Edited: 14:20 PM US CMT to include AZ seasonal flight to LAX, which was omitted at time of publication
This one has been circulating the rumor mills for the better part of a decade now, but at least the news is official: beginning November 21, 2013, American Airlines will fly nonstop from its Miami hub to Milan Malpensa airport (MXP) in Italy, using a Boeing 767-300 aircraft.
Honestly, this decision was long overdue for American given the fact that Italian flag carrier Alitalia has had an on-again, off-again approach to connecting Miami to Milan. Alitalia suspended its 3-weekly Miami – Milano flights back in March, operated on an Airbus A330-200, then later circled back in April announcing that it would resume Miami flights on a seasonal basis starting October 27, 2013.
However, earlier this month, Alitalia reneged again on the situation and closed reservations for the MIA-MXP route, indicating that resumption plans have been canned indefinitely. It is possible that the recent AA announcement MAY prompt AZ to reconsider its decision to withdraw entirely from Miami – Milan, a commonplace tit-for-tat move in the airline industry, but time will tell. Alitalia posted a 157 million Euro loss for Q1 2013, and Milan is not their primary hub (the carrier moved its main operations base from MXP to Rome Fiumicino in the late 2000’s) and MXP only retains long-haul linkages to major O&D cities such as Tokyo and New York.
Even though Miami to Milan has major business potential thanks to the fashion industry, as well as cultural ties between the two cities, American can overpower Alitalia by leveraging MIA’s vast Latin American network as an attractive connecting option between Europe and South America.
Once the Milan route comes online, American will serve six European cities nonstop from its Miami hub: London, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona and Milan. I would personally also love to see American attempt Miami to Frankfurt, Manchester and possibly something truly wildcard like Moscow or Tel Aviv!
At present, Alitalia commands the highest market share between the U.S. and Italy, operating slightly above 33% of all seats between Rome and Milan and Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York JFK and Miami. Delta comes in at a close second operating slightly below 33% between its New York JFK and Atlanta hubs to Rome, Milan, Venice and Pisa. US Airways, American and United make up roughly the remaining third equally commanding approximately 11% apiece. US flies to Rome and Venice from its Philadelphia and Charlotte hubs, and American and United fly to Rome and Milan from its Chicago and New York JFK, and Washington, D.C. and Newark hubs, respectively.
Emirates is also starting a fifth-freedom service from New York JFK to Milan on October 1, 2013, which will also add some interesting color into the mix.
The daily service on American will be scheduled as follows:
AA 206 17:55 MIA 09:35 (+1) MXP 763 D
AA 207 11:25 MXP 16:40 MIA 763 D
Summary of US to Italy routes via Alitalia, American, Delta, Emirates, United and US Airways. Note: many routes are operated seasonally, indicating that average market share per carrier tends to fluctuate according to time of year. NOTE: Alitalia seasonal flight from Roma to Los Angeles not depicted.