American Airlines Cuts Cordoba, Argentina Route

Filed Under: American

American has historically been by far the strongest US carrier in Latin America. Over the past couple of years we’ve seen them cut a fair number of routes, though they’ve also tried to add some.

One of the routes they added was a new flight between Miami and Cordoba, Argentina:

  • The route was announced in March 2018, and was supposed to launch in April 2019
  • The launch of the flight ended up being delayed until June 2019

That wasn’t a good sign, so I guess the latest development shouldn’t come as a surprise — the route is being cut altogether. As of May 6, 2020, American will cut their Miami to Cordoba route, meaning that it will have survived for less than a year.

The reality is that it takes time to build up demand in new international markets, though my guess is that they were hemorrhaging money, and there was no reality in which they saw the route being profitable.

American is quoted as saying the following regarding this route cut:

“As part of the continuous evaluation of our network we have decided to cancel our service to Córdoba, Argentina (COR) from May 6, 2020. American has proudly served Argentina for almost 30 years and with this change American will continue to offer 31 flights Weekly between Buenos Aires and our hubs in Miami, New York-JFK, Los Angeles and Dallas / Fort Worth.”

When the route was launched, American’s VP for Latin America had said the following:

“We have had a 28-year marriage with Argentina and 11 years of struggle to achieve this flight from Cordoba. That demonstrates our commitment to the country, in the good and bad. There are times when you earn a lot and others, like this one, when you have to surf the wave.”

Argentina’s economy is quite bad at the moment, and on top of that the route seemed optimistic to begin with, even under much better circumstances.

While American is cutting ties with LATAM (the airline will stop codesharing with American in January 2020, and the airline will leave oneworld in October 2020), I don’t think that contributed significantly to this cut. The airlines didn’t codeshare on the route, and the route was all about traffic to & from Cordoba, so I don’t think it was reliant on connecting traffic within Latin America.

What do you make of American cutting their Cordoba route?

Comments
  1. That probably makes sense. Those who need a visa or AVE for Argentina will have discovered that applications are not taken seriously and will not be approved, nor denied, but just ignored.
    Argentina intentionally seems to minimize its market for tourism.

  2. The route started and dragged on with $ 1,430 RT Business Class fares from Miami, with RT COR- AEP (Buenos Aires – Jorge Newberry Aeroparque) RTs at under $ 100. It was quite a way to have B767 Business Class RTs LGA-MIA-COR-AEP for around $ 1700.
    I’ll miss the route but I do not see that it was sustainable for AA.

  3. I have to say, while AA adds pointless routes to places where they can’t realistically get good yields (Cordoba, Dubrovnik, Krakow, need I say more?) while United finds clever openings that are yet to be fully taken advantage of (Newark – Cape Town was a masterstroke, I couldn’t believe that DL was the only game in town, and to JNB at that). IAD-TLV was also very clever (I’ll save my moral political objections for another day).

  4. The return COR-MIA was a daylight flight. I think that was probably part of the problem for the route. I flew the MIA-COR last July and it was pretty full but the return was almost empty. I was only one in business and coach was pretty empty. Wide open 57.5k seats was nice though. I would try to avoid a daylight flight to the US though it felt like a waste of a day.

  5. @Matt

    Why would AA increase PHL-DBV from 3x weekly to daily and extend the season into late October if they “can’t realistically get good yields”.

    Not only that, ORD-KRK is supposedly going from 5x weekly to 6x weekly, but that remains unconfirmed.

    AA’s strategy is now expand to unserved/underserved destinations, cut fast or increase flights to their as we saw with increasing DBV/TXL and cutting BLQ after one season.

  6. COR was a long time coming and had support from corporations like HP as well as strong cargo demand. Unfortunately starting the route during the Southern Hemisphere winter was an immediate handicap and combined with a lack of local funds to promote tourism the route was a gamble that never produced decent loads.

    Recently AA has said they are okay with trying these routes and to expect more of the same. Those 767s are not ideal from a passenger perspective but for AA they’re paid off, don’t have the range of other wide-bodies, don’t have as high crew costs, and have lower capacity. PRG, BUD, TXL, DBV, BLQ… are other examples of this methodology of following the data to markets that may or may not work but worth the gamble.

  7. My prediction is that they will focus it all, correctly, on Brazil and try to stick it to Latam. Fortaleza is a natural…completely underserved NE market with huge upside in the coming years. Salvador as well which will access the beaches of Bahia that are growing in popularity with Americans. Even Anderson Cooper has a house there in Trancoso.

  8. @ Matt PHL-DBV was a masterstroke. They’re the only ones catering to the huge idiot millenial market that want’s to go there just to see where GoT was filmed. They probably could care less about Croatia or Dubrovnik as a whole, but hey some made up show was filmed there so let’s go!

  9. @305 – I think you’re spot-on. It infuriates me to see the Insta pics of “King’s Landing”. As an ethnic Croat I’m perhaps a little overly sensitive to the issue but I cannot wait until the hype dies down and Dalmacija starts attracting better visitors. Nonetheless, AA was smart to capitalize on this. I only lament that UA didn’t do it first as there could have been a handful of connecting routes via OU out of Dubrovnik.

  10. Kinda sad as I was on the Inaugural back in June… but tbh I understand why, I say in order run a profit they need about 95-100% capacity, but the inaugural itself was about 85% full, and I heard return flights were almost as low as 51%. Great idea, but sadly not enough market. I loved Cordoba, its definetly worth a visit. I could see them running a Fortaleza route, because that seems to be the top most unserved market by a US Airline. I also flew their MVD route, and it actually works for them, I was quite suprised, my return flight was 100% full.

  11. I’m really glad I took advantage of this flight in September to visit Cordoba. Really enjoyed my time in the city. Hate to see AA end the route.

  12. Not only the economic situation affected the flight. There are several other alternatives and at some point cheaper that have been available for years to get from COR to reach MIA and other northern destinations. You can fly LATAM via SCL, LIM or GRU. Also COPA, and why not taking advantage of EZE connected 3 times a day with COR and more than 15 times daily with AEP. I am from Cordoba and it was a very nice flight !

  13. American’s Krakow, Prague, and Budapest routes for summer 2020 from ORD seems like a very good business deal for the airline. I have checked the website and its not even January 2020 and seats are filling quick for the summer months. American should create more routes to those destinations from other major US cities, especially to Poland because of its increase in travelers yearly. Hopefully that will be seen in the near future as the demand continues to rise.

  14. Even Aerolíneas Argentinas AR failed on this route, despite having a (small) hub there, promoting the flight quite heavily…

    Main issue is the horrible economic situation right now, the flight started at a really bad moment already. Quite sad for me though, I loved this flight.

  15. I think what AA could do with this route is re-start it as a seasonal flight during the Southern Hemisphere summer and have it scheduled as a once or twice weekly flight at first. Slow, but steady. Once the economic situation is better in Argentina, it could work. Scheduling the flight for nighttime hours will fill the seats.
    It works for COPA because they use Boeing 737 aircraft out of Panama City. With it being a smaller aircraft , the flight sells out faster.
    In American, the case is different, since they use a larger aircraft. Therefore, it would be wise for them to measure the weekly frequencies until they have a better footing in the market.
    This is how American was successful in their flights to MVD. The research team that was in place back in the early 2000’s used this strategy for the non-stop flights to Uruguay.

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