>But why would they park a 777 overnight in ELP
>instead of LAX, ORD, or MIA where they might
>need the airplane in the morning,
The easy one: I know LAX has no parking spaces available.
On the DC10 ELP parking flights I did ELP was chosen for a number of reasons. Only an hour from DFW, lots of parking space, low airport costs (parking and landing fees, etc.), cheap hotel rooms close to airport (minimum crew rest scheduled), and a location at least some pax wanted to travel to regularly at the late hour the flight operated (12 midnight nightly arrival).
AA parks aircraft away from ORD overnights as I've done many a late night parking flight to NY, PA, MN, MI etc. So I doubt AA would fly an aircraft _to_ ORD to get it away from DFW. Probably similar situation at MIA.
>...or why wouldn't they park it at an airport closer to DFW
>like Wichita Falls or even Ft. Worth Alliance?
Operational cost difference is minimal and there is no AA DFW service to those stations. Any pax you can carry on these parking flights is important to reducing the expense for the parking away from the hub so you prefer to do it somewhere you already have service to draw at least some pax for the flights. The 50 or so pax we regularly carried on the DC10 ELP flights more than paid for the fuel to operate the flight and the crew was scheduled in such a way that it was receiving minimum guarantee for the trip while returning to DFW early enough to sit around the airport as a ready reserve for a while before leaving for their home base (LAX in my case).
All in all it is a compromise that produces minimum cost to park aircraft that is not being used in its primary role of producing revenue.
*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!