What South Pacific Routes Will American Airlines Launch?

Filed Under: American

A couple of weeks ago American Airlines announced significant transatlantic expansion. In 2020 the airline will be launching year-round flights from Dallas to Tel Aviv, as well as seasonal flights from Philadelphia to Casablanca, Chicago to Krakow, Chicago to Budapest, and Chicago to Prague.

We’ve known that this is only part one of American’s new route plans, and @xJonNYC now suggests that the second part of American’s international expansion will be announced soon. While the previous announcement involved Atlantic routes, this one should involve Pacific routes.

So, what should we expect?

New Haneda flights will be announced

Just recently the US Department of Transportation formally granted 12 Tokyo Haneda Airport slots to US airlines. We already knew that American was granted two of these slots, so we can expect announcements regarding these:

  • 1x daily Dallas to Haneda flight using 777-200ERs
  • 1x daily Los Angeles to Haneda flight using 787-8

Delta and United have already made formal announcements regarding this, so we can expect similar announcements from American, including start dates. It will be interesting to see if they cut any Narita service while adding these two flights.

What South Pacific routes could American launch?

Rumor has it that the other part of this announcement will involve new South Pacific routes. This is because the American and Qantas joint venture was recently approved, and as part of that the two airlines promised at least three new routes.

Qantas launched two of those — from Brisbane to both Chicago and San Francisco — and now we should also see some additions from American.

There are a few directions American could go with this. Currently their only South Pacific routes are a year-round 787-9 flight between Los Angeles and Sydney, as well as a seasonal 787-9 flight between Los Angeles and Auckland.

With that in mind, there are a few directions they could go:

  • We could see American’s Los Angeles to Auckland flight go year-round once again, and we could see American’s Los Angeles to Sydney flight upgraded to a 777-300ER once again
  • We could see American add more Australia service from Los Angeles, to either Brisbane or Melbourne; Los Angeles is American’s gateway to the Pacific but this decision would obviously be made in conjunction with Qantas, so it could come with a corresponding capacity shift from them
  • We could see American expand out of Dallas, and add a flight from Dallas to either Brisbane, Melbourne, or Auckland; I’d say that Melbourne is least likely given that it’s really pushing the range of the 787-9, so Brisbane seems more likely, or perhaps a seasonal Dallas to Auckland flight

Those are the only logical routes I can imagine them actually adding. I’d love to see service to Tahiti or Fiji or something, but the chances of that are slim to none. Furthermore, given how conservative American is with ultra long haul flying, I think it’s highly unlikely they’d launch transpacific flights out of any other hubs (like Chicago to Auckland, Phoenix to Sydney, etc.).

While not transpacific, it is funny that someone updated American’s Wikipedia page the other day to suggest that they were going to start flying from Dallas to Mumbai as of 2020. Unfortunately that just seemed to be a prankster.


Bottom line

American should soon formally be announcing their new Tokyo Haneda flights, and apparently there are some new South Pacific routes to go along with that. It’s anyone’s guess what those routes will be.

Personally my money is on Los Angeles to Auckland going year-round and/or Los Angeles to Sydney being upgraded to a 777-300ER.

Beyond that, my guess is that we’ll see a new route to Brisbane, out of either Dallas or Los Angeles. Qantas has significantly expanded transpacific flights out of Brisbane, so I could see that continuing with American. Alternatively, I could also see a seasonal Dallas to Auckland flight.

What new routes do you think American will announce?

  1. DFW Airport has been wanting Auckland service for years. They offered incentives for airlines to launch a flight. Wouldn’t be surprised to see it happen.

  2. American doesnt fly out of Dallas they fly out of DFW. When you say a flight to or from dallas you are referring to DAL which is Dallas Love field.

  3. I think DFW is probably the best run airport in the country, its a dream to have a base like DFW with 7 runways, 5 north south and 2 parallel. Lucky AA.

    Although south pacific like NZ and AU, will create huge inbound traffic. I think AA should be focusing on DFW-DEL as well. The market is ripe for a daily trip.

  4. LAX-AKL year round wouldn’t surprise me at all. If this goes, it just further widens the glaring hole in SkyTeam that is New Zealand from North America.

  5. LAX-MEL, LAX-AKL (year round), LAX-SYD to 777-300ER isn’t a requirement, there is a lot of capacity on LAX-SYD as it is. DFW-BNE seems unlikely.

