American’s International Expansion Out Of LAX Continues…

Filed Under: American

Exactly two weeks ago Delta announced that theyĀ planned to launch daily nonstop flights between Los Angeles and Beijing as of December 16, 2016.

Great Wall of China

Today American has announced that they plan on launching daily nonstop flights between Los Angeles and Beijing as of… wait for it… December 16, 2016!

So much creativity among US airlines nowadays. šŸ˜‰

The exact schedule forĀ the flight hasn’t yet been announced, nor has the aircraft which would be used for the flight, as the route is still subject to government approval. However, I suspect the route will be operated by a Boeing 787, which seems like the most logicalĀ fit for the route.

American 787

Interestingly Air China has had a monopoly on the route for a long time, with their 2-3x daily service. It’s not surprising to see a US airline enter the market, though two at once (especially in winter) sounds like it might be a bit of an overkill. But with US airlines it always seems to be “monkey see, monkey do.”

Air China 777

This new routeĀ comes afterĀ American has announced huge expansion out of Los Angeles. Los Angeles is a city which historically hasn’t been dominated by a single carrier, given the limited gate space allocated to any one airline. Instead American, Delta, and United have all had a decent presence. However, American is trying to take the lead, and as part of that is building two more gates.

Over the course of about a year, American is launching flights to the following new destinations out of Los Angeles:


I’ll post again once this flight is bookable, especially if there’s upgrade and award space (which I imagine will be plentiful, as upgrades on American to China are really easy to come by).

Bottom line

American certainly is doing everything they can to expand their international presence in Los Angeles. In addition to the recently launched and announced flights, rumor has it (per the always reliable JonNYC) that American will soon further expand their flights to Australia, likely to Melbourne (it’s the most logical option).

American’s growth to Asia the past several years has been huge, especially out of Dallas. Over the past few years they’ve launched flights from Dallas to Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, and Shanghai. This represents quite a shift in strategy, given that Doug Parker previously didn’t see the value in Asia service.

Still, I do sort of wonder how well this route will do. I guess planes like the 787 make a lot of new routes potentially profitable. But the economy in China isn’t exactly strong at the moment, yet American has greatly increased their capacity there, so it seems to be working.

But with the global economy as weak as it is, perhaps international routes are being chosen based on which routes lose the least as opposed to which routes make the most.

What do you make of American’s new Los Angeles to Beijing flight?

  1. As far as I know, there is only one slot available, so both airlines won’t have LAX-PEK, only one of them will get it.

  2. Bad idea from American. Over capacity to China from just about all AA’s hubs and now, not only are they going up against Air China, but they’re also going up against Delta on this new route.

    They’re drunk on big profits and cheap oil and it won’t end well when conditions start to go against them.

  3. The winter start time is just ahead of the Chinese New Year and I’m sure both Delta and AA are hoping there will be huge demand from all the Chinese families living in SoCal for travel in both directions for that (major) holiday.

  4. I think its a bad idea for AA. DL has China Eastern and China Southern as partners in China. AA has no Chinese domestic partner ( Hainan Air has big present in PEK but not officially a One World Partner yet). But was surprised to see Air China is monoploy in this route so long.

    PEK is capital city, and serve most of Northern part of China. There is some demand but AA needs a domestic partner in PEK.

  5. I think the only way AA could open the LAX-MEL route would be to do it under the JV with QF. It would really piss VA off though as they pulled out of the LAX-MEL route about a year ago so it means less of a reason for their pax to feed to BNE and SYD. But VA may relaunch that route once they expand their fleet a bit once they decide whether to pick up the 777-9Xs or 787s.

  6. With only one US-CHN tier-1 cities slot yet to be granted, AA seems to be challenging DL in the similar way they did for LAX-HND. I’m curious what the real reason for that is. Or, if possible, that DL is setting AA up by announcing this route ahead of AA which has obviously been focusing on expansion of LAX to Asia.

  7. Not sure if there’s a need for that route but maybe Doug Parker was listening to Richard Anderson as Delta has had its eyes on expanding its presence in China for quite some time now. I do think competition is always a good thing so we’ll see which US airline will get that route.

  8. Can AA secure a good slot in PEK? AA187 arrives in Beijing at 8pm, and AA186 leaves at 10am, which is not ideal. I know DL has swapped slots with MU in PEK. Not having a OW partner in Mainland China will always be a problem for AA.

  9. Where do you mean by “the economy in China isn’t strong”? Yes of course the overall GDP growth is below what it has been the last twenty plus years, but it’s still growing overall more than just about any other market out there. And personal consumption, an especially big factor in Chinese travel, remains especially strong.

  10. @anon: There are more Mainland Chinese residing in the Greater LA area than those three cities.

    Additionally, TPG confirmed DL launching the same route starting in Dec way before AA made the announcement. So if that’s confirmed and there’s only one slot available, how is AA gonna launch the same route??

  11. @Ben Delta sent out a very misleading press release making it seem like the service was a “done deal.” But it wasn’t. Delta submitted an application, American contested the application yesterday and submitted its own application and now DOT will open a carrier selection process. Only one airline will be allowed to fly it.

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