MIAMI — American Airlines announced the opening of several new routes to warm weather destinations in the Caribbean, Latin America, and a number of Mexican cities.
The airline is also on a mission to expand domestically, offering more routes throughout the United States despite the fact that its 24 Boeing 737 MAX 8 fleet has been grounded since early March.
Mexico Goes First
American already offers more flights to Mexico from the United States than any other carrier, with 85 daily flights to 22 different cities.
Regardless of its status as the number-one US carrier flying south of the border, American Airlines is initiating service to two new destinations— Huatulco (HUX) and Acapulco (ACA)—with biweekly flights starting December 21st from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW).
Also, beginning on December 18th, American will allow customers to fly daily from Phoenix (PHX) to Chihuahua (CUU), complementing the destination’s service from Dallas Fort Worth (DFW).
Caribbean and Latin America
American will also begin offering five new routes to destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America starting this winter. On December 18th, the carrier will begin offering service to from New York (JFK) to Georgetown, Guyana (GEO).
The carrier also aims to strengthen its ties with Costa Rica, a popular vacation spot for Americans seeking refuge from the cold winter. Starting December 18th, a second daily flight from DFW will be available to passengers traveling to San Jose (SJO) and Liberia (LIR).
Out of Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and DFW, American will be offering Saturday-only service to St. Thomas, USVI (STT) starting on December 21st. Passengers flying out of ORD will also be able to benefit from seasonal service to St. Lucia (UVF).
American will also be adding routes to Bermuda (BDA) and Grenada (GND) from New York (LGA) and Charlotte (CLT), respectively. Also, beginning May 25th, flyers going through DFW will be able to access St. Kitts (SKB).
These new openings represent a growing trend of increased service to popular tourist destinations. Last December, American opened routes to Nassau (NAS) from ORD and LGA.
While American has expanded its direct service to Latin America and the Caribbean substantially, Miami International Airport (MIA) has always served as the airline’s main hub into these regions.
Starting December 18th, American Airlines will begin daily service to MIA from Oklahoma City (OKC), Northwest Arkansas (XNA), and Columbia, South Carolina (CAE).
Beyond the Southern United States, American is launching service from DFW to St. George, Utah (SGU) on September 26th. Starting December 21st, the carrier will begin Saturday service from Philadelphia (PHL) and Eagle/Vail, Colorado (EGE).
American will also open service from PHX to Rapid City, South Dakota (RAP) and ORD to Charleston, West Virginia (CRW) on September 4th.
The world’s largest airline will also be offering three daily flights from JFK to Richmond, VA (RIC) commencing on November 21st.
The new routes serve as a sign of increased growth for the already-massive airline. Nevertheless, with so many new offerings, one cannot help but question the logistic feasibility.
The carrier has 24 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in its fleet, with all of them being grounded since the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) sweeping measure on March 13th.
American Airlines has canceled all flights operating the model through August 19th, causing 115 flight cancellations per day, constituting 1.5 percent of the airline’s expected service for the summer.
Any delays in the 737 MAX’s recertification process could cause further complications with American’s new offerings, given that many of the new routes could potentially be served by model.
On top of these grounded planes, the airline had grounded 14 of its refurbished Boeing 737-800NGs after the carrier identified an issue with the quality of work conducted on the planes’ overhead bins, causing the cancelation of hundreds of flights.
At the time of the grounding, in early March, American Airlines issued a public statement, explaining that “after further inspection (…) the work that was conducted on these two aircraft was not up to our standards. Out of an abundance of caution, we have proactively removed from service the additional 12 aircraft that were updated by this vendor and have notified the FAA.”
These 737-800NGs, however, are now back in operation.
As far as routes to South America, the Caribbean and Mexico are concerned, these are vastly served with the carrier’s Boeing 737 fleet, of which the airline has 328 in its fleet.
While these concerns are purely speculation at the moment, it is something that should be kept in mind by the airline and passengers alike.
All new routes will be available for purchase on May 13th.