American announces Washington and New York changes

Washington DC
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American Airlines will end nonstop flights to 17 cities from Ronald Reagan Washington National airport and add flights to 10 cities from New York LaGuardia, as it begins its integration with US Airways.

Flights from Washington National to Augusta (Georgia), Detroit, Fayetteville (North Carolina), Fort Walton Beach, Islip, Jacksonville (North Carolina), Little Rock, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Montreal, Myrtle Beach, Nassau, Omaha, Pensacola, San Diego, Savannah, Tallahassee and Wilmington (North Carolina) will end during 2014, according to the Fort Worth, Texas-based Oneworld alliance carrier. Flights to Fort Myers will also shift to seasonal from year round.

The schedule changes come as American must divest 52 slot pairs at the airport as part of a settlement with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) in exchange for approving its merger with US Airways, which closed on 9 December 2013.

The number of pairs available to low-cost carriers, who the regulator has said will receive them, is expected to be 44 as JetBlue Airways already leases eight from American.

A decision from the DOJ on what airlines will receive the slots is expected in the coming weeks.

American will continue to serve all 17 cities from other airports in its network, it says. The timeline for ending flights to Washington National will be determined by the DOJ divestiture process.

In addition, the carrier plans to launch a second daily flight from Washington National to Los Angeles International with the slot pair currently used by US Airways for its flight to San Diego International airport.

Of the 17 routes American is dropping from National, only Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Montreal and Omaha will continue to have nonstop service to the Washington area airport, Innovata schedules show.

Air Canada flies from National to Montreal, Delta Air Lines flies to Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul and will begin Omaha flights operated by Chautauqua Airlines on 1 February, and Sun Country Airlines flies to Minneapolis-St. Paul, according to Innovata.

At New York LaGuardia, American will launch new nonstop service to Charlottesville, Dayton, Greensboro, Knoxville, Little Rock, Louisville, Norfolk, Richmond, Roanoke and Wilmington (North Carolina) from 1 April.

The changes are possible by optimising the combined American and US Airways schedule at the airport and ending flights to Atlanta, Cleveland and Minneapolis-St. Paul, the carrier says.

“Washington Reagan and LaGuardia will continue to be a key part of the new American's network,” says Andrew Nocella, senior vice-president and chief marketing officer of American, in a statement. “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.”

Delta flies to all of the cities that American plans to add from LaGuardia except for Little Rock, which has no nonstop service to the airport, Innovata shows.

Atlanta will continue to be served from New York LaGuardia by Delta and Southwest Airlines, Cleveland by United Airlines and Delta, and Minneapolis-St. Paul by Delta, according to Innovata.