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Brian Gold

Certainly not the most significant example, but I’d like to mention our route from Chicago to Delhi. The flights were ALWAYS completely full, and we were carrying cargo in both directions. The route made good use of the long range of the 777, and kept two 777s in the air with maximum utilization.

Before starting a route, an airline must calculate best and worst case scenarios. They must take into account all of the costs associated with flying the route (including the rising cost of fuel) well before the route is announced and begun. The best case scenario is obviously full flights with cargo, and full fare F/C and B/C customers and the worst case would be light loads with little or no cargo and few premium customers.

AA began the route around 3 years ago and actually got the best case scenario. The flights were packed in all cabins. Lots of full fare customers in the premium cabins, and a fair amount of cargo in both directions. In March of this year, AA closed the route stating that it simply was not profitable.

How is it possible that AA management did not know before starting the route that even with the best case scenario, the flight would prove to be unprofitable? I don’t know how much money was invested in opening the route, but I can only imagine that it was costly when one includes advertising campaigns, the contracting of station personnel in Delhi (only ONE AA employee actually worked there), hotel costs, etc. And yet AA lost money on that route!

Other examples include Frankfurt (a city we flew to for quite a long time) that was finally closed and also deemed unprofitable. Stockholm, JFK to Rio (do we fly it now or not? AA keeps changing it’s mind on that one), and Chicago to Buenos Aires, just to name a few.

An honorable mention must go to the JFK-Haneda route. The slot times given to AA by the Japanese government had us arriving in Haneda at around 9-10PM, and leaving Haneda at 6:50AM. We were carrying NO connecting passengers either to HND or departing from HND. There were simply no connecting flights at those hours. Keep in mind that passengers are required to check in AT EAST 2 hours in advance. Public transportation in Tokyo does not even BEGIN until 4:30AM (later for trains to Haneda and bus service from central Tokyo). ALL passengers had to either drive or be driven (or spend the night at an airport hotel). A taxi from central Tokyo to Haneda (even at that early hour with no traffic) costs between $100 and $150.

Here’s the best part- in June, AA will be STOPPING service from JFK to Narita, and re-starting the service from JFK to Haneda with the exact same slot times! A route that has already been proven to lose money!

I can certainly understand AA’s desire to have a presence at both Tokyo airports, but stopping the non stops from JFK to Narita makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Somebody’s got some “splainin'” to do!!

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APFA Headquarters
1004 West Euless Boulevard
Euless, Texas 76040

M-F: 9:00AM - 5:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Call APFA

Contract & Scheduling Desk
M-F: 7:00AM - 7:00PM (CT)
Phone: (817) 540-0108

Chat APFA

After-Hours Live Chat
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