American Airlines Cuts 18 New York City Routes

American Airlines Cuts 18 New York City Routes

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While American Airlines is building up its long haul presence in New York (with new flights to Delhi, Tel Aviv, etc.), the airline has updated its schedule over the weekend to reflect quite a few short haul route cuts.

American cuts routes out of JFK & LGA

As reported by Zach Griff, American Airlines has updated its schedule over the weekend to reflect 18 routes being cut out of New York City area airports.

Out of New York JFK, American will discontinue flights to the following five destinations:

  • Liberia, Costa Rica (LIR), as of April 5, 2022
  • Montreal, Canada (YUL), as of January 4, 2022
  • San Antonio, Texas (SAT), as of January 4, 2022
  • San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO), as of April 5, 2022
  • Toronto, Canada (YYZ), as of January 4, 2022

Out of New York LGA, American will discontinue flights to the following 13 destinations:

  • Asheville, North Carolina (AVL), as of March 27, 2022
  • Bangor, Maine (BGR), as of January 4, 2022
  • Boston, Massachusetts (BOS), as of January 4, 2022
  • Charleston, South Carolina (CHS), as of January 4, 2022
  • Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts (MVY), as of June 17, 2022
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (MYR), as of June 2, 2022
  • Nantucket, Massachusetts (ACK), as of June 17, 2022
  • Orlando, Florida (MCO), as of January 4, 2022
  • Pensacola, Florida (PNS), as of May 5, 2022
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (PHL), as of January 4, 2022
  • Portland, Maine (PWM), as of January 4, 2022
  • Savannah, Georgia (SAV), as of June 3, 2022
  • Traverse City, Michigan (TVC), as of June 2, 2022
American is cutting quite a few routes out of New York

My take on American cutting back in New York

American and JetBlue launched a strategic alliance in the Northeast earlier this year, which includes reciprocal mileage earning and elite perks. The gist of the plan is that American is planning significant long haul expansion out of New York, and JetBlue will provide much of the feed for those flights.

On some of these routes — like the popular New York LaGuardia to Boston market — American is just handing the route over to JetBlue. Other routes — like the New York JFK to Toronto market — will be abandoned by the American and JetBlue alliance altogether (JetBlue has never flown to Toronto). For the routes being cut, presumably the slots will be reused for other existing markets.

With that in mind, a few thoughts on these cuts:

  • American can’t seem to decide whether to go all-in on New York; in fairness, some of the major routes being cut are simply being handed over to JetBlue, while most of the routes being cut altogether are pretty “thin”
  • Some of the routes being cut were just added during coronavirus and are leisure-oriented, since business travel out of New York dropped so drastically
  • In my opinion the optics of these cuts are bad, as the Department of Justice (DOJ) is suing American & JetBlue over the alliance; the DOJ argues that the alliance is bad for competition, and cutting this many routes (including handing some over to JetBlue) kind of helps make the argument
The optics here aren’t good for American’s alliance with JetBlue

Bottom line

American Airlines is cutting 18 routes out of the New York City area, including five routes out of JFK and 13 routes out of LGA. Routes are either being handed over to JetBlue, or are being discontinued altogether.

On the one hand, I’m not surprised by these cuts, even as American tries to build its presence in the Northeast. On the other hand, these cuts seem like they reinforce the DOJ’s point about the alliance being bad for competition.

What do you make of American’s route cuts out of New York?

Conversations (24)
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  1. ImportViking New Member

    I think the (under)staffing issues and trouble with unions are the elephant in the room here.

    Additionally:

    If network is the mot important asset of AA, then why outsource so many routes to OW partners or LCCs like B6? And a few days ago we learned about OW partners for TATL-routes. They did this with Virgin Atlantic previously. Your network is fragile if you're depending so much on others.

    Why partially abandon the...

    I think the (under)staffing issues and trouble with unions are the elephant in the room here.

