Hawaiian Defies the Trend While Others Tinker With Cuts, Cuts, and More Cuts

Schedule Changes

They may not have celebrated in large groups, but most of the residents of Airlineville opted to take much of the week off and celebrate Thanksgiving. What they’re thankful for, I have no idea. It’s been a pretty awful year.

The Eagle and the Heart did absolutely nothing this week. They certainly both deserved a break, albeit for different reasons. At the other end of the spectrum we find Pualani, who filed schedules for January and February in one fell swoop. I suppose she had to do something while she waited for that kalua turkey to finish roasting.

For everyone else, this was a week of tinkering out in the garage, and it was all about cutting. I see a lot of red on the dashboard, and it is not a feel-good story.

All this and more this week as I look through the Cirium data. Like sands through the hourglass, so are the skeds of air lines.

Allegiant Joins the SNA Party

Allegiant has gotten around to filing its new service to Orange County and Spokane, among others. In Orange County, it’ll run up to 17 weekly flights (almost entirely Thurs/Fri/Sun/Mon) to eight cities. You can see full details in the press release. But it wasn’t all a growth story for the airline in this unusually-active week. Allegiant also made some cuts around the system. In fact, December and January available seat miles are both down 3 percent. But the cuts are only before December 16 and after January 4. It’s a pre- and post-holiday thing, weakness around the edges.

Delta Cuts Again

It’s cutting time once again for Delta. December is down 3 percent and January is down 5 percent. In December, the cuts are closer to 1 percent for the first half of the month and then it accelerates during the holidays. In January, it’s mostly a 5 percent cut across the board, but the Tuesday after the holidays and the Sunday before MLK Day are both pulled down from a peak to an off-peak schedule.

Interestingly, for the first time in awhile, Boston got a little love with more winter service to Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, and Orlando. Meanwhile, West Yellowstone is back with a couple daily flights next summer from Salt Lake.

Frontier Cuts Very Late

It’s normal to see Frontier cutting close to departure, but this one is pretty steep. From December 1 – 7, Frontier removed 148 flights, or 9 percent of its schedule. That, in case you don’t have a calendar handy, is for flights starting TOMORROW.

Hawaiian Files January and February

The one airline to do anything substantial this week was Hawaiian. It filed its January and February schedules, though February may only be accurate for domestic travel. Interisland is actually being cut back compared to current schedules with Hilo – Kahului and Kona – Lihu’e being suspended in January along with Honolulu – Lana’i and Moloka’i in February. Mainland flying shows very modest growth but nothing notable.

JetBlue Prunes As Always

JetBlue did its usual later cutting into December, but there wasn’t much of interest in the broad cuts. Most notable… JFK to Albuquerque is going less than daily and JFK to Georgetown is already being cut back, with some flights now routing via San Juan. So, yeah, not that interesting.

And Now, a Spirit Question

Spirit did almost nothing this week, but there is a trend that has me confused. Every single week, Spirit cuts Managua. Is there a reason for this? Are the Nicaraguans rolling things out week by week and Spirit has to respond? It’s just odd to see over and over again.

United Does Some Holiday Trimming

United was busy trimming as well this week. Between December 17 and January 4, United cut 5.5 percent of flights. Newark saw more than 15 percent of departures removed and Dulles was next at 8.5 percent. No hub was spared, but the Northeast clearly took the brunt of the pain here.

Other Randomness

Here’s a new feature I thought I’d throw into the mix when there was anything of interest. These are some highlights (or lowlights) from the other airlines that I don’t normally cover.

  • Aeromexico has delayed its return to Monterrey from the US. JFK, Los Angeles, and Vegas service resumption has been pushed out to March.
  • JAL’s new low-cost carrier ZIPAIR has filed its first flights between Tokyo/Narita and Honolulu. The first flight goes December 19, and it’ll operate 3 to 4 times a week.
  • LATAM won’t fly from Boston to Sao Paulo or from LA and JFK to Santiago during the month of February.
  • Southern Airways Express appears to be pulling out of its Texas operation in March with flights from DFW to Hot Springs, Harrison, and El Dorado going away along with the flights beyond to Memphis. Same goes for LAX to Imperial.
  • Turkish has delayed the restart of Newark to Istanbul from January 2 to March 28.

And that’s it for this week’s not-so-exciting episode. Stayed tuned next week when I know there will be a lot more action on Skeds of air Lines.

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14 comments on “Hawaiian Defies the Trend While Others Tinker With Cuts, Cuts, and More Cuts

  1. With 300+ cancellations on Thanksgiving Day alone, Delta should focus on simply executing the paltry schedule that it does publish. Beautiful weather everywhere that day, so that’s not the reason. Way to go Delta, you’ve got this! And kiss goodbye the WestJet Joint Venture. Another embarrassing week for the Widget.

