) -- Among the many advantages of



huge aircraft order

is this: a deal with the airline's pilots has become more likely.

American will need to negotiate pay rates for pilots to fly Airbus A320s as well as Boeing 777ERs, which are scheduled to arrive in 2012. It will also have to negotiate rates for


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787s, said Allied Pilots Association spokesman Sam Mayer on Wednesday.

The deal to buy a total of 460 new aircraft from both Boeing and


was announced Wednesday morning.

"We're not going to negotiate side agreements," Mayer said. "This all has to be wrapped into

a new contract. That's how you get there.

"We welcome the new airplanes," Mayer added. "We're glad that AMR has made a commitment to renewing its fleet. We hope they will now make the same commitment to their pilots who have been in contract negotiations for almost five years."

Among its advantages, the purchase may provide for growth at American and new pilot jobs, just as the deal to separate American Eagle could do, he said.

"Initially it's fleet replacement, but the potential is there going forward with options they have for some growth," he said. "A lot remains to be seen about the spinoff of Eagle. The potential may be there for a return of mainline flying to previously flown Eagle routes."

Meanwhile, on a conference call with reporters, CEO Gerard Arpey said the aircraft purchase deal would improve the tone of negotiations.

"This fleet announcement today should be a catalyst for our labor negotiations," Arpey said. "We have great unions at our company

and our interests are aligned."

In a report issued Wednesday, J.P. Morgan analyst Jamie Baker also said the aircraft deal and other new aircraft will require negotiation on new pay rates. "We assume that AMR's ongoing discussions with the APA incorporate these rate issues," Baker said. "Thankfully the tone of the dialogue between AMR management and the APA has dramatically improved since the recent change in APA leadership."

American pilots

elected new leadership in 2010.

It may be said that American's giant aircraft purchase

represents a response to the recent round of airline industry mergers. While its competitors acquired airlines, American will acquire the best fleet in the airline business.

In Wednesday afternoon trading, American was the only major airline to show an increase: its shares were up eight cents to $5.01.

As a commentary on the state of the airline industry, in which everybody makes money but the airlines themselves, shares in Boeing were up $1.97 to $72.50.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here:

Ted Reed