American starts Los Angeles – Atlanta service March 5 (it becomes bookable this Sunday).
They’ll offer three flights daily —
- Los Angeles Departures at 12:15am, 10:30am, and 3:20pm
- Atlanta departures at 7am, 12:50pm, and 6:55pm
This could help feed American’s Tokyo and Shanghai flights, and oneworld Pacific partners Qantas, JAL, and Cathay Pacific — although Qantas has a Dallas flight and JAL and Cathay Pacific have Chicago flights that might be more logical connections for Atlanta-based flyers.
American Isn’t Competing for Atlanta Passengers With 3 Daily Flights
What it isn’t is a play for Atlanta-based flyers generally. American’s New York strategy seems to be becoming the airline that brings passengers to New York rather than the airline for New Yorkers. They don’t compete strongly to United and Delta hub markets. They don’t try to have service everywhere from New York, but they try to build schedules that make it possible for passengers from other cities to come to New York for business and go home.
Atlanta flyers already have Delta. And post-Airtran acquisition they certainly also have Southwest.
Southwest generally has 5 daily Atlanta – Los Angeles flights. And Delta has about twice that many. (Interestingly, United – with a hub at Los Angeles – doesnt’ fly the route.)
American won’t compete on frequency, and doesn’t have the large installed customer base in Atlanta though they have respectable service to all of their hubs except New York JFK (though they do have LaGuardia service).
This Runs Counter to Their Standard Strategy
Atlanta runs counter to the usual US Airways strategy of flying to or from your hubs where there isn’t much competition. They just announced new Miami services, for instance, following the Wee Willie Keeler strategy of “hit ’em where they ain’t.”
This is a High Cost Move That Must Have a Reason, So…
LAX is hugely capacity constrained, they clearly have to make a choice to operate Atlanta flights or something else. Which means they think this is the best opportunity.
American is running headlong into competition, and the only reason I can think why is they must have picked up a big enough corporate contract for this to make sense.
Why Atlanta? Why now?
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