WASHINGTON (Reuters) - American Airlines will halt year-round, daily nonstop service to 17 cities from Washington's Reagan National Airport as a result of the divestiture of slots required by the U.S. government for American's merger with US Airways, the company said on Wednesday.
The airline, owned by American Airlines Group Inc, said it would also stop operating nonstop service from New York's LaGuardia Airport to Atlanta, Cleveland and Minneapolis.
Last summer, Doug Parker, the U.S. Airways chief executive who became CEO of the combined company when the merger was completed in December, told lawmakers that forcing the combined airline to surrender slots at Reagan National would risk fewer flights to small and medium-sized cities.
Among the 17 cities affected by the Reagan National changes are Augusta, Georgia; Jacksonville, North Carolina; Little Rock, Arkansas; Omaha, Nebraska; Pensacola, Florida; Fort Walton Beach, Florida; Islip, New York; Detroit; San Diego and Montreal.
"Washington Reagan and LaGuardia will continue to be a key part of the new American's network," Andrew Nocella, American's senior vice president, said in a statement. "In an effort to minimize any impact that our DOJ-required slot divestitures would have on small- and medium-size communities, we felt it was important to make this announcement now."
The effective dates for the changes at Reagan National will be announced after the sale of slots is finalized in coming weeks, the airline said.
(Reporting by Jim Loney; Editing by Leslie Adler)