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American drops new Philadelphia-Mexico City route

American Airlines will end service between Philadelphia and Mexico City in January, its latest in a series of quick exits from recently added markets.

The Oneworld Alliance carrier will end its daily Philadelphia-Mexico City service with a 128-seat Airbus A319 on 8 January 2019, FlightGlobal schedules data shows. It began flights on the route on 5 July.

The move comes as American, and other carriers, report demand weakness to Mexico. Don Casey, senior vice-president of revenue management at the airline, said in October that it saw "a very tough environment" driven by competitive capacity increases.

This weakness to Mexico, coupled with pressure from Wall Street for American to boost its financial performance, likely impacted the decision to end the new Mexico City route.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier's capacity to Mexico will decrease 3.8% year-on-year in the first half of 2019, schedules show. Mexico City will see a 14.4% capacity reduction.

American has shown an increasing willingness to test markets, so to speak, for economic viability during the past year. It has repeatedly added dozens of new routes in a single go and, with moves like the decision to drop new service between Denver and New York John F Kennedy after just five months, an acceptance that some additions may not work.

The airline will also end twice-daily service between Chicago O'Hare and Chattanooga, Tennessee, with a 50-seat Bombardier CRJ200 on 2 May 2019, schedules show. The carrier has served the market since at least 2004, but has faced competition from United Airlines since September 2016.

The suspension of Chicago-Chattanooga flights comes the day before American begins new once daily service to the Tennessee city from Philadelphia with 50-seat Embraer ERJ-145s.

American will continue to serve Mexico City from Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami and Phoenix, schedules show. It will serve Chattanooga from Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Philadelphia and Washington National.

The carrier was not immediately available for comment.

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