air, Horizon Air, Gulfstream Air, Cape Air, Miami Air, Omni Air and USA 3000.