  6. American has been neglecting its CHICAGO hub for many years. They need to expand flights from ORD instead of DFW.

  7. DFW-AKL anyone?


    best run airport in the country, I’m not so sure. I agree it is up there among the better ones.
    Design wise, I have to applaud, they were forward thinkers back then.
    DEN or ATL or DTW should also come into mind. Runway wise, I personally have to say DEN would be the best designed.

    For connection DFW is probably the most efficient big airport in USA, least walking to trains to any gates. If you we’re to have DFW as a home base, the annoying part would be parking and terminal parity as you would still have to gamble on your return flight.

  8. Thanks @Davis. I just found the plane order schedule. Shame the 787s coming on-line first are the 787-8s with the smaller J cabin

  9. When did AA downgrade SYD-LAX flights to a 787? When I flew it 2 years ago, it was a 777-300ER. And Taylor Swift was sitting in first class!

  10. Qantas currently has a 4x weekly evening flight from BNE to LAX alongside their daily. I could see AA taking that one over, as it would free up a 787 for some other routes.

  11. @Fateh

    Past three years? Venice, Athens, and now Budapest, Prague and Krakow? That doesn’t seem like neglecting.

  12. I saw a 77w on the schedule from LAX-HND for some dates in fall (August- October). Is this a permanent change that I missed? Where’s that 77w getting pulled from, then?

    I realize Rugby world cup is happening in Tokyo over part of those dates, but that’s not really a consideration for flights to/from USA, and the dates don’t totally overlap anyway..

  13. Would also LOVE to see a day flight from LAX – Australia (BNE, MEL, or SYD) on OW… similar to VA 6 offered only on Saturday. I take this flight often and it’s always very full, and seems to be great in terms of aircraft utilization.

  14. I think LAS-SYD is more likely than people might give it credit for. I fly LAX-LAS fairly regularly on AA metal and the number of QANTAS boarding passes is surprisingly high. I know some feelings were hurt in DFW when the DOT gave DL HND slots for PDX/HNL over AAs LAS proposal. Weight restrictions would be pretty minimal compared to DFW or ORD. Might be a nice way to thumb their nose at the DOT as well as gain some premium traffic at say 3-4x weekly.

  15. Miami is maxed out with Caribbean and south america flights. I would like to see some of those flights move out of Miami as I hate that airport. I have a suspicion that more European flights will be moved to DFW from other bases (IE ORD because it’s a mess operations wise) when the new terminal is constructed. Right now DFW is over capacity with plans in place to disembark passengers on the ramp and bus them to the terminal because of the lack of gates. They even revived the old satellite terminal and moved Eagle out there. Personally if there were one Europe flight moved to DFW it would be DFW-ATH, I don’t see that ever happening though… Slightly longer flight than from ORD.

  16. How about Dallas to Sydney? American has been very conservative with all decisions lately. It’s honestly quiet pathetic considering there size.

    They are trying to mimic Atlanta as delta has it seems for DFW.

    Thrilled with the new Tel Aviv service. And they really messed up with Africa. Should have went to Marrakesh instead. There’s a big market, especially from NYC.

  17. @Eskimo. DFW is easy for a local too if you understand how to work Skylink (the train). AA flys out of every terminal and you can check-in, check a bag, and clear security at any of them. You’re never more than 10 minutes from your gate. I avoid C cause the Precheck line is long and it’s easier to park in A or D. Upon a return, you could be in a different terminal but again, you’re not more than 10 minutes away by Skylink. But here’s the Pro Tip. If you arrive in a different terminal than your car and you stupidly checked a bag, DO NOT EXIT SECURITY. Instead, take Skylink to where your car is and drive back around to where your bag will be returned. You will beat your bag every time.

  18. I would love to see a QF/AA joint SEA-SYD service. Both QF and AA could be fed by Alaska Airlines from SEA.

  19. I wonder if the same prankster who added the BOM-DFW route was also the one who added BA flights between LHR, DAY, and MDT.

  20. Be surprised if It’s BNE the smallest of the east coast capitals. MEL is the fastest growing and is predicted to over take SYD in population within 10 years. The QF-AA partnership is AUS-US not NZ.

  21. Not going to happen, but would be nice to see PHL to Haneda. Phl is one of the most major business cities in the US to not have a direct Asian flight. The airport has been actively courting Asian carriers. Could really see lots of businesses take advantage of it and not to mention the large influx of Asian community moving to the area. But AA just connects them all through DFW or LAX. But still, would be nice.

