The cuts continue to mount at American Airlines; the latest victim is service to Brussels, Belgium. The carrier will be terminating service in November with the last westbound flight on the 6th of the month. The airline has not made a formal public statement about the change – route cuts rarely see such – but a report was published in a Belgian newspaper and it was confirmed by AA’s social media team this afternoon:
Most recent cuts have been focused on routes which don’t fit in the company’s "cornerstone" strategy, focusing on service at their 5 key hubs. With JFK as one of those hubs, however, this cut is a bit more intriguing. Sure, the carrier now has a revenue-sharing agreement with oneworld partners British Airways and Iberia so there are still ways for the three to make money offering the service. But travel on partners just isn’t the same as travel on the "home" carrier, especially when it comes to upgrades. And there’s the part where it requires a connection, too.
It is worth noting that United Airlines upgraded the service on their Newark – Brussels route with a 3-cabin plane and also that Brussels Air launched service on a 2-cabin A330 this summer. With those two carriers partners in a similar revenue-sharing agreement it seems that they’ve managed to scare off much of the competition on the route. Jet Airways will continue to offer service on the route as well.
It is always interesting to see a carrier pushed out of a market when others seem to be growing in it. That either means that the route is dependent on feed which cannot be provided through connections – something that Brussels Air and United can much more readily do from their hubs – or that the losing carrier is simply uncompetitive. In this case I think it is probably actually a bit of both. The Star Alliance partners can definitely support the feed at both ends and the in-flight experience they are offering up to passengers tends to be better than the American option.
On the plus side, this frees up a slot for American to otherwise use at JFK. I wonder what they’ll be replacing the Brussels service with there.
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