Five Airlines Try to Tackle Summer

Schedule Changes

Summertime and the livin’s easy… oh wait, no it’s not. Great song – and, with apologies to the First Lady of Song, Sublime is qualified to represent the LBC — but this is Airlineville, and in Airlineville, summer is decidedly uneasy.

This week, no less than five residents tried to add a little more certainty to their summer plans, but most didn’t get very far. The Eskimo probably got the closest with its version of spring-cleaning, but then again, the Animal went the other direction and bulked up, and that may prove to be the best plan. The Globe, the Taxi, and the Widget all made some changes, but they are far from done.

We had a new resident move in this week. The Swift Bird, more formally known as Avelo, did not get around to filing its intentions with Cirium — like everyone else does to make our lives better — but that didn’t stop the nosiest among us from doing a little digging of our own.

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

Alaska Tries to Pull Into the Summer

Alaska appears to have made a legitimate effort to create a flyable summer schedule. April and May have been showing down 21 percent vs 2019. After this week, June is now showing down 20 percent and July is down 18 percent. Several markets will return, but this isn’t as hopeful of a schedule as you might look to see.

American Prepares for Avelo

Avelo only launched a few days ago, so could American’s big increase in Burbank – Phoenix starting in August be related? It’s hard to think otherwise. Avelo will fly daily from Burbank to Phoenix/Mesa, and now American will be adding a fifth daily flight to Phoenix/Sky Harbor starting this fall. It will also upgauge all flights from being operated by a CRJ-900 to an A319.

In other news, Charlotte – Honolulu will extend through the fall season and DFW – Santa Rosa will get a second daily flight for the summer.

Delta Gets Cutting This Summer

Delta took a whack at several routes this summer with New York/LaGuardia taking the biggest hit. These won’t operate until September at the earliest:

  • Atlanta – Vancouver
  • Boston – Milwaukee
  • Detroit – Moline, Oklahoma City
  • Los Angeles – Palm Springs
  • Minneapolis/St Paul – Aruba, Montreal, St Thomas, Tucson, Tulsa
  • New York/LaGuardia – Bangor, Burlington, Chattanooga, Des Moines, Lexington, Madison
  • Salt Lake City – Columbus, Toronto
  • Washington/National – Lexington, Madison, Omaha

This doesn’t include the markets that saw frequency decreases, nor does it include some permanent cuts in Atlanta – Oakland, Detroit – Little Rock, and Minneapolis – Norfolk and Rochester.

Let’s end on a good note. Detroit to Orange County is coming back in July. Meanwhile, JFK will have West Palm Beach service through the summer while LaGuardia will get Martha’s Vineyard and Sarasota.

Frontier’s Massive Summer Growth

The numbers jumped out on the page. Frontier filed increases all summer culminating in a nearly 20 percent capacity increase in August. So what’s happening? Well, August was at a lower level then the earlier part of the summer. Now it has been increased to match. Further, throughout the summer, Tuesdays and Wednesday get big increases while Sunday gets pulled down a little, reducing the daily variation.

Hawaiian Trims Neighbor Island Flying

Hawaiian didn’t do much, but it did end Kona – Lihu’e and Hilo – Kahului during May. Other interisland routes will lose some frequencies that month. I imagine the continued requirement for testing to travel between counties in the state continues to hamper interisland demand. A vaccine passport can’t come soon enough.

JetBlue’s Surgical Summer Cuts

JetBlue made some targeted cuts for the summer, ending service from mid-June through early September in the following markets.

  • Fort Lauderdale – Pittsburgh, Port of Spain
  • Providence – Fort Myers, Tampa, West Palm Beach
  • San Francisco – Austin, Raleigh/Durham
  • Washington/National – Fort Myers
  • Tampa – Richmond

There doesn’t seem to be a pattern here that I can see — other than Providence getting crushed — so it must just be the biggest underperformers.

