Comment and analysis on all things Charlotte

US Airways/American Airlines merger update #2

Schedule changes of note:

• US Airways’ Charlotte – Rio de Janeiro won’t end early last year as previously reported. Nope, it won’t even make it to October. The last day is September 12 from Charlotte and September 13 from Rio.

American Airlines currently flies from Charlotte to New La Guardia, Miami, and Chicago O’Hare using high cost per seat mile regional jets. Unsurprisingly, these flights will soon be ending. The net results by market:

• LGuardia: American flies this route 4 times a day (until recently it was 5 times a day) on CRJ700 large regional jets. These flights end on March 31. This leaves US Airways with 13 flights a day on the route, including 10 mainline.

• Chicago O’Hare: Goes from 8 US Airways flights on Airbus A320s or A321 and 5 American flights on 50-seaters in May to 9 US Airways A320s or A321s and a single CRJ900 large regional jet in June.

• Miami: Goes from the current 7 US Airways A320s or A321s and 5 American 50-seaters to 9 US Airways A320 or A321s in June.

(Put that all together and it’s an 12 flight reduction from Charlotte, almost all of which was completely expected.)

Some service changes that don’t impact Charlotte but show how the new combined hub structure can impact smaller cities:

• American Airlines flies from Chicago to Watertown, NY twice a day on 50-seat regional jets. This is a federally-subsidized Essential Air Service route. It’s also a 617 mile haul. In May though, US Airways takes over the route, with service to Philadelphia instead of the Windy City. It’s only 287 miles from Philly to Watertown.

• American Airlines is ending its Los Angeles – Santa Barbara service. The airline flies the 89-mile route four times a day. Obviously this route exists only because of connecting traffic but there’s a better option for that now: US Airways offers Phoenix – Santa Barbara flights.

Expect more of these sorts of changes in the future as the merging airlines continue to rationalize their network.

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