American Airlines Boeing 777 Utilization at Miami International Airport

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At a recent town hall meeting, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker was asked about the airlines Boeing 777 Utilization at Miami International Airport, as some of these planes are reporting “sitting in the sunshine for hours”, and it was asked if they’d start using these on short-haul flights from Miami during the day.

When it comes to Miami International Airport, it’s a large maintenance base for the airline specifically for their Boeing 777 fleet, so when these aircrafts are here for the day, it’s usually for routine scheduled maintenance. Many of these Boeing 777 will fly down to South America overnight, and return back to the states the following morning.

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American does have a couple of lines each day, where they run the Boeing 777 from Miami to Los Angeles, which has become one of their largest premium cabin markets for American, which can be part due to the large entertainment market between these cities. With these day turns, they’re still able to be back in Miami by the evening, where it can then head to South America overnight.

While it may seem to make sense to use these Boeing 777’s during the day on short-haul flights from Miami, such as back to Orlando, it comes down to that not all these markets are created equal, and a big challenge is where fuel prices currently are. American has to look at the incremental costs of fuel for these aircraft on these routes, and if they’ll see a greater return in revenue than flying a narrow body on a route like Miami-Orlando, and the answer is usually no, which is why we don’t see them flying 777’s on these types of routes.

What are your thoughts on American’s 777’s and the routes that they’re being flown on? Any domestic routes you’d like to see them on? Feel free to share your thoughts below. 

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  1. widebody aircraft are configured much less dense than narrowbody due to the huge business class seats and also have a ton of extra weight from unused fuel tanks, cargo space, etc. They fly them between hubs because it rotates the planes so that they can all receive their routine maintenance checks.

  2. they also fly them between MIA-DFW, I usually try to get that flight for the better business class seat

  3. AA’s flights between the US and South America do not return the following morning. The planes stay on the ground all day at these airports and return that evening for another overnight back home…where they may sit until flying out that evening (unless cycled to LAX during the day from MIA). Thus each destination requires two aircraft to operate a daily service.

    This is pretty much the case for almost all North/South routes (i.e. Europe to South Africa). For whatever reason passengers prefer flying overnight vs returning from the South during the day even though this would certainly benefit aircraft utilization by requiring a single aircraft to work such routes.

    Some airlines have taken advantage of 5th Freedom rights to fly to a third city and do a turnaround, thus maximizing aircraft efficiency. AC used to fly YYZ-EZE-SCL-EZE-YYZ (with SCL-EZE-SCL on alternate days) as did BA (LHR-EZE-SCL-EZE-LHR) and LH from FRA and between EZE-SCL-EZE. They’d fill the Argentine/Chilean flights with locals.

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