US Airways' four major unions and nine of its largest creditors were appointed yesterday to a creditors' committee, which will play a critical role in the carrier's reorganization.
Nearly 200 lawyers, creditors and financial advisers crowded into the ballroom of the Key Bridge Marriott hotel in Rosslyn yesterday, seeking a spot on the committee that will help steer management decisions during the airline's bankruptcy.
U.S. Trustee W. Clarkson McDow Jr. appointed the Air Line Pilots Association, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the Communication Workers of America, and the Association of Flight Attendants. Several aircraft and engine manufacturers, including Airbus North America Holdings Inc., General Electric Co. and Bombardier Inc., also were appointed. The committee will include the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., the federal agency that took over the airline's pilots pension plan during its first bankruptcy nearly two years ago. Also on the committee is Electronic Data Systems Corp., Sabre Holdings Corp., U.S. Bank, Wachovia Corp. and the airline's food supplier LSG Skychefs.
Bruce R. Lakefield, US Airways chief executive, told the group that the airline plans to emerge from bankruptcy as a stronger East Coast carrier whose employees' wages are on par with those of low-cost carriers such as Southwest Airlines, JetBlue Airways and AirTran Airways.
The airline is seeking about $800 million in cost cuts from its labor unions. If workers balk at the concessions, the airline could ask the bankruptcy court to impose temporary pay cuts.
"We intend to use all the tools that are available to us," Lakefield said. "No matter what, the survival of the airline depends on having comparable wages with low-cost carriers."