Alaska Leans Into Its Oneworld Partnership With New Routes

Alaska Airlines, Oneworld
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Last week, Alaska put out a press release that seemed to simply cobble together two unrelated new routes — Los Angeles to Austin and San Diego to New York/JFK — for the sake of news. It turns out, there’s more than meets the eye. There is a connection between these two routes, and the common thread is… oneworld. I spoke with Brett Catlin, Alaska’s VP of Network and Alliances, and he told me that without oneworld, which it joins in just a short few weeks, they probably would not have gone into either one of these.

Austin to Los Angeles and Across the Pacific

Beginning March 18, Alaska will start daily flights between Los Angeles and Austin using Embraer 175s. That ramps up to 3x daily starting on May 20. This market is, shall we say, just a bit crowded. Alaska will likely mark the SEVENTH airline to enter. That’s… a lot.

Of course, not all seven are flying now. If we look at January and February, Delta is in there twice a day while United and JetBlue are there 5 to 6 days a week. Spirit flies 4x weekly but goes daily in February. Southwest stopped flying it after the holidays, but it brings back 1-2x daily service in March. That leaves American as the odd man out. It hasn’t flown the route since the pandemic began.

That is a seemingly odd choice since Austin is a big American market, and you’d think it would stay connected to LA. Sure, American has pulled back in LA, but Austin is a city where American focused before the pandemic with flights to places like Boston and Cabo. It’s an important market, and it’s one place that I assume will regain service eventually. If that’s the case, then why would partner Alaska do this now?

Alaska, it turns out, has put together a nice little portfolio from Austin. It is currently flying to Seattle 1-2x daily, San Diego 1x daily, San Jose 1x daily, and San Francisco 5x weekly. (This weekend, Alaska quietly filed plans to ramp up San Francisco flying to 3x daily to match LA.) Portland has been suspended since the end of November, but it’s currently in the March schedule. I have no idea if that will hold. Either way, LA was a fairly obvious hole in the Austin network for Alaska. With over a thousand passengers a day during normal times (according to Cirium data), LA is just a huge market, albeit at a low fare.

If Alaska was going to compete alone in this market, it would probably be a bad idea. Partnering with American helps, because it should enable better frequency coverage. It also taps into the pool of AAdvantage elite members. This is, after all, a business market… or it will be when business returns. Alaska tells me that it will fly a morning/mid-day/evening flight pattern. If American does come back, then it can only add to the number of options. But even that alone seems like it’s not the best plan. For Alaska, the real key is oneworld.

Expected normal oneworld Pacific flying from LAX via Cirium

Looking at Cirium’s IATA/ARC data, in 2019 there were about 240 per day flying from Austin to East/Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. About 80 of those fly on oneworld carriers. Alaska feeds about 20 of those, but nearly half that number is on cross-alliance feed to EVA via SF or Seattle. Alaska sees real opportunity to get more of those oneworld people on its airplanes, if it can better connect to main gateways like LAX and San Francisco.

Keeping in mind these are all 76-seat airplanes, Alaska is looking at trying to fill 228 seats each way per day. If it can grab some high-dollar premium cabin fares through oneworld, then it might have a better shot of success overall.

San Diego to JFK and Across the Atlantic

Then there’s San Diego – JFK which is about taking people in the other direction. This is mostly a battle between JetBlue and Delta with both normally having 2 or 3 daily flights. Now they have far less, but I’m sure they will eventually return. The only other player in this market is American which last flew it in Jan/Feb of 2020, but that was a brief blip after last canceling in the middle of 2019. American does have this in the currently-filed schedule for March 2021, but that is just a placeholder schedule. I have no idea if it will ever come back.

Expected normal oneworld Atlantic flying from New York/JFK via Cirium

San Diego to Europe/Middle East/Africa is much bigger than the Austin potential market. In 2019, there were just over 800 people per day flying between the two areas, but only about 50 went through JFK. Alaska touched less than 20 flying between the two, a far smaller percentage than it took from Austin.

