American Airlines has confirmed that it will be cutting its service between Miami and Tel Aviv, Israel effective March 24, 2023. This news is surprising given that American Airlines only recently upgraded the route to daily service in October 2022 due to what it described as strong performance after originally launching the route in June 2021.
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American Airlines Cuts Miami to Tel Aviv Effective March 24, 2023
As first reported by @xJonNYC on Twitter and confirmed by an American Airlines spokesperson, the airline will end nonstop flying between American’s Miami International Airport hub and Tel Aviv on March 24, 2023.
An American Airlines spokesperson said route cut is part of the airline’s continues network evaluation:
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 alternative travel arrangements.American Airlines spokesperson
This route cancellation leaves Israeli flag carrier El Al as the lone carrier on the route. It between three and four weekly frequencies using its fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
American will continue to operate daily flights to Tel Aviv Airport from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK). Customers booked on the now-cancelled flights will be offered alternate travel arrangements, either on American with a connection in JFK or with a one-stop itinerary American’s Oneworld partners British Airways or Iberia which fly to Miami. American will not rebook passengers to El Al’s nonstop. Customers will also have the option of canceling their booking and receiving a full refund.
Why is American cancelling Miami-Tel Aviv?
This cancelation is surprising given the route’s recent history. American only started flying the route in June 2021 but quickly announced that it would upgrade the service to daily.
American had originally planned to fly the route three days a week using a Boeing 777-200, but eventually upgraded the route to daily service using the smaller Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. The Dreamliner has a capacity of 234 seats, but only 20 of those seats are in business class.
While announcing that the service would be upgraded to daily, American’s Vice President of the Miami hub, Juan Carlos Liscano, told ABC10 News that “the initial reception was very strong, but it has actually grown that much more. That is the principal driver of us going to daily service.”
American Airlines has always faced difficulty making Israel work as a market. The airline originally served Tel Aviv from Philadelphia, but cut the route after merging with US Airways citing unprofitability. In 2021, American agreed to Israel’s largest-ever route subsidy when it announced it would launch Dallas-Fort Worth to Tel Aviv. The flight was expected to create connectivity from the middle of the country and bring in Christian missionaries but the flight was scrapped.
With the cancellation of its Miami-Tel Aviv route, American’s JFK-Tel Aviv route is now its only route to Israel. The JFK route is supported by the Northeast Partnership with JetBlue, which the federal government initially approved but is now suing to stop. New York to Tel Aviv is the busiest route between the U.S. and Israel, but it is also the most crowded with American competing with Delta and El Al daily on the route with additional United service from Newark.
American is the smallest U.S. carrier to Israel. In addition to JFK, Delta Air Lines serves Tel Aviv from Boston. Delta will add service from Atlanta starting in March 2023. United Airlines is the largest US carrier to Israel and serves Tel Aviv from Chicago, Newark, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.
American retired its Airbus A330 and Boeing 767 fleets during the pandemic and is experiencing delivery delays for its Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Logistically, Miami to Tel Aviv route required two different airframes given the time on the ground in Tel Aviv. With all the capacity deployed to Israel by competitors, American likely saw more profitable uses for the two airframes. Matthew Klint at Live and Lets Fly notes anecdotally that fares to Israel over the last year have been attractive.
Meanwhile, with China re-opening and demand for travel high, it’s possible we’ll see more Mainland China service announced by American soon.
American Airlines has confirmed that it will be ending its service between Miami and Tel Aviv on March 24, 2023. This cancelation will leave Israeli flag carrier El Al as the only carrier on the route. American blames the sudden cancelation on a “continuous evaluation of [its] network” but it’s a surprise given the route was only recently upgraded to daily service and American had publicly stated that the route was performing well.
Travelers booked on American’s now-cancelled flights will be offered alternate travel arrangements by American as a one-stop itinerary through its JFK hub or one-stop itineraries with partners British Airways or Iberia.