Is American Airlines Planning Mumbai Flights?

Is American Airlines Planning Mumbai Flights?

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It’s possible I’m reading too much into this, but it sure seems to me like American Airlines may be planning on adding flights to Mumbai in the not-too-distant future.

American Airlines’ expansion to India

For the past several years, American Airlines has been weak in some major international markets where United Airlines has grown significantly — India and Israel. That is finally changing:

It’s great to see American finally adding service to these markets. When it comes to offering connectivity within India, American will be partnering with IndiGo, India’s largest airline in terms of the number of passengers carried. While IndiGo is a low cost carrier, at least this will give passengers lots of connection opportunities.

American is adding flights to India & Israel

American will codeshare with IndiGo out of Mumbai

On Tuesday, American and IndiGo filed with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to get approval for the codeshare agreement that the two airlines are planning.

There’s something interesting in the filing, as noted by @IshrionA. Initially American was planning on codesharing with IndiGo on just 29 routes within India out of Bangalore and Delhi, but that has increased drastically. According to the filing, American now plans to codeshare with IndiGo on around 100 routes, out of Bangalore, Delhi, and Mumbai. You can find the full list of requested codeshare routes below.

How should we read into the codeshare arrangement out of Mumbai? After all, if American doesn’t fly to Mumbai, there won’t be a need to codeshare with IndiGo on point-to-point routes out of there. I have a few thoughts:

  • It’s not unusual for airlines to request more permission than they actually need, because it gives them a lot more flexibility
  • To me this suggests that American is at least considering adding service to Mumbai in the future
  • Personally I think it’s much more likely that a new route to Mumbai is imminent; American seems to be taking a fast growth approach with new long haul markets (just look at how American is adding three routes to Israel in a short period), and I suspect India will be no different
  • If American were to launch flights to Mumbai, I think it’s most likely that this would be out of New York, or otherwise Seattle; the flights are almost exactly the same distance (~7,800 miles), and American could leverage its partnerships with JetBlue and Alaska, respectively

Let me again emphasize that there’s nothing concrete as of now, but rather only clues. Still, I’d be shocked if American doesn’t announce a route to Mumbai in the coming months.

American & IndiGo have a codeshare agreement planned

Bottom line

American Airlines soon plans to launch flights to India, and American is establishing a codeshare agreement with IndiGo for connectivity from Indian gateways. The DOT filing mentions American and IndiGo planning a codeshare agreement out of Mumbai, which sure suggests to me that American may launch service to Mumbai in the not-too-distant future.

I’d say odds are very good of this happening, and I’d guess a route to Mumbai would be out of either New York or Seattle.

Do you think American Airlines will launch flights to Mumbai?

Conversations (34)
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  1. Phl Guest

    Well it's good to see that AA is finally expanding into India. It would be good to see them launch two (2) destination, sea and jfk would be great but air india and united already have bom already in the nyc area, so the only other east coast city I think it would work best is Boston. Anyone agree? Let's see if american can let this stick because they love to run from a little competition!!!

  2. Abe Guest

    Hopefully its Chicago to mumbai

  3. KK13 Guest

    I’d rather fly by 1-stop Qatar and book separate tickets through Vistara, instead.

    No way I’m flying a long haul, in a non-stop AA and then take IndiGo.

  4. DesertGhost Guest

    I'm guessing we'll find out if American will fly to Mumbai sooner than later. On another site, Vasu Raja mentioned that American's partnership with Qatar has helped create a potential customer base in India. And having an Indian codeshare partner won't hurt either. We'll see how well American does in India eventually, but at this point, it may not hurt to test the waters.

  5. PM1 Guest

    This is welcome news for someone like me who used to fly EWR-BOM twice a month for 5 years. I had to move my loyalty from AA to UA - now I can move back. :) Great to have more options!

    1. Vick Guest

      Twice a month for five years on USA to India long haul !? What do you do

  6. Sarthak Guest

    Finally someone wakes up to the explosive demand that an nonstop to BOM from US can tap into. Unfortunate that it's likely the weakest of the 3 big carriers to have come up with this but its a great one nevertheless.

    AI discontinued EWR-BOM nonstop due to internal politics and moved it to DEL, in addition to JFK-DEL. Further, UAL has missed out on connecting BOM from many other hubs despite having nonstops to...

