American Airlines Inc. plans to halt flights between the U.S. and Israel early next year amid mounting losses on a route that has never been profitable.
The Philadelphia-Tel Aviv service was a legacy of US Airways Group Inc., which combined with American in December 2013 to form the world’s largest carrier. American faced competition from New York-based flights operated by United Airlines and El Al Israel Airlines.
“It is strictly a financial decision,” American spokesman Casey Norton said Thursday in a telephone interview. “The route has not been profitable.”
Service to Tel Aviv from Philadelphia will end on Jan. 4, with the last U.S.-bound return flight a day later, Norton said. Fort Worth, Texas-based American notified 19 employees in Tel Aviv of the decision on Thursday, he said.
American lost $20 million last year on the route, which has never been profitable since service began in 2009, Norton said. The carrier hasn’t yet determined where it will shift the Airbus A330-200 aircraft used on the flights.
“We did our best to make it work, but we couldn’t get it to turn a profit,” Norton said.