American Airlines has scrapped plans to resume flying between Los Angeles and Sydney in late October 2020.
The LAX-Sydney route, which was suspended from March 18 as part of the airline's worldwide contraction sparked by reduced demand and travel restrictions, is now scheduled to resume from mid-2021, the airline says. The same timeline applies to the restart of seasonal flights to Auckland.
"COVID-19 has forced us to reevaluate our network,” said American Airlines' Chief Revenue Officer Vasu Raja. “American will have a significantly smaller international network in the year ahead, but we are using this opportunity to hit reset and create a network using the strength of our strategic hubs that we can build and grow upon and be profitable on in this new environment."
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has previously said that with the exception of a few 'travel bubbles' such as to New Zealand and Singapore, he doesn't expect the Qantas' international network to restart "in any real size (until) July next year."
American Airlines has also downgraded LAX itself from being the Oneworld member's major trans-Pacific hub, with American axing "underperforming routes" to Beijing, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo – leaving only Sydney, Tokyo, London and the seasonal Auckland service on the roster,
Dallas Fort Worth will become the airline’s major trans-Pacific hub, the airline said.
The schedule reshuffle instead pivots towards Seattle, which American intends to develop as its northwest hub alongside partner and soon-to-be-Oneworld member Alaska Airlines.
Previously-announced flights from Seattle to London and Bangalore – now slated to launch in mid-2021 and late-2021, respectively – will be joined by Shanghai, a route formerly anchored by LAX.
"American has spent the past few years right-sizing its international network" and discontinuing "underperforming routes." said Brian Znotins, American’s Vice President of Network Planning. “Now, as demand has significantly diminished due to COVID-19, we have to be nimble, creating the network that our customers desire."