American Airlines: Timeline of Troubles

Oct 2, 2012 1:44pm

American Airlines has been in the news in recent weeks, and the news hasn’t been good for the troubled carrier. When did things start to go south for the airline? The carrier is today operating under bankruptcy protection, but between seats coming loose in flight, disgruntled employees and merger talks, the question on travelers’ minds is what the future holds for American.

Keep in mind most other major U.S. airlines have also been through bankruptcy protection over the last decade and most are profitable today.  Will American Airlines be able to do the same?

2002-2005: Carriers US Airways, United, Northwest and Delta all file for bankruptcy protection and reorganization, reducing their operating costs.

2008: AMR recorded a net loss of $2.1 billion for the year.

2009: AMR recorded a net loss of $1.5 billion for the year.

May 3, 2010: United Airlines announces it will merge with Continental Airlines to create the world’s largest airline.  This, along with the 2008 Delta merger with Northwest Airlines, leaves American and US Airways standing alone among legacy carriers, taking the number of legacy carriers in the U.S. from six to four.

2010: AMR recorded a net loss of $471 million for the year.

Nov. 29, 2011: AMR Corp., the parent company of American Airlines and American Eagle, files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a New York court. This will allow the carrier to restructure the company’s debt and costs. The airline said at the time that the filing will not disrupt flight schedules. The airline’s then-CEO, Gerard Arpey, retires the same day. Tom Horton is named chairman and CEO.

January 23, 2012: Turbulence on an American Airlines flight from Brazil to Miami injures six people.

Feb.1, 2012: The airline told its unions it planned to cut 13,000 jobs from a staff of 88,000. The planned cuts will fall most heavily on the airline’s maintenance operations.

March 9, 2012: A rant from an American Airlines flight attendant sends a Chicago-bound flight back to the gate.  Passengers intervened and restrained the flight attendant before Dallas airport police boarded the flight. A source told ABC News that in addition to the remarks about the plane crashing, the flight attendant may have referenced American Airlines’ union issues.

March 16, 2012:  Galien David, an American Airlines flight attendant that posted a series of videos mocking his employer is fired. David told ABC News that both former and current executives were abusing their privileges, costing the airline “tens of thousands of dollars.” The airline called the claims “ludicrous.”

April 18, 2012: The airline announces it will lay off 1,200 non-union workers, close a Tucson, Ariz.,  reservations center, close Admirals Club lounges at various airports, outsource domestic cargo handling and agents at seven U.S. airports.

April 20, 2012: US Airways CEO Doug Parker said the airline had reached agreements with the three unions that represent nearly 55,000 American Airlines employees on what their collective bargaining agreements would look like after a merger. American Airlines maintains it wishes to exit Chapter 11 as a stand-alone carrier.

June 6, 2012: A drug ring, allegedly led by American Airlines employee Wilfredo Rodriguez Rosado , included American Airlines workers and is charged with smuggling more than 9,000 kilos of the white powder between 2000 and 2009.

June 25, 2012: An American Eagle flight attendant lashes out at passengers after a five-hour flight delay. The flight attendant  told passengers they could leave the plane if  “anyone has the balls” to do it.”I don’t want to hear anything,” he told passengers over the plane’s PA System. A few days later, the airline released a passenger email  in support of the flight attendant,  blaming the incident on “the most horrible display of passenger aggressiveness.”

July 10, 2012: An American Airlines flight is diverted after a plane encountered turbulence so severe that five on board had to be hospitalized.

July 20, 2012:  Smoke filled the cabin of an American Eagle flight originally diverted for bad weather. Passengers had to jump from the aircraft once it landed. Everyone on board made it out safely.

July 25, 2012: The Associated Press reports that American Airlines CEO calls US Airways attempts to merge with American Airlines “desperate.” He tells the AP that  if American is going to combine with US Airways or any other airline, the decision will be Horton’s.

Aug. 16, 2012: A bankruptcy court judge rejects the airline’s request to throw out its pilot’s contract and impose concessions on 8,000 pilots.

Aug. 22, 2012: A man locks himself inside an American Eagle cockpit in Baton Rouge, La., and is arrested. He was reportedly upset about a personal situation.

Sept. 2012: An increase in delays and cancellations of American Airlines flights in recent weeks  leaves passengers waiting, ABC News reports. On Sept. 20,  flights were punctual only 64 percent of the time, compared to the normal 82 percent for September. The airline said that pilots are calling in sick 20 percent more than normal, which “impacts the availability of reserve pilots, which can ultimately lead to cancellations.”  The pilots union said there is no sanctioned work action underway and disagreed with American’s accounting of sick leave and crew cancellations.

Sept. 20, 2012: ABC News reports a disagreement between two American Airline’s flight attendants over a cell phone. The dispute forced the captain to turn back from a runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and find a new crew before resuming the flight. Passengers were delayed four hours.

Sept. 18, 2012: American Airlines notifies 11,000 workers they could lose their jobs as part of the airline’s reorganization. It also says it will cut flights 1-2 percent in September and October.

Oct. 2, 2012: For the third time in one week,  seats become loose during an American Airlines’ flights. Two of those incidents forced emergency landings. The carrier takes eight planes out for inspection. The FAA said that the airline’s initial inspection of each aircraft found other rows of seats that were not properly secured.

 

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