US airline to replace jets with buses — Analysis

The world’s largest airline is looking at buses to replace planes in two locations. Justifications include environmental factors and fuel costs.

American Airlines has formed a partnership with Landline bus company to return service to locations where it was stopped due to Covid-19 pandemic. reportedThis Thursday

On June 3, passengers can take a Landline Bus in AA Livery to and from Philadelphia (PHL) to Allentown (LEH) approximately 70 miles. Atlantic City (ACY) is approximately 56 miles.

American had previously flown to Allentown. The service was suspended in May 2020. It has not flown to ACY before – its predecessor US Airways did, but dropped the service in 2003. According to Airline Weekly, the short hop isn’t considered financially profitable due to small-sized jets’ fuel efficiency.

The AA deal appears to be modeled after United’s ‘bus-as-flight’ connection to the Newark Liberty airport (EWR) in New Jersey, 78 miles away. 

“We started all of this,”AW spoke with Darren Betters who is an executive from the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority. “It works. [Buses] provide connectivity where it would be tough to provide it by air.”

American Airlines is introducing a new novelty: Passengers will need to pass security at Atlantic City, Allentown or Philadelphia and then they’ll be taken directly to Philadelphia.

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Landline already has partnerships with United Airlines to provide ski services in Colorado and Sun Country Airlines in Minnesota. Advertisement: “making more of your trip the easy part by partnering with airlines and the TSA to bring the airport to you.”

The company’s CEO, David Sunde, pitched buses as both fuel-efficient and green. For destinations less than 200 miles they are extremely cost-effective. “reduce the carbon emission of a regional flight by 80 or 90 percent today,” Sunde told AW. Airline operations in the US have seen a drastic drop in flights following the pandemic. This is due to pilot shortages as well rising fuel prices. 

Most of the social media reactions did not see AA’s move as adding convenience. “You know the thing about flying where it’s awful but at least it’s fast? We’ve been able to fix that so it’s now awful and takes just as long as driving,”One user on Twitter quipped. One person asked about high-speed rail as an alternative. This was referring to America’s extensive road network, however, it lacks the infrastructure for passenger trains like Europe and Asia.

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