American taps Chautauqua to operate O'Hare regional flights

02/22/2010 | Chicago Tribune (tiered subscription model)

Chautauqua Airlines for the first time will operate commuter flights for American Airlines out of Chicago O'Hare, despite protests by pilots at America Eagle, AMR's regional unit. American plans a 13% increase in O'Hare flights this summer, but almost all of that growth will come in commuter aircraft rather than larger jets. American Eagle pilots say the outsourcing deal is a violation of their contract, but American disagrees. As the airline shifts capacity away from the old TWA hub in St. Louis, Chicago is set to eclipse Dallas-Fort Worth as American's largest base for regional jets. "There are a lot of communities surrounding Chicago that are small and midsized," says a company spokeswoman. "It is more cost-effective to serve those communities with smaller aircraft."

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