Regionals Update: American responds to scope limits with service cuts at Eagle

 - July 11, 2008, 6:32 AM

American Eagle has begun cutting capacity among its Saab 340 and ATR turboprop fleets to comply with a clause in the American Airlines pilot contract that requires the company to freeze its regional subsidiary’s ASMs. The reductions in turboprop capacity come as the airline introduces its new fleet of 70-seat Bombardier CRJ700s, the first of which entered service January 31 on routes between Dallas and Oklahoma City and Houston. The measure became necessary after American failed to secure relief from the clause, triggered on October 1, when American began furloughing pilots as a result of post-September 11 traffic declines. The first phase of the plan involves removing seats from Saab and ATR turboprops, after which the airline plans to reduce frequencies, accelerate replacement of turboprops with jets, withdraw routes and close its stations in Beaumont, Texas, and Lafayette, La., on April 6. At least 475 Eagle employees will lose their jobs as a result of the cuts.