There’s apparently an announcement at 1pm Pacific at LAX today with Scott Kirby so the 3pm Central announcement that American is teasing on Twitter will certainly be Los Angeles – Australia (presumably Sydney) and not Dallas – Sydney.
And the ‘Great Mates’ hash tag I will presume infers a joint venture with Qantas.
They’ll most certainly operate the route with a Boeing 777-300ER which features American’s new first and business class cabins and unfortunately 10-across seating in economy. I’d expect award seats on this route to be nearly impossible in premium classes.
I could be wrong about the aircraft choice but given how much capacity there already is on the route, including from Qantas, anything else would be the smallest aircraft on the route and wouldn’t move the needle on capacity in conjunction with their partner.
In many ways this strikes me as an odd route choice. Historically the leadership team at American, when they ran US Airways, avoided direct competition at almost any cost. They eliminated virtually every non-hub route that US Airways operated. At American they do not fly from New York JFK to many of their competitors hubs, meaning that they are an airline that flies passengers to New York but aren’t positioned to be the airline of choice for New Yorkers on business.
And Australia faces quite a bit of competition. Los Angeles – Sydney already features:
- Virgin Australia
Delta and Virgin Australia operate on a joint venture.
A possible sign of overcapacity, Virgin Australia premium cabin awards have been exceptionally easy to get (although I worry that may change with the introduction of their new business class seats come the end of the year) and United has downgauged equipment to a 777 on the route.
Nonetheless, more competition is welcome. And American’s return to the Australia market is as well — I recall flying American to Sydney via Honolulu in 1991. That was a tough return flight though, having to clear immigration and customs in the middle of the night in Hawaii before continuing onward! (That was my last Aussie trip in economy…).