    Finally someone wakes up to the explosive demand that an nonstop to BOM from US can tap into. Unfortunate that it's likely the weakest of the 3 big carriers to have come up with this but its a great one nevertheless.

    AI discontinued EWR-BOM nonstop due to internal politics and moved it to DEL, in addition to JFK-DEL. Further, UAL has missed out on connecting BOM from many other hubs despite having nonstops to DEL from SFO/ORD/EWR. I think with the size of the city, there's going to be enough incremental O&D traffic to support it.

    @Lucky - One other development which flew under the radar recently was that UA downgraded EWR-BOM to a 787-9 right ahead of the peak travel season and travel ban removal, also coinciding with AI pulling out of this route. It is a very bizarre move that I can't make sense of. Thoughts?

  7. Tim Dunn Gold

    American and United are both adding a bunch of new international flights but that might not be the greatest idea given that both paid a significant premium for jet fuel in the third quarter and will do so in the fourth quarter as well. Further, American's systemwide fuel efficiency was the lowest of the big 3 for the third quarter.

    1. DesertGhost Guest

      As Mark Twain once observed, "There are three kinds of lies - lies, damned lies, and statistics."

  8. Emily Guest

    I am much more excited about the reciprocal benefits between Lufthansa and Vistara, just announced.

  9. Apu Guest

    Can someone explain why no one is flying SFO-BOM nonstop? I've been waiting for it for years!

    1. Luke Guest

      UA could make a killing on this route esp with no competition unless AI follows them.

  10. Shri Guest

    Does one have to book these flights if standalone on AA website or could one still book directly with Indigo and still bank the miles to AA FFP?
    Would one earn EQMs and EQDs on these flights or just RDMs?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Shri -- Reciprocal mileage earning and redemption opportunities haven't yet fully been published, but I believe the intent (at least initially) is that you can only earn miles if you're booking a codeshare on IndiGo through American. That could change over time, though.

    2. JAXBA New Member

      ..and the codeshares will only be available to book in connection with an AA flight into India - it won't be possible to book them as standalone AA flights - there'll be no fares filed as AA doesn't have the rights to fly domestically in India.

  11. Josh Guest

    Explain to me how AA completely pulled out of BRU. SHM

    1. Phl Guest

      Just wasn't a good route for them period.

  12. Daniel B. Guest

    Lucky: unrelated but great news regarding Norwegian's CashPoints - restriction on CashPoints use will be lifted as of November 1st, 2021:
    https://travelweekly.co.uk/news/air/norwegian-air-removes-restriction-on-use-of-rewards-scheme-points

  13. Kent Guest

    IndiGo I mind not flying. The real question is whether I want to fly an airline as pathetic as American on such a long-distance route.

  14. Art_Czar New Member

    Wouldn't be surprised if UA adds SFO-BOM service in response to AA's entry into BOM.

  15. sharon Guest

    American is so clueless in route planning, considering their extreme debt load.

    Anyone notice how American, has now turned to making DFW a mega hub, NYC all the sudden they love to grow because jetblue and now they have turned to Alaska for Seattle growth.

    Odd that such a large airlines doesn't seem to know how to use the hub and spoke model for international flights

    1. ConcordeBoy Guest

      What does this comment even mean?

      DFW is their home and largest hub, so that's no surprise.

      They were a distant third in NYC among the US3, and essentially a nobody in Seattle, so it's also no surprise that they didn't expand either until forming alliances with stronger carriers in each.

    2. shoeguy Guest

      AS entry into OW is a game changer for AA at SEA, even with their current, token presence to most of their hubs, plus Heathrow. They're third in NYC yes, but DL is responding to the AA/B6 partnership by adding 100 flights across the big 3 NY area airports. So, AA isn't quite the irrelevant operator in the markets you mention.

    3. Phl Guest

      Not sure if you know about AA hubs but dfw is the largest and home hub for them. Every airline have hubs which perform the best and would send money routes through there.
      AA is dfw,UA is ord,DL is atl,AS is sea. I do understand the debt load but they still have to try and see which international market they can tap into and make money. They cannot stick to South America, Europe and North America, they have to expand in Asia (last frontier) for them.

