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American Airlines charts $279 million pension contribution for 2017

American Airlines Group Inc., Fort Worth, Texas, expects to contribute $279 million to its pension plans in 2017, the company announced in its recent 10-K filing.

Of the $279 million, $254 million is a discretionary contribution to its U.S. pension plans. The company did not disclose where its required $25 million pension contribution is going. The company contributed $32 million to its pension plans in 2016.

As of Dec. 31, American Airlines had $10.02 billion in total defined benefit assets and $17.24 billion in benefit obligations for a funded status of 58.1%, down from 59.2% at the end of 2015. The 10-K did not break out U.S. vs. international plans, but U.S. plan assets totaled $10.12 billion as of Sept. 30, according to Pensions & Investments data.

The discount rate used to calculate benefit obligations was 4.3%, down from 4.7% as of Dec. 31, 2015.

At the end of December, the pension plans had an asset allocation of 59% equities, 25.2% fixed income, 10% alternatives, 0.5% mutual funds, 0.4% dividend and interest receivable, and the remainder in cash.

American Airlines noted in the 10-K that future contributions are expected to increase following the expiration of temporary funding rules from the Pension Protection Act of 2006 that are scheduled to expire at the end of 2017.