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Smooth Merger : American, AirCal Plan to Mesh All Operations July 1

Times Staff Writer

The merger of American Airlines and AirCal operations will be completed July 1, American’s top official announced here Tuesday, and all but about 200 of AirCal’s present 3,700 employees are expected to move into jobs at American.

Robert L. Crandall, American’s chairman and president, said the merger should be smooth and that AirCal employees will put on American’s uniforms July 1. The AirCal name will be replaced by American’s logo throughout the Newport Beach-based regional carrier’s system, he added.

American Airlines’ $225-million purchase of AirCal, which becomes technically effective Thursday, will more than triple the number of daily flights that American Airlines offers in California--to 361 from 109--and will make it one of the leaders in the lucrative and highly competitive Los Angeles-to-San Francisco air corridor.

Will Get New Look

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Crandall, speaking at a news conference in Los Angeles, promised that AirCal customers will not see any significant changes in flight scheduling or service July 1 as a result of the merger. But they will notice, he said, that “AirCal employees will don American Airlines uniforms, American signs will go up and the two airlines will begin using common ticket counters, gates and other airport facilities.”

American’s name and insignia will be painted on the tails and fuselages of AirCal’s 39 jet airliners that day, as well. However, American will not change the AirCal jets’ fuchsia, magenta, orange and yellow color scheme to American’s red, white and blue, Crandall said, until his airline decides whether to keep the entire AirCal fleet or replace some of it with other types of jets.

At Los Angeles International Airport on July 1, AirCal operations will move from Terminal 1 to Terminal 4, where American Airlines is located. AirCal’s corporate office in Newport Beach will be shut down toward the end of summer, and the staff will be transferred to various American offices throughout the country.

AirCal and American ticket counters and boarding gates at Orange County’s John Wayne Airport already have been consolidated.

American Airlines officials said at Tuesday’s press conference that all of AirCal’s 456 pilots, 506 flight attendants and 450 reservation agents will be offered comparable jobs at equivalent or better pay by American Airlines. They added, however, that about 300 of the AirCal employees who join American Airlines will have to move to other parts of the country.

AirCal President David A. Banmiller and Richard D. Pearson, the American Airlines vice president who is acting temporarily as chairman and chief executive officer of AirCal, said “every effort” will be made to find jobs for all of AirCal’s employees somewhere in the American Airlines system--even if it requires retraining some as reservation agents.

But, they said, an estimated 200 of them--mostly clerical workers--are expected to decline the jobs that are available, mainly because of the costs and inconveniences of relocating to other parts of the country. Banmiller has been offered a position with American but would not say what the position is or whether he would accept it.

In contrast with the kind of labor dispute that briefly threatened the merger of Delta Air Lines and Western Airlines recently and now hinders the proposed merger of USAir Group and Pacific Southwest Airlines, Crandall said the AirCal/American Airlines merger has not generated any union objections.

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As early as mid-May, American will start what Crandall called “a very aggressive advertising campaign” to emphasize “the putting together of two great airlines.”


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