American to ground 15 flights over fuel

Published: Saturday, October 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, September 30, 2005 at 11:37 p.m.
FORT WORTH, Texas - American Airlines announced Friday it was temporarily cutting flights in markets it serves from its two largest hubs, citing high jet fuel prices that were also blamed for a new round of fare increases.
American, the nation's largest passenger air carrier, said it was canceling 15 round trips temporarily from Chicago O'Hare and Dallas-Fort Worth international airports. Northwest Airlines also announced modest flight reductions.
American's cutbacks were announced a day after Continental Airlines raised most fares on flights within the United States and between the U.S. and Canada, also blaming jet fuel costs. The Houston-based carrier raised one-way fares $10 and round-trip fares $20.
United Airlines, the nation's second-largest airline, matched the fare increases, as did American. Delta also has been crunched by rising jet fuel prices, and on Friday decided to also match the increase, said Chris Kelly, a spokeswoman for the Atlanta-based carrier.
The flight cutbacks will go into effect Wednesday and continue through Oct. 29, when American said it will decide whether to restore the flights.
''The skyrocketing price of jet fuel has forced American Airlines to take the regretful step,'' according to a statement issued by the airline.
Jet fuel costs have risen 39 percent in the past month. That alone prompted the decision, said Dan Garton, American executive vice president. American said jet fuel cost 91 percent more Thursday than in September 2004, while crude oil prices had increased just half of that amount, 45 percent, in the same period.
One roundtrip flight each day is also being canceled between Dallas-Fort Worth and Atlanta; Denver; El Paso, Newark, N.J.; Washington Dulles; Houston (Bush) Intercontinental; Kansas City, Mo.; Chicago O'Hare; Toronto; Minneapolis-St. Paul; and Tulsa, Okla. Two round trips a day between DFW and Austin also are being canceled.
One round trip flight a day will be canceled from Chicago O'Hare to Houston (Bush) Intercontinental and Toronto.

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