The parent company of American Airlines said Wednesday it expects to spin off regional carrier American Eagle, although it won't completely rule out a sale.
AMR Corp. didn't offer a time frame for the plan. American Eagle carries passengers from smaller cities to American Airlines hub airports. American Eagle has four daily departures from Wichita Mid-Continent Airport to Chicago.
AMR, based in Fort Worth, says making American Eagle an independent company allows it to compete to provide regional service for other big airlines and grow larger. All major U.S. carriers use smaller airlines to run their regional flights.
As it proceeds with the spin-off, AMR says it remains open to other options, including a sale.
American Eagle has a fleet of about 270 planes, each with between 44 and 66 seats. It took its first flight in 1984 and operates about 1,500 per day. American Airlines runs more than double that — about 3,400 flights each day.
American Eagle had the fifth-most departures among major airlines in the 12 months ending in April, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. It consistently ranks toward the bottom of the pack in on-time performance.