‘Twas the night of Christmas, when all through the town
Every airline was stirring… well, ok, not the Heart;
Retaliation was hung by the Widget with care,
In hopes that Ms Blue would no longer be there;
The Eskimo nestled all snug in his bed;
While visions of fewer flights danced in his head;
And Cirium in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a summer extension from the Sun this year,
More rapid than the Eagle could add back abandoned airports,
And we whistled, and shouted, and dreamed of Florida in shorts:
But then we exclaimed, ere we drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to Airlineville, and to all a good night!”
All this and more this week. Like sands through the hourglass, so are the skeds of air lines.
Alaska Cuts Again in January, But Only the First Half
Alaska whacked roughtly 50 to 60 a flights a day from January 5 through January 13. It didn’t go beyond that, but I just assume the rest of the month will match that soon enough. Alaska also pulled down Lihu’e in February. There will just be one flight a day from Seattle and nothing else. Apparently the prospect of a reduced quarantine to 4 days + a negative test is not making airlines feel any better, because Alaska was not alone this week.
Allegiant Rolls Out Summer
Allegiant put out its first look at a summer schedule by extending from the end of May into mid-August. The airline is looking for growth even over 2019 numbers by this summer, and there’s no reason to think it won’t be able to make that happen. Allegiant has done the best of everyone thanks to its leisure focus and the route network being in areas where demand has not been supressed as much. The only big airport that won’t see growth over 2019? That’s LAX. But then again, the airline just started Orange County service, so if you combine those two, it’s still net growth.
American Jumps the Gun
As we all know, American was really excited about the CARES Act. It was so excited that it anticipated having to resume service to all suspended airports and added back flights to the three cities it canceled permanently — New Haven (CT), Newburgh (NY), and Williamsport (PA) — from January 5 through March. Of course, that bill still hasn’t been signed and nobody knows if the President will do it or not. So, you know, this was a bit premature…. update: but not too premature since Trump signed the bill last night
It looks like Delta has woken up a bit from its slumber, and it has started throwing daggers. The airline targeted JetBlue’s moves by adding more service in Raleigh/Durham. Delta has magically decided that no, it doesn’t want to pull out of Austin despite making that decision two weeks earlier. It will now operate it 4x weekly, matching the same days JetBlue will fly. Jacksonville gets the same treatment while Fort Lauderdale increases to 2x daily to match JetBlue too. Orlando and Tampa bump up to 3x daily (2x on Tue/Wed) compared to JetBlue’s single daily. It isn’t matching on transcon flights, but instead it’s adding another flight from RDU to Atlanta, providing connecting opportunities all day long. Oh, and Delta added more capacity in Atlanta – Newark, another market JetBlue is starting.
Meanwhile, Delta puzzlingly decided to respond to something Southwest did a long time ago. It added more flights in Atlanta – Louisville and Little Rock, both markets that Southwest started (or re-started) flying last month. Delta also bumped up flights from Atlanta to Houston/Hobby. Oh, and it added more service in Fresno to Salt Lake, increasing seats before Southwest arrives in Fresno for the first time.
Frontier Adds a Couple New Routes
Frontier continued cutting week-by-week as normal, but it also threw in a couple new and returning routes. Denver to Wichita comes back in January after disappearing in November for some reason. But more interesting and strange is the launch of Orlando to Jacksonville, something that’s only a two-hour drive. I have to assume this is related to routing airplanes and not for commercial reasons. Oh, and Denver will keep flights to Albuquerque, Spokane, and Tucson through Feb. Previously they weren’t going to operate again until March.
Hawaiian Takes Down Lihu’e
Hawaiian is also not in love with Kauai’s quarantine plans. It has now cut all Lihu’e – mainland flights and reduced Honolulu into early March. A little more concerning is that Hawaiian is pulling down from 2x to 1x daily on LA – Honolulu through February. It had already pulled down January previously. Sounds like demand isn’t picking up as hoped through the winter, at least on that route.
JetBlue Takes Down February
JetBlue cut January another nearly 5 percent and filed its plans for February over the weekend. It is currently showing February capacity down 40 percent year-over-year. That’s better than the 48 percent now filed for January, but this is JetBlue and we all know more cuts will come as it gets closer, just as they did for January this weekend.
January shows a lot of transcon cuts, but there are plenty of others scattered around too. Some notable cuts through February (most but not all of which are already gone in January) are the disappearance of Boston to Bermuda, Minneapolis/St Paul, Philly, Rochester, and Syracuse; Fort Lauderdale to Palm Springs (to the surprise of nobody); Hartford to Vegas; Las Vegas to Richmond; Newark to Sarasota; New York/JFK to Georgetown, Montrose, Nashville, Reno, and Seattle; New York/LaGuardia – Fort Myers and Tampa; Orlando – Montego Bay and San Francisco; and West Palm Beach -Chicago/O’Hare, Philly, and Pittsburgh.
To me the most interesting was Los Angeles. Many of those Long Beach flights that moved over don’t seem to work too well. JetBlue won’t fly from LA to Montrose, San Francisco, and Vegas at all through February. Seattle flies in January, but it inexplicably has two flights the entire month of February. Liberia and San Jose (CR) — new adds after the move to LA — are also gone during that period. Oh, and so is Buffalo.
United Takes Down Aspen
United isn’t canceling any Aspen routes entirely, but it is cutting 68 of the flights that were going to operate in January. It also pulled back a few more Lihu’e flights in January, because, well, it’s what all the cool kids are doing. Other than that, this was mostly a minor maintenance week for United.
- Aer Lingus has canceled Dublin – Hartford.
- Air China has extended suspensions from Beijing to Houston, Newark, and Washington/Dulles through May.
- China Airlines has continued to suspend Taipei to Guam, Honolulu, and Ontario through April.
- Eastern looks like it won’t fly from Miami to Santa Cruz (Bolivia) this winter, but it will starts weekly flights from JFK to Anchorage and Quito along with Miami to Quito this summer.
- Emirates halved frequencies from Dubai to Boston and Dallas/Fort Worth through the summer.
- SAS continued suspending Newark to Oslo through February.
- Seaborne has canceled San Juan to St Maarten, St Thomas, and Vieques after January.
- South African has extended its JFK suspension through February.
That’s all for this week. Stay tuned for next week’s exciting episode.