American to deploy 777s domestically, signalling a new strategy?

In an interesting turn of events, American Airlines has revealed on the GDS that it will be deploying Boeing 777 aircraft twice daily, on the Miami – Los Angeles service, from April onwards.
The new schedule is as follows..
AA299 MIA0810 – 1025LAX 772 D
AA271 MIA1115 – 1330LAX 772 D

AA1520 LAX1155 – 2020MIA 772 D
AA252 LAX1415 – 2210MIA 772 D
While it could simply be due to utilization concerns – June is usually not a month where AA deploys a 777 on the MIA-LAX route. Also interesting to note is that American will be introducing a Miami – Seattle flight from the same date, while it will also upgrade one of its Miami – London Heathrow flights to a 777.
In the event that the 777 becomes a regular stay (either seasonally or year round) on the MIA-LAX route, it could signal a step change in American’s strategy. The deployment of a widebody, earlier than usual, on a trunk domestic route out of its key hubs – at the same time making a number of capacity improvements from the same hub – could indicate both a revitalised focus on Miami as a major AA hub as well as an attempt to increase its yield in a now very disciplined (capacity-wise) market.
This, together with US Airways’ purchase of multiple web domains containing ‘American Airlines’ could tell a very interesting tale. But only the time can tell us for sure. Let us all wait and see…

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