In jet blast incident, an American 737 damages a Delta 777

Jet blast from an American Airlines jet dislodged some construction barriers Thursday night at Los Angeles International Airport, causing them to strike an engine of a nearby Delta Air Lines Boeing 777, airport officials told me Friday.

“Last night at approximately 10:20 p.m. jet blast from an American Airlines engine caused some construction barricades to be pushed toward a Delta 777,” LAX spokeswoman Amanda Parson said in an email. “The barricades struck underneath the 777’s left engine.”

Delta canceled its 10:10 p.m. flight to Sydney, Australia due to “…damage to the aircraft engine cowling,” Parsons said. The Delta plane was parked at Gate 57 in Terminal 5.

The plane that caused the jet blast was American flight 2415 from Miami. It was a Boeing 737-800 and it parked at Terminal 4, Gate 46B. That gate is across an alleyway from Delta’s terminal.

Parsons said the incident is under investigation.

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American Airlines will sublease four LAX gates from United

American is building up at #LAX, while United is retrenching. Photo: American.

American is building up at LAX, while United is retrenching. Photo: American.

American Airlines will lease four gates and related counter and office space from United Airlines at Los Angeles International Airport starting in the third quarter of 2014, officials confirmed Tuesday.

American is picking up four gates at Terminal 6. The gates were formerly used by Continental Airlines, before it merged with United. The new combined United Airlines has been using them for several years.

When American picks up the gates, it will operate about 180 daily departures to 55 destinations from 28 gates, airline spokesman Andrew Christie told me. (Ned Russell of Flight Global points out that 10 of these gates are used by American Eagle, so American will have only 18 mainline gates under the new arrangement — still not a lot in relative terms.)

Christie wasn’t sure, but I believe the gates being transferred are 60-63. There is a United Club nearby, but Christie said American may not take it over.

“Working in a capacity constrained airport can be challenging,” Christie said. “With the agreement with United for the additional space we will be able to improve our customer service there and provide the customers with a better travel experience.”

This is not a perfect situation. American will now have gates that are literally all over the airport, and there will be no great way for passengers to transfer among them.

Here’s what American will have soon:

  • American is the exclusive carrier in Terminal 4. That will remain its base.
  • American operates American Eagle flights from a commuter terminal. The terminal is  accessible by bus from the main American terminal. This will not change.
  • US Airways, an American Airlines Group company, operates from Gates 30, 31A, 31B in Terminal 3. Passengers connecting to other American Airlines flights will have to continue to take a bus from these gates to their connecting flights. Christie said eventually American may stop using these gates.
  • American will have four gates in Terminal 6, subleased from United. There is a tunnel inside security– it has long been closed but should reopen — that connects Terminal 4 to Terminal 6. It is a long walk, however. Passengers must walk through Delta’s terminal.
  • American will eventually operate many of its international flights from the Tom Bradley International Terminal. The international terminal will be connected to Terminal 4 via a walkway now under construction.
  • At busy times, some American flights use what are called “remote” gates on the western edge of the airport. Travelers then must take a bus to Terminal 4. These gates may continue to be used.

I expect United to slightly trim its schedule to make up for the loss of four gates. United confirmed to me that Portland and San Jose will be cut Sept. 20. Both are operated by Skywest Airlines as United Express. “The flights weren’t meeting our expectations,” United spokeswoman Mary Clark said.

The internet says United is also axing its L.A. to Kelowna (British Columbia) flight, also operated by Skywest.

United will retrench in its Terminals 7 and 8. Los Angeles World Airports is planning a $400 million renovation of United’s operation at LAX.  

Meanwhile, in what American’s Christie deemed a “separate transaction,” US Airways is returning to United two gates that it had leased in Terminal 2 at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

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American has no plans to ‘bank’ its LAX schedule

American Airlines will keep LAX as a"rolling" hub. Photo credit: American.

American Airlines will keep LAX as a”rolling” hub. Photo credit: American.

American Airlines has no plans to ‘bank’ its Los Angeles International Airport hub, an airline spokesman told me today.

I asked in light of my post this morning about American’s plans to switch its schedule in Miami to a ‘bank’ system. Starting in August, most American flights in Miami will arrive at the airport at just about the same time. Then, those planes will leave at right around the same time. The goal of such a schedule is to maximize connections. Each set of arrivals and departures during the day is called a “bank.”

American has said it will unveil banked schedules at many of its hubs. But for now, that does not include Los Angeles, airline spokesman Andrew Christie told me. “We have no plans to bank LAX at this time.”

This means LAX remains a ‘rolling’ hub. As we discussed earlier today, this means that the LAX schedule is more or less random. Flights arrive and depart at all hours of the day. Passengers can still make connections, but the entire schedule is not designed to facilitate them.

I trust you’ll all enjoy telling your cocktail party friends this weekend about the difference between ‘banked’ and ‘rolling hubs.’ #themoreyouknow

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Seeking efficiency, American Airlines will start a ‘banked hub’ in Miami on August 19

American is changing the way it schedules flights at its Miami hub. Photo: American.

American is changing the way it schedules flights at its Miami hub. Photo: American.

American Airlines will begin “banking” its flights at its Miami International Airport hub on August 19, the carrier told employees in a Thursday communique.

American said in December that this change would be coming, a story covered well by the Dallas Morning News. American is now saying the changes will be visible to customers with Miami flights starting this weekend.  Other hubs will eventually switch, too.

First for our novice readers. What is banking? Banking means that most flights arrive and depart at the same time. For example, American might schedule many flights to arrive in Miami at around 1 p.m. Then at 2:30 p.m., American would schedule all those flights to leave, also at nearly the same time. This is efficient for the airline. It also can be helpful for customers, because the entire schedule is built on making sure passengers can make connecting flights with short layovers. (It also means airports with banked hubs can be very crowded during the banks.)

Almost every airline uses banked hubs. But for several years, American has been using what it calls “rolling hubs.” Essentially this means American schedules flights on a seemingly random basis, all day. Customers still make a lot of connections, but the entire system is not built to facilitate short layovers.

Here’s the new plan at Miami, American wrote to employees.

“In the new banked structure, flights are generally grouped to either arrive or depart from geographical locations at certain times of the day. For example, in MIA flights from the south will arrive into the hub within a certain period of time, allowing customers to connect to flights headed north shortly thereafter.”

American thinks customers win here. What do you think?

“For customers, banking increases the number of connecting options available from a given flight. More connections, more opportunities,” American told employees. “For the company, it gives us the ability to make changes to the fleet so that we’re putting the right size aircraft on the right route, better matching customer demand. And more demand typically translates into higher load factors and improved financial results. It’s a win-win for all.”

American included a chart of flights throughout the day in Miami under the current system:

American MIAAnd a chart showing how flights will flow in Miami starting on August 19.

American MIA new


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