Phoenix flies back to Roswell

An American Airlines representative said flights from Phoenix will resume at Roswell Air Center on April 2nd. (Daily Record File Photo)

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American Airlines will resume its Phoenix flights at Roswell Air Center in two months, a year after the coronavirus pandemic caused the airline to suspend the flight.

Mayor Dennis Kintigh made the announcement at the start of the Roswell City Council meeting on Thursday evening.

“The staff worked hard on it,” he said as the city council welcomed the news.

On Friday, Kintigh said that American Airlines “has determined that it is in their best interest to resume service. They never said they would end it permanently. It was always a suspension. “

He added that the airline received a second round of federal aid in December and will receive more funding in the coming months.

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The City of Roswell was under no obligation to provide additional funds to assist the Americans beyond waiving three-month aircraft storage fees totaling $ 168,000. The exemptions were approved by the Roswell City Council on January 14th.

Kintigh said he didn’t hear if flights to Dallas will increase to three times a day in the spring. Daily flights to Dallas-Fort Worth were reduced during the pandemic.

“We’re hopeful, but I’ll be honest with you that I’m now grateful for two a day,” said Kintigh.

Scott Stark, director of the Roswell Air Center, said he expected an inbound and outbound Phoenix flight every day once service returns in April.

“AA sees Roswell as a partner in their success,” said Stark. “The revitalization of the Phoenix route will provide Roswell with a robust air traffic recovery and support its Phoenix hub.”

Flights to Phoenix were suspended on April 6, 2020 as consumer demand declined and COVID-related travel restrictions went into effect.

City officials and local business leaders had ongoing negotiations with American Airlines representatives last year, the intensity of which increased on August 20 after the airline announced it would suspend flights to Dallas for at least a month from October 7 because the first The round of COVID relief funding expired without Congress offering an extension at the time. The company also identified 14 other markets where the service would be discontinued.

The airline reversed its decision to suspend Roswell a few days later and decided to resume service in some of the other 14 markets over the next few weeks and months.

Roswell officials at the time said they believed part of the reason the airline turned back was because the company realized that its relationship with the city and Roswell Air Center went beyond commercial flights, since the airline is here stores around 200 aircraft.

City officials also said they were ready to provide a financial incentive to continue flights to Dallas and, if necessary, to resume flights to Phoenix. So far, only storage fees have been waived.

An American Airlines representative said people can now buy tickets for Phoenix flights.

“We’re constantly evaluating our network based on supply and demand and making regular schedule adjustments during the pandemic,” said Nichelle Tait, a corporate communications representative. “While demand remains low compared to the past, we are planning to travel in the spring and summer and plan to resume our Phoenix-Roswell flights on April 2nd to complement existing DFW (Dallas-Fort Worth) service.”

Although American Airlines received roughly $ 4 billion more from the second round of federal coronavirus relief funding, which was part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020, signed on December 27, the wage funding expires on March 31. American Airlines issued a union requested notice that April could include up to 30,000 vacation days for workers if additional federal funding is not made.

American announced on Jan. 28 that its net losses for the fourth quarter of 2020 from October 1 to December 31 were $ 2.2 billion and the 12-month net loss was $ 8.9 billion. However, it was also pointed out that it managed to reduce daily cash burn from $ 100 million in April 2020 to $ 30 million in the fourth quarter.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710 ext. 351 or at [email protected].

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