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American Airlines Turning DFW into Gateway to Asia

Lost in all the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, American Airlines is planning to make Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport its gateway to the Asian Pacific.   American will move much of its Asian traffic from Los Angeles (LAX) to DFW.

American is making the move after decades of considering LAX its trans-Pacific hub to fly to destinations such as Hong Kong, Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul and even Auckland, New Zealand.  But the landscape is changing with the growth of traffic across the Pacific.

American made the decision in June when it was trying to piece back together an international schedule that had been decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which first hit Asia and quickly affected travel to Asia from the U.S.  But American’s emphasis on its DFW hub began before the pandemic.

Last year, it fulfilled a plan to put 900 flights a day out of DFW, its fortress hub that can connect to nearly any other location it serves in the country.  Approximately 26 percent of all of American’s traffic goes through DFW, almost twice as much as what goes through its next biggest hub in Charlotte, N.C.

That makes DFW an attractive launching point for Asia because it would be a single stop for most of American’s U.S. travelers, according to Nico Mirman, a Dallas-based aviation consultant with Ailevon Pacific. DFW is also a convenient connecting point for travelers from Latin America, Mirman said.

“What American is probably thinking is to capitalize on the huge amount of connectivity that they get here,” Mirman said. “That’s something Los Angeles cannot offer for them.”