American Airlines is increasing its domestic summer schedule to near-pre-pandemic levels

An American airline Airbus A321-200 approaches Washington Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Arlington, Virginia on February 24, 2021.

Daniel Slim | AFP | Getty Images

American Airlines is expanding its summer program into a bet that the resurgence of travel demand will continue as more people are vaccinated.

This summer, Americans plan to fly over 90% of the domestic program and 80% of the international program they operated in the 2019 peak season, adding 150 new routes for the peak holiday season. The American said that its capacity in the first quarter decreased by over 43% compared to the same period in 2019.

Airlines eager to capture a return of travel weigh as much capacity as they can implement this summer. Demand has increased as more people have been vaccinated against Covid-19, travel restrictions are easing and more attractions, such as Disneyland, are preparing to reopen. The airline executives will begin informing investors about their strategies this week, when Delta will begin quarterly reporting on Thursday.

“Throughout the pandemic, our trademark has been to build a program based on what customers tell us they want and need,” Brian Znotins, the US vice president of network planning, said in a news release. “Even today, they tell us they are eager to return.”

Given that international travel is still depressed, the Americans plan to use some of its Boeing 777 widebody aircraft on domestic flights to New York and Los Angeles from its Miami hub. Americans and competitors such as United and Delta have added flights to destinations with outdoor attractions, such as beaches and mountains, as travelers look for vacations where they can physically distance themselves from others.