About a month ago I wrote that despite speculation I don’t believe American Airlines will fly to India for four reasons,
- Fares are too low adding capacity pushes fares down even further. India routes don’t offer the revenue premium American will want to invest in.
- Even Delta hasn’t made its India announcement yet. And Delta is more likely to be able to make it work than American. Although of course Delta partner Jet Airwaisy, in India, is struggling.
- American lacks a partner in India for connecting traffic. That makes it tougher to fill the plane, and will force even more discounting.
- American has shied away from ultra long haul routes. Where they’ve launched long haul flying they’ve had partners, for instance Hong Kong much of the traffic connects onward on Cathay Pacific, and their Australia/New Zealand flights are supported by a pending joint venture with Qantas.
Gateway of India, Mumbai
These are the same reasons, by the way, that I’m skeptical about rumors of American launching Los Angeles – Manila.
At a Crew News session this past week a pilot asked CEO Doug Parker about rumored India (and South Africa) service. And Parker acknowledges India is a route that American “continue[s] to look at” but then he explains “India’s tough because of the Middle East carriers carry so much of that stuff pretty efficiently over the Middle East with a one-stop connection.”
Parker then stammered, remembering the party line, “subsidized..umm… subsidized airlines that don’t care about making money.” Nevermind of course that Emirates is profitable, while American Airlines loses money flying and only shows a profit from selling frequent flyer miles to banks.
He says “there’s certainly enough demand for the United States to India for us to be flying there, the problem is the pricing. So we keep looking at it and indeed I have heard the team talk more about it. That’s as much as I know.” (Emphasis mine.)