Employees who had stuck with cash-starved Braniff airline during two bankruptcy proceedings responded angrily today to its sudden suspension of regular passenger flights, jeopardizing 1,800 jobs.
"These people that bought Braniff, they need to be put on trial by Braniff employees and taken out for a public flogging," Leo Bailey, a laid-off customer service agent, said in Kansas City, Mo.
The suspension of flights came as a surprise to many of the employees who remained with the airline after it filed for protection from its creditors under Chapter 11 of the U.S. bankruptcy code for the second time on Sept. 28.
"We're all in shock," said Jim Hamilton, a Braniff pilot based in Dallas. "We were hoping that someone would buy Braniff and want to run it, but maybe there was nothing left to buy. It's just a case of complete mismanagement."
Braniff didn't address the possibility of layoffs other than to say employees would be notified of their status, a prospect that left union officials frustrated.
"What a mess," said V. O. Delle-Femine, executive director of the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Assn., upon hearing the news in Rhode Island.
"Ever since the bankruptcy, upper management has given no response, no answer to the employees of the company," said Charlie Stitz of Gladstone, Mo., a Braniff flight attendant who was called back to work Nov. 1.
In a statement issued at midnight Monday, Braniff said the action was taken to preserve assets while a reorganization plan is developed and a sale of the airline is considered.