TEMPE, Ariz. ( TheStreet) -- US Airways (LCC) said it will realign around four key cities while pulling back in Boston, Las Vegas, New York and on transatlantic service, moves that will lead to the elimination of as many as 1,000 jobs.
The carrier also said it will return its Philadelphia-Beijing route authority to the Transportation Department. The 2007 route award was enthusiastically welcomed as a game-changer that would, for the first time, enable US Airways to serve Asia. Now, the first Asian destination is expected to be Tokyo.
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In many ways, the realignment follows up on an August deal with Delta (DAL), in which US Airways swapped slots at New York LaGuardia for slots at Washington Reagan National and access to congested airports in Tokyo and Sao Paulo. The deal enhanced US Airways' already dominant presence at National.
Now, US Airways says its four key cities are Washington, Charlotte, N.C., Philadelphia and Phoenix. By the end of 2010, they will account for 99% of the carrier's capacity (including shuttle capacity), up from 93% today. Most of the changes will occur this fall and in the first half of 2010.Among the cutbacks, US Airways will close pilot and flight attendant crew bases at Boston Logan, LaGuardia and Las Vegas. It will cut back Caribbean service from Boston. It will suspend five unsuccessful transatlantic routes from Philadelphia to Birmingham, England; London Gatwick, Milan; Shannon, Ireland, and Stockholm, but will make Brussels and Zurich, Switzerland year-round destinations. Las Vegas, which was America West's second hub before a 2005 merger with US Airways, continues to shrink. It will have just 36 daily departures, down from 64 today. Las Vegas departures stood at 141 in September 2007, but shrank by about 40% in September 2008, when the airline slashed 1,700 systemwide jobs in response to high fuel costs.