Not sure when AA tried to make JFK a connecting hub. A handful of RJ flights, one or two flights a day to ORD, capacity reductions from the west coast and trying to route passengers to JFK through LGA flights are not consistent with forcing JFK into a connection hub.
2003-2011 - that's when. The summer of 2003 saw the launch of JFK-FCO and JFK-BCN, and was, in hindsight, the turning point where it became quite clear that AA's center of gravity for transatlantic connectivity was shifting from ORD to JFK. During that time, AA did, indeed, attempt to create more of a connection-oriented "hub" at JFK, including trying domestic routes like TPA, FLL and IAH, and the partnership with JetBlue, among others. I'm not talking about double-connects over LGA which have never, at any point in the modern era, been a large dynamic and which are irrelevant to the point being made.
Although PHL is the second largest network carrier hub in the northeast, it is experiencing lower passenger numbers on a year to year basis. It was recently reported that AA's capacity at PHL is down 4%. Now some of this represents cuts from smaller markets, but not all (AA eliminated the last bank of flights at PHL). Although it has been reported that PHL is a very profitable hub for AA, the fact that capacity is down when airline traffic is stronger than even overall is a good indication that PHL is where it needs to be and will show little growth.
Agreed. PHL is a strong hub that is being optimized in the context of the merged carrier's network which means fewer connecting banks and larger aircraft.
Therefore, these new flights from PHL will do little to reverse this trend.
Okay, although I don't think that is the intent, anyway. No need to "reverse" anything since, as rightly said, PHL is largely "where it needs to be."
Although passengers can easily connect through PHL through multiple flights from DFW, ORD and CLT, there are less frequencies from other AA hubs (MIA and LAX) and other major markets.
"Less frequencies" is largely meaningless since only one frequency is really necessary.
That's the good thing about scheduling domestic flights for transatlantic connectivity - the vast majority of all U.S.-Europe flights arrive and depart within roughly the same window. So, to be specific, as long as AA has one flight a day from any given city that arrives in PHL in the late afternoon, and one flight a day from PHL back to that given city that leaves in the late afternoon/early evening, that city has 2-way connectivity to Europe.
Thus, as an illustrative example, ZRH - AA is obviously foregoing virtually all of its presence in the NYC-ZRH O&D market, but the shift to PHL has opened up literally dozens of additional single-connection city pair markets in which AA was previously absent.
Passengers at other AA hubs (DFW, LAX and ORD) have other choices rather than flying through PHL
Indeed they do. But I suspect plenty AA-loyal frequent flyers and corporate customers will still connect over PHL, just like they do today to get to the multiple other European cities only reachable on AA metal through PHL.
my guess is that most of the O&D traffic AA had on its JFK-ZRH flight will not be seen on PHL-ZRH.
Yeah, that seems pretty obvious since AA has almost no capacity between NYC and ZRH, so it kind of stands to reason that any JFK-ZRH O&D AA was carrying on its nonstop flight in that market will now either connect over LHR or fly another airline.
These high profile PHL and JFK international flights will continue to ebb and flow. I don't think it is about the two markets competing as much as it is about allocation of resources.
Agreed. AA is clearly optimizing its European network to respond to increased competition and depressed yields across the Atlantic. The approach AA appears to be taking is (1) greater seasonality, with capacity dramatically ramping up for just May-September, and (2) greater optimization across AA's major transatlantic gateways which include not just PHL, JFK, ORD and to a lesser extent MIA, CLT and DFW, but also leveraging the JV hub at LHR which, itself, facilitates more one-stop connecting city pairs between the U.S. and Europe than just about any other European hub.
AA continues to rank poorly on passenger preference polls
And it continues to rank favorably
in passenger preference polls, too.
I guess the perspective just depends, to some extent, on how much people want to focus on the negative.
it is better off using its more basic 767 product in a less competitive market such as PHL.
Agreed. The 767 product is not competitive - especially in Y - with major competitors' widebodies. As such, it makes total sense to concentrate that aircraft in markets where AA faces minimal competition.
Nevertheless, PHL and JFK are both on downward trends in the overall AA network, and these few flights are not going to have much impact from that perspective.
I'm not so sure. We'll see about the "downward trends" - at both PHL and JFK.