Currently oneworld takes about 320 people a day with American being responsible for about 100 of those. Of course, nearly all of those on American go through other hubs. With American pledging to build up JFK as an international gateway — primarily fed by JetBlue — Alaska must see the opportunity to scoop up some of that traffic as well, especially since it will have a leg up on JetBlue for feed as a full-fledged oneworld member with more seamless connectivity.

Playing a Game of Chicken

In both these cases, if American were providing enough feed, Alaska wouldn’t matter very much. That’s why I can only wonder if Alaska is playing a game of chicken here. It can’t coordinate with American, nor does it want to be caught signaling to them, naturally. So I can only assume that these new routes smell like some kind of opportunity for Alaska even if American does come back. The opportunity, however, will likely be far worse than if American were to go away.

If I’m at American now, I have to look at this and think… what makes sense? I still think American serving Austin to LA is important. But what if I now can focus on the local business market and maybe not need the three or four flights I was operating before? I could fly at the most profitable times for my local market, and let Alaska handle the rest. Knowing that elite members will be treated the same on either airplane, that’s a viable option to help American market better frequency while also not having to fly during soft times.

On the other hand, JFK to San Diego is a market that American probably doesn’t want to serve at all. I’m not sure if American had a corporate contract there, but it has limped in and out of the market for a couple years. It did fill 81 percent of its seats on the route when it operated in 2019, but it bought that traffic. Delta and JetBlue both pulled roughly $260 as an average fare in the local market — JetBlue a little more, Delta a little less — while American was under $200.

San Diego has been a strategic market for Alaska for some time, and the JFK route is one that its biggest local competitor — Southwest — won’t operate. So there is some method to this madness. If it’s a market American doesn’t want to fly anyway, then maybe Alaska being in it will allow American to truly let go.

Either way, there is a lot of gray area here. I’m sure Alaska and American aren’t actually coordinating, but that doesn’t mean they can’t influence each other’s moves as they plow forward.

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35 comments on “Alaska Leans Into Its Oneworld Partnership With New Routes

  1. I don’t think this is such a complicated genius plan by AS. They have quite a few slots at JFK that they do not want to loose. JFK-LAX for them have been suspended since the pandemic start. I think they are trying to find a way to use those slots if they were to drop JFK-LAX. At the very least, they expect to be operating JFK-LAX/SFO at much lower frequency. They are not going to use those slots on east coast stuff. The only other places they can try are SAN (or SJC again).

    JFK is not a great place to connect at for people going from SAN to Europe. And with international travel down for many years, that reduces the number of passengers that are willing to connect at NYC to Europe. If AS still serves EWR, it will have to also split connection to Europe with EWR. Its EWR-SAN performance was terrible. It also hasn’t operated since the pandemic started.

    New Yorkers are not going to want to connect at SAN when they can get to their destination non-stop or via a more convenient connection spot in middle of the country. So, AS will have to rely on O&D to make both JFK/EWR-SAN work.

    AA basically operated JFK-SAN for half a month (in Feb 2020) since April 2019. They have already lost all of their business to their competitors. They are not coming back. If you look at AA’s performance on JFK-SAN historically, you can pretty much see a huge drop in their performance after mint entered the market. Basically, mint killed them in this market. If AS is joining this route with the thought process that AA ff with make it work, they are in for a world of surprise.

