Category Archives: American Airlines

American Airlines marks the 10th Anniversary of the Miracle on the Hudson

American Airlines on January 15 joined the crew and passengers of US Airways Flight 1549 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Miracle on the Hudson at a luncheon hosted by the Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, First Officer Jeff Skiles and Flight Attendants Sheila Dail, Donna Dent and Doreen Welsh were recognized for the bravery and skill they demonstrated on Jan. 15, 2009.

Ten years ago, shortly after takeoff, US Airways Flight 1549 struck a flock of geese, disabling both engines of the Airbus A320 aircraft. Sullenberger and Skiles quickly ditched the aircraft in the Hudson River while Dail, Dent and Welsh helped passengers evacuate. Through the heroic actions of the crew and the immediate response from public and private agencies and organizations in New York and New Jersey, all 150 passengers survived. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) member Kitty Higgins later described Flight 1549 as “the most successful ditching in aviation history.”

“Flight 1549 quickly became known as the Miracle on the Hudson, but all of us know that what Capt. Sullenberger, First Officer Jeff Skiles and Flight Attendants Sheila Dail, Donna Dent and Doreen Welsh did on the Hudson was not a miracle, but an example of great skill and professionalism produced by years of training and experience,” American’s Chairman and CEO Doug Parker said.

Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, First Officer Jeff Skiles and Flight Attendants Sheila Dail, Donna Dent and Doreen Welsh were honored at the luncheon.

Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, First Officer Jeff Skiles and Flight Attendants Sheila Dail, Donna Dent and Doreen Welsh were honored at the luncheon.

Luncheon attendees joined in a champagne toast at 3:31 p.m. ET to mark the time of the ditching.

Luncheon attendees joined in a champagne toast at 3:31 p.m. ET to mark the time of the ditching.

“There’s never been a story quite like this one, and probably never will be. It is also a reminder of why our pilots and flight attendants train and prepare as hard as they do. We are proud of Sully, Jeff, Sheila, Donna and Doreen’s place in aviation history and are thankful for the hundreds of team members from across the company who sprang into action to take care of our customers and the crew in the hours, days, weeks and months after the accident.”

Parker joined former New York Governor David Paterson; City of Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles; President of the Carolinas Aviation Museum Stephen Saucier; union, corporate, government and nonprofit representatives and dozens of current and former airline team members who were instrumental in the response at the luncheon.

The airline’s CARE Team, a vital part of the emergency effort, helped to provide the immediate humanitarian response for the passengers, their loved ones and the crew.

After the luncheon, the crew, passengers and several American team members gathered around the aircraft involved in the accident, which resides at the Carolinas Aviation Museum, for a celebratory toast at 3:31 p.m. ET — the time of the ditching — to honor the milestone anniversary.

Each member of the crew of Flight 1549 had decades of aviation experience at the time of the accident. Sullenberger had been a pilot with US Airways for nearly 30 years and had more than 19,000 hours of flight time, placing him among the most qualified airline pilots in the world. Skiles had more than 15,000 hours of flight time and had just started flying Airbus A320 aircraft. Dail and Dent each had nearly 30 years of flight attendant experience; Welsh, nearly 40.

Sullenberger and Welsh retired from US Airways in 2010. Dent retired from American in 2017 and today marks Dail’s last day at the airline before retirement. Skiles is based in Chicago and flies Boeing 787 aircraft for American.

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American reopens Hangar 2 at Tulsa

American Airlines made this announcement:

It’s a new era for a World War II-era hangar here. On January 9, 2019 American’s Tech Ops – Tulsa team officially reopened Hangar 2’s Dock 2D for business after a tail slot modification that allows it to house larger aircraft. Tulsa city leaders, the Airport Authority, Chamber leaders, TWU Local 514 leadership and several hundred team members attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Hangar 2 is one of four hangars that were part of the original base when American relocated its Maintenance operation to Tulsa from LGA in 1946. The hangars were built to accommodate smaller aircraft than we commonly fly today. Most recently, Dock 2D was used for maintenance on the McDonnell Douglas MD-80.

The modification — nicknamed the doghouse because of how it looks from the front — allows larger aircraft to fit completely into the dock, including the tail. The hangar ceiling had to be raised to accommodate the tail section and the new slot, and various structural beams, utilities and wiring had to be reworked to create the slot opening. The hangar’s two smaller doors became one larger door, and another door was added for the tail slot itself. Three other docks in the Hangar 1/2 complex in Tulsa have received similar modifications over the last several years.

Hangar 2D before
Hangar 2D after

Dock 2D before the tail slot modification (left) and after, with the first Airbus A319 to visit Tech Ops – Tulsa parked inside

The $2.7 million Dock 2D project was supported with funding from Vision Tulsa, an $884 million sales tax renewal package approved by voters in 2016. Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum led the local delegation at the grand opening to highlight both the commitment the city and American have to each other and why they chose to invest in us.

