American Airlines’ JFK Strategy: What’s Next?

American Airlines’ JFK Strategy: What’s Next?

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For the past couple of years, American Airlines has been building up New York’s JFK Airport as a long haul gateway. This was done as part of the Northeast Alliance, a partnership with JetBlue, whereby JetBlue provided much of the feed for American’s long haul flights.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) sued to block this partnership, claiming it was anti-competitive. A judge ruled in favor of the DOJ, and JetBlue announced that it won’t be challenging the decision, meaning that the Northeast Alliance is about to wind down.

The biggest question now is what this means for American’s strategy at JFK. Will the airline reduce long haul service from there, maintain its current service, increase service, or what?

American’s current presence at JFK

Generally speaking, airlines offer most of their long haul service out of their biggest hubs, since it’s easiest to fill planes that way. American’s domestic presence at JFK has long been quite small, though that became less of an issue when American and JetBlue launched the Northeast Alliance.

With this, American could rely on JetBlue to provide domestic feed for its long haul services, since JetBlue has a massive network out of JFK. Unfortunately going forward, American won’t be able to rely on JetBlue to do that anymore.

To look at American’s current year-round destinations from JFK:

  • American’s domestic destinations consist mostly of hubs and focus cities, as the airline flies to Austin (AUS), Boston (BOS), Charlotte (CLT), Chicago (ORD), Cincinnati (CVG), Cleveland (CLE), Columbus (CMH), Dallas, (DFW), Indianapolis (IND), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), Nashville (BNA), Orange County (SNA), Phoenix (PHX), Pittsburgh (PIT), Raleigh (RDU), San Francisco (SFO), Washington (DCA), and Worcester (ORH)
  • American’s international destinations include Antigua (ANU), Barcelona (BCN), Buenos Aires (EZE), Cancun (CUN), Delhi (DEL), Doha (DOH), Georgetown (GEO), London (LHR), Madrid (MAD), Mexico City (MEX), Milan (MXP), Montego Bay (MBJ), Monterrey (MTY), Paris (CDG), Punta Cana (PUJ), St. Thomas (STT), Sao Paulo (GRU), Tel Aviv (TLV), and Toronto (YYZ)

Honestly, is there another major US airline hub that has such a high ratio of international flights to domestic flights? American has roughly the same number of domestic and international destinations out of JFK.

Without JetBlue, it’s kind of amazing how reliant American is on local traffic, rather than connecting traffic. That’s quite a contrast to Delta (which has a huge domestic presence at JFK), and United (which has a huge domestic presence at EWR).

Now, it’s worth acknowledging that American has a solid presence at LaGuardia (LGA), but that’s hardly helpful when it comes to providing connectivity at JFK.

Most of American’s destinations from JFK are international

What happens to American’s JFK network?

With JetBlue out of the picture, what’s next for American at JFK? I’m conflicted, because I could see this playing out a couple of different ways. Personally I think this is the end of American’s international growth at JFK, at least for the time being.

However, I could see American largely maintaining its current level of international service:

  • The flights to Europe are easy enough to fill, given the oneworld transatlantic joint venture
  • There’s huge demand between New York and Tel Aviv, so American should have no issues maintaining that service
  • The Doha route is all about connections to Qatar Airways, and there are plenty of people traveling between New York and the Indian subcontinent (and beyond); that’s also why the Delhi service works
  • Most of the Caribbean service is point-to-point traffic anyway, so wasn’t too reliant on connections; for the Caribbean, American otherwise has Miami as a hub

So maybe American can maintain its current level of service, though I imagine flights will be a bit harder to fill than before. And it’s not like American was commanding a revenue premium before, so…

If you ask me, the biggest challenge here is that many markets can no longer be served with one stop on American metal. For example, say you’re originating in Atlanta or Denver or Houston or Orlando or Tampa, and want to fly American to Delhi or Doha or Tel Aviv. You’ll now have to make two stops, which is incredibly uncompetitive.

In an ideal world, American would actually develop a cohesive strategy, which could include trying to invest in making New York a global gateway. However, American seems unwilling to commit to any strategy for a long period of time, so I just don’t see that happening.

Will American maintain its international JFK flights?

American’s international network is a mess

American is the world’s largest airline, though when it comes down to it, the airline is basically one huge domestic carrier. American’s long haul network pales in comparison to that of Delta and (especially) United, and it’s just unfortunate to see how fragmented American’s strategy is.

American has such a heavy focus on Charlotte, Dallas, and Phoenix, as domestic hubs. However, these carriers have pretty disappointing long haul networks, when you consider just how big the hubs are:

  • Phoenix has a single long haul route, to London
  • Charlotte has just a handful of long haul routes to Europe, including to Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Munich, and Paris
  • Dallas has a bit more long haul service, but it still pales in comparison to Delta’s network in Atlanta or United’s network in Newark

It’s just incredible how American has tried so many strategies over the years, and has consistently failed. From trying to make LAX its transpacific gateway, to trying to transfer its transpacific gateway to Seattle, to trying to build up New York, nothing really seems to be sticking.

And worst of all, despite how big American’s domestic network is, the airline has relied on domestic partners to try to make its strategies work, with Alaska in Seattle and JetBlue in New York.

Just to compare American to competitors, United has Newark in the east and San Francisco in the west, while Delta has Atlanta in the east and Seattle in the west. All of those airports have substantial long haul service, way beyond what American offers.

Want to fly from Tulsa to Sioux Falls? American is your airline, and can get you there in one stop with dozens of flight combinations to choose from. Want to fly from Tampa to Tel Aviv, though? You’re pushing it, buddy!

American’s international network is disappointing

Bottom line

With the American and JetBlue Northeast Alliance being cut, American needs to develop a new strategy at JFK. The airline will no longer be able to coordinate schedules and swap gates with JetBlue, so American will have considerably less feed for its long haul services from the airport.

I suspect we won’t see many changes to American’s New York network initially, both given what a big market New York is, and also given that American doesn’t necessarily have anywhere better to send these planes.

Unfortunately this latest episode is just a reminder of how American totally lacks a cohesive international strategy.

How do you see American’s presence at JFK evolving?

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  1. Sandra Goiatti McMahon Guest

    I do not know anything that is going on behind the scenes with AA. I just need to get out of my chest my very bad experience with the ground staff, more especifically with the check-in staff. I was traveling from JFK to São Paulo on the 2nd of February 2024 as staff travel. Without going to many details, I would like to say that their disregard for me made me miss my flight and...

    I do not know anything that is going on behind the scenes with AA. I just need to get out of my chest my very bad experience with the ground staff, more especifically with the check-in staff. I was traveling from JFK to São Paulo on the 2nd of February 2024 as staff travel. Without going to many details, I would like to say that their disregard for me made me miss my flight and caused me high level of anxiety and stress. A airline will be great if their staff is great! Before great adventures they should take care of people first. I feel better already!

  2. Ollie Guest

    After Delta's Devaluation yesterday, I wonder if Citi and AA are going to grow the JFK market now. Sure they won't be up there in market share with JetBlue and Delta, but adding a few strategic routes doesn't hurt if it gets some disgruntled customers to use AA more from NYC since it's all about being a free agent now.

  3. AR Guest

    Can we also talk about the fact that unlike Delta and United, American got rid of all of their 767s, with only 787s and 777s left? This restricts their ability to cater to smaller and/or seasonal transatlantic destinations like Nice, Malaga, Berlin, Amsterdam, Zürich, and so forth. UA and DL have these slightly less busy routes that AA refuses to take on.

  4. Manny Guest

    I work for AA . My best opinion AA doesn’t have product and Airplane to deliver the job as of today . I hope this will change . Management of AA absolutely living in cave somewhere in Dallas Texas , have no clue about international markets.

  5. George Guest

    They forgot to mention JFK-ATH

  6. MC Guest

    Great article and could not agree more with the assessment of American lacking any strategic direction.

    Sadly, it’s been the case for quite some time.

  7. John R Guest

    American inherited USAirways which had been the most dysfunctional airline in the US for decades. They had two hubs in the same state, as an example.

  8. Ali Guest

    I'm surprised @American has not got a high quality bus (or limo if First) service from LGA to JFK - when I travel internationally on business Concur tries to link me that way sometimes. No way as if checked back claim and re-check (I am carryon and so don't face but refuse to pay for a cab on a "connection")

    1. iamhere Guest

      It is not about the transportation but rather about the time and inefficiency to do this type of connection. Claim your bags, get to the other airport, check in, clear security again, etc.

