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Whenever I visit New York City, I marvel at how much can change there in a short period of time. The city is a magnet for people, capital, talent and energy from around the world, in part because it is constantly pushing forward, stretching the boundaries of what a city can be. And yet, New York is always uniquely New York.

American Airlines has been serving New York for more than 80 years. One of the significant milestones in U.S. history, in fact, came half a century ago, when American Airlines and New York teamed up to launch the country’s first-ever coast-to-coast jet service, between what was then known as Idlewild Airport (today you know it as John F. Kennedy International Airport) and Los Angeles. I believe our long history gives us a unique insight into the needs of New Yorkers. But I also believe there is a big difference between history and destiny. In the eight decades we’ve been serving New York, countless airlines have come and gone because they could not adapt to the change that swirls constantly around our business.

In this month’s column, I would like to highlight a series of initiatives we launched recently to build on what we have accomplished in New York and to lay the groundwork for even greater things in the years to come. Let me start with a partnership we forged with JetBlue Airways, whereby AA and JetBlue will cooperate in New York and Boston to provide our customers with more choices and more convenient connections. Our partnership will focus on nonoverlapping routes into and out of New York’s JFK Airport and Boston’s Logan Airport that complement and extend the reach of our respective networks. To illustrate what this means to a typical air traveler flying, say, from Nantucket to London, American does not fly between Nantucket and JFK, but JetBlue does. JetBlue does not fly from JFK to London, but American does. By joining forces, we will be able to deliver a broader network and a smoother, better-coordinated travel experience for the Nantucket-to-London traveler and thousands of others traveling between similar city pairs.

The partnership with JetBlue is just one facet of our plan to further bolster AA’s New York presence. We are launching a number of new flights — on both American and American Eagle — to build on our already strong pattern of service, giving our New York customers unprecedented access to the country’s top business markets. From LaGuardia and JFK combined, we are adding 25 flights and seven new destinations. At JFK, we are particularly excited about the recent launch of our new services to San Jose, Costa Rica; Madrid, Spain; and Manchester, England. By year’s end, we’ll be flying well over 200 flights a day to more than 60 unique destinations from LaGuardia and JFK, along with 18 flights a day to four destinations out of Newark, New Jersey.

In addition to our new partnership and new services, we’re investing to refresh and renew our facilities at both LaGuardia and JFK. At LaGuardia, we will be investing upwards of $30 million to refurbish our Admirals Club and renovate the interiors of Concourses C and D. At JFK, we believe our recently opened $1.3 billion terminal compares favorably to any facility in the country. Even so, we have begun the process of expanding and refurbishing the Admirals Club we opened there in 2005.

Like so many people around the world, I have always been drawn to the aspirations, ambitions and larger-than-life qualities that define New York. I like to think American Airlines shares some of those same qualities, and I know the city and our airline share both a proud history and a bright future.

Wherever you’re going today, thank you for flying American Airlines.

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Gerard J. Arpey
Chairman & CEO
American Airlines