New American Flights To Israel, Morocco, And More!

Filed Under: American

Yesterday I wrote about how American was hinting that they were going to make a big route announcement, and we now have the details.

American announces five new international routes

For the summer 2020 international schedule, American has announced five new routes, including their first ever flight to Africa, a return to Israel, a flight to a new destination, and two new routes to existing destinations.

The new routes include the following:

  • Philadelphia to Casablanca, Morocco
  • Dallas-Fort Worth to Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Chicago to Krakow, Poland
  • Chicago to Budapest, Hungary
  • Chicago to Prague, Czech Republic

All of these new flights will go on sale as of August 12, 2019, except the Tel Aviv route, which will go on sale as of October 10, 2019. Let’s look at the details of these new routes.

American’s new Dallas to Tel Aviv route

American Airlines will launch 3x weekly year-round flights between Dallas and Tel Aviv as of September 9, 2020 (update: American will operate the route daily in winter 2020). The airline will use a Boeing 787-9 for the route, as the flight will cover a distance of nearly 7,000 miles, making it one of American’s longest routes.

Unfortunately this route is still over a year from launching, so we’ll have to wait quite a while, as they’re launching it after next year’s summer season.

It’s great to see American return to Tel Aviv, though a 3x weekly service from one hub can hardly compete with United, which has flights from Newark, San Francisco, and Washington Dulles. Still, it’s a start.

American’s new Philadelphia to Casablanca route

American Airlines will launch 3x weekly seasonal flights between Philadelphia and Casablanca in the summer of 2020. The airline will use a Boeing 757-200 for the ~3,700 mile route, and the flight will operate from June 4 through September 8, 2020.

As mentioned above, this will be American’s first-ever route to Africa, and this also coincides with Royal Air Maroc joining oneworld, so they’ll have some connectivity there.

Again, the total capacity we’re talking about here isn’t exciting — it’s a seasonal, 3x weekly flight with a Boeing 757. Still, it’s better than nothing, and it’s a start.

American 757

American’s new Chicago to Krakow route

American Airlines will launch 5x weekly seasonal flights between Chicago and Krakow in the summer of 2020. The airline will use a Boeing 787-8 for the route, and the flight will operate from May 7 through October 23, 2020.

Chicago has a huge Polish population, so the route operating from there makes sense. LOT Polish also operates this route, but only up to 3x per week. So frankly I’m surprised we haven’t seen LOT either increase frequencies, or have seen United add the route, since they’d have connectivity on both ends. Then again, United hasn’t been focused on transatlantic expansion out of Chicago much.

American’s new Chicago to Budapest route

American Airlines will launch 4x weekly seasonal flights between Chicago and Budapest in the summer of 2020. The airline will use a Boeing 787-8 for the route, and the flight will operate from May 7 through October 24, 2020.

American started serving Budapest in 2018 out of Philadelphia, and that route has performed well. Now we’ll see a second frequency to Budapest added out of Chicago.

For a long time it sure felt like American had abandoned Chicago, though it’s nice to see them finding success there. They claim they have more capacity in Chicago now than they otherwise have had in more than a decade.

American’s new Chicago to Prague route

American Airlines will launch 5x weekly seasonal flights between Chicago and Prague in the summer of 2020. The airline will use a Boeing 787-8 for the route, and the flight will operate from May 8 through October 24, 2020.

Similar to Budapest, American started flying from Philadelphia to Prague last summer, and next summer we’ll see them fly out of Chicago as well.

American 787-8

What American’s SVP of Network planning says

If you’re interested in this kind of stuff, here’s an episode of “Tell My Why” (intended largely for employees) featuring American’s SVP of Network Planning, Vasu Raja, about these new routes:

My take on this expansion

I’d say this announcement from American is pretty significant, both in terms of their focus on summer routes, as well as their return to Tel Aviv.

Tel Aviv is definitely the most interesting part of this, and Vasu Raja points out that Tel Aviv is the largest unserved city in the American Airlines network, and that it’s underserved from the interior of the US by all airlines. That being said, 3x weekly flights isn’t exactly a huge presence at first, so it seems like they’re trying to start slow.

US Airways used to fly from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv, though it was a money-loser for them. With the market booming, hopefully the new route does better.

