Southwest and JetBlue Settle April, American Adds in Chicago

Schedule Changes

Every good soap opera runs its course. I’m not sure we’ve reached that point yet, but it seems like a good time to check in with you, the audience, and see if you still like these weekly schedule posts or if it’s time to cancel the show. Please vote and let me know.

Should I continue writing Skeds of air Lines?

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Most of the good residents of Airlineville are pretty set with their spring break and Easter plans. Now they just wait to see if all those revelers actually show up. But that doesn’t mean everyone has finished. As usual, the Globe, the Taxi, and Pualani are keeping everyone waiting to see what April will ultimately look like. We’ll be watching the Cirium rollout next weekend, assuming all three will go then. We’re getting way too close for it to be delayed any longer.

Elsewhere in Airlineville, the Sun decided it was time to think about the fall. It now has flights to all your favorite small cities through mid-November, plus plenty you’ve probably never even heard of. Meanwhile, the Eagle invited everyone to pull out some Garrett’s popcorn to see what it had in store for Chicago for the summer. Spoiler alert… it’s all about leisure.

All this and more this week. Like sands through the hourglass, so are the skeds of air lines.

Allegiant Files the Fall

Allegiant extended its schedule from the end of August through mid-November. That’s generally a more quiet time of year, but Allegiant is not playing games. Right now, it expects capacity to be more than 20 percent higher in September and October compared to 2019.

American Does More Leisure with a Chicago Twist

American continues to pour on the leisure routes with the hope that they will pay off. This week, it was Chicago that received the lion’s share of the growth with Billings, Fresno, Nantucket, Santa Barbara, and Spokane getting flights. Asheville and Panama City will return this summer. Plus, Harlingen, Key West, and Sarasota will get extended through the summer. In August, Ontario will also see Chicago flights return with 2x daily. It wasn’t all Chicago though. Asheville also gets a Washington/National flight.

Delta Flattens Seattle Out

This week, Delta gave Seattle the same treatment it gave Detroit by removing variation by day of week starting this summer. Now, every day will see the same number of flights except, for some reason, Washington/Dulles which will have 2x daily except on Saturday where it’ll have only 1x daily.

Delta will also fly Salt Lake to Moab this summer. It looks like Salt Lake – Durango along with Minneapolis/St Paul – Lincoln and San Juan also get added, but those will be year-round.

JetBlue Sets April

It was a little delayed, but JetBlue has now filed all the new flights it announced as part of the American partnership. There’s not much to discuss there since it’s already been covered, but JetBlue did also file April schedules. April capacity was pulled down 39.8 percent. It is now down 29 percent compared to 2019.

Southwest Takes April Down Again

Southwest was hoping it could get away with flying April down only about 10 percent versus 2019. That was too optimistic. It pulled down an additional 20 percent this week, but that wasn’t all. Southwest also filed the schedules for Bozeman and Fort Walton Beach, as it announced during the week. It’s also going to fly Atlanta – Panama City and Pensacola this summer, plus it brings back Pensacola to Baltimore. Houston – Fort Myers is back, and Sarasota now gets flights to Columbus, Indianapolis, and Pittsburgh. Richmond will get a Chicago/Midway flight too.

In other interesting news, the new Houston/Intercontinental service has both New Orleans and Denver losing a daily flight. This looks a lot like what happened at O’Hare which lost a daily flight as well before it started. I find it hard to believe they overshot on both of these cities with initial schedules, so I’m betting there’s more to this story.

Spirit Files Milwaukee and Louisville Schedules

Also announced this week were Spirit flights to Milwaukee and Louisville. Those schedules were filed this weekend.

Other Randomness

  • Air France now won’t fly from JFK to Paris/Orly until the end of October.
  • Austrian won’t fly to LAX this summer.
  • British Airways has kept Atlanta, Denver, and Vegas suspended through May.
  • Copa will keep Boston and Chicago/O’Hare suspended through April.
  • French Bee has decided to extend the Newark – Paris/Orly flight suspension into May.
  • Lufthansa filed its summer schedules, including new Eurowings Discover service to Anchorage. All other US markets see some level of capacity reduction versus original plans.
  • Qantas canceled all US (and other long-haul) flights until the end of October.
  • South African has canceled JFK to Johannesburg through the end of schedule. That’s something of a surprise, but I have to wonder if it will come back again with a stop whenever SAA flies again.

That’s all for this week. Stay tuned for next week’s exciting episode… depending upon the results of the poll.

27 comments on “Southwest and JetBlue Settle April, American Adds in Chicago

  1. I live on Lake Shore Drive right along the approach for ORD and it is so weird to see Southwest planes fly by now!

  2. These are great, so please keep them coming weekly if you can.

    Not surprised at all that OS has axed LAX-VIE. My sense is that it is gone for at least 18 months if not permanently. As for SAA and the axed JFK-JNB-JFK route, that is also not surprising given the airline’s financial woes and very low demand for flights to South Africa generally. I don’t see SAA returning at all and the future of NYC to JNB probably resides with UA over at EWR but not until 2022 at the earliest.

