It’s a little bit anti-climactic since I wrote yesterday what the 5 new American Airlines international routes would be but they’ve announced it.
- Philadelphia to Copenhagen (Boeing 787-9), Nice (Boeing 787-9) and Naples (Boeing 787-8)
- Chicago to Venice (Boeing 787-8)
- Dallas to Barcelona (Boeing 777-200)
These flights will be loaded for sale with the weekend schedule update, and available Sunday morning August 20.
While this is a buildup in seasonal Europe, it’s a way to give transpacific winter jets a place to go as Senior Vice President of Network Brian Znotins explains.
About 90 planes run year-round to the same market, 20 planes that pair with a South Pacific or South America in the winter, and about 12 that pair with winter maintenance. They didn’t add European destinations last summer because of Boeing delivery delays (and because they had a shortage of planes, having retired their fleets of Boeing 757s, 767s, and Airbus A330s).
He explains that Philadelphia gives more single connections to competitors than other Copenhagen, Nice and Naples flights. Philadelphia – not New York – gets growth with this announcement, and that follows moving New York JFK – Doha to Philadelphia. Znotins describes Philadelphia as a connecting hub, versus New York as a focus for local traffic. (This was true even with the Northeast Alliance, by the way, where most traffic was still local – not connections off of JetBlue – the partnership had mostly allowed both airlines to sell more flights.)
There’s also more winter Mexico and Caribbean flying in this announcement.
American is not launching any prestige routes, or anything especially bold or surprising. Summer seasonal Europe from Philadelphia is the most American Airlines thing ever. They don’t have the planes to run routes that require more than one aircraft. And their primary focus has been domestic connections in recent years, rather than non-stop long haul. They’re also still light on premium seating, outside of their Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, having removed business class seats from planes (which Chief Revenue Officer Vasu Raja decried even five years ago).