The Philadelphia to Casablanca flight is also exciting on the surface, especially with Royal Air Maroc joining oneworld. However, I’d be much more excited if it weren’t a 3x weekly seasonal 757 flight, with a very short summer season at that (just over three months). That’s not much to get excited about. Hopefully we see more expansion there.

Then the three new seasonal routes out of Chicago are cool additions as well. Clearly American is doing pretty well in the transatlantic seasonal market in Chicago, in spite of it being a hub that they previously shrunk their presence at. It’s also cool to see summer seasonal flights to Eastern Europe performing well.

What do you  make of American’s international route announcement?

  1. TLV -ex phl or Mia would have been more expected I’d say. There’s still some controversy over if they actually lost money (us airways) from phl. Nonetheless good start on all of these. When they’ve launched from dfw previously to new destinations it means they need more connecting traffic (think removing tpac from ord)

  2. Wish American would up their international game from JFK and NYC in general!
    Also would be nice to see India back on the AA map.

  3. At certain point, it will be worth putting out a media release to claim ‘We’re continuing to fly JFK-LHR for the next summer!’

  4. Wow – some Eastern European love for Chicago. As mentioned, it largely seemed like AA abandoned ORD as LHR is the only daily, year-round European destination. It seems like United and Lot missed a huge opportunity to up the frequency to Krakow if AA thinks they can also make the route work. Not sure if the statistic is still true but Chicago supposedly once had the world’s second largest Polish-speaking population after Warsaw (and a trip to NW Side of the city would validate this). BUD and PRG are both great cities but obviously more of a seasonal/tourist focus. It’s interesting that AA is so opportunistic with these new seasonal routes but UA largely plays it slow and steady, focusing on more “traditional” seasonal spots like FCO, DUB, EDI. Great news for Chicago though – these flights, in addition to TAP, Qantas, Air New Zealand, and Ethiopian, mark an exciting growth spurt for the city.

  5. American started service from Philadelphia to Prague and Budapest in 2018. Not this summer. Your reporting is incorrect. I’d suggest fixing that in your text above.
    Also, there’s very little connectivity st Krakow for LOT. It’s just an endpoint, so any United flight from ORD to Krakow would primarily serving the USA to Krakow market, without relying on LOT feed. In the summer that could work.

  6. I know the relationship with QR is not great (to say the least), but could AA not make CLT-DOH work? CLT is a larger hub than PHL, and QR just upgraded PHL service to 777. CLT is the sixth largest airport in the US by aircraft movements.

  7. I’m curious—with all the summer seasonal flights they run, what do they do with that capacity the rest of the year?

  8. Shouldn’t AA concentrate first on fixing the basics? Things like bringing check-in staff politeness to basic level 1, train cabin crew, making sure they lose less luggage etc etc?

  9. Gonna go out on a ledge with DFW-TLV: Texas and the surrounding area has an active evangelical Christian presence. Taking trips to biblical sites is quite popular amongst Christian groups and I think the demand is high enough to warrant new service from the Bible belt (unless I’m missing something…)

  10. As usual, AA doesn’t know how to compete with either El Al, DL, or UA on any TLV route, despite hubbing at some of the highest concentration towns of both business and leisure traffic to TLV, namely, JFK MIA LAX ORD

    so they resort to hiding behind DFW as their last resort defense. And what the heck is 3x weekly good for ? The 5 Trump voters who wanna go visit the holy land ?

  11. “American started serving Budapest in 2018 out of Philadelphia, and that *route has performed well*”

    “US Airways used to fly from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv, though it was a *money-loser for them*”

    “It’s also cool to see summer seasonal flights to Eastern Europe *performing well*”

    @Lucky, is there a way to know/see this for an average Joe like me? Or do you know this because of your contacts/reviewing award availability/prices on a daily basis? I would love to know which routes do or do not do well

  12. “American started serving Budapest in 2018 out of Philadelphia“
    AA actually started Budapest flights in April 2011 out of JFK. I was on the inaugural. Unfortunately, once Malev folded, so did the Jfk-Bud route.

  13. @ron, but do your suggestions make profits immediately and satisfy shareholders? No, so it’s not gonna happen.

  14. I’m very happy about all the expansion from Budapest recently. Direct flight to Beijing, Seoul, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Toronto, Astana! Not to mention all the short haul routes LOT is starting to Europe.

