Tom Parsons runs Texas-based BestFares.com and says passengers using American Airlines out of Houston don’t have much to worry about.
“I don’t know if you’re going to even see a little blip on the radar if you’re an air traveler. We’ve seen Continental file for bankruptcy a few years ago and then we didn’t see very much happening there either. The same thing with United, Delta, Northwest, US Airways. The legacy airlines, as long as they have a couple a billion dollars, and in this case, American Airlines has over $4 billion in cash, I don’t think we’re going to see too much.”
He says unlike in years past, a bankruptcy announcement today doesn’t mean an airline is grounded. He says it’s much more of a pre-packaged arrangement that probably won’t affect American’s operations right away.
“This is not what the airlines used to do in the ’80’s and ’90’s. You’d file for bankruptcy, matter of fact, I remember one time Continental filed before 9/11 and they actually shut the airline down for 9-10 days.”
Parsons says things could change for airline travelers in Houston if American can’t get its financial situation straightened out soon.
“We have to hope that American gets their act together this final time. This might be their last round, and keep that competition alive. What we don’t want to see is just two airlines flying out of Houston.”
American Airlines has 22 daily departures from Houston, 15 from Bush Intercontinental and 7 from Hobby Airport.