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American Airlines: An Overview


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In terms of fleet size and the total number of passengers transported, American Airlines is the largest airline in the world. In terms of total operating profits, American Airlines comes in second worldwide, right after Air France-KLM.

The headquarters of American Airlines is Fort Worth, Texas, and is located right next to DFW; the Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport. This airline carries out scheduled flights all around the United States, as well as to Latin America, Canada, Western Europe, the Caribbean, Western Europe, China, Japan and India.

American Airlines has five major hubs that include Dallas / Fort Worth, Chicago O’Hare, St. Louis, Miami and San Juan. At American’s home base of Dallas / Fort Worth, the airline operates about eighty-four percent of all flights at the DFW airport.

American Airlines is very strong in the transcontinental market. American Airlines serves 172 cities and works with a fleet of 709 aircraft, as of May 2006. More than any other airline, American flies more passengers between Latin America and the United States than any other airline.

In 1930 American Airlines was incorporated as a singular company that was originally made up of 82 small airlines. These original 82 airlines were acquired by American Airlines through reorganizations and acquisitions. Originally, the term ‘American Airways’ was utilized as a common branding by several independent air carriers.

In cooperation with IBM, American Airlines started the first electronic ticket booking system, called Sabre. Before this electronic ticket sales and management system was invented, American employed a manual system involving a round and rotating



file. It would take anywhere from 90 minutes up to three hours to look up a flight, book tickets and make out the customer’s paper ticket. The manual file system worked fine until growth made the system obsolete.

In the 1980s American Airlines changed their system to what’s known as a hub-and-spoke system. The San Jose International Airport and Raleigh-Durham International Airport were added to American Airlines collection of hub airports to accommodate north-south travel in the United States.

In 2005 American Airlines suffered losses from both the merger with TWA as well as the September 11 attacks. Then in July of 2005 the company reported the first quarterly profit in seventeen quarters. The company continues to do well and showed the best recovery after the 9/11 incidents.


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