    1. From the point of view of distance flown, JFK isn’t the best spot to connect between SAN and Europe, but there are plenty worse. The great circle route favors Rocky Mountain hubs, then generally gets worse as you proceed clockwise around the country: http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=san-lhr;+san-slc-lhr;+san-den-lhr;+san-msp-lhr;+san-ord-lhr;+san-dtw-lhr;+san-jfk-lhr;+san-phl-lhr;+san-dfw-lhr;+san-iad-lhr;+san-clt-lhr;+san-atl-lhr;+san-iah-lhr

      But JFK has the advantage of so many nonstop flights to so many international destinations, making JFK a one-stop option compared to a double connection at another North American hub and a European hub. So it might be preferable to take, say, SAN-JFK-MXP instead of SAN-SLC-AMS-MXP. Sure, the double connection is less total miles flown, but you have to add in the additional time, risk of flight delays, misconnections, etc., of a second stop and one more flight to deal with (two if it’s a round trip): http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=san-jfk-mxp;+san-slc-ams-mxp

  2. I’m not sure why anyone doesn’t see the AS and B6 partnerships with AA as anything more than a wholesale effort of a few designated semi-heirs scrapping for the remains of AA’s non-core hub network in NYC and the west coast.
    AA was not profitable in many of those markets before because of its high labor costs, is going to shrink further because demand is not sufficient post-covid, and it will become even less competitive and higher cost with a smaller network.
    AS and B6 are tripping over themselves trying to convince everyone that they are part of a partnership with AA but in reality they both stand to gain individually far more than they can offer AA.
    Of course, we have routes like AUS-LAX where AS and B6 are going head to head with each other to secure a long-term place in the market and yet further confuse consumers as to who AA is really aligned with.
    Given that AA isn’t flying a single route from NYC to Europe right now – in contrast to DL and UA – on top of dozens of other hubs that have been pulled back, AA can’t possibly re-add all of the reduced capacity from its hubs, let alone the point to point flying from its coastal hubs.

    For those that are anxious to see AS and B6 grow, this is a great moment, even if both will see their position in their core markets weakened.

    For those that want to see AA survive and thrive, this will be a key turning point in AA’s repositioning from a global competitor to a national airline after it passes through bankruptcy even as DL and UA become the US’ two global powerhouses.

    1. Yes Tim, everyone knows of your weird lifelong dream of AA’s demise. Did American lose your bag at some point or something? You’re irrationally obsessed with predicting their demise.

      1. I’m not obsessed with anything.
        For those of you who don’t see where these partnerships between AA and AS and B6, can you just answer the question
        1. What airlines have ever shrunk to profitability?
        2. When did a domestic codeshare between two US airlines ever work?
        3. When has any airline that lost market share in a major market ever regained it?

        I’d be happy to be proven wrong but there are decades of airline history and none of it points to AA’s strategy of outsourcing flying to AS and B6 making AA stronger.

        1. Oh Tim… I’ll write this then stop. Banter with you is like trying to talk sense into someone in the middle of breaking windows at the Capitol.

          You already know history is littered with the answers to your three questions. A codeshare doesn’t have to last through time to have worked. And even the premise of your first question isn’t worth responding to. Delta is retiring 200 planes this year, 383 by 2025, deferring current orders. With current orders and public statements like “no new plane orders until the balance sheet is fixed”, they’ll be down ~200 planes by 2025.
          The premise that aa is shrinking to profitability is weird when that’s exactly what delta is doing. So if it doesn’t work, even if AA was doing that, that question should be pointed to Delta.
          And just look at any major market in the US and all of their histories are full of examples of where AA, DL, or United bought a carrier with a hub there then shrunk then grew again. Lax is a great example with western/delta or Delta in Boston with northeastern airlines.

          1. No carrier has organically grown in a city they shrunk. If you think that AA will regrow its presence in major cities it has left because it will merge with someone, then you make my point.
            And, because, AA is the product of 3 mergers post 9/11, they have lost more share than their predecessors had at 1/1/2000.

            And, to be very clear, Delta has not lost ANY capacity share in any of its major markets including its core 4 hubs, NYC, BOS, LAX and SEA or its focus cities – as much as some might wish that to be the case. Demand is down, Delta has matched capacity to demand AND to the level of reductions that other carriers are doing in DL’s key markets.

