American Airlines announced some pretty interesting route adjustments yesterday, including new service to Viracopos International Airport in Campinas, Brazil, as well as seasonal European route cuts.
New flights from Miami/New York to Viracopos
The first announcement is that American will be launching service to Viracopos Airport in Campinas, Brazil, as of December. This will be American’s tenth destination in Brazil. That’s right, American serves twice as many destinations in Brazil as they do in all of Asia, and that doesn’t even account for the frequency they have on many routes to Brazil.
Specifically, American will launch 3x weekly service between New York JFK and Viracopos International Airport as of December 1, 2014, and daily service between Miami and Viracopos as of December 2, 2014. What’s most interesting is that both routes will be operated by reconfigured 767-300 aircraft, featuring American’s new business class.
I find it fascinating that American will not only be the only US airline flying to Viracopos, but is also making this among their first destinations with the new 767 business class product. Meanwhile on a highly competitive route, like Chicago to London Heathrow (also served by British Airways, United, and Virgin Atlantic), their seatmaps for December flights continue to show 767 service with the old seatmaps).
In terms of where the planes for these frequencies are coming, from, American will:
- Cancel one daily Miami to Sao Paulo flight to accommodate the Miami to Viracopos route
- Cancel select weekly frequencies between New York and Sao Paulo to accommodate the New York to Viracopos route
- Separately, US Airways will cancel service between Charlotte and Sao Paulo as of October 1, 2014
Given American’s emphasis on Sao Paulo, I’m kind of surprised they’re cutting Charlotte to Sao Paulo. I figured as part of the merger we’d see additional service to Sao Paulo, including from Charlotte, Philadelphia, and maybe even Phoenix.
American will suspend seasonal service to Europe
In addition to the above, American and US Airways will also suspend seasonal service to Europe in the following markets:
- Chicago to Dusseldorf — October 25 through March 29
- Chicago to Manchester — January 6 through March 29
- New York to Dublin — October 25 through March 29
- Philadelphia to Barcelona — March 5 through March 29
- Philadelphia to Rome — February 5 through March 5
- Philadelphia to Zurich — October 25 through April 14
Beyond the above, American will be splitting service to Milan. Between January 6 and March 28, they’ll alternate between New York and Miami, with 4x weekly service to New York and 3x weekly service to Miami. That’s an interesting decision, in my opinion.
What I find so interesting about American’s business model
There’s no denying that American dominates Latin America, and it’s apparently extremely profitable for them. In Latin America they’re sort of like Alaska was in Seattle for years (before Delta saw the opportunity), with virtually no competition, so they can do whatever they want.
But what’s so interesting — and I’m not saying it’s a good or bad decision — is that they not only dominate in those markets, but they also put their best products in them. In this press release they’re talking about how all their flights to Sao Paulo will soon be operated by 777-300ER aircraft, and how they’re launching a brand new route with no competition and putting their best product in that market.
I would think they’d want to put their best products into markets where there’s a lot of competition, and then for markets they dominate due to frequency, that wouldn’t be as much of a priority. But their strategy is the opposite. Which I’m not saying is bad, but rather just interesting.
What do you think — does it make sense for American to put their best products into markets they dominate, or should they put them into less profitable markets where they have a lot more competition, in hopes of increasing yields and market share?