Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Steamboat Springs American Airlines’ bankruptcy filling isn’t expected to impact its winter flights to Yampa Valley Regional Airport.
American Airlines, which serves Yampa Valley Regional Airport during ski season with direct flights from Chicago and Dallas, announced Tuesday that it will seek to reorganize under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. That makes American Airlines the last of the U.S. legacy airlines to go through bankruptcy, according to a report by The Associated Press.
Yampa Valley Regional Airport Manager Dave Ruppel said he doesn’t expect the bankruptcy process to disrupt the airline’s service into the Yampa Valley and added that his experience has shown that it’s very difficult to tell the difference between an airline operating under Chapter 11 and one that is not.
“At this point we haven’t been told that it’s going to (impact YVRA),” Ruppel said.
Fort Worth, Texas-based AMR Corp. said it sought bankruptcy protection to reduce its costs and debt to remain competitive and that it would continue normal flight operations during the reorganization.
American Airlines flights into the Yampa Valley are secured by contracts that assure the airline of baseline revenues funded by the local community.
American Airlines officials told the AP that labor contracts have forced it to spend at least $600 million more than other airlines. It was the avoidance of bankruptcy during the past decade that eroded the airline’s ability to compete with airlines like United and Delta, which already had restructured their labor costs and emerged form bankruptcy.
In the meantime, American Airlines was left out of the merger trend that saw United and Continental, and Delta and Northwest, join together.
American Airlines lost $162 million in the third quarter and has lost money in 14 of the past 16 quarters, according to the AP.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com