AMR knows America's spacious skies -- and lots of others. Its main subsidiary is American Airlines, one of the largest airlines in the world. Together with sister company American Eagle and a regional carrier that operates as AmericanConnection under contract, American Airlines serves more than 250 destinations in 50+ countries in the Americas, Europe, and Asia/Pacific. The overall fleet exceeds 900 aircraft; American Airlines operates about 610 jets. The carrier extends its geographic reach through code-sharing arrangements and is part of the oneworld Alliance, along with British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Iberia, Qantas, and others. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November 2011.
The bankruptcy filing calls for American Airlines and American Eagle to continue operating as usual while AMR reorganizes. AMR's operational costs for labor, fuel, aircraft fleet, and facilities are far larger than its rivals, and the company saw bankruptcy protection as the only way to get back on its feet. The company's most recent 10-K reports that it has about $11.6 billion in long-term debt.
Cargo revenues increased more than 4%, supported by increased freight yields. Year-over-year revenues for the "Other" segment enjoyed an increase of 8% in 2011, thanks mainly to strong sales of AAdvantage frequent flyer mileage credits and more income from service charges and fees.
Following the truism that you have to spend money to make money, AMR ordered 460 single-aisle jets -- 200 Boeing 737s and 260 Airbus A320s for delivery between 2013 and 2022; it is the largest aircraft order in history. The new aircraft are designed for fuel efficiency and should save in operating costs. The 2011 deal follows a 2008 agreement to acquired 42 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, with an option to order 58 more. The first plane of the 2008 deal is set to be delivered in 2014. AMR plans for American's mainline jet fleet to be North America's newest in 2017. Also in the realm of spending money to make money, AMR plans to fork over several hundred million a year to improve customer service and bring in more of what it calls "high-value customers."
Cost control continues to be a focus for AMR, especially since fuel prices are once again volatile. Operating expenses for aircraft fuel rose about 30% year-over-year in 2011. That surge in costs is reflected in the company's consolidated net loss of about $2 billion in 2011 compared with a loss of $471 million in 2010.
Despite filing for bankruptcy, AMR enjoyed a year-over-year revenue uptick of 8% in 2011. With its many alliances and code share agreements, American Airlines generates the lion's share of revenues for its parent. (Code-sharing enables airlines to sell tickets on one another's flights and thus offer potential passengers service to more destinations.) Insofar as sales go, American's 2011 year-over-year mainline passenger revenues increased 6% due in part to an increase in year-over-year passenger yield. The regional affiliates' passenger revenue rose 17% year-over-year in 2011. AMR plans to use alliances and network scale to increase service from its five key markets of DFW, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, and New York, by about 20% over five years.
Earlier in 2012 AMR announced a plan to create $2 billion in annual savings and $1 billion in revenue enhancement. The plan includes proposed job cuts of about 13,000. The company also launched an effort to obtain union or court approval of changes in union contracts that will pave the way for the proposed job eliminations. As a result, a federal judge terminated the pilots' union contract, and the company has won concessions from the unions of flight attendants, maintenance workers, and other employees. Soon after those developments, AMR announced that it was sending layoff warning notices to more than 11,000 workers, but added that actual job cuts would affect about 4,400 employees. Before the bankruptcy filing, AMR had announced plans to shed its American Eagle operations, either by spinoff or a sale to a third party, and that action will likely occur after it emerges from bankruptcy.
Along with the company's plans to increase flights outside of the US, year-over-year 2011 international revenues (about 40% of revenue) rose by 4%. American Airlines is also engaged in marketing relationships with about 30 airlines, many of them based overseas, such as Air Berlin and China Eastern Airlines. In 2011 American added 30 new destinations through relationships with other airlines, such as JAL and Qantas.
Mergers & Acquisitions
In May 2012 the company announced that it would consider possible mergers. In the late summer of 2012 AMR announced an agreement to consider a merger with US Airways. Press reports claimed that AMR was also considering the sale of a stake to British Airways' owner, International Airlines Group, which as a foreign company can control no more than 25% of a US airline. – less