American Airlines to Cut International Services Into 2021

American Airlines has adjusted its long-haul international schedule for winter 2020 through summer 2021, cutting many routes as it faces low demand.

In response to the prolonged downturn in international travel, American expects summer 2021 long-haul international capacity to be down 25% versus 2019. As the airline begins planning for next summer, American will also discontinue several routes that were once popular leisure destinations but are expected to exhibit decreased demand.

“American has spent the past few years right-sizing its international network, discontinuing underperforming routes while adding leisure destinations like Dubrovnik and Prague,” says Brian Znotins, American’s vice president of Network Planning. “Now, as demand has significantly diminished due to COVID-19, we have to be nimble, creating the network that our customers desire.”

READ: We Put American Airlines’ Flagship First Through its Paces

American will exit several routes, including three trans-Atlantic routes from both Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) and Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). The company will also exit five underperforming routes from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to destinations in Asia and South America, concentrating on the hub’s domestic strength.

Affected Asia-Pacific routes include Dallas-Fort Worth to Beijing; Los Angeles to Sydney; and Los Angeles to Auckland, all three of which will be recommenced in 2021, as well as Los Angeles to Hong Kong, and Los Angeles to Shanghai Pudong, which have been canceled indefinitely.

As American resets its international network for future growth, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) will be the airline’s major trans-Pacific hub while Miami International Airport (MIA) will continue to be the preeminent hub for flights to the Caribbean and Latin America. Once government restrictions on trans-Atlantic flying subside, PHL will continue to be American’s primary hub for service to Europe.

American Airlines has adjusted its long-haul international schedule for winter 2020 through summer 2021, cutting many routes as it faces low demand. 

“COVID-19 has forced us to reevaluate our network,” says American’s chief revenue officer Vasu Raja. “American will have a significantly smaller international network in the year ahead, but we are using this opportunity to hit reset and create a network using the strength of our strategic hubs that we can build and grow upon and be profitable on in this new environment.”

Earlier this year, American launched its West Coast International Alliance with Alaska Airlines, an innovative partnership to expand its international reach and connectivity for customers. The airline will plan future growth with the strength of this relationship, which includes a large presence and a strong feed in Seattle. As previously announced, American will launch service from Seattle (SEA) to Bangalore and London (LHR) next year, and Alaska also intends to join the oneworld alliance in 2021. The airline will also seek government approval to move its LAX service to Shanghai to operate out of SEA, which will offer more customers direct access to Asia, utilizing the strength of Alaska’s local presence in the Pacific Northwest.

READ: American Airlines’ Russ Fortson on the Carrier’s Response to the Covid-19 Epidemic

American will also continue to fly to joint business partners’ hubs and while some international markets will not return, American anticipates a full schedule to London Heathrow by 2021. The airline will continue to work closely with British Airways to provide an extensive network that allows customers to reach key destinations when they are ready.

American Airlines also continues to provide customers additional flexibility by expanding waived change fees for customers booking tickets for any new travel purchased by July 31, 2020. Any first, business, Premium Economy, and Main Cabin tickets purchased on or before July 31, 2020, for future travel will not incur change fees prior to travel. Customers are allowed to change their origin and destination cities as part of this offer.

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