American to cut summer 2021 capacity by a quarter
American Airlines will adjust its long-haul international schedule for winter through summer next year in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.
In an effort to match low demand resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, the airline will realign its network with the goal of improving long-term profitability.
As such, American expects long-haul international capacity to be down 25 per cent next summer compared to 2019.
“COVID-19 has forced us to revaluate our network,” said American chief revenue officer Vasu Raja.
“American will have a significantly smaller international network in the year ahead, but we are using this opportunity to hit reset and create a network using the strength of our strategic hubs that we can build and grow upon and be profitable on in this new environment.”
As the airline begins planning for next summer, American will also discontinue several routes that were once popular leisure destinations but are expected to exhibit decreased demand.
“American has spent the past few years right-sizing its international network, discontinuing underperforming routes while adding leisure destinations like Dubrovnik and Prague,” said Brian Znotins, American vice president of network planning.
“Now, as demand has significantly diminished due to Covid-19, we have to be nimble, creating the network that our customers desire.”
American will exit several routes, including three trans-Atlantic routes from both Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) and Philadelphia International Airport (PHL).
The company will also exit five underperforming routes from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to destinations in Asia and South America, concentrating on the hub’s domestic strength.
As American resets its international network for future growth, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) will be the airline’s major trans-Pacific hub while Miami International Airport (MIA) will continue to be the preeminent hub for flights to the Caribbean and Latin America.
Once government restrictions on trans-Atlantic flying subside, PHL will continue to be American’s primary hub for service to Europe.
Earlier this year, American launched its West Coast International Alliance with Alaska Airlines, an innovative partnership to expand its international reach and connectivity for customers.
The airline will plan future growth with the strength of this relationship, which includes a large presence and a strong feed in Seattle.
As previously announced, American will launch service from Seattle (SEA) to Bangalore and London (LHR) next year, and Alaska also intends to join the oneworld alliance in 2021.
The airline will also seek government approval to move its LAX service to Shanghai to operate out of SEA, which will offer more customers direct access to Asia, utilising the strength of Alaska’s local presence in the Pacific Northwest.
American will also continue to fly to joint business partners’ hubs.