FlyASAGuy2005
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AA To Celebrate 45 Years In The Caribbean

Sun Feb 21, 2016 1:42 am

On March 2, 1971 AA entered 6? Caribbean markets by way of the Trans Caribbean Airways acquisition.. Overnight, they took control of the following TCA routes:

JFK-AUA
JFK-CUR
JFK-PAP
JFK-SJU
JFK-STT
JFK-STX

Mainline service to STT was interrupted for a period of about 15 years following the crash of AA625. Service continued through this period with prop-interline service from STX-SJU until the new 7,000 foot runway was completed in the early 90s.

-Did AA service SJU prior to 1971?

-Would be interesting for you all to share stories of years past in the Caribbean, especially the SJU hub which peaked in 2000/2001?
What gets measured gets done.
 
DeltaRules
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RE: AA To Celebrate 45 Years In The Caribbean

Sun Feb 21, 2016 2:11 am

Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Thread starter):
-Would be interesting for you all to share stories of years past in the Caribbean, especially the SJU hub which peaked in 2000/2001?


I vacationed right across from SJU for several years as a kid in the late '90s and I'll always associate SJU and AA. I remember seeing Shorts 360s, ATR-42s, and ATR-72s, along with numerous mainline types (727, 738, 757, 767, A300, DC-10) in and out daily. Always thought it'd have been fun to pick somewhere to go either on Eagle or an abnormally short inter-island 757 flight (even though I did CMH-CVG on a 757 a few times).

I later went to STX and SXM, finding it interesting to see the "other side" of where the ATRs and 757s I'd seen leaving SJU went.
A310/319/320/321/333, ARJ, BN2, B717/722/73S/733/734/735/73G/738/739/744/757/753/767/763/764/777, CR1/2/7/9, DH6, 328, EM2/ERJ/E70/E75/E90, F28/100, J31, L10/12/15, DC9/D93/D94/D95/M80/M88/M90/D10, SF3, SST
 
Viscount724
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RE: AA To Celebrate 45 Years In The Caribbean

Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:03 am

Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Thread starter):

-Did AA service SJU prior to 1971?

SJU came with the Trans Caribbean merger. Until then this was AA's entire route network. Only 3 international destinations - YYZ/MEX/ACA. And large parts of the US had no AA service in those pre-deregulation days.
http://www.departedflights.com/AA033069.html

Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Thread starter):
On March 2, 1971 AA entered 6? Caribbean markets by way of the Trans Caribbean Airways acquisition

This 727-100C inherited from the Trans Caribbean merger was the only AA 727 with a main-deck cargo door. Probably never used during the 12 years it spent at AA 1971-83. Later operated by for a couple of cargo carriers including UPS.


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Qantas59
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RE: AA To Celebrate 45 Years In The Caribbean

Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:04 am

No AA service anywhere in the Caribbean prior to 2 Mar 71.
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DeltaRules
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RE: AA To Celebrate 45 Years In The Caribbean

Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:18 am

Looking through the most recent schedule on DepartedFlights (1999, http://www.departedflights.com/SJU99p2.html), it's amazing the number of frequencies AA ran between PR and the neighboring islands (USVI, DR, Tortola). STX and Tortola were all ATRs, with SDQ and STT seeing mainline (727, 757, A300).

The farther away you got, the lower the frequencies (UVF, SXM 4x/day, FDF 2x, AUA daily, for example), but was there that much business to generate up to 12 flights daily to the neighboring islands?
A310/319/320/321/333, ARJ, BN2, B717/722/73S/733/734/735/73G/738/739/744/757/753/767/763/764/777, CR1/2/7/9, DH6, 328, EM2/ERJ/E70/E75/E90, F28/100, J31, L10/12/15, DC9/D93/D94/D95/M80/M88/M90/D10, SF3, SST
 
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chepos
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RE: AA To Celebrate 45 Years In The Caribbean

Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:21 am

i was very familiar with the SJU hub being a native of Puerto Rico. Terminal D was all AA and AA Eagle and it wa sa busy place. A300's and 727's and later 757's dominating the mainline scene. It was common to have A300 service on short routes like SJU--SDQ, SJU-BGI, etc etc. Those days are long gone with now AA service only to DFW/ORD/JFK/MIA/PHL and CLT.
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GSPSPOT
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RE: AA To Celebrate 45 Years In The Caribbean

Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:41 am

So how many daily flights does AA have at SJU now?
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VirginFlyer
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RE: AA To Celebrate 45 Years In The Caribbean

Sun Feb 21, 2016 9:55 am

It would be awesome if they celebrated with a Trans Caribbean retrojet...