            If you think that Delta or ANY US airline will be limited by fleet or personnel in returning capacity to the market post covid, I can assure you that you will be disappointed – and wrong.

            As hard as it is for you and others to accept, by its own admission, AA financially underperformed in a number of major, highly competitive markets even prior to covid, had the weakest financial position when covid struck, and not only has the highest unit costs but also the most debt. We don’t need to argue that point here. There are plenty of Wall Street analysts that recognize those realities.

            AA is outsourcing flying to AS and B6 in some markets and yet both of those two are scrapping to get even more routes than what AA has suspended because AA cannot coordinate with AS or B6 what it wants them to fly or not.

            AUS-LAX is a perfect example of why this codeshare/partnership idea between AA and AS and B6 won’t work. AA still has AUS-LAX in its schedules for March 2021. There are seven airlines on that route including AA and its two “partners.” AA and DL are nearly tied for the number of raw seats (before DL’s seat blocking) offered in the market.

            AUS is a major market for AA; if its “partners” start competing with it or taking over AA’s own flying in markets like AUS, let alone in hubs like MIA which aren’t supposed to be part of the “partnership,” I can guarantee you that AA will be weaker, other carriers including DL and/or UA will be stronger where one or both also serve that market.

            AS is not even the market leader from JFK-SEA, its core JFK market right now. DL offers more capacity and that is true March and beyond. Throw in SAN which CF notes is basically a B6-DL competition and AS will be challenged at best to make that route work.

            AA does not have the financial strength to restore all of the routes it is not flying. Other carriers are not walking away from markets to the degree AA has. AA’s “partners” will compete with AA in its top markets and the internal competition between the 3 will result in AA’s global competitors becoming stronger.

            We don’t need to argue the point. Put a bookmark in this discussion and we can come back and look at it later and see if AA actually became stronger because of its partnerships with AS and B6 or if other carriers end up stronger.

            1. “ And, to be very clear, Delta has not lost ANY capacity share in any of its major markets including its core 4 hubs, NYC, BOS, LAX and SEA or its focus cities –”

              Keep saying it, Tim. Still isn’t true. Flown capacity vs sold capacity are two very different things. The only thing that matters for capacity share is sold capacity: delta has cut the equivalent of a third via their seat strategy. They simply chose to keep all the associated costs of those cuts for a marketing ploy. Delta is absolutely down in all their hubs relative to competitors on sold capacity.
              The rest of your reply… typical Tim and not worth anyone’s time to respond.

            2. DL putting more capacity in JFKSEA than AS kinda ignores the fact that AS also serves EWRSEA with multiple daily flights. The point for Alaska isn’t to serve JFK-based customers, but to serve Seattle-based passengers, and flying to 2 NYC airports nonstop puts them in a much better position than DL competitively.

              It’s an interesting point about AA maybe being worse-off domestically with their partnerships with AS and B6, but that’s partly beside the point. In SEA, AA gains a fully connected transpacific hub, without the investment of flying domestic. Huge opportunity to profitably serve Int’l while taking share from DL, who already struggles domestically from SEA and might begin to struggle internationally too.

  3. Caption on the second graphic is oneworld *Atlantic* flying from JFK :)

    Interesting analysis! Fun to see AS do some things outside of SEA/PDX.

            1. Eric – I think I’m just replacing Thursday with tomorrow! I don’t have time to write another one.

    1. Yes. I’d imagine a lot of San Diegans drive to LAX for international flights, so if there is a way to tap some of that market, even better.

  4. In the aftermath of 2001 and the recession of 2008, the airline industry shrunk quite a bit relative to GDP growth. Between all of the mergers and bankruptcies during those years, there was a lot of rationalization (i.e., shrinkage) in the industry. Peter Greenberg wrote a piece at that time where he observed that the industry had literally shed the equivalent of an entire airline. America West also shrank quite a bit during its bankruptcy in the early ’90s.

