September Capacity Cuts Begin While Southwest Adds New Last Minute Routes

Alaska Airlines, Allegiant, Delta

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:

Delta Returning September Northeast maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper – copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

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.

Allegiant August Route Cut maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper – copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

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.

Allegiant August Frequency Cut maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper – copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

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:

Spirit September Route Cut maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper – copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

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.

Southwest Jul/Aug New Route (green) and Frequencies (blue) maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper – copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

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.

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40 comments on “September Capacity Cuts Begin While Southwest Adds New Last Minute Routes

  1. Southwest employees on other chat forums say that up to 25% of pilots and 33% of flight attendants have agreed to participate in one form of voluntary separation from the company, temporary or permanent. There is a good chance that they will slow their return to a full schedule if those numbers turn out to be true.

    The window for Delta pilots to participate in early retirement closes this week but they are apparently close to about 15% participation while 25% of mainline non-pilot personnel have signed up for early outs.

    Given that Florida is the epicenter of the virus right now and most schools are going to reopen in some form, travel through at least the holidays will be slow. By that time, it will be clear whether there will be a winter wave or whether a vaccine is on the way, even if significant vaccination won’t happen until well into 2021. Leisure airlines such as NK will be particularly hard hit given that they depend on high load factors even to cover incremental costs.

    The return of significant amounts of travel is at least six months away. Some airlines are securing voluntary reductions that will help reduce or eliminate the number of furloughs.

    Still, your data shows that several airlines, including DL and WN are putting enough capacity and routes back into markets to show they intend to maintain their pre-covid network strategies.

    1. A few questions for you Tim,

      1. Southwest employees on other chat forums say that up to 25% of pilots and 33% of flight attendants have agreed to participate in one form of voluntary separation from the company, temporary or permanent. There is a good chance that they will slow their return to a full schedule if those numbers turn out to be true.

      What do you mean by a full schedule? As I see it, going forward there are going to be far fewer flights even after a vaccine as many people will need to focus on employment rather than taking jaunts to some tropical vacation spot.

      2. The window for Delta pilots to participate in early retirement closes this week but they are apparently close to about 15% participation while 25% of mainline non-pilot personnel have signed up for early outs.

      If WN & DL have enough people willing to be bought out, are these carriers going to refill these positions or just let them go unfilled.

      3. Given that Florida is the epicenter of the virus right now and most schools are going to reopen in some form, travel through at least the holidays will be slow. By that time, it will be clear whether there will be a winter wave or whether a vaccine is on the way, even if significant vaccination won’t happen until well into 2021. Leisure airlines such as NK will be particularly hard hit given that they depend on high load factors even to cover incremental costs.

      True.

      Still, your data shows that several airlines, including DL and WN are putting enough capacity and routes back into markets to show they intend to maintain their pre-covid network strategies.

      How can a responsible carrier even think of putting that much capacity out there. The post pandemic aviation world will be nothing like the pre-pandemic one. Remember the old saying about investing, past performance is no guarantee of future returns.

      Thanks Tim.

      1. Sean–

        DL won’t be back filling the spots of those leaving spots for some time. Some stations/departments may see a spot here or there filled, but nothing in the way of meaningful numbers.

      2. Sean,
        First, Kevin accurately answered what will be the case for Delta and any other carrier that succeeds at getting employees even temporarily off the payroll.

        Second, WN previously said they would operate a full schedule by the end of the year (CF has covered it) in order to gain market share. I strongly suspect that WN will back off of that given that they have very large portions of their workforce that are willing to step away from the company even on a temporary basis. WN would not be paying for early retirements if they now intend to fly their full schedule. I fully expect they will pull back given the softening travel demand and their CEO’s statements about the need to see travel increase much more than it has so far to avoid furloughs. WN people have apparently taken those statements to heart in order to take time off, temporarily or permanently.

        Your last statement is completely accurate. (other than the thanks). It will take at least until next summer for demand to begin to return even in the domestic market. Carriers that intend to keep their workforces intact and their networks as large as they were before will be paying a financial price to do so.