    Additionally:

    If network is the mot important asset of AA, then why outsource so many routes to OW partners or LCCs like B6? And a few days ago we learned about OW partners for TATL-routes. They did this with Virgin Atlantic previously. Your network is fragile if you're depending so much on others.

    Why partially abandon the potentially biggest aviation hub in the world (NYC) and give away your routes to a LCC? Why largely abandon a high density, high frequency route like the one to BOS? That's no leisure route... Or do they really believe a few new long haul flights will compensate here? I fully understand why the DOJ is investigating here. AA isn't very smart at playing this game.

    Surely Covid 19 is a game changer and most airlines are altering their strategy. Most airlines found out that Zoom replaced a part of their business and that people found out that home office isn't limited to their own house. One can have Zoom meetings from a subtropical paradise as long as there's wifi. Leisure is thought of as the future growth market by most airlines - except AA?

    Spirit and JetBlue are, in a normal world for buisness travels, not seen as a viable alternative to legacy carriers with proper business products, alliances and code shares, high frequencies and flexibility. Over here AA won't show up as alternative for a business trip if it includes legs on LCCs like B6. Spirit will never be an option for business.

    We've seen a lot of strange moves from AA in recent years. I think it would be good if Doug Parker started to realize that he's no machiavellian prince.

  2. Blessed117 Guest

    I am planning on traveling with family to Costa Rica and under American Airlines there was a straight flight. Now the flight has stopovers and the cost is several hundred dollars more. Where is this benefiting the consumers through this pandemic? A lot of us have taken a hit financially and costa have skyrocketed, to where so many things are no longer affordable. Please have some regard for us with limited income.

  3. Michael Becker Guest

    Doug Parker is either avoiding a merger or some other entity comtrols or owns a large percent of AA and JetBlue.
    AA has done this before giving up or freqency on routes and markets to JetBlue and former Virgin America now Alaska Airlines.

    Never good for active employees, contractors and retirees.

  4. D3kingg Guest

    Not bad. Highly strategic. I think newer hires that are New York based FAs may have a more difficult time picking up flights.

    There may be increased travel in 2022 but what about inflation and gas prices ?

  5. Taylor Guest

    I'm really surprised American is ending the LGA-BOS shuttle. That and the DCA-LGA shuttle were one of the few reasons I ever flew AA.

  6. DL Guest

    I think this sounds worse than it really is. Most of the cuts are highly leisure, seasonal routes that came online during the pandemic. Now as the dust settles, I think we'll see a sharper focus on business oriented routes that they have now such as MSP, DTW, CVG, CMH etc...

  7. dn10 Guest

    Cutting BOS/LGA? B6 doesn't have business class...not sure I like that move.

  8. Skaner Guest

    PHL-LGA sucks as this was one of the best hidden city options to drop any fare going to Philly.

    This will also end PHL as a transfer option from Europe going to NYC. Not sure why AA can't maintain 2-3 flights to feed to/from PHL but they will see that not everything works through BOS.

    Overall there isn't much connectivity from Philly to NYC anyway after United ended the Amtrak partnership and now AA dropping LGA.

    1. Scott G Guest

      There are now many PHL-JFK flights on AA

    2. Skaner Guest

      JFK is far worse in terms of attractiveness and connectivity to the city or NJ.

  9. James S Guest

    The travel folks seem to have not noticed, but Spirit started the NYC-Boston market with no fanfare and their $19 fares have clearly hurt the legacies trying to charge $250 for close in bookings on the same trip.

  10. George Romey Guest

    Seems as though for years AA has tried LGA/MCO, sometimes as a seasonal route and it eventually gets pulled. Given the explosive growth of the area, particularly the busines growth (well beyond Disney) it's surprising AA can't make this route work.

    1. shoeguy Guest

      Very low yields and a market well served by many. To be relevant on NYC-MCO, you need frequency. AA never had that.

