This week, the residents of Airlineville got right back to work. With demand rising and becoming more predictable, some of the residents are getting bold and making big decisions for the longer term. It’s an exciting development after so much uncertainty around town, and the Cirium data was full of news.
The Widget, the Heart, and the Taxi all made July plans. The Heart even went into August while the Eskimo started thinking about September. Oh, and Ms Blue? She was busy firming up plans for September and, yes, October.
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This week’s action wasn’t just limited to Airlineville. No, there were changes south of the border where Cuauhtli — which is Nahuatl for the Eagle Knight that adorns Aeromexico’s tails — appears to have shrunk down to having only two Mexican gateways feeding the US. This sent me down a rabbit hole on historical Mexican-US service, so where did I turn? I pulled up TheAirchive.net, of course. I began browsing and found all sorts of items including this 1979 Mexicana route map:
That was a different world back then. You can browse TheAirchive.net to find all sorts of historical items, trip reports, memorabilia, and just random avgeekiness.
And now, back to our show.
There was more brewing underneath all the big changes, including an escalation in the war between the coasts as the Widget stepped up its game to counter the results of the Ms Blue/Eagle love affair.
What else happened this week? You’ll just have to keep watching to find out. Like sands through the hourglass, so are the skeds of air lines.
Alaska Shifts Aircraft Toward Reality
It looked like Alaska had a big increase in capacity this week, and that’s because it replaced a whole lot of flying on 737-800s with 737-900ERs. The airline was using the -800s as placeholders, and now it looks like it’s feeling confident enough to put the -900s back in the schedule. The changes were all in Seattle where all but a handful of mainline routes received some sort of increase.
The one month that stood out was September, which saw capacity down 7 percent this week, that’s a more than 10 point swing considering all the changes I mentioned above. Beyond September, Alaska also gave Paine Field another haircut with several routes losing a daily flight into the fall, if it comes back at all.
Allegiant Hates June 1
Allegiant canceled all 114 flights that were scheduled to operate on June 1. With any other airline, I’d know this was a mistake. With Allegiant, there’s always a level of doubt since it has no qualms sitting airplanes. Considering it’s the day after Memorial Day, however, I still think this is a mistake.
American Boosts Fall Flying
American turned its attention to the fall. It extended several summer routes into early October, and it added a whole bunch of new frequencies beyond that. Phoenix and LA were the surprising winners. Each of these markets gained one extra daily flight except where noted.
- Phoenix – Arcata/Eureka, Cincinnati, Denver, Flagstaff, Grand Junction, Los Angeles, Madison, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Salt Lake City (+2x), Sioux Falls, St George.
- Los Angeles – Denver, Indianapolis, Phoenix, San Antonio, Salt Lake City, Tulsa
- Dallas/Fort Worth – Boise, Brownsville, Flagstaff, Ft Smith, Ft Wayne, Laredo
Delta Cuts International Further Out, Goes Flat to Fight American/JetBlue
Delta took down international flying into July and August after June went down last week. It didn’t cancel as many flights in July as June and August had even fewer cuts. Atlanta – Munich, Stuttgart; Boston – Edinburgh; and Paris/CDG – Raleigh/Durham, Salt Lake City, Seattle are all gone for the full summer now. It looked like the focus cities saw their domestic pulldowns extended too. On the other hand, Delta will fly JFK to Dubrovnik. Elsewhere, Atlanta – Vancouver looks to be gone for good along with LaGuardia to Chattanooga, Detroit to Moline, Seoul/Incheon to Manila, and Cincinnati to San Francisco.
In the most interesting news, Delta has now upgauged its flights in Boston – LA from a 737 back to a 757 with flat beds from this summer. That’s no surprise there since American and JetBlue have doubled down with flat beds on every flight on that route starting this fall. Washington/National – LA also goes back to a flat bed this summer.
JetBlue Gets a Jump on Fall
JetBlue is taking a very early stab at setting a September/October schedule. Looking at the changes, it seems pretty similar to the summer schedule but it swaps out places like Bozeman and Kalispell for Palm Springs and the Caribbean as the transition to winter begins. It’s hard to know what fall travel will look like but I applaud JetBlue for trying.
Southwest Copies and Pastes July and August
Southwest has taken its June schedule and effectively copied and pasted it into July and August. The airline’s schedule now looks pretty accurate through Labor Day, though we know there will be more adds going forward, as is always the case.
Spirit Works on July
It’s so strange to say this feels late, but Spirit is one of the last to work on getting its July schedule in line. July will be up 5 percent vs 2019 as of now.
United Reinstalls Seats
United had to pull out 6 seats from every 76-seat aircraft since its mainline schedule had fallen so far during the pandemic. But now that schedules are rebounding, it’s allowed to put the seats back in per the pilot contract. That was almost the entirety of the United schedule filing this week, putting all those seats back in.
There were a few other changes. United has now delayed Bangalore until August, if that even holds. Chicago – Delhi won’t fly in June, or at least until the very end. And San Francisco – Taipei will now stop in Guam for a crew change due to problematic regulations on layovers in Taiwan due to COVID.
- Aeromexico has canceled all flying from Monterrey to the US through the end of schedule. That includes Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and New York/JFK.
- Air Canada won’t fly Montreal – Delhi until October at the earliest as the pandemic continues to ravage India. Meanwhile, Vancouver – Taipei looks to be gone for good. The airline will launch two new domestic routes between Montreal and Bathurst as well as Toronto and North Bay.
- Avelo filed its schedules with Cirium this week and the world rejoiced. There’s nothing surprising in there; it’s just the Burbank flying that I’ve talked about before. But it’s nice to know it’s finally filed.
- Eastern was going to fly Chicago/O’Hare to Sarajevo this summer, but it has now canceled that plan.
- Japan Airlines has gutted its beach flying through September. It won’t fly to Guam and will only have limited Haneda-Honolulu flying, and it will only have a single daily flight to Honolulu from Tokyo/Narita from October on, instead of 2x daily.
- Singapore Airlines is starting to wake up from its slumber. It has filed plans to return to the LA – Tokyo/Narita market in June. San Francisco – Singapore will now go back up to 2x daily while a single daily from New York/JFK to Singapore has been filed through the summer.
- Southern Air Express and Mokulele must have just made a mistake last week. This week the seat counts were reversed to go back to 9 instead of 10 on the Grand Caravans, so… nothing to see here. It did add a flight from New York’s seaplane base out to Montauk, again trying to capture those people who can’t stand to be earth-bound.
Cape AirSouthern Air Express continues to go deeper and deeper from Nantucket. This summer it will fly there from Bedford and… Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Presumably there’s enough Rumspringa traffic to make that work? The airline will also fly from New York’s seaplane base to Bridgeport, Connecticut, hoping to appeal to those who hate trains and cars for the short trip.
- WestJet pulled down transborder flying in June, but elsewhere some routes were killed beyond that. Calgary – Rome won’t operate this summer and neither will Toronto – Barbados and Port of Spain.
That’s it for this week. Stay tuned for next week’s exciting episode of Skeds of air Lines.