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American Airlines cuts some 2Q financial forecasts, says chief commercial officer is leaving

American Airlines is lowering some of its second-quarter financial forecasts and has announced the departure of its chief commercial officer.

Shares slid more than 9% before the market open on Wednesday.

American Airlines said in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it now anticipates second-quarter adjusted earnings in a range of $1 to $1.15 per share. Its prior forecast was for $1.15 to $1.45 per share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet forecast second-quarter earnings per share of $1.20, on average.

Total revenue per available seat mile is now expected to be down approximately 5% to 6%. Its prior forecast was for a decline of about 1% to 3%.

The airline said in the filing that CCO Vasu Raja will be leaving the company next month. He joined the company in 2004. Stephen Johnson, vice chair and chief strategy officer, was named to lead the commercial organization and assist with the search for a new chief commercial officer.

In February American Airlines announced that starting with tickets issued on May 1, customers would have to buy tickets directly from the airline or its partner carriers or from preferred online travel agencies if they wanted to earn points in its AAdvantage loyalty program. The airline said at the time that it would list the preferred travel agencies in late April. Corporate travelers would not be affected.

When the changes were announced, Raja said in a prepared statement that American Airlines was looking to make travel more convenient for customers and that by booking directly with the airline customers would get the best fares and it would be the most rewarding for its loyalty program members.

But the changes were met with criticism by some customers, who were unhappy with the limitations being placed on how they could earn points for the loyalty program.

In April the pilots union at American Airlines said that there had been “a significant spike” in safety issues at the airline, including fewer routine aircraft inspections and shorter test flights on planes returning from major maintenance work.

American Airlines, based in Fort Worth, Texas, said at the time that it has an industry-leading safety management system. An airline spokesperson said then that the airline is in regular contact with regulators and unions “to further bolster our strong safety record and enhance our ever-evolving safety culture.”

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