    1. how many user names do you have?
      Since you decided to throw in comments that are not related to what CF actually addressed, I’ll address them. With facts.
      If you subscribed to Cranky’s more in-depth version of the weekly schedule reports, you would see that Delta is actually cutting a much smaller percentage of its capacity for November and December – where he notes schedules are pretty firm – than AA, B6 and UA. The only carrier that is flying a larger percentage of capacity on a year over year basis than Delta is WN. Some or all of those airlines are or did block seats in November and some will thru the end of the year. What is most notable is that DL, like AA and UA, operates large international route systems so they should be cancelling approximately the same amount of seats but that is not the case.
      The whole seat blocking argument works if all of the airlines filled the same percentage of seats that they offered but for the 3rd quarter, Delta filled a higher percentage of the seats it actually offered than AA or UA and a number of other airlines. They didn’t block seats and still ended up selling a smaller percentage of seats they offered. We’ll find out how well non-seat blocking airlines did in the 4th quarter when airlines report about the time Biden ascends to the throne.

      And CF also covered B6′ late cancellations including for Thanksgiving week. You might want to go back to his article here.
      You didn’t seem to have any problem with B6′ late cancellations which he said were frequently within one week of departure.

      As for WestJet, the reason Delta noted in the filing with the DOT was that it was not going to give up any slots at LGA to any carrier esp. given that the DOT did not require that those slots be used by other carriers specifically for US-Canada flights. The DOT also excluded WestJet’s low cost carrier subsidiaries from the proposed JV and those subsidiaries fly a large percentage
      The bad news for everyone else is that Delta has no intentions of shrinking its presence in NYC for any reason. AA continues to shrink in NYC. B6 is actually shifting capacity from JFK to EWR which not only increases DL’s dominance of the domestic market from JFK but also reduced UA’s share of EWR – and that trend will continue.

      And the DOT has not acted on AA and B6 proposal to shift slots at LGA and JFK between the two airlines and airports, very likely because both airports are under slot exemptions. As long as Cuomo and DeBlasio continue to lock down NY, travel will be reduced and there is no reason at present for the DOT or DOJ to entertain any requests for moving slots – which means the market won’t grow – but DL is still holding onto its slots.

      Feel free to discuss issues in CF’s report. Or we can facts to show what is really happening about the issues which you choose to throw into the discussion.

      1. Canceling over 300 flights SAME DAY on a major Holiday is vastly different from pre-canceling even a week in advance. And you KNOW it. No other carrier performed as poorly, operationally, as Delta did last week. I mean, it was not even close. Here’s some Thanksgiving Day cancellation data for you: On Thanksgiving Day, Delta canceled over 17% of its flights, systemwide. There was no IT meltdown. The weather was glorious all over the country. So let’s face the fact: Delta management could not crew its schedule last week. Delta used to run THE most reliable schedule. Delta was justifiably proud of its operation. But my how the mighty has fallen. Major inconveniences, if not downright strandings, of customers on a major holiday day when EVERY OTHER carrier operated brilliantly.

        You can try to obscure it. You can try to deflect it. You can try to blame it elsewhere. You can try to change the subject. But Delta FAILED last week. Delta FAILED its customers. Delta FAILED its shareholders. And, to the extent that its employees had to deal with the deeply disappointed (if not irate) passengers, Delta FAILED its employees.

        As far as the WestJet JV is concerned, perhaps it’s much better for WestJet that it failed. After all, nearly all of Delta’s other JV partners have gone bankrupt. Perhaps WestJet will remain solvent if it AVOIDS Delta. I fully expect you to somehow say Delta never really wanted a JV with WestJet. You NEVER own Delta’s many failures.

        1. once again, CF discussed NONE of the issues you raised.

          No one is denying, obscuring or anything else with Delta’s cancellations.
          Other than that other site that you seem to think is joined at the hip bone with this one, Delta’s cancellations didn’t matter to the vast majority of the traveling public. It was reported in a few media outlets but I didn’t read a single one that talked about hundreds of passengers that were stranded without flights. Delta cancelled the flights and then reaccommodated the passengers. It was operationally less of an issue than scores of other major weather events including massive winter cancellations at Chicago that happen every year. And those discussions weren’t worthy of CF’s attention. Maybe he will change his mind but the focus of this site is higher level including schedules and strategy, not minute operational details.
          And you also selectively ignore that B6 did the same thing just with perhaps a couple more days notice so that the flights went through schedule change rather than operational cancellation.

