I’ve analyzed May schedules to death over the last couple of weeks, so now it’s time to move on to June. My assumption is that May should be the low point, and that means we can finally start talking about growth again! Ok, maybe that last statement didn’t deserve an exclamation point. Growth from zero is not all that exciting, but it’s still worth picking apart. Since American filed its June domestic schedule last weekend, that’s where I’m focusing today.
I snuggled up with Diio by Cirium to look at one week in May (May 13-19) and see how it compares to one week in June (June 10-16). Overall, flights rise from about 1,730 per day to 2,140. That’s a big increase, but it’s still only about 35 percent of what American flew last year.
The Return of 96 Markets
There are a total of 96 markets coming back that weren’t flying in May. Some of these are just normal seasonal adds like Dallas/Fort Worth to Anchorage or Aspen, but there’s a whole lot more than that.
The biggest chunks — two-thirds of the adds — are from two hubs. First up, Washington/National. American really cut National back severely in May, so this is just restoring much of what was lost.
The other big hub gains are in Miami, most of which actually appear to be the same markets that regain service from National.
That leaves 26 stragglers that get added back from other hubs.
- Seasonal service returns from DFW to Anchorage, Aspen, Kalispell, and Montrose, and Portland (ME). DFW also gets year-round service to Hartford and San Juan back in June.
- Hawai’i gets more service with a return to Kahului from both LAX and DFW along with a DFW to Honolulu flight.
- Philly picks up some more regional flying to Asheville, Grand Rapids, and Pensacola. It also gets a Vegas flight back 5 days a week.
- After closing for runway work, Westchester (HPN) opens back up, and that means American is back with flights from Charlotte and Chicago/O’Hare.
- Charlotte picks up a couple longer regional routes including Champaign/Urbana (IL) and Springfield (MO). St Thomas also makes a return.
- Chicago/O’Hare (ORD) gets only one new route beyond Westchester and that’s Evansville (IN).
- Phoenix is a winner with the return of longer routes to Indianapolis, Milwaukee, New York/JFK, and Orlando.
- Lastly, Los Angeles gets back the route that I was surprised it lost in May… it now will have 2 daily flights to San Francisco.
Some of these adds are curious. Why does Champaign get service to Charlotte? This could be about aircraft/crew routings or maintenance. American is reducing Champaign to Chicago from 2 to 1 flights a day at the same time. But really this is about American hoping Miami and DC can support more traffic.
The Disappearance of 15 Markets
Believe it or not, there are some routes that are disappearing in June as well. Some of these seem like normal seasonal moves while others are more of a surprise.
- DFW to Sarasota and ORD to Palm Springs go away for the summer, as they usually do. Also, Aspen to Montrose was being flown to combine routes until the summer season kicked in, so that goes away.
- Charlotte won’t have its Portland (OR) flight any longer.
- DFW also loses service to Santa Rosa (CA) and Tri-Cities (TN). Both of those started last summer and for some reason were still flying into May. Augusta (GA) started long before that, but it’s gone now too.
- ORD loses flying to Greenville/Spartanburg, Peoria, State College, and West Palm Beach.
- Philly will no longer have Memphis or Newport News flights.
- Phoenix will lose Lubbock and Midland/Odessa.
With the exception of the seasonal flights at top, these routes all have one thing in common; they are closer to other American hubs and can be adequately served from those while demand is weak. It’s unclear to me why routes like Augusta (GA) and Tri-Cities continued in May at all when both are better off flying from Charlotte. Maybe there were some financial guarantees in place, or maybe there were some special reasons that made them worth flying (like maintenance). Either way, those did not do well enough to keep DFW service.
The 164 Routes That Gain Frequency
Beyond new routes, there are 164 existing routes that will see increased frequency. Many of these are minor changes which may just reflect a day-of-week issue or something else technical. But there are 55 that see at least 7 weekly flights more than in May.
- New York comes back from the bottom with increases mostly on hub routes from JFK to Charlotte, Los Angeles and Miami; from Newark to Charlotte and DFW; and from LaGuardia to Boston, Charlotte, DFW, Miami, ORD, and Washington/National.
- Many hub-to-hub routes see increases across the board.
- Charlotte gets more flights to Austin, Baltimore, Charlottesville (VA), Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Greensboro, Jacksonville, Nashville, Orlando, Portland (ME), Richmond, and Washington/Dulles.
- DFW will see more flights to Albuquerque, Atlanta, Baltimore, Cleveland, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Houston/IAH, Las Vegas, Norfolk, Orange County, Orlando, Raleigh/Durham, Saint Louis, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa, and Tucson.
- The biggest frequency gain of all for non-hub-to-hub flying is in Miami to Orlando with three more daily flights.
The 28 Routes That Lose Frequency
There are also 28 routes that will lose frequency, 24 of which lose at least 5 flights per week.
- DFW sees the bulk of the cuts, and most of them are within Texas or to neighboring states. That includes Amarillo, Baton Rouge, College Station, Corpus Christi, Houston/Hobby, Jacksonville (FL), Little Rock, McAllen, Midland/Odessa, San Angelo, Shreveport, Springfield (IL), Tallahasse, Texarkana, Waco, and Wichita Falls .
