If you are a savvy traveler without a doubt you have picked up that American Airlines recently announced massive cuts in its fleet and routes. This week, American shed some light where exactly it was planning on cutting.
The route Chicago – Hawaii is going to be terminated, just as the route Chicago to Buenos Aires. The operations in the Caribbean are going to be scrutinized as well. Especially the operations on Puerto Rico are going to receive a major overhaul. American has major interest on that Caribbean island. Smaller aircrafts and older aircrafts are leaving the fleet too.
American Airlines in Aruba
Before the major announcements American has already restructured its schedule to Aruba. Currently American Airlines serves Aruba from New York’s JFK, Miami International, (twice daily), Boston’s Logan (winter). American’s daughter company, American Eagle, flies daily from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Aruba.
American stopped its daily flight with a Boeing 757 from San Juan to Aruba last year and as noted above, replaced it instead with an American Eagle daily service. American Eagle uses an ATR-72 propeller aircraft. This aircraft has a much smaller capacity than the Boeing 757 American used before.
It seems that American has reduced its capacity to Aruba to a minimum already. Further reductions seem highly unlikely. American is receiving fierce competition from JetBlue from JFK. It seems that American is coping with the competition thus far.
Let’s take a look into the American Airlines cabins for today’s flights from Miami and New York. I’ll compare the figures between Aruba and Barbados. Why Barbados? Barbados has a similar American Airlines schedule and US hubs as Aruba. Plus, all flights use the same type plane, namely the Boeing 757-200.
Occupancy rate flight 1047 Miami – Aruba:
- Business class with 64%
- Coach class with 85%
Occupancy rate fight 1318 Miami – Aruba:
- Business class with 55%
- Coach class with 75%
Occupancy rate flight 679 from New York – Aruba:
- Business class with 23%
- Coach class with 81%
Occupancy rate flight 1089 Miami – Barbados:
- Business class with 46%
- Coach class with 88%
Occupancy rate fight 651 Miami – Barbados:
- Business class with 55%
- Coach class with 84%
Occupancy rate flight 1385 New York – Barbados:
- Business class with 18%
- Coach class with 89%
Above figures give a snapshot of how the situation is for today. Keep in mind that a normal practice by airlines is to try to fill the seats last minute by offering incentives.
Nevertheless, the figures show a pretty close occupancy rate between the two destinations, with Barbados having a slight edge at this point. Coach class is decently filled with a respectable 80%+ occupancy. Also bear in mind, that May is a soft month in Caribbean travel.
Despite the fact that May is a soft month, don’t expect to find a lot of good flight deals out there. The capacity reductions airlines are implementing, translates into less available seats. With a stable demand this will result in price increases. Normally competition would tone down price hikes, however all airlines across the board are cutting capacity.
What you won’t receive from the airlines, you will receive from the resorts. Because of the soft time of year, resorts offer some awesome deals. Be on the lookout for those. Perhaps it might offset the flying costs.
UPDATE: American Airlines is planning to cut Aruba flights from New York’s JFK on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. This will have positive consequences for JetBlue which has daily flights from JFK to Aruba. Don’t expect this do be good for the airfare from JFK though.
UPDATE 2: American Airlines is reducing its schedule to Aruba further. The daily ATR-72 flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico is going to be stopped completely.