Secondary European markets are getting a boost from American Airlines next summer. Three new seasonal routes are being added serving two new destinations – Budapest and Prague – and increasing service at Venice for the season. The new service will operate between May 4, 2018 – Oct. 27, 2018.
Prague and Budapest, the new destinations, will be served from Philadelphia, capitalizing on the connecting feed available there for American. Last time AA served Budapest it did so from JFK, partly based on Eastern European feed from Malev, the former
Romanian Hungarian national airline that was also a oneworld member, and partly because it was before the merger and it didn’t have any other hubs in the northeastern United States. Many of the circumstances have changed now and so will the route.
The two routes will be operated by American’s 767-300 fleet. That’s relatively good news for economy class passengers as that’s one of the more comfortable seating configurations flying today, though the lack of in-seat entertainment or modern power outlets is unfortunate. In business class the new cabin layout features flat-beds and direct aisle access for all passengers; entertainment is delivered with tablets, not in-seat screens.
The additional Venice service will fly from Chicago O’Hare, augmenting the existing Philadelphia service. Similar to the new destinations this route takes advantage of connecting flow, though the slightly later arrival time in Chicago does limit some onward connections. The flight will be operated by a 787-8 which is a tighter squeeze in economy class but which also has updated IFE and power for passengers. The business class cabin also features flat-beds and direct aisle access, plus the better IFE systems.
For American Airlines the new routes are also a push to reduce dependency on connectivity at Heathrow. The carrier recently noted that roughly half of passengers on its Heathrow flights are connecting onward from London. As demand for specific destinations increases they can be served from the United States as non-stops rather than adding the extra connection in. The new routes operate under the same joint venture with British Airways, Iberia and Finnair that covers the other transatlantic routes so the whole group is coordinating on the increased service levels and pricing.
All three routes will operate with limited competition, something that should improve the chances of profitable operations. Budapest has no non-stop service to the United States today while Prague has only a Delta flight to JFK, a year-round service but less than daily in the winter season. Venice has service to the New York City area from both Delta and United Airlines but it is seasonal on both carriers.
Never miss another post: Sign up for email alerts and get only the content you want direct to your inbox.