Monday November 30, 2020
 

American Airlines to add seats to MD-80, Boeing 737 fleets

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American Airlines plans to add more seats to the mainstays of its fleet, the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 and the Boeing 737, although the airline hasn’t determined how many will be added.

American vice president of flight service Lauri Curtis revealed the coming changes in the end of message to her troops Wednesday:

“Finally, on Tuesday, at a DFW Town Hall meeting with the newly announced Leadership Team for the new American, there was discussion about a decision to add seats to the MD-80 and 737 fleets and I wanted to share a recap of that with all of you.

“As you probably know, we are constantly taking a look at what our operation needs, and that includes how our fleet is configured. And sometimes, we make adjustments when we think it helps match supply to demand but can still be competitive.

“So from where we stand today, we expect to add seats to the 737 and MD-80 fleets, but we haven’t yet determined the right number of seats, and as a result, the impact on revenue and cost.

“Of course we are talking about adding seats and that automatically means the additional FA on a 737 regardless of the number of seats added. This will allow us to provide a higher level of onboard service while meeting the FAA staffing requirements. While this would obviously be good news for all of us, we are still working through the specific details and timing.”

We asked American about Curtis’ message. Spokeswoman Stacey Frantz about the airline’s plans. Here’s her reply:

“We continually evaluate the configuration of our fleet, and make adjustments when appropriate to match supply to demand, while remaining competitive within the industry.  Although we expect to add seats to the 737 and MD-80 fleets, we are evaluating the right number of seats and the impact on revenue and cost while retaining our Main Cabin Extra product.

“It’s premature to speculate on the impact to capacity outlook.  All capacity decisions of the merged carrier will be decided through the integration process.

“As we work through plans to integrate our two airlines, our leaders are evaluating every aspect of the business to make sure that any new decisions are right for the combined carrier.”

American’s MD-80 currently has 140 seats, while its Boeing 737-800 has between 148 and 160 seats. The two aircraft made up 63 percent of American’s fleet of 614 airplanes as of Dec. 31, as well as 55 percent of the seats in the fleet.

We take note that the number of seats in both aircraft has fluctuated over time. American took seats out of its fleet during its “More Room Throughout Coach” period early in the last decade. When the airline figured out the loss in seats wasn’t offset by commensurate increases in fares by grateful passengers, it put the seats back in, and then added even more.

The Boeing 737-800s were configured for 148 seats in the latter part of the decade. Then, as it took delivery of new 737-800 in recent years, it used a thinner seat design that let it boost the seating by two rows, with 160 seats in all.

But it decided to reconfigure the 737-800 for 150 seats, a decision would let it staff the airplane with three flights attendants instead of at least four. The Federal Aviation Administration requires at least one flight attendant for every 50 seats, a ratio that 150 seats would let American eliminate the fourth flight attendants.

As Curtis notes in her message to employees, adding seats back also mean that the carrier will add back another flight attendant.

Keep reading for a chart on the seating capacity of the two airplane types over the years, drawn from American and AMR documents.

American began taking delivery of the 737-800 in 1999, which is why you won’t see it listed before then. Also, in recent years, American listed the average capacity, not all the different seating arrangements it was flying.

… [visit site to read more]

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Traffic, loads up for U.S. airlines, but unit revenues were down in May

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With most airlines reporting their results for May, it appears that increased traffic and fewer empty seats did not result in higher unit revenues for many in the industry.

Of eight U.S. airlines that report the ups and downs of unit revenues, only two reported an increase – Delta Air Lines and JetBlue Airways – in May’s revenues per available seat mile compared to May 2012. Another, United Airlines, said its … [visit site to read more]

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Tom Horton talks about the leadership at the new American Airlines Group

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AMR and American Airlines chairman, president and CEO Tom Horton sent out this message to his employees Monday after incoming CEO Doug Parker announced his top leadership team post-merger:

A Message from Chairman and CEO Tom Horton

Dear American Team:

Today marks an important milestone toward completion of our merger with US Airways. Doug Parker announced the leadership … [visit site to read more]

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We may know names of post-merger management team at American Airlines very soon

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If rumors prove true, American Airlines chairman and CEO Tom Horton may let his top managers know Friday where they’ll fit into the carrier after its planned merger with US Airways.

What we’ve been told by several people is that Horton will call in his team Friday and that there’ll be a press release issued Monday.

We’ve suggested to certain people that they should issue the press release soon after the managers learn their fate because there is a high likelihood that it will leak … [visit site to read more]

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AMR-American Airlines bankruptcy fees and expenses top $300 million

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The AMR/American Airlines bankruptcy case hit a milestone this week when the total fees and expenses billed passed the $300 million mark.

As of Friday morning, our Excel sheet shows that the attorneys, financial consultants, airplane advisors, tax experts and such have billed just under $287.7 million in fees and just under $13.7 million in expenses submitted. Combined, the total is $301.3 million.

The firms haven’t received this much as of this point. They initially get 80 percent of … [visit site to read more]

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Judge sets date for creditors to vote on American Airlines bankruptcy plan

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U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane has set the dates for creditors and other stakeholders to vote on whether they can accept the proposed plan of reorganization for American Airlines, parent AMR and various subsidiaries.

In his order Friday, Lane laid out this schedule for what happens from here:

June 20: Deadline for American and AMR to mail out the plan and disclosure statement on the plan to stakeholders.

July 29:  Deadline for stakeholders to vote on … [visit site to read more]

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Flight attendant union at Southwest Airlines names replacement president

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The Transport Workers Union Local 556, which represents flight attendants at Southwest Airlines, put out this message Thursday, a week after its executive board removed the president, vice president and treasurer that members elected in 2012:

Dear Members,

Last week, Audrey Stone and John Parrott were offered and accepted the positions of Local 556 1st Vice President and Treasurer, respectively.

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AMR and American Airlines file a revised disclosure statements and bankruptcy plan of reorganization

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Following Tuesday’s hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, AMR and American Airlines filed a revised plan of reorganization (287 pages) and disclosure statement (510 pages) Wednesday afternoon to incorporate what happened at the hearing,

The versions we have on hand don’t highlight the changes. We know that a lot of the discussion Tuesday focused on what AMR and … [visit site to read more]

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AirTran kicks a whole bunch of students off a NYC-Atlanta flight

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In our controversy of the day, AirTran Airways booted 101 students and seven chaperones off a flight from New York LaGuardia to Atlanta on Monday because they allegedly wouldn’t sit down and turn off their cellphones.

Here’s from CNN:

“We take this matter seriously and have started our own investigation,” said a statement released Tuesday by Rabbi Seth Linfield, executive … [visit site to read more]

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Southwest Airlines finally gets to Wichita

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It took decades of lobbying, a change in federal law and a merger, but Southwest Airlines has finally arrived in Wichita.

The southern Kansas city has longed coveted Southwest Airlines flights, which flew to Oklahoma City and Tulsa but not to Wichita.

But on Sunday, Southwest began non-stop service to Dallas, Chicago Midway and Las Vegas. It’s only five flights a day – two to Dallas and Chicago, one to Las Vegas – but it’s something.

Victor White, director of airports for the … [visit site to read more]

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