* Pittsburgh, Indianapolis among new cities to be served
* Move seen aiding oneworld global alliance
April 10 AMR Corp's American Airlines
on Wednesday said it plans to expand service from Los Angeles by
adding flights to nine cities this year, in a move to gain more
big-spending business travelers.
"We've been in dialogue with our customers and trying to
understand their travel patterns and what are some of the
destinations that are important to them," Virasb Vahidi,
American chief commercial officer, told Reuters in an interview.
He said the new flights would bring new passengers to
members of the oneworld global airline alliance, which is
looking to fill gaps in its worldwide network and catch up to
rival alliances SkyTeam and Star. Oneworld is led by American
and British Airways.
The expanded Los Angeles service provides an opportunity to
gain more "high-value customers and corporations" that spend two
to three times as much as the typical leisure traveler, Vahidi
said. Other oneworld member airlines such as Japan Airlines
, Qantas, Cathay Pacific and BA also
operate in Los Angeles.
American, which plans to exit bankruptcy protection by
merging with US Airways Group Inc and forming the
world's biggest carrier, said the new cities to be served from
Los Angeles starting this summer include Pittsburgh; Columbus,
Ohio; Indianapolis, and Hartford, Connecticut.
Through agreements with feeder carriers, American will also
add service to Bentonville, Arkansas, where retailer Wal-Mart
Stores is based, and the Oregon cities of Eugene and Redmond.
Los Angeles is one of five key U.S. hubs that American is
counting on to drive growth. The others are Dallas/Fort Worth,
New York, Miami and Chicago. American has been adding
international routes from these hubs, including plans to launch
service from Dallas to Seoul in May and from New York's John F.
Kennedy to Dublin in June, a spokeswoman said.
At Los Angeles International Airport, or LAX, American is
second in passenger market share with 16.3 percent, behind
United Continental's 17.6 percent share, according to
data for January through February this year provided on the
Should the proposed merger of American and US Airways be
completed, the new American would overtake United at LAX with a
market share of more than 19 percent. A spokeswoman for American
declined to comment on potential LAX market share.
Rivals are also expanding in Los Angeles. For example, Delta
said last week that it would invest $229 million to renovate the
LAX terminal it operates out of with new restaurants and a
larger ticketing lobby.
Delta, which has a 12.3 percent passenger share at LAX, also
plans to increase its service at the airport by adding flights
to eight new markets including Boston, Seattle and Nashville,