- Charlotte gets a haircut in Lexington and Melbourne (FL).
- Chicago/O’Hare frequencies are cut to Cedar Rapids, Champaign/Urbana, and Knoxville.
- Philadelphia loses frequency to Dayton, Roanoke, and Savannah.
Those DFW cuts are particularly interesting. With only a couple exceptions, these cuts are all on short hops within Texas or to neighboring states. In most cases, routes that had 2 daily drop to 1 while those with 3 or 4 daily drop to 2. I compared to Charlotte’s close-in routes to see if DFW as just over-served, but no, that’s not the case.
There you have it. The June schedule is growth of some sort. I’ll keep an eye out for what Delta and United are planning.
Most of us get the point. Route maps, dots, lines, Excel sheets, and the hatchet jobs to all have been beyond done to death already. Even you good as admitted this. And went on to do more of it anyway. Can you find something….ANYTHING else….the price of tea in China maybe…to write about?
If you aren’t interested then why are you reading it?
Is clicking on the frequent Diio by Cirium another way to support Cranky? Hopefully you have a nice pay-per-cluck arrangement with them :)
Jon – Nope, I don’t get paid for that. I’m just thankful they provide me access without charge!
Thank you for the analysis. As an employee of American Airlines your assessment gives me hope!
I, for one, find this type of analysis very interesting. I like to see how each airline is addressing their way out of this mess and how their systems are adjusting. Given Kirby’s comment at United that there are no sacred hubs (er–cows), I’m looking forward to the analysis of their schedule. Please continue!
Different Matt here. I geek out on this stuff and like the analysis. Keep it up please. Also planning to buy a mug when I finish this post.
Very helpful. Can you, at some point, also show what is happening with international flying. AA, DL, UA have cut that back to the bare bones, but I know AA is stationing and selling tickets for a June resumption of CLT – Europe flights (I believe London and Frankfurt only initially) on the dreaded densified B777, as we (and AA) have lost their A330’s (probably for good). I also know UA is restarting AMS flights with passengers and not just cargo. BA said it will be back to 50% from July (wishful thinking?). Anyway, it might be good to know as I am trying to plan flights to AMS and the UK (any entry point will do) over the (late?) summer.
CF’s graphs and comparisons make understanding what is happening more interesting than most sites but bookmarking airlineroute is worthwhile right now since it includes frequent updates for multiple airlines.
CLT – I dive in when I see them. American’s summer schedule is mostly planned and I already wrote about that, but tweaks have already begun.
Thanks for doing these. I’m looking forward to the next Delta one!
I suspect that the majority of the cuts at DFW are due to scope clause since most of the affected routes are flown American Eagle.
Doug – Hmm, interesting thought, but if they could operate them in May, then I’d think they could operate them in June too.
I love all of your maps, analyses, etc. but I can be impressed about a lot of things others might not be.
Anyway, to me, this looks like lots of routes. And, where is the money going to be coming from to operate them? A big explosion of passengers bringing huge amounts of ticket revenues? Billions from the CARES Act? Lots of new borrowings, at zero percent intertest, to be paid sometime decades from now? A gopher hole somewhere around DFW?
It makes me wonder!
It’s all about CARES Act money + money in the bank right now. Hold on tight and hope things recover!
The slow return of LAX flights is interesting. I wonder how much is due to the shut down of Compass vs. other factors.
Add me to the list of people who really like these analyses. Also… I’m not really interested in the price of tea in China.
Couple of observations:
It appears that OAK service is suspended or discontinued again. I e-mailed Customer Relations for clarification and they were no help whatsoever, which is what I expect from AA.
The LAX-SFO service if operated by CR7’s, as is most PHX regional flying.
Has any decision been made about the LAX based E-175’s?
Jack – I have heard nothing about future LAX regional flying.
If anything, it seems like it’s too many flights for any airline. I assume AA has enough bookings to justify this much of a schedule? If I was a shareholder, I would sure hope so.
AA is flying way too much in June. I find it hard to believe they can actually get cash burn down to $50 million a day by the end of quarter. It’s almost like DP has given up on avoiding the courts at this point or AA is overly optimistic about demand recovering.
I’m incline to agree. My first thought was “what the hell is AA doing?” Considering I just read an opinion piece in the NYT entitled “The Virus is Winning.” There’s a PDF attachment that outlines three possible outcomes & none are great for the airlines for the next 18 – 24 months. So I don’t see how growth at this juncture is at all rational, but perhaps they see something that I am missing.
It’s worth noting that AA scheduled considerably more capacity than it ultimately flew, even before the virus crisis. Even more so now, publishing unrealistic schedules which they can later cancel down is a way to generate extra cash. WN is doing the same thing.
AA’s seasonal DCA-ACK starts June 20! Im booked on it!
Have you been able to learn anything about American’s South American routes?
Cargoman – Just what I posted previously about the international schedule.
It’s not as gutted as Europe.
This seems way too early to me. Who is going to fill these planes next month? I don’t think demand is going to pick up until June/July at the EARLIEST. My guess is they will cancel a lot of these new flights, maybe at the last minute.