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FlyCaledonian
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RE: AA To Celebrate 45 Years In The Caribbean

Sun Feb 21, 2016 11:30 am

Quoting VirginFlyer (Reply 7):
It would be awesome if they celebrated with a Trans Caribbean retrojet...

I'm surprised they didn't announce one when they announced the AIrCal, Reno Air and TWA retrojets. Almsot felt like Trans Caribbean was the forgotten carrier that merged directly into AA (or US).
Let's Go British Caledonian!
 
avi8
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RE: AA To Celebrate 45 Years In The Caribbean

Sun Feb 21, 2016 12:16 pm

How busy was the SJU during its glory days? Does anyone know how many daily flights? They even had a flight to Caracas, Orlando and Tampa not too long ago.
avi8

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commavia
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RE: AA To Celebrate 45 Years In The Caribbean

Sun Feb 21, 2016 1:42 pm

An impressive milestone and important legacy. Despite the closing of the SJU hub, AA remains the largest airline in the Caribbean to this day - and the relationships and brand presence that have facilitated and enabled that strong market position can be traced, in no small part, all the way back to the TCA merger in 1971.

With respect to SJU - I agree it is, indeed, sad to see it reduced to a mere spoke, without even an Admirals Club. I, too, have many memories of flying to and through SJU years ago and I always found it incredible impressive to look down the ramp west of AA's concourse and see all the ATRs lined up. In the "recent" past - i.e., since the mid-to-late 1990s, the hub peaked at ~160-180 daily departures (depending on season) to ~40 nonstop destinations, with about 60% of the flights on Eagle (Executive) and the other 40% mainline.

SJU suffered from a confluence of new aircraft and growth enable MIA to handle many of the same connections, coupled with JetBlue coming in and offering a better product at a lower cost. Frankly, sad as it is to say given the implications for Puerto Rico and its residents, I'd say that given the present economic situation, AA got out of SJU at the right time.
 
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Mortyman
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RE: AA To Celebrate 45 Years In The Caribbean

Sun Feb 21, 2016 1:47 pm

Remember I flew AA New York to SJU back in 1990 on an Airbus 300-600 "Luxury Liner" and then SJU to Miami on AA on the same type of aircraft . Good times  
 
FlyASAGuy2005
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RE: AA To Celebrate 45 Years In The Caribbean

Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:54 pm

Quoting GSPSPOT (Reply 6):
So how many daily flights does AA have at SJU now?

So today, AA operates out of SJU to
CLT (5)
DFW (2)
JFK (2)
MIA (8)
ORD (1)
PHL (4)

For a total of about 22 departures a day. I picked a Saturday during the winter when the SKD usually peaks for the Caribbean.

Quoting avi8 (Reply 9):
How busy was the SJU during its glory days? Does anyone know how many daily flights? They even had a flight to Caracas, Orlando and Tampa not too long ago.

Quite busy. About 65 mainline flights and about 100 Eagle flights.

From SJU, AA operated the following routes: (a "+" represents a combination of mainline and ATR service)

ANU
AUA+
AXA
BDL
BGI
BON
BOS
BWI
CCS+
CIW
CUR
DFW
DOM
EIS
EWR
FLL
GND
IAD
JFK
LAX
LRM
MAZ
MCO
MIA
ORD
PHL
POP
PTP
PUJ
SDQ+
SKB
SLU
STI
STL
STT+
STX+
SXM+
TPA

[Edited 2016-02-21 08:57:38]

Note: There may have been other destinations at one point but I'm using a date in 2001 when the hub peaked based on frequencies.


[Edited 2016-02-21 09:00:29]
What gets measured gets done.
 
USAirALB
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RE: AA To Celebrate 45 Years In The Caribbean

Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:08 pm

Even with the SJU hub gone, AA's reach in the Caribbean is impressive due to the AA hub. US was in many cases the second largest airline to the Caribbean in terms of destinations (DL may have over taken them at some point, but still).

Once more E-jets become EOW, I wonder if we see smaller destinations opened up to MIA that formally had SJU service.
RJ85, F70, E135, E140, E145, E70, E75, E90, CR2, CR7, CR9, 717, 732, 733, 734, 735, 73G, 738, 739, 744, 752, 753, 762, 772, 77E, 77W, 789, 319, 320, 321, 332, 333, 343, 359, 388
 
FlyASAGuy2005
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RE: AA To Celebrate 45 Years In The Caribbean

Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:11 pm

Quoting USAirALB (Reply 13):
Once more E-jets become EOW, I wonder if we see smaller destinations opened up to MIA that formally had SJU service.

