American Airlines Scraps Its Plans to Make Seattle an International Gateway

by Anthony Losanno
American Tails

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American Airlines announced in 2020 that it planned to make Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) an international gateway. With Alaska Airlines as a partner (and becoming a oneworld member airline in March 2021), it made sense to operate long-haul flights where Alaska could feed it traffic. Several international routes were announced, but only one ever started and it’s now being cancelled, as well.

When American released the news around its Seattle plans, the carrier said it would launch three new routes from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). This was before the pandemic and its impact cannot be overstated. These included:

  • Bangalore’s Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru (BLR) (this was supposed to launch in October 2020, but was cancelled due to demand and border closures around Covid-19)
  • London Heathrow Airport (LHR) (this flight launched in March 2021, but has been cancelled)
  • Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) (this was slated for March 2021, but never started)


British Airways will continue to connect Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and London Heathrow Airport (LHR). With its transatlantic joint venture, American will still see some revenue from the route. The slot being used in London will be reassigned to add a second daily flight from Miami International Airport (MIA).

American tried to wade into Delta’s territory here. The Atlanta-based carrier has built a hub here and it doesn’t look like that’s changing (even though reports show it’s not very profitable). It also doesn’t make sense to connect from most other places in the country to head to London.

Anthony’s Take: I get the initial thought around how Seattle could potentially work for American given its Alaska Airlines partnership. The pandemic and changing demand definitely weighed in here.

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1 comment

Jimmy November 19, 2023 - 7:57 pm

I flew AA SEA-LHR a year ago and American offered me a $300 buy up from coach to business class. Great for me, but not a good sign for this route.


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