MIAMI — American Airlines announced that it will add four new destinations from its Los Angeles base on Thursday.
On October 2nd, the carrier will begin service to Edmonton, San Antonio, and Vancouver. Each route will be operated twice daily. All routes will utilize two-class US Airways Express CRJ-900 aircraft. It was unclear which of its regional subsidiaries or contractors would operate the routes.
Service to Tampa will begin, only once daily, on November 6 via Boeing 737-800s.
The new routes would pit American against a wide selection of carriers. Both Canadians cities are served by Westjet, though Vancouver is served by Air Canada Rouge, Alaska, Delta, and United. Tampa is served by Delta, and San Antonio by Southwest and United.
On the whole, the additions are aimed at improving the Dallas-based carrier’s competitive standing against United and Delta, both of whom are pouring financial resources into the Los Angeles market. Delta in particular has been extremely aggressive in adding new services from Los Angeles (such as Austin and Boise), including markets with existing American service.
In that sense, American’s latest additions are primarily aimed at making the carrier competitive in LA, which is an increasingly important battleground for frequent flyers and corporate contracts (as evidenced by Transcon Wars and JetBlue Mint). These markets are likely to be marginally profitable at best on a standalone basis for American, especially Tampa which is a (domestic) long haul leisure market, rarely a good combination. Additionally, American plans to make Los Angeles its long term Asian gateway, and each additional domestic/North American market enhances the prospects of that hub moving forward, especially Vancouver with its large Asian population and San Antonio with a fast-growing (though admittedly small) O&D market, plus tourism to both San Antonio and Tampa.