The next chapter in
history might be numbered 11 -- again.
US Airways emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection roughly in March 2003, boasting that it had taken "impossible steps" in cutting costs. Sixteen months later, the "impossible" wasn't enough -- and a new report warns the company may have to file Chapter 11 again, possibly within the month.
This week, Glanzer & Co., the bank representing the pilots' union, sent out a 26-page report to the company's 3,400 pilots, saying that the company may be forced back into bankruptcy by mid-September as the high price of oil, competitive pressures and a too-high cost structure erode its balance sheet.
News of the dire warning to pilots, which has been posted in a restricted section of the union's website and was first reported in the
Wall Street Journal
, sent US Air shares down 13 cents, or 5.1%, to $2.41.
US Airways, which has already cancelled employees' pension plan and won billions of dollars in pay cuts, insists it needs another $800 million in concessions to avoid bankruptcy protection. The carrier is looking for $295 million in concessions from pilots, $116 million from flight attendants and $263 million from mechanics.
In a letter, Bill Pollock, chairman of the Air Line Pilots Association, which represents 3,400 US Air pilots, said he agreed with the conclusions reached by the report. And to save the struggling carrier, ALPA plans to hold daily meetings with management about the concessions.
But saving US Airways might not be worth the trouble for the company's creditors and debtholders -- one of which is the U.S. government, which granted the carrier a $900 million loan guarantee after the World Trade Center attacks. According to the Glanzer report, the company "might be worth more dead than alive" to everyone except its employees.