Welcome back. It was a hectic week in Airlineville with nearly every airline making their November cuts in this week’s Cirium schedule data. In addition, the Eskimo cut into transcons yet again while the Eagle ran away from Godzilla.
Even though the Widget had already made November plans, he decided to make some more changes this week, including some cuts in… Florida? Meanwhile, the Animal jumped ahead and filed its schedule for early December, but it still hasn’t made plans for the holidays.
Pualani cut deep through November despite the pending end of the quarantine requirement in her home. It takes time to recover from those deep wounds. The Heart took an axe to November and December while the Globe loaded some long-awaited new routes.
All this and more this week. Like sands through the hourglass, so are the Skeds of Air Lines.
Alaska Cuts Transcon Again
No matter what Alaska does, it just can’t seem to get traction on transcons. Much of early November plans had been set, but transcon cuts came in again this week for that time period with Seattle – Atlanta, Austin (ok, that’s not a transcon), Boston, Newark, New York/JFK, Orlando, and Raleigh/Durham all losing one daily flight. Boston – San Francisco and Orlando – San Diego were also pulled down… to nothing.
Alaska also cut Thanksgiving travel. It looks like the current plan is to operate about two-thirds of the flights it ran last year.
American’s November Has a Few Surprises
American rolled out its November plan this week. Overall, November is around 55 percent of the flights operated last year with Thanksgiving only slightly higher than that. The airline has added a bunch of new routes in the month, but most were announced previously. Think of things like the new Phoenix and Miami flights. But there is one big surprise.
Remember all those small cities that American pulled out of as a threat if it couldn’t get more government money? Those are showing as operating again in the November schedule. I’d say one of two things is going on here.
- American is holding out hope that government money will still roll in, so it’s dangling these cuts like a carrot, or
- American admits its threat didn’t work, so it’s quietly walking away from the cuts.
Oh, and one last thing. American has slashed Tokyo/Haneda flying. It was supposed to resume a second daily flight from LAX and a first daily flight from DFW on October 24. Now, it has not only postponed those, but it has cut the first daily from LAX. There will be no Haneda operations until at least March 27, if it comes back then.
Delta Cuts Florida in November
Delta rolled out November plans last week, but it’s already making changes. Most notably, it’s cutting back on Florida frequencies. Overall, it’s about a 5 percent cut in seats. All of these lose anywhere from 1 to 3 daily flights:
- Atlanta – Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Tampa
- Detroit – Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Miami, Orlando, Tampa
- Minneapolis/St Paul – Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando
- New York/JFK – Miami, Tampa
- New York/LaGuardia – Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando
This is still up compared to October by a whole lot, but it’s a quick cut back considering the original plan was only loaded last week.
Beyond that, transatlantic got tweaked in the winter just a bit. JFK to Brussels and Zurich are gone. On a brighter note, MSP – Amsterdam goes from 4x weekly to daily and both Atlanta – Frankfurt and JFK – Rome get one additional weekly flight each.
Frontier Dives Into December
Frontier doesn’t like doing full months, it seems. It had already cut through December 4, what it considers the end of the Thanksgiving season, I guess. But now it has set plans for December 5-17, the sad, quiet pre-holiday season. The airline will run 45 percent of the flights it had filed previously which is also about 45 percent of last year’s schedule. I expect the back half of December will be a whole lot busier.
Hawaiian Gets Conservative
With the mandatory quarantine requirement ending on October 15 for those going to Hawai’i who have negative COVID tests, Hawaiian was looking bullish. No longer. The airline has scaled back plans significantly through November.
Now, November only sees the return of Honolulu – Oakland, Phoenix, and San Jose along with LA – Kahului and a surprise international route: Honolulu – Seoul/Incheon. It’s a modest return to action that should give the airline time to judge demand before making December decisions.
One thing it isn’t waiting on, however, is Oceania. Honolulu to Auckland, Brisbane, and Sydney have all been canceled through the winter with a possible restart on March 27, if they’ll let Americans in then.
Southwest Takes Down November and December, Longer Term Moves
Southwest was very busy this week. It had filed November and December schedules early in the pandemic, hoping for a recovery. Now it knows that isn’t happening. November hovers around 45 to 55 percent of last year’s flights until Thanksgiving. Then it spikes up. Once that’s done, early December gets down closer to the 45 percent range. Then it spikes back up again over the winter holidays. Still, December cuts overall are heftier than November’s. This is a big hit to the airline’s previous hopes and dreams.
Out into the first quarter of 2021, Southwest is making some more interesting moves. Take a look at these new and bulked up routes:
- Atlanta – Little Rock
- Cincinnati – Houston, Orlando, Phoenix, Tampa
- Detroit – Houston
- Minneapolis/St Paul – Houston, Las Vegas, Orlando
- Salt Lake – Houston , Orange County
That’s quite a few Delta routes there. But wait, it’s not just Delta. Southwest is also doing Charlotte to Phoenix and St Louis along with several random non-hub routes like Hartford to Nashville.
United’s Atlantic Cuts Follow November Moves
United announced its November plans publicly, so I won’t spend much time on them. More interesting to me is that it has cut several long-haul routes through the winter season. None of these will operate:
- Chicago/O’Hare – Munich, Paris/CDG, Zurich
- Houston/Intercontinental – Munich
- Los Angeles – London/Heathrow
- Newark – Barcelona, Berlin, Edinburgh, Geneva, Lisbon, Madrid, Zurich
- San Francisco – Dublin, Paris/CDG, Osaka
- Washington/Dulles – Amsterdam, Geneva, Paris/CDG, Tokyo/Haneda
One last thing of note. It looks like United is leaving Santa Rosa starting December 1. Maybe it’ll come back in the summer schedule as planned, or maybe not. But now that the CARES Act has expired, United can leave if it wants.
And that’s it for this week. Stay tuned for next week’s exciting episode.