AMR Corp., the parent company of American Eagle airlines, which has flights out of San Angelo Regional Airport, has announced plans to cut its regional capacity by 10 percent, according to a company spokeswoman.
The cuts are in line with similar announcements from other airline companies and are a result of increasing jet fuel prices.
"The price of fuel is crippling the industry," said Andrea Huguely, an AMR spokeswoman.
As part of upcoming changes, AMR will retire its fleet of Saab 340 turboprop aircraft — the 34-seat aircraft used in San Angelo — by the end of the year, Huguely said. Those planes will be replaced with ATR 72 twin-engine turboprops, which are more fuel efficient and have 66 seats.
Part of the cutbacks may include reducing the number of flights at regional airports, Huguely said.
American Eagle operates five flights to Dallas-Fort Worth out of San Angelo daily, and Continental Airlines operates two flights a day to Houston.
Continental, which also announced fleet reductions layoffs and cutbacks, could not be reached Thursday afternoon for comment.
AMR is looking into each market to tailor the capacity cuts individually, Huguely said.
"To make sure we remain viable," Huguely said, "these decisions must be made."
AMR is the parent company of American Airlines, which is also experiencing cutbacks.
The company has two other regional carriers in addition to American Eagle, Huguely said, and all are cutting capacity by 10 percent.
And the flying public doesn’t notice anyway.
Initiatives to address near-term challenges
Airport Manager Davis Dickson said he and others are waiting to see what American Airlines decides to do with its American Eagle commuter activity at Pounds.
This expanded agreement will include AMS Technicians meeting each American Eagle flight as it arrives at the gate in Nashville as well as performing overnight checks and "run taxi" checks.