Before the pandemic American Airlines announced its first route to Africa, service to Casablanca, Morocco which is the home of oneworld airline Royal Air Maroc. They even offered a mistake fare in business class. Alas, thanks to Covid, the route never launched.
The airline had planned to use a Boeing 757. That fleet has been retired. Arguing against Africa, in fall 2021 Vice President of Network Planning Brian Znotins noted the dearth of business travel between the continents.
At the time I noted that the best bet for American’s first foray into Africa, then, might be using an Airbus A321XLR to fly to Casablanca. Those planes have a range up to 4700 nautical miles, and American has 50 firm orders that begin coming into the fleet next year.
American Airlines Airbus A321
In an employee meeting last week, a recording of which was reviewed by View From The Wing, Znotins offered,
For Africa, as you know, big growing continent, a lot of different cultures and tourist type destinations, business destinations…We do have some African destinations that are in the list of things that we look at and we keep an eye on so I’m hopeful we get to the continent in the near future, but it always is shifting and changing.
Given what we know about American’s tendency to operate shorter flights, and to try to fly where others aren’t operating, I’d expect that American’s entry into Africa would be a close-in destination along the lines of Casablanca – which also offers connectivity beyond Morocco and which clocks in at under 4,000 miles. That will allow them to fly the Airbus A321XLR rather than a more expensive widebody. Cairo and Lagos, however, are too far for the XLR and would require use of a Boeing 787.