    Helane Becker, Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian, and a number of others have observed that the industry will emerge from this situation quite a bit smaller than it was in 2019. I seem to remember seeing that it’s going to be about 20% smaller in Delta’s case. Last time I checked, 20% smaller is pretty much the same as shrinking. The shrinking isn’t limited to Delta and American. It’s an industry-wide phenomenon. One major difference this time is that the airlines are both shrinking and making themselves more nimble. The rationalization (i.e., shrinkage) has been strategic, with an eye on the long term.

    Delta, Continental, and Northwest codeshared domestically for a number of years before the Delta-Northwest merger (that codeshare also included America West for a time after that airline’s emergence from bankruptcy). US Airways and United also codeshared for a number of years. Both airlines were also part of the Star Alliance. If those codeshares weren’t working, they wouldn’t have persisted.

    I continue to find it quite sad that so many people appear to be hoping that an airline goes bankrupt or gets liquidated.

    1. Let’s be very clear. No one is cheering for the demise of any company or individual. However, far too many people believe that companies like American that were weaker than their competitors before covid will be fine after covid when the covid crisis is by far the most difficult the industry has ever seen; other airlines have fallen to bankruptcy and/or liquidation in previous crises.

      Just before codesharing existed doesn’t mean it ever benefitted any of the parties. in fact, it is precisely because the industry was less consolidated that codesharing made sense. AA went through multiple mergers to become a global megacarrier to compete with Delta and United (Parker’s words from the AA/US merger) and yet they need to start cutting routes and outsource to smaller carriers in hopes of holding onto what little share they still have in markets where they have underperformed for years.

      And, once again, we have markets like AUS-LAX where all 3 “partner” airlines are competing against each other. If you can’t see how that will hurt each other and the partnership, then you just simply don’t want to see what happens in non-immunized partnerships.

      As for the comment above about DL cutting capacity beyond what it appears, if AA and other carriers that are not blocking seats end up with higher load factors than DL AND get comparable revenue, then AA will have won. I can assure you that DL knows what AA and UA are getting in terms of revenue and DL would have and will add capacity necessary to obtain revenue to remain competitive. Carriers that don’t block seats are simply filling up with low yield traffic that increases costs. Delta will kick off the 4th quarter earnings season this Thursday followed by the rest of the industry in the next couple weeks.

      TQ,
      according to DOT data, DL was the largest carrier by revenue in the JFK to SEA local market and carried more revenue even from SEA than AS did. AS and AA combined did not carry as much revenue as DL.
      DL doesn’t fly from EWR to SEA; UA does. There are multiple markets where AS or B6 do not carry more revenue even where they fly from multiple airports than DL or UA do from just one.

      yes, the airline industry is going to be smaller. No one knows for how long and who will gain what at whose expense. Get back at the end of earnings reports and let us know who best matched revenue and costs. As much as you want to believe otherwise, some carriers will do better at rebuilding their businesses than others; I can tell you right now that American will come up at the bottom of the list because the steps they are taking – including outsourcing key markets to AS and B6 – will cost them more than they gain in return.

      finally, AA and B6 acknowledge they will have to divests slots in order to win DOT approval. That is precisely why the two combined will be smaller than they were before, mostly driven by shrinkage in revenue on AA’s side without a corresponding cut in costs.

      1. Did you take a look at the DOT order? They are committed to increasse seat capacity to 105% of 2019 level by 2022 and 115% by 2025.

        This is the part I couldn’t believe. DOT actually is going to allow them to coordinate schedule. This is half way to JV. Major win for B6/AA that would not have been allowed under any other environment.

        1. FC – Absolutely. This is huge. I’m putting a post up in the morning talking about the details, so I’m sure there will be a lively comment section.

        2. Yes, I have the DOT order in front of me right now.

          They are REQUIRED to meet capacity targets or they have to forfeit more slots.

          This is between a JV and a standard codeshare.