  9. Makis Xenatos Guest

    You forgot Rome out of Charlotte,Dallas and JFK also Athens out of JFK as well both quite important for leisure and cruise market

  10. Ed Stephens Guest

    Good article, however you missed a major consideration, AA's Philadelphia hub does serve a dozen European destinations all with 787 equipment and is well fed from AA's domestic feed at PHL. However, the proximity of PHL and JFK has always been an issue for AA and it appears their strategy is for PHL to be the main European gateway rather than JFK.

    1. OCTinPHL Diamond

      PHL is still a shell of what it was… feed is down, and so are many of the smaller transatlantic routes. It is a shame, because while PHL is not a great airport, terminal A-West is a nicer international gateway than ORD or CLT. Spacious, decent food. AA does need to finish the Flagship Lounge - but who knows if it ever will.

    2. kim Guest

      A lot of PHL European 777-787 destinations will be replaced soon with the A-321XLR-narrowbody on Airbus delivers them. The 777-787 will return to Miami and other hubs.

    3. OCTinPHL Diamond

      @Kim - likely most of the 787 routes from PHL will remain 787's (nothing is a 777 right now. LHR was, but no longer). The XLR will likely add back routes that were dropped from PHL. I seriously doubt CDG, BCN, MAD, FCN, LHR go 321XLR. Maybe AMS (which used to be a 757 at times) and LIS, but the 787 is going to remain at PHL.

    4. Anirudh Guest

      I could see them adding frequencies to CDG, LHR, MAD, BCN out of PHL once AA gets the XLR.

  11. JB Guest

    AA could compete so well in Asia. They should rebuild their LAX hub. They may not be able to compete too well for local traffic, but if they use it as a connecting hub, then it works well. They have 787-8s, which work so well for long and thin routes. AA should have much more flights to Tokyo. With their partnership with JAL, why are they only flying from DFW and LAX (and that too...

    AA could compete so well in Asia. They should rebuild their LAX hub. They may not be able to compete too well for local traffic, but if they use it as a connecting hub, then it works well. They have 787-8s, which work so well for long and thin routes. AA should have much more flights to Tokyo. With their partnership with JAL, why are they only flying from DFW and LAX (and that too on 787s, when they flew 777s pre-pandemic). AA can easily also fly from ORD, JFK, and SEA. How about LAX to PER, SIN, HKG (Cathay has limited capacity for a while now), TPE, PVG, PEK, CAN (and they partner with China Southern, who previously flew A380s on that route but retired them). SEA to KIX could also work with help from AS for connectivity.

    For Trans-Atlantic routes, off the top of my head, why doesn't AA fly to Lisbon, Tolouse, Nice, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Berlin, Warsaw, Brussels, Casablanca, Mumbai, Dakar, Lagos? AA is the world's biggest airline and it doesn't even fly to Africa. CMN and CAI would work great seasonally. The A321LR would be a game changer for AA. I'm sure all the European routes I mentioned above (and more), will (or should) be launched. I wonder if AA could also fly them to Dakar, and Lagos.

    1. OCTinPHL Diamond

      Splitting hairs here, but AA flies a seasonal Lisbon route from PHL. I can’t imagine Toulouse is viable even with a A321LR or XLR (in terms of load, not distance). AA planned on starting flights to Casablanca, but the pandemic ended that. And AA used to fly to Manchester, Edinburgh, and Glasgow. I’m in no way defending AA here - its international route network is disappointing to say the least. But they have tried some...

      Splitting hairs here, but AA flies a seasonal Lisbon route from PHL. I can’t imagine Toulouse is viable even with a A321LR or XLR (in terms of load, not distance). AA planned on starting flights to Casablanca, but the pandemic ended that. And AA used to fly to Manchester, Edinburgh, and Glasgow. I’m in no way defending AA here - its international route network is disappointing to say the least. But they have tried some of these routes. AA just prefers everyone fly BA from LHR to these smaller cities.

    2. D3kingg Guest

      I wish that whispering guy would whisper Singapore or ho Chi min as a new route announcement from LAX . People want to travel. BKK would be great.

  12. AAir Guest

    They need to add back those reliable domestic flights they did for several years. JFK-LAS/SAN/SEA/SJU.

    JFK-LAS in particular should come back as it always booked strong.

  13. FrequentFlyer Guest

    Prior to the US merger, AA had some strength in their hubs, however once the America West management took over, AA became an airline that chased revenue rather than built a cohesive strategy that took time to build out. This continues today, and is likely not going to change in the near future. It seems AA wants to be "nimble" with their network, jumping in and out of airports based on its ability to generate...

    Prior to the US merger, AA had some strength in their hubs, however once the America West management took over, AA became an airline that chased revenue rather than built a cohesive strategy that took time to build out. This continues today, and is likely not going to change in the near future. It seems AA wants to be "nimble" with their network, jumping in and out of airports based on its ability to generate revenue on its own, rather than its ability to contribute to the larger network. This leaves AA constantly chasing DL and AA rather than leading, something it could easily do as the largest carrier in the world. In the end, AA needs to find a fortress hub like ATL, EWR, SFO, SEA and execute a strategy to build that hub. Unfortunately given some of AA's hub (CLT, PHX, PHL and ORD specifically) they likely cannot create a mega-hub for International (Europe and Asia specifically) like DL and UA.

    1. Leigh Guest

      I find the comment funny…a company that “chased revenue”…that’s what companies are supposed to do!!!

  14. Brianair Guest

    Nothing will change until all of the old America West management leaves.

  15. Henry Guest

    As an ultra-frequent flyer who enjoys flying premium cabins (since I fly long haul so much), I prefer AA over the competition regardless of the routes because of the AAdvantage program. AAdvantage miles are the most valuable by far, and American flights are on time unlike United, so I will always have a preference for AA and its partners.

  16. Tim Guest

    American should just focus on domestic and sell tickets on international partner flights from the variety of cities they serve. NY, LA, PHL, even ORD all have international partners servicing them.

    1. OCTinPHL Diamond

      That doesn’t make much sense. You are saying that AA should basically outsource its flying to its international partners. So at JFK that means BA and IB to LHR and MAD (and maybe BCN). Oh, and AY to HEL. That’s it. No direct flights to AMS, CDG, FCN, etc. That’s just foolish. Basically you are saying that everyone should connect through LHR rather than flying direct.

    2. Bob Guest

      Why would anyone fly American domestically when they could fly southwest, frontier or spirit? American is designed to be a global carrier, I don’t see the point of why mgmt is so insistent on taking the scraps at the bottom

    3. OCTinPHL Diamond

      @Bob - I agree that AA management is racing Southwest, Frontier, and Spirit to the bottom for leisure travel when it should be improving its service (and network) to challenge UA and DL. But the fact remains that people who fly PHL-LAX for work reasons prefer 7 non-stops a day versus one or none. Frontier is cramped in coach - can't work. I won't fly Southwest because I want non-stops and I want an assigned...

      @Bob - I agree that AA management is racing Southwest, Frontier, and Spirit to the bottom for leisure travel when it should be improving its service (and network) to challenge UA and DL. But the fact remains that people who fly PHL-LAX for work reasons prefer 7 non-stops a day versus one or none. Frontier is cramped in coach - can't work. I won't fly Southwest because I want non-stops and I want an assigned seat. That's why some people like me continue to fly AA. Lesser of multiple evils.

  17. Leigh Guest

    I wonder…except for one commenter below…why does no one’s analysis consider the alliance network coordination? (though everyone knows AA/BA). I find that amateur not to factor.

    That said, I have no comment re JFK. It would appear pear-shaped….1) the routes look good for O/D , 2) on the other hand they specifically claimed to be growing at JFK because of the NEA feed, 3) how many gates are available now that several oneworld airlines have...

    I wonder…except for one commenter below…why does no one’s analysis consider the alliance network coordination? (though everyone knows AA/BA). I find that amateur not to factor.

    That said, I have no comment re JFK. It would appear pear-shaped….1) the routes look good for O/D , 2) on the other hand they specifically claimed to be growing at JFK because of the NEA feed, 3) how many gates are available now that several oneworld airlines have moved into T8 for peak arrivals/departures, 4) if they get the slots back from B6, where are they going to find the aircraft to increase their timed arrivals/departures??

