American Airlines, pilots resume contract talks

FORT WORTH, Texas -- American Airlines is making a peace offering to its pilots as the two sides resume contract talks.

The airline is offering to put off trimming the extra pay that pilots get for international trips and flying at night. Those cuts were scheduled to start this week but will be deferred for October "to help foster a constructive environment for all," said Laura Einspanier, American's vice president of employee relations, in a memo to pilots.

The changes could amount to "a few percentage points" of pay for about one-third of the union's members, said Allied Pilots Association spokesman Gregg Overman. That "will be welcomed by those pilots," he said.

A new pilots' contract would be a key part of American's bankruptcy reorganization plan. AMR Corp.'s American Airlines and the union agreed to resume contract talks this week. Pilots rejected a company offer in August, and in September the Fort Worth, Tex., company used its power under bankruptcy protection to impose pay and benefit cuts and new work rules.

Since then there have been hundreds of flight cancellations, delays and maintenance problems with the carrier's fleet.