Big network expansion out of LAX for American, with eight new destinations all starting June 2
On June 2, American commenced a major expansion of its route network, with 21 new nonstop routes this month. This includes 10 new destinations just from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), marking the largest expansion ever at LAX.
Thursday saw the largest number of inaugural flights, with eight ribbon-cutting ceremonies in Los Angeles that day, something the carrier had never done before in its history. I was invited to be part of the festivities and join the entourage, which included Jim Moses, the Managing Director (MD) for American at LAX. What does a day full of ribbon cutting ceremonies look like, you ask…?
A Condor 767-300ER departing Anchorage Airport – Photo: Mal Muir | AirlineReporter
Back in May I was desperate to fly somewhere — anywhere. By that time, I had not flown a single mile. Yep that’s right, an AvGeek who flew over 60,000 miles last year alone was sitting at 0 miles until May. I was having major withdrawals and then I saw a fare sale to Alaska.
Last year, during my $100 Challenge, I decided on Kansas City over Alaska. I was determined to tick that missing state off my list, and $200 round trip fares to Anchorage were a steal! So I booked my trip and decided on a weekend of pure plane spotting.
I had heard, read, and seen how good spotting at Anchorage can be and I wanted to check it out myself. The airport sits in view of a massive mountain range providing a great back drop to the aircraft taking off and landing. Adding to the scenic nature of the airport is the fact that it is the crossroads of freight aircraft going between Asia and the Americas. What AvGeek wouldn’t want to spot there?
Alaska Airlines Bombardier Q400 on proving flight in Juneau, Alaska – Photo: AirlineReporter.com
Alaska Airlines (AS), through their wholly-owned subsidiary Horizon Air, recently announced that they would deploy some of their Bombardier Dash-8 Q400 aircraft to the State of Alaska. While Dash-8’s have long been a fixture in Alaska Airlines’ pacific northwest network via Horizon (I was flying them within Washington as a child), this marks their first major deployment up north.
Why would AS begin flying Q400s in Alaska? For the same reasons other carriers have moved towards regional jets and turbo props – operating costs, frequency, and flexibility. On the operating cost side, Q400s are extremely efficient, particularly compared to the Boeing 737-400s that are a mainstay of the AS fleet in Alaska. Bombardier estimates savings in examples like this to approach 40%. From a frequency and flexibility standpoint, more flights on a smaller plane can meet passenger demands, maximizing load factor while increasing service frequency, to the benefit of passengers.