American Airlines will cut nonstop service to 17 cities from Washington, D.C.’s Reagan National Airport as part of network changes prompted by the carrier’s merger settlement with the Justice Department, the Fort Worth-based airline said Wednesday.
No date has been set for the schedule changes as the company works with the Justice Department to divest the slots. Both JetBlue and Southwest Airlines have expressed interest in acquiring them.
“In an effort to minimize any impact that our DOJ-required slot divestitures would have on small- and medium-size communities, we felt it was important to make this announcement now,” Andrew Nocella, American’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement.
To gain approval for their merger, American and US Airways agreed to give up 52 takeoff and landing slots at Reagan and 17 at New York’s LaGuardia Airport. The reduced service at the airports is a result of that agreement.
American will no longer provide daily service from Reagan National to Augusta, Ga.; Detroit; Fayetteville, N.C.; Fort Walton Beach, Fla.; Islip, N.Y.; Jacksonville, N.C.; Little Rock; Minneapolis; Montreal; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Nassau, Bahamas; Omaha, Neb.; Pensacola, Fla.; San Diego; Savannah, Ga.; Tallahassee, Fla.; and Wilmington, N.C. Flights to Fort Myers, Fla., will be adjusted to a seasonal schedule.
At LaGuardia, the carrier will end nonstop service to Atlanta, Cleveland and Minneapolis. But it will add flights to 10 new cities — Charlottesville, Va.; Dayton, Ohio; Greensboro, N.C.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Little Rock; Louisville, Ky.; Norfolk, Va.; Richmond, Va.; Roanoke, Va.; and Wilmington, N.C.
Customers can buy tickets on those routes starting Jan. 26 for travel beginning April 1.
Last month, the Federal Aviation Administration approved the divestiture of American’s LaGuardia slots to Southwest Airlines and Virgin America. Southwest will receive 11 slots, and Virgin America six.
Of the 11 slots given to Southwest, the Dallas-based carrier already uses five that it leases from American.
“These service changes are not expected to impact our employees, whose efforts and support enabled us to create the world’s greatest airline,” American President Scott Kirby said.
Separately, American Airlines told investors Wednesday that it ended 2013 with $10.3 billion in cash and investments.
The carrier provided financial information to Wall Street in a government filing in advance of its first earnings report since completing its merger last month. American expects to report its fourth-quarter earnings this month.
American said its cash balance includes $1 billion in restricted cash.
“It is clear that [American Airlines] will begin tackling integration from a more robust base of profitability than in other prior mergers,” JPMorgan analyst Jamie Baker wrote in a research note to investors after viewing the information.
Shares of American (ticker: AAL) closed down 3 cents at $28.84. The stock has risen almost 18 percent since the companies merged Dec. 9.
The mainline operations at American expect to pay an average of $3.06 to $3.11 per gallon of jet fuel, while its operations at US Airways expect to pay $3 to $3.05.
Capacity rose 2.13 percent in the fourth quarter at American’s mainline operations and 6.8 percent at US Airways.
The company also provided a fleet update.
American received 20 new Airbus aircraft and 39 new Boeing aircraft in 2013 while retiring 45 planes. US Airways took delivery of 21 new Airbus planes and retired 20 aircraft last year.