  22. Major Alienation of the Largest City in America !

    Parker’s nature of being penny wise and so so dollar foolish maybe the demise of AA and it’s #1 ranking. Trying to save a few dollars in Airport fees, a majority of international routes are being moved from JFK to PHL .
    2 Major negative effects are happening from this. He is giving the LARGEST CITY in the country to Delta !
    More important .. he is praying for New Yorkers and most of the East Coast for that matter to be willing to fly on a very cramped and limited scheduled American Eagle regional plane to PHL before then flying international .
    The badly needed replacement for Parker is going to have a very difficult time regaining a foot hold in America’s Largest City .

  23. QF will drop the 6 x A380 on the DFW/SYD route and operate a daily 789. AA will introduce a 788 or 789, daily DFW/MEL. Rumours have it that QF wants to put the A380 on the Japan route, in fact AJ has mentioned this during a recent press conference. SYD/HND would require 2 x A380 frames, and yes there is a restriction on A380 operating into HND but QF believes they can get around this. BNE is maxed out with new SFO and ORD flights and doesn’t have the premium/business market that SYD and MEL have. QF release their financials tomorrow lets see what AJ has to say, rumours new 789 order.

  24. I agree 100% with @Al Baker re the utter stupidity of Parker abandoning New York City. I also think Parker needs to show more love for Chicago, our third largest city. I fear that the day is coming when JFK will be a Delta fortress hub, and Chicago will be a United fortress hub. The customer will be the loser.

    I live in DC, and I refuse to fly the American Eagle to PHL to make connections. When US Airways was still around, I would take the longer connection through CLT just to avoid the bad connection at PHL. I can’t imagine any self-respecting New Yorker flying the Eagle to PHL when they can just go out to JFK and fly Delta instead.

  25. I agree why would they abandon JFK? Makes no sense.

    They said they will only hold on to business oriented flights I doubt that they will collapse JFK, but the good news is JetBlue will be coming online with service to London soon!!

    And has anyone ever looked at PHL or charlottes winter Europe service, it’s pure pathetic because they don’t have much local business to support it.

  26. Europe flights start dropping off at the end of September now instead of mid October. They drop off because loads drastically drop off because its a seasonal vacation destination. Last year watching loads for PHL-ATH at mid September flights were full. Just a two weeks later planes had 200+ empty seats. Most passengers are vacationers not business. Which is also why flights are moving to PHL to better handle the majority of passengers that come from the rest of the country not just a few that depart out of NY.

    That said I don’t like connecting in PHL either as the terminals are tiny. The gates for domestic are barely big enough to handle an RJ let alone a full load from a 73 or A319

  27. LAX-SYD will go to 773. AKL would not be a new route. I see BNE from DFW or MEL from LAX. Overall its good news.

  28. @Brian
    Shhhh, limited 1hour parking spots. that is what I’ve (and everyone should) been doing. But it still adds some burden, and I don’t ever think I beat the bags that way. DFW is quite fast with bags. With DFW parking hike, offsite seems a much better deal now.

    @Al Baker
    As much as I criticize Doug Parker, he deserves more love from JFK. AA is not handing over NYC to Delta or even ORD to United. You have to understand places like Chicago or NYC have competition not only from UA or DL but from foreign carriers. Rather than trying to compete against better Asian carrier, cheaper Chinese carrier, partner EU carrier, subsidized ME3 carrier , AA rather chose to go with less competition. Don’t forget, AA still has strong TATL JV with IAG.

    Out of JFK or ORD both UA and DL are frequently out priced both Pacific and Atlantic side. It’s better to make money from less competition than to spend money to fight.

    Again I’m not saying that AA is making the right or wrong choice slowly pulling out of JFK. I think there is enough reasons to support Doug for what AA is doing right now. You have to remember one thing, as a customer, DL (and even UA) are doing more things better than AA for business flyers. Simply, would you rather fly F on the 737Oasis or F on the A220.

    Personally, I think the nail in the coffin for NYC was back when US/AA merged and Doug Parker decided to play safe and make a fortress out of legacy US hub PHL instead of fighting for legacy AA LGA/JFK hub. Today is just a result of 2013.

  29. @Eskimo
    Although you take issue with us at the beginning of your post, you circle back around to our main point in your final paragraph: “Personally, I think the nail in the coffin for NYC was back when US/AA merged and Doug Parker decided to play safe and make a fortress out of legacy US hub PHL instead of fighting for legacy AA LGA/JFK hub. Today is just a result of 2013.”

    This is exactly the issue we are having with Parker — his “safe” strategy of focusing on hubs in PHL and DFW rather than taking advantage of the hubs he inherited in 2013 at JFK and ORD in two of the three largest US cities.