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      You do bring up a point which no one else so far has raised.
      AA has the lowest amount of new aircraft on order of the big 3. Part of the capacity increases they are doing this year are by bringing back 737-800s which they previously decided to ground (Delta is doing the same w/ other fleets).
      AA doesn't have the airplanes to restart a large number of flights - esp. JFK transcon...

      You do bring up a point which no one else so far has raised.
      AA has the lowest amount of new aircraft on order of the big 3. Part of the capacity increases they are doing this year are by bringing back 737-800s which they previously decided to ground (Delta is doing the same w/ other fleets).
      AA doesn't have the airplanes to restart a large number of flights - esp. JFK transcon flights which use a lot of airplane time and few slots - w/o stopping growth opportunities elsewhere.

    2. OCTinPHL Diamond

      @Tim Dunn - AA was very shortsighted in retiring the A330s. That is a loss of 24 widebodies, some of which weren't that old (though some interiors looked like crap). But shortsightedness is a chronic condition at AA.

  18. Tony W Guest

    It's sad that American doesn't fly from JFK to San Juan (SJU) and Stockholm (ARN).

    1. dmcreif Guest

      To fly to those cities from New York, you'll have to fly Delta, United, or Scandinavian.

  19. Inspector Guest

    American is so heavily unionized, they can't afford a strategy. They are the largest airline by fleet size maybe, and people definitely. They have almost 50% more employees than Delta, yet their 2022 revenue was slightly below or at the very least, on par with Delta. It's hard to have much room to maneuver with so many extra employees......I could be wrong, that's just how it appears to me looking in from the outside.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      AAL's total revenue in 2022 was less than DAL's - which was heavily boosted by the DL/Amex relationship. It is ironic that American invented the airline frequent flyer program but Delta has made it more profitable.

  20. Jesus Guest

    STT is not international.

    1. Goforride Gold

      STT, STX, and SJU are considered international for ticket pricing and for airline union contracts.

  21. YZ Guest

    I remember that time Vasu Raja has a comment about the presence of AA at JFK, too small for winning the competition but too big to withdraw.

  22. S_LEE Gold

    AA's TPAC network is just pathetic. They should have invested more in this market. Since the pandemic, Chinese carriers lost its TPAC network and now all the TPAC ticket prices are insane. DL and UA are raking in a huge amount of money from TPAC routes, and AA's been doing nothing.
    If they really wanted SEA to be their TPAC hub, they should have invested and marketed more.

    1. dmcreif Guest

      Right now, Delta is flying to Seoul, Shanghai, Tokyo, and Sydney. United is flying to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul, Osaka, Tokyo, Auckland, Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. (Did I miss any?) American's transpacifics are currently limited to LAX-SYD, LAX-HND, DFW-HND, DFW-ICN, DFW-PVG, DFW-NRT, and I think that's about it.

    2. nibocoi Guest

      You forgot Singapore for United, 2x daily at that too.

    3. dmcreif Guest

      Right. SIN, HKG, PVG, ICN, KIX, HND, NRT, AKL, MEL, SYD, BNE, PPT, (and soon CHC) is the full list of United's transpacific destinations that one can fly to (all from SFO, but also a handful from LAX).

    4. D3kingg Guest

      Off topic but American is getting their asses handed to them in TPAC. They are taking delivery of what 2 more 787s this year ? Their seasonal DFW AKL flights are going to be booked full whatever brain child in revenue management thought it was a good idea to sell RT fares at $1,044 ?

  23. DesertGhost Guest

    When did it become a crime for a major airline to have a heavily domestic operation? It seems to me that Southwest has used that business model for many, many years. If I'm not mistaken, Southwest has been the most consistently profitable major airline during those many, many years. Maybe it's on to something.

    1. Goforride Gold

      It's not a crime, but it is probably not a good idea over the long haul unless that airline has rock bottom costs.

      The strategy of putting all one's eggs in one basket is dangerous when recession comes.

      UA's strategy of going all over means that its unlikely that every region will be in recession at the same time. So South America may be in a economic slowdown, but Europe probably won't. This helped...

      It's not a crime, but it is probably not a good idea over the long haul unless that airline has rock bottom costs.

      The strategy of putting all one's eggs in one basket is dangerous when recession comes.

      UA's strategy of going all over means that its unlikely that every region will be in recession at the same time. So South America may be in a economic slowdown, but Europe probably won't. This helped UA during the 2009 recession.

      WN can be essentially a domestic carrier because their costs are rock bottom, so when times are tough and people want value, WN is actually in a better position.

  24. Christopher Carfanio Guest

    The A321XLR next year will be a game changer for American flying Europe from JFK.

    1. DCA Guest

      Indeed. If I were driving the plane, I would try and cut a deal with delta. Trade for Boston in give up JFK.

      Park the 321XLRs there and make it a hub they can grow vs one the are stuck and can’t do anything with at JFK.

  25. Robert Fahr Guest

    StrAAtegy is not American's strong suit.

  26. DavidB Guest

    You seem to completely overlook ORD which has a good number of AA and OW overseas routes. And it’s the second largest operator at ORD not that far behind UA. It has invested in a Flahship lounge which neither PHL or CLT have. Perhaps AA’s JFK problem (though not sure there is one or that the JetBlue alliance was really that important) is the it’s second northeast hub @PHL is so close that overseas flights...

    You seem to completely overlook ORD which has a good number of AA and OW overseas routes. And it’s the second largest operator at ORD not that far behind UA. It has invested in a Flahship lounge which neither PHL or CLT have. Perhaps AA’s JFK problem (though not sure there is one or that the JetBlue alliance was really that important) is the it’s second northeast hub @PHL is so close that overseas flights primarily to Europe may be the gateway (along with ORD) to serve those spoke cities with a simple connection.

    So on the whole, I don’t see your argument holding much water. All three majors focus short and medium flights (often duplicated ex-JFK/EWR) @LGA, more convenient (in theory) for such travellers and thus have split operations.

    1. dmcreif Guest

      While AA may have some long-haul international operations at ORD, it's all to points in Europe, a lot of them are seasonal (I think only LHR and CDG are year-round), and only a fraction of the destinations that UA serves (and UA also flies from ORD to Asia and South America). It's worth noting American cut back on their transpacific services from ORD and shifted those to DFW well before COVID. And mind you, the...

      While AA may have some long-haul international operations at ORD, it's all to points in Europe, a lot of them are seasonal (I think only LHR and CDG are year-round), and only a fraction of the destinations that UA serves (and UA also flies from ORD to Asia and South America). It's worth noting American cut back on their transpacific services from ORD and shifted those to DFW well before COVID. And mind you, the ORD21 project (specifically the Terminal 2 replacement and new international arrivals facility) looks like it more benefits UA than AA.

    2. fly Guest

      @davidB- AA international flights from ORD is nothing compared to United. AA only flies to Paris and LHR year round that's a transatlantic flight. AA cut so many flights from ORD within the past six years. Another reason to fly United in Chicago than AA.

    3. dmcreif Guest

      American also has a number of seasonal long-hauls out of ORD (to ATH, BCN, DUB, and FCO). But key word is "seasonal". Those fights are only during the summer season (United also now flies summer services from ORD to those cities save for ATH, but these supplement United's year-round ORD long-hauls to LHR, CDG, BRU, AMS, FRA, MUC, and ZRH).

  27. Siva Vayali Guest

    When it comes to international flights, AA has never been a competitor to UA or DL in the Northeast because of the locations of its hubs: JFK and PHL. Two reasons: JFK - everyone wants to be there and highly competitive- hard to make money unless you have the scale like UA in EWR, which AA doesn’t. PHL - compares pale to IAD when it comes to market size, O&D traffic and premium seats. Connections...

    When it comes to international flights, AA has never been a competitor to UA or DL in the Northeast because of the locations of its hubs: JFK and PHL. Two reasons: JFK - everyone wants to be there and highly competitive- hard to make money unless you have the scale like UA in EWR, which AA doesn’t. PHL - compares pale to IAD when it comes to market size, O&D traffic and premium seats. Connections may work at PHL but IAD is much better represented by STAR and on-STAR carriers while PHL is just AA. The biggest mistake AA made was to rely on B6 to develop its JFK strategy while downsizing/diminishing PHL for its TATL flying. AA will never make money in JFK or LAX. At this point I predict AA will wait out and maintain its status quo in JFK and continue to lose money. It will focus on DFW, CLT and DCA as the margins are much higher. One thing that is going well for AA is that these three airports have much higher margins than the any of UA’s and DL’s (ATL may be an exception) and it can burn some money elsewhere and try.

