In an interview with Simple Flying late last month, that I only just watched in full over the weekend, American Airlines Chief Revenue Officer shared a few tidbits that I did not already know.
- “Our loyalty program will be the loyalty program of Jetsmart”
- The Gol partnership will include “offering a single credit card to our customers”
- Why the don’t refer to Austin as a focus city is mostly superstition,
The long strange history of this business, whenever anybody names something a focus city it’s a matter of time before they’re unwinding the focus city. But for us we see Austin as the start of something which would be really promising, really unique to Austin, but there’s probably a handful of cities that could do something similar in our system.
He made a couple of other important points, that I’ve covered here in the past. American is primarily looking for “really great short haul partners” in airlines, rather than long haul carriers like they’ve partnered most closely with in the recent past (like British Airways, Japan Airlines).
And the carrier is moving away from the old US Airways model of seasonal Europe flights with cheap planes:
Through the pandemic we got rid of some really really inexpensive airframes, the 767, the old A330s and the 757. Those airframes, because they were so cheap, we could be really opportunistic with them.
If we could fly to Europe for four and a half months and make pretty good money out of it and then pull them down and go fly to the Caribbean and a couple of domestic trips and things like that, where effectively it was almost like managing margins, it was an okay enough thing to go and do.
Those things don’t exist in our system anymore. And unfortunately though we had them as a product of all of these mergers they probably weren’t the best thing that we could have gone and done for customers. The way we really envision our international system coming back is we want to have widebodies that can go work hard throughout the year.
That doesn’t mean no more leisure routes like Philadelphia to Croatia, but possibly a widebody in the summertime and an Airbus A321XLR in the winter, redeploying the widebody to South America.
It also underscores that, having retired its Boeing 767s (largely Amazon Air now) and 757s (headed to Northern Pacific Airways) they don’t have cheap lift they can go be experimental with on longer routes.