American Eagle ends Puerto Rico service after 27 years
Regional air carrier American Eagle ended its 27-year run out of the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan over the weekend, flying away from the Caribbean and Puerto Rico for the last time.
The service operated by Executive Airlines, a division of Texas-based American Airlines was terminated as part of the carrier’s restructuring process begun in November 2011, when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
As part of the reorganization, American Airlines agreed to return all of the aircraft used by Executive Airlines to the lessors effective March 31.
“The return of the ATR aircraft resulted in the termination of all Executive Airlines flight operations in San Juan beyond March 31, 2013. The company will continue to provide ground services in various markets,” said American Airlines Communications Manager Dori Robau-Álvarez on Monday.
While she did not specify how many ATR’s were returned, Robau-Álvarez confirmed that service between San Juan and Tortola, Santo Domingo, Punta Cana, Pointe-a-Pitre (Guadeloupe), Antigua, Dominica, Fort-de-France (Martinique), Santiago (Dominican Republic), St. Kitts, St. Croix and St. Thomas are no longer available.
The last flight that landed in San Juan Sunday came from Tortola.
As for company employees, the spokeswoman said the San Juan-based crew and ground staff had the option to transfer or apply for available vacancies in other Eagle locations in U.S. mainland markets.
While about 185 employees have chosen that option, another unspecified number of staff have moved on to other carriers that have picked up where Eagle left off, namely Seaborne Airlines, Liat, Cape Air and JetBlue.
It was about a year ago that American Airlines disclosed its plans for Executive Airlines in Puerto Rico through a memo sent to employees about the impending end of service in the Caribbean.
Executive Airlines was founded by Puerto Rican businessman Joaquín Bolivar as Executive Air Charter in 1979, and on Sept. 15, 1986 joined the American Eagle system.