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American Airlines Plans Northern Calif. Mini-Hub

Times Staff Writer

American Airlines plans to create a mini-hub in Northern California, the company said Wednesday, but has not yet chosen the airport that will house the facility.

Alton Becker, an American spokesman, said San Francisco and San Jose airports are among those being considered. There are other possible locations, but he declined to identify them. He did say, however, that the West Coast hub would not be at Los Angeles.

A decision may be announced within a few weeks, he said.

“A mini-hub would allow American to connect our operations from north to south up and down the West Coast,” Becker said in a telephone interview. Until American acquired AirCal last year, he said, virtually all its operations were east-west flights--from New York, Chicago and Dallas/Ft. Worth to the West Coast. But the new West Coast network reaches from the Canadian border to the Mexican border, he said.

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The planned West Coast hub would “provide a foundation for the future growth and expansion there,” Becker said. “This is the major part of our long-term growth strategy.”

American operates daily 72 flights from Los Angeles, 68 from San Francisco and 59 from San Jose. It employs 2,349 workers in San Francisco and 4,879 in Los Angeles. There are flight crew bases in both cities.

At San Jose, where there is no flight crew base, there are about 250 American employees. American expects that additional employees--including ticket agents, fleet service clerks and ramp agents--would be assigned to San Jose if it becomes the hub.

An airline hub is an airport where a large number of the airline’s flights arrive and depart within a very short time--usually 15 to 25 minutes.

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The increasingly prevalent hub system allows airline passengers to connect quickly with flights to a variety of destinations but offers fewer point-to-point non-stop flights. The airlines, which once flew mostly point-to-point flights, need fewer planes with the hub system.


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