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American Airlines expanding LAX service with eight new destinations

April 10, 2013|By Hugo Martin

This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.

For a carrier whose parent company is still in bankruptcy, American Airlines doesn’t show signs of retrenching.

The airline announced plans Wednesday to expand to eight new destinations out of Los Angeles International Airport in an effort to secure more big-spending business travelers. It will bring to 51 the number of domestic and international destinations from LAX.

Seven new domestic destinations -- Eugene, Ore; Redmond, Ore.; Pittsburgh; Indianapolis; Columbus, Ohio; Hartford, Conn.; and Bentonville, Ark. -- will be added this summer, with a new flight to Sao Paulo, Brazil starting in November, pending government approval. In addition, the airline began last week flying to Raleigh/Durham, N.C.

“We are certainly interested in adding those dots to the map that are most desirable to the high-value customer,” said Chuck Schubert, vice president of network planning for American Airlines.

Business travelers are highly desirable because they book only about 15% of the seats but generate nearly 30% of airline revenue by buying last-minute, high-priced seats in the front of the plane, according to studies.

American’s parent company, AMR Corp. filed for bankruptcy in 2011 but still plans over the next few years to purchase 460 narrow-body jets, plus 20 new Boeing 777-300ER with lie-flat seats in first- and business-class sections, mood lighting and a walk-up bar stocked with snacks and drinks.

“We have to continue to act on our business plan,” Schubert said.

Fort Worth-based American also announced in February plans to merge with Tempe-based US Airways to form the nation’s largest airline.

At Los Angeles International Airport, United Airlines took over as the biggest airline after it completed its merger with Continental Airlines. It serves 17.6% of passengers at the airport.

American is in second place at LAX, carrying 16.3% of the passenger but is expected to take over the top spot after it completes its merger with US Airways.

“We are less worried about being the biggest in L.A. but in being in the right markets,” Schubert said.

For the record. 8:25 a.m., April 12: A previous version of this post said one of American Airlines' new destinations will be Redmond, Wash. It will be Redmond, Ore.

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