  11. Tim Dunn Gold

    Aside from the anti-competitive issues which the DOJ is certain to have to address more forcefully (including the fact that AA has chosen its own successor to slots instead of returning them to the slot pool for carriers to bid on), AA's strategy is based on partnering with a low cost carrier that isn't even that great in many of the metrics the DOT measures (B6 is consistently near the bottom of on-time rankings even...

    Aside from the anti-competitive issues which the DOJ is certain to have to address more forcefully (including the fact that AA has chosen its own successor to slots instead of returning them to the slot pool for carriers to bid on), AA's strategy is based on partnering with a low cost carrier that isn't even that great in many of the metrics the DOT measures (B6 is consistently near the bottom of on-time rankings even from the same airports, gets more complaints). There are single carriers that do a better job of providing service and have a truly integrated network rather than the patchwork that AA has had to create just to try to stay competitive.
    And then there is the issue that AA has not succeeded from other hubs to many of the same destinations it is now trying from JFK hoping they will work because of the B6 partnership. Duplicate the same thing on the west coast and AA is still very much still trying to figure out what it wants to be while other carriers have much more stable futures and customer bases.

  12. Luke Guest

    Unrelated to the post but I've noticed with the new launch of the JFK to Delhi India route that just started service last weekend, the first few flights seem to be actively avoiding Russian airspace for some reason while both United (From Newark) and Air India both do fly over Russia. This is causing the approximately 13 hour flying time (India bound direction) to have nearly 2 hours added and more circuitous.

    Just interesting why...

    Unrelated to the post but I've noticed with the new launch of the JFK to Delhi India route that just started service last weekend, the first few flights seem to be actively avoiding Russian airspace for some reason while both United (From Newark) and Air India both do fly over Russia. This is causing the approximately 13 hour flying time (India bound direction) to have nearly 2 hours added and more circuitous.

    Just interesting why AA avoids Russia while the others dont maybe some approval needed. The planned departure time of 8:10PM from JFK for AA flight was recently changed to 6:51PM while arrival time in Delhi is the same, so not sure what recently happened causing this!

  13. shoeguy Guest

    The LGA route cuts are, for the most part, leisure-heavy destinations added since the pandemic and aren't worth flying on First Class equipped RJ's, which American has stated will be the only Eagle aircraft flying in and out of NYC going forward. As to JFK, the cuts aren't really material when you actually look at them as opposed to playing arm chair CEO.

    YYZ and YUL were cut long before the pandemic, as part...

    The LGA route cuts are, for the most part, leisure-heavy destinations added since the pandemic and aren't worth flying on First Class equipped RJ's, which American has stated will be the only Eagle aircraft flying in and out of NYC going forward. As to JFK, the cuts aren't really material when you actually look at them as opposed to playing arm chair CEO.

    YYZ and YUL were cut long before the pandemic, as part of the slot waiver exemption AA received given runway construction at the time (2019) on the one adjacent to T8. AA never resumed either destination.

    LIR and SJO are markets B6 flies out of JFK, and leisure heavy. SAT is also served out of JFK by B6 (and tellingly, not by anyone else, which just shows it is not a profitable route).

    The LGA stuff is all about realigning slots with B6. That is definitely going to attract further scrutiny from the DoJ. AA lost NY a long time ago. USAirways didn't know the market, understand it, and had disdain for it, and nothing's really changed. AA lost its chance to make NYC a big market for itself when it refused to exploit Chapter 11 in the wake of 9/11 and reduce its operational costs. But, there is also a myth that AA was once the dominant NY carrier. It never was. It was HQ'd in NYC until deregulation. It was big to the Caribbean, always had strength to Deep South America's core routes, and was a player on LAX/SFO + LHR since 1991. That's really the core of AA in NYC.

