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Workers & Retirees

American Airlines (AMR) Pensions

UPDATE: On April 20, 2012, responding to news of a possible American Airlines merger with US Airways, PBGC Director Josh Gotbaum said: “We’re continuing to work for a strong airline that offers dependable air service, provides jobs, and preserves its pensions. In order to get the best resolution for everybody, all options should be on the table.”

UPDATE: On March 7, 2012, AMR announced it would freeze, not terminate, the pensions of its non-pilot employees. That means going forward workers won’t earn additional benefits, but they won’t lose a dime they’ve already earned. PBGC Director Josh Gotbaum had this to say: "It is great progress and good news that American recognizes it can reorganize successfully and preserve its employees’ pension plans. We’re also glad the company is willing to work with us to preserve their pilot plan too."

UPDATE: On February 1, 2012, American Airlines announced it would seek to terminate all four of its pension plans. Responding to the news, PBGC Director Josh Gotbaum said: "Before American takes such a drastic action as killing the pension plans of 130,000 employees and retirees, it needs to show there is no better alternative. Thus far, they have failed to provide even the most basic information to decide that."

Summary

AMR, the parent company of American Airlines, filed for bankruptcy on November 29, 2011.  American sponsors four defined benefit pension plans covering nearly 130,000 workers and retirees.  Although the plans are insured by PBGC, American is solely responsible to pay benefits owed under its four pension plans.   These plans are ongoing and PBGC is doing its utmost to ensure that American maintains responsibility for the plans and keeps the pension promises it has made.  That way, people who count on those plans can receive their full plan benefits, without regard to the limits in the pension law – and PBGC will not be forced to pick up obligations that AMR really can afford. 

PBGC is actively involved in the bankruptcy, both directly and as a member of the Committee of Unsecured Creditors.

Participants in American’s plans should call the company for more information about their pension plans or their benefits. PBGC cannot provide specific information on the plans or any of the benefits actually owed to AMR employees.  You may, however, find general information about how our guarantees work in our Frequently Asked Questions.

Contact Information (Provided by AMR):

For Pilots: Sue Kalosa, (817) 967-5386
For Other AMR Workers and Retirees:  (800) 447-2000

AMR By the Numbers

Plans: 4
Total workers and retirees: about 130,000
Estimated pension assets: about $8.3 billion
Estimated benefits owed: about $18.5 billion
Estimated amount Insured by PBGC, if pension plans fail: About $17 billion
Premiums paid to date from AMR to PBGC: about $260 million

In The News

OPINION: American Airlines pensions reversal was right move (Business Insurance, Mar. 13, 2012)

American makes key concession on pensions (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Mar. 13, 2012)

American Airlines retreats on plan to dump pensions (CNNMoney, Mar. 7, 2012)

At Airline, a Pensions Compromise (The New York Times, Mar. 7, 2012)

AMR offers to freeze, not terminate, pensions (Reuters, Mar. 7, 2012)

Gotbaum: Compromise on pension a 'good sign' that bankruptcy reorganization can move quickly (The Dallas Morning News, Mar. 7, 2012)

Pension insurer doubts need of American Airlines parent to terminate defined benefit plans (The Chicago Tribune, Feb. 28, 2012)

American Airlines’ plan for pension bailout draws criticism (The Washington Post, Feb. 3, 2012)

Editorial: American faces a turbulent ascent (The Dallas Morning News, Feb. 2, 2012)

Josh Gotbaum talks about PBGC’s fight to preserve American Airlines pensions video (PBS Nightly Business Report, Feb. 1, 2012)

AMR Wants to terminate all four of its pension plans (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Feb. 2, 2012)

PBGC files liens on American assets as the carrier didn't make its full pension payment in Jan. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Jan. 31, 2012)

Federal Agency Sounds Alarm on American’s Pensions (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Jan. 26, 2012)

PBGC says 13,000 current or retired American employees will have pensions cut if plans are terminated (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Jan. 26, 2012)

PBGC Director Says Increased Bankruptcies Could Lead To Higher Pension Premiums (Bloomberg Law YouTube video, Jan. 12, 2012)

Federal Role in Corporate Pension Protection (C-SPAN video, Dec. 12, 2011)

PBGC named to unsecured creditor committee in American Airlines bankruptcy (Business Insurance, Dec. 6, 2011)

PBGC could get biggest pension loss from American Airlines (Business Insurance, Dec. 4, 2011)

Who Will Pay American Airlines' Pensions? video
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. Director Josh Gotbaum on how American Airlines' pensions will be paid now that the airline is filing for bankruptcy. (Fox Business News, Dec. 2, 2011)

Government pension agency braces for American Airlines bankruptcy (The Washington Post, Dec. 2, 2011)

US faces pension bill for AMR restructure (Financial Times, Nov. 30, 2011)