American Airlines Axes International Network

Filed Under: American

We’ve seen airlines massively reduce their flight schedules, though most of the changes have been relatively short-term, with a focus on cancelling flights in the coming weeks.

Well, American Airlines has just massively reworked their schedule, and there are some pretty big implications. American Airlines is canceling a majority of their international flights through the summer.

American Airlines suspends most international capacity

American Airlines has revealed further capacity cuts to address record low customer demand. Specifically, American Airlines will:

  • Suspend more than 60% of international capacity for peak summer travel season, including 80% of Pacific capacity, 65% of Atlantic capacity, and 48% of Latin America capacity
  • Delay the launch of many inaugural flights to 2021
  • Suspend 26 summer seasonal flights until summer 2021

As American Airlines describes it, these changes are due to significantly decreased customer demand and government travel restrictions.

While probably not the primary motivator, I imagine a further consideration is that American Airlines is retiring their 757-200s, 767-300s, and A330-300s early, and these planes were supposed to be used for long haul flights.

American Airlines is retiring 767s effective immediately

Here are some of the highlights of American’s route changes:

Transatlantic routes being cancelled altogether

To start, American Airlines will cancel the following 26 transatlantic routes altogether for this summer:

  • Charlotte to Barcelona, Dublin, Madrid, Paris, and Rome
  • Dallas to Munich and Rome
  • New York to Rome
  • Chicago to Budapest, Krakow, Paris, Prague, Rome, and Venice
  • Philadelphia to Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Budapest, Casablanca, Dubrovnik, Edinburgh, Lisbon, Prague, Reykjavik, Shannon, and Venice

American is cancelling over two dozen transatlantic routes

Many inaugural flights being delayed to 2021

It’s also worth noting some pretty significant new routes American was supposed to launch this year, which will now launch in 2021:

These are some of the most exciting new routes we’ve seen from American Airlines in a long time, so it sure is sad to see them all taken out of the schedule.

American is delaying the new Seattle to Bangalore flight

Many transatlantic flights being delayed

Summer is usually the peak travel season for transatlantic flights, but many routes to Europe are being pushed back, either to July or October 2020.

The following flights will now resume as of July 2020:

  • Charlotte to London
  • Charlotte to Munich
  • Dallas to Dublin
  • New York to Paris
  • New York to Madrid
  • Miami to Madrid
  • Chicago to Barcelona
  • Philadelphia to Madrid
  • Philadelphia to Zurich

The following flights will now resume as of October 2020:

  • Boston to London
  • Charlotte to Frankfurt
  • Miami to Barcelona
  • Miami to Paris
  • New York to Barcelona
  • New York to Milan
  • Philadelphia to Paris
  • Philadelphia to Rome
  • Philadelphia to Manchester
  • Phoenix to London

Some transatlantic flights will only resume in October 2020

Most Asia-Pacific flights delayed to October 2020

American Airlines has already suspended most flights to Asia, and many of those suspensions have now been extended.

The following four routes are expected to resume as of July 2020:

  • Dallas to Hong Kong
  • Dallas to Tokyo Haneda
  • Dallas to Seoul Incheon
  • Los Angeles to Tokyo Haneda

The following seven routes will now resume as of October 2020:

  • Dallas to Beijing
  • Dallas to Shanghai
  • Los Angeles to Auckland
  • Los Angeles to Beijing
  • Los Angeles to Hong Kong
  • Los Angeles to Shanghai
  • Los Angeles to Sydney

Los Angeles to Hong Kong will resume in October 2020

Bottom line

While airlines cancelling a significant number of flights is expected at this point, I think this is particularly noteworthy. Most cancellations have been short term, while American Airlines has wiped out a majority of their summer schedule at this point.

Furthermore, the exciting new routes to Bangalore, Casablanca, Christchurch, and Tel Aviv, have all been pushed off until 2021.

What do you make of American’s latest schedule change?

  1. This tells me that the management of the big 3 US airlines are being told life ain’t going back to normal anytime soon. That original bailout amount is a drop in the bucket if their peak summer schedule looks like this.

  2. It’s pragmatic. Even if, and this is a strong if, the shelter in place orders are lifted in May, people aren’t going to start traveling internationally immediately.

  3. I have a booking from PHL-BCN in mid October, will that routing be effected? Nothing has changed regarding my reservation on the AA website so far…

  4. LOL JFK-FCO cancelled. As if this flight was likely to fly as scheduled reliably.ever.
    Book the non stop, check in and call AA to be the first to switch to BA connection when AA goes mechanical.

  5. Although I only flew it once, I am disappointed to see the CLT to DUB route dropped. It was seasonal but Dublin airport operated one of the few pre clearance inspection operations in Europe. Especially if you have TSA you are good to go before you even get on the plane. Land in Charlotte, walk through the domestic terminal and off.

  6. So am I correct to assume if you booked one of the cancelled routes using web special miles, your miles will be redeposited?

  7. Any of these revised dates are purely speculative. I am surprised that AA would even guess at this point. This CV mess is going to kill intl demand for years to come from a financial perspective. I really believe this is going result in a complete reboot of individuals’s and corporations’ fiduciary habits. The old norm is gone.

