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To millions of people around the world, Los Angeles means “Hollywood.” But Los Angeles — which is a cornerstone market of the American Airlines network — is a lot more than the “entertainment capital of the world.” L.A. County boasts the planet’s third-largest metropolitan economy, with a gross domestic product that exceeds that of Belgium, Norway or Saudi Arabia. The Los Angeles economy is as diverse as it is large. Los Angeles is a hotbed of activity in ?industries ranging from health care to aerospace to fashion. You might be surprised to learn that there are more manufacturing jobs in L.A. County than in the entire state of Michigan. But the area’s biggest industry, as measured by employment, is international trade. Hundreds of thousands of jobs are supported by the movement of goods through Los Angeles/Long Beach Port (the largest port in the U.S.), and of course through Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

American Airlines has been serving Los Angeles since 1930. Our company is woven into the fabric of the community, and we are proud of the role we have played helping to make Los Angeles the economic force it is today. Last year, American flew more than 9.5 million passengers through LAX and contributed more than $9 billion to the California economy. Still, we believe we have only scratched the surface of what we can achieve. So we have been bolstering our strength in Los Angeles in a variety of ways.

Last year we, along with our regional carrier American Eagle, launched service to 10 new destinations out of LAX. As part of that growth, we became the first U.S. airline to offer service between Los Angeles and Shanghai. With these new services, we now operate more than 150 flights a day at LAX, with nonstop service to 41 destinations in the U.S., Asia, Latin America, Mexico, Canada and Europe. In June we will launch new nonstop service between LAX and Washington Reagan National Airport, which will complement our three existing daily round-trip flights between LAX and Washington Dulles International Airport.

Of course, the global connectivity we provide extends beyond American and American Eagle. With our fellow oneworld carriers, including Cathay Pacific, JAL and Qantas across the Pacific, LAN to Latin America, as well as British Airways and Iberia across the Atlantic, we have an unequaled set of partners at LAX. Together, we provide Los Angeles with a level of access to the world’s most important markets that few cities anywhere can match. To illustrate, our partners at Iberia recently launched new nonstop service from Los Angeles to their hub in Madrid, where you can connect to more than 70 destinations throughout Spain and elsewhere in Europe.

As we broaden our network out of L.A., we are also investing to make sure our product and facilities remain industry-leading. American was the pioneer of transcontinental flying — offering the first nonstop flights between Los Angeles and New York way back in 1959 — and our leadership in that important market continues to this day, as we offer 11 flights a day between L.A. and the New York area.

We are upgrading our LAX facilities in a variety of ways, including a $20 million investment in our American Eagle terminal. As you may have noticed, we have redesigned the LAX ticketing lobby in a way that makes check-in with our Self-Service machines a breeze. Customers checking luggage now only have one stop to make before heading to the security checkpoint. We have also created a new ticketing area close to the security checkpoint for our premium customers and frequent fliers.

While there is a lot more to L.A. than Hollywood, the glamour of the entertainment industry will always make the city an object of global fascination. Like no other city, L.A. is practically shorthand for big dreams, adventure and romance. While admittedly biased, I like to think that flying embodies some of those qualities too. We connect the world, and in so doing enable people to live lives that wouldn’t have been possible not that long ago. Wherever you are headed today, whatever dreams you are chasing, I want to thank you — on behalf of everyone at American Airlines — for letting us play a supporting role. Have a great trip!

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Thomas W. Horton
American Airlines