August 24, 2015
American Airlines announced Monday that it is dropping direct flights from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv in January 2016, saying the route lost $20 million in the past year and has never been profitable during its six years of operation.
"We want to give every route the chance to succeed, and we gave it a fair shot, but at a certain point, no matter how much we want to serve a particular route, we have to make the right decision for our business," the company said in a statement released by the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.
American Airlines assured the union that PHL is still an important hub for international flights.
"Looking at our international network, PHL is a prime hub for connecting customers to and from main business and leisure destinations throughout Europe and it will continue to be an important strategic hub for our partners through the Atlantic Joint Business," the company said.
Customers will have to fly to Tel Aviv with a layover in London or other European cities, Philadelphia Business Journal reported. The company said that "we do not anticipate restarting service to Tel Aviv in the near future," even at other airports such a JFK in New York.
Local politicians criticized the decision to cancel the route, saying that it would hurt Philadelphia's growing partnership with Israeli businesses.
"Convenient air travel between the Middle Atlantic States and Israel is an important factor in sustaining future business growth," said [Philadelphia Mayor Michael] Nutter in a statement, who visited companies in Israel just last month.
Congressman Chaka Fattah also voiced his opposition to the change.
"I am strongly opposed to the decision announced today by American Airlines to cancel this flight route," he said in a statement. "It is a critically important route, both for the constituents in my district who travel between Philadelphia and Tel Aviv and also for the growing business relationship between our city and Israel."