LITTLE ROCK — American Airlines maintained a regular flight schedule at three Arkansas airports Tuesday as the parent company of the nation's third largest airline filed for bankruptcy.
LITTLE ROCK — American Airlines maintained a regular flight schedule at three Arkansas airports Tuesday as the parent company of the nation’s third largest airline filed for bankruptcy.
Officials at Little Rock National Airport, Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport and Texarkana Regional Airport anticipated little change in flights or airline personnel at their facilities. AMR Corp., the parent company of American Airlines, announced Tuesday that it had filed for bankruptcy protection in an effort to reduce labor costs and debt.
Company officials said the air carrier plans to operate normally during the bankruptcy process, as previous airlines have done. They said the financial restructuring should not affect flight schedules or passenger services such as frequent flier programs.
“You always hate to see your major tenants … have to do things like file bankruptcy, but I suspect that the impact to us will be relatively minor, if at all,” said Scott Van Laningham, executive director and CEO of Northwest Arkansas Regional.
The airport at Highfill handles 18 American Airlines flights daily to Dallas, Chicago and New York.
Van Landingham and officials at the other Arkansas airports said American Airlines workers showed up for their regular shifts Tuesday and there were no reports of problems.
“Our flights are running just fine today,” said spokeswoman T.J. Williams at Little Rock National, where American departures total 17 daily. Stephen Leubbert, director of the Texarkana Regional Airport, suggested American could emerge from bankruptcy more competitive.
“We’re somewhat optimistic about the prospect … reduction in labor costs for the carrier, and that translating, probably a year or two from now, into more competitive fares,” Leubbert said.
He said airport officials were “fairly satisfied” that boardings for the airline’s American Eagle subsidiary at the Texarkana airport and the facility’s financial health assure the airline’s future at the southwestern Arkansas airport.
“But if the mainline that we feed, if it can lower fares as a result, and that’s obviously the intent to get more competitive and get more market share, then it’s a win-win for us,” Leubbert said.
“In terms of things such as laying off personnel or contracting schedule or service, we’re already pretty thin here, we only have three flights in and out a day and they’re full,” he said. Leubbert said some American Eagle customers had already been asking about their frequent flier program and whether it would still be honored.
“All that’s OK,” he said.