        From the day this crisis started, it became clear that carriers that would succeed had to 1. convince passengers that flying was safe – and that they were a safer alternative than their competitors 2. obtain enough cash to fund the losses that would be sustained until 3. costs are cut to match new revenues and 4. live with the enormous amount of additional debt which every carrier has to take on in order to survive. Not all carriers will succeed because not all can achieve all 4 steps.

        thanks for the great discussion.

    2. What’s VERY telling here is that Delta is already asking for a 15% minimum pay reduction from its pilots even before the early-out program has closed. And, beyond that, Delta has elected to bypass the pilot union and appeal directly to the pilots. Smells like quiet desperation to me.

      So let’s look at the aggregate of FACTS: 1) Delta blew BILLIONS on Joint Ventures that essentially out-sourced much of Delta’s wide-body flying to cheaper foreign pilots; 2) The Delta pilot group acquiesced to growth on the narrow-body side (B-717, A-220) while much of the wide-body flying left the property; 3) The Delta pilot early-out Program is vastly inferior to the Southwest program in terms of employee eligibility, length of buyout program, length of medical/dental insurance, and total dollar value; 4) Delta purposely cut its initial generous pilot benefits to appease their flight attendants into not unionizing (thereby communicating to the pilots that they are a lower priority to the Company than the flight attendants); 5) Delta is now demanding 15% minimum pilot wage reduction even before it knows how many pilots will accept the buyout offers; and 6) Delta is negotiating in public by going directly to the pilots rather than discussing this draconian step with the pilot union leadership or its negotiating committee privately, as is industry standard.

      I have said it before and I will say it again: Delta is failing its people.

      1. Not sure where you get the idea that Delta gave away all their widebody flying. The only new JV is Latam which AFAIK has not ended DL flying their own metal to South America out of ATL. Likewise they are still flying their own metal to Europe and Asia. Sure, frequencies are down and routes from some US hubs have been cut due to Covid but it’s not like DL is a domestic only airline. Knowing a few pilots at DL they have not said anything about the airline failing the people, quite the contrary. Pre-pandemic Delta was firing on all cylinders and sending out massive bonuses that bought a lot of goodwill with their employees. Every airline is going through unprecedented times right now. Everyone in the industry gets it. Hell, just drive by an airport with parked planes, it’s clear as day.

        Feel free to call me a fanboy of Delta because (pre-Covid) I used to fly about 50,000 miles/year and of all the domestic airlines I prefer the onboard product that DL has over the others – at least when sitting in the back.

        1. I never said Delta gave away ALL their wide-body flying. Rather, I’m suggesting that if Delta had invested all that wasted JV money in its own metal and trusted its own people to build its network, it would very probably be in better financial shape today. You twisted my words to suit your reality. Industry insiders know better.

          And yes, Delta paid good profit sharing for what, 7-8 years? Compare that to Southwest’s 40+ consecutive years. And Southwest managed to do that while maintaining an “A” credit rating while Delta never managed better than one step above junk status. Perhaps if all those lost JV BILLIONS and been used to pay down post-bankruptcy debt, Delta would be in a better position today.

          But I agree with those who opine that Delta is in better financial shape than either United or American. In fact, Delta would be an industry leader were it not for Southwest. But the financial reality of the industry is that Southwest towers above the others. It is one thing to say that Delta is in better shape than United and American, but it is quite another to suggest that Delta is in the same financial league as Southwest.

          1. You are not even close to accurate.

            Delta was the 2nd largest US airline by international LONG HAUL ASMs in 2019, right behind UAL. The facts for you or anyone else that wants to argue otherwise is that Delta’s international network is not outsourced any more than American or United.

            Delta has brought back more regional carrier flying back to Delta mainline pilots than any other airline that uses regional jets – Alaska, American or United. You have a higher chance of flying on a Delta mainline flight when booking on a DL itinerary than any of the other airlines. Fact. For United, a passenger is more likely to end up on a UA coded regional jet than a United operated flight.

