American Air Extends 1% Capacity Cut to Nov. 14 on Delays

AMR Corp. (AAMRQ)’s American Airlines said its 1 percent reduction in capacity will be extended through the first 14 days of November because the bankrupt carrier’s on-time arrival rate hasn’t improved enough.

“We are not yet back to the levels our customers deserve and expect,” American said today in a memo to employees. Keeping the capacity cutbacks in place for part of the month “will give us additional time to ensure the operation returns to a more normal pattern. This will not impact holiday travel.”

Based on a daily schedule of 3,500 flights, American’s cuts mean the elimination of about 35 trips a day, according to the airline.

American initially trimmed flight and seat capacity by 1 percent to 2 percent in mid-September through October as its on- time arrival rate tumbled to less than 50 percent. The delays occurred after the airline imposed concessions on pilots and began notifying mechanics of layoffs.

The slowdowns coincided with three instances of seats becoming dislodged on American planes to drive some passengers to other airlines. Fort Worth, Texas-based American’s September U.S. passenger traffic fell 7.1 percent.

American’s on-time arrival rate was 76 percent for 1,190 flights tracked as of 6:30 p.m. New York time today, according to data researcher FlightStats.com. Yesterday’s rate was 65 percent, compared with 82 percent at United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL) and 77 percent at Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL)

The carrier has threatened legal action against the Allied Pilots Association if the delays don’t stop, saying pilots were reporting maintenance questions just before flights. The union said it wasn’t encouraging or supporting a slowdown and advised members not to deliberately delay operations.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mary Schlangenstein in Dallas at maryc.s@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ed Dufner at edufner@bloomberg.net

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