  15. As others have said, it is sad that AA won’t do at least 3x weekly seasonal service to anywhere in Europe out of JFK. Delta is only hitting the daily markets for seasonal summer flights to Europe, so there is definitely a market for a AA to come in and hit up a destination with less than daily frequency.

  16. One of these routes will be cancelled. I don’t see American flying to the Middle East due to security concerns.

  17. That’s the BIG NEWS? As usual, American uses PR hyperbole to release meh news. Always a follower, never a leader.

  18. It seems strange to do a seasonal flight to Casa, when I’d guess just as many people want to go when it isn’t blazing hot anywhere except the coast, e.g. Fez, the desert, Marrakech. They must be catering to families with kids out of school. I was just in Fez last week as part of a business trip and it was over 100 degrees in the afternoon. I look forward to going back, hopefully, when it is cooler!

  19. @Bob You are incorrect.

    During the period 2019-06-24 – 2019-09-13 there are three weekly flights from ORD to KRK and back again. You can confirm this by looking at the Krakow Airport site.

  20. Still no TATL flights to/from Bucharest OTP apart from the crappy Air Canada Rouge 767 to YUL and YYZ 2x/week each. Fairly unsurprising considering the airport is a total dump.

  21. Waiting for the other shoe to drop – what’s going away? They have to be eliminating service somewhere to make room for these routes. Can see the TLV flights working out well but not the others.

  22. The flight to Morocco is the most exciting among the new routes. I guess summer is the most popular time to visit. I was there in December and locals told me that summers are insanely got. I can’t imagine doing a trip to the sand dunes in summer temps.

  23. @Donna: PHL-BLQ and PHL-TXL are supposedly being dropped (rumored but not confirmed). Maybe more cuts at JFK.

  24. Why are they not even considering IST. Turkish flies to more than 10+ North American destinations, how can any US airline not take advantage of this route?

  25. @ tony

    I guess it is a summer touristy O&D route. Krakow is more popular than Warsaw among tourists. Went to Krakow this year. It was lovely.

  26. “Vasu Raja points out that Tel Aviv is the largest unserved city in the American Airlines network”

    The largest unserved city?

    What does that mean

  27. ORD-KRK is huge news.
    With such a large population of Poles from southern Poland, as well as Slovaks in Chicago, this is great news. Until now, Poles would rely on the very expensive prices of LOT. Others use on UA, LH, LX connections. The Oneworld connections to Poland were somewhat weak having to connect in LHR, MAD, or HEL.

    American just needs to market this strongly as we have been waiting for LOT to increase it’s frequency to KRK. If AA can price the route to beat LO, they’ll have a winner on their hands for the summer.

    Anyways, exciting news. Hope to catch you guys on one of these new routes!

  28. It is about time a US based airline fly direct to Poland. It has always been LOT for as long as I can remember and never made sense to me why they wouldn’t do so earlier. This may be due to the fact the Poles may soon no longer need visas to travel to the US.

  29. Figures, no new international flights out of Phoenix. Wonder when AA is going to wake up and take advantage of the lack of overseas travel here before it’s too late.

  30. I knew this would in no form be a “huge announcement”. Being AA, after all, I say “Meh”

  31. Re Jonathon Stafford PHX has long been the Ugly Stepsister among AA hubs, and will likely stay that way. An Airport dominated by WN and a host of LCC’s isn’t going to get much love from AA

  32. The route expansions are nice, but as a North Carolinian, why does CLT get left out on international flights?

  33. I’m sure the interest in BUD is driven by the river cruise industry which has been building and getting really popular in the US in the last ~5 year. Funny to see one travel trend pushing airline route decisions.

    I flew LAX-VIE on Austrian last summer and it seemed like half of economy were recent retirees on their way to a cruise….

