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American Eagle selling Executive Air

By John Collins (1)

Closing of sale by end of March 2003; financial details not disclosed; no changes in system, workforce pledged.

A letter of intent to proceed with the sale of Executive Airlines by American Eagle (Eagle)  Airlines has been signed by Eagle President Gary Elmer and Puerto Rico businessman Joaquin Bolivar, they announced indicating the sale is expected to close near the end of the first quarter of 2003. Financial details were not released.

Executive Air currently operates as American Eagle out of its hubs in Miami and San Juan providing service to destinations throughout Florida, the Caribbean and the Bahamas.

“The system that American Eagle is operating in the Caribbean out of San Juan and in Florida and the Bahamas will be maintained,” said Ellmer, who recently came to San Juan from Boston to head Eagle. He will remain with Executive Air. “The entire staff of  Eagle has been informed of the sale and assured that there will be no changes in personnel policy. There will be no curtailment in benefits and no furloughs. Everything is going to be handled in a transparent manner.”

In the initial announcement made by American Eagle in Dallas it indicated that it was taking the step “to insure that American Airlines stays in compliance with its contract with the Allied Pilots Association (APA) that limits the amount of flying which can be done under the American code.”

Dallas-based American Eagle President Peter M. Bowler announced that “although I am disappointed that we have had to take this step, this transaction achieves a number of objectives. First, it keeps American in compliance with the ‘scope clause’ imposed in the contract between American and the APA. Second, it preserves jobs at both Executive and Eagle by avoiding the necessity of grounding additional aircraft, which would have been the alternative to the sale. Finally, the sale will provide American with valuable and profitable feed traffic.”

Bolivar, with whom Eagle entered into the agreement, is a Puerto Rican businessman who is chairman and ceo of the Water Club and Execelsior hotels in San Juan. He founded Executive Air in 1979 and also owned Bithorn Travel, Puerto Rico’s largest chain of retail travel agencies, from 1990 to 1999.

The agreement includes a marketing partnership under which Executive will continue to provide3 feed traffic to American but use its own designator code, rather than American’s – to and from San Juan and the American hub in Miami.

“An ongoing relationship with Executive was very important in evaluating this sale,” said Bowler. “Executive has an outstanding group of employees. They’ve done a terrific job of providing safe and reliable service to Eagle customers. While we’re sorry that we have to take this step, we are pleased ro be able to sell this airline to the man that founded it over 20 years ago.” 

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1) Other articles by the well known Caribbean author John Collins can be read at:

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November 10, 2002


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