U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean H. Lane is throwing out the union contract of American Airlines' pilots as part of the company's restructuring.
A key part of the bankruptcy proceedings, the ruling clears the way for the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline to dramatically cut costs and quicken its emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The airline has successfully renegotiated contracts with all its other labor unions.
In the middle of thousands of passengers, pieces of luggage and tickets that makeup the major movement at Miami International Airport, the very pilots powering the American Airlines hub have lost some major altitude.
"Now, the judge has struck down our bargaining agreement," Captain Kevin Mase says.
After eight years of contract bargaining disputes, a bankruptcy judge threw out their contract on Tuesday, leaving pilots legally rudderless and completely unable to steer any further negotiations.
"At this point, the pilots of American don't have faith or confidence," Mase said.
When asked if they were prepared to strike, pilots said they will "have to do what we have to do."
American Airlines has already said it has to do major downsizing, by about 20 percent,, to survive bankruptcy.
On Tuesday, the airline issued a statement saying that the "...ruling is very important because it will allow [American] to implement the changes that are necessary for [its] successful restructuring."
"Pilots feel like they've had enough," said Capt. Scott Iovine.
After rejecting the airlines last offer earlier this month, the union is still, despite the ruling, hoping to get more.
"If they don't chose that path, it's not going to go well for any of us," Iovine says.
Pilots are now considering a strike.
American's 8,500 pilots are getting some sympathy from passengers.
"It concerns me because I'm a frequent business traveler," said Ron Humphry.
But pilots say their pay problems won't affect passengers.
"We discuss it in the cockpits as we fly, but safety is our number one goal," Mase said.