  28. Christian Guest

    Strategy? From American? The whole AmericaWest management crowd has no clue how to run a large full service airline. That's why AA has floundered since the merger.

  29. Kurt Guest

    First American needs to increase flights to Florida from JFK for local traffic and also connecting flights. Mainline service from TPA, MCO, FLL, RSW, and possibly JAX. Also need to increase connection opportunities for major markets including YUL, LAS, STL, MCI, DEN, SJU, and CHS. Major changes need to happen at JFK as well. The move of all Oneworld Alliance members to Terminal 8 is a great start. But they need to update the terminal...

    First American needs to increase flights to Florida from JFK for local traffic and also connecting flights. Mainline service from TPA, MCO, FLL, RSW, and possibly JAX. Also need to increase connection opportunities for major markets including YUL, LAS, STL, MCI, DEN, SJU, and CHS. Major changes need to happen at JFK as well. The move of all Oneworld Alliance members to Terminal 8 is a great start. But they need to update the terminal with better shops and restaurants. Make Security better with Clear. They need to take advantage of their strengths in this market.

  30. D3Kingg Guest

    Now, it’s worth acknowledging that American has a solid presence at LaGuardia (LGA), but that’s hardly helpful when it comes to providing connectivity at JFK.

    Enter Uber. For $28 I can get between LGA and JFK for a change of airport connection. I’m glad American has IAH -LGA so I can then go to JFK for a flight to Europe or Middle East. American will always have a presence at JFK. It’s New York City....

    Now, it’s worth acknowledging that American has a solid presence at LaGuardia (LGA), but that’s hardly helpful when it comes to providing connectivity at JFK.

    Enter Uber. For $28 I can get between LGA and JFK for a change of airport connection. I’m glad American has IAH -LGA so I can then go to JFK for a flight to Europe or Middle East. American will always have a presence at JFK. It’s New York City. Routes like JFK LAX , LHR , MIA and seasonal routes to Europe during the summer high season.

    1. UA-NYC Guest

      I love having to jump in a rideshare and deal with the Van Wyck just in order to “connect”, Said no one ever

    2. D3kingg Guest

      Fly into LGA in the morning. Have lunch with a friend. Fly out of JFK in the evening.

    3. Gregg Guest

      NOBODY wants to do that.

    4. D3Kingg Guest

      Such a New Yorker mentality. We are the center of the Universe.

      Not only is the transfer from LGA worth it there is a strong One World alliance presence at JFK ; the possibilities are endless.

    5. MC Guest

      It’s not a New Yorker mentality, just logic and common sense.

    6. iamhere Guest

      LGA is convenient for those who's destination is New York. It does not work for those with international connections. $28 is a lucky price and you do not consider time or traffic. As well as the fact that you would have to claim your bags, check in again, and clear security again. Very inefficient.

  31. JoeyZ Guest

    The article doesn't mention Philadelphia which is an International and Domestic hub for AA. Most likely would be moving flights to PHL such as FRA, MUC, MXP. JFK doesn't have enough slots to be a hub and PHL doesn't have the restrictions that JFK has, plus PHL. has more gates. Destinations like TLV may be thin for PHL, but DOH is ok on QR, plus QR service is one of the industry's best. B6 &...

    The article doesn't mention Philadelphia which is an International and Domestic hub for AA. Most likely would be moving flights to PHL such as FRA, MUC, MXP. JFK doesn't have enough slots to be a hub and PHL doesn't have the restrictions that JFK has, plus PHL. has more gates. Destinations like TLV may be thin for PHL, but DOH is ok on QR, plus QR service is one of the industry's best. B6 & DL are too big for AA to be competitive there unless AA competes on a smaller scale. Such as maintaining the obvious European destinations and Carribean destinations. CLT is too far south to be the main European gateway and is great reliever for some. Carribean is MIA pride and joy, should build up SA as well as Central America.

    1. coutureguy Guest

      PHL used to have 2 flights a day to FRA, 1 to MUC and TLV. But they moved the Germany flights to CLT, and cancelled TLV. Unfortunately I don't think they're going to bring any of those back to PHL.

    2. hate airbus Guest

      idiot
      usairways was part of star alliance then

  32. DLPTATL Guest

    It seems like AA should focus their JFK flights on PAX looking to begin/end trips in NY Metro and boost PHL as their NE gateway aggregating US PAX to Europe and beyond and getting them to the largest US cities in one flight for inbound. If you're connecting to fly overseas from a midsize US city, I think you'd probably prefer to do it through PHL over JFK, IF, and it's a big IF, AA...

    It seems like AA should focus their JFK flights on PAX looking to begin/end trips in NY Metro and boost PHL as their NE gateway aggregating US PAX to Europe and beyond and getting them to the largest US cities in one flight for inbound. If you're connecting to fly overseas from a midsize US city, I think you'd probably prefer to do it through PHL over JFK, IF, and it's a big IF, AA upgrades their facilities in PHL to be competitive with what DL has at JFK/BOS or UA has at EWR/IAD.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      AA has tried that strategy of being a niche player in metro areas where other carriers are much larger and it just doesn't work.

  33. Chris Guest

    I was hoping you’d talk about the slots that AA can get back from JetBlue. I didn’t know about this until I read another comment. It’s interesting because my friend mentioned AA is send a bunch of crews to NYC to be based there temporarily in August.

  34. Tim Dunn Diamond

    first, factually, DL's largest transatlantic hub is JFK, not ATL. On a combined basis, DL at BOS, JFK and ATL is larger than UA at EWR and IAD or AA's east coast hubs.
    ATL is a far better non-NE hub than any other hub in part because it is far more effective at aggregating traffic from the southern US to cross the Atlantic. It serves the same purpose for Latin America but replaces Florida-Latin...

    first, factually, DL's largest transatlantic hub is JFK, not ATL. On a combined basis, DL at BOS, JFK and ATL is larger than UA at EWR and IAD or AA's east coast hubs.
    ATL is a far better non-NE hub than any other hub in part because it is far more effective at aggregating traffic from the southern US to cross the Atlantic. It serves the same purpose for Latin America but replaces Florida-Latin America with traffic flows from virtually the rest of the US. The amount of traffic that flows from the western US to Central America - which ATL does not do well for - is much smaller than all of the other pieces.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      AA's international strategic problem is that it does not do well in highly competitive markets - Chicago, NY or Los Angeles - and is heavily southern US focused. The southern US is high growth right now but does not work well for connections to the northern hemisphere - Europe or Asia.
      There is no model in the US or elsewhere of a carrier becoming a niche international carrier in a market where they are...

      AA's international strategic problem is that it does not do well in highly competitive markets - Chicago, NY or Los Angeles - and is heavily southern US focused. The southern US is high growth right now but does not work well for connections to the northern hemisphere - Europe or Asia.
      There is no model in the US or elsewhere of a carrier becoming a niche international carrier in a market where they are much smaller than two or more other competitors.
      AA left PHL to build JFK under the guise that it would be better off strategically w/ a larger NYC but they are now weaker after having lost their own share and abandoning routes and markets that will be much harder if not impossible to restart.
      CLT is simply too small of a market.

      UA at EWR is overhubbed; even more gates are not going to fix the reality that EWR has just 2 runways and UA runs 90% of its NYC operation through EWR while DL's split LGA/JFK hubs give them 5 effective runways. They will have to spend alot of money to grow and build IAD to try to balance what DL has at ATL and BOS and remove operational barriers at EWR but will likely not succeed if the goal is to stay ahead of DL across the Atlantic.

      AA trails DL and UA in revenue generation to most transatlantic cities and DL even gets higher average fares to Spain, a oneworld country, than AA.

      Unless they want to lose money as they did flying much of their LAX international operation, AA has no choice but to reduce NYC to its primary oneworld hubs plus a few key markets where they have had a long-term presence, even if at a revenue disadvantage (such as CDG). LGA will follow the same principle for the same reasons - AA trails DL and UA in most markets that are not to their own hubs.

