African easterly waves (AEWs) are strongly linked to Atlantic tropical cyclones (TCs) on the synoptic timescale by serving as seedling disturbances for TC genesis. However, it is unclear whether climatological TC frequency is limited by AEWs. We investigated the impact of suppressing AEWs using a 3-member ensemble of convection-permitting regional model simulations, in which AEWs were either retained or removed through the lateral boundary conditions. Suppressing AEWs did not substantially change seasonal TC number, but did influence TC intensity, genesis time and location. Suppressing AEWs produced stronger TCs, shifted peak TC genesis from September to August, and reduced (increased) TC genesis in the eastern Atlantic (Gulf of Mexico). Without AEWs, TCs generated under more favorable large-scale atmospheric conditions. These results indicate that AEWs may not be reliable predictors of basin-wide seasonal TC frequency. However, simulations provide evidence that AEWs could influence the large-scale environment that is important for TCs.