American Announces Several New Domestic and International Routes From 7 Hubs, Some Surprising

Yesterday United Airlines made a big announcement of new flying from San Francisco. Today American Airlines is out with their own announcement of new flying as well.

American is expected to grow at both Dallas Fort-Worth (in 2019 with new gates coming online) and Charlotte (in 2020 with new gates coming online) and at Washington National (by operating larger regional jets at the dreaded gate 35X is replaced with a new regional concourse). The airline says these are their most profitable hubs.

More surprising is:

  • growth at LAX where operational capacity is constrained and competition is intense
  • New York where American has largely backed away from the market emphasizing that they intend to be flying boutique business routes which seems to mean “London Heathrow, Los Angeles, and San Francisco” but not Zurich, Frankfurt, or other places business travelers go recognizing that business travelers are leisure travelers and frequent travelers travel, New Yorkers in particular to warm weather places like the Caribbean.

New York LaGuardia

Most of the new flying will be operated by American’s affiliate carriers with regional jets. These are largely small ball routes. And many are just seasonal.

American is adding a second Boeing 787-9 frequency for both Dallas – Paris and Dallas – Madrid.

This makes sense:

  • Dallas is one of American’s best performing hubs and Madrid is the base for revenue-sharing joint venture partner Iberia
  • Air France is returning to Dallas — American reacts pretty clearly to competitor incursions into their home base with additional capacity of their own.

Boeing 787-9 Business Class Departing Paris

Here’s American’s additional flying:

The New York flights seem especially odd considering how American says they view their operations in the city. Not only are these more leisure destinations, but the schedules don’t mesh with when business travelers fly. Saturday service and Saturday/Sunday service can work for some airlines and destinations but if they were catering to the leisure needs of business customers they’d be flying out Friday afternoon (knock off work early) or evening (get out after work) and return Sunday afternoon.

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. The Sat/Sun routes from LGA might be to utilize aircraft serving business routes that may otherwise be parked on weekends.

  2. The Chicago – Manchester NH non stop not loaded into the system. I checked on line and then called AA. Yup… send a press release before anyone can do anything….

  3. I guess AA’s somewhat new flight from Santa Rosa to PHX is doing well enough to cause AA to add nonstops to LAX (which competes with AS) and DFW.

    It’s amazing it took AA and UA so long and so much begging from STS to realize what an opportunity it is. Sonoma County alone has a population of over 500,000 and it’s a 2-hour drive on a good day to SFO. Not to mention what a tourist destination wine country is with lots of inbound travel.

    I wonder when DL is going to join the party. A flight to SLC would make a lot more sense for east-west travelers than AA through PHX or DFW. Of course there’s also United’s new nonstop to DEN but SLC would be some much-needed competition.

  4. Classic American, pump up the number of international seats as soon as competition enters DFW and lose money as long as it takes to drive them out. That’s why international service and award availability out of Dallas sucks. Why compete on quality or service when you can batter the competition thru predatory pricing. And then have the gall to call out middle eastern competitors in other markets who actually do offer a superior product. AA makes me want to vomit. Anyone who flies AA to Paris unless at a massive discount to Air France is just helping AA screw DFW flyers.

  5. AA spent hundreds of millions of dollars to build Terminal 8 at JFK, and it sits mostly empty everyday until the evening flights leave. If it weren’t for CX and LATAM coming over, it would be even more empty. There are tumbleweeds blowing through there midday — a very strange travel experience in the USA to be in an airport and surrounded by silence, solitude, and short lines (which ain’t all bad). But what a waste!

  6. @Mak,

    Per The NY Times (March 19, 2000), the then estimated cost to build AA’s T8 at JFK Airport was $1.3 billion – much of which was financed by low-cost, below commercial interest rate, taxpayer subsidized, “tax exempt” (for investors who buy the bonds issued by NY State and/or Port Authority of New York & New Jersey [vastly different agencies; one NY State only, the other the bi-state agency]) funding.

    In fact, after the originally tranche of NY State Industrial Development Agency (IDA then; now a hodgepodge of sub agencies and public-private entities grouped under the aegis of “Empire State Development”) funding, and with which apart from below market interest cost the airline is able to exploit to lower its borrowing costs, it also benefits from a great many sales tax exemptions that I introduced to other airlines and terminal operators during my 2+ years as the Principal/Lead Researcher on several long term consulting projects!