            In terms of credit ratings, Delta still is right behind Southwest and above every other airline in the industry including JetBlue, Alaska and Spirit. That’s not an opinion. It is a fact. American is at the bottom of the industry, right below United.

            And Delta’s net income margin for 2019 was 1/10th of one percent below Southwest. and both were quantifiably higher than any other airline.

            Delta has already said they expect avoid furloughs. Southwest has not said it but likely will. American and United certainly cannot say that and will furlough far more than Delta and Southwest.

            Delta HAS NOT failed its employees. It used some of the CARES Act grant money to fund its early retirement programs and up to 20% of Delta employees have taken them. Southwest has also received about 20% take rates on their voluntary time-off programs but with a lower percent of early retirements.

            It is highly unlikely that United and American will come anywhere close to getting 20% of their workforces to leave voluntarily.

            You are free to share opinions but you will get checked when you make patently incorrect statements. Doesn’t matter what facts or what airlines we are talking about.

            1. It’s important that the readers know that when Mr. Dunn writes that Delta is “right behind” Southwest in industry credit ratings, he is technically correct. But the greater truth is that Delta’s credit remains 3 FULL ratings levels below Southwest’s, the EXACT SAME as pre-Covid levels. The major difference between then and now is that Delta has now (once again) slipped into “Junk Debt” status.

            2. I’m actually glad that you were at least willing to say that I am “technically correct” about credit ratings without continuing to argue the international ASM or employee issues.

              Credit ratings affect the cost of credit, just as it does for me and you. LUV is getting credit now for about 5%, DAL for 7, UAL for 9 and AAL at 11%+

              The real difference is how much that extra credit will cost in relation to revenue and how quickly it will come back. Delta’s cash burn as a percentage of last year’s costs are already lower than Southwest’s.

              The goal is to return to profitability as quickly as possible. Let’s hear what AA, UA and WN have to say when they report followed by the cats and dogs next week.

              The fall is toast for airlines. Capacity updates – which CF is tracking very accurately for the benefit of many outside of this site – will show far less enthusiasm for months to come.

              Vaccine development is promising which might encourage people to start thinking about 2021 travel and potentially nice cash inflows for airlines shortly after the first of the year.

              For now, it is fasten your seat belts and drink out of closed cups with a straw poking through your mask.

              I have no idea where you got the notion that WN had 10 gates at BNA a year ago but since they operated 116 flights/day on average (actually more than that on peak days), they might have “had” 10 gates but they certainly used more than that.

  2. The initial Sep cuts from DL shows a retaliation at B6/AA partnership. I don’t think that’s going to hold for September, but that at least shows their direction for when business demand does come back a little bit.

    1. “The initial Sep cuts from DL shows a retaliation at B6/AA partnership.”

      FC,

      Can you explain more about this retaliation? If you mean a defensive stance by DL I get that, but going beyond it doesn’t square as airlines are going to need to reconcile with the reality that a pandemic will have a forever impact on their industry. As of now they haven’t Dunn so.

      1. They went from 35 in August to 65 flights a day in September. That’s definitely a retaliation. Especially since they have said they are not adding any routes of significance for rest of the year.

        Note, they added mostly to NYC and BOS just a day or 2 after the AA/B6 announcement. At this point, they are not going to fly most of these additions, because the demand for business travel is non-existent in these markets. But they are signaling to the new partnership they are going to fight back.

        We will see. JetBlue has shifted it’s focus to NYC/NJ. It’s partnership in BOS with AA will allow it to have overwhelming market share over DL in most top business markets. There is really not going to be much Delta can do about that because JetBlue has 30 gates to itself + likely sublease of AA gates as long as partnership continues.

        The new big battle will be in NY. Delta needs to get its duck in order and be ready to operate 240 flights a day out of LGA in spring. Or else, all the LCCs/ULCCs will be fighting for those slots. The idea that they can bring back NYC, SEA, LAX and BOS at the same speed is laughable. Especially when all of their moves so far indicate core hubs will be restored the fastest.

        1. Just as a reminder that the JBLU/AAL deals require DOJ approval because they involve the transfer of gates and slots. It is entirely possible that the DOJ will require divestitures or require that assets be made available to other competitors; multiple airlines have wanted to have greater access to NYC.

