Greetings to all from Airlineville. Spring has sprung, and masks are coming off… and that’s not good. The recovery is in full swing, but more residents are starting to get sick. Will the recovery stall out? It’s too early to know, but for now, the Airlinevillians are cautiously smiling and hoping for a great summer, even if it means staying closer to home.
This week’s Cirium data showed more nuance and less brute force. Oh sure, the Maple Leaf slashed and burned its European plans once again, and the Globe and the Heart scaled back on their hopes and dreams in May, but it was more about the smaller things this week.
The Heart is heading to Myrtle Beach for some reason, as is the Globe for that matter, which seems to have a new interest in the Southeast outside of Florida. Pualani is wooing Phoenicians during the long, hot summer. And the Widget is looking to travel more on… Tuesdays and Wednesdays? That’s an… interesting plan.
All this and more this week. Liks sands through the hourglass, so are the skeds of air lines.
Air Canada Pulls Europe Down Again
Air Canada already did a preliminary pulldown of flights to Europe, and now it’s gone even harder. For the summer, these markets are gone:
- Montreal – Bordeaux, Dublin, Marseilles, Nice, Sao Paulo, Venice
- Toronto – Beijing, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Madrid, Manchester, Milan, Santiago, Venice
- Vancouver – Beijing, Dublin, Paris, Sydney
On top of that, London to Ottawa and St Johns along with Montreal to Toulouse seem to be gone for good. Plenty of other markets also have seen frequencies cut as the airline continues to be bearish.
Alaska Pulls Down Mexico and Canada
Alaska is clearly not happy with what it’s seeing in Mexico. It isn’t going to fly Portland – Puerto Vallarta during the summer. It’s also bringing Portland – Cabo and San Jose – Puerto Vallarta down from daily to once a week. Meanwhile, Alaska has given up on trying to fly Seattle to Edmonton, Kelowna, and Victoria through the summer, because, well, Canada is a lost cause.
American Upgauges Again
It was a quiet week for American, but the airline did upgauge several routes including Dallas/Fort Worth – Albuquerque, El Paso, Laredo, McAllen, Myrtle Beach, Oklahoma City, Pensacola, and San Angelo along with Charlotte – Key West and Los Angeles – Denver. Boring? Oh yeah.
American also rearranged Bermuda for the summer. JFK was going to operate daily, but now there will instead be a weekly flight from LaGuardia. Meanwhile Miami and Philly get pulled down from daily to once weekly. Still boring? Uh huh. Like I said, it was a quiet week.
Delta Bulks Up Off-Peak May
Delta was already planning on a step increase in flying in May vs April, but now it has decided to bring Tuesday and Wednesday flying up even more. During a sample week, Tuesday was going to operate 91 percent of Monday flights but now it’s up to 95 percent. In April, that was under 90 percent.
Internationally, Delta made its announcement that it would start flying from Boston to Keflavik, and the schedules have now been filed. There was a lot of domestic tweaking, and this summer that includes a new route from Minneapolis/St Paul to Williston, if anyone is looking to do some fracking.
Hawaiian’s New Phoenix Route
Hawaiian announced this week it’ll fly Phoenix – Kahului 4x weekly for the summer. I like this plan, as we outlined in Cranky Network Weekly. During the same period, it looks like Vegas – Kahului will lose 1x weekly flight.
JetBlue Does a Lot With Little Impact
JetBlue had a busy week of gauge changes that didn’t result in all that much that was newsworthy. The most substantial change was that the Newark – Seattle flight is now going year-round instead of summer-only.
Southwest Takes May Down and Much More
Southwest had a really busy week. First, it took its May schedule down further. A 15 percent cut now has May down 21 percent vs 2019. That’s a 5 point improvement compared to April.
It also filed its Myrtle Beach schedules, as it said it would. This is the first time I’ve seen Southwest enter a new market with less flying on Tuesday and Wednesday. Usually it will alter its weekend schedules but weekdays remain uniform. That hasn’t been the case during the pandemic as cuts have impacted other days, but this is different since it’s a new market. Austin also got its boost with new flights to several markets, including more love for Miami. I don’t need to get into full details since it’s in this press release.
Southwest also increased its weekend variance from weekday schedules at Chicago/O’Hare and Houston/Intercontinental through the summer (it stopped before the summer previously). In Houston, Nashville and New Orleans each lose one weekend flight while Dallas loses two. In their place, there will be an additional weekend flight to Denver along with new weekend service to Las Vegas, Orlando, and Phoenix. In Chicago, Baltimore and Denver each lose a daily flight while Nashville loses a weekend flight. That’s replaced by a daily Orlando flight and weekday Las Vegas flight as well as a weekend flight to Fort Myers and Tampa.
United Cuts May…Sort Of
United announced it was loading its May schedule this week, but, well, it didn’t quite do that. It looks like cuts were only loaded for May 6 – 14 and not after. If we just look at a week in there, total capacity was down 41 percent vs last week. Compared to 2019, it’s down 48 percent.
United also filed its new point-to-point routes that it announced earlier this week. They are all on CRJ-550 aircraft except for the Milwaukee flights which are on CRJ-200s. Not in the announcement… United will add Chicago – Fairbanks for the summer.
More interesting are some changes United made in Hawai’i. Denver – Honolulu loses a daily flight, but Kona and Lihu’e each go up from a 757 to a 767-300. Denver – Kahului and Houston – Honolulu get converted from a domestic 777 to an international one. Chicago – Honolulu and Kahului go from domestic 777s to 787-8s. I’m guessing these changes are to reduce flying on the problematic Pratt & Whitney-powered 777 fleet.
WestJet Grows Domestic
With little chance of flying outside of the country, WestJet is bringing back service to some maritime markets it abandoned and trying some new thin routes with low frequency to see if they might work as Canadians try to find new vacation spots.
- Abbotsford – Prince George
- Edmonton – Kamloops, Nanaimo, Penticton
- Halifax – Sydney (Nova Scotia)
- Kelowna – Regina
- Ottawa – Victoria
- Saskatoon – Kelowna, Victoria
- Toronto – Charlottetown, Comox, Fort McMurray, Fredericton, Moncton, Quebec City, St Johns
- Winnipeg – Victoria
- Aer Lingus filed its new Manchester schedules to JFK and Orlando starting this summer and Barbados in the fall. Boston is expect for next summer but it’s too early to file that.
- Aeromar will add a second US route from McAllen with a new Monterrey flight.
- Aeromexico is adjusting US schedules. Mexico City – Denver goes from 2x weekly to 5x weekly. Fresno – Guadalajara goes from 3x weekly to daily during the summer and 5x weekly beyond that. All Monterrey – US flying has been suspended through August.
- El Al appears to be increasing capacity by 11 seats per flight. Whether that’s just blocking fewer seats or a cabin reconfiguration, I have no idea.
- La Compagnie won’t fly in May.
- Lufthansa has extended its pandemic schedule through May. Frankfurt – Atlanta and Detroit along with Munich – Boston and Washington/Dulles will not operate that month, other markets have reduced frequencies.
- Sun Country has decided to make me lose my mind. It has re-cut Orange County and Jackson Hole capacity to have 737-700s instead of 737-800s. It had switched that last week back to a 737-800 again and now it is reversing it.
- Virgin Atlantic has decided to cut 1x daily from London to Boston and JFK through the summer. It will also remove 3x weekly from Los Angeles.
That’s all for this week’s exciting episode. Stay tuned next week!