Spirit Cuts in June, Adds For the Rest of the Summer

Spirit is adding service on several routes through the summer season, including new summer flights between Chicago/O’Hare and Phoenix. In addition, the following routes see summer frequency increases:

  • Fort Lauderdale – Baranquilla, Cap Haitien, Cartagena, Columbus, Detroit, Houston, New York/LaGuardia, St Thomas
  • Fort Myers – Atlantic City, Chicago/O’Hare, Detroit
  • Myrtle Beach – Atlantic City, Boston, Chicago/O’Hare
  • Orlando – Atlantic City, Indianapolis, Latrobe
  • Tampa – Chicago/O’Hare, Detroit, Indianapolis

On the flip side, in June, there were several routes that were canceled for the full month.

  • Austin – Chicago/O’Hare, Newark, New Orleans
  • Baltimore – Chicago/O’Hare, Minneapolis/St Paul, Montego Bay, San Salvador
  • Boston – Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago/O’Hare, Las Vegas, Newark, New Orleans
  • Cancun – Cleveland, Dallas/Fort Worth, New Orleans, Philly, Pittsburgh
  • Houston – Oakland
  • Los Angeles – Minneapolis/St Paul
  • Newark – Fort Myers, Nashville, Tampa
  • New Orleans – Columbus, Philly, San Pedro Sula
  • New York/LaGuardia – Chicago/O’Hare
  • Orlando – Cartagena, Montego Bay, Port-au-Prince

United Gets a Jump on Summer

United is usually late to the game when it comes to pulling schedules down to reality, but it has apparently looked at the summer and realized it could cut what it knows won’t make sense. It chopped 8.8 percent of capacity in June, 7.5 percent in July, and 5.1 percent in August. The cuts were spread far and wide, but there was also some growth buried in there, primarily in outdoorsy markets. This isn’t a final schedule but it is more realistic than what was out there.

Other Randomness

  • Aeromexico will be back in Dallas/Fort Worth and in Austin starting in July.
  • Air Canada is getting so desperate to find new domestic markets that it has decided to fly Fort McMurray to Toronto and Ottawa to Victoria this summer.
  • Boutique will fly Boston – Burlington this summer season.
  • Elite Airways will take a swing at Westchester to both Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket this summer.
  • French Bee won’t operate Newark – Paris in May.
  • Korean has extended its Guam/Hawai’i beach market suspensions through May.
  • Silver will start flying Jacksonville to New Orleans in June.
  • Sun Country continues to mess with my mind. It has now canceled Dallas/Fort Worth – Orange County service.
  • Ukraine International won’t fly to New York through the summer season.
  • WestJet finally got around to cutting May schedules. It is now down a mere 87 percent vs 2019 compared to 92 percent in April.

That’s it for this week. Stay tuned for next week’s exciting episode of Skeds of air Lines.

25 comments on “Five Airlines Try to Tackle Summer

  1. Curiosity got the back of me and I had to look up the Silver flight. I enjoy flying props, but 2.5 hours in an ATR may be pushing it for some people. That said, if the skies are clear, the lower cruising altitude on the ATRs should make for some great views along the coast of the Florida panhandle.

    1. Agreed; I felt the same way but a few flights on Porter convinced me otherwise; granted it was a Q400 versus an ATR but it was still a very enjoyable ride.

      1. It’s been a year or two since I last flew on a prop, but I really do like the Dash-8/Q400 planes in particular, and for flights of < 600 miles or so that touch a major hub (and thus have to build in time for taxiing etc) the block time difference between the props and the RJs is minimal.

        I also appreciate the jetway bag drop & pick up on those planes, as with the pax that those planes hold, that's usually much quicker and more convenient than having everyone try to shotput their rollerbags into the overhead bins, if the bins even had the space.

        1. I must agree, Took an early morning AC Dash-8/300 flight between Quebec City and Montreal (before the pandemic) and it was delightful. Early morning weather was calm and I could have stayed on that plane all the way to Chicago. That said, the turboprops don’t do turbulence well, so a bout with that may have one rethink spending 2.5 hours in one of these.

