By Ted Reed – The Street
American Airlines says it will discontinue its Philadelphia-Tel Aviv route next year because, in large part in six years of operation, the flight has never made any money and has lost more than $20 million this year alone.
The cancellation means that the world’s largest airline will no longer fly to Israel. The carrier said it will contact pre-booked passengers to arrange for a full refund or to make alternative travel arrangements.
The last eastbound flight will leave Philadelphia on Jan. 5, 2016, while the last westbound flight will depart Tel Aviv on Jan. 6.
In a message to employees, the airline said the route “has never been profitable for our airline. We want to give every route the chance to succeed, and we gave it a fair shot, but at a certain point, no matter how much we want to serve a particular route, we have to make the right decision for our business,” the carrier said.
The flight has been operated by US Airways with an Airbus A330 aircraft seating 252 passengers. At 5,740 miles, the flight has been the longest in the US Airways system.
American spokeswoman Jenna Arnold said “Customers can still access Tel Aviv through our joint business partner British Airways via London or through our codeshare relationship with El Al via our European gateways such as London, Paris, Madrid and Frankfurt.”
When service was inaugurated in 2009, it was considered a sign of Philadelphia’s growing importance as the carrier’s primary international hub as well as of US Airways’ expanding international reach. American and US Airways merged in 2013.
American said Philadelphia remains “a prime hub for connecting customers to and from main business and leisure destinations throughout Europe and it will continue to be an important strategic hub for our partners.”