American Airlines requests flexibility in Cuba operations

    American Airlines requested (28-Sep-2018) the US Department of Transportation (DoT) grant it service flexibility to move daily CharlotteHavana service to its Miami hub, stating the service is underutilised with an average load factor of under 55% for 1H2018. If granted, the carrier plans to operate Miami-Havana service with 160 seat Boeing 737 equipment. American Airlines also requested DoT remove US gateway conditions applicable to current allocations and future awards of US-Cuba frequencies. The airline stated the request, if granted, would provide all carriers offering scheduled service to Cuba the flexibility to operate service from any US gateway where the carrier holds underlying route authority, allowing carriers to respond quickly and efficiently to changes in demand for US-Cuba travel. American Airlines stated passengers will be ‘the winners’ as scarce frequencies will more likely remain in continuous usage and be directed to gateways with the greatest demand. The carrier noted existing gateway specific awards have not maximised public benefits and stated frequencies have gone unutilised pending DoT reallocations, leaving carriers unable to provide sufficient service where needed. The airline stated granting carriers service flexibility would resolve the problems by allowing market forces to work while maintaining DoT’s role in the allocation of scarce frequencies. [more – original PR]