American announced it is bringing back roughly 800 furloughed pilots and flight attendants as it prepares to ramp up international service through its alliance with British Airways and Iberia. 545 flight attendants and 250 pilots will be phased in over the coming months, with the first 25 pilots returning to the sky in November.
In a release, the airline says, “Several factors contributed to the company’s ability to recall, primarily its efforts to capitalize on new international flying and business opportunities with British Airways and Iberia, continuing to strengthen its cornerstone hubs, and preparing for its pending alliance with Japan Airlines.”
The alliance with Japan Airlines received tentative approval from the Department of Transportation (DOT) yesterday. The agreement still needs an OK from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan, and final approval from the DOT.
Among the new routes American has planned are Chicago-Helsinki and New York-Budapest, both announced in conjunction with the British Airways deal. American has also announced or applied to fly routes between Tokyo (Haneda) and New York, Los Angeles and Shanghai, Dallas and Rio de Janeiro, and New York and Rio de Janeiro. It also plans to increase service between New York and Barcelona, and between Miami and Madrid.
But adding all those new routes may require some cutback elsewhere, because the airline only has so many aircraft to go around. The Airline Biz blog reports that American will likely pare back a bit in order to free up planes.