|Thursday, August 20, 2015
Philadelphia to Tel Aviv Route to be Discontinued
Earlier this morning, the Company announced that it will be discontinuing its Philadelphia to Tel Aviv route on January 4, 2016. PHL-TLV has not performed well since its inception in 2009. Service between PHL and TLV has been a source of pride for the Philadelphia base and is a popular bid choice for Flight Attendants due to its high credit. According to American Airlines Management, in its six years, the Philadelphia to Tel Aviv route never turned a profit in any year, and has already lost over lost more than $20 million on this service in the past year alone. Philadelphia is the fifth largest city in the United States and is in the top twenty for busiest U.S. airports. We are currently in discussions with the Company regarding their plans for the distribution of time and the aircraft utilization. While we are disappointed in the loss of this route, APFA looks forward to future announcements of growth in PHL and other bases throughout the American Airlines system.
Here are Q and A's that the Company has released:
Q: Will the flight be reinstated in the future, perhaps when we have more opportunity to operate the route with a different aircraft or from a different hub like MIA or JFK?
A: We’ll certainly continue to monitor the viability of reinstating TLV service and will evaluate future opportunities as we bring in new aircraft to the fleet and our network evolves. At this time, we do not anticipate restarting service to Tel Aviv in the near future.
Q: Why did this route work for US Airways for years but shortly after the merger, it does not work for American?
A: The PHL TLV route has never been profitable for our airline. We want to give every route the chance to succeed, andwe gave it a fair shot, but at a certain point, no matter how much we want to serve a particular route; we have to make the right decision for our business.
Q: The PHL TLV flight traditionally operates with high load factors. How can it not be making money?
A: There are a lot of different factors that determine the overall success of a route. Load factor is not the only way, nor the best way, to judge a route’s performance. We also look at overall demand and the fares customers are willing to pay on that route. In the case of PHL TLV, a number of factors have resulted in poor financial performance.
Q: What will happen to customers who are ticketed on the PHL TLV service after the cancellation date?
A: American will be contacting all passengers to make alternative travel arrangements for them, or to offer a full refund. We apologize for the inconvenience that this decision will cause.
Q: What does this say about PHL as a hub? Is there enough connecting traffic for other international flights?
A: Our combined hub structure allows for each of our nine hubs to play a very important role in our overall network strategy. Looking at our international network, PHL is a prime hub for connecting customers to and from main business and leisure destinations throughout Europe and it will continue to be an important strategic hub for our partners through the Atlantic Joint Business.
APFA National Communications Interim Chair