          Let’s wait for CF’s post tomorrow but I can assure you that B6 will add flights from LGA to highly competitive markets; DL will benefit by losing a competitor in a number of smaller markets. AA can’t give B6 slots to start high revenue markets such as Florida while at the same time maintaining all of the flights it add.

          masters,
          Nobody is coddling DL with slot waivers. AA is using the lowest percentage of its slots in NYC. DL is operating as many or flights as a percentage of capacity as other carriers. There is no coddling. Basic facts matter in order to come to accurate conclusions.

          TQ,
          AA most certainly shows revenue in the JFK-SEA O&D market for 2019 whether they flew it at the end of the year or not.

          And the point which everyone continues to miss is that AUS-LAX and MIA to LAX are not part of this joint venture. Those are blatant invasions of AA’s route system by a supposed competitor just like the PHL to Florida flights.
          And markets like AUS-LAX are still a free for all between two AA partners and AA itself.

          B6 will come out stronger; AA will be weaker. I guarantee you. Check back in a year if you doubt it.

          I look forward to CF’s post tomorrow.

          1. Delta LGA slots: Use them or lose them. Other carriers deserve access to LGA. Deregulation is about promoting COMPETITION in the marketplace. Delta needs to either use its LGA slots or allow other carriers new access or increased access to the marketplace. Either fly the flights or allow someone else to provide the service to the New York community.

      2. Tim,
        I don’t know why you tend to get so defensive when I mention that there are many people who seem to be rooting for a major airline to file for bankruptcy or be liquidated.

        You asked for examples of airlines that codeshared domestically and I provided some. I wasn’t in the board rooms of those companies, but I’m guessing that those codeshares would have been discontinued if they didn’t benefit the parties involved.

        1. I’M not defensive. You keep making statements about me rooting for liquidations – despite the fact I have never said that. me correcting hour patently false statements about cheering for liquidation doesn’t make me defensive.
          you didn’t provide any proof as to how those codeshares worked out
          I can tell you that there was enormous infighting within those partnerships – and that is exactly what will happen here. We are already seeing it

          1. Tim,

            With all due respect, please go back and look at my posts. I have never accused you of rooting for any airline to go bankrupt or be liquidated. My statements have been general in nature.

            To your point that I didn’t provide “proof” of the “benefit” of past domestic codeshares, the simple fact is that I can’t. As I wrote above, I wasn’t in any of those airline’s board rooms. I have no way of knowing how any of those managements or boards viewed “benefit” when it came to those codeshares. And I haven’t seen any of the internal accounting documents. So, I have no real evidence about how much those codeshares benefitted anyone. I based my comment on what actually happened. I wrote: “I’m guessing that those codeshares would have been discontinued if they didn’t benefit the parties involved.” What part of the word “guessing” don’t you understand?

  5. It will be VERY interesting to see who gets the JFK and DCA slots. Any idea how many slots are on the table in each location? I predict Delta will feel pain in NYC. Mr. Dunn has scoffed about AA/JetBlue working together. Mr. Dunn (and, evidently, Delta) grossly underestimated what AA and JetBlue would be allowed to do together.

    While I’m on the topic of slots, I believe the LGA slot usage waiver should be terminated. Delta should either use their slots to accommodate their LGA clientele or the slots should be made available to other carriers that WILL use them. It’s past time to stop coddling Delta Airlines at LGA.

    1. 7 JFK slots total and 6 at DCA. I anticipate UA gets all the JFK ones and WN gets most of the DCA ones. And according to people that looked at the times, the slots aren’t the best timed slots. So a huge win for them in exchange for ability to coordinate schedule. As I said, half way to JV.

