American Airlines Lines Up Potential European Expansion

Photo: American Airlines Airbus A321 seen landing at John Wayne Airport KSNA; photo credit: Karam
Photo: American Airlines Airbus A321 seen landing at John Wayne Airport KSNA; photo credit: Karam

LONDON – American Airlines has said that it could and would be looking at possible options for expanding into the secondary airport market in Europe from mid-2023, which is when the airline is expected to take delivery of the first of 50 ordered A321XLR aircraft, the XLR is the latest version of the A321neo family from airbus, released back in 2019.

In a discussion with Routes back on February 16 during Route Americans 2022 the head of international network planning at American Airlines, Henning Greiser said: “It will open up markets that we wouldn’t be able to serve otherwise—new cities and niche destinations that will really work well with our network,”

“Through our hubs, we’ll be able to create many one-stop connections that don’t exist today.”

While it remains just an idea for the airline at this time, the possibilities for route expansion further into Europe from the east-coast U.S is a serious possibility for not just American Airlines but also other carriers, one such U.S-based carrier jetBlue could also be a contender for further European expansion.

The airline has already said that when the A321XLR enters service that it would look to expand on its European offerings outside of Heathrow and Gatwick, but there are no clear plans yet as to what this expansion may look like. The A321XLR would allow airlines like jetBlue and American to look at expansion from JFK airport and Newark into destinations in Spain, such as Barcelona or Madrid, while also looking at more secondary airport options in central Europe.

The A321XLR is currently one of the most popular planes pegged to replace carriers aging 767 aircraft, as the decision from Boeing to not produce or introduce an NMA (New Mid-Market Aircraft) has seen Airbus take the market for this type of flying by storm, with record orders for the XLR back when it was announced at the Farnborough airshow in July 2019.

Expansion in Europe would not be the only option available to American airlines however, the A321XLR would also allow the carrier to continue to consolidate and expand already established services with additional flight frequencies and with the aircraft being smaller and more fuel efficient, it would also allow the airline to offer cheaper travel on some currently served routes.

American airlines current plans to fly to 14 points across Europe during this summer season from 10 U.S gateways, with plans to launch new additional transalpine services from Dall-For worth to Tel Aviv in Israel, and from New York John F. Kennedy to Doha, in Qatar, however, there was no confirmation on the exact launch date of these new services, but they are expected to begin this year.

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