American plans its first flights to Africa and is bringing back Tel Aviv service


A file photo of an American Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8.

Scott McIntyre | Bloomberg | Getty Images

American Airlines announced a slew of new international routes on Thursday, including its first service to Africa with service to Morocco, where it has a new partnership with an airline to give it a bigger foothold in the continent.

The routes start in mid-2020.

Fort Worth-based American plans to fly between Philadelphia and Morocco three times a week starting June 4, using single-aisle Boeing 757 planes. The flights will be seasonal and end in September.

Last December, state-owned Royal Air Maroc joined the Oneworld airline network, of which American was a founding member.

These alliances allow airlines to book travelers on each others’ routes and let passengers earn frequent flyer miles on those flights.

“This is the first step to us really developing an Africa network,” said Vasu Raja, American’s vice president of network and schedule planning, on a company podcast.

He said when the alliance was first formed more than two decades ago, American’s parent company was struggling and “we really lost out of a good bit of development of our international network.”

American is also launching flights between its hub at Dallas-Fort Worth and Tel Aviv in September 2020 three times a week on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. American cut its Philadelphia to Tel Aviv service about three years ago.

Raja said the company is eyeing strong business travel from Texas to Israel.

“The interior of the country is really underserved not only to Israel but to many parts of the world,” he said.

The airline is also launching May-September between Chicago to each Krakow, Prague and Budapest.

Not all flights are profitable that airlines try out. American will eliminate its service between Philadelphia to Bologna, Italy.

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