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AMR Pilot Leader Who Backed US Airways Merger Quits After Vote

The American Airlines pilot union leader who was one of the first and most visible proponents of a merger with US Airways Group Inc. (LCC) resigned, a day after pilots rejected the AMR Corp. (AAMRQ) unit’s final cost-cutting contract offer.

David Bates notified members of the Allied Pilots Association of his decision in a message today on the union’s website. He said he resigned, effective immediately, at the request of the union board.

“Although I believe that ratifying the tentative agreement would have been the best course for our pilot group, the majority of our pilots signaled their preference for taking a different path,” Bates said. “I concluded that continuing to serve as your president was not in the interests of the pilots I have been charged with representing.”

Bates joined Laura Glading, head of the flight attendants union at Fort Worth, Texas-based American, and Transport Workers Union International President Jim Little in April to publicly support a merger bid by US Airways. He was at the US Airways annual shareholder meeting and attended a National Press Club speech in Washington last month by Doug Parker, the Tempe, Arizona-based carrier’s chief executive officer.

Pilots rejected the proposed contract, with 61 percent voting against it. The offer would have eliminated plans for 400 furloughs and given the group a 13.5 percent stake in AMR after it exited bankruptcy. The pilots now face a possible court ruling that would let American toss their existing contract and impose terms to secure spending cutbacks needed to restructure.

American declined to comment on Bates’s resignation, said Bruce Hicks, a spokesman for the airline.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mary Schlangenstein in Dallas at maryc.s@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ed Dufner at edufner@bloomberg.net

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