Despite Phoenix losing an American Airlines flight training center in August, Sky Harbor remains an important hub for the Texas-based airline.
The airline has plans to add nine flights from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport this year, seven of which are already offered: Midland, Texas (MAF); Lubbock, Texas (LBB); Memphis, Tennessee (MEM); Roswell, New Mexico (ROW); Redmond, Oregon (RDM), Vail/Eagle, Colorado (EGE), and St. George, Utah (SGU).
The airline will also be adding flights to Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Sante Fe, New Mexico in December, and already has two additional routes on sale: Santa Rosa/Sonoma County (STS) and Laughlin, NV/Bullhead City AZ (IFP), which will begin in February.
At the same time, American has added a new flight from Tucson International Airport to New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
American Airlines representative Polly Tracey said the Tucson airport is a “spoke” for the airline, meaning its secondary to its hubs such as Phoenix.
Tracey said American estimates 50,000 customers will fly between Tucson and New York next year, though she doesn’t believe it will diminish the amount of travelers traveling from Phoenix to New York.
“Some people may have driven to Phoenix from places like Nogales, Green Valley and Sierra Vista,” Tracey said. “But this flight isn’t meant to be in competition. It’s a completely independent opportunity.”
Tracey said American will continue to search for unique spokes such as Tucson, which has been ramping up its flight offerings as of late, especially to international destinations.
American Airlines (Nasdaq: AAL) agreed to maintain a hub in Phoenix for at least three years as part of its 2013 merger Tempe-based US Airways.
American Airlines also has hubs in Los Angeles and Dallas, both of which have seen the airline add a number of international routes in recent years.
“The (international) flights aren’t there (in Phoenix), but the demand isn’t there either,” said Michael Bentley, an airlines pricing expert and partner at Revenue Analytics. “Even if it was, it’s not going to equate to a larger market with more demand already (like Dallas.)”
Bentley said in 2015, Phoenix’s flights to London only had around 200,000 passengers, compared to approximately 600,000 in Dallas.