American Airlines Reaffirms Confidence In South America

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In an interview in Dallas with Simple Flying, American’s Senior Vice President of Network Strategy, Vasu Raja, reaffirmed America’s confidence in the South American market. In the aftermath of LATAM’s announced new partnership with Delta, American still sees this continent as an important market.

American Boston
American Airlines is not going anywhere in South America. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Miami is key to American’s South America strategy

It is hard to imagine any scenario in which American Airlines would be able to retain a large South American presence without its hub in Miami. The same is true as American Airlines works in the challenging market post-LATAM.

Although having LATAM was a major partner, Vasu Raja indicates that American has confidence in keeping their planes full in part because of a strong domestic network. Whereas before those passengers would connect onto a LATAM flight out of Miami, now American is seeking to ensure their passengers can still fly to those destinations on American Airlines metal.

American Airlines
Vasu Raja, American’s point man in terms of network strategy and route planning, displays confidence in Latin America. Photo: American Airlines

Miami is also a key gateway for South American travelers. Not only, then, would American Airlines be able to fly connecting passengers, but there are also a number of origin and destination passengers who would either be starting or terminating their journeys in Miami. Either way, Miami is a key hub for American Airlines.

American already has a strong presence

In his own words, Vasu Raja says that

American Airlines has the most comprehensive transborder network to South America

The Dallas-based carrier definitely has a significant footprint in South America. Not only does the carrier fly to the big cities (like Lima, Santiago, and Sao Paulo), but the giant also flies to secondary destinations such as Cordoba, Argentina.

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American Airlines 787
American Airlines serves both major and more niche destinations in South America. Photo: Simple Flying

This is not the end of American’s South American growth

Raja indicated that American is not at all done with South America. In fact, they may decide to keep growing. Out of Miami, American has focused on trying some “experimental” routes to South America– Cordoba being one of them. And, Raja says that just because LATAM will end their partnership with American does not mean that American will scale back.

In fact, American is still examining their route network in South American and it would not be surprising if American announces new routes to smaller, niche destinations in South America.

However, it does depend on American’s fleet availability. Out of Miami, the Boeing 737 MAX can cover plenty of these destinations. Now, Boeing just needs to get it back in the air. With excellent operating economics, the 737 MAX could unlock key destinations in South America previously covered through American’s partnership with LATAM.

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737 MAX Range
The range of the Boeing 737 MAX out of Miami. Rendering created at Great Circle Mapper

Beyond Miami, American Airlines is also looking at opportunities to grow out of other markets including New York, Dallas, and Los Angeles to major markets in South America. The simple business and leisure connectivity and connections through hubs for American Airlines could also help keep AA’s aircraft full.

American Airlines
American Airlines still sees opportunities for growth out of South America. Photo: American Airlines

Not to mention, new partnerships can also add to AA’s network presence in South America. GOL could offer enhanced connectivity in Brazil– which is an important destination.

Overall

Time will tell how American fares in South America. However, for now, they seem confident in the market. Vasu Raja, SVP of Network Strategy, believes that AA is not done in the continent. Here at Simple Flying, we will continue to monitor AA’s South American strategy.

Do you think American Airlines will keep growing in South America? Let us know in the comments!

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