          And the DOJ will not move quickly. For now, slot usage requirements are relaxed at all US slot controlled airports.

          DAL HAS brought back capacity to its core hubs first – but that doesn’t mean that they ever walked away from any of their pre-covid strategic initiatives.

          The only airline that has definitely said it is walking away from huge portions of its network is AA which has announced dozens of markets it will exit. AA also send out 25k WARN notices while announcing new codeshare relationships and plans to transfer gates and slots (where they exist) to other carriers, likely using up the entire 15% of AAL’s domestic capacity that can be flown by other large jet carriers. No other airline can operate as high of a percentage of its domestic network on flights flown by other large jet airlines.

          1. Tim – The JetBlue/American deal does not require DOJ approval because no slot or gate transfer is included. There may be transactions down the line like that, but as I understand it, that isn’t included in the first level of cooperation.

            1. Tim – USA Today is correct, but that’s not what you said. DOT will *review* the deal — as they did the American/Alaska deal — but *approval* is not required. It’s basically assumed that it is approved until DOT decides to challenge it. That’s different than the approval process for weightier deals which requires actual sign-off.

          2. I don’t disagree that DOJ approval will be needed. But at the end of the day with this being under Trump administration and in the middle of a terrible downturn in the airline industry, I think this will get approved pretty quickly. We will see what happens, but all LCCs and ULCCs are chomping at the bid for slot waiver at LGA/DCA to be over (nobody cares about JFK at this point). I see all the other airlines being able to get the slots they need simply by fighting for the waiver to be over in end of October.

            I think you forgot that UAL sent WARN notices to even more employees. It was clear right from the start AA/UA had to cut the most. At least AA is left with 2 deals where its farming out flying at competitive markets to lower cost carriers. UA is left at an increasingly noncompetitive position. I’d be very surprised if DL doesn’t end up shrink almost as much.

            The other thing to consider is that if this is implemented well, then AA will be serving cities like STL, IND, BNA and RDU from LGA, BOS, JFK, EWR, ORD, DCA, PHL and CLT. That’s dominant presence on all these 3rd tier markets. AA basically sold out its fellow network carriers to have more relevance in New York, LAX and middle of the country.

            1. @CF

              the DOJ doesn’t “review” deals as one does flipping through junk mail before tossing it in the trash. They either sign off and approve or they require changes. They don’t just “review” for information.
              Even if AA/B6 don’t propose initially to swap gates or slots, neither is going to sign a deal that creates a partnership without knowing it can move forward.
              I am sure you will track the progress of the deal and we will see how quickly it moves forward and how willing the DOT AND DOJ are willing to allow any airline to designate its successor in the use of limited access aviation assets.

              FC,
              There are undoubtedly alot of carriers that would like to dismantle slot rules -but the industry and most importantly the FAA has seen what happened when they were relaxed both at LGA and JFK and later at EWR. Yes, the FAA relaxed slot controls at LGA and JFK post 9/11 and that is precisely how DL got as many slots as it did; the FAA grandfathered all of the operating flights to the carriers and that is part of why LGA and JFK were bursting at the seams until the virus crisis.

              And let’s also not forget that DCA is also slot controlled. if the DOJ makes a determination that JFK and LGA slot controls need to be relaxed, they will most certainly do the same for DCA – which will hurt AA far more than any other carrier.

              and no, AA won’t be “serving” the routes you mention; they will be buying seats on a competitor which is the only legal relationship that AA and B6 can have. AA and B6 cannot share revenue or coordinate marketing decisions. It is precisely because of that relationship that the DOJ will ensure that all competitors’ interests are served in any deal that allows AA and B6 to swap any assets including slots and gates.

              Let’s keep in mind that it was also under Parker’s leadership (along w/ Kirby) that USAirways said it could not profitably use the 25% of LGA slots it held and entered into the slot swap with Delta – in which Delta got more than 2X as many LGA slots for every DCA slot DL gave up – plus $60 million. This deal is the same thing all over again – and the the DOJ has pried LGA open to competitors multiple times since then. AA and B6 will not be able to simply swap assets w/o giving some up to competitors.

