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The troubled economy doesn't seem to faze American(AMR Quote), which is going about its business.More on AMR

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  • Tpatel1105@aol.com
    The troubled economy doesn t seem to faze American(AMR Quote), which is going about its business.More on AMR As the economy ground to a crawl in October, the
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2009
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      The troubled economy doesn't seem to faze American(AMR Quote), which is going about its business.More on AMR

      As the economy ground to a crawl in October, the carrier announced what could become the biggest aircraft order in its history, saying it wants 42 Boeing 787s with options for 58 more. Last month, as global travel slowed and Boeing(BA Quote) faced deferrals and cancellations from various customers, American took delivery of two new 737s, the first of 79 aircraft it will take over three years.
      And today, as airlines are pulling back their international exposure, American will add a flight between its Dallas hub and Madrid, the hub for Iberia, its partner in the one-world alliance and potentially a partner with British Airways in an alliance with antitrust immunity, if regulators approve. Antitrust immunity would enable the carriers to coordinate schedules and fares.
      The carrier will utilize a Boeing 767, carrying 225 passengers on the flight lasting 9 1/2 hours eastbound and 10 1/2 hours westbound.
      "You make your decisions, at least we do, about international additions with a very long time horizon," said Henry Joyner, American's senior vice president of planning. "Our (international) growth has been slow and steady."
      The decision to add DFW-Madrid was made in the spring of 2008, Joyner said, partially because antitrust immunity was anticipated and partially because of the synergies involved in linking the hubs. Dallas would become the westernmost U.S. city with non-stop Madrid service.
      In Madrid, where it shares a terminal with American and British Airways, Iberia offers more than 200 daily departures to 87 destinations, including cities in southern Europe and northern Africa.
      Joyner, a veteran of 29 years at American who will retire June 1, has been involved in international planning for about half of his career, during which American has grown into one of the world's leading international airlines. In 1980, when Joyner started, the carrier's only international markets were in Mexico and a handful of Caribbean countries. American added London in 1982, Tokyo in 1987, made a big jump into Latin American when it acquired Eastern's routes in 1989 and then bought TWA's Heathrow routes in 1991. In the past four years, American has added routes to India and China.

      What has been most impressive about the growth, Joyner said, is that commercial aviation has enabled globalization by making travel convenient. "Today, people from my hometown in Baton Rouge can fly one stop over Dallas to a broad list of cities (including), Tokyo, Buenos Aires, Paris and Madrid. American serves 34 international destinations from Dallas.
      "When you talk about the airline business over the long haul, we still have challenges, but the convenience of the way that has been put together has been very supportive of our place in the economy of the world," Joyner said.
      American is not the only carrier launching new service this month, although many routes are seasonal. Continental(CAL Quote) will launch seasonal New York-Athens and Cleveland-London service on Saturday. US Airways(LCC Quote) launched seasonal Charlotte-Paris service last month. Later this month, US Airways will add season flights from Philadelphia to Birmingham, England, and Oslo, and in July it will begin year-round Philadelphia-Tel Av
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