AA To Shed More ATRs, Pilots from Eagle

 - March 2, 2012, 2:29 PM
American Eagle plans to cull another nine ATR 72s from its fleet and furlough another 50 pilots.

American Eagle will furlough 50 pilots effective April 5 in connection with bankrupt parent company American Airlines’ decision to remove another nine ATR 72s from its regional subsidiary’s fleet, this time from its Miami base, according to an internal “Eaglewire” American Eagle president Dan Garton sent to employees yesterday.

In an earlier memo, issued February 24, Garton advised employees that the airline would begin returning the airplanes to their lessor in May and dispose of the last in November. Garton noted, however, that he expects American to replace the ATRs with smaller regional jets.

The transition relates to the bankruptcy of AMR and its American Airlines and American Eagle subsidiaries, both of which seek to either cancel or renegotiate leases on some of their least profitable equipment.

“American is currently working through options to backfill this flying and we should have more detailed information about their plans in the coming weeks,” wrote Garton. “We do not anticipate that American will make additional market cancellations, as this ATR flying is expected to be backfilled with regional jets. However, the schedule is still being finalized. The ATR flying in [San Juan, P.R.] will continue until further notice, as we await American’s additional fleet and network decisions.

Executive Airlines also operates nine ATR 72s out of San Juan.

“Regrettably, this will again impact employees at Executive Airlines who are based in Miami and at Executive’s headquarters in SJU,” added Garton. “We will post a displacement bid in the coming weeks for the employees who will be directly affected by these changes, and will work with them to ensure that they understand all of their options.”

In January American Eagle announced plans to replace all of its ATR 72 turboprops operating from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport with Embraer ERJ 135s, 140s and 145s. As a result, 14 markets throughout Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas gained all-jet service beginning January 31.