Chris Van Horne, Fort Worth Reporter
Wednesday morning bankrupt American Airlines announced it wants to add more than 1,000 new jobs.
American Airlines may be going through bankruptcy, but Wednesday morning the company announced it wants to add more than 1,000 new jobs.
The CEO of the Fort Worth-based carrier says the last year hasn’t been easy, but American is ready to hire more flight attendants.
For the first time in a decade, American Airlines will bring new flight attendants on board to replace workers opting for early retirement. The hiring comes as the bankrupt company takes a huge hit in profits.
American will hire more than 1,500 new flight attendants in the next year. 2,200 long-time flight attendants recently jumped at a voluntary separation offer. More than 300 DFW flight attendants took what averages out to a $40,000 cash buyout as part of the company’s bankruptcy cost-cutting efforts.
Recruiting will begin in November with the first new hires training in January.
"We look forward to welcoming new faces... while at the same time giving current flight attendants the opportunity to move up the seniority list," said American’s Vice President of Flight Services, Lauri Curtis.
It's news the Association of Professional Flight Attendants is glad to hear.
"It's amazing, nobody saws this coming yesterday (Tuesday)," said Leslie Mayo, APFA National Communications Coordinator. "When we got a phone call (Tuesday) night form the company, nobody saw this coming and it's so exciting for our members."
Mayo says while the union is happy about the news that new hires will be made for the first time in more than a decade, the group is still less than thrilled with AMR management.
"At this point with all the problems that our airline management has seen over the last year and our passengers have experienced and our employees have had to deal with, I don’t think its been more clear that we need a new management team at the top," Mayo said.
Mayo says the new hires will mean junior flight attendants will move off the reserve list for the first time in 10 years. But she still wants a merger with U.S. Airways during the bankruptcy proceedings.
The new hires will be joining a company going through turbulent times: bankruptcy, the battle with pilots over a new contract, and recent flight cancellations.
Leaders insist the slowdown did not affect third quarter earnings, but American still took a $238 million dollar hit. The company blames the loss on employee severance costs and other bankruptcy related charges, but positively points to a $110 million dollar net profit, if those costs are set aside.
"I think the third quarter results, which showed a net profit except for the restructuring related charges, I think is a great indication of how successful we’ve been thus far in the restructuring process," said American spokesman Bruce Hicks. "We’ve got a ways to go, we’re not there yet, but we’ve certainly done great."
American made more money per passenger and a record-setting 85 percent of seats were sold in the third quarter. And the airline reports that its had six straight months of year-to-year growth, leading the industry in each month from April through September.
CEO Tom Horton admits that financial performance isn’t where it needs to be, but insists the improvement is encouraging. He says the recent operational problems "tested us all" in his letter to employees on Wednesday.
Hicks says operations have improved recently but are still not where the company would like them to be. Flightstats.com reported Wednesday afternoon that American's on-time arrivals were at 84-percent for the day.
Also, AMR on Tuesday asked for a 30-day extension to file a Chapter 11 reorganization plan. Approval would push the deadline to late January.