Archive for June, 2014

A fee examiner tasked with keeping costs down in the American Airlines bankruptcy recommended this week that a court approve nearly $400 million in fees and expenses earned by professionals who he said engineered “perhaps the most efficient airline reorganization case on record.”Robert Keach, an attorney from Maine, made the request in a series of filings on Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. Mr. Keach recommended paying $371.7 million in fees and $16.3 million in expenses to 47 professional firms,…

via American Airlines Bankruptcy Advisers Seek $400 Million for Fees, Expenses – WSJ.


GoPro Inc.’s stock-market debut showed the promise of consumer-electronics companies but didn’t quell skepticism about the video-camera maker’s longer-term prospects.GoPro makes a wearable high-definition video recorder that first appealed to surfers and cyclists looking for ways to record cool tricks. It is now the top-selling camcorder in the…

via GoPro Shares Jump 31% in Debut – WSJ.

The Wichita Business Journal reports in this week’s centerpiece that after a year in the Air Capital, Southwest Airlines is delivering the economic boost local officials had promised in terms of fares, passenger counts and connectivity.And as the route-limiting Wright Amendment is phased out in October, connectivity is expected to increase.

via A year of Southwest Airlines — How the airline has lifted the Wichita economy – Wichita Business Journal.

NEW YORK—Four unions representing Long Island Railroad workers are considering walking out on negotiations with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority scheduled for Friday. The workers, represented by eight unions, have been without a contract for four years. In the past few months there have been two presidential emergency board PEB mediation panels, putting the earliest date LIRR workers can strike July 20.On Tuesday, MTA made further changes to its proposal, offering 17 percent raises over seven years. It is the third change the MTA has made since the first PEB in December, and a huge difference from the original goal of net-zeros, or offsetting any raise with savings from work-rule changes. To pay for this, the MTA is dipping into its pay-as-you-go capital funds, and it will cost $70 million each year.

via MTA Asks LIRR Unions to Continue Negotiations – The Epoch Times.

SEATTLE Reuters – Flight attendants at Virgin America are due to begin voting next month on whether to join a union, which would be the first at the California-based airline.The balloting by about 850 eligible flight attendants on whether to be represented by the Transport Workers Union TWU is due to begin July 16 and run through Aug. 16, the union and the National Mediation Board said on Wednesday.Virgin America remains the last non-union airline among U.S. carriers after JetBlue pilots voted in April to organize.Virgin America said it respected the flight attendants’ rights and union election process. But it said the airline’s success was largely due to employees working together to “make flying good again” and “a third-party, like the TWU, would only detract from that.”It noted that the flight attendants previously rejected TWU representation. “We’re confident we’ll see a similar result this time,” spokeswoman Jennifer Thomas said in an email.The prior attempt at organizing flight attendants at the Burlingame, California-based airline failed in December 2011. The TWU said the flight attendants are concerned about pay rates, work rules that don’t provide pay for extended flight delays and disciplinary procedures.”They have no recourse in disciplinary matters and that can cause them to be terminated for little or no reason,” said Thom McDaniel, a TWU international vice president.Virgin America uses San Francisco as its hub and has won numerous awards for service and amenities.For the last two years it has ranked first among U.S. airlines in the annual national Airline Quality Rating performance study published by researchers at Wichita State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. JetBlue Airways Corp has ranked second the past two years.Virgin America is majority owned by VAIPartners LLC, Delaware-based company, with a minority stake held by Virgin Group, the privately held conglomerate founded by entrepreneur Richard Branson.Branson started the airline in 2004, and it began flying in 2007.

via Exclusive: Virgin America flight attendants to hold union vote –

The American Airlines Inc. bankruptcy case will earn attorneys, financial advisers, aircraft consultants and others at least $375 million in fees and $16 million in expenses, according to a final accounting.In a report filed late Tuesday, fee examiner Robert Keach recommended that U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane approve $371.7 million in final fees and $16.3 million in expenses to 47 professional groups who worked on the 23-month case.Those numbers don’t include an additional $3.6 million in fees and expenses, including $476,519 to Keach; $2.1 million to Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson, P.A., the law firm that assisted Keach; and smaller amounts to several other professional groups.The total also doesn’t include confidential but large financing fees paid to aircraft consultants SkyWorks Capital LLC, which handled the restructuring of American’s aircraft financing. The publicly disclosed part of SkyWorks’ fees totaled $11.7 million.Keach’s report is to be the final tally on the bankruptcy case, which began Nov. 29, 2011, when AMR Corp., American Airlines and various subsidiaries sought protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code.The meter for bankruptcy fees and expenses stopped Oct. 21, 2013, when Lane confirmed the AMR/American plan of reorganization. American has continued to incur bankruptcy-related costs since then, but those fees and expenses are a matter for the company to review, not the judge.The effective date of the plan was delayed while American fought a U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit that sought to block American’s merger with US Airways Inc. The parties settled the lawsuit Nov. 12.American finally put the restructuring plan into effect Dec. 9 when it merged with US Airways to form American Airlines Group Inc.Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, American’s lead bankruptcy counsel, heads the list of professionals with fees of $74.5 million and expenses of $2.9 million, or $77.4 million.Next is Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, a law firm that handled aircraft financing and leasing issues. The firm is in line for $53.7 million in fees and $371,194 in expenses, or $54.1 million.The law firm for the unsecured creditors committee, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, will get $27.8 million in fees and $1.1 million in expenses, or $28.9 million. Of that, lead counsel Jack Butler racked up $4.9 million in fees.In his report to Lane, Keach praised the reasonableness of the fees and expenses, as well as the results from the reorganization of AMR, American and related parties.“These Chapter 11 cases are among the most successful of all time, and the professionals in these cases have collectively achieved a remarkable outcome, resulting in full payment of all claims and a substantial return to the holders of equity interests,” Keach wrote. “This result was achieved via the merger of two of the world’s largest airlines in the context of a Chapter 11 plan of reorganization, an unprecedented event.”He said the cases “constitute perhaps the most efficient airline reorganization case on record in terms of restructuring costs.”Lane will consider approving Keach’s report and the payment of fees and expenses at a hearing Tuesday in Lane’s Manhattan courtroom.

via Bankruptcy case costs American Airlines nearly $400 million | Dallas Morning News.

American Airlines will likely oppose a November referendum to boost Mecklenburg County’s sales tax by a quarter cent, saying it could cost the airline $500,000 in added taxes on fuel and parts.That’s what some county commissioners and County Manager Dena Diorio say American Airlines’ lobbyist Tracy Montross is telling them.Montross declined comment.But American spokeswoman Michelle Mohr confirmed in a statement the airline is worried. “We are concerned about any tax increase that will affect our customers and business operations,” Mohr said.

via American Airlines worried sales tax hike could cost $500,000 | Region | The State.