The world’s largest carrier fell a few rungs on the list, to 71st from 67th, but it retained its leading position among U.S. airlines. American benefited from strong demand that raised its revenues by 5% in 2017. But profits are trending in the opposite direction, falling last year by 28%. The big reason: A $1.3 billion increase in fuel costs. That headwind continues to worsen, and it’s the main reason CEO Doug Parker slightly lowered earnings guidance for 2018. Still, American’s vaunted network management remains excellent. The Fort Worth-based carrier is both simplifying and expanding its regional operations, adding substantially to its fleet via $1.4 billion in purchases from Embraer and Bombardier. American also added valuable gates at its Chicago hub, and expanded service to such tropical locales as Miami, Hawaii, and the Caribbean.
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United, American and Southwest are operating close to capacity and offering refunds, price caps and automatic rebooking on other airliners.
"Can’t think of any reason the aircraft would pitch nose down so aggressively,” one of the pilots wrote.
While some crew can opt out of flying on Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes, many passengers are charged fees.
The issue led American to cancel 40 flights this week.