Ex-TWA Pilots Reach $53M Settlement With Union

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -

The nation’s biggest pilots’ union has agreed to pay $53 million to end a lawsuit by former TWA pilots who said the union didn’t do enough to protect their seniority rights after American Airlines bought Trans World Airlines.

The settlement by the Air Line Pilots Association, or ALPA, will go to a federal judge in New Jersey for approval.

The case stemmed from American’s 2001 acquisition of TWA, which was then in bankruptcy. The Allied Pilots Association, which represented American’s pilots, put many of the TWA pilots at the bottom of a new seniority list, and they were laid off after the downturn in travel following the September 2011 terror attacks. The TWA pilots were represented by ALPA.

Some of the TWA pilots sued in 2002. A jury ruled in their favor in 2011, and a trial on damages against ALPA was scheduled to begin in March.

In court papers Thursday, the union said it agreed to pay $53 million into a fund for TWA pilots and their lawyers. ALPA told its members that insurers would pay much of the cost.