HomeAirlinesAmerican AirlinesAmerican Airlines will suspend 3 routes, delay 1 route and cut another

American Airlines will suspend 3 routes, delay 1 route and cut another

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Late on Friday, a leaked American Airlines memo delivered the news that over the weekend, the airline was planning to suspend services on three of its international routes, to delay the launch of an international route it had promoted with quite a bit of fanfare, and to halve the number flights on another international route. It’s unclear if all these updates have now been processed but these cuts are very real.

American Airlines says that thanks it has been forced to publish a revised summer schedule thanks to the fact that it is continuing to have to deal with delays to its Boeing 787-8 orders. The airline says that it was expecting to receive all 13 of its delayed 787-8s in 2022 but that the latest news out of Boeing suggests that 3 of those deliveries will now be pushed back to 2023.

As a result of these continuing delays, American Airlines has said that it will be making the following changes to its summer schedule:

  • The Los Angeles – Sydney route will be suspended until 29 October 2022
  • The Seattle – London route will be suspended until 29 October 2022
  • The Dallas/Fort Worth – Santiago (Chile) route will be suspended until 29 October 2022
  • The Miami – Sao Paulo route will be cut to just one service per day
  • The Dallas/Fort Worth – Tel Aviv route will no longer launch this summer and is now set to take flight on 31 October 2022

The Los Angeles – Sydney route is currently operating daily but it looks like that will be reduced to 3x/week in March before being removed from the schedules in early May.

The Seattle – London route is currently operating daily but aa.com is now showing the last flights on this route taking off on 25 March.

The Dallas/Fort Worth – Santiago route is currently operating 3x/week and is scheduled to go daily from the end of March before being suspended from the first week in May.

The Miami – Sao Paulo route is currently operated 3x/day by a combination of 777-200 and 777-300ER aircraft. Originally, this route was set to go down to 2 daily flights for the whole of the northern hemisphere summer but the schedules now show just a single daily flight from 30 June onwards.

Quick thoughts

There are a few things that I find interesting here.

Firstly, none of these routes are operated by (or were scheduled to be operated by) a Boeing 787-8 aircraft so the delays to the 787-8 deliveries wouldn’t have affected these routes directly. Instead, it looks like American Airlines is pulling aircraft off these routes to allow it to operate other summer routes that, presumably, would have been operated by the missing 787-8s and that it believes to be more profitable. I wonder which routes these are?

Secondly, I’m struggling to understand why American Airlines would choose to pull an aircraft off a major route to/from South America (a region from which it generates a significant amount of revenue) or why it would (again) delay the launch of its route to Tel Aviv while keeping a route like JFK – Doha alive (its due to launch on 4 June).

I’ve never understood why American Airlines thinks it’s a good idea to launch a service to Doha (I don’t believe US government contracts will be sufficient to make this route profitable) and now the route makes even less sense to me. If you’re struggling for aircraft – which is what American Airlines is claiming – wouldn’t it make sense to rethink a route on which you’re going up against one of the best airlines in the world?

Thirdly, American Airlines only appears to be receiving 3 fewer 787-8 in 2022 than it was originally expecting so why the need to suspend 4 routes and to cut a 5th? I guess it’s possible that some of the aircraft that it will be receiving in 2022 will be arriving later than anticipated…but it’s also possible that American Airlines has other issues and is using the Boeing delays as a convenient cover. I have no idea which it is but I’d like to know.

Bottom line

American Airlines is making a number of significant changes to its international summer schedule and we’re seeing a number of routes suspended for most of the season. American says that the suspensions are due to the issues Boeing is having with its 787-8 production line but there’s a part of me that wonders if there’s more to this than meets the eye. Is it possible that American will make more money by taking compensation from Boeing than it would have done from the routes that it has suspended?

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