St. Maarten affected by American Airlines shakeup

POSTED: 01/5/12 12:37 PM

St. Maarten – The heavy weight reshuffling of American Airlines corporate structure in the United States has trickled down to St.Maarten. The latest casualty is the Country Manager who was asked to go on early retirement. The former country manager declined to comment on the issue citing several non-disclosure agreements and calls to the airlines’ PJIA desk went unanswered.
Line staffers here began seeking other employment several months ago when the airline announced it would be closing down its operations here and outsourcing its ground handling to Arrindell Aviation in phased transition. For the moment only two security agents officially remain under the US carrier’s umbrella.
News of the ongoing restructuring fits with American Airlines and its parent company AMR Corp’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy two months ago after a third quarter loss of $162 million. The top management hopes the move will help them lower labor costs and clear debt.
President of the St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association Emil Lee is on record that he believes American Airlines will emerge “leaner and more competitive” following the court’s ruling. He’s not aware though of any major restructuring taking place here in St. Maarten.
“This is a process that most if not all of the legacy carriers have already gone through. Ultimately, a healthy airline partner is critical to the future success of St. Maarten. I have always stressed that hotels and airlines have the most synergy in terms of objectives. If airline seats are empty, chances are hotel beds are empty,” Lee said.

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