American Airlines is pulling out of its Miami – Tel Aviv route effective March 24, a service they only began in June 2021 and which they expanded two months ago. This news was first broken by aviation watchdog JonNYC.
AA discontinuing MIA-TLV
— 🇺🇦 JonNYC 🇺🇦 (@xJonNYC) January 6, 2023
The move is surprising, because American’s Miami – Tel Aviv flight was only just increased to daily service starting at the end of October. At the same time,
- American had insufficient premium capacity. The flight has been operated by a Boeing 787-8 with just 20 business class seats. I believe only 19 of those have been for sale. While business class has been consistently full, looking out over the next week there are flights with more than 100 empty seats out of 236 total. The original plan for the route, announced two years ago, was three day a week service with a Boeing 777-200.
- And faced competition. American has been competing with El Al’s 5 day a week Boeing 787-9 service which avoids the Sabbath. There’s also more competition for passengers connecting through southern hubs. For instance, Delta has moved forward plans to re-launch Atlanta to Tel Aviv, starting March 26. This is a route they previously served from 2006 – 2011.
According to an American Airlines spokesperson,
As part of the continuous evaluation of our network, American Airlines has made the difficult decision to discontinue its Miami (MIA) – Tel Aviv (TLV) service effective March 24, 2023. We will continue to operate daily service to Tel Aviv from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK). We’re proactively reaching out to customers affected by these changes to offer alternate travel arrangements.
The airline’s history with Israel is something of a rocky one. American Airlines pulled out of Israel after merging with US Airways. US Airways had flown Philadelphia – Tel Aviv. It was a money-losing route that wasn’t pulled earlier due to the distractions of the merger. However I had expected American to continue and grow there when they dropped El Al as a frequent flyer program partner.
After looking to fly to Tel Aviv again they agreed to Israel’s largest-ever route subsidy to launch Dallas Fort-Worth – Tel Aviv, bringing Christian missionary business from the middle of the country. However they’ve since dropped that plan.
They do, however, still serve Tel Aviv from New York JFK, supported by their relationship with JetBlue, which the federal government sued to stop after first giving the partnership a green light. New York – Tel Aviv is the most crowded Israel market from the U.S. but also the biggest.
Update: Thinking more about ‘what’s different’ since American announced this flight would go daily, worth noting that humanitarian fares, often booked by Christian missionary groups, have been eliminated and with Sheldon Adelson’s passing the Adelson family has eliminated its funding of Birthright. Both could be driving reduced demand for the airline’s flights to Tel Aviv.