It’s Monday, and that means it’s schedule change time. You requested it, and now the time has come to give this weekly post a name. Like sands through the hourglass, so are the skeds of air lines….
In this week’s episodes… more cuts. So many cuts. But really, what did you expect? Once again I snuggled up with Cirium data — side note: I’ve been asked to just call it Cirium, not Diio by Cirium going forward — and the results are once again gruesome.
Southwest whacked August even further at this late date, but both American and United loaded their initial September schedule cuts, so let’s just start there.
American Grows Modestly But Shakes Things Up
September actually looks pretty different than August for American. The week of August 12-18, American has 11,833 flights scheduled. For September 9-15, American has 12,553. That’s not much growth, but you do have to keep in mind that September is always a weaker month for airlines. A normal September should be lower than August. Let’s put it this way. That August week is operating 49 percent of flights compared to last year. The September week is running 56 percent of last year. So it is some growth. It’s just not much.
But this is a very different schedule in September than in August. There are 46 routes going away, 76 coming back, 223 seeing frequency decreases, and 292 seeing frequency increases. So it’s a big change, and here’s how it breaks down by hub.
Almost all the routes going away are along the East Coast. In fact, the only thing disappearing domestically west of the Rockies is Washington/National to Vegas and the summer seasonal Chicago/O’Hare to Missoula. Many of the routes going away are seasonal to places like Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard.
On the growth side, Charlotte does well for itself with a lot more routes seeing frequency increases than decreases. Miami has a lot of new mostly Latin routes coming back but it also sees frequencies decrease on a lot of off-peak days. Meanwhile, take a look at Phoenix. September means summer is over, so it’s time to try to bring back Phoenix even though temps will still be in the triple digits. I guess this falls under “our best shot at making September do anything good.”
Los Angeles get a bunch of old routes back as well, including a fair bit of Hawai’i and Mexico. Note that LAX also loses another route permanently, however. The Vancouver flight is gone for good, or least through the spring.
United Trims August, Slashes September
United was pretty happy with its international plans for September. It was so happy that it even put out a press release. That being said, growth is pretty limited. August was at 43 percent of last year while September is only 45 percent.
That August number includes a late pulldown filed this weekend. SF to Hong Kong is being pulled and a bunch of Central America flying is being reduced. On the bright side, Mumbai to Newark comes back in August now.
Versus August, United will bring 45 routes back in September. There are 30 routes going away, 137 seeing frequency decreases, and 99 seeing frequency increases. This isn’t as big as American, but it’s still something. Here’s the hub breakdown.
There are a lot of changes in Chicago, but many of those are seasonal shifts. Denver and Newark both see broad markets with frequency reductions, even if they aren’t terribly significant. In Denver, for example, of the 34 routes with decreasing frequency, only 8 see more than 3 flights cut per week. Still, it’s interesting to see in Denver since those middle-of-the-country domestic hubs are where things were looking stronger previously.
Southwest Takes Another August Cut
You know things are dire when Southwest decides to take an August cut so late in the game. It’s about 8 percent of flights, or 2,500 a week, that disappear. Now Southwest will operate about 73 percent of last year’s flights. It had planned to run 83 percent.
The cuts are pretty widespread with a whopping 230 routes losing frequency and only 5 gaining frequency. (If you’re curious, those are Atlanta to Washington/Dulles, Vegas to San Francisco, Los Angeles to Phoenix, and Denver to Indianapolis and Vegas.)
The bigger focus cities — save Vegas and Phoenix which hold up better — all seem to be hit with around 20 to 30 routes seeing frequency cuts. On top of that, there are 17 routes losing their nonstops entirely. Here’s a map:
For Southwest to cut in August so close to travel, things must be ugly.
JetBlue Takes Down August and September… Again
JetBlue had already taken down August and September, but now it’s taking things down even more. It’s ugly. August 12-18 goes from planning to operate 43 percent of last year’s flights to only 30 percent. And September 9-15 goes from 61 percent to 39 percent. That’s a lot.
In August, 9 routes go away entirely including Fort Lauderdale to Aruba, Charleston, Havana, Jacksonville, and San Jose (CR) along with Boston to Newark, JFK to Grenada, and LaGuardia to Fort Myers and Tampa. On top of this, 104 routes lose frequency.
In September, another 46 routes lose service entirely. More than half touch Florida. There are also some transcons including JFK to Ontario and Burbank going away. The almost-dead Long Beach operation gets cut further as well with Vegas, Portland, and Seattle going away early… for good. There are 120 routes that lose frequency.
There are no gains in any markets. in the near term, though in the long term, JetBlue is increasing JFK to Portland (OR) and San Jose (CA) from 4x weekly to daily.
Frontier and Allegiant Pull Down September
Frontier never wastes a week, seemingly cutting every chance it gets. In September, it pulled down about 15 percent of flights. August is at 58 percent of last year and now September is at 57 percent.
Allegiant’s original September plan was to grow by 8 percent versus last year. Now it’s going to operate only 87 percent of last year’s plan. At least, that’s what it’s thinking right now. Keep in mind that September is usually the weakest month of the year for Allegiant anyway. This September, thirty routes are being dropped and 62 lose frequency.
Delta Delays Service for Several Routes
Delta was quiet this week for the most part, but it did make a couple moves of interest.
- Detroit – Monterrey will resume November 22 instead of October 1
- Los Angeles – San Jose (CR) will resume November 21 instead of October 1
- Atlanta – Bogota, Buenos Aires, Lima, Quito, Santiago, and Sao Paulo along with JFK – Sao Paulo come back in September (Atlanta-Sao Paulo is August) but will now remain less than daily through November
And that’s a wrap for this week. Will the two-headed baby prove to actually be Roberto’s daughter… or his mother? Could Julia forgive Peter for sleeping with her brother and sister in their communal yurt? Can anyone (besides Frontier) continue to cut August? Stay tuned next week to Skeds of air Lines for answers to at least one of those questions.