American Airlines to stop flying to Burbank
Almost two months after its parent company filed for bankruptcy, American Airlines said it would eliminate its two to three daily flights in and out of Bob Hope Airport and end service to Burbank. It will also end direct flights to India.
The financially troubled airline based in Fort Worth also announced Monday that it planned to lay off 150 workers throughout the company, primarily because of the loss of a United States Postal Service domestic mail contract and the closing of an equipment refurbishment shop in St. Louis.
Airline spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan said the changes were planned long before the airline’s parent company, AMR Corp., filed for bankruptcy in November. “This is in response to declining demand on certain routes and the high price of fuel,” she said.
The move follows other cutbacks in service by the airline, including last year’s end of direct daily service between Chicago and Frankfurt, Germany, and between Chicago and Brussels.
The airline, which operates two to three flights a day from Burbank’s Bob Hope Airport, depending on the day of the week, plans to end service from the airport effective Feb. 9. Because its operations at Burbank are handled by an affiliated company, no American Airlines employees will be laid off there.
American’s departure from Burbank leaves the airport with six passenger airlines. Southwest Airlines is the airport’s biggest, serving about 233,000 passengers in October, compared with 29,000 passengers by American that month, according to airport statistics.
American is still one of the largest carriers serving Los Angeles International Airport. The airline has announced no change in service at LAX.
The airline’s service from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to New Delhi will end with the last flight on Feb. 28. Instead, American will offer flights to India through its partner airlines.
AMR is the most recent major U.S. airline company to file for bankruptcy in the turbulent years since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The company has reported steep loses over the last year, which analysts attribute primarily to labor costs and rising fuel charges. Many of its competitors that renegotiated labor contracts and debts in the bankruptcy process over the last decade have enjoyed strong profit margins more recently.
AMR reported a loss of $162 million for the three months ended Sept. 30. Its top competitor, United Continental Holdings Inc. — the parent company for United and Continental airlines — reported a profit of $773 million for the same period.
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