  8. This is unfortunate, but it helps gives clarity to travelers. We do not know where this situation is going, and some countries may have entry limits for quite a while.

    Surprised that the Bangalore and Tel Aviv route were pushed pack so far. Why not just start those next summer?

  9. @iflyfarther

    I don’t see international demand from the US declining for ‘years’. A decent amount of losses will be recouped if America has a strong economic rebound at the end of the year. Things will turnaround.

  10. Your title gave me a heart attack. I thought it meant they were cutting Mexico flights. Not cool

  11. I think DL and UA are being foolish to think their traffic will recover this summer. A lot of people are going to stay close to home, vacation in the US, Caribbean and Mexico. AA is looking at business travels primarily and leveraging their OneWorld partner’s networks (JAL/BA/QA especially) to fill in the blanks. I personally think this is a good move, but time will tell.

  12. Furthermore I expect AA and the rest of the US3 to de-hub and retreat from LAX.

    Consider this – LAX is a hub for the US3 and a focus city for a whole slew of foreign and domestic carriers because of its huge origin/destination market. Less outsiders and Angelenos will be willing to travel in this new normal, and definitely will be less willing to pay the premium for non stop travel.

    American will still retain a considerable presence in LAX as a focus city, but I expect less popular routes going east from LA to be funneled through PHX and DFW to cut costs.

  13. @J

    Per Ben’s post, that route is listed as “cancelled altogether,” in the top section. But, yesterday on View from the Wing, Gary’s post about these changes had that route listed as “Resumes October 25.”

    So, there seems to be some confusion. It’s a seasonal route, so it does seem weird to bring it back that late and fly it for, like, a week.

    Either way, if your flight is mid-Oct, as you say, I am guessing it won’t be going.

  14. The headline (“American…Axes International Network”) implied that American was getting rid of ALL international flights. And, in these strange days, that would be believable. But no – they are merely cutting back as one would expect. Sensationalism is beneath you, Ben You’re better than that.

  15. @lucky

    I still see many 767 flights available in October and November. Primarily to Lima, Brasilia, etc

  16. The resumption of China routes is scheduled for October ? That’s not happening. It’s right before flu season kicks up again and the slightest sign of illness from a passenger or slightest cough will cause all sorts of concerns. Demand will be so low to China during the upcoming flu season out of pure fear of catching covid-19.

  17. @D3KingAmerican: “I don’t see international demand from the US declining for ‘years’. A decent amount of losses will be recouped if America has a strong economic rebound at the end of the year. Things will turnaround.”

    Considering that there are financial analysts that are speculating that the impending recession may actually be worse than 2008 and that it might last for 18 months or more, your “if” might well be a really big if.

  18. I’m flying PHL-AMS as part of a trip in July. The AA press release says this flight will resume in Oct. Since the flight is cancelled (although they aren’t updating itineraries to show that yet) is it accurate that should be able to get a refund for entire trip even though it’s a nonrefundable ticket?

  19. @Donato
    This is the flight we were booked to leave on in June. Hoping since AA canceled this refund process will be easier. I’ve never flown AA before and seeing how they are treating customers during this time I never will (once I get my money back) but your post is referring to mechanical issues? Is that common with AA?

  20. All the Europeans “hating” air travel —–NOW …. have their wish!
    End of the world economy.
    Good luck in the future!

    Be careful for what you selfishly wish for………

  21. Can we get an update on London routes? Also, what’s the word on repositioning of aircraft? Flying LHR to PHL in August and hoping they swap out that piece of junk A333.

  22. We are booked to travel to usa in early August from Australia. Will we be travelling then or not. Will we be able to fly from sydney to LAX . We were planning to be in South Dekota for 10days then back home to Australia.
    How do we go about getting our money back if the flights ate cancelled. We are booked on the 787.

  23. The future is unknowable and forecasting is a hazardous business.
    Despite the veracity of the above statement, in the case of Covid-19, I will offer this forecast:
    Anyone flying or sitting in close proximity to another human being has increased probability of contracting the virus as long as their is no vaccine available to the masses. Also, there needs to be a therapeutic remedy to effectively get rid of the virus.
    Because of the need to conduct trials to test the efficacy and minimize potential side effects, neither a vaccine nor a therapeutic is likely to be available for at 12 to 18 months .
    Therefore , it is highly risky for anyone flying until a vaccine or therapy is available.

  24. DFW-MAD will run from May 6 onwards.

    I am surprised that CLT gets most of the cuts. They could have maintained the CLT-MAD flight as Iberia is a partner and both CLT and MAD are excellent airports to transfer.

  25. I’d be surprised if some of these planned routes will ever happen. I don’t see the traffic existing for most of these international routes for years.

  26. Whelp…there goes my CHC-LAX J flight in November. Found a great 1 way fare at 1200 and bit on it. Curious to see what AA will throw me on now. I’m assuming I’ll just get tossed into some QF routing via SYD, MEL, or BNE?

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