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City negotiates for continued American Airline flights

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The city of Roswell is negotiating with American Airlines on an agreement that would allow uninterrupted commercial passenger service to the area, with some sort of decision anticipated by the end of the week, said Mayor Dennis Kintigh.

“There is a small potential of salvaging the October service, very small,” Kintigh said. “We are working on a revenue guarantee that could possibly be acceptable to American and would continue service to Dallas and restart the service to Phoenix.”

Kintigh said that he, City Manager Joe Neeb, Air Center Director Scott Stark and others with the city have been working with American Airlines senior management and planners since Wednesday night.

That’s when city officials received word ahead of the press announcement that the airline intends to suspend flights to Roswell and 14 other smaller cities from Oct. 7 until at least Nov. 3.

The airline’s decision was due to low passenger demands in those markets, it said, as well as to the Sept. 30 expiration of a minimum service requirement of airline service that is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

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American Airlines has been making daily flights to and from Dallas throughout the pandemic, although sometimes it had only one arrival and one departure. But the airline already had discontinued the Phoenix flight, making that decision in April due to the impacts of the coronavirus.

Kintigh said that a decision with American Airlines is expected in 48 to 72 hours, because the airline is working now to make the aircraft and personnel arrangements for its October flight schedules.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.