American Airlines, the world's largest airline, has decided to let its Eagle soar.
AMR, the parent company of American, will sell or spin off its American Eagle regional service, likely next year.
“The decision comes after a careful and deliberate evaluation of the strategy that will best enable us to continue to create value for our shareholders,” said AMR Chairman and CEO Gerard Arpey in a press release. “We have worked hard over the years to build a regional airline that is fully capable of standing on its own and is well positioned to pursue growth opportunities outside of the AMR corporate structure.”
So what does that mean for Easterwood Airport, which currently has five daily American Eagle flights out of the Texas A&M-based hub.
"It's been discussed for quite a while, but to finally do it was a little bit of a surprise," said Easterwood Airport Director of Aviation John Happ of the move.
Happ does not believe the divesting of American Eagle will reduce the airline's use of Easterwood. Rather, Happ says the move could increase Eagle flights, much like Continental flights to Easterwood doubled when they contracted out their regional service.
When that service became Continental Connection, the number of flights out of Easterwood doubled from four to eight.
"I think this will be much the same, that American Eagle will be able to act independently," Happ said. and I think in the long run, it's very positive."
As an added bonus, Easterwood might be able to offer access to more airports, according to Happ.
"It's certainly something we've been working very hard for, and I think now, there might be an opportunity with American Eagle being more independent, to be able to address another destination other than DFW," Happ said.
Eagle's only destination is Dallas-Fort Worth, while Continental only makes stops in Houston's Bush Intercontinental.
As for holiday travel, Happ says things shouldn't change for those passengers with tickets in hand.
"I've been told and promised that certainly, through the holidays, nothing will change," Happ said. "The service will be the same. The number of flights will be the same, so no one should worry about that affecting the present schedule."