      AA will end up returning slots to the FAA with those at LGA drawing the most interest and JFK slots might not be taken by anyone.

    2. Sharon Guest

      Tim, you are certainly correct - there is no hub that rivals Delta in Atlanta. The terminal design at Atlanta really helps maximize efficiency and customer satisfaction. While Delta has the east covered, Delta is constrained by growth at Seattle and faces heavy competition by Alaska.

      For United- while Newark certainly faces its challenges - United has not been blind to it, which is how it lobbied for such a generous gate allowance at...

      Tim, you are certainly correct - there is no hub that rivals Delta in Atlanta. The terminal design at Atlanta really helps maximize efficiency and customer satisfaction. While Delta has the east covered, Delta is constrained by growth at Seattle and faces heavy competition by Alaska.

      For United- while Newark certainly faces its challenges - United has not been blind to it, which is how it lobbied for such a generous gate allowance at the new Terminal One. United really should be focused on up-gauging service from LGA to Denver & Houston to take any pressure it can off of EWR. It is ridiculous that United has so many a319's out of LGA.

      What AA management fails to recognize is that DL and UA both have a niche- DL serves a fair share of everywhere and is trying to capture as much business traffic as possible. UA succeeds with international destinations because its hubs are in the largest markets. For AA- CLT is a mess and DFW is growing but prone to frequent weather.

      While AA has a great domestic market and is improving on -on-time performance, they face increasing amounts of ULCC competition that must be hurting. What path does AA have forward?

    3. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Sharon,
      Delta is a global carrier in SEA and by far carries more revenue from SEA to the eastern US; ALK is not a global carrier, does not even have joint ventures, and at best can codeshare on AA to the eastern US where DL is stronger.
      And DL probably will not be larger than UA on the west coast but they have a very strong position at SEA and LAX and are...

      Sharon,
      Delta is a global carrier in SEA and by far carries more revenue from SEA to the eastern US; ALK is not a global carrier, does not even have joint ventures, and at best can codeshare on AA to the eastern US where DL is stronger.
      And DL probably will not be larger than UA on the west coast but they have a very strong position at SEA and LAX and are the 2nd largest carrier by revenue on the west coast, behind UA. All of the domestic carriers carry lots of passengers but far less revenue than DL and UA on the west coast.

      UA has nearly all of its market strength in NYC at EWR while DL has it spread across 3 airports. There is nothing that UA does at LGA that DL doesn't also do.
      And DL's recent growth at BOS and LAX are quickly neutralizing the argument that UA has better hubs because they are in big coastal metro areas.

      AA has a great franchise but they have made numerous strategic mistakes in the NE from which there is no chance of recovery.

    4. Jason Guest

      Saying that United has lost all its strength at EWR is completely wrong. How do you even define that? What on earth are you talking about? Yes they had a bad week last week, but that does not in any way mean that they are dead in the NYC area. You have decent analysis much of the time, then you squander any goodwill you may have when you say outrageously bombastic things such as this.

    5. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Jason,
      1. you'll have to let us know who you are addressing and 2. you'll have to tell us where anyone said that UA has lost all of its strength at EWR because I don't see a single person that has said that.

    6. Greg Guest

      On a combined basis across the US, UNITED is the largest transatlantic carrier, leaping Delta with a 30% increase in capacity vs 2019 vs Delta's 13%.

      No, ATL isn't meaningfully driving Latam traffic from 'the rest of the US'

      IAH, DFW, and LAX serve the Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zones much more capably.

      ATL is a niche latam player

      For transatlantic, with BA's massive LHR-US destination network, and unrivaled onward connections beyond LHR there's...

      On a combined basis across the US, UNITED is the largest transatlantic carrier, leaping Delta with a 30% increase in capacity vs 2019 vs Delta's 13%.

      No, ATL isn't meaningfully driving Latam traffic from 'the rest of the US'

      IAH, DFW, and LAX serve the Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zones much more capably.

      ATL is a niche latam player

      For transatlantic, with BA's massive LHR-US destination network, and unrivaled onward connections beyond LHR there's just not the same pressure for AA fill own metal planes. Looking at combined JV partner capacity, AA is about 13mn vs 14mn for Delta despite its much lower own metal capacity. It's a lot easier 'sell' to fly a foreign english language airline for some segments of the TATL market than french or dutch.

    7. Greg Guest

      Let me correct that - adding in Iberia capacity AA + JV and DL + JV about even

    8. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Greg,
      I specifically said East coast hubs. DL is indeed larger than AA or UA from the east coast across the Atlantic.
      UA is stronger west of the Mississippi in many metrics.

      DL at ATL is the 2nd largest US carrier hub to Latin America by ASMs behind AA at MIA. UA at IAH has more flights but carries less revenue and has less ASMs.

      The problem w/ your approach to counting JV...

      Greg,
      I specifically said East coast hubs. DL is indeed larger than AA or UA from the east coast across the Atlantic.
      UA is stronger west of the Mississippi in many metrics.

      DL at ATL is the 2nd largest US carrier hub to Latin America by ASMs behind AA at MIA. UA at IAH has more flights but carries less revenue and has less ASMs.

      The problem w/ your approach to counting JV capacity is that all of that capacity and revenue doesn't belong to one carrier but is shared. AA certainly has more JV capacity via BA and LHR than any other hub but unless you would like to say that BA has none, AA gets the proportion of revenue relative to the capacity and sales that it brings to the JV.

  35. sunviking82 Guest

    I feel AA's best strategy would be to make LAX and JFK "destination" hubs. Both cities are huge enough to carry key business and international routes, make money. Neither is a great connecting hub (DL, B6 and UA experiences this summer just proves it). PHL, ORD and CLT can be good jumping off points to Europe for connecting traffic (and PHL and ORD for local too) ; MIA and CLT focus on Caribbean, Central and...

    I feel AA's best strategy would be to make LAX and JFK "destination" hubs. Both cities are huge enough to carry key business and international routes, make money. Neither is a great connecting hub (DL, B6 and UA experiences this summer just proves it). PHL, ORD and CLT can be good jumping off points to Europe for connecting traffic (and PHL and ORD for local too) ; MIA and CLT focus on Caribbean, Central and South America (especially MIA here where AA is handing DL their lunch, you can have Latam). Eventually, I see GOL and Avianca joining OneWord. . .staying with UA is a joke). PHX is a great destination and connecting hub for the west and AA continues to grow here as the valley becomes a high-tech manufacturing hub and now a top 10 metro area. I suspect non-stop to Tokyo is just around the corner as is the return to Canada and maybe seasonal to Spain. DCA and LGA service local traffic just fine and finally DFW, the "Global Hub" where let's face it, it will be as big as ATL very soon. I would also say AA should make Tokyo and LHR international hubs and crush their competitors. We are seeing the benefits of Robert's direction, they just need to get the unions and board and AA will fly past DL.

  36. George Romey Guest

    AA will concentrate on local demand out of NYC. The probably is 2 out of it's 3 major hubs for International connections are horrible-PHL and CLT. No premium lounge. No showers. Crowded clubs. Nasty, crowded airports. Fine for the backpack crowd going to Europe. Not so much good for the person paying for premium.

    1. 305 Guest

      Nailed it. I’d rather backtrack to DFW for connections to Europe than go to PHL in its current state. They desperately need to finish the flagship lounge project there. Should get BA to pitch in, no OW elite or J/F pax is going to pick their tiny galleries lounge over a new flagship.

      All of that would then allow Amex to expand into that old galleries space. Centurion at PHL is tiny (but best service in the network!)

    2. Roger Guest

      Yep. No shot I will ever fly TATL out of PHL or CLT.

    3. Donna Diamond

      Guys - Not sure why PHL gets so much hate. Of course, I miss the nonexistent Flagship Lounge at A15, and the Admiral’s Club at B/C is crowded and will not offer premium cabin travelers a free cocktail. But I flew DL One last fall through ATL, no premium lounge there, crowded terminal and a very crowded lounge. Net equal as far as I am concerned. I prefer DFW but I wouldn’t say PHL is a dump.

  37. stogieguy7 Diamond

    As far as transatlantic and transpacific routes are concerned, you're correct: AA is a disorganized mess. The big international hubs on the coasts seem undecided (do we do LA or Seattle? Philly or NY? And what about Chicago??). And many of those hubs are not well connected to domestic cities. Indeed, UA and DL are clobbering AA in this market.

