American Airlines recently announced its plans to reduce or delay the introduction of new international flights during the summer of 2022 because Boeing revealed it would be delayed in delivering 787 jets and 13 aircraft. Boeing originally was supposed to deliver the aircraft by this winter; however, Boeing came out and said they were experiencing manufacturing delays and manufacturing isn’t set to resume until April of 2022 at the earliest. This has since put a strain on American Airlines travel as a whole, according to the airline company.
This lack of widebody aircraft is thought to hinder both summer travel, especially international travel. American Airlines had anticipated flying more internationally in the summer of 2022. Now, flights to Edinburgh, Scotland, Shannon, Ireland, and Hong Kong will no longer happen. Flights to Shanghai, Beijing, and Sydney will be reduced significantly. Other flights will also be reduced to make up for this lack of widebody aircraft.
American Airlines was seemingly relying on these new aircrafts to help ensure they can travel internationally, as now the company is stating that they likely won’t travel internationally as much as anticipated — or as much as they did in the summer of 2019, before the global pandemic began and affect international travel so much.
This latest news on future international travel comes amid the Omicron variants surge in infections around the globe. Because this new variant is thought to be much more contagious than the other variants, many countries have restricted international travel and even closed their borders. The United States has also restricted some international flights to African countries, where the Omicron variant was first detected.
The airline industry recently came out and stated that these flight restrictions and regulations would set back their recovery plan. Because of the Omicron variant — and because concerns have risen about it — data suggests that booking has fallen slightly in the past few weeks. The industry is concerned about how this may impact the Christmas holiday travel season, and the new year. Many people travel during these peak moments, though the Omicron variant could possibly hinder travel this year.
However, there are signs that the Omicron variant is possibly less deadly than the other variants, as some patients haven’t really been sick at all. This may help restrictions go away faster than normal, and many industry analysts are already optimistic that this will just be a short-term problem.
If more data comes out and announces that vaccines and boosters help fight against the variant, then this may also help with international travel and help travel restrictions go away. However, even if this is the case, flight demand may still remain soft because of the pandemic as a whole. While national travel may continue to be in demand for consumers in the United States, international travel may not reach these levels.
As a result of this latest news, American Airlines has already reduced or canceled international flights to various areas and may continue to do so until the pandemic worries subside, and until they get their new aircrafts.