              Delta still holds 45% of LGA slots to AA’s 30% (+/-). Many LGA markets simply do not work w/ even A220 size aircraft even if fares are dropped dramatically. The cost of the new terminals at LGA will add considerable cost to passenger tickets – and make AA’s terminal costs at JFK look cheap.

              As for United, yes, they are in between a rock and a hard place, esp. with B6 breathing down their neck at EWR and WN at DEN. But DL and UA will gain far more revenue from AA’s corporate clients in LAX and NYC which AA has essentially said they cannot serve in this deal. I can assure you that DL and UA sales teams are already aggressively going after whatever corporate business AA already had. DL and UA have far more to gain across AA’s entire network than B6 can gain in NYC.

              Let’s not forget that DL’s joint venture with Latam is going forward and is far more likely to move forward w/o restrictions than AA’s proposal in NYC. Also, the same A220s that B6 thinks will lower its costs in NYC (which it will) are already in service w/ DL which will get far more of the A220-300s much sooner than B6. It is also those A220s that will allow DL to overlay whatever AA hub routes that DL has wanted to fly but has not. DFW-SEA was on the board to start w/ an A220 and DL has heavily deployed the A220 to DFW. The same will be true in CLT and PHL where DL is already the 2nd largest carrier by revenue.

              And specific to AA/AS and AA/B6, do you really think that AS is going to sit by idly while AA partners with the carrier that is likely to push AS out of the transcon markets? AA’s attempt to choose two partners that are rivals of each other is bound to lead to infighting and the likely eventual failure of one or both parts of the relationship. Let’s remember that AA has had relationships with both AS and B6 and ended or scaled back both only to attempt them both again.

              It’s great to talk about what any company can achieve via their strategic plans but honest evaluation requires looking at the entire competitive situation

    2. Restoring capacity that any carrier once flew is hardly retaliation.

      Delta’s restoration of multiple routes from Boston simply kills the notion that some had that Delta was going to walk away from BOS – but that was never based on fact anyway.

      1. The entire rationale for Delta in BOS is getting weaker by the minute. If they want to spread the wealth around, everyone else will get to benefit

        1. Delta clearly didn’t get your memo so you might want to resend it.

          Delta clearly sees long-term strategic value in Boston just as it does in Seattle and Los Angeles, markets where Delta has grown significantly over the past 5 years not unlike what WN is doing in places like BNA and DEN as Jack R notes below.

          Some people may be rooting for rearrangement of airline networks but it is AA that has almost entirely given indications of where and what it will fly with few other carriers announcing significant long-term cuts.

          1. There is no reason for them to give up at this point. But the long term prognosis of having more than a large focus city at BOS is not great. The 2 biggest reasons for the BOS expansion given were:
            1) corporate demand
            2) second TATL hub.
            The first is in huge downfall for the foreseeable future. The latter is not necessary with the decline in TATL traffic for the foreseeable future and slots becoming abundant at JFK.

            I think DL has a very smart leadership but is also quite stubborn. Eventually, it will decide what needs to go and what to keep. I don’t think it’s crazy to say that B6 + AA will give them quite the battle ahead in New York area. If they want to continue to be the leader in NY, become the leader in LA, be competitive in SEA and continue with its MIA plans, the remaining stuff seem to be obvious luxury items.

            Which is probably why it has cut so much from BOS/CVG/RDU thus far.

            1. If you looked at B6 average fares, your first point, if it remains true will hurt B6 far more on a system basis than DL.

              and

              DL is not treating BOS as AA tried to use STL as part of the TW acquisition. Boston is a huge local market. DL has connected very low percentages of its transatlantic traffic via BOS. DL is growing its internatinoal presence because the local market is there – and the growth of dozens of airlines proves that.

              Either BOS has value to DL or it doesn’t have value to anyone. you can’t argue that B6 will do just fine but there will be nothing there for DL.