It certainly is happening right now. There's also talks of E-190 service to certain markets in the future if they mature enough off the E-175. With only 20 in the fleet, I'm willing to bet AA will place a small order a few years down the road.
What gets measured gets done.
 
jmdc861
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RE: AA To Celebrate 45 Years In The Caribbean

Sun Feb 21, 2016 7:43 pm

Very disappointed AA did no retrojet with the Trans Caribbean livery, it was way ahead of its time.

Wish I had pics of the Trans Caribbean flight attendant uniforms which were unbelievably stylish for their time.

When AA took over, the whole product to their destinations became very vanilla. very homogenized.

How I miss my TCA "flying islands"!
 
aa1818
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RE: AA To Celebrate 45 Years In The Caribbean

Sun Feb 21, 2016 8:04 pm

Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 12):
Quite busy. About 65 mainline flights and about 100 Eagle flights.

AA also operated SJU-POS ATR (daily) and SJU-TAB ATR (not sure of frequency.


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AA1818
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Aeroflot001
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RE: AA To Celebrate 45 Years In The Caribbean

Sun Feb 21, 2016 11:06 pm

Quoting avi8 (Reply 9):
How busy was the SJU during its glory days? Does anyone know how many daily flights? They even had a flight to Caracas, Orlando and Tampa not too long ago.

SJU was enormous and it feels so hollow when I fly in these days. I still remember as a little kid how SJU had full
Service dining in coach, with metal cutlery and MIA-SJU was just a two hour flight. I always like the lasagna, it would come with a salad, roll and a dessert such as a brownie. As a non-rev, visiting my grandparents on the island was a breeze. MIA-SJU had 8-10 flights and picking a flight was a matter of convenience. There were also 3 FLL-SJU with A300 service on the midday segment providing plenty of capacity. MCO had 4x and TPA 2 or 3. Even IAD had 2 flights that I used on multiple occasions. These days flying to SJU as a non-rev is nearly impossible during the holiday season. Before it was easy to connect through eagle from STT, SDQ, STX etc.
 
phatfarmlines
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RE: AA To Celebrate 45 Years In The Caribbean

Mon Feb 22, 2016 12:09 am

Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Thread starter):
-Would be interesting for you all to share stories of years past in the Caribbean, especially the SJU hub which peaked in 2000/2001?

SJU was an awesome place to be at in the 1990s. So much variety of different aircraft & carriers, especially the widebody presence. The evening AA bank back to the states was most impressive, with a large queue line of D10s/AB3s/727s/757s, with a sprinkling of DL & TW L10s waiting their turn at runway 8.

Much like Plaza Las Americas leading the way in mall development in the Caribbean, the SJU terminal at the time was the "gold standard" other Caribbean airports would look up to, and it's quickly happening now with the proliferation of all-inclusives on the other islands and the expansion of B6 & WN, helping to shape the economies of other countries especially Dominican Republic. This has also contributed to a reduction in tourism dollars spent in Puerto Rico as people head to other affordable Caribbean destination.
 
braniff722
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RE: AA To Celebrate 45 Years In The Caribbean

Mon Feb 22, 2016 12:20 am

Yay AA. Continue the celebration by placing a 727-200 back in service.

Thanks!!!!
Living large in KSHV
 
FlyASAGuy2005
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RE: AA To Celebrate 45 Years In The Caribbean

Mon Feb 22, 2016 12:52 am

I remember the good, bad, and ugly of SJU. It was quite the sight to see all the AA 757s and ATRs as well as A300s. It was also not uncommon for Eagle to cancel a flight at the drop of a hat, arrive at your destination eithout your bags only to find out they were accidentally sent to STI, or be told 20 minutes to departure your flight was delayed for 2 hours because the aircraft making up your flight had just left DOM. Man the operation could be bad but I would take it all back just to see the whole thing again.
What gets measured gets done.
 
