American Airlines has just scheduled some increased service out of Fort Lauderdale, and it’s hard to view this as anything but retaliation against JetBlue Airways.
American Airlines’ Fort Lauderdale expansion
American Airlines has just opened reservations for three new routes out of Fort Lauderdale. As of April 2, 2021, American Airlines will fly:
- 2x daily from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles with A321neos
- 2x daily from Fort Lauderdale to New York JFK with 737-800s
- 2x daily from Fort Lauderdale to Boston with 737-800s
While American has a huge presence in Miami, the Fort Lauderdale routes are all ones that aren’t currently operated by the airline. Currently American’s operations in Fort Lauderdale are limited to flights to Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, and Philadelphia.
American has tried more than once to operate flights from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles and New York, though the routes never worked, so it’s interesting to see the airline try yet again.
I suppose the pandemic has changed a lot of things about airlines route planning, though these are also highly competitive routes. For example, Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles will be flown by Alaska, American, Delta, JetBlue, and Spirit.
Spirit Airlines also flies from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles
This is clear retaliation against JetBlue
Just a few days ago it was announced that JetBlue would start flying to Miami in 2021. The airline has a big hub in Fort Lauderdale, but is now encroaching on American’s territory. The airline will fly from Miami to Boston, Los Angeles, New York JFK, and Newark.
JetBlue is expanding out of Miami
As you can see, American is now launching all of those same routes out of Fort Lauderdale, except Newark (American has no reason to grow in Newark, while it’s a new focus city for JetBlue).
A new strategic partnership between American and JetBlue was recently announced, so many assumed JetBlue’s growth out of Miami was somehow coordinated with American. I made the point that this clearly wasn’t the case, and hopefully American’s service out of Fort Lauderdale reinforces that.
This gets at how strange airline partnerships can be at times. Yes, the two airlines will cooperate, and yes they’ll work together in select markets, but in other markets they’ll continue fighting one another, as we’re seeing now.
Unfortunately for American, JetBlue has the upper hand here. For example, between Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles, would anyone in any cabin really want to fly American over JetBlue? The only thing American can do is flood the market with capacity and low fares, and that doesn’t exactly seem like a winning strategy. Then again, coronavirus has changed a lot of things.
Would you rather fly American’s first class…
…or JetBlue Mint?
As of April 2021 American Airlines will launch three new routes out of Fort Lauderdale, as the airline will fly to Boston, Los Angeles, and New York JFK. This comes just days after JetBlue announced routes to similar destinations out of Miami.
Under normal circumstances there’s no way American could compete in these markets, but then again, I guess American also doesn’t have anywhere better to fly these planes, so…
What do you make of American’s growth in Fort Lauderdale?