American Airlines is the second busiest carrier at LAX, behind United Airlines,… (Irfan Khan, Los Angeles…)
For an air carrier whose parent company is still in bankruptcy, American Airlines doesn't show signs of retrenching.
American announced plans Wednesday to add eight 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 the airport.
The new domestic destinations — Eugene and Redmond, Ore.; Pittsburgh; Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis; Bentonville, Ark.; and Hartford, Conn. — will be added this summer, with a new flight to Sao Paulo, Brazil, starting in November, pending government approval. The airline began last week to fly 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.
American's parent company, AMR Corp., filed for bankruptcy in 2011 but plans to move ahead in the next few years to purchase 460 narrow-body jets, plus 20 new Boeing 777-300ER planes 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.
American, based in Fort Worth, announced in February plans to merge with US Airways, based in Tempe, Ariz., to form the nation's largest airline.
At Los Angeles International Airport, United Airlines took over as the busiest airline after it completed its merger with Continental Airlines. It carries about 17.6% of passengers at the airport.
American is in second place at LAX with 16.3% of the passengers 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.