All the Routes American is Cutting While They Promote Growth to Europe

Earlier I wrote about American’s nine new routes to Europe, eight of which are seasonal.

American shared that they’ve be eliminating Chicago – Shanghai and reducing Chicago – Tokyo service while adding plenty of flying to Europe.

They’re also cutting plenty of other service too. In fact they are cutting more than they are adding.

  • Philadelphia will lose Frankfurt and Munich service. This offsets the addition of Dallas and Charlotte to Munich.

  • They’re dropping Dallas-Fort Worth – Pueblo, Mexico and closing that station December 18.

  • Chicago isn’t just losing Shanghai, American is eliminating Chicago – Manchester, U.K. as well.

  • Los Angeles – Toronto is being eliminated, though they plan to offer special event non-stops such as for the Toronto Film Festival. Los Angeles also loses one of two daily Mexico City frequencies.

  • New York JFK loses Dublin. Their seasonal service ends in late October and will not return. So the Dallas – Dublin flight isn’t really growth to Europe. New York is also losing Edinburgh service, so the new Philadelphia – Edinburgh flight actually just continues the shift away from New York to Philadelphia as the carrier’s transatlantic gateway.

  • New York JFK – Port-au-Prince and Fort Lauderdale – Port-au-Prince are being eliminated.

Including Shanghai and Tokyo which were part of American’s announcement, in total 12 routes are being reduced or eliminated as the airline promotes the addition of 9 new routes.

With the elimination of New York JFK flights they appear positioned to easily drop the Boeing 757 from New York service, which would accomplish a goal of fleet simplification and focusing aircraft on specific cities for maintenance purposes. Overall though New York is losing flights and not gaining offsetting service, as American has fallen to a clear fourth place in country’s largest aviation market.

In general they seem to be moving away from competing against other airlines, whether it’s JetBlue to Haiti or Air Canada to Toronto.

The clear exception seems to be entering the Charlotte – Munich market that is currently serviced by Lufthansa. That’s always appeared to be one of Lufthansa’s weaker flights, and I was surprised to see it continue after US Airways left Star Alliance removing Lufthansa’s connecting traffic beyond Charlotte which helped support the flight. I wonder if this could cause Lufthansa to pull out of Charlotte.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Your over-entitled opinions notwithstanding.

    The company runs to make a profit, not cater to giving away the product to low value bloggers who want to be showered with perks like yourself.

  2. @Josh G. Your comment is mean spirited and totally uncalled for in the context of this post.

  3. @Josh G – Where in this post do I ask American Airlines to give away anything?

    As far as earning a profit they aren’t doing nearly as well as their competitors in that regard. Delta explicitly articulates a strategy of offering a better product in order to earn a revenue premium.

    But that’s neither here nor there as far as this post goes, which simply describes what’s going on with the moves the airline is making.

  4. I don’t see the CLT-MUC flight on LH going away.

    BMW flies a lot of execs on that flight to their plant in Spartanburg, Daimler has multiple plants within driving distance of CLT, and the banks,chemical manufacturers, and automotive suppliers also utilize that route quite heavily.

    I’ve also been told that route is quite heavy with automotive related cargo as well.

  5. Lufthansa does well in Charlotte because they have an absolute lock on BMW corporate traffic going to/ from nearby Spartanburg, South Carolina. That is traffic that AA cannot touch. They fill up the business class cabin every day with paid traffic. The back of the plane is mostly local Charlotte people going to India (particularly) and Europe. It has never really been about the flow behind Charlotte.

  6. Lufthansa’s North Carolina service had a lot of backing from big German business, and it wasn’t for connecting traffic to places beyond North Carolina.

    German chemical, pharma, automotive, and banking industry have had a sort of love affair with North Carolina,

  7. Informat9ve post. Kind of explains some of the decision making by airlines along with comments from other readers. I bet the AA employees that are impacted by all of these changes appreciate the insight as much as travelers do.

  8. Kind of sad watching AA wither away in NYC when considering how it once ruled the roost here in terms of being the premier airline.

    Oh, well, soon it’ll just be a bigger version of US Airways, except, perhaps for the DFW hub; Miami gateway to Latin America; the “Junior” carrier status at mid continent hub Chicago/O’Hare; and perhaps some bulk at LAX oweing to its oneworld alliance partners, QANTAS, Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines, who, ironically, are airlines known for offering much better service than American itself, or whatever United offers via its nonstop international flights to Australia/Pacific market at LAX, or its hub at SFO.

    Who knows? With Delta finally firming up things with Korean Airlines via its recently implemented anti-trust immunized alliance for trans-Pacific ops, maybe it will also be able to mount a stronger challenge to AA’s strength at LAX since there must be a reason why AA is hanging on there other than its Airbus A321Ts ferrying media types between LAX and JFK holding down the fort there.

    Getting back to JFK – what’s happening with AA’s slots? Is BA and/or IAG family airlines (Aer Lingus, Iberia, etc.) or other oneworld affiliated carriers taking over the slots that AA is giving up as it transfers much of its international flights from JFK to Philadelphia?

  9. None wants to fly these shitty old 767s out of PHL to some obscure seasonal destination while year after year they cut routes to major EU hubs. Their problem is that they have no useful partner in Europe with HEL and MAD too far out of the way and LHR a nightmare.
    FRA used to have 2 US flights at some point and now they can’t even support a seasonal one.

  10. “The company runs to make a profit, not cater to giving away the product to low value …..”

    Well of course they need to make a profit. Which begs the question why are they cutting unprofitable routes on which their competitors are doing just fine?

    Delta (ex-JFK/NYC) and United (ex-ORD and ex-EWR/NYC) must be rubbing their hands with glee as AA runs away from key markets. Capacity in the markets are cut , meaning average fares can increase, and UA and DL didn’t need to lift a finger and will reap the benefits.. Kerchingg and more profits to Oscar, Scott and Ed.

  11. Historically AA has frequently been the one to cut capacity first hoping others might follow. For the ORD Asian routes cuts, AA has done some damage to its network, and the purported losses (AA executives have credibility issues) are going to turn into gains for the other carriers. The PEK cut was understandably given the slot and competition, PVG less so and NRT is short sighted. Loads to NRT from ORD are healthy and fares are higher than say LAX to Tokyo. AA has a problem with retaining premium passengers, and this is not just an ORD issue. Other changes at AA will result in pushing more premium customers away. The question is not what’s wrong with Parker, but what’s wrong with the Board of Directors.

  12. @Mark
    “what’s wrong with the Board of Directors.”
    The board still haven’t replaced Parker

  13. Where are the stock holders from AA that they are going to loose everything pretty soon when all these wrong decision will bring American to bankropicy again pretty soon ,is a matter of time !!!!!

  14. When do you think we’ll see the award space on these new routes start showing? Need that direct Dallas-Munich option to use up our AA miles going to Germany each year; and from Seattle there’s no good options. Thanks!

  15. “Kind of sad watching AA wither away in NYC when considering how it once ruled the roost here in terms of being the premier airline.”

    Agreed. And competition out of NYC is brutal.

  16. I see that normal award inventory has been posted now, but no saver awards (DFW-MUN direct). Hopefully soon.

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