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More Jobs To Fly Away At American

American Airlines, struggling to compete with lower-overhead carriers, will cut more jobs to reduce costs, chief executive Gerard Arpey said Wednesday.

The company had already disclosed that it would lay off up to 650 mechanics and 450 pilots, as CEO Gerard Arpey reminded investors during a meeting in Fort Worth.

"We will see more cuts across the board, all workers, in the months ahead," Arpey added.

American and other carriers are losing money as they are squeezed by high fuel costs and tough competition that makes it hard to raise fares. American's Fort Worth-based parent, AMR Corp., reported recently that it lost $214 million in the July-September quarter and expected an even bigger loss in the fourth quarter.

AMR says it would have made money in the third quarter if fuel prices had remained at last year's levels. Arpey said Wednesday that American will pay about $500 million more for fuel in the fourth quarter than it did during the same period last year.

"Were it not for Exxon getting most of our money this year, we would have been able to make some progress," he said.

Arpey also blamed the airline industry's problems on carriers continuing to add seats for sale, which has depressed fares. American has joined in the rush - increasing capacity by 2.3 percent in October, although traffic rose more, up 9.1 percent.

UAL Corp.'s United, Delta Air Lines Inc. and Continental Airlines Inc. all raised capacity in the third quarter compared to a year earlier.

"You would think these were very robust times for the airline industry," Arpey said.

American has said it would cut its U.S. flight schedule by 5 percent early next year.

On another issue, Arpey, who is also chairman and CEO of AMR, said the parent company was still considering selling its investment subsidiary and the commuter airline American Eagle. He added, however, that commuter carriers are profitable while most of the so-called mainline airlines are losing money.

AMR shares closed down 21 cents, or 2.5 percent, at $8.06 n the New York Stock Exchange.