    However, it is worth mentioning that AA has the strongest Latin American system of...

    As far as transatlantic and transpacific routes are concerned, you're correct: AA is a disorganized mess. The big international hubs on the coasts seem undecided (do we do LA or Seattle? Philly or NY? And what about Chicago??). And many of those hubs are not well connected to domestic cities. Indeed, UA and DL are clobbering AA in this market.

    However, it is worth mentioning that AA has the strongest Latin American system of any US airline and it's not even close. MIA is the perfect location for such a hub (literally equidistant from Mexico City, every Central American capital, Colombia and Venezuela - not the draw it once was) and it's easy to the Caribbean. Deeper South America is also that much closer to MIA. But they aren't done, because DFW also boasts a huge number of flights to Mexico and the rest of Latin America. Major routes to the south also have some service from LAX.

    Meanwhile, UA has IAH (which isn't bad at all but it's their only real Latin American hub) and DL is stuck with ATL which is poorly placed for Latin American service. DL has the LATAM partnership but that has yet to do a lot for them. So, while you rightly point out AA's domestic and international shortcomings, Latin America is their ace in the hole and that's not a bad place to be number 1 as it's a market that will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Delta will pass United as the 2nd largest carrier to Latin America in the next year - maybe sooner - precisely because of the Latam JV.
      As noted above, more Latin America revenue flows through ATL on DL than any other US carrier hub except AA at MIA.
      It is also very likely that DL will add its own metal service to Latin America from Miami; the DL/LA partnership is just nibbling around the edges w/ the easiest and most obvious additions.

    2. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      and DL is stuck with ATL which is poorly placed for Latin American service

      That's rather ignorant of geography.... much less market dynamics.

      ATL offers shorter routes (and more service) to South American and the Caribbean from the northeast than either of the Texan hubs, and service to those places from the northwest and northcentral are almost equidistant.

      In fact, just about the only place they're disadvantaged with their own metal is Mexico-- which is...

      and DL is stuck with ATL which is poorly placed for Latin American service

      That's rather ignorant of geography.... much less market dynamics.

      ATL offers shorter routes (and more service) to South American and the Caribbean from the northeast than either of the Texan hubs, and service to those places from the northwest and northcentral are almost equidistant.

      In fact, just about the only place they're disadvantaged with their own metal is Mexico-- which is negated by a joint venture with the second largest Mexican domestic carrier.

  38. Donna Diamond

    “United has Newark”….

    After the events of the past week, I wouldn’t heist that hub to the height of greatness for international gateways.

    My reading of the tea leaves is that AA will beef up JFK and rebuild some capacity back into PHLL that disappeared during the pandemic and never returned.

  39. Goforride Guest

    Maybe this is what will finally push AA to abandon JFK as anything but point-to-point and focus on PHL.

    Having a substantial international as well as domestic hub in PHL as well as JFK (and its operations in LGA) has to be quite a waste.

  40. Bob Guest

    I recall seeing an interview where Vasu Raja claimed they prefer PHL as their connecting gateway for N/A - Europe travel. Lower costs, less weather related delays. And JFK has enough O/D demand.

    NYC strategy O/D all the time:
    - LGA for "within the perimeter
    - JFK for beyond the perimeter
    - Lease JFK Terminal 8 space to foreign airlines with O/D focus (BA, Iberia, JAL, Cathay, Finnair, etc.)

    1. Goforride Guest

      Ironically, that would return things back to 1977.

    2. mdande7 Diamond

      BA, Iberia, Qater, Finnair and more oneworld already use T8. T7 isn't too much longer for this world.

    3. George Romey Guest

      As I noted in another post the issue is that PHL (and CLT) is not a very conducive airport for International business travel. No premium lounge. No showers. At least at CLT lines to use the men's stall in a less than clean bathroom. Horrible crowded airports, particularly CLT.

      Not sure why AA can't get the FL lounge finished at PHL and construct even a small premium lounge with showers at CLT. But when management...

      As I noted in another post the issue is that PHL (and CLT) is not a very conducive airport for International business travel. No premium lounge. No showers. At least at CLT lines to use the men's stall in a less than clean bathroom. Horrible crowded airports, particularly CLT.

      Not sure why AA can't get the FL lounge finished at PHL and construct even a small premium lounge with showers at CLT. But when management spends their time wondering how to compete with Spirit and Frontier here's where the airline ends up.

  41. Andrew Reiser Guest

    With United larger in Chicago, NYC having too much competition, why hasn't Philly turned into American's version of Newark?

    1. JOHNNY D Guest

      I agree and am puzzled at the lack of mention of PHL in this story. 3d biggest metro area in the northeast, and US had built up a decent domestic feed. I'm biased since I live in the metro area

    2. Siva Vayali Guest

      The problem is that PHL doesn’t have much O&D traffic compared to close by hubs like EWR or IAD. Also those flying F/J class would avoid PHL at all costs because it has no lounges that are even serviceable. Those are the reasons AA downsized PHL post-Covid. But I think it should rebuild it.

  42. Mark Andrew Guest

    Sorry to be so nitpicky, but Pittsburgh* (PIT)

  43. TheRubioRoom Member

    "American is the world’s largest airline, though when it comes down to it, the airline is basically one huge domestic carrier. American’s long haul network pales in comparison to that of Delta and (especially) United, and it’s just unfortunate to see how fragmented American’s strategy is."

    This, plus living a 15-minute metro ride from DCA, is why I pay cash for all my domestic flights on American and never worry about getting anything higher than...

    "American is the world’s largest airline, though when it comes down to it, the airline is basically one huge domestic carrier. American’s long haul network pales in comparison to that of Delta and (especially) United, and it’s just unfortunate to see how fragmented American’s strategy is."

    This, plus living a 15-minute metro ride from DCA, is why I pay cash for all my domestic flights on American and never worry about getting anything higher than Platinum status, and then use all those credit card points to redeem for premium international travel on United for my once-a-year long-haul trip, where not only the route network but the product is better.

  44. Eric Guest

    I definitely see AA reallocating resources and shrinking the number of seats. The biggest challenge for longhaul is the lack of a 787 base at JFK. Once the A321XLR arrives this could make point-to-point at JFK work with a lower trip cost plane.

    AA also gets back a number of LGA slots which it needs to figure out what it could do.

    Both LGA and JFK will get a number of slot squatting flights. Some...

    I definitely see AA reallocating resources and shrinking the number of seats. The biggest challenge for longhaul is the lack of a 787 base at JFK. Once the A321XLR arrives this could make point-to-point at JFK work with a lower trip cost plane.

    AA also gets back a number of LGA slots which it needs to figure out what it could do.

    Both LGA and JFK will get a number of slot squatting flights. Some of those will be based on where they could extract a revenue premium. I don't see the LGA-BOS shuttle returning. But i could so more BOS-JFK to squat on slots (and gates at BOS).

    Short haul but high yield- flights like LGA-ITH which operated during the US Airways days could capture some price insensitive flyers and have a low trip cost slot squat. DL does a lot of New England short-haul (PVD, BDL) that both feeds the hub while uses RJs with low trip blocks. MHT, PWM would be nice AA adds into NY.

    I could see a number of ERJ-145s operating shuttles to PHL, just like the US Airways days with the Dash-8s. With the rolling delays expected, i'd do away with seating assignments and just have people walk onto the next plane, with a Landline bus standing by if there is a cloud in the sky and the whole operation gets shut down.

    I could also see AA reallocating resources to Asia which is reopening and has significantly less than pre-covid traffic. JFK-HKG supported 3x CX flights. I would love to see AA operate JFK-YVR-HKG just like CX did. The non-stop would be challenging with a lack of Ukraine overflight rights but operating the 5th freedom into a OW Hub via YVR makes a ton of sense. YVR has significant demand to HKG that it can tap into, while also competing against B6 on one of their new routes.

  45. Markus Guest

    I have to admit, I did enjoy the Jetblue/NEA alliance. For short flights, JetBlue is perfect and the cabins are most of the times way better (even the MINT service) than AA. But, AA should have never just relied on JetBlue at JFK. At least T8 is busy now, as many OW carriers moved in - especially with BA. PHL is too close to NYC/tri-state area to attract passengers to go through PHL, too many...