Anrigu
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RE: AA To Celebrate 45 Years In The Caribbean

Mon Feb 22, 2016 2:02 am

I worked for TCA at the time of the acquisition. We called it a merger, not realizing we were about to be absorbed. Names like 'Trans American Airlines' floated around the office. They offered us positions or severance. After spending a few weeks in training at their VERY uptight, white bread offices in the Chrysler building, and being young, I took the money and went to Europe to try to live. TCA was the party airline of all time. UNLIMITED free online travel, 2 free a year for every family member, not just dependants. And the people at the airport were so cool; we used to trade tickets and you could show up with anyone and say it was your brother. No questions asked. No ID required. One saturday evening, at a loss for what to do, I took a friend for dinner and clubbing.
Another thing...aside form the orange palm tree livery...the interiors. Word was Roy Chalk's wife fancied herself a decorator and designed the interiors. On a Super DC-8, 3 classes. Different carpeting for each: 1 sort of stripes with colors fading into each other, 1 duplicating Spanish tiles, 1 sort of the ocean with some foamy white splashes. Cabin walls faux wood. They all said our planes cost 1 million more than other comparable.
And the office: 714 Fifth Avenue between 55th & 56th Streets. Seriously about as posh as you can get. Our own little building (now part of Henri Bendel), the break room overlooked Fifth Avenue.
Enough....I could go on and on....but it was a singular experience.
 
guyanam
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RE: AA To Celebrate 45 Years In The Caribbean

Mon Feb 22, 2016 6:33 pm

Quoting commavia (Reply 10):

SJU suffered as it was never an optimal hub for the Caribbean. As soon as MIA became an AA hub (with the demise of PA and EA) the writing was on the wall. With nonstop service to MIA, from most parts of the Eastern Caribbean, why was there a need to travel via SJU. Especially as SJU declined as a shopping destination for people in the Eastern Caribbean.

Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 20):

In fact Eagle's sloppy baggage handling did a lot to encourage people bound to Eastern Carib destinations to switch to AA mainline, once MIA routes became available. There was a certain level of arrogant treatment of Caribbean people who were in transit through SJU that also played a role. In those days Puerto Ricans really thought themselves superior to the rest of the Caribbean, which is why their appeals to those gov'ts to have SJU remain as a hub fell on deaf ears.
 
bluejackets
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RE: AA To Celebrate 45 Years In The Caribbean

Tue Feb 23, 2016 12:21 am

I remember flying CMH-ORD-SJU-ANU to visit a family member around 2000. The Eagle area was absolutely packed. I remember you had to bus out to the certain ATR you were flying. The boarding area reminds me a lot of concourse A at PDX today (Horizon concourse). There was not a whole lot of seating down there.

I remember on the way back, the walk to customs was extremely long from the ground-level gates as well. Seemed like the one hallway went on forever. We had a long layover in SJU and decided to go into town and really enjoyed it. Our flight back to ORD was on a 757 and it was a nice experience with the ground staff at SJU.
It's funny when I tell people I love planes and they think I'm weird.
 
miaskies
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RE: AA To Celebrate 45 Years In The Caribbean

Tue Feb 23, 2016 1:16 am

Quoting USAirALB (Reply 13):
Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 14):

It is happening already!  
Eagle/YX is operating MIA-FDF, MIA-PTP on the 175. More to come  
Crosscheck Complete :)
 
aajfksjubklyn
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RE: AA To Celebrate 45 Years In The Caribbean

Tue Feb 23, 2016 5:40 pm

The demise of AA in SJU has many layers, and of course it not being an optimal location was one. The pull back had a lot to do with B6 coming town (B6 was offered zero or very cheap landing rights into SJU, when AA was paying full price), 9/11, AA's money woes, and getting zero or very cheap landing rights into SJU, when AA was paying full price. I would be pissed too as AA built most of the infrastructure for it's operations there, and even funded part of the bridge that connected the airport to the southern/eastern parts of the island. That was why for many years there were AA and US flags lining the bridge. AA aside from it's own money woes, was treated like a second class citizen in a destination they built. This why the whole airport is now run as a Public Private Partnership, removing the government's full role (avoiding favoritism) and making sure preferential treatment is handled legit.
 
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chepos
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RE: AA To Celebrate 45 Years In The Caribbean

Wed Feb 24, 2016 4:11 am

To say AA was treated like a second class citizen in SJU/Puerto Rico is not fair. Back in the 90's other carriers serving the airport used to complain over the favoritism SJU had for AA. After AA started scaling back some ops in SJU the PR govt knew they could not put all eggs in one basket (enter B6 into the picture). I work for AA so I wish we still had the AA hub and maybe the govt could have been more supportive but the end of SJU was coming one way or the other.
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