The Employee Pension Protection Act, introduced by Sens. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and David Rockefeller, D-W.Va., would let airlines make up the shortfall in their pension funds over 25 years instead of the current four years. The change would also protect the PBGC, which is financially strapped in part because it has taken on the underfunded pension plans of UAL Corp., and US Airways Group.
The bill, introduced Wednesday, "protects the interests of the airline employees and the American taxpayers, and it will allow us to avoid a catastrophe like the savings and loan debacle of the 1980s," Mr. Isakson said in a statement. "I want to make sure airline employees collect the benefits they have worked so hard to earn, and I also want to make sure the airlines have the ability to meet their obligations to their workers."
Duane Woerth, ALPA president, said the bill "comes not a minute too soon. If airlines do not receive the benefit of the reforms contained in the Isakson bill, more of them may be forced to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, putting additional airline employee jobs and their pension plans at risk."