American to add Viracopos flights amid international changes

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American Airlines will launch new nonstop service to Viracopos-Campinas International airport near Sao Paulo in December, among a number of seasonal changes to its international schedule during the upcoming northern winter.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based Oneworld alliance carrier will offer once daily nonstop service between Miami International and Viracopos from 2 December and three-times weekly service between New York JFK International and Viracopos on 1 December, it says. All of the flights will be flown on 209-seat Boeing 767-300ER aircraft with its new lie-flat business class product.

American will reduce service to Sao Paulo Guarulhos from both Miami and New York JFK as a result of the new routes. Miami-Sao Paulo will drop to three daily from four and New York JFK-Sao Paulo to about nine weekly from 12 after the new flights begin.

All of the flights to Guarulhos from Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami and New York JFK will be on Boeing 777-300ER with 310 seats, which will replace select frequencies on 777-200s with up to 260 seats.

Viracopos is 82.1km (51 miles) northwest of Guarulhos and also serves the greater Sao Paulo area.

American will compete with Azul, which plans to launch new nonstop flights between its base at Viracopos to Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and New York with Airbus A330-200s as early as this December.

The Brazilian low-cost carrier announced the new service in April.

As a result of the changes, Charlotte/Douglas International airport will no longer be a gateway to South America For American from January 2015. American will end the US Airways-operated Charlotte-Sao Paulo Guarulhos route on 1 October and its Charlotte-Rio de Janeiro route on 11 January 2015.

American executives said earlier in July that they would reduce planned capacity to Latin America by 5% due to industry capacity increases in the second half of 2014. This will result in roughly flat growth to the region for the full year.

The airline will seasonally reduce service to Europe beginning in October. It will temporarily end flights on the New York-JFK-Dublin and Chicago O’Hare-Dusseldorf routes from 25 October to 29 March 2015, Philadelphia-Zurich from 25 October to 14 April 2015, Chicago O’Hare-Manchester from 6 January 2015 to 29 March 2015, Philadelphia-Rome from 5 February 2015 to 5 March 2015 and Philadelphia-Barcelona from 5 March 2015 to 29 March 2015.

In addition, American’s existing daily New York JFK-Milan Malpensa flight will be split between four-times weekly New York-Milan and three-times weekly Miami-Milan from 6 January 2015 to 28 March 2015.

Executives said Atlantic capacity would be down 3% from prior plans in the second half of 2014, resulting in a roughly 2% increase in the market for the full year.

The seasonal schedule changes are in line with comments by American management to increase schedule variability, where it operates significantly more capacity during peak periods than off-peak periods.