  34. LOT is not closing BUD-ORD. Just for the winter season (they will fly BUD-ICN weekly 3X, from sept22).
    From the beginning of summer season, BUD will have its 2nd LO 787, and the longhaul network will be weekly: 7x JFK, 3X ICN, 2X ORD.
    Here are a few data points about BUD operations.
    LOT BUD-ORD flight operated weekly 2x year-round, started in 2018 may. In the summer it performed accetpable (around 70% loadfactor).
    not so well in the winter season… In February, average loadfactor was 24.8%, in March it was 38.2%. Who need business class, when you can have your very own economy cabin in a Dreamliner?.
    The JFK route also could have been better. 2019 Janurary: 57.6%, February 43.3%, March: 47.5%. At least this one is pretty crowded in summer.
    The problem is that, despite being a Star Alliance member, LOT doesn’t offer connections with United. This is completely understandable at JFK, but not at ORD.
    Americans PHL-BUD flight operates above 90% LF. Even business class is sometimes sold out. Its wise from them that they only operate in the summer scedule. Maybe in 1 or 2 year, they will do a year-round service.
    And what I am desperately looking forward, is Delta’s return to BUD. With One World we have PHL, ORD, Star Alliance serves JFK, ORD, YYZ. But our only SkyTeam longhaul is PVG, by Shanghai Airlines.

  35. @ Xtina

    About river cruises and BUD expansion…
    you are right. It became extremely popular.
    Not just americans come here, but also many asians. Especially Koreans.
    LOT already had the slots and permissons to operate BUD-ICN around february. They were about to announce the route in early June.
    But then on May 29th, a disaster happened, where a huge cruise ship collided with a small sightseeing cruiser. in the accident, 27 Korean tourist died.
    So LOT had to postpone the announcement of the direct connection between BUD and ICN. They finally announced it on 29th July, with the first flight being on 22nd September.

  36. QUESTION: This was initially advertised as “new routes and Network changes”. We know the new routes, but what are the “network changes”?

  37. @ Mfb123 — Well, new routes are a network change, right? 😉 That being said, I do think there’s more to this announcement that’s coming soon, so we’ll have to stay tuned.

  38. What a joke of an “announcement”

    A few seasonal routes and one that’s 3x weekly from a fortress hub where no one on the east coast likes to connect

  39. @ Cindy — Haven’t heard anything official, but I have heard rumors that there’s another announcement coming within weeks. We’ll see..

  40. Why would anyone want to fly a 757 to Morocco? Rather go up the road to JFK and use (or accrue) AA miles on RAM’s 789.

  41. Didn’t care for USAir before- Despise them now hiding under the banner of the deceased AA shell. If you have any expectation of making it to your destination (delayed at best) why on earth would anyone fly them?

  42. Flying to the Sahara Desert in summer. Great plan. And on a 757…seriously?

    Nothing from anywhere west of Dallas. Is AA really a national airline? Seems more like “Eastern US Airlines” to me…

    Yeah, a huuuuuge announcement, shuuuure.

  43. Assuming these routes actually inaugurate,which will be flying in 2021. I’m thinking this is a zero for five tally. If I have to choose one that will be renewed, it is ORD-Prague.

  44. Great to see AA becoming more a more a charter seasonal operator à-la-Condor! I am sure we’ll soon get some seasonal routes to AU/NZ too given their new JV. Just too funny

  45. I have to assume AA payed off the Old TWA employee obligations in Israel, which was used as the excuse why they wouldn’t fly to Tel Aviv for years prior to the US airways merger. Seems odd to do so for a 3x a week flight. Maybe they waiting for more widebody frames to become available before expanding service.

  46. It is always flattered to know more route expansions; however it seems to me that American Airlines still haven’t seen much progress in filling its largest gap in service, hence the Asia-Pacific+India.

  47. “Why would anyone want to fly a 757 to Morocco? Rather go up the road to JFK and use (or accrue) AA miles on RAM’s 789.”

    JFk is NOT “up the road”. It is a hell of uncertain journey from Delaware/North MD or Philly suburbs. Have missed flights even when leaving home 5 hours before the flight time.

    Casablanca is geared towards tourist marketplace, not for people who will have strong preference between 789 and 757.

    And by the way, even for someone who know the difference and have strong preference, would prefer PHL (with its immensely convenient airport train) over highly unpredictable/stressful jaunt to that hell called JFK. (EWR may be ugly but lot more travel friendly than JFK)

  48. Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t see any sensible reason in the Chicago to Krakow flight. If you’re going off the argument that Chicago’s polish population with make this route a success, Krakow has pretty limited connectivity to the rest of Poland as compared to Warsaw airport (Which LOT already flys daily). Secondly Krakow has no real connectivity for American when it comes to Oneworld. I simply don’t see this route being successful.

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