American Airlines has delayed the launch of its Dallas – Tel Aviv and Seattle – Bangalore flights. Citing a continued suppression of business travel and some travel restrictions, the airline has elected to defer the launch of these routes to March 2022. Further delays are likely, but American remains committed to serving both of these routes.
American Airlines delays two long-haul flights
Schedules seen in Cirium show that the airline has delayed the launch of two of its most awaited long-haul routes. The move was also confirmed by American Airlines. The first route is from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport (TLV). Operated by a Boeing 777-200ER, the three-times-per-week flight will launch on March 5th, 2022.
American Airlines has delayed its flight from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) to Bangalore’s Kempegowda International Airport (BLR). This flight, operated by a Boeing 787-9, will now run daily from March 26th, 2022.
American Airlines released the following statement to Simple Flying about the changes:
“This weekend we pushed back the launch of our Dallas-Fort Worth-Tel Aviv (DFW-TLV) and Seattle-Bengaluru, India (SEA-BLR), flights due to entry restrictions into Israel and the slower-than-expected return of business travel. American is fully-committed to Israel and India – we currently serve TLV from our Miami (MIA) and New York (JFK) hubs, and we’ll begin service from JFK to New Delhi (DEL) on Nov. 12.”
Still committed to the routes
Both DFW-TLV and SEA-BLR were announced before the pandemic hit. However, the carrier was forced to delay those flights due to travel restrictions and the near evaporation of long-haul international demand. Despite this, both routes are still on the schedule.
Seattle-Bangalore is part of a strategic addition leveraging the Alaska-American partnership. Seattle is the largest hub for Alaska Airlines and, as a city, is a major hub for tech and business travel – the kind of travelers who would benefit from the nonstop to Bangalore. It will go head-to-head against United’s planned San Francisco – Bangalore, which will launch at the end of May. While there will be some endpoint connectivity out of Bangalore on IndiGo, this route is primarily supported by the business demand between the two cities.
Dallas to Tel Aviv is also part of American’s ongoing strategy to continue growing its largest hub. This flight will complement American’s New York and Miami flights to Tel Aviv, both of which were announced as American Airlines was preparing for the recovery. Given these two services, the launch of Dallas to Tel Aviv takes a back seat until Israel loosens further entry restrictions and greater numbers of tourists can visit the country.
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The recovery continues
The recovery from the pandemic has not been uniform across all segments of the business and geographies around the world. American has stated it has seen a recovery of domestic leisure, short-haul international, and the continuing recovery of domestic business travel. Long-haul international travel is starting to come back, but it has not reached a sustained level of recovery in the way those other segments have.
While vaccinations are ongoing, travel restrictions are still in place. India and Israel still have some travel restrictions in place, though both are expected to start to reopen even more next year. American hopes to see those flights and travel come back in time for spring 2022 and perhaps into the summer.
It would not be surprising to see some more schedule changes, like further delay or a reduction in weekly frequencies. American still sees the potential to serve both routes. The question now is when travel demand will be high enough to support both of these long-haul routes.