              Drawing conclusions about long-term strategies based on two months of capacity returns – at best – is bound to lead to inaccurate conclusions. Biasing the conclusions by what you want rather than what data actually says makes your conclusions even more unlikely.

  3. “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.”

    Rhode Island does have a quarantine…

    “Travel: If you are coming to Rhode Island from one of the states listed here with a positivity rate of COVID-19 greater than 5%, you are required to self-quarantine for 14 days while in Rhode Island.”

    https://health.ri.gov/covid/
    https://health.ri.gov/forms/surveys/oos-survey//

    1. Tom – Well, then nevermind! Maybe they just aren’t enforcing it as much?
      I was grasping at straws anyway to figure out why that route made sense.

      1. No need to grasp, look at WN’s “new” operating model. STL is functioning as one of the larger connecting points for WN right now. I saw a graph, maybe on A-net, maybe another site, that WN @STL is in the top 5 of their stations as far as flight recovery percentages. Before WN ever served BOS, they never did STL-PVD nonstop. Now with the revised COVID scheduling, I guess they see STL as a good place to feed connections through. They even got GRR back. The population center of the US is not far from STL so their focus on “hubs” must make sense to them at this time.

    2. They must see something in PVD that DL doesn’t? Service ex-PVD is still showing as suspended through at least 9/30…

  4. Everyone needs to remember these are routes. It does not represent frequency or capacity. Therefore, it is very possible to fill in your route map close to what it was before and still come out as a smaller airline overall.

  5. Happy to see WN flying SEARNO, since AS has had a lock up on that route for a long time, plus usually Dash-8s or E175s and no real “middle” seat blocking. But alas it looks like it is just a temp add-on for plane routing or something since its a really a GEG-SEA-RNO-LAS flight (WN6888).

    1. Interesting find. GEG-SEA-RNO-LAS reminds me of some of the old “direct” flights from the days before deregulation, when a sub-1000 mile trip often involved a few stops and a leg or two in the “wrong direction” (or at least ~90 degrees off from the “right direction”).

  6. It’s shocking how many daily flights Southwest is operating from many of its core “hubs”. (They are carrying a ton of connecting traffic.)
    Cities like STL & BNA are still at 100 flights per day and there are still a few cities with 200. DEN is gang-busters with 4 daily flights to even the
    small cities. And evidently AA reduced PHX too much creating a lot of demand there.

    They are being very flexible in there schedule to take advantage of the competitions weaknesses, and its paying off.

      1. They are having to give up gates in the C concourse that American and Delta are losing because of airport construction of a new international arrivals facility. There is no net increase in gates at BNA and there won’t be any significant gate growth for years as the airport works through a massive terminal expansion and rebuilding project. Since Nashville is heavily dependent on tourism which is currently restricted by the city, air travel demand will take years to recovery; BNA’s demand peaks in the summer which is all but over for travel planning purposes.

        1. Humorous, but inaccurate, Mr. Dunn. This time last year, SWA had 10 gates in BNA. Today, they have 16 gates there. Do the math.

            1. Mr. Cranky….The four gates Southwest “gave back” were only being used to temporarily accomodate the 116 flights a day Mr. Dunn describes above. They were never part of Southwest’s BNA footprint until recently. Recommend you consult with Mr. Watterson for confirmation.

            2. MisstheMasters – Honestly, I don’t care enough to dig into the details. I was just pointing out the facts as I know them. Whether the previous number of gates were temporary or not, the reality is that before this opened, Southwest could schedule 14 gates. Now it can schedule 16.

  7. A lot of these things you say are new really arent. For example, you say for Southwest, SDF-PHX is a new route. It’s a restored route – they’ve flown it since the mid 1990s. It’s not some new market that they’ve never flown, which is what you imply. Same for a lot of the Allegiant cuts. In many markets, Allegiant has traditionally, in August, either reduced capacity or seasonally exited entirely in mid August. Of the markets you mention for SDF, for example, they have traditinoally cut way back on Florida, etc flying in August because in normal years kids go back to school mid August, and demand shrinks. This isnt novel, but that’s how you portray it.

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