American Eagle to retire Saab fleet

Washington DC
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American Eagle Airlines will retire its Saab 340B fleet as part of parent AMR Corp’s larger effort to significantly reduce costs as fuel prices surge and the economy softens.

An Eagle spokeswoman says the carrier has 35 Saab 340Bs in active service.

The aircraft fly from both Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Angeles. These are in addition to a batch of the same type that has been parked since the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks.

Eagle’s Saab 340B retirements are slated to begin in September. By year-end, the entire fleet is expected to have been removed from service, confirms the spokeswoman.

To compensate for lift in certain regional markets, a total 12 66-seat ATR 72s flown by AMR-owned Executive Airlines – which operates under the Eagle banner from San Juan – will be transitioned to Dallas.

The Saab 340Bs in Los Angeles will be replaced by unidentified regional jets, says the spokeswoman.

Eagle’s remaining 64-seat ATR 72s will remain in San Juan. Its departures from the Puerto Rican city will drop from 55 to 33.

Separately, in a statement confirming its first round of schedule changes, AMR says both Eagle and its mainline sister American Airlines will be affected by reductions in service from San Juan to the USA and various islands in the Caribbean.

Additionally, American will discontinue year-round service from Chicago to Buenos Aires on 3 September and to Honolulu on 5 January 2009. Between 3 September 2008 and 5 January 2009, American will operate Chicago-Honolulu service only on peak demand days.

Service will also be discontinued between Boston and San Diego on 3 September.

“In the coming weeks, AMR will continue to make additional schedule reductions in other markets and will assess the location- and route-specific impacts of those changes,” says the company.

This will be done to achieve plans to reduce AMR’s fourth quarter mainline domestic capacity by 11% to 12% compared to 2007 levels and its fourth quarter regional affiliate capacity by 10% to 11% compared to 2007.