While I agree that is the likely outcome, AA certainly could make a big push to change its disadvantaged position. I have no doubt, however, that such a push would be extremely expensive and at the expense of PHL. It would make DL's push into NYC (which wasn't that long ago now) look easy.
Frankly, even setting the cost aside, I'm not sure AA could make such a push at this point - even if it wanted to. The reality is that new slots at NYC airports aren't being created, so any hypothetical AA expansion beyond its present schedule would require acquiring slots from a competitor, and I am skeptical as to whether antitrust regulators would allow it at this point. Thus why, I continue to believe, the ultimate objective for AA should be to make the most of the slots it has - more tailored O&D flying to bigger markets from JFK, and concentrating the large LGA slot portfolio on 2-class aircraft flying to major business markets.
AA flew to LHR, ORY (then CDG), BRU, and ZRH before merging with TWA. Other destinations were added and dropped after that.
In the summer of 2001, the last schedule built prior to the TWA acquisition and 9/11, AA flew from JFK to only two European airports - LHR (6x daily) and CDG (2x daily, plus 1x daily TWA). Both BRU and ZRH, in their most recent iterations, occurred post-TWA.
Not sure that I agree with the notion that a lack of New York dominance has much to do with LAX apart from transcon presence. AA is throwing everything at LAX because they have nowhere else to establish a transpacific hub unless they intend to start from scratch or try to revive SJC - not because they need to win an arbitrary number of top metro areas or because DL has so successfully built up NYC. Additionally, it's highly unlikely that any carrier will ever dominate LAX as the facility is simply too constrained to house the growth that would be necessary to establish dominance - AA knows this, as do DL, UA, and WN.
Agreed on all counts. AA is building a gateway at LAX because it supports the broader objective of a viable, competitive transpacific offering. That said, I have to think that the speed and conviction
with which AA is building a gateway at LAX must, even if only subconsciously, be informed to at least some degree by the shared, collective experience of the LAA management, if not also the LUS management, in watching AA lose its focus, and then lose its leadership position, at JFK.
As I've said before, JFK is probably the place, more than anywhere else, where the opportunity costs of AA's decision not to seek bankruptcy sooner are most acutely evident. Had AA filed for bankruptcy sooner, and thus had more competitive union contracts and costs sooner, I strongly suspect that AA would have been in a far, far stronger position to repel Delta's post-bankruptcy focus on JFK and NYC. As said - it is intriguing to think of the "what if" prospect of LAA circa 2001's presence at JFK combined with LUS circa 2008's presence at LGA. But, alas, it is what it is at this point. AA is now at a structural and insurmountable disadvantage in NYC relative to its two network peers that, I suspect, will be permanent.
The best AA can do at this point - and it's not bad at all - is optimize its still-quite-significant NYC slot portfolio to cater to the region's massive O&D market, and I continue to believe that will ultimately take the form of more O&D-based flying, to larger markets, out of JFK, and transitioning much if not all of the LGA schedule to 2-class RJs. Thankfully for AA, the saving grace is that now with having such an excellent omni-directional, all-throughout-the-day, domestic-and-international, relatively-minimally-competitive megahub right down I-95 at PHL, AA needs
JFK as a connecting hub far
less than it did pre-merger.
They are also two destinations where yields will be atrocious - there's close to zero business demand compared to other destinations in Europe. It can work for 3 months in peak summer time but outside of that it will be a disaster.
Indeed. Thus precisely why, I suspect, these routes are both going to operate for pretty much exactly three months during peak summer and nothing more. I agree that filling these planes won't be tough - it isn't hard to fill a plane to just about anywhere in Europe during peak summer. The issue will be yields - and thus premium traffic. There, too, I agree that both of these markets certainly do generate premium demand - some business, but mostly premium leisure, and that the latter, is, indeed, pretty much entirely concentrated during essentially a 90-day window from June to August. The question is whether or not AA will be able to capture a sufficient portion of this premium leisure demand to make these flights viable. I'll be as genuinely interested as everybody else to find out the answer.