I was always entertained at all the predictions about American’s Charlotte hub “going away” once AA and US were fully integrated. I mean….the original AA couldn’t make it in Raleigh, so Charlotte had to go, right? Not really. Many armchair CEOs liked to hang their hat on a little nugget of information – Raleigh produces more “local” traffic than Charlotte….or at least it has, even though Charlotte’s metro area is larger. There are a few reasons for that little anomaly, in my opinion, that I won’t get into here. For sure, the nature of the CLT hub has changed within a larger AA network, but I never thought the hub was going away. So, did American make some proclamation about serving CLT forever? No.
According the the Phoenix Business Journal, the airline is consolidating its pilot training operations at both the original AA Flight Academy and at CLT:
“American Airlines is relocating flight training operations out of Phoenix and is moving those to training centers in Charlotte and Fort Worth, Texas where the airline is based.
The closure of the Phoenix flight training center and the relocations to North Carolina and Texas is slated to happen by the end of 2017.”
While relocating additional pilot training resources to Charlotte is not a guarantee that hub operations won’t be curtailed, I think it’s a positive sign for the future of the hub. While CLT is no ATL, it is the only viable alternative. I think the world’s largest airline will likely be serving the Charlotte community for years to come.
-MJ, August 5, 2016