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American Airlines, Mechanics Reach Tentative Deal

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A lengthy and at times contentious negotiation between American Airlines and its mechanics and fleet service workers appears to be coming to a close.

According to multiple reports, the two sides have reached a tentative deal for a new contract valued at $4.2 billion.

Negotiations between the airline and the unions representing the mechanics and the fleet service workers went on for four years.

Workers must still ratify the proposed agreement.

Signing bonuses range from $3,000 to $6,000, according to Forbes, and wage increases range from 4% to 18%. That is in addition to pay rate increases between 23% and 56%, provided by American in 2016.

Forbes also noted that the contract includes “an industry-best profit-sharing formula” that could be precedent-setting. It provides 10% of American’s first $2.5 billion of pre-tax income as well as 20% of pre-tax-income above $2.5 billion.

The deal also protects against outsourcing and offshoring, two bugaboos that were important to the two unions, the International Association of Machinists and the Transport Workers Union. Combined, they represent about 31,000 mechanics and fleet service workers at American.

TWU President John Samuelsen said, “This contract is a victory for the union’s membership. We’ve secured industry-leading increased wages, significantly improved our working conditions and, very importantly, increase the amount of aircraft maintenance work which will be performed in the USA.”

“Our Maintenance & Related and Fleet Service team members are the very best in the business and work incredibly hard to care for our customers,” American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said in a statement. “They deserve contracts that include meaningful improvements in pay, quality of life and job protections.”

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Airlines Scaling Back On Some In-Flight Services Due to Coronavirus

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A few airlines, including those already affected by the coronavirus outbreak, have begun scaling back on some in-flight services as a way to help fight the virus.

The Points Guy writes that Singapore Airlines – obviously based in Asia, where the coronavirus has been most dangerous after originating in China – recently sent its frequent fliers an email about such changes.

Singapore advised its customers that some in-flight amenities will be discontinued, such as hot towel service, after-takeoff drink service, removal of reading materials from seat-back pockets, and suspension of in-flight sales.

Henry Harteveldt, president of Atmosphere Research, said that Chinese and Taiwanese carriers have taken similar precautionary steps based on government guidance, including removing pillows and blankets on some flights.

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“They’re changing their cabin service procedures, so the passengers will notice this,” Harteveldt told The Points Guy.

But Harteveldt also remained optimistic that passengers wouldn’t pitch a fit given the circumstances.

“Passengers will accept (the reduction in services) because they’re being done in the interest of health and wellness,” he said.

As the virus, now known as covid-19, continues to expand globally, it remains to be seen if other airlines – including those based in the U.S. who offer international travel – adopt the same practice.

The aviation industry is quite often a copycat business, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see some similar changes put into place.

“As adults, we have to be logical and rational when we experience these inconveniences,” Harteveldt told The Points Guy. “This isn’t cost-cutting, this isn’t random, this is in the best interest of public health.”

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