          No one is interested in mud-slinging contests. CF’s readers have said that. If you want to comment on a.net about the issues, do so there. If you think CF should cover it, let him know.

          If you wish to discuss operational issues, please bring actual data on the impact of whatever did instead of your cherrypicked factoids that say nothing about the impact to actual customers that bought tickets on Delta.

          If you want CF to discuss Delta’s bankrupt JV partners, get him to write an article about them.

          Dragging every piece of trash off of every other place on the internet while selectively ignoring very similar if not equally as relevant – or irrelevant – factoids you wish to discuss to ignore is precisely what users on this site – not any other site – have said they do not want to see.

  2. I just checked the scheds in DIIO and it appears that Southern Airways Express (9X) is also pulling out of their Pennsylvania operations in March too. That, plus their DFW and LAX ops is most of their schedule. I wonder what’s going on there? I’m guessing it’s just a filing error because many of those cities are EAS routes: ELD, HRO, HOT, IPL, AOO, BFD, DUJ, LNS, and MGW.

    1. The EAS contracts for the Arkansas cities expires in February. Five airlines were bidding for the new contracts; though I could not find evidence of an award yet. The pulldown may indicate no award or that Southern lost the contract.

      1. You’re right. I completely misread the contract end dates from the latest EAS release. We’ll see who picks it up (if not 9X).

  3. I can shed some light on the MGA situation as I’ve been following it forever.

    Some of it regime uncertainties. The government has played fast and loose with both landing fees and crew testing regs.

    Some of it is demand. Lots of the previous lift went to the “do-gooder market” — people coming to “help” the poor Nicaraguans. COVID has killed those trips plus the government is “waging war” on NGOs atm.

    Cronyism. LOTS of charter ops right now between MIA/MGA. Most of the local travel agencies are regime affiliated. Nicawawa version of the Castro haircut for any other oldtimers reading.

    AV is operating a schedule most days to SAL.

    Many people are using SAP as an entry/exit. If the land border ever opens between Costa Rica and Nicawawa, then LIR becomes the new hub or the regime “normalizes” MGA ops again.

    (yes the Widget got a black eye over the weekend)


    Gents, can we please keep the attacks and criticisms on other people out of the comment section of this blog? As a reader who is no longer getting the value he once received out of the comments in the blog due to the personal attacks, I ask that everyone do their part to be more civil.

    Until a few months ago, the comment section of this blog was one of the best around, with questions, facts and well-supported opinions and commentary being added by both people in the airline industry and by humble avgeeks like myself. Differences of opinion were handled civilly, and without attacks on others, and frankly, the blog was a great break from the usual vitriol and arguing that we usually see from most sides in politics (or at least American politics). Many of the blog’s comments have degenerated and are no longer like that, and I wish the comments would return back to the glory days of great knowledge sharing, well-supported opinions, and “I respect you and your opinions and will be civil towards you, but we will have to agree to respectfully disagree”.

    Regular readers of this blog know that certain commenters are much more bullish or bearish on some airlines than others. That’s okay, as is asking if/when Brett will cover missteps or controversies involving an airline, but criticizing a person who is bullish on Airline A when Airline A makes a misstep is not. Please do your best not to criticize or attack others, but rather to present opinions well-supported by facts if you disagree with them. Similarly, please ignore any criticism directed at you, and respectfully receive (again, “agree to disagree, but respect you as a person”) opinions that do not align with your own.

    Finally, I apologize, as I know that I’ve contributed to some of the lack of civility in the past. I should not have done so, and will be doing my best to follow my own request (above) going forward.

    To conclude, we all find value in reading Brett’s great blog and the comments on the blog entries, or we wouldn’t be here. I ask you to do your part to help maintain civility on this blog and to ensure that it remains a great source of insight and (such as with Brett’s awesome illustrations and parodies) entertainment for decades to come.

    Thank you.

    P.S.: This honestly isn’t directed to any person or person(s) in particular, but rather to the community of this blog in general. Thanks again.

    1. Apologies if I offended anyone for using “Gents” in the above post. I know that there are some very expert female readers and commenters in this blog, and I do not mean to offend them (or anyone who identifies as something other than a gentleman or gentlewoman). While “Gents” was chosen to try to encourage civility (i.e., remind people to be gentlemen and gentlewomen) and because I would assume that the readership of this blog skews male (as, indeed, aviation in general does, though that is thankfully changing), in hindsight another word may have been more appropriate.

    2. thanks.

      Just keeping to what CF chooses to address will do wonders.

      CF is a very patient man and prefers not to moderate these discussions but he has said over and over that most people don’t want to see endless arguments.

      as noted below, other sites are good for endless unrelated discussions and factless arguments.

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