American Airlines Grows 12% In Latin America Despite COVID

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, American Airlines has been growing strong in the Latin American and Caribbean regions. According to data provided by Cirium, American Airlines is already offering 12% more flights and 22.1% additional seats on routes south of the United States.

American Airlines has a 23% market share in flights to the Latin America & Caribbean region. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Latin America’s powerhouse

American Airlines is the most important non-Latin American carrier in the region. In November 2019, American Airlines had a 20% market share in the United States-Latin America & the Caribbean segment, according to Cirium. Its closest competitor was United Airlines, with nearly a 14% share.

A couple of months ago, Vasu Raja, American Airlines’ chief revenue officer, said that the carrier has become some sort of South American brand. While speaking with Simple Flying, he stated,

“As we like to say, in South America, American is a South American brand. In pretty much every country, we are the largest long-haul operator and often by order of magnitude. Through the pandemic, we’ve increased our footprint in the region by 20 to 25%.”

Nowadays, American Airlines is offering 13,948 flights between the US and Latin America & the Caribbean. Indeed, like Vasu Raja pointed out, the carrier has increased its market share, as it now holds a 23.3% portion of the segment.

American Airlines mostly use the Boeing 737-800 in routes to Latin America and the Caribbean. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

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Which destinations have American Airlines fully recovered?

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, American Airlines had a staggering 170 different routes from the US to the Latin American and Caribbean region.

Between November 2019 and 2021, American Airlines has lost 13 routes to the region; some closed due to the pandemic and others for political reasons. It is no longer (and currently in some cases) flying to Santa Cruz (Bolivia), Brasilia and Manaus (Brazil), Cap-Haitien (Haiti), Cordoba (Argentina), Montevideo (Uruguay), Managua (Nicaragua), Grand Cayman, and finally, several destinations in Cuba (Camaguey, Holguin, Santiago, Varadero, and Santa Clara).

On the other hand, several routes have bounced back from the crisis. Currently, American Airlines’ most important route to Latin America and the Caribbean connects Miami and Santo Domingo. It has 172 scheduled flights this month, a 44.5% increase compared to 2019.

Additionally, American has announced seven new destinations in the region. These are Culiacán and Chetumal in Mexico, Samaná in the Dominican Republic, Paramaribo in Surinam, San Andrés in Colombia, Dominica and Anguila.

Miami is American Airlines gateway to Latin America, with 3,119 flights scheduled, only 6.1% below its pre-pandemic numbers. After Miami, Dallas Fort Worth is the second hub for the carrier going into the region, with 1,607 scheduled operations in November.

American will finish 2021 operating close to 2,200 weekly flights to 90 destinations in Latin American and the Caribbean, said the carrier in a statement.

American Airlines is a powerhouse in Latin America, mainly from its Miami hub. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

A look at American Airlines’ most important destinations?

Despite Santo Domingo having the busiest route for American Airlines in November, it is not American Airlines’ leading destination in Latin America. That honor corresponds to Mexico’s getaway destination of Cancun. American Airlines has 675 flights scheduled to this city in November, a 51.7% increase compared to 2019. Moreover, American Airlines is Cancun’s third-largest airline, only below Mexico’s low-cost carriers Volaris and Viva Aerobus but above Aeromexico.

After Cancun, Mexico City is American Airlines’ most important destination. It has scheduled 372 flights there this month. In third and fourth place are San Juan, Puerto Rico, with 357 flights, and San José del Cabo, with 348.

American Airlines is primarily using its Boeing 737-800 fleet to serve Latin American and Caribbean destinations. It will use this aircraft on 4,884 flights in November.

Other aircraft deployed in the region by American Airlines are the Airbus A319, B737 MAX 8, Embraer E175, A321, among others. The carrier even uses long-haul aircraft like the Boeing 787 and the B777-200 and 300.

Compared to 2019, American Airlines has reintroduced the 737 MAX 8 into its Latin American routes. It has also increased by 433% the number of flights using the Dreamliner fleet.

What do you think of American Airlines’ recovery in Latin America & the Caribbean? Let us know in the comments below.

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