      1. Thank you, FC. I give JetBlue tremendous credit for being nimble in both EWR and now in LGA. Even if RDU fails, JetBlue will emerge from the pandemic with a stronger network than pre-Covid. You were exactly right when you previously wrote that the changes we are seeing in New York are extremely rare and transformational. Opportunities like the ones JetBlue has exploited recently are incredibly rare in the world’s largest air transportation market. Normally, it would take the liquidation of a major carrier (a la Eastern) to present the opportunities that JetBlue has tenaciously found recently. Well done, JetBlue!

  6. Saying AS and AA “combined” got less revenue than DL in JFKSEA is really misleading since AA doesn’t fly that market. And still ignoring the point that neither UA or DL or B6 serve either market, meaning on the aggregate AS is the largest carrier between SEA and NYC.

    1. According to US DOT origin and destination data, AS is the largest airline by revenue in only the NYC-SEA market but DL still got 88% of AS’ local market NYC-SEA revenue just by serving JFK-SEA. DL is the largest by revenue in NYC-LAX, -SAN, and -PDX and UA is to SFO.

      The same thing plays out in scores of markets from NYC.

      As much as some of you want to believe otherwise, DL and UA are the two heavyweights from NYC. Adding AA and B6 doesn’t move either into the top 2 spot.

      And, once again, AS and B6 do compete in some of the same markets that AA wants to cooperate with one or the other including JFK to SAN.

      AA might get some of its passengers to shift to B6 but it will hurt AS in the process. At some point, AS will decide it isn’t worth having a partnership with AA if AA plays two partners against each other – or they do so because of the competitive nature.

      AA is not going to end up larger and they cannot successfully compete with two partners.

  7. AS does indeed have a nice presence here in AUS. Their hubs/focus cities are all rather popular destinations, with VX being the reason SFO and LAX are in play of course. I’ve flown both AUS-SEA and AUS-PDX and, as a status-less passenger, been reasonably happy with the experience I had. Glad OneWorld is allowing them to make a run at AUS-LAX again for those who care about that route; I’d take an AS E75 over an AA 738 or 319 any day of the week.

    Will definitely be interesting seeing the dynamic between AA, AS, and B6 playing out on both coasts. B6 being able to coordinate schedules is obviously a huge deal, though at this point I’ll wait for tomorrow’s post to prognosticate further.

  8. sometimes @cranky simply cracks me up.

    “Then there’s San Diego – JFK which is about taking people in the other direction. This is mostly a battle between JetBlue and Delta with both normally having 2 or 3 daily flights.”

    yeah that’s true if you specifically only count SAN-JFK and not SAN – New York.

    I’ll give you a hint. Going by pre-covid schedules, the largest existing carrier offering nonstop SAN – New York is neither Delta nor JetBlue.

    Of course DOJ isn’t worried about B6+AA’s loveless unholy-alliance-of-convenience when DL still isn’t a plurality there (both SAN – New York and NYC in general), let alone any major force to be reckoned with.

  9. AS’s JFK portfolio is likely to undergo a significant change over time, with LAX very likely to be dropped completely. AS’s product on LAX/SFO from JFK wasn’t competitive or compelling before the pandemic and certainly isn’t now. With UA re-entering the market and AA/B6 likely to operate some sort of joint, high frequency shuttle type service, AS, already almost irrelevant on JFK-LAX will likely fade away. Conversely, AS’s JFK-SFO service is likely to see a boost. AA was flying it 4-5 times a day pre-pandemic and it will be interesting to see if AS sustains it, even with the B6 partnership in the mix with AA. Suddenly, AA/B6/AS become the #1 airline in the JFK-SFO market in terms of frequency. The rest of AS’s JFK portfolio (SEA, PDX, and now SAN) make a lot of sense. AA doesn’t want to fly SAN or SEA, and suspended them in 2019 using the runway renovation and slot waiver as an excuse. It doesn’t serve PDX. B6 is not a major player on JFK-SEA or PDX, but it is on SAN. Again, AS and B6 will not be code sharing, but AA will be with each. This could look compelling to corporate contracts in a normalized environment.

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