JonNYC posts an internal American Airlines memo from Jim Moses to Philadelphia staff about routes that the airline is cutting from their primary transatlantic gateway. American will eliminate operations to Iceland, Manchester U.K. and Prague and won’t fly to Venice in 2021 though they hope to return in 2022.
Moses is Vice President for Philadelphia, New York JFK and LaGuardia and Boston as well as premium services.
— JonNYC (@xJonNYC) December 19, 2020
These eliminations are in addition to dropping routes like Dubrovnik, Budapest and Casablanca. American’s Eastern Europe flights were supported by the seasonal summer river cruise market, which isn’t likely to recover for summer 2021. And Casablanca was a new flight intended to be operated by the since-retired Boeing 757 connecting to new oneworld carrier Royal Air Maroc’s hub.
Manchester was once a strong performer for US Airways. However it’s a market perhaps best served by a Boeing 757, which American has retired. We may see it served again once the airline receives the Airbus A321XLR. Or perhaps it will be ceded entirely to Aer Lingus to operate.
American had offered year-round Iceland service from Philadelphia after dropping Dallas service, once competitors stopped flying from Dallas. The DFW-Reykjavik market was left to American alone, after two other airlines left, but American dropped it too. They never wanted to fly to Iceland from Dallas, but operated from there for classic anti-competitive reasons. As American’s CEO Doug Parker explained,
Somebody starts flying a flight from Dallas to anywhere and American either is already there or we’re gonna be there. Because we’re not going to let customers have another option other than American in and out of here.
There’s very little transatlantic demand with travel bans on Europeans coming to the U.S. (from the U.K. and Schengen countries) still in place; with bans on Americans visiting most of Europe as well as testing requirements; with non-existent business travel; and with the pandemic raging. International leisure travel is generally booked far in advance and the current uncertainty means it’s unclear what demand will look like in summer, which is peak travel for transatlantic operations.