American Airlines Cuts Winter Capacity


(c) 2011 American Airlines

American Airlines reports it will adjust its late fall and winter schedule, which is expected to result in fourth quarter mainline capacity that is approximately 3 percent lower on a year-over-year basis. In addition, as part of the reductions, American said it will retire up to 11 Boeing 757 aircraft in 2012.

"While our advance bookings are generally in line with last year, we are taking these additional steps in light of the uncertain economic environment, ongoing high fuel costs and to ensure we run a reliable schedule for our customers given additional pilot retirements we anticipate throughout the fourth quarter," said Virasb Vahidi, American's chief commercial officer.

American has moved on a few occasions throughout the year to reduce its capacity as fuel prices moved upward and improvement in the broader economy failed to materialize, AA said. With these latest moves American expects full year capacity to be up about 0.4 percent year-over-year for mainline and consolidated capacity will be up approximately 1.2 percent. This represents an approximate 3 percent reduction in the company's capacity expectations.

These reductions will modestly increase 2011 unit costs compared to those incorporated in the guidance provided on Sept. 21, 2011. In addition, compared to prior guidance, third quarter unit costs will be adversely impacted by quarter-end volatility in crude oil prices and foreign exchange rates, AA said. 

In July, American announced the largest aircraft order in history by ordering 460 fuel-efficient jets from the Airbus A320 family and the Boeing 737 family, which is backed by $13 billion in manufacturer-committed financing.  The 757s retiring next year are in anticipation of the new Airbus and Boeing deliveries that start in 2013. The retirements will result in maintenance and fuel cost savings beginning in 2012.

The upcoming new deliveries are expected to pave the way for American to have the youngest and most fuel-efficient fleet among its U.S. airline peers within approximately five years, AA said.



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