    1. Anthony Diamond

      The comments on LGA reflect outdated thinking, IMO

      1) Charleston and Orlando have some business travel
      2) Long weekend trips are an increasingly important part of the industry. A business traveler who is taking a Thursday / Friday trip to Asheville, Charleston, Portland may want to access a lounge while at the airport to do calls and will appreciate a free drink in F on the flight. AA now doesn’t offer that in the NYC area. United and Delta do.

  14. miamiorbust Guest

    AA has never understood business travelers; probably never will under current leadership. Jetblue has no lounges and is truly horrible during irregular ops. Both are dealbreakers for business travel. Don't love AA but if I ignore the inconsistent service it is functional and lounge access with support services is hugely valuable. Zero chance I will stick with AA on routes that rollover to jetblue, which is not co-located at either airport.

  15. Al Guest

    @lucky, this is inline with recent comments by Americans chief revenue officer https://viewfromthewing.com/how-american-sees-its-new-york-strategy-going-forward/

  16. Anthony Diamond

    It’s hard to argue that this JetBlue/American thing is anti-competitive, and ultimately neutral at best for consumers, maybe negative

    1) I’ve flown a few of these routes (LGA to CHS, PWM, MCO). I think most of these also have B6 flights, but now competition and flights are cut. Plus B6 doesn’t offer first class or lounge access on their minds of flights, AA did

    2) AA seems be using slots to try to...

    It’s hard to argue that this JetBlue/American thing is anti-competitive, and ultimately neutral at best for consumers, maybe negative

    1) I’ve flown a few of these routes (LGA to CHS, PWM, MCO). I think most of these also have B6 flights, but now competition and flights are cut. Plus B6 doesn’t offer first class or lounge access on their minds of flights, AA did

    2) AA seems be using slots to try to enhance its connectivity instead of serving the NYC market - again this disadvantages NYC based customers, which is the point of the DOJ complaint

    1. Anthony Diamond

      Hard to argue that it *isn’t* anti-competitive, I would love an edit feature

    2. 305 Guest

      I could see it being good for competition if NYC-based business travelers jump from AA to Delta/United due to AA trying to force everyone into coach on JetBlue on too many routes.

      Those who want direct flights and pay for F are going to find another carrier, and that doesn't even factor in that JetBlue's operations are some of the worst. This could all come back to bite AA in the AAss

  17. Eric Guest

    Part of what is missing as context is some of the jfk cuts retain lga service by AA. YYZ and YUL still have LGA service and JFK service was mainly for connections.

    Losing the LGA-BOS shuttle is disappointing, but for O&D on American there remains JFK-BOS service. With the A321Ts being rotated in, this is my preferred way to fly if I can get the schedules to work.

    LGA-PHL was a mix of slot squatting...

    Part of what is missing as context is some of the jfk cuts retain lga service by AA. YYZ and YUL still have LGA service and JFK service was mainly for connections.

    Losing the LGA-BOS shuttle is disappointing, but for O&D on American there remains JFK-BOS service. With the A321Ts being rotated in, this is my preferred way to fly if I can get the schedules to work.

    LGA-PHL was a mix of slot squatting and connecting to the PHL hub. Jet blue negates the need for most of these connections.

  18. David Guest

    Hmm. Might AA increase frequencies from DCA to some of these points, like PWM & BGR, to maintain connectivity for those cities to the AA network?

    Their problem has been they had too many slots at JFK and were at risk of losing them under the FAA use-or-lose requirements. So what routes are these slots being redeployed to?

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D3kingg Guest

Not bad. Highly strategic. I think newer hires that are New York based FAs may have a more difficult time picking up flights. There may be increased travel in 2022 but what about inflation and gas prices ?

1
DL Guest

I think this sounds worse than it really is. Most of the cuts are highly leisure, seasonal routes that came online during the pandemic. Now as the dust settles, I think we'll see a sharper focus on business oriented routes that they have now such as MSP, DTW, CVG, CMH etc...

1
shoeguy Guest

Very low yields and a market well served by many. To be relevant on NYC-MCO, you need frequency. AA never had that.

1
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