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Exclusive: American eager to resume Australasian flights when travel restrictions ease

American Airlines is eager to resume passenger operations across Asia-Pacific, particularly to Australasia, as soon as countries lift travel restrictions, the carrier’s Managing Director Asia Pacific Operations, Russ Fortson, has revealed.

Speaking exclusively to HM and sister publication Wayfarer, Fortson says the region is one of the fastest growing in the world and and that’s something the airline remains confident about for the long-term.

“Restarting international passenger service is based on the return of customer demand and when countries lift travel restrictions,” he told HM and Wayfarer. “While we do not know exactly when this will happen, I can tell you that American is eager to serve our very loyal customers across the Asia Pacific region and beyond, just as soon as we are able to.

“In normal times, Asia Pacific is the fastest growing air transport market in the world, for both passengers and cargo, and we expect that to remain unchanged as demand returns.

“Asia Pacific is a region American is immensely proud to serve, and together with our joint business partners, Qantas and Japan Airlines, we see enormous long-term growth potential for flights across and Pacific,” he says.

Fortson’s positivity in the region comes alongside the news American is dramatically ramping-up its cargo operations globally over the coming weeks, a move that will see the airline operate 126 weekly flights to 15 cities in Asia Pacific, Europe and the Caribbean.

A key destination for cargo for American is Australia, which will see a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft deployed once per week between Los Angeles and Sydney from May 12.

“With demand for air freight between Australia and the U.S. being very strong, we are flying the 777-300ER aircraft on this route,” he told HM and Wayfarer.

Fortson says the flights will help transport life-saving medical supplies and materials between the U.S. and Australia, including personal protective equipment and pharmaceuticals, alongside other essential goods like electrical machinery, mail, fresh fruit, vegetables, and beef and fish.

“Challenging times call for creative solutions, and a team of people across American has been working non-stop to arrange these cargo-only flights to meet growing customer demand,” he says.

“American has a critical role to play in keeping medical supplies and essential goods moving between Australia and the U.S. during this unprecedented time. We are proud to do our part to find ways to continue to serve our customers and our communities,” Fortson says.

American Airlines re-launched Los Angeles-Sydney flights four years ago with a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft and will resume services at this stage on October 23 with the usual three-cabin Boeing 787-9.

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