The "new" American announced 17 nonstop routes it says it must drop from Washington Reagan National Airport (DCA) as a result of its settlement with the Justice Department. The company also announced a route shake-up at New York LaGuardia, another airport where its flight rights were affected by the Justice deal.
As a condition for approving their airlines' merger, Justice required American and US Airways to give up the rights for 52 daily round-trip flights at DCA, where the combined carrier will by far be the airport's dominant airline. The new American also had to give up the rights to 17 daily round-trip flights at LaGuardia (LGA).
At Washington, the cities losing nonstop American Airlines service to DCA are: Augusta, Ga.; Detroit; Fayetteville, N.C.; Fort Walton Beach, Fla.; Islip, N.Y.; Jacksonville, N.C.; Little Rock; Minneapolis/St. Paul; Montreal; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Nassau, Bahamas; Omaha; Pensacola, Fla.; San Diego; Savannah, Ga.; Tallahassee; and Wilmington, N.C.
"The divestitures, which enabled American Airlines and US Airways to complete their merger, were mandated by the previously announced settlements with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the States of Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Tennessee, the Commonwealths of Pennsylvania and Virginia, and the District of Columbia," American notes in its statement about "network changes" at DCA and LGA.
"As a result of the 52 slot pair divestitures at DCA required by the DOJ, American will no longer operate year-round, daily nonstop service to 17 destinations from DCA. Customers in these communities will still have access to DCA, which remains a key hub for American, through connecting flights from one or more of the airline's other eight hubs," American adds.
At LaGuardia, American says that "as a result of the DOJ-required 17 slot pair divestitures at LGA, American will no longer operate nonstop service to Atlanta, Cleveland and Minneapolis."
However, AA says changes to the combined carriers' schedules will allow it to offset the loss of those three destinations with the addition of 10 new routes.
The cities that will get nonstop AA service to LaGuardia are: Charlottesville, Va.; Dayton, Ohio; Greensboro, N.C.; Knoxville; Little Rock; Louisville, Ky.; Norfolk; Richmond, Va.; Roanoke, Va.; and Wilmington, N.C.
American says customers can begin booking tickets for those routes starting Jan. 26 for travel beginning April 1.
AA's announcement about the service adjustments at DCA and LGA come just about two days after Reuters cited anonymous sources in reporting that all bids are in for the slots the new American must give up at DCA. It had already been announced that the slots American had to divest at LGA will go to Southwest and Virgin America.
"We are excited about moving forward as the new American Airlines," Andrew Nocella, AA's chief marketing officer, says in a statement. "Washington Reagan and LaGuardia will continue to be a key part of the new American's network."
"In an effort to minimize any impact that our DOJ-required slot divestitures would have on small- and medium-size communities, we felt it was important to make this announcement now," Nocella continues. "We know how important this service is to the people and the communities affected, and we hope that our competitors who acquire our slots and gates will maintain service to the impacted cities. While these divestitures were necessary, we remain excited about offering new service between LaGuardia and these key communities."
American indicated that the schedule changes would not affect staffing at the airports.
"These service changes are not expected to impact our employees, whose efforts and support enabled us to create the world's greatest airline," AA President Scott Kirby adds in the release. "We continue to make excellent progress on our integration efforts, and look forward to delivering on the promise of the new American for our customers, employees, communities and shareholders as soon as possible."