  30. @Charlie

    The thing is, it was a business decision that made sense. It’s not even like trying to put 29′ pitch into 737MAX based on spreadsheets, this was a strategic choice. I wouldn’t call going for PHL “safe” either. Everyone, DP included, knows how big NYC market is and how shitty (tiny) PHL is. After pros and cons, PHL was the winner. Who knows, had AA fought for NYC, they might be in a deeper trouble by now. That is why I don’t think DP should be blamed for NYC. Again, not saying it is right or wrong. My last part is just to echo that it was a decision made back in 2013 not 2019.

  31. If American want to do MEL-LAX they may as well not bother! MEL already has flights to LAX with Qantas, Virgin and United.

  32. @Phil I agree at most in MEL LAX you will see a capacity shift from QF the market is too crowded to support new metal on that route especially with UAs impending launch of another Cali-MEL route. To everyone predicting MEL-DFW I just don’t see the demand there. Maybe with the capacity drop on DFW-SYD but even then I am not sure about “ways around” getting an A388 into HND. I see the intrigue of SYD-SEA but that would be a challenge routing wise to say the least.

  33. @Hunter

    There are “ways around” getting an A388 into HND. The problem is it requires a lot of compromise and disrupt other operations. Simply put, A380 is so big it has only 1 runway 1 gate but 1 huge separation (I think 1.5x or 2x of 777). At the pace that HND is operating, it’s doable but very difficult. And that is why A380 isn’t a right plane for today. Can’t go places, can’t fill up, can’t resell.

    Now for AA’s perspective, I still see a possible but slim for DFW-AKL or LAX-AKL.

  34. @APJ, can’t see AA taking over the 3x weekly QF55/56 BNE-LAX. Basically the BNE-LAX route has been “right-sized” with the upcoming introduction of the SFO/ORD flights.
    There’s a ‘very slim’ chance of AA entering DFW-BNE, but this is probably unlikely.

    Many of the QF55/56 transfer passengers are likely to move to QF’s ORD and/or SFO flights to connect to the AA and AS hubs respectively.

  35. @Hunter As a Melbourne resident myself a lot of Melbourne travelers who aren’t going to LA as a final destination actually go out of their way to avoid having to do LAX as a stopover on their way to other parts of the US. Some fly with Air Canada, Air New Zealand or some of the East Asian carriers (eg Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific). If AA did a MEL-DFW there would be considerable interest as the dreaded LAX stopover would be dodged.

  36. What are people’s thoughts on a direct flight ex ADL to North America? Surely there is a demand now vs having to transit in either MEL, SYD or BNE? It will be interesting to see what transpires following the World Routes Forum being held in Adelaide late September this year.

  37. I’ve been told on flyer forums I’m wrong but I am pretty sure my uncle, in the mid to late 1960s, did an Auckland to Suva leg on an American 707 that may have originated in Sydney or Melbourne (as later PanAm/UAL 747-200 flights did) and flew on to Honolulu, LAX, Chicago and Detroit. Quite some hops.

    Dallas to Auckland May make sense; Air NZ recently added Houston and, more recently, Chicago so it’s pointless AA playing me-too.

    I understand Air NZ had something to do with encouraging UAL back to Auckland with their SFO flights; a US west coast destination Air NZ also serves with both own-aircraft rotations and codeshares on the UAL rotations.

  38. @brian and @eskimo
    I use the same system at dfw – get my car then luggage. But DFW’s advance pay parking deal (on their website) makes it cheaper to park at Terminal than use Express or Remote. Check it out

    Agreed on A380 downgrade w switch to 1AA and 1 QF aircraft. I fly that route a ton and usually connect on to BNE. I think DFW-BNE would be huge! Remember – QF flew DFW-BNE on a 747-4 for a couple of years (due to range limits westbound) when route was launched Lots of great connecting opportunities to northeast Oz, Gold Coast and Coral Sea areas (creates 1-hop trips to great destinations like New Caledonia, PNG, Vanuatu, etc. plus BNE has awesome business climate and super fast growing.

    Regarding comments about DFW-RAK – that route makes zero sense to me although TLV doesn’t really either. I’d love to see the DFW-MUC and DFW-AMS flights go year round. I don’t see a ton of oneworld value in any additional AKL flights.

    Finally, next time you’re on QF7 SYD-DFW – ask first and Biz class pax where they’re going on to – large proportion are going to Mexico, central Or South America and paying big bucks to do so.

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