Monday, February 15, 1999


American says
all isle flights
set to go

Nationwide, though,
there are 290 more
cancellations today

From staff and wire reports

Tapa

American Airlines expected its Hawaii service to be back to normal today, for the first time in a week, as pilots across the nation dropped their sickout and began returning to work.

All six of its daily flights from the mainland and the six outbound from the islands were scheduled to fly, as of this morning. American canceled only one inbound flight yesterday, from San Francisco to Honolulu, and two outbound, from Honolulu to San Francisco and Chicago.

On the worst day, Thursday, only one of its scheduled flights left Honolulu. Other airlines carried the passengers, however, and there were no reports of strandings. The airline advises passengers concerned about their flights to call reservations at 833-7600 in Honolulu or 1-800-433-7300, or check the cancellation list on its Web site, www.americanair.com.

Nationally, the airline canceled 290 of its 2,250 scheduled flights today, down from a peak of 1,170 on Thursday, spokeswoman Sonja Whitemon said. The Fort Worth, Texas-based airline said 900 of 9,200 pilots were on its sick list, down from 1,034 yesterday. On a normal day, about 400 American pilots miss work because of illness.

The job action over employment and pay following parent company AMR Corp.'s purchase of Reno Air Inc. has cost the airline about $80 million, analysts said. After pilots ignored an earlier return-to-work order, U.S. District Judge Joe Kendall fined the union $10 million this weekend, with a final penalty to be set Wednesday.

The pilots' protest led AMR to cancel about 6,630 flights since Feb. 6, including more than 2,700 during the President's Day weekend, the fourth-busiest for travel.

The airline said it expects to be completely back on schedule tomorrow, except for a handful of flights as aircraft are repositioned around the country. AMR and the union are scheduled to resume talks on the Reno Air purchase today. Pilots are demanding protections to prevent losing jobs to low-fare carrier Reno Air, which AMR bought in December.

American pilots want lower-paid Reno Air pilots to get an immediate raise, while AMR wants a gradual pay increase as the pilots are retrained during the next 18 months. The union also seeks immediate raises for American pilots who will rise in seniority as pilot lists are combined.

The airline said today media reports over the weekend that American was making it difficult for its pilots to return to work were "absolutely untrue." Some reports said the airline was requiring pilots to get a doctor's clearance to come back to work.

Only a handful of pilots were unable to clear themselves from the sick list on their own and that was because those cases involved possible disciplinary action, the airline said today.


Star-Bulletin reporter Russ Lynch and
Bloomberg News contributed to this report.



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