“With the Vision Tulsa sales tax, Tulsans are investing in their city for continued economic development through projects such as this tail slot at the Tulsa Maintenance Base,” Mayor Bynum said. “We are proud to continue our many decades of partnership between the City of Tulsa and American Airlines.”

The modification is already paying off. The first aircraft to use Dock 2D after its reopening is the Airbus A319, which, until now, had never visited Tech Ops – Tulsa.

“I’ve worked at the Tulsa base for 23 years, and I’ve always thought it was good place to be,” said Crew Chief Jimmy Downing. “As a mechanic, I want to see all our space used, so it’s exciting to see this hangar space get modified. We’ve been hoping to see Airbus or other work here, and it’s nice to see it finally happening.”

The team will run a dedicated special visit line (additional work to prepare aircraft for the summer) this month, and scheduled A-checks with the Airbus will soon begin in Hangar 80.

“It is fantastic to have the A319 here at the Tulsa base, to jump on a near-term opportunity to accelerate summer readiness work and to capitalize on the Tulsa team’s training and readiness for the Airbus aircraft,” said Craig Barton, Vice President of Technical Services.

Erik Olund, Managing Director of Base Maintenance, added, “We are incredibly grateful for the support from the City of Tulsa for the tail modification. With this functional space, our team can stand ready to provide additional support for the operation as we stay focused on providing a world-class experience for our customers. I know our team will knock it out of the park.”

American to add two American Eagle routes to Florida

American Eagle Airlines (2nd)-Republic Airlines (2nd) Embraer ERJ 170-200LR (ERJ 175) N447YX (msn 17000463) MIA (Jay Selman). Image: 403927.

American Airlines according to Airline Route is adding two new routes in May 2019 to Florida:

New York (LGA) – Daytona Beach – twice-weekly effective May 4, operated by Republic Airline (Republic Airways)

Washington (Reagan National) – Melbourne, FL – twice-weekly effective May 4, 2019, operated by Republic Airline

Both routes will be operated with Embraer 175 aircraft.

Top Copyright Photo (all others by Republic): American Eagle Airlines (2nd)-Republic Airlines (2nd) Embraer ERJ 170-200LR (ERJ 175) N447YX (msn 17000463) MIA (Jay Selman). Image: 403927.

American Eagle-Republic aircraft slide show:

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American Airlines adds flights for college football’s championship game

American Airlines Airbus A321-231 WL N934AA (msn 7500) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 945009.

American Airlines is announcing new service to Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) in California for the college football championship game. Nonstop flights from Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) in South Carolina and Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM) in Alabama to SJC are available for purchase now.

American already operates up to 16 flights per day to SJC from four of its hubs: Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW); O’Hare International Airport (ORD) in Chicago; Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) in Phoenix, Arizona; and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

In total, college football fans will have 16 American flights to SJC to choose from January 5, 2019 and even more options for the trip home January 8, 2019 with 17 American flights scheduled from SJC.

Schedule of added direct service

Date Departure airport Arrival airport Departure time Arrival time Aircraft type
Jan. 5 GSP SJC 12:15 p.m. 2:58 p.m. Airbus A321
Jan. 5 BHM SJC 10:10 a.m. 1:15 p.m. Airbus A321
Jan. 8 SJC GSP 10:45 a.m. 6:33 p.m. Boeing 737
Jan. 8 SJC GSP 1:45 p.m. 9:24 p.m. Boeing 737
Jan. 8 SJC BHM 10 a.m. 4:35 p.m. Boeing 737
Jan. 8 SJC BHM 2:15 p.m. 8:50 p.m. Boeing 737

American has more service than any other airline from GSP and BHM today, and with this announcement in support of the championship game, increases daily service to up to 20 flights per day from GSP and up to 21 flights per day from BHM.

Top Copyright Photo: American Airlines Airbus A321-231 WL N934AA (msn 7500) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 945009.

American aircraft slide show:

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American Airlines introduces 18 new routes and adds seats to Paris and Madrid

American Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner N832AA (msn 40638) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 944767.

American Airlines is opening up additional flights to more cities across the U.S. as well as two new flights to Europe.

The 18 new routes start this summer and include a new destination: Glacier Park International Airport in Kalispell, Montana (FCA), with service from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD).

The airline is also returning to Canada’s Halifax Stanfield International Airport in Nova Scotia (YHZ), with service from Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) and LaGuardia Airport in New York (LGA).

The world’s largest airline is also increasing summer service from DFW to two popular European cities next summer: Paris and Madrid.

