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Old 08-26-2005, 03:24 PM   #1  
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Default Delta pilot union changes leaders

Posted on Fri, Aug. 26, 2005

Delta pilots union changes leaders

HARRY R. WEBER

Associated Press

ATLANTA - Delta Air Lines Inc.'s pilots union elected a new chairman for its executive committee Friday, changing leaders amid worries the nation's third-largest carrier may file for bankruptcy protection.

Lee Moak defeated current chair John Malone, whose two-year term ends Oct. 1.

Malone, who has held key union positions since being hired by Delta in 1988, was chairman at the time the union agreed last year to $1 billion in annual concessions.

Union spokeswoman Kelly Collins declined to comment Friday when asked if the union's strategy with the airline will change under Moak's direction. She said Moak was on a flight and not available for comment.

Last week, Atlanta-based Delta warned its pilots union that the airline's cash reserves had fallen to the point where the company might need to revise last year's agreement to avoid a bankruptcy filing.

That deal included a bankruptcy protection letter saying the airline would not seek more concessions unless its cash position fell below a certain level.

In a memo to pilots, the union said Delta has informed it that the company's cash reserves have fallen below that point. The exact threshold was not specified.

While the company could ask for more cuts, it's unlikely Delta would pursue further concessions or significant changes to the pilots contract outside of bankruptcy given how long such negotiations can take.

Despite last year's concessions from the pilots, Delta's financial situation has worsened amid persistently high fuel costs. The company has lost nearly $10 billion since January 2001.

Also Friday, the Delta MEC Executive Council, a unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, elected Tim Canoll, an Atlanta-based pilot, as executive committee vice chairman. Kingsley Roberts, an Atlanta-based pilot, was elected secretary-treasurer.

Delta shares fell 5 cents, or 3.7 percent, to close at $1.30 in trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.
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