American Airlines Will “Absolutely” Fly to India, and Announce New South Pacific Flights Next Month

Based on comments by American Airlines top executives at an employee meeting last week, the airline is working on a Tokyo Haneda shuttle schedule at LAX. They’re preparing to send Boeing 787s into the Pacific. And they’re looking forward to new Boeing 787 aircraft deliveries that they intend to fly 7000 miles – to places like India and Africa.

When Will American Announce Its New Flights to Tokyo Haneda?

American was awarded new slots to fly to Tokyo Haneda from Dallas Fort-Worth and Los Angeles.

While other airlines have added flights to their schedules based on new awards (hint: I’ve booked some Washington Dulles – Tokyo Haneda business class awards on United) American hasn’t done so yet. American’s Vice President of Planning Vasu Raja explained they were waiting to work out schedules so that they could run something akin to a Haneda shuttle with their joint venture partner JAL.

We anticipate announcing something probably in the next several weeks. The real delay there is we wanted to have some comfort we would get the actual schedules times we wanted, we knew we had the award, but we wanted to get the schedule times. That was uniquely important to us versus our competitors because one of the things we’d really like to do is in Los Angeles to Haneda was want to have a really separated pattern where every 2 or 3 hours there’s an American flight or a JAL flight much like what we have at JFK – Heathrow today.

With a New Qantas Joint Venture, When Will We See New South Pacific Routes?

After a series of challenges American and Qantas finally have approval for a revenue-sharing anti-trust immunized joint venture across the Pacific (that this time doesn’t require Qantas to drop its partnership with Alaska).

Right out of the gate Qantas announced that it will fly San Francisco and Chicago to Brisbane. American though has been quiet on its own plans, though I previously reported that once the joint venture was approved they planned to send Boeing 787s to the Pacific.

Raja explained “we bought a bunch of widebodies with the intention of flying to the South Pacific, so the obvious question is alright why don’t you just go fly to South Pacific?” Expect an announcement most like in October for 2020 flying.

We will in the winter of 2020. We’re working through both new routes, schedule timing changes on some of the routes we’ve got, flying longer seasons, any number of those things. So we’re in the final stages of doing our planning but also Qantas is planning at the same time. And so we anticipate in the not distant future, definitely in the fourth quarter, most likely in October we’ll have news there.

What Are American’s Plans to Fly to India and Africa?

In August American Airlines announced new routes to Tel Aviv, Casablanca, and Eastern Europe. The Casablanca flight represents American’s first foray into Africa, and with Royal Air Maroc joining oneworld the flight will have connectivity to move passengers beyond Morocco.

And while India hasn’t seemed like something American Airlines would fly because of the long distance (high cost), low fares, and lack of connecting partner in India it’s something their leadership has been talking a lot more about this year. I expect that they’ll try India from Dallas Fort-Worth.

Gateway of India, Mumbai

Vasu Raja gave the most definitive statement about American Airlines flying to India in the future that I’ve ever heard – “absolutely” – and suggests that there will be more Africa flying as well.

Is India in the cards? Absolutely. India, Africa, all of those things. Our next summer’s, our 2020 summer release is really about going and expanding the international footprint of American Airlines. Going into Africa is the start of something not the end of something.

And much like that in the years ahead we’ll be taking long range 787s. Those airplanes are built to fly 7000, 8000 miles and we plan to fly them 7000, 8000 miles too.

What that ultimately becomes we don’t know. We really want to make sure as we go into markets like Africa and India we have a unique network proposition to our customers flying markets that are hard for other people to go and mimic, and creating connections that no one else can do. So we’re looking at that and we’re serious about being able to expand the airline as much as we can.

I suspect much of Africa flying won’t happen until at least 2023 when they’re scheduled to start taking delivery of more Boeing 787-9s that they ordered last year.

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. Why on Earth would anyone want to fly American Airlines to any of these places, given the many and obvious alternatives? This is the ticket you buy for someone you really hate.

  2. I heard from some AA pilots (FWIW) that they’ve already done some test flights from LAX to BKK and KUL.

  3. Just flew back from London to Phoenix in business class. Customer service was absolutely top notch.

  4. Many decades ago it was normal for airlines to fly from the US to either LHR or HKG and continue to BOM/DEL. Not clear why they don’t do this today. Admittedly a non stop from US to India is preferable but if hub and spoke is your strategy why not use LHR/FRA or in the east HKG/BKK? Is the worry their airline partners like BA and Cathay?

  5. Dallas has a large Indian population..and given that other major cities in Texas are within easy driving distance to Dallas,this would be a major market for AA to target.
    However,they will have to heavily discount the price since they can’t match ME3 in service and in-flight experience

  6. I fondly remember my paid AA biz class ticket to Delhi in 2006 from ORD. I was over stressed at work, had lost my status with new DC centric job, and wanted to get away as far as I could. A miles upgrade cleared to first on the Out bound with 1st generation live flat 2-2-2 of the B777. I left on a Thursday afternoon and returned by Sunday night. Had about 24 hours in country at a then really fancy Hilton close to airport. I discussed visiting the Taj with an Indian coworker, but decided against the effort – too much stress, and the coworker then said, “well, you’ll just get to see what a billion people look like.” 🙂 It was fun!

  7. Of all the hubs AA could fly out of, it will most likely be DFW or PHL. LAX is possible, but PHX, MIA, JFK (because New York to India is served by Delta and United) and ORD is definitely out of the question. I think it would be good for AA to operate a new route like PHL-HYD or PHL-BLR, but it may not be considered as a “high-demand” route. But something like DFW-HYD, DFW-BLR or even the rare possibility of DFW-MAA will be the most profitable. Although something out of LAX is also considerable. Would love to see one of these in the next few years!

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