American Airlines 737 MAX PHOTO: Carlos Lugo.

MIAMI – American Airlines (AA) has dropped Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) as an international hub after years of growing its operations at the airport.

Under normal circumstances, AA LAX customers would be flying to major hubs in Latin America and Asia. However, AA expects its summer 2021 long-haul international capacity to be down 25% compared to 2019.

As a result, AA will suspend the following five routes to Asia and South America: LAX-Beijing (PEK), LAX-São Paulo/Guarulhos (GRU), LAX-Hong Kong (HKG), LAX-Shanghai (PVG) and LAX-Buenos Aires (EZE).

American Airlines Airbus A321-231 N162AA at LAX. Photo: ©Luca Flores

American development at LAX


American Airlines and Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) officially broke ground in 2018 on a US$1.6bn project to re-imagine the carrier’s hub at LAX Terminals 4 and 5.

To understand the extent of the fallout of the COVID-19 crisis and the reason why LAX customers are now to do without nonstop US service to five main gateways, the LAX project was the biggest single investment at an airport in the 93-year history of America.

American Airlines Boeing 757-223. Photo: ©Hiro Nishikura

Statement from American Airlines


American chief revenue officer Vasu Raja said in a statement, “COVID-19 has forced us to reevaluate our network. 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 in this new environment.”

“For American, every new partnership means future growth opportunities for our airline. We’re going to rely on our hubs’ greatest strengths with our existing international network, and further integrate into our partners’ hubs to provide connectivity that’s been untapped in the past,” Raja said.

Remaing Hubs and Alliances


According to a report by Aaron Karp at routesonline.com, AA seeks permission from the US government to move the LAX-PVG service out of Seattle (SEA), citing its alliance with Alaska Airlines (AS), based in SEA.

For now, the carrier expects Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to be its major transpacific hub going forward and Miami (MIA) as the preeminent hub for flights to the Caribbean and Latin America.

Raja assured that AA would be well poised to emerge from this crisis with a stronger network with improved connectivity for its customers. 

As of today, AA had about 19% of the market share at LAX, making it the largest carrier at the airport.

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