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Fate of airline pensions

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Big cost for PBGC

When American Airlines Inc. freezes four massively underfunded pension plans on Nov. 1, the significance of that action will go beyond ending benefit accruals for tens of thousands of its employees. With one small exception, it will mean none of the nation’s major airlines will offer pension plans where employees are earning benefits. Except for a pension plan covering non-pilot employees once sponsored by Continental Airlines — later acquired by UAL Corp. — all major airlines’ pension plans will have been frozen or taken over, at a cost of billions of dollars, by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. Details on the fate of some of those airline pension plans follows.
Bloomberg photo