All flights will be available for sale Monday, December 17.

More domestic flights from hubs

“With 18 new routes, we are committed to providing the most choices for our customers across the U.S. and a chance to see the world,” said Vasu Raja, Vice President of Network and Schedule Planning for American. “Service to Kalispell, for example, offers an exciting destination for our customers to experience. It also introduces new opportunities for local Kalispell customers to connect across American’s vast network through LAX, ORD and DFW.”

At the same time, the company is investing to provide a more consistent experience across regional and mainline fleets. American’s dual-class regional aircraft are equipped with first class seats, Wi-Fi and free wireless entertainment, and work has already begun to provide access to power at every seat.

More service from DFW

American continues to grow its largest hub as it increases to 900 flights per day in the summer of 2019 by opening 15 new gates at the Terminal E satellite. American will add five new routes from DFW beginning in April with service to San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport (SBP) in California. In May, the airline will launch new daily service to Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR) in South Carolina. Then, in June, in addition to Kalispell, American begins year-round service to Harrisburg International Airport (MDT) in Pennsylvania and daily seasonal service to California’s Wine Country via Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport (STS) in Santa Rosa.

The airline will also add a second daily flight to Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) in Paris and Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD) starting June 6, providing more choices and connectivity for its customers and cargo, improving what is already the most robust service to those destinations from DFW.

“The additional flights are scheduled to provide more flexibility in a traveler’s day with a later departure from DFW and from CDG, and, in the case of MAD, enable optimal connectivity to Iberia’s network from larger markets such as Sacramento, California (SMF); Reno, Nevada (RNO); and Guadalajara, Mexico (GDL),” said Raja.

Customers flying to CDG and MAD from DFW can choose fully lie-flat business class seats featuring access to the Flagship Lounge and chef-designed meals, as well as a lumbar support pillow and duvet from sleep experts Casper. Or, they can opt for one of more than 20 Premium Economy seats featuring more width, legroom and adjustability; extendable foot and head rests; a chef-inspired meal; complimentary amenity kits and a Casper pillow and blanket.

The additional CDG and MAD flights will be operated as part of the Atlantic Joint Business (AJB) among American, British Airways, Iberia and Finnair. Through the AJB, customers can seamlessly book and fly on nearly 150 trans-Atlantic flights to hundreds of destinations in North America, Europe and the Caribbean.

Second daily flight to CDG and MAD, June 6–Oct. 27 (subject to change)

DFW–CDG (Boeing 787-9)

AA22
Departs DFW at 8:30 p.m.
Arrives CDG at 12:45 p.m.

AA23
Departs CDG at 3:25 p.m.
Arrives DFW at 6:50p.m.

DFW–MAD (Boeing 787-9)

AA156
Departs DFW at 8:50 p.m.
Arrives MAD at 1:05 p.m.

AA157
Departs MAD at 4:55 p.m.
Arrives DFW at 8:20 p.m.

New summer routes

From DFW

Destination city Aircraft Flights begin Frequency Season
San Luis Obispo, California (SBP) E175 April 2 Daily Year-round
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (MYR) E175 May 3 Daily Summer
Kalispell, Montana (FCA) E175 June 6 Daily Summer
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (MDT) E175 June 6 Daily Year-round
Santa Rosa, California (STS) E175 June 6 Daily Summer/Fall

From DCA

Destination city Aircraft Flights begin Frequency Season
Melbourne, Florida (MLB) E175 May 4 Sat./Sun. Summer

From LAX

Destination city Aircraft Flights begin Frequency Season
Santa Rosa, California (STS) E175 May 3 Daily Summer
Kalispell, Montana (FCA) E175 June 6 Daily Summer

From LGA

Destination city Aircraft Flights begin Frequency Season
Columbia, South Carolina (CAE) E145 May 3 Daily Year-round
Asheville, North Carolina (AVL) E175 May 4 Sat./Sun. Summer
Daytona Beach, Florida (DAB) E175 May 4 Sat./Sun. Summer
Jackson, Wyoming (JAC) A319 June 8 Saturday Summer
Halifax, Nova Scotia (YHZ) E175 June 15 Saturday Summer

From ORD

Destination city Aircraft Flights begin Frequency Season
Manchester, New Hampshire (MHT) CRJ700 June 6 Daily Year-round
Kalispell, Montana (FCA) E175 June 6 Daily Summer
Durango, Colorado (DRO) CRJ700 June 8 Saturday Summer

From PHL

Destination city Aircraft Flights begin Frequency Season
Halifax, Nova Scotia (YHZ) E175 June 13 Daily Summer

From PHX

Destination city Aircraft Flights begin Frequency Season
Raleigh, North Carolina (RDU) A320 May 3 Daily Year-round

Also, as previously announced, American will inaugurate 28 new domestic and international routes from Dec. 19 to 22, 2018 on top of two international launches this week: MIA–Matecana International Airport (PEI) in Pereira, Columbia, and MIA–Argyle International Airport (SVD) in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Top Copyright Photo (all others by American): American Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner N832AA (msn 40638) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 944767.

