It was another barn-burner of a weekend as I spent Friday night looking over all the new schedule data filed with Diio by Cirium. Was there anything interesting? Of course there was. August continued to see cuts while September is now shaping up (poorly) for several airlines. Meanwhile, Southwest continues to live in its own world. It’s adding new routes and more flights at the last minute. I’ll get to that at the end, but for now, let’s start with the ugliness.
Alaska Loads September Cuts
For some reason, it takes an extra week for Alaska’s cuts to hit Diio, so this isn’t exactly hot off the presses. But Alaska cut about a third of its domestic September schedule and half of its international flights.
Comparing the old skeleton schedule to the new one isn’t exactly useful, but if we look month-over-month, we do see some modest growth.
Looking at September 9-15, Alaska has now scheduled 6,087 flights. That’s about 69 percent of the schedule it had filed September 11-17 of 2019. A week in August was running at 58 percent of last year, so this is growth. It will be rather interesting to see what happens in October, post-expiration of the CARES Act rules, to see what that looks like.
Delta Loads More August Cuts and Its Initial September Plan
Delta has continued to whack away at August schedules. This weekend, it cut another 8 percent off its already reduced domestic schedule. International lost another 16 percent. In September, Delta has loaded a schedule with domestic cut 35 percent and international cut 40 percent.
If this holds, September will see the return of some secondary airport routes, as planned previously. That includes Salt Lake to Burbank and Atlanta to Chicago/Midway. Seattle gets nonstops back to Austin and Nashville while Cincinnati gets its flight back to Washington/National.
The big growth, however, is in the Northeast from both Boston and New York. Here’s what that looks like:
Lastly, Delta brings back a fair bit of Caribbean/Latin service in September from Atlanta to Monterrey, Guatemala, San Pedro Sula, San Salvadord, Liberia, Panama City, Grand Cayman, and Bonaire.
Allegiant Cuts One in Ten August Flights
August is usually a good month for Allegiant, especially in comparison to September, the airline’s quietest month of the year. But Allegiant has just revised its August plans downward by canceling over 10 percent of its remaining flights.
The cuts are broad and deep with route exits and frequency decreases. These are the routes that lose all service in August, or at least from August 12-18 which I used as a representative week.
This map is fairly interesting since it doesn’t seem to be focused. Sure, Vegas holds up well in general, but you see several cuts up and down the eastern half of the country and in California. Meanwhile, here are the routes that that lose frequency.
This map looks more like what you’d expect with heavy cuts in Florida and from Vegas to California. But it’s clear Allegiant is seeing opportunity to pare back throughout the network.
Spirit Crushes September in Half
I mentioned that September is a bad month for Allegiant, but really it’s a bad month for leisure travel in general. Spirit took a look and despite original plans for significant September growth, it has now reversed course.
This weekend, it reduced pre-COVID September schedules by over 50 percent, and these routes are gone:
To be fair, Latrobe shouldn’t really be counted since that’s due to runway work, but the rest are legitimate. On top of this, there are broad frequency cuts coming as well.
Southwest Continues Its Late Route Adds
Southwest has been a wily competitor throughout this pandemic. It has frequently added a number of last minute routes to try to take advantage of pop up demand. Considering how late people are booking these days, it means that Southwest can give things a shot so late that it would normally never make sense.
Take a look at this map.
Everything in green is a new route that starts on July 26. Most end on August 10, though some run longer. Everything in blue is a last minute frequency increase. You can see St Louis is the big beneficiary here. Apparently Southwest is seeing those in the middle really interested in traveling in the near term. But to Providence? That seems like a stretch, but I guess there’s no quarantine there like in New York, so maybe it’s an alternative.
Phoenix has some growth to the middle as well, and then there’s Seattle to Reno and Spokane. I don’t get those two, but well, Southwest sees something there.
It’s not all good news for Southwest. Some routes are disappearing in August even if they were planned before. Some of those are to Hawai’i, which makes sense because the quarantine has been extended there through August. But even on the mainland, some routes are going away.
- Boise – Spokane
- Ft Lauderdale – Austin, Kansas City, Pittsburgh
- Houston/Hobby – Burbank, Omaha
- Tampa – Austin
And that’s it for this week. It was a busy one.