    I have to admit, I did enjoy the Jetblue/NEA alliance. For short flights, JetBlue is perfect and the cabins are most of the times way better (even the MINT service) than AA. But, AA should have never just relied on JetBlue at JFK. At least T8 is busy now, as many OW carriers moved in - especially with BA. PHL is too close to NYC/tri-state area to attract passengers to go through PHL, too many options with UA/DL if you are not tight to a frequent flyer program. As very loyal AA flyer (ExePlat for 15+ years), definitely would love to see AA grow in the NYC area.

  46. Jason Guest

    American will go back to what they had before at JFK.
    They'll add some additional flying to allow for additional connectivity and local traffic at JFK.
    AA has a bunch of other routes at JFK - RDU, DCA, ORF, CLE, BNA, IND, ORH, CMH, PIT, CVG. You missed those. These all have well-timed connections to the international flights, so they provide feed for all of AA's services.

    AA has good feed at...

    American will go back to what they had before at JFK.
    They'll add some additional flying to allow for additional connectivity and local traffic at JFK.
    AA has a bunch of other routes at JFK - RDU, DCA, ORF, CLE, BNA, IND, ORH, CMH, PIT, CVG. You missed those. These all have well-timed connections to the international flights, so they provide feed for all of AA's services.

    AA has good feed at JFK, and they will have the opportunity to use the slots they are getting back from JFK to add additional feed if they need to.

    AS far as the other hubs, Dallas, Charlotte, and PHoenix are more domestic focused in nature. They literally do not generate themselves enough traffic to have the nonstops that an Atlanta or DC or Houston generate. Those cities all just generate more international traffic due to the industries and demographic groups in their cities.

    AA will probably refocus international resources for Europe on PHiladelphia and New York.

    An airline cant be all things to everybody. The vast majority of Americans do not have passports. American is just fine for the Tulsa to Sioux Falls passenger, and for a lot of people, that's all they need.

  47. shoeguy Guest

    AA will most likely maintain what it has at JFK, for the time being. The long haul strategy will probably not change much (no more additions, most likely) but what it has, will be maintained, given the continued strong demand. AA has some built in advantages at JFK. It has a far better terminal than Delta (T4 is over-crowded with a security checkpoint that is almost always clogged). It has (almost) all its oneworld partners...

    AA will most likely maintain what it has at JFK, for the time being. The long haul strategy will probably not change much (no more additions, most likely) but what it has, will be maintained, given the continued strong demand. AA has some built in advantages at JFK. It has a far better terminal than Delta (T4 is over-crowded with a security checkpoint that is almost always clogged). It has (almost) all its oneworld partners under one roof, but for AT, which will probably move eventually. The NEA probably helped flow some traffic over to AA, but likely not in huge ways. The transit between T5 and T8 was not quite seamless. AA should claw back all the slots it "leased" to B6 and further optimize what it has in terms of its existing footprint.

    Is AA's intercontinental route network a mess? Not really. It is just smaller and it is focused on DFW, CLT, and until now, JFK. But I will say this, so far this summer, AA has avoided the huge delays that UA has faced at EWR and elsewhere. It is running a pretty clean operation overall. Delta has a massive NYC operation but it is built around business travel, which hasn't and won't return to pre-pandemic levels any time soon. A lot of what DL flies is likely not profitable and there to hold on to slots. UA and EWR are a complete mess, unreliable, and all their cards have been exposed. AA will have to spend to grow JFK and that includes buying a handful of slots if it can and find ways to differentiate in the NY market if it can. My sense is the footprint a year from now will be relatively unchanged. I'm not convinced B6's strategy is sound at all. They are pursuing an expensive and costly acquisition of NK, run an operation riddled with delays and cancellations, and don't have much of a platform for corporate business. It is a leisure airline first and foremost with an imbalance in premium revenue.

    1. Gregg Guest

      So DL is a mess because it's too business travel focused and B6 is a mess because it's too leisure travel focused??

  48. Kendrick Guest

    Does AA fly to Antigua (ANU) or Aruba (AUA) from JFK? The post says Antigua with Aruba’s airport code…

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Kendrick -- Fixed, thanks! Should have had the code ANU.

  49. Dave Guest

    AA has a substantial, long standing hub at ORD (including international service). Perhaps ORD could be included in this analysis.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Dave -- Even Chicago has shrunk over the years, especially with long haul flying. The hub adds little value to American's overall strategy, and United has a stronger presence there.

    2. dmcreif Guest

      American's main value for ORD is definitely these days along the lines of "to give us a hub for the Midwest region". Their hub there seems pretty reliant on domestic traffic (and they were cutting long-haul flights even before COVID; before 2019, American was competing with United on ORD-NRT, ORD-PVG, and ORD-PEK among others).

      And if anything, United has more to gain from the upcoming ORD21 project, as the replacement of Terminal 2 with a...

      American's main value for ORD is definitely these days along the lines of "to give us a hub for the Midwest region". Their hub there seems pretty reliant on domestic traffic (and they were cutting long-haul flights even before COVID; before 2019, American was competing with United on ORD-NRT, ORD-PVG, and ORD-PEK among others).

      And if anything, United has more to gain from the upcoming ORD21 project, as the replacement of Terminal 2 with a new international terminal as well as two new satellite concourses) will improve connections between United and their Star Alliance partners as well as (from an operational standpoint) eliminate the need to ferry international arriving aircraft empty around the apron back to Terminal 1 after they deplane at Terminal 5. While American will benefit from easier connections between them and their Oneworld partners, they probably won't be getting to use the new satellites' gates.

  50. avgeekagent Member

    Hey JFK: remember when American meant “business” in Chicago?

  51. 305 Guest

    They’ll make it work. Cash tickets will begin to look like most award tickets that connect through NYC: Departure to LGA, drive to JFK connection, then JFK to your final destination

    1. Gregg Guest

      Nobody wants to do that - Nobody!

  52. Lee Guest

    Delta and JetBlue each have 90 routes out of JFK and each carry about 17 million passengers a year through JFK, of which about 70 percent are domestic and 30 percent are international. AA has 45 routes out of JFK and carries about 8 million passengers a year through JFK, of which about 60 percent are domestic and 40 percent are international. You can draw your own conclusions.

    1. MrNonrever Guest

      I remember back in a good old days. AA had a very strong presence in JFK, but that was was under Crandall and oddly enough, why did AA even put in a new terminal in JFK when they're not even going to utilize it to its fullest of potential? Same as LAX. Honestly, I think AA was dependent on being the point to service from the foreign carriers feeding its system so it can reach...

      I remember back in a good old days. AA had a very strong presence in JFK, but that was was under Crandall and oddly enough, why did AA even put in a new terminal in JFK when they're not even going to utilize it to its fullest of potential? Same as LAX. Honestly, I think AA was dependent on being the point to service from the foreign carriers feeding its system so it can reach out even further to it's own routes in the US, but the problem is when covid struck all of the dynamics changed because American o only had empty airplanes flying. Plus the other problem was AA had little presence in the east coast markets as it does with the west coast and was partnering up with Jet blue to fill the gap, but JB had a big time expansion going on in JFK, and doing so that sideswiped AA and now AA other than Europe has reduced presence in JFK because of the fact of the merger that PHL could fill that void ( thanks AW ) I personally think the merger should have never happened because it really damaged AA... They either need to get rid of Charlotte or Miami, and decide whether if JFK goes or PHL goes, and personally PHX doesn't work either. AA/AW doesn't work. Now if JetBlue would of merged with the AA back then that of would been different!

  53. Erez Guest

    EL AL and Delta alliance will make it harder for American. There will be on some days 4 non stop connections to TLV from JFK on DL EL AL. Also that will end EL AL code share on American on transatlantic flights, not sure how popular that was. And what amazes me is that American failed on TLV route from Miami where EL AL is doing really well and actually adding FLL to TLV. Surprising....

    EL AL and Delta alliance will make it harder for American. There will be on some days 4 non stop connections to TLV from JFK on DL EL AL. Also that will end EL AL code share on American on transatlantic flights, not sure how popular that was. And what amazes me is that American failed on TLV route from Miami where EL AL is doing really well and actually adding FLL to TLV. Surprising. So I can see them cancelling TLV to be honest with you. There are no slots I believe for American in JFK. But maybe beefing up capacity by switching to widebody. Not sure. American should invest in PHX and CLT growing metropolitan areas and maybe PHL can be better suited. Integrated train from Manhattan and connectivity to a plane why not ?

