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American Airlines to end money-losing U.S.-Israel flights

An American Airlines jets sit parked at a terminal of Miami International Airport in Miami in this Sept. 23, 2014 file photo.
An American Airlines jets sit parked at a terminal of Miami International Airport in Miami in this Sept. 23, 2014 file photo. Bloomberg

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. Charlotte is American Airlines’ second-largest hub.

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.

The Observer contributed.

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