American expands trans-Pacific fleet and network

American Airlines Boeing 787

American Airlines Cargo is focusing on expanding its network and fleet on trans-Pacific routes, having more than doubled its network in four years, managing director Asia & Pacific sales, Keijiro Ishii tells Air Cargo Week (ACW).

American serves eight Asia Pacific destinations with over 100 flights per week, with new services from Los Angeles including Tokyo Haneda and Hong Kong. The airline has applied to connect Los Angeles and Beijing, which is still subject to final approval from the Department of Transportation and the Civil Aviation Administration of China, and Ishii expects this route to be launched by the end of 2016.

Ishii says: “Overall, it should be a great year for our network, with the launch of three to four new routes, all for LAX, American’s biggest gateway on the West coast of the US.”

Customers will be able to benefit from American serving both of Tokyo’s airports, Narita and Haneda.

Ishii comments: “We have two great options for our customers in the greater Tokyo area and can serve multiple destinations, including additional interline and trucking options to ever more points of service within Asia and beyond. There are a lot of great options we can offer our customers!”

Customers have also benefitted from American upgrading Dallas Fort Worth services to Beijing and Shanghai and Chicago – Tokyo Narita flights to Boeing 787-800s, which offers a more stable payload due to greater fuel efficiency than the Boeing 777-200.

Ishii tells ACW: “Having such an efficient aircraft allows us to continue to expand our network, offering customers more and more choices out of Asia every year.”

“The ability to move cargo more frequently and efficiently from Asia to the US and beyond helps us offer customers more opportunities, especially for the shipment of temperature-controlled commodities.”

The Asia – Latin America trade lane is very important for American. Perishable and temperature sensitive shipments have benefitted from three temperature controlled rooms at Dallas Fort Worth, with one dedicated to pharmaceuticals, one to perishables and the other a transitioning room for shipments connecting quickly to their final destination.

Ishii says: “With these new options, we have the ability to ship a lot of new ad-hoc and regular business out of Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing. The commodities we transport through these facilities include pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, material-moulding compounds, etc.”

Though there was strong export demand out of China last year, Ishii says there has been a shift to West Asian countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos due to cheaper labour costs. He says American will adapt to these changes, telling ACW: “Under such an unpredictable market in Asia/Oceania, we continue looking for more suitable export opportunities, and will also keep expanding our market territories with our GSA teams and interline partners to find new ways to feed the American Airlines network with more options within Asia, to the US and into Latin America.”