    1. Joseph Guest

      As an Orthodox Jew living in NYC let me tell you, the demand for TLV flights are huge, especially in the summer and all year round as well. AA could definitely survive it's JFK - TLV perfectly fine. I too was surprised that they cut the MIA - TLV route. But Dallas never had a chance to begin with.

    2. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Who on Earth is going to take a train from NYC to another city, in order to get a fraction of the nonstop routings/frequencies offered at JFK or EWR.... both of which are accessible from Manhattan by rail.

  54. Birny Guest

    Your premise is flawed -- that absent the NEA, AA cannot rely upon J6 for feed. AA can -- they just can't act as a single airline and thereby eliminate a top three competitor in BOS or JFK/LGA. Does anyone think it's a bit odd to claim that the world's largest airline can't compete somewhere in the US? Failed strategies do not equate to inability to compete. The evidence is strong that massive increases in...

    Your premise is flawed -- that absent the NEA, AA cannot rely upon J6 for feed. AA can -- they just can't act as a single airline and thereby eliminate a top three competitor in BOS or JFK/LGA. Does anyone think it's a bit odd to claim that the world's largest airline can't compete somewhere in the US? Failed strategies do not equate to inability to compete. The evidence is strong that massive increases in market power not only don't justify some alleged efficiencies or short-term consumer benefit, but also represent a grave threat to democracy.

    1. Vetjet Guest

      PHL is a thorn on their side. Gotta decide, PHL or JFK and go all in.

    2. Dave Guest

      PHL is the 7th largest metro area in the US. I can totally see why you'd want to ditch it from your network, even though you already dominate there and even though you'd be ditching it to fight for third place in NYC, since it's not like there are plenty of free gates available at any NYC airport waiting for another hub to form there.

    3. Droopy Dog Guest

      Yeah, I was going to ask how much capacity they could move from PHL to JFK. They definitely seem to be in a weakened position now and I see why they want to fight the JetBlue ruling.

  55. Mike O. Guest

    I'm more curious about the terminal itself; would the likes of AS, RAM even fit and throw in Aer Lingus when and if they decide to rejoin oneworld.

  56. Chris W Guest

    What would you suggest AA do to grow their long-haul network then Ben? Scale up another hub? Isn't their JFK strategy focused on O&D traffic because they can't get the slots to scale up JFK as a hub?

    It was my understanding PHL is their main hub for European flights and that seems to be working okay?

    1. David Guest

      AA has more JFK slots than they know what to do with. That’s why they were leasing them out to B6 in the NEA. I would look for them to down-gauge many of their existing domestic flights to regional jets so they can babysit the slots (operate 2 RJ’s instead of 1 B737, so they can use — and hold onto — 2 slots instead of only 1).

  57. Anthony Diamond

    For example - with the NEA, you can to TPA to JFK to TLV via JetBlue (TPA to JFK) and American (JFK to TLV). American can easily offer this themselves if they want to, especially as it gets slots back from JetBlue. The question - do they want to?

    1. YesYes Guest

      From what I have read, JB retains all of the AA JFK slots while American retains all of B6’s DCA slots. I hope that isn’t the case because it seems B6 wins out while American is that more at a disadvantage at JFK

  58. ethanandreww Guest

    They have a lot of domestic flying to JFK

  59. Anthony Diamond

    Yeah Lucky, as already pointed out, you are missing a lot of American Airlines flights out of JFK. They have a lot of domestic flying to JFK, And remember, they also leased 30 slots at JFK to JetBlue. Presumably they get those back as early as July 29 (the date when the NEA terminates according to JetBlue).

    AA has the ability to fly to a ton of domestic destinations at JFK. They would just have...

    Yeah Lucky, as already pointed out, you are missing a lot of American Airlines flights out of JFK. They have a lot of domestic flying to JFK, And remember, they also leased 30 slots at JFK to JetBlue. Presumably they get those back as early as July 29 (the date when the NEA terminates according to JetBlue).

    AA has the ability to fly to a ton of domestic destinations at JFK. They would just have to move planes from other locations to do so, which they have avoided doing for a long time. They could also upgrade their JFK Admirals Club, which they have again refused to do so even as Delta is adding club capacity to JFK.

  60. Ben W Guest

    Also missing IND, CMH, CVG, BNA, RDU, etc. Guessing these were just missed since they are on American Eagle!

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Ben W -- Indeed missed the American Eagle destinations, but fixed now. Thanks!

  61. upstater Guest

    As I posted in the other article, AA has minimal feeders into JFK from second tier cities. With slot restrictions I don't see ho they can grow.

    PHL had good connectivity and a respectable international network. Now the PHL A terminal is virtually empty and domestic destinations have reduced services on regional jets. CLT is hot mess as a hub and has limited international.

    I don't see how they get iy sorted out. The...

    As I posted in the other article, AA has minimal feeders into JFK from second tier cities. With slot restrictions I don't see ho they can grow.

    PHL had good connectivity and a respectable international network. Now the PHL A terminal is virtually empty and domestic destinations have reduced services on regional jets. CLT is hot mess as a hub and has limited international.

    I don't see how they get iy sorted out. The US/AA merger was a decade ago and I'm waiting for the synergies!

    1. Jason Guest

      AA can grow because they have a ton of slots they dont use. they leased them out to JetBlue, and will be taking them back. AA will be able to use those slots to add flights if it make sense.

    2. Evan Guest

      PHL is such a no-brainer for AA to create what DL has at ATL and what UA has at EWR. They just have to stop being so schizophrenic about their strategy. CLT is great as a Caribbean gateway, but it will never work for most TATL traffic. PHL is the obvious choice for TATL gateway expansion and even to pick up routes that will be harder to service out of JFK because of the lack...

      PHL is such a no-brainer for AA to create what DL has at ATL and what UA has at EWR. They just have to stop being so schizophrenic about their strategy. CLT is great as a Caribbean gateway, but it will never work for most TATL traffic. PHL is the obvious choice for TATL gateway expansion and even to pick up routes that will be harder to service out of JFK because of the lack of connections. If AA nurtured this market and fed more domestic routes, it could make more ambitious pre-pandemic routes work again (thinking BLQ and DBV). They just need to commit to it and put money into Terminal A-West and the new Flagship Lounge. It's a travesty that A-West is dead most of the day while they cram flights into the inferior terminals B and C.

  62. DFW Flyer Guest

    No mention of Central and South American flying where DFW and MIA smoke UA and DL, though, right?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ DFW Flyer -- American is absolutely strong in Latin America, and Miami is a great hub in that sense. I just didn't think it was relevant in the discussion of the Northeast Alliance, and what American has been working to build up there.

    2. Mitch Guest

      Then "long haul" flying needs to be changed to European/Atlantic flying in this piece since that is what the NEA primarily fed.

    3. DFW Flyer Guest

      That makes sense. I guess I just read into the mention of UA’s pacific flying as a nod to overall strategy for airlines.

  63. Grogg Member

    San Francisco (SFO) is missing from the list of AA destinations from JFK.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Grogg -- Fixed, thanks!

  64. Eskimo Guest

    "pales in comparison to that of Delta and (especially) United,"
    United better than Delta?

    Timothy O’Neil-Dunne has joined the conversation.

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FrequentFlyer Guest

Prior to the US merger, AA had some strength in their hubs, however once the America West management took over, AA became an airline that chased revenue rather than built a cohesive strategy that took time to build out. This continues today, and is likely not going to change in the near future. It seems AA wants to be "nimble" with their network, jumping in and out of airports based on its ability to generate revenue on its own, rather than its ability to contribute to the larger network. This leaves AA constantly chasing DL and AA rather than leading, something it could easily do as the largest carrier in the world. In the end, AA needs to find a fortress hub like ATL, EWR, SFO, SEA and execute a strategy to build that hub. Unfortunately given some of AA's hub (CLT, PHX, PHL and ORD specifically) they likely cannot create a mega-hub for International (Europe and Asia specifically) like DL and UA.

4
Brianair Guest

Nothing will change until all of the old America West management leaves.

3
Robert Fahr Guest

StrAAtegy is not American's strong suit.

3
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