  2. I figure another month and we will see the seasonal summer routes to Europe get cut.

    United EWR – Naples for example. With the current situation in Italy and Europe in general I see no way they keep that type of thing around.

    1. I literally just booked a flight to NAP over the weekend for July. Granted, it was on LX metal but still through UA. I’ve told my wife there’s a 50/50 chance we end up going. The hotels in Sorrento that I’ve communicated with seem convinced that tourism will be open by the then but I have my doubts. To your point, though, I think cities like NAP, EDI, etc. are the ones that are going to take the hits.

      1. Yeah. While I’m mildly hopefully tourism will be open (but still not really), I don’t expect those type of seasonal routes will be flown this summer. We can get there other ways maybe but I don’t see them carrying these flights.

  3. I didn’t think DL flew any routes from DCA like Lexington, Madison, Omaha after the slot swap with US.

    1. Bill – They retained a few of them. These are, I think, weird dedicated slots that are only for those cities and Delta (or possibly even Republic) owns them and uses them. It’s definitely an odd little grouping of flights.

      1. Learn something new every day. Some educated guesses – MSN came over from NW, I think they picked up OMA from Midwest Express somehow but I’m clueless about Lexington, especially with tons of flights to nearby CVG.

        I saw Eagle picked up Lansing which was my favorite oddball DCA service for a while on Sun Country with continuing service to MSP.

        1. Madison was originally NW, then DL. But, when the DL/AA slot swap at DCA and LGA happened, some slots were given to Frontier, including MSN. At the time, Frontier was owned by Republic. When Republic sold Frontier, they retained the slot for MSN and continue to operate it, but under the DL brand. So, it came full circle.

          1. I’m going off fuzzy memory here, so I’m happy to be corrected, but at one point, AA announced MSP-LGA flights. NW responded with DFWLGA (or vice versa).

            Both carriers backed off, but NW wound up using those 4 LGA slots on MSN/DSM/GRR/OMA instead.

  4. JetBlue probably has to cut these and a few more routes over the summer. They are up 35 flights a day in NYC vs 2019 for July and I think they still want to add more for this summer. The only to do that is cutting elsewhere.

  5. Is the Avelo section missing? The headline and intro imply you’ve dug in a bit on Avelo, but then the only mention is in the block on American’s BUR-PHX response to Avelo’s BUR-AZA service.

    1. David M – Ugh, you’re right. That was something we broke down in Cranky Network Weekly, and I accidentally put the title on this post to match what we had mentioned there. That wasn’t filed in the schedule data this week, so it wasn’t covered here. We only looked into detail from the website and broke it down at CNW. Sorry about that. I fixed the title.

  6. Hi – Can you comment on the long haul internationals sometime.. realize they probably haven’t opened up U.S. – Europe yet, but do you see any hope for such in late summer, early autumn??

    Thanks for your excellent work

    1. Rhhett – Hard to know on long hauls because it’s all political. I do expect we’ll see the UK open up relatively soon, possibly for summer.
      Greece is similar and Croatia and Iceland are open, as are a couple other spots. But everything else is very hazy.

  7. Seems to me that TSA screening numbers are settling in for now at a 1.5 million per day rough average. Any idea how many total seats are being flown each day? A cursory glance at some stations on United (although I know seating charts are not reliable) shows some fairly good performers starting to come in especially in the smaller spokes feeding into the hubs. Although it is only cursory and NOT scientific, it appears upgrade lists on United are fewer and fewer family groupings and more unique last names. Makes me think some business travel is recovering or at least the Elites are waking from their slumber.

    1. David C – The month of April has an average of 2,188,733 seats departing from US airports per day. That’s via Cirium.

  8. I’m guessing that the random DCA Delta flights are operated on subsidies from the local cities. That does happen…a town or its Chamber of Commerce of something will sign a contract with an airline to guarantee a route.

    That would explain these.

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