American Airlines bowed even more deeply recently to the reality of record high fuel prices by announcing steep cuts in flying this fall, USA Today reports.
The reductions — almost double what American forecast only a month ago — will likely mean elimination of at least 300 flights a day from the 4,300 that it and its regional affiliates offer. That will also likely lead to elimination of more than 6,000 jobs. The company plans to retire at least 75 mainline and regional aircrafts.
The world's largest airline will be 7 percent to 8 percent smaller in the fourth quarter than it was in the last three months of 2007. Most of that reduction will come in the domestic market, where American's mainline capacity will be down 11 percent to 12 percent. Further capacity cuts are possible late this year or in 2009.
The only bigger capacity cut in American's history came in 2001's fourth quarter in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Capacity fell 13.6 percent as measured by available seat miles.
American also recently announced steps to boost revenue, including a new charge of $15 to check a single bag.
According to USA Today, AMR shares lost 24 percent of their value to close at $6.22. UAL, parent of United, lost 29.5 percent of its value to close at $8.15, down from its October peak of $51.60. Continental Airlines fell 13 percent to $14.20, and Delta Air Lines fell 16.4 percent to $5.77. Southwest shares lost 4.4 percent to close at $12.43.