There was a tsunami this week in Airlineville. The Eagle, Pualani, Ms Blue, the Taxi, and the Globe all flooded the market with December changes as they prepare for the holidays. As if that wasn’t enough, the Heart took a shot at January and February too.
This was a brute force kind of week with less nuance, but everyone had something to say… except for the Animal which did virtually nothing. Thanks to the Animal for being a beacon of calm in a turbulent sea.
All this and more this week as I snuggle up with Cirium. Like sands through the hourglass, so are the skeds of air lines.
Alaska Fails In One of Its New Markets
Alaska has done a lot of north-south adds this year, and if there’s one that I figured would fail, it was San Diego to Santa Barbara. I suppose we can’t quite call this is a total failure yet, but Alaska has pulled out through the winter, currently expecting to resume on March 18. I bet that won’t happen.
Other than that, it was a pretty quiet week for the Eskimo. It is beefing up a few warm weather markets in the winter like LAX to Puerto Vallarta and Phoenix to Seattle. But some growth is going through the end of schedule. Palm Springs to Seattle gets an extra daily flight, even during the summer. And the now hotly-contested market of LAX to San Jose (CR) goes daily. Everyone wants to knock down JetBlue, apparently.
Allegiant Cuts A Little
Allegiant may be doing well these days, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room to cut a bit. The biggest pulldowns are along the northern border. Since travelers can’t get across from Canada, demand is down. Other than that, there are some last minute cuts in short-haul from Vegas along with some Montana/Dakotas flying. In December and January there was even a little growth, and it was mostly focused on Punta Gorda. But it really was minor.
American Sets December, Puts Big Metal Down South
American was busy this week, first setting its December schedule. Seats will be down 43.1 percent as of now. That’s in line with Southwest and a bit less than United. Delta is cutting a lot less, but it continues to block middle seats in December, so that’s not an accurate metric at all.
Beyond that, American gets the award for some of the weirdest routes. It will be adding Key West to both Orlando and Tampa this winter. Why? I, uh, well, I guess somebody might fly it. It seems like a really strange thing, but maybe there is just aircraft downtime so they might as well try.
Lastly, American has started to figure out where to put widebodies this winter. Latin America is getting some of that metal with 787s to unlikely places like San Pedro Sula and Port-au-Prince. You’ll find a 777 in Bogota and San Juan too. There’s more than that, but you get the idea.
Delta Cuts December Again, Tweaks Elsewhere
Delta set December last week, but it decided to make more cuts this week as it carved out off-peak days. Overall, Delta has now cut seats in December by 32 percent year over year instead of 28.8 last week. That, however, counts all those blocked middles as seats, so the real cut is significantly higher.
In other news, Delta is rolling out Salt Lake to Miami which is sensible if it really is supposed to provide feed to LATAM. It will, however, cut out Salt Lake to Cleveland and Columbus along with the short-lived Indianapolis to Memphis route.
Delta has delayed the restart of Tokyo/Haneda to both LAX and Honolulu as well as JFK to Sao Paulo. Meanwhile, JFK to both Dublin and Frankfurt get the axe through the winter. There were also a few notable tweaks next summer when LAX to Maui gets cut down while Salt Lake to Maui and Seattle to Honolulu grow.
Hawaiian Sets December Properly
Last week, Hawaiian took a first stab at December, but it was clearly incomplete. This week, it has made proper cuts. The month will see seats down 49.2 percent, more than any other airline. It’s a tale of two seasons, however, with the back half of the month down significantly less than the front half.
Hawaiian is seeing faint signs of life internationally, increasing Tokyo/Narita flights from one to two weekly, and it is bringing back Incheon with a weekly flight as well. As the airline previously announced, Honolulu to Boston, JFK, and Long Beach all return to the schedule in December leaving no previous mainland destination unserved. That along with the return of some Maui to mainland flying returning means that it’s steady but cautious growth for the airline.
Another Late November Cut for JetBlue + December’s First Cut
I remain unable to figure out JetBlue. Yet again, the airline made a very late — if modest — cut for November flying. Seats were down another 2 percent, and it was spread throughout the month. Some of the notable pulldowns are on transcon. LA loses 13 flights each way to Boston for the month while it loses 8 to both JFK and Newark. It wasn’t all long-haul, but that’s as close to a trend as I can find. It just felt like trimming around the edges.
In December, JetBlue now expects seats to be down 41 percent for the month. We’ll see if that holds, but I’d bet it won’t. I imagine we’ll see more late cuts as the month draws closer.
Southwest Gets a Jump on 2021
While others focus on December, Southwest is getting a jump on its January/February schedules. Those seats have now been pulled down 37.7 percent and 38.8 percent respectively year-over-year. As I talked about last Thursday, Chicago/O’Hare and Colorado Springs schedules were loaded, but I don’t need to talk about that again. And Southwest continues to look for little tactical tweaks where it can make some more money.
Spirit’s First Look at December
This was Spirit’s first whack at December as well, and seats are now shown down 19.4 percent. Spirit had targeted capacity to be down 20 percent, so it’s already in the neighborhood, but there will undoubtedly be more moves to come.
United’s December Hit
United jumped into the game as well with December seats now down 46.2 percent. That’s a big cut for the airline, but it’s no surprise since it has tended to be at the lower end thanks to its large international presence.
The airline looked to add a couple flights here and there to fill in around Thanksgiving. It also gutted Italy, shuttering Rome and Milan through the winter. It’s cutting Amsterdam – Chicago during that time too. Guam to Tokyo goes all narrowbody, but it will still have 3 daily flights. And Mammoth Lakes goes back to being a winter-only destination.
Whew. That’s mercifully all for this week. Stay tuned for what we can only hope is a calmer episode next week on Skeds of Air Lines.