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AMR Under Federal Pressure Over Pensions

PBGC Files $91 Million In Liens Against The Airline

As part of it bankruptcy reorganization strategy, AMR corp has discussed the possibility of shedding its pension obligations to bring the company back to solvency.

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) doesn't think that's a very good idea, and has filed $91 million in liens against the airline in an effort to pressure it to hang on to its retirement plans, according to a report from the Associated Press.

AA has fallen far short on pension payments, skipping over 93% of its $100 million obligation due last week. That caused the PBGC to file the liens, saying it had little choice in the matter. The USA Today reports that the AP says the move "escalated  a fight" between the two parties. PBGC's director has accused AMR management of lining its own pockets at the expense of employee pensions.

The New York Times reports that the company's four pension plans cover about 130,000 workers. PBGC Director Joshua Gotbaum told The Dallas Morning News that, while he hopes that AA can emerge from bankruptcy and be successful, "if at all possible" he would like to see the pension plans preserved.

A report from television station KXAS indicates that American says it needs to cut as many as 15,000 jobs to save $1.25 billion annually. It also plans to invest in newer, more efficient aircraft, and increase departures from several of its major hubs by 20 percent over the next five years.

FMI: www.pbgc.gov, www.aa.com/i18n/amrcorp/corporateInformation/facts/amr.jsp

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