February 28, 2019
Vasu Raja, the American Airline’s vice president for planning, said in an interview published Thursday that the company is interested in expanding to India and Africa when its new batch of Boeing 787 planes come in next year.
Some of those planes will replace older aircraft on current routes between Philadelphia and Europe, according to Raja, but some are meant for new international routes.
“The future of American Airlines is to grow international,” Raja said.
And, according to the interview with Skift.com, if and when American Airlines makes its return to direct flights to India, it wouldn’t be a re-run of the airline’s old routes between India and Chicago, which reportedly lost the company money.
Instead, it could be Philadelphia’s turn:
“If (direct flights to India) returned, Raja said, American could use smaller aircraft with better economics and a superior onboard product. It would also seek improved flight times, so customers could connect to other flights. American also probably would not fly from Chicago, instead using a domestic hub where it can facilitate better connections, such as Philadelphia.”
No route announcements are imminent, Raja said, but offering up Philadelphia even as a hypothetical certainly is interesting.
American currently offers connecting flights to seven different cities in India, but hasn’t offered a direct flight to India since 2012.
Those connecting flights can be rough: One flight from Philadelphia International Airport to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Gujarat, India, for example, takes 27 hours and includes three different connections.
Earlier this month, Frontier Airlines launched its new low-price route from Philadelphia to Jamaica.