June 25, 2008

American Airlines to Cut 42 Flights at DFW Airport

By Terry Maxon, The Dallas Morning News

Jun. 25--American Airlines Inc. said it will cut 42 American Airlines and American Eagle flights at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and reduce flying at its other hubs and major airports in November.

Among the impacts:

-- American will eliminate 19 flights at D/FW Airport and American Eagle will cut 23 flights.

-- Chicago O'Hare will lose 28 American flights and 34 American Eagle flights.

-- St. Louis will see the loss of eight American flights and 35 American Eagle and American Connection flights.

-- American will close its Barranquilla, Colombia, station, along with two other airports already announced for closing, Oakland, Calif., and London Stansted.

American also said it plans to cut five American flights and 37 American Eagle flights at New York LaGuardia Airport, Saying that should help reduce delays and improve the customer experience.

"Today, the dependability and delay issues that exist at LaGuardia have reached a crisis point and have a daily negative impact on the overall customer service and performance for every airline with flights at LaGuardia," said Bob Reding, American's executive vice president of operations.

American Eagle also told its employees that it would park 29 regional jets, the 37-seat Embraer ERJ-135, as part of American Eagle's plans to reduce its capacity 10 to 11 percent. As of Dec. 31, 2007, American Eagle operated 39 of the ERJ-135 aircraft.

That grounding is in addition to its plans to park its fleet of Saab 340 turboprop aircraft, a decision announced in late May.

"There can be no doubt that this reduction will negatively impact hundreds of Eagle pilots as well as other work groups," said pilot Herb Mark, chairman of the Air Line Pilots Association unit at American Eagle.

However, Mr. Mark told members that American Eagle management had agreed to take back 10 larger regional jets that it had leased to Trans States Airlines, a decision that will save about 100 Eagle jobs.

American and many other U.S. airlines have announced plans to reduce flying capacity in response to soaring jet fuel prices.

The carriers are targeting money-losing routes, and they're hoping that a reduced supply of seats this fall and winter will enable them to push fares up faster than they've been able to do so far this year.

American on May 21 announced it would reduce its domestic flying by 11 to 12 percent by fourth quarter 2008 compared to the same period in 2007.

As part of the cutbacks, American said American Eagle would close its San Luis Obispo, Calif., maintenance base and eliminate service to Albany, N.Y.; Providence, R.I.; Harrisburg, Pa; Samana, Dominican Republic; and San Luis Obispo.

While a number of carriers including Delta Air Lines Inc., United Airlines Inc. and Continental Airlines Inc. have announced layoffs, American hasn't done so yet -- although chairman and chief executive officer Gerard Arpey confirmed that the job cuts would be in the thousands.

"American and American Eagle regret the potential impact these schedule changes will have on its people," American said in its announcement Wednesday. "The company is in the process of determining the overall impact on its employees, and it is the company's intent to offer voluntary programs before moving to involuntary separations."

In summer, American operates about 500 daily departures at D/FW Airport, its largest airport for flights and passengers, and subsidiary American Eagle, its regional partner, operates around 285.

Combined, the two airlines carry about 85 percent of that airport's passengers. In 2007, nearly 51 million passengers boarded or got off American and American Eagle flights at D/FW Airport.


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