    And not only has that formula for financing become commonplace for airport terminal redevelopment projects at two of NYC’s major airports, JFK & LGA (side of the Hudson River), past, ongoing and planned, AA has gone back at least twice since then to refinance, and also increase, its original NY State IDA/ESD financing for its vastly underutilized T8.

    Separately, so glad to see that I’m NOT the only person who has noticed the shabby conditions outside (AND inside) of AA’s T8 at JFK!!!

    Yep, that dilapated chain link fencing outside of both of AA’s passenger and aircraft maitenance hangars, plus the “tumbleweeds” seen growing through the expansion cracks on the tarmac beside both of its large facilities at JFK is hard to miss as a testament to just how little the airline cares about the image it is presenting to residents, businesspeople and tourists alike!

    It’s all so sad and depressing to see how terribly “unloved” AA’s passenger, cargo and aircraft maintenance facilities at JFK Airport are.

    All around JFK, even the active construction site surrounding the future TWA Hotel, “present” better than those shabby looking, yellowing and cracking, aprons and tarmacs with their thigh high (at least during the August-October months when I made several trips to/thru JFK) tumbleweeds being as if a gigantic exclamation point to illustrate the extent of the corner cutting at this once great airline 🙁

    Heck, even the cargo facility with United’s signs still on the side of that long ago abandoned building, appears to be better maintained than any of AA’s dilapidated looking facilities at JFK Airport.

    Go figure!

    And as if that isn’t depressing enough, so little care and attention is paid to the indoor repair and maintenance of JFK T8, that despite being little more than a decade old (it opened officially in August, 2007), T8’s maintenance budget is so small now, that Delta’s nearly 60 years old T2 (the former home to airlines with names like Northeast Yellowbird and Northwest…) certainly appears like it’s much better maintained than AA’s T8 is.

    Oh, well, such is how things are done at Always Awful Airways these days!

  7. These people above?!? Who the hell wants to fly out of JFK when Laguardia is right there?!? Smh…

  8. @Billy D,

    Unless, or until, that is, since many believe Delta’s “Quid Pro Quo” for that airline to cough up the other $4+ billion our imperial guv, who’s doing a superb job channeling the ghost of NY’s last century infrastructure masterbuilder, Robert Moses, needed to fulfill one of his most prominent,:and signature, vanity projects, the rebuilding of LaGuardia’s crumbling, “Third World” Central Terminal Building (aka “Terminal B”) to completely bring together LaGuardia’s fragmented, and when including Terminal A (aka the Marine Air Terminal), miles apart Terminals A, B, C & D (with Delta at T’s C & D at the very far away other end of the airport) LGA’s 1,500 miles Perimeter Rule restriction is eliminated (or relaxed/modified in a manner similar to Washington’s Reagan National Airport), most New Yorkers, and especially those east of the East River, have no choice but to use JFK for any flights further than 1,500 miles away such as LAX, SFO, SEA (home to Amazon which just cited proximity to LGA as among the reasons for choosing Long Island City for half of its recently announced HQ2), or even Austin, TX cannot be served by nonstops six days per week (Saturday is only day nonstops beyond 1,500 miles are allowed with Denver exempted via “Grandfathering”).

    So, we really have NO CHOICE but to use JFK for flights beyond 1,500 miles if we want to fly nonstop anyway…

    …til Delta calls in its “Quid Pro Quo” anyway 😉

  9. I think I’d like to own a major car rental franchise in Kalispell, MT next summer. Seems like there are a lot of seasonal flights to a pretty small airport. My guess is you’d save lots of money flying to Missoula or Great Falls instead.

    I’ve also never understood domestic Sat/Sun leisure flights. I’ve taken thousands of flights in my life; I’ve never flown a domestic “Sat/Sun service only” flight. You can almost always reach the destination ANYTIME YOU WANT on a connection. Why am I going to wait for the one-time a week the nonstop operates? Who’s life is so uncomplicated and unbusy that this is the best solution? And the price of the special Saturday flight is usually expensive. But I guess somebody flies these flights, or they wouldn’t exist.

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