American’s President Robet Isom says the airline has done well with Tokyo, Seoul, and Hong Kong flights but that China has been hard. Chicago – Beijing, which they’re cutting, “is a route that we’ve lost tens of millions of dollars for years and years and years.”
In Beijing today they’ve started a relationship with China Southern, but they don’t have demand on the China side of the equation, and Chicago isn’t where they expect to be able to operate Asia routes effectively — Dallas is a bigger hub with more connections and Los Angeles has local traffic.
American Airlines Boeing 787-8 at Chicago O’Hare
Chicago is gate constrained. Losing money on a flight makes no sense because it’s a flight they cannot send somewhere else to make money.
American’s Vasu Raja said that “Chicago – Barcelona was our best Europe route in the time that it flew last year, our second best for the full year.” They believe Chicago – Honolulu will do very well and Venice is so far doing well. Not only were they losing money on Beijing service the flight kept them from making money elsewhere.
American Airlines Aircraft at Chicago O’Hare
The airline wants ‘dormancy’ — the right to keep the Beijing route authority without actually flying the route in hopes that they can come back to it someday — it’s hard to imagine the Department of Transportation granting that if another airline wants to fly to Beijing instead.