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Aviation Blog

American Airlines to turn Seattle into Asian hub – ch-aviation

American Airlines (AA, Dallas/Fort Worth) intends to transform Seattle Tacoma Int’l into its gateway for most of its flights to Asia, with Washington State’s largest city becoming a secondary international hub alongside Los Angeles Int’l and Dallas/Fort Worth.
This is according to remarks made by Brian Znotins, Vice President (Network Planning), during a recent staff call, reported US blog View from the Wing and magazine Executive Traveller.
On inquiry from ch-aviation, company spokesman Brian Metham said: "We constantly review our global network to ensure we’re connecting customers with the destinations that are most important to them. We recently adjusted our widebody flying which included moving some Asia Pacific routes from Los Angeles to Dallas-Ft. Worth and Seattle. These moves provide a better schedule and improved connectivity for our customers.
"American has proudly served LAX for nearly 75 years and remains committed to the Los Angeles market. We’re currently investing in the LAX hub through a substantial multi-year construction program that modernizes our terminal and improves the customer experience while making travel as easy and comfortable as possible," he said.
During the staff questions-and-answer session, a recording of which was reviewed by View from the Wing, Znotins responded to questions from a Los Angeles-based pilot about the carrier’s plans for Los Angeles.
He said American would leverage its partnership with Alaska Airlines (AS, Seattle Tacoma Int’l) – which also joined Oneworld in March 2021 – to turn Seattle into “our more predominant Asian gateway going forward instead of Los Angeles.”
The move, he said, was motivated by increasing competition from Asian carriers at Los Angeles. “Los Angeles has been a challenge to us to Asia for a number of years. We have faced profitability hurdles because every Asian carrier feels like they need to serve Los Angeles, so even though we were serving Hong Kong Int’l and Beijing Daxing Int’l and Shanghai Pudong prior to the pandemic, they all underperformed for us because every other Asian carrier served those routes as well. And there was far too much capacity in the Los Angeles market,” he said.
“Normally the way you generate profits as American Airlines is that we differentiate ourselves through different schedules, being the only non-stop or one of a few non-stops, but in this case, we were one of dozens of non-stops,” he explained.
“And so for us, what we’ve decided is to scale back Los Angeles widebody flying. Shanghai moves to Seattle… Beijing will focus more on Dallas. Hong Kong will focus more on Dallas as well. We’ll focus with our partner in Seattle, on Alaska Airlines, adding long-haul routes like Bangalore Int’l (India) (scheduled to begin on January 4, 2022) and Shanghai out of Seattle, once the Chinese bilateral opens up.”
Znotins said Los Angeles would continue to see flights to Tokyo Narita (Japan), Sydney Kingsford Smith (Australia), and London Heathrow (UK), along with domestic services and "a number of small (regional jet) routes out of Los Angeles to support the hub, " because Los Angeles, as a domestic hub, does very well for us".
However, American’s South American routes from Los Angeles have been underperforming as well. “You’re just in the wrong part of the country to serve South America (from) there [..] so focusing on Dallas and Miami Int’l to our Latin America points is a better focus as well. It’s a competitive challenge on the Asian side and a geographic challenge on the Latin side for us,” he said.
According to the ch-aviation capacities module, American competes with at least 14 Asian carriers at Los Angeles, including Korean Air which holds 2.08% market share in terms of weekly seat capacity; Cathay Pacific with just over 2%; as well as Philippine Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Singapore Airlines, ANA – All Nippon Airways and JAL – Japan Airlines; China Southern Airlines; China Airlines and EVA Air.
This article is only available for ch-aviation PRO subscribers.
American Airlines (AA, Dallas/Fort Worth) expects to complete the refurbishment of all of its A321-200 cabins by “early 2022”, a year ahead of the original pre-pandemic schedule, Chief Financial Officer Derek Kerr said during the carrier’s quarterly earnings call
“Our B737 retrofit program was completed in May, and we continue to expect our A321 aircraft to be complete by early next year, a full year ahead of our original schedule,” Kerr said.
President Robert Isom clarified that there were around 60 aircraft yet to be reconfigured.
The wide-ranging refurbishment programme aims to harmonize the cabin layouts of all of American’s previous-generation B737-800s and the A321s in addition to increasing their overall capacity. All 303 of its B737-800s are already configured for up to 172 passengers (including 16 in business class), the same as AA’s B737-8s. In turn, the A321s, following the completion of the refurbishment, will seat up to 181 passengers, including 20 in business class. The refurbishment does not include A321s in transcontinental configuration, which only seats up to 102…
Having secured its US Foreign Air Carrier Permit (FACP) in late August, India’s Vistara (UK, Delhi Int’l) has now disclosed that it holds slots for services from Delhi Int’l via London Gatwick to New York Newark for the current winter season.
According to Airport Coordination Limited (ACL), the Indian full-service carrier has slots to operate a total of 63 flights from Gatwick to Delhi (translating to 3x weekly flights) and the same number from Gatwick to Newark during the season ending in late March 2022, with up to 299 passenger seats per departure.
The airline has yet to announce plans to serve the United States, although it said earlier that it hoped to debut the route during the current quarter.
Vistara, a 51/49 joint venture between Tata Group and Singapore Airlines Group, operates just two B787-9s with 299 seats each, the ch-aviation fleets advanced module shows. The two aircraft do not have separate crew rest areas and are currently used for services to Bangalore Int’l, Frankfurt Int’l
JAL – Japan Airlines (JL, Tokyo Haneda) has formed a partnership with Avolon-e, the electric aircraft wing of lessor Avolon, to induct up to 100 Vertical Aviation VA-X4 electric-vertical-take-off-and-landing (eVTOL) aircraft ahead of the 2025 World Expo in Osaka.
“Today’s announcement represents an important step towards the social implementation of air taxi services at Osaka Kansai EXPO in 2025. Our partnership with Avolon lays out the pathway towards achieving the air mobility revolution in Japan. The introduction of VA-X4 will also contribute to reducing our environmental impact, and we fundamentally believe that sustainability will be the engine for future growth across our business and region,” Managing Executive Officer Tomohiro Nishihata said.
The Japanese carrier will work jointly with the lessor to certify the type in Japan, identify local infrastructure and commercial requirements, and find more partners to implement the new type. The partnership foresees a tentative order for fifty VA-X4s with options for another 50.
Avolon became the launch customer for VA-X4 when it placed a tentative order for up to…
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