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American Airlines (AAL) to Trim Flights Due to FAA Staff Crunch

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American Airlines (AAL - Free Report) is reportedly the latest U.S. carrier to cut flights in the New York City area this summer. This move comes after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced a plan last month to bring down flight disruptions in the wake of air traffic controller shortages.

This will reduce passenger harassment as air-travel demand has soared following the pandemic. The same is expected to move further north in the upcoming summer season.

AAL has decided to reduce the frequency of flights between LaGuardia Airport and Dallas, Miami, Kansas City and St. Louis. It will also operate fewer flights on the Newark Liberty International Airport-Chicago route.

Due to its staffing shortage, FAA has allowed the reduction of flight requirements by up to 10% for airlines’ takeoff and landing rights to avoid congestion in the New York City area and Washington, D.C. The waivers will last for four months from May 15.

To ensure the smooth flow of operations and prevent a repeat of the 2022 experience where flight cancellations and delays were rampant, FAA will allow airlines to reduce operations during the peak summer travel period. To minimize passenger harassment, airlines can opt to use larger planes.

Notably, the agency held a meeting last month, featuring industry leaders, to discuss how to best manage the congested airspace around New York in view of the staffing shortage. JetBlue Airways (JBLU - Free Report) , too, intends to reduce weekly flights in the New York City area this spring and summer due to the shortage of air traffic controllers.

Per JetBlue’s CEO Robin Hayes, “We don’t want to pull down flights. I’m sure no airline wants to pull down flights. But if we don’t cut them the system is not going to be workable this summer.”

Currently, American Airlines carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) while JetBlue carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Investors interested in the Zacks Airline industry may consider Copa Holdings (CPA - Free Report) , which currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Copa Holdings is benefiting from the improvement in air-travel demand. In fourth-quarter 2022, passenger revenues increased 29.5%, owing to higher yields. CPA’s focus on its cargo segment is encouraging too.

In fourth-quarter 2022, cargo and mail revenues grew 69%, owing to higher cargo volumes and yields. Copa Holdings' fleet modernization and cost-management efforts are commendable as well.

The abovementioned tailwinds are likely to continue aiding this Latin American carrier. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has been revised 12.3% upward over the past 60 days. CPA has a Growth Score of A, presently.

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