Topic of the Week: Why is American Going to Seoul?


American announced a bunch of new routes this week, but one caught my eye. The airline, which flies only to Beijing, Shanghai, and Tokyo in Asia, will now start a flight from Dallas/Ft Worth to Seoul. American doesn’t have a Korean partner, so it will be largely traffic destined only for Seoul. I’m sure Latin has something to do with this – after all, the flight connects perfectly with the new Dallas-Lima flight, but DFW is far from being a huge Latin connecting point for American. That’s what Miami is for except for Mexico flying. So what is it? I’m sure it’s some corporate arrangement or something that makes this work, because otherwise I can’t figure out why Seoul would be American’s next Asian move.

Get Cranky in Your Inbox!

The airline industry moves fast. Sign up and get every Cranky post in your inbox for free.

19 comments on “Topic of the Week: Why is American Going to Seoul?

  1. The amount of investment by Korean companies in TX alone may support ICN-DFW. Samsung alone recently announced a $4B investment in the Austin area. Korea also has healthy amount of business ties to Central America, which of course DFW is perfectly situated to connect through.

  2. Korean flies nonstop from DFW-ICN. Delta, Korean’s US partner, doesn’t have a large DFW presence, so I doubt that flight is about connections to the rest of the U.S. I think the DFW-ICN nonstop on Korean is indicative, then, of demand between the city pairs. If American can capitalize on that demand, plus getting connecting traffic to South American and other Texas cities, it seems like a smart move.

  3. Agree that this is likely a technology run. How well do AUS-DFW and SAN-DFW align with the DFW-ICN schedule?

    My other other thought would be an oil/petrochem run, but is there any of that in the Seoul area?

  4. What interests does USAirways have in that region? Could this be a move that benefits the merged company?

    1. Pretty much none. They only have a few flights to their three hubs and nothing else and have showed no other signs of growth or interest in Texas.

  5. While DFW isn’t American’s main Latin America hub, the flight from Seoul would connect nicely to important business destinations like Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Buenos Aires. Because Korean Air only flies from Seoul to Sao Paulo (via LAX) three or four times a week, this would provide daily one-stop service from Seoul to Sao Paulo and give options to Rio and Buenos Aires as well.

  6. With a lot of airlines wanting to fly to Japan and China, maybe AA is setting its sites on Korea. Plus it could be trying to get business in the southern/midwest region heading to Korea on AA instead of Skyteam partners KE/DL. Connections to Latin America could also be a possibility. KE does fly LAX-Sao Paulo 3x a week so AA can compete again then with one stop service in the ICN-GRU market.

  7. Cranky: “I?m sure Latin has something to do with this ? after all, the flight connects perfectly with the new Dallas-Lima flight, but DFW is far from being a huge Latin connecting point for American.”

    Uh, shouldn’t that read “Latin America?”

  8. It’s network strength. Seoul is a large market that American’s network is large enough to serve with a single flight to a hub. Alliance mania may make us think that the only way to make a city profitable is to have feed beyond it at both ends, but some cities are large enough that a single flight to a hub like DFW will fill it based on connections on only one side of the ocean.

  9. Well, it is a sizeable local market and can draw feed from Houston as well as other Southern cities. KE maintained the DFW service after DL closed DFW and even after Continental joined Skyteam…there is a definitive reason that KE stayed in the market. For AA to devote a heavy to a route like this must mean there is some money on the table.

  10. Seoul has a population of 10 million within the city limits and over 20 million in the metropolitan area. South Korea has a population of 50 million. The country is first world and has a large economy. If American can fly to Paris without feed from other French cities, then it shoyld be possible to Seoul as well.

  11. Makes me wonder how much UA evaluated an IAH-ICN flight. With that they would’ve connected a major and unserved US city to Seoul, grabbed alot of the Latin and Southern U.S. connections, and have a partner in ICN to boot

  12. I assume that part of it has to do with military, defense contractor and other government demand. There aren’t many nonstops from the continental US to Korea on US-flag metal — only DL from DTW and UA from SFO.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Cranky Flier