Is it too early to begin planning a Summer 2024 getaway? American Airlines is keen to get a head start on its marketing efforts, planning three new transatlantic destinations among its plans for next year’s peak travel period. And, notably, the new service will focus on the carrier’s Philadelphia hub.
American will add new nonstop routes from Philadelphia (PHL) to Copenhagen, Denmark (CPH); Naples, Italy (NAP); and Nice, France (NCE). American will also launch new service between Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) and Barcelona, Spain (BCN) and bring back flights between Chicago (ORD) and Venice, Italy (VCE). The routes will all be served daily on 787s in Summer 2024, with Nice service launching May 6 and the other two coming a month later.
American will also operate from DFW to Barcelona and from O’Hare to Venice for the Summer ’24 season.
This summer we’ve got the airplanes from Boeing, we’re ready to rock and roll, and we’re excited to have new destinations in the mix.– Brian Znotins, SVP Network Planning, American Airlines
Just a couple weeks ago, speaking to investors during the company’s Q2 2023 earnings call, CEO Robert Isom noted that the company “used to fly a lot of really marginal flights to really marginal markets, and they work for three months of the year and we had nothing to do with the airplane for the other nine months of the year.” With an international route network restructured over the past several years, however, American sees potential in these new destinations, part of a “moderate growth” plan that is “good use of full year aircraft capital.”
But they’re still just seasonal routes.
Brian Znotins, American’s SVP Network Planning, expanded on that challenge in a video message, recorded ostensibly for employees.
It’s all related to wanting to find year-round homes for airplanes. What we’re actually doing and taking planes that fly DFW-Auckland in the winter, we call that a counter-cyclical opportunity, And then we us that airplane to fly O’Hare-Venice or Philly-Naples in the summer. We’re pairing those airplanes together as much as we can so that when we buy a widebody we don’t find ourselves flying it to Dubrovnik in the summer and then we put it in the domestic system in the winter and it underperforms a narrow-body.
We have about 90 airplanes that run on a year-round basis to the same market and then about 20 airplanes that pair up for a winter deployment, either South Pacific or South America. And then we have about a dozen that pair up with a maintenance opportunity in the winter.
Znotins also highlighted the challenges American has had getting aircraft delivered from Boeing on time. Delays in 787 deliveries created a massive risk for the company. For 2023 that risk was mitigated by focusing on larger stations where the carrier already had service and capacity to shift passengers if a plane was not available. For 2024, however, the company believes the fleet is in place to bring the new destinations online.
For Summer 2023 American operated to 11 markets from Philadelphia according to Cirium data. For 2024 the carrier is now up to 14 planned. In 2019 that number was 19, including the ill-fated Dubrovnik flight among nine seasonal destinations.
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