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Saturday, 25 June 2011

Expansion in the 1980s and 1990s

Expansion in the 1980s and 1990s

Airbus A300-600
Boeing 777-200ER landing at London Heathrow Airport
After moving headquarters to Fort Worth in 1979, American changed its routing to a hub-and-spoke system in 1981, opening its first hubs at DFW and Chicago O'Hare. Led by its new chairman and CEO, Robert Crandall, American began flights from these hubs to Europe and Japan in the mid-1980s.
In the late 1980s, American opened three hubs for north-south traffic. San Jose International Airport was added after American purchased AirCal. American also built a terminal and runway at Raleigh-Durham International Airport for the growing Research Triangle Park nearby and compete with USAir's hub in Charlotte. Nashville was also a hub. In 1988, American Airlines received its first Airbus A300B4-605R aircraft.
In 1990, American Airlines bought the assets of TWA's operations at London Heathrow for $445 million, giving American a hub there. The US/UK Bermuda II treaty, in effect until open skies came into effect in April 2008, barred U.S. airlines from Heathrow with the sole exceptions of American and United Airlines.
Lower fuel prices and a favorable business climate led to higher than average profits in the 1990s. The industry's expansion was not lost on pilots who on February 17, 1997 went on strike for higher wages. President Bill Clinton invoked the Railway Labor Act citing economic impact to the United States, quashing the strike.[16] Pilots settled for wages lower than their demands.
The three new hubs were abandoned in the 1990s: some San Jose facilities were sold to Reno Air, and at Raleigh/Durham to Midway Airlines. Midway went out of business in 2001. American purchased Reno Air in February 1999 and integrated its operations on August 31, 1999, but did not resume hub operations in San Jose. American discontinued most of Reno Air's routes, and sold most of the Reno Air aircraft, as they had with Air California 12 years earlier. The only remaining route from the Air California and Reno Air purchases is San Francisco to Los Angeles.
Boeing 777-200ER in Oneworld livery
During this time, concern over airline bankruptcies and falling stock prices brought a warning from American's CEO Robert Crandall. "I've never invested in any airline", Crandall said. "I'm an airline manager. I don't invest in airlines. And I always said to the employees of American, 'This is not an appropriate investment. It's a great place to work and it's a great company that does important work. But airlines are not an investment.'" Crandall noted that since airline deregulation of the 1970s, 150 airlines had gone out of business. "A lot of people came into the airline business. Most of them promptly exited, minus their money", he said.[citation needed]
Miami became a hub after American bought Central and South American routes from Eastern Air Lines in 1990 (inherited from Braniff International Airways but originated by Panagra). Through the 1990s, American expanded its network in Latin America to become the dominant U.S. carrier in the region.

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