American aircraft slide show (Boeing):

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American’s first-ever biometric boarding program arrives at LAX

American Airlines mad this announcement:

Better boarding for American Airlines customers arrived today at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) with the launch of the carrier’s first-ever biometric boarding pilot program.

American customers traveling on select international departures from LAX Terminal 4 can now enjoy additional convenience during the departure process thanks to cutting-edge technology. Instead of scanning boarding passes, the new one-step facial recognition program will scan and verify a customer’s identity with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in seconds at the gate.

“LAX is American’s gateway to the Asia-Pacific region, making it the perfect location for American to launch biometric boarding,” said Suzanne Boda, Senior Vice President of Los Angeles at American. “The goal of the new technology is to provide a more efficient, modern experience for our customers and team members while enhancing aviation security. That is exactly what we’ve been working to do here in Los Angeles.”

When customers begin the boarding process, the facial recognition program will scan an image of their face and send it to an existing cloud-based CBP database. The system then instantly matches the image against the passport photo already on file with CBP and sends back a yes or no determination on whether they are cleared to board within seconds at the gate.

Agents will continue to ensure customers have their passports with them before departing. Customers may also choose not to use the new system and board with their regular boarding pass.

The pilot program will be used at LAX for 90 days as American evaluates its potential expansion to more flights and locations throughout its global network.

All photos by American Airlines.

American inducts first CFM56-5B engine

Last November, American announced it would bring CFM56-5B engine maintenance work to Tech Ops – Tulsa. The work had previously been completed by GE before that contract expired in October 2018. Now, one year after the announcement, the team is celebrating as the first -5B engine was inducted in the Tulsa engine shop Nov. 15.

American insources more maintenance work than any other airline. Bringing this work to Tulsa is a testament to the hard work and talent of the mechanics and support personnel in the engine shop and their goal to be the very best in the industry. Over the last several years, they’ve sharpened their skills on the maintenance of the CFM56-7B engine, which powers more than 300 of our Boeing 737 aircraft. They took the turn-around time for -7B engine maintenance from 76 days to a world-class average of 53 days — a timeframe they’ve maintained for three years.

In the year since the announcement, the engine shop has stayed busy prepping for the -5B. Approximately 85 team members have been added to the shop to handle the new engine fleet, along with the -7B volume expected next year for regular maintenance. Existing team members bid their schedules to perform the new work, which led to openings in other workgroups, and eventually a need to hire externally to fill aircraft cleaner positions. It all builds on the goal of providing long-term, high-volume, sustainable work for Tech Ops – Tulsa and our Maintenance team.

A team was established to look at tooling — what could be used between the two engines and if there was enough of it, and what new tooling would be needed to perform the work. The engine test cell also required an upgrade to run the -5B.

Another team was focused on training. They looked at the differences between the -5B and -7B engines and developed courses to train their colleagues about each engine and the differences between the two. General training for the engine shop will be ongoing to bring team members in the shop up to speed.

“This work is our future, and we can only grow from here. The team has worked really hard to get this, and now that’s paying off for them,” said Wayne Thomas, Director of Engines.

The -5B powers 151 of American’s Airbus A320 family aircraft. The Tulsa engine shop expects to induct three more -5B engines before the end of 2018 and is estimating 30 engine shop visits for 2019.

And that world-class turn-around time? It’s going to take a little time for the -5B as the team works to validate that things like parts, components, tooling procedures, and processes are fine tuned. Other teams outside the engine shop, including Production Control, Supply Chain, Quality Control, Engineering and Facilities Maintenance, are playing an integral part in ensuring the -5B’s success and are working closely with the shop.

Jim Blesi, Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT), was one of the first team members who opened the -7B engine shop in 2005. Now, he is reliving the journey all over again with the -5B as he lends his expertise and training. “You don’t realize what a big project it is to get ready for something like this, especially with things like tooling,” he said. “Brand new tooling has a lot of issues to work through — the tolerance is tight and you have to spend a lot of time breaking it in. But it’s a challenge we’re ready for.”

The engine shop knows with the right support, they can turn the -5B into another world-class maintenance milestone for American. Jim Bressers, another AMT, sees this as the tip of the iceberg on what could be next. “It’s great that leadership has the confidence we can do this job,” he said. “Insourcing this is invigorating. Now, it’s up to us to prove they made the right decision.”

Photos: American Airlines.