American Airlines is recalling around 800 furloughed employees as part of the launch of a new transatlantic business with British Airways and Spanish airline Iberia.
Gerard Arpey, the Chief Executive of AA's parent AMR Corp., said Wednesday that the ability to capitalize on new business opportunities as part of the strengthened alliance led to the recall.
But he also sounded a note of caution about the global economic recovery.
Arpey said a recent rebound in business traffic and growing signs that the United States would avoid a double-dip recession were both encouraging.
"This is exactly the kind of growth we're looking for and my hope is that trends like this will continue," he said at the launch of the trio's new deal in London. "But I would have to describe the recovery as fragile."
The strength of the economic recovery in the United States and around the world would have a "seminal impact" on the airline industry, he added.
The employee recall includes 250 pilots and around 550 flight attendants.
The three airlines announced four new routes as they launched a transatlantic joint business Wednesday worth some $7-8 billion in annual revenue.
The new arrangement follows BA's merger with Iberia this year that created Europe's third-largest airline. It strengthens the trio's existing relationship under the oneworld alliance but stops short of a full financial deal with American Airlines because of stringent U.S. regulation that bars foreign ownership of airlines.
The three carriers have placed codeshares on more than 2,600 additional flights -- prospective passengers will be able to buy tickets for all three airlines on each of the carriers websites.