American Airlines to cut capacity and retire 11 planes
Responding to an unsteady economy and high fuel costs, American Airlines announced that it planned to cut overall capacity this year and retire 11 older Boeing jets next year.
The capacity cuts, made by canceling unpopular flights, among other changes, will reduce the number of seats available on planes by 3%, compared with projections made by the airline in January, the airline announced Monday.
The move was also in response to an unusually high number of pilots retiring in October.
"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.
The Fort Worth, Texas-based airline also announced it planned to retire up to 11 Boeing 757 aircraft in 2012 to make way for some of the 460 newer, more fuel-efficient planes the airline ordered in July.
The capacity cut comes only a week after stocks for American's parent company, AMR, dropped 33% on rumors that the troubled airline might be considering filing for bankruptcy protection. The company's stock has since rebounded and recovered most of the losses.
-- Hugo Martin
Photo: An American Airlines jet at Los Angeles International Airport. Credit: Los Angeles Times