American Airlines to cut nine daily flights at RDU

Posted September 17, 2009

— The parent of American Airlines said Thursday it has obtained $2.9 billion in new financing and is making changes in its flight schedule to help cope with weak demand and declining revenue in the airline industry.

The cuts include reduction of nine flights at Raleigh Durham International Airport. Details about how many workers will be affected are still to be determined, American said.

The changes at RDU all affect American Eagle flights, according to RDU spokesperson Mindy Hamlin.

Destinations cut include:

Hartford, Conn., serviced by three flights

St. Louis, three flights

Columbus, Ohio, one flight

Additionally, two daily flights to Boston are being cut, Hamlin said.

The changes will take effect in April and June, Hamlin added.

As of Thursday, RDU offers flights to 193 destinations.

“This is a common practice during tough economic times when passenger travel declines,” Hamlin said of the American Eagle reductions. “We have experienced this before. Often what happens is that other airlines will begin to look at the markets that are no longer being served from RDU. Where there is strong demand, other airlines often step in to offer service to those markets if they are in a position to do so. As always, we will continue to communicate with airlines about opportunities for service here.

“The important point is that RDU serves a strong, resilient market that is attractive to airlines,” she added. “Airlines at RDU continue to offer service to our travelers’ most popular destinations, and we will continue to communicate with them about opportunities here so when the economy.”

American and regional carrier American Eagle currently service 12 destinations out of RDU with 53 flights, including non-stop service to the U.K. by American.

"In Raleigh/Durham, service to three destinations will be discontinued and a total of nine departures will be eliminated. Raleigh/Durham will continue to provide service to eight destinations with 44 departures per day," American said in a statement.

AMR Corp. (NYSE: AMR) said it has obtained $2.9 billion in extra funding, including $1 billion in cash from an advance sale of frequent flyer miles to Citigroup.

The Fort Worth, Texas, company says it received $1.6 billion in sale-leaseback financing commitments from GE Capital Aviation Services, a unit of General Electric Co., and $280 million in cash in a loan from GE Capital Aviation Services secured by aircraft.

Of the $1.3 billion in new liquidity, all but $55 million will be included in the third quarter 2009 cash and short-term investment balance.

AMR says it will strengthen its flight network by increasing capacity at hubs in Dallas/Fort Worth, Chicago, Miami and New York. Those cities, and Los Angeles, are key parts of the company's plan to benefit from closer cooperation with British Airways, Iberia and other partners.

The company also said it will reduce operations at St. Louis.

American Eagle also announced plans to add a first class cabin to its fleet of 25 Bombardier CRJ700 regional jets and it signed a letter of intent with Bombardier Inc. for options to purchase 22 additional CRJ700 aircraft for delivery beginning in mid-2010.

The new CRJ700 aircraft will be fully financed.

"Today's announcement positions our company well to face today's industry challenges and allows us to remain focused on the future and on returning to profitability," said Gerard Arpey, chairman and CEO.

AMR said its capacity for 2010 is expected to increase by about 1 percent over this year, with domestic capacity flat and international capacity up about 2.5 percent.

Excluding the impact of cancellations this year from the H1N1 virus and the launch of Chicago-Beijing service in 2010 that was delayed from this year, mainline capacity in 2010 is expected to be roughly flat compared with 2009, the company said.

Employees affected by cutbacks will be allowed to relocate, the company said, although it expects the impact on employees to be minimal.

AMR will add 57 daily flights at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, six new destinations from JFK International Airport in New York, two new daily American and Eagle flights at Los Angeles and 19 daily departures added to the airline's largest hub at Dallas/Forth Worth.

American and Eagle also will add 23 flights at Miami.

AMR shares rose $1.67, or 22.3 percent, to $9.02 in premarket trading.


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  • NCPACKER Sep 17, 2009

    Not surprised. RDU airport is like a ghost town!

  • Fed-up29 Sep 17, 2009

    maybe you should look at the reality series southwest use to have. in the beginning there werent a lot of complaints but as soon as they got too many they stopped the show. i always get to my destination early on american and im not a special member or anything...they have cheaper flights whihc i love and i have enver found better deals yet. as far as old planes all the ones i have been on recently are newer less noisy aircraft. we sat next to the wing and didnt feel vibrations or hear any noise....

  • redapace Sep 17, 2009

    People don't have to fly across country to have meetings any more.

  • durham_nc Sep 17, 2009

    I guess Columbus, OH is one of the destinations being dropped?
    They only had 1 daily flight, and the article says they are cutting 1 flight to CMH.
    Not sure though... do flights in and out count as 1 flight or 2?

  • charlesboyer Sep 17, 2009

    "Glad I'm not the only one that doesn't "get" the obsession with Southwest Airlines."

    They are by no means perfect, but they also don't go to Congress looking for bailout money either. They didn't take any cash post 9/11 like AA did.

    They have a good business model and have prospered by delivering the product they sell and doing so with a modicum of customer service all but forgotten at the legacy airlines. Stories of AA customer abuse are not hard to find, where similar stories about Southwest are rare.

    If that is obsession, perhaps it is, but comes from them being a good company that has a largely satisfied customer base. If AA had that sort of customer loyalty, they might have fewer economic problems.

  • chivegas Sep 17, 2009

    "As of Thursday, RDU offers flights to 193 destinations."

    RDU has never had service to 193 destinations...there are few if any airports in the World that serve that many destinations. I believe they mean 193 flights/day.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Sep 17, 2009

    Southwest is normally on time. If anything they get you there early.

    Wish they would tell us which destinations are being dropped by AA from Raleigh.

  • nerdlywehunt Sep 17, 2009

    I flew to 38 different US cities this year on business and I definitely would choose SouthWest over any other Airline. They were always on time and offered a good fare (usually nonstop). AA has been rolling out the older, smaller and noisier jets into RDU in an attempt to stay in the game but I guess you can only do so much. Too bad because we will lose even more jobs.

  • timothycapwell Sep 17, 2009

    Glad I'm not the only one that doesn't "get" the obsession with Southwest Airlines. Too bad for RDU...and all of us really. This will lead to higher ticket prices because of less competition.

  • charlesboyer Sep 17, 2009

    Let the legacy airlines die and the healthy ones like JetBlue and Southwest take their spots.