American Airlines will stop flying to Tel Aviv early next year, the airline said Thursday.
American says its daily A330 flight between Philadelphia and Tel Aviv doesn't make a profit. Actually, American says the route - which US Airways has flown since 2009 - has never made money. The airline even said that flight lost more than $20 million last year.
The route will end on Jan. 4. American will rebook customers or offer them a full refund.
"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," American told employees.
Some have wondered if the service might be better at New York-JFK or Miami, but American suggested it has no plans to "restart service to Tel Aviv in the near future."
I have no reason to doubt American's rationale, but it's worth noting the carrier has a difficult history in Israeli. American, some of you may remember, ran into some trouble in 2001, after it bought TWA, which had canceled its service to Tel Aviv. According to some former workers, TWA did not follow Israeli labor laws when it left. The former employees claim they are still owned money, though they airline and the workers did reach a legal settlement a few years ago.
As recently as December 2013, former TWA employees had said they were planning to protest against American returning to Israel, according to Haartez, a local newspaper:
The continued mistreatment of Israeli employees would almost certainly lead to a public campaign with negative media exposure for American in Israel, said Meir Knobel, a former manager of TWA’s Israel station. He criticized American Airlines for discriminating against Israeli TWA employees by failing to pay them the money owed them by the bankrupt airline compared to rest of TWA’s employees after the company was acquired.