New York’s loss is seemingly Philadelphia’s gain at American Airlines. The carrier will begin new daily flights between Philadelphia and Doha, home to Oneworld partner Qatar Airways, in October, replacing New York JFK as the gateway for the route.
The announcement comes weeks after American began unwinding its alliance with JetBlue Airways. That pact, known as the northeast alliance, allowed the two airlines to coordinate schedules in Boston and New York. JetBlue acted like a domestic feeder to American’s long-haul international flights in both cities, including from New York to Doha.
An American spokesperson did not mention the alliance in a statement, saying only that the move to Philadelphia was part of a “continuous evaluation” of the airline’s network. They cited the additional connecting opportunities available to Doha travelers over American’s Philadelphia hub.
American and Qatar Airways also partner on flights between the U.S. and Qatar, as well as on flights beyond Doha. This includes connections to destinations in India and Africa.
Philadelphia is American’s primary transatlantic connecting gateway. However, since the pandemic when it forged the alliance with JetBlue and retired several older aircraft types, the carrier has been slow to rebuild its schedule in Philadelphia. That was particularly evident on long-haul routes with flights to boutique destinations like Dubrovnik and Edinburgh disappearing seemingly for good.
Asked whether the end of the American-JetBlue alliance could benefit Philadelphia in July, airport CEO Atif Saeed said: “We could stand to benefit as an airport. Looking at different variables, we have transatlantic from here and as equipment becomes available, it makes sense for it to come here. I don’t mean that we exclusively benefit, but the potential is high.”
American will launch Philadelphia-Doha flights on October 29. No word yet if Qatar Airways, which also flies the route, will adjust its schedules.