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Sunday, August 23, 2015

'Sources' accuse @AmericanAir of selling out to anti-Israel crowd

'Industry sources' are accusing @AmericanAir of stopping service to Israel out of a desire to please its partners in the OneWorld alliance.
“Profitability wasn’t a problem,” said an industry source, who asked not to be identified. “The past year hasn’t been easy for the airline industry in general, but that’s far from saying that the route wasn’t profitable. No one would have operated a money-losing route for so many years.”

American made the decision due to the OneWorld global alliance, whose members include Arab carriers like Qatar Airways and Royal Jordanian and the carrier of the Muslim-majority Asian country Malaysia, asserted the source.

Oneworld is the third largest global alliance in terms of passengers flown by its member carriers, behind Star Alliance and SkyTeam. American was one the founding airlines of Oneworld, which helps smooth connections between member airlines and coordinate frequent-flier benefits.

American flew about 95,000 passengers on the route so far this year, an increase of 2.7% from the same time in 2014, according to Israel Airport Authority figures.

But a spokesman for the carrier, Casey Norton, told Bloomberg News that the airline lost $20 million last year on the route and that it had never been profitable. “It is strictly a financial decision,” Norton said.

American began flying to Israel almost two years ago after it took over the route in a merger with US Airways, which had been serving Israel since 2009. After the merger, American signaled its commitment to the Israel route by sending a team of executives to Israel. In meetings with the media, they vowed to expand the route and add U.S. destinations.

Now a team of American executives is due to arrive in Israel next week to oversee the practical steps of shutting down the route. The fate of the 19 staff the carrier now employs in Israel is unclear – sales will likely be taken over by an independent agent.
Sorry - I don't buy the 'financial reasons' for shutting down the route (at least not the claim that it was a money loser), but I don't buy this either. Here's a list of the other airlines in the OneWorld alliance that fly into Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport: Air Berlin, British Airways, FinnAir, Iberia and (ha! ha!) Royal Jordanian. No, they aren't stopping the flight here because of OneWorld.

I would bet that the real reason is those former TWA employees. $15 million is a lot of money for a route that probably makes a fraction of that every year.

Oh and remember when American ended their code sharing relationship with El Al? It was back again on European flights almost immediately. No, you can't earn American miles for an El Al flight anymore, but you can earn and redeem miles on El Al flights using American code share numbers.


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