The PBGC expects to file a $2.3 billion general unsecured claim against US Airways Group on behalf of participants in the airline's three pension plans, said Gary Pastorius, PBGC spokesman. The agency plans to file the claim in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Alexandria, Va., where the carrier filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Sunday. The claim is based on the total underfunding of the airline's pension plans, Mr. Pastorius said. Attorneys representing US Airways in the Chapter 11 case and a spokesman for the airline couldn't immediately be reached for comment on the estimated claim late today. According to court papers, a $2.3 billion claim would make the PBGC US Airways' largest general unsecured creditor.
In a motion filed by US Air in bankruptcy court earlier today, the airline "does not intend to make" $110.5 million in pension payments due Wednesday. US Air is negotiating to modify its pension plans and replace the machinists' and flight attendants' plans. If those talks fail, the airline will ask the court to free it from collective bargaining pacts that would "intend to freeze or terminate" the machinists' and flight attendants' plans as well as make "substantial modifications" to other pension plans, according to the filing.
The motion said officials for US Airways and its affiliates in bankruptcy "currently believe that they would not be able to meet their obligations under the pension plans and survive." US Airways spokesman Matt Triaca said the airline isn't commenting beyond today's court filing as to when it might make the scheduled payments.