American Airlines adds 4 new routes to biggest tourist destination in the Yucatan Peninsula

An American Airlines 737-800 at Chicago's O'Hare Airport on Jan. 29, 2013. (Photo: Scott Olson, Getty Images)

Service to Cancun will launch March 5 from Kansas City, Nashville, Pittsburgh and Raleigh-Durham. American will operate one round-trip flight each Saturday from all four cities. American will fly the Kansas City-Cancun route with Boeing 737 aircraft. The three other routes will be flown with Airbus A319s. American spokeswoman Laura Nedbal told Today in the Sky that the carrier had not yet scheduled an end date for the seasonal routes.

The routes still must be approved by regulators, with American saying it anticipates ticket sales for the routes to begin in “mid-November.”

“The addition of these four new routes gives our customers 12 locations to fly non-stop to Cancun,” Art Torno, American’s senior vice president – International and Cargo, said in a statement.

American’s Cancun expansion will put it into head-to-head competition with Delta on three of the four new routes. Delta also offers seasonal Saturday-only service to Cancun from Nashville, Pittsburgh and Raleigh-Durham. Overall, Delta is one of the top U.S. carriers to Cancun, offering seasonal or year-round service from 20 U.S. destinations.

For American, none of the four cities to get the new Cancun routes are hubs for the carrier. That means American will have to rely on local demand in those markets since it will not be able to funnel many connecting passengers to those “point-to-point” routes.

Still, American and merger partner US Airways have history in all four of those markets.

Pittsburgh was once the largest hub for US Airways, which began a rapid pullback from the city last decade. Similarly, Nashville and Raleigh-Durham were each once hubs for American, and the carrier still maintains a sizeable presence at both airports. American continues to operate a high-profile route to London from Raleigh-Durham. And it was just last decade that US Airways’ regional affiliates offered a number of US Airways Express routes between Kansas City and smaller cities in Kansas and nearby states.