American Airlines Lays Out Brand New International Flight Strategy

by Gary Leff on July 1, 2020

United Airlines is more reliant on international flights than other big U.S. airlines. They are out today with an expansion of their international route network for August.

On Saturday I told you that one was coming from American that’s much broader including, quoting internal comments by CEO Doug Parker, “what we plan to fly next summer and what we don’t plan to fly.” That announcement is now out.

They’re revamping their international strategic focus, and bringing back many routes for summer while break-even load factors are so low thanks to the CARES Act. LAX is no longer their Pacific hub. They’re doubling down on close partnerships. And that means a lot of flight changes.

Summer 2021 will still be 25% below 2019. The airline indefinitely parked or retired Boeing 757s, Boeing 767s, and Airbus A330s.
Focus on connecting markets leveraging partnerships. Hubs and connectivity with joint venture partners is how Senior Vice President Vasu Raja sees the airline’s strength.

The airline will use Dallas, not LAX, as their primary transpacific hub and Miami remains focal for Latin. They are pulling back some flying from both Philadelphia (their main European gateway) and Charlotte.

Routes killed:


Philadelphia: They won’t fly Philadelphia – Casablanca after all, and are killing Philadelphia – Berlin, Budapest, and Dubrovnik.
Charlotte: Killing Barcelona, Rome, and Paris
Dallas Fort-Worth: Dropping Munich
LAX: takes a beating, dropping China flights Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai and they’re also dropping Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo. Hong Kong was relatively cheap to operate because they needed two planes to operate to and from Dallas, adding LAX took only one additional aircraft. The future there then is seen as really grim.
Miami: loses Brasilia and Milan
Chicago O’Hare: has been a weak international city for American, scaling back, and it will lose a chunk of its summer leisure Europe – Budapest, Krakow, Prague, and Venice. Budapest, Prague and Krakow were supposed to be new routes.

Leaning into their British Airways joint venture they anticipate a full Heathrow schedule by summer 2021. They’ll also double down on their Alaska Airlines partnership, still planning to launch Seattle – Bangalore and seeking to move LAX-Shanghai to Seattle.

The airline also announced the following service resumptions or launch of previously planned new routes:

Origin Destination Schedule change
Charlotte (CLT) Frankfurt (FRA) Service resumes summer 2021
CLT London (LHR) Service resumes winter 2020
CLT Munich (MUC) Service resumes winter 2020
Chicago (ORD) Barcelona (BCN) Service resumes summer 2021
ORD Dublin (DUB) Service resumes summer 2021
ORD Paris (CDG) Service resumes summer 2021
Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) Beijing (PEK) Service resumes summer 2021
DFW Buenos Aires (EZE) Service resumes winter 2020
DFW Lima (LIM) Service resumes winter 2020
DFW Sao Paulo (GRU) Service resumes winter 2020
DFW Rome (FCO) Service resumes summer 2021
DFW Santiago (SCL) Service resumes summer 2021
DFW Tel Aviv (TLV) Service launches winter 2021
Los Angeles (LAX) Auckland (AKL) Service launches winter 2021
LAX LHR Service resumes winter 2020
LAX Sydney (SYD) Service resumes summer 2021
New York (JFK) CDG Service resumes winter 2020
JFK BCN Service resumes summer 2021
JFK EZE Service resumes winter 2020
JFK Rio de Janeiro (GIG) Service resumes winter 2021
JFK GRU Service resumes winter 2020
JFK Madrid (MAD) Service resumes summer 2021
JFK Milan (MXP) Service resumes summer 2021
Miami (MIA) CDG Service resumes summer 2021
MIA GIG Service resumes winter 2020
MIA GRU Service resumes Aug. 6, 2020
MIA MAD Service resumes summer 2021
MIA SCL Service resumes Aug. 5, 2020
Philadelphia (PHL) Amsterdam (AMS) Service resumes winter 2020
PHL DUB Service resumes winter 2020
PHL LHR Service resumes winter 2020
PHL Manchester (MAN) Service resumes summer 2021
PHL MAD Service resumes winter 2020
PHL CDG Service resumes summer 2021
PHL FCO Service resumes summer 2021
PHL Zurich (ZRH) Service resumes summer 2021
Phoenix (PHX) LHR Service resumes winter 2020
Raleigh (RDU) LHR Service resumes winter 2020
Seattle (SEA) Bangalore (BLR) Service launches winter 2021
SEA LHR Service launches summer 2021
SEA Shanghai (PVG) New service subject to government approval

Miami – São Paulo and Santiago are two routes I told you on Saturday to expect. Neither route is expected to have a lot of passenger demand. Currently Brazil passenger arrivals into the U.S. are restricted. American’s bet is that a low level of passenger demand, supplemented by a bit of cargo, will make the flights work. Remember that the airline is already paying for its planes, and thanks to the CARES Act is paying its crews through September 30 so the cost of incremental flying is mostly just fuel. Break-even load factor is low right now.

American also announced that change fee waivers for new ticket purchases are extended through July 31 excluding Basic Economy and award tickets. New more expensive AAdvantage change fees go into effect today.

AA and AE News

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