  16. DMNYC Guest

    Ben, I do think you should re-orient the way you write about LCCs, especially in this context. You often write about them in a way that implies a LCC is, ipso facto, a not particularly great airline (..."while IndiGo is a low-cost carrier, this at least...")

    All it means is their cost structure. There are certainly low cost carriers that are quite crappy. But there are others like Azul, or GOL, or IndiGo, that are...

    Ben, I do think you should re-orient the way you write about LCCs, especially in this context. You often write about them in a way that implies a LCC is, ipso facto, a not particularly great airline (..."while IndiGo is a low-cost carrier, this at least...")

    All it means is their cost structure. There are certainly low cost carriers that are quite crappy. But there are others like Azul, or GOL, or IndiGo, that are actually quite nice. Out of all the options in India, IndiGo might be the the best.

    Air India is an extremely high cost airline, that is not particularly better than IndiGo w/r/t reliability and service.

    1. mdande7 Gold

      I think he's really saying they don't offer a short haul first class product/experience. No lounges, no better seats, etc.

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ DMNYC -- Totally fair in general, and I don't mean "low cost carrier" as an insult or to suggest the quality isn't good. Rather my point is that for travelers paying for business class, it's not exactly ideal to have a connecting flight on an airline without lounges, business class, etc. I know if I were flying to India in business class and had to connect, I'd rather fly United connecting to Vistara than American connecting to IndiGo. Wouldn't you?

    3. DMNYC Guest

      Fair point!

      Although we DO live in the Vasu Raja "the network is the product" era, so maybe they're counting on people not caring about whether their seat is paper thin, and just appreciating all the markets IndiGo connects /s :)

    4. snic Diamond

      My one experience flying IndiGo was about 10 years ago, and it was so phenomenal that I would actually prefer it over various crappy business class experiences I've had. Every single employee was on-point, polite and friendly. The flight was on time and the plane was spotless. We flew out of the domestic terminal in BOM, which was fairly new at the time, and it was truly amazing - beautiful, clean, organized and quiet. If...

      My one experience flying IndiGo was about 10 years ago, and it was so phenomenal that I would actually prefer it over various crappy business class experiences I've had. Every single employee was on-point, polite and friendly. The flight was on time and the plane was spotless. We flew out of the domestic terminal in BOM, which was fairly new at the time, and it was truly amazing - beautiful, clean, organized and quiet. If the experience is still like that, it beats a crowded lounge with surly agents any time.

      On top of that, flights within India are fairly short, so it's easy to put up with economy class seats for a couple of hours. (Of course Vistara business class might be even more amazing; I have no idea.)

  17. phil Guest

    I suspect that the 6E BOM codeshares are more useful for the current AA codeshare with BA.

    This way people can onwards connect on a single AA itinerary after arriving in BOM on BA139 (which is also sold by AA as AA6657).

    Theoretically one can fly the same itinerary from MAF-DFW-LHR-BOM-AMD with an AA/BA/6E codeshare all on an AA itinerary with Eagle metal, AA or BA metal, BA metal, and 6E metal.

  18. trojans Guest

    Indigo usually operates from T1 @ BOM(for last few months, all low cost carriers were moved to T2). The transfer from T2 to T1 is quite a pain. Nevertheless, will be good to have more options to BOM

  19. JAXBA New Member

    Possibly could be to provide connections from the existing BA operated LHRBOM codeshare, although that would require BA/6E to have an interline agreement too, which I'm not seeing yet.

    1. Phil Guest

      They’d have to reclaim bags anyway at Mumbai and change terminals/recheck

  20. Vir Guest

    Adding a nonstop to BOM from NYC area will provide a good competition to Star Alliance UA AND AI, also it wouldn’t hurt for Delta to resume their nonstop service to BOM as well, however I think the most intriguing route is the last one to MLE since indigo flies non stop, currently the only option is on Srilankan with one stop in CMB.

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mdande7 Gold

I think he's really saying they don't offer a short haul first class product/experience. No lounges, no better seats, etc.

1
Vick Guest

Twice a month for five years on USA to India long haul !? What do you do

0
Phl Guest

Just wasn't a good route for them period.

0
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