    AF does not need to serve JFK-ORY right now. That route is really about business travel and the convenience and proximity of ORY over CDG for access to Paris’ city center.

  3. Yes.. PLEASE PLEASE continue these airline updates. I work in the industry, so it really is helpful to see what is truly going on

  4. Thank you for writing the weekly schedule updates. The data and your comments are informative. Consider making this weekly feature faster for you to write by publishing just the data in a table or bullet point format.

  5. For me, the best part is “other randomness” as that is where I find out what options to Europe I will have once I am (and they are) vaccinated…

  6. The Skeds report on Monday morning is, for me, a great way to start the week.  The sometimes snarky commentary is much enjoyed so I would certainly vote to continue as is.  Thanks, Cranky.
    Patrick Dee

  7. Cranky, can you please explain why you find it hard to believe Southwest overshot the schedules at both ORD and IAH?

    1. Chicago Chris – Because Southwest just doesn’t operate that way. It doesn’t build up schedules and then cut them back before launch. The precision here of just cutting single daily flights across markets makes it seem like there’s something else weird going on here.

  8. Love the weekly schedules, my favorite part of the blog these days, but the poll won’t let me vote, it’s just showing the results.

    DL really flies 2x daily from SEA to IAD?

    1. Bill – That’s in the schedule, but I highly doubt it’ll hold up that way once they get cutting as the months grow closer.

  9. Brett, keep the weekly updates coming! With the constantly evolving pandemic issues, they’re timely and vital. And, I enjoy the way you write them!

  10. I love the weekly updates. This is an interesting time in aviation and good to document it.

    I will say posts like today are where I miss the EAS blog. I can’t imagine that they are even close to filling that RJ for CNY. It makes me wonder what other airlines bid for that route and if it was “jet fever” that made them choose the RJ. I do think that Salt Lake is a better destination for the area than Denver.

  11. I VOTE YES.
    PLEASE CONTINUE THE WEEKLY “SKEDS OF THE AIR LINES”. Good, interesting info.

    Thank you!

  12. As long as the industry is in the kind of flux it is, a weekly update is probably useful and informative. But once things start to stabilize and grow, and your core business revenues increase (which I hope happens very soon, and comes with the obvious disclaimer that I have no way of knowing those kinds of things), you should probably do what’s best for you. How’s that for being wishy-washy?

  13. I suspect Delta’s increase to 2X on Sat ONLY, IAD-SEA is to accommodate cruise ship traffic on Saturdays only.

    1. With Canada closing its ports for the summer to all cruise traffic, it will be really hard to see any cruise ships going out of Seattle unless they are heading down to Mexico?

  14. Well, the vote so far seems pretty overwhelmingly in favor of keeping this going with 62% saying to keep the same frequency. So, unless that changes… Skeds of air Lines has now been renewed for season 2.

    1. That’s good because Season 2 will be much more strategic than Season 1. Season 1 was full crisis mode, every carrier for itself. Toward the end of Season 1, we began to see some strategic plays, the AA/B6 move being the most significant. I can envision JetBlue having gates in ORD and PHX in the future. Perhaps even a concourse in DFW and CLT. The stunning non-interference by DOJ on this near Joint Venture will echo around the industry. I’m sure the others are trying to figure out how to defeat it or mimic it.

      Southwest made a few moves as well, most notably in AA and UA hubs. Note too how they keep sniffing around in ATL. The other half of Terminal C going to SWA would dramatically increase ATL local competition, without threatening the “incumbent carrier” (Kelleher’s expression) or its local dominance.

      Allegiant has also shown aggression, relatively unchecked. Their business model is flourishing (by pandemic standards) with plenty of room for growth. It will be interesting to see if they return to pumping airline profits back into their resort project once they are back in the black.

      United too must see the light at the end of the tunnel as they chipped in for 25 MAXes last week. Delta is a bit of an enigma. Their CEO blew off Trump, but managed to rejoin A4A in time for the hand-outs. They are busy litigating one gate in DAL while Southwest is taking their gates in MIA. Perhaps they have a plan to share a Concourse there with LATAM? Somehow, I doubt LATAM will be paying for it.

      Spirit is another aggressor. They are employing an AirTran strategy: go strong in SWA hubs until SWA buys them. Perhaps Season 2 will reveal Spirit and Frontier to be more than kissing cousins(??). Alaska has a new dance partner as well. Could it be AA who brings Alaska and JetBlue together in Season 2? Or will AA become a sacrificial lamb turned wolf after a re-organization?

      And IF AA/B6/AS form some sort of airline Justice League, could a hook-up between UA and DL be denied? Could it come down to The Justice League vs The Avengers, with Southwest a distant third, followed by the ULCC’s? We can bet all the CEOs are wondering if Mr. Parker has outwitted them or is the Federal Government simply doing all it can to avoid yet another bankruptcy at American Airlines? Either way, the others will be either players or haters.

      I can’t wait for Season 2!!!

      1. Very interesting summary and questions/predictions, thanks for your take on this.

        Cranky Flier is of the few sources for news/opinions/analysis where reader comments really add to the insights & discussion presented in the original articles, and your comment is a great example of this.

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