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American Airlines Expands in Louisiana
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a focus on leisure traffic in the U.S. Due to the shift, airlines have launched new flights in the South to attract leisure traffic to warmer destinations, particularly during the winter and spring seasons. In yet another step in that ongoing movement, American Airlines announced it will be expanding in Louisiana, with new flights from its hub in Charlotte, N.C. Starting April 2, American Airlines will add additional service to Alexandria and Lafayette, La., according to local news outlet KALB.
Alexandria will see a daily flight on a CRJ-900, while Lafayette will see two flights a day operated by a Bombardier CRJ-700. Operated by subsidiary PSA Airlines, the CRJ-900 flown on this flight will feature 76 seats: 12 first-class seats, 12 premium economy seats, and 52 economy seats. The CRJ-700 will feature 65 seats: nine first-class seats, 16 premium economy seats, and 40 economy seats. Below is the flight schedule for these flights:
|Departure City||Arrival City||Departure Time||Arrival Time|
|Charlotte, N.C.||Alexandria, La.||4:30 p.m.||6 p.m.|
|Alexandria, La.||Charlotte, N.C.||7 a.m.||9 a.m.|
|Charlotte, N.C.||Lafayette, La.||11:30 a.m.||1 p.m.|
|Lafayette, La.||Charlotte, N.C.||1:30 p.m.||5 p.m.|
|Charlotte, N.C.||Lafayette, La.||8:15 p.m.||9:45 p.m.|
|Lafayette, La.||Charlotte, N.C.||7 a.m.||10:30 p.m.|
Both of these routes will supplement American Airlines’ service to Dallas/Fort Worth from these cities. These flights will allow people in the area to access the East Coast on American Airlines without “backtracking” via Dallas. American Airlines will serve five cities in Louisiana from Charlotte, with the new flights supplementing operations to Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Shreveport.
“We look forward to introducing our second-largest hub, CLT, to customers in Alexandria. Flights to CLT introduce several new connections up and down the east coast as customers begin to resume travel,” Vice President of Route Planning at American Airlines Brian Znotis told KALB. “American has taken every effort to ensure the well-being of customers throughout their journey while offering more flexibility and choice than ever before.”
Competition in the Area
The main competition that American Airlines will face on its new routes is via Delta Airlines and its flights to Atlanta. In 2019, Delta Airlines was the largest carrier in Alexandria and the second-largest in Lafayette. Indirectly, American Airlines will face United Airlines on its routes to Houston. Previously, Lafayette Airport had seen service from Frontier Airlines to Denver and Orlando, though these routes were terminated in January 2020.
Via these routes, American Airlines will serve Louisiana’s fourth and ninth largest cities. Lafayette is home to almost 500,000 residents in its immediate metropolitan area, while Alexandria houses more than 150,000 residents in its metropolitan area.
“Having robust air service is critical to achieving economic development success in Central Louisiana,” said Sandra McQuain, Executive Director of Alexandria International Airport and England Airport, in a statement to KALB. “We value our partnership with American Airlines and thank them for their continued investment in our community.”
Currently, Lafayette Regional Airport is undergoing an expansion to add a new terminal, slated for completion in 2022. With an estimated cost of $90 million, the terminal will double the floor space and add one gate, compared to the original terminal complex.
Recently, American Airlines has added routes throughout the southern portion of the United States. Last week, the Dallas-based airline announced flights from Chicago and Philadelphia to Fort Walton Beach and Pensacola, Fla. Additionally, the carrier announced flights from Boston to Hilton Head, S.C.
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