The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner is a staple for long-haul flights. It can fly 15-hour non-stop flights from LA to Sydney. However, because of the low demand in international travel, airlines are opting to use their large jetliners on domestic routes. American Airlines and Delta Air Lines are among those that using large crafts for shorter international trips and their domestic trips.
Brian Znotins who works as American’s vice president of network planning said that “it’s like buying a Porsche to drive it to church on Sundays”. He added that these widebody jets are most likely going to be used on high-demand routes.
Planes for Long-Haul Flights Running on Domestic Routes
This summer, American’s largest planes, the Boeing 777s, are going to fly from Miami to LA and New York. It will also use 787s on other routes including Philadelphia, Orlando, Las Vegas, Chicago, and Miami. On the other hand, you have Delta using its Boeing 767s for their flights from Atlanta to Denver, Las Vegas, San Diego, and Minneapolis.
Robert Mann who is an industry analyst and a former airline executive thinks that the idea is to fill up the largest aircraft with low-cost seats. For American Airlines, they are optimistic about what is ahead. Znotins said that “Over Easter and spring break, widebodies that we were operating did well on those days”. Znotins anticipates Memorial day and the summer to fill up their large aircraft.
So far, American has 3,104 flights using their twin-aisle planes for their domestic trips for July and August. Compared to last year, they only had 563 flights. The company also announced that it is planning to restore 90% of its domestic 2019 schedule by summer.
It seems that American Airlines is among the most aggressive in terms of optimizing the current uptick in travel demand. Znotins said that “our trademark has been to build a schedule based on what customers tell us they want and need”. He added that “they are telling us they’re eager to get back to travel”.