United Starts Its Winter Planning While Others Focus on Fall

Schedule Changes

Zzzzzz… oh sorry, I was taking a nap. See it’s been mighty slow in Airlineville this week, so it seemed like a good opportunity to doze off. That’s what both the Heart and the Taxi decided to do, and good for them for taking a break.

That’s not to say the Cirium data cupboard was bare. No, not at all. The Eskimo, Ms Blue, and Pualani all did some fall trimming. Meanwhile, the Maple Leaf and the Globe took things further into the winter. The Globe in particular seems to have some big plans for quality time in the mountains when the snow starts falling.

All that and more in this week’s episode. Like sands through the hourglass, so are the skeds of air lines.

Air Canada Starts Planning for Winter

Air Canada decided to get an early start on winter, cutting several routes at least until the end of March. That includes Halifax – London/Heathrow; Toronto – Brussels, Copenhagen, Madrid; and Vancouver – Brisbane, Melbourne. It will also cut weekly frequencies on Montreal – Geneva and Lyon (-2x/week each), Toronto – Dublin and Santiago (-1x/week each), and Vancouver – Auckland (-1x/week) and Sydney (-2x/week when/if it returns).

The winners this week? Air Canada will run Montreal – Athens through the winter and add more flying there from Toronto. Another winner is Doha, which gets an extra weekly flight from Toronto.

Alaska Trims Into Fall

Alaska was all about the cuts this week, taking down capacity from August all the way into November. July capacity has been down 18 percent vs 2019. August is now down 17 percent while September is down 4 percent. October had its first cut bring it down to being up “only” 10 percent while November is up 15 percent. From December on, capacity is still showing up more than 20 percent. I imagine everything past August will be subject to more cutting.

Alaska also filed new service from Seattle/Paine Field to Tucson this fall as it ramps back up to full capacity there.

Allegiant Rolls Its Schedule Into the New Year

Allegiant has extended its schedule through the winter holiday season. December as filed is up 14 percent vs 2019. Zooming in, I was surprised to see Allegiant pull out of Phoenix/Mesa – Stockton starting in October. Stockton, remember, is one of the markets Allegiant will serve from Phoenix/Sky Harbor when it enters later this year. The other market, Provo, looks to keep its flight to Phoenix/Mesa but will be losing Denver service instead.

Delta Brings Down Labor Day, Boosts Up Spain

It looks like it just took Delta an extra week to decide to bulk up Spain after the market opened up. It will go from 4x weekly to daily in Atlanta – Barcelona and from 3x weekly to daily in Atlanta – Madrid, both starting in August. In other news, Delta took a bunch of flights down on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, knowing that most people will be flying on Monday instead that week.

Hawaiian Extends International Cuts

Hawaiian has continued its schedule reductions to Asia for August and September. Meanwhile, Oceania reductions continue in October and November.

JetBlue Cuts Further in the Fall

JetBlue had done its initial cuts already, but now it’s cutting another 5 percent of capacity in September and October. Many summer seasonal routes look to be ending early, with 11 from Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket headlining the list.

United Blankets the Rockies, Adds the MAX 8

United has rolled out an aggressive winter schedule when it comes to the Rockies. Notable cities with big increases from all the hubs are Aspen, Bozeman, Gunnison, Jackson Hole, Kalispell, Montrose, Steamboat Springs, Sun Valley, and Vail.

In other news, United has quietly filed its first schedule for the 737 MAX 8. It will launch service on July 15 between Houston and both Newark and Las Vegas. This airplane will seat 166 passengers just like the 737-800s in the fleet. The 737 MAX 9 has been flying for some time.

WestJet Flies the 737-800 Flag

WestJet made some unique capacity shifts this week. It has taken its non-domestic flying through the winter and put most 737-600 and 737-700 flying into the 737-800. Presumably it will divvy up the fleet later.

Other Randomness

  • Aeromar is feeling the heat in Laredo and has cut back from 5x weekly to 3x.
  • Moxy Breeze has now officially filed its schedule under the MX airline code. ¡Viva Mexicana!
  • Cabo Verde Airlines has suspended its Sal service from Boston and Washington through October. It is still planning on flying weekly from Boston to Praia.
  • China Airlines won’t fly Taipei – Guam, Honolulu, or Ontario until the end of October. JFK now won’t start until the end of August and LAX will continue to have a reduced schedule through that same period.
  • Elite has decided to switch its planned Westchester – Melbourne (FL) service to go from Newark instead. It will also now plan on flying from Westchester to Portland (ME) through the winter.
  • Silver is giving up on Jacksonville – Tampa in July.
  • Singapore is still planning on bringing back its LAX – Tokyo flight this month, but it will now fly it only 3x weekly instead of 5x until the end of October.
  • Swoop canceled all the US flying it had filed last week for this winter.
  • VivaAerobus is pouring capacity into its US flying with big increases planned in Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and New York/JFK to Mexico City and Monterrey.
  • Zip Air is going to start weekly Tokyo/Narita – Honolulu flights next month.

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

For more in-depth analysis of the most important schedule trends, subscribe to Cranky Network Weekly. This week we feature:

  • United Taps the Rockies This Winter
  • Viva Aerobus Makes Its Move on the US
  • Air Canada Prepares for a Long, Cold Winter
  • Allegiant Makes Holiday Plans
  • WestJet Temporarily Goes Big Outside Canada

22 comments on “United Starts Its Winter Planning While Others Focus on Fall

  1. This is the first I’ve heard of Zip Air. A minute of quick Googling suggests that they are a (U?)LCC created/owned by JAL, with a few 787s and a very cool callsign (“Zippy”).

    Can anyone please point me towards some insights as to what JAL’s trying to do with Zip Air from a strategic point of view? The whole “full service airline creating a (U)LCC” concept doesn’t exactly have the best track record of success.

    Thanks.

    1. I think you’ve already nailed it. Someone can correct me, but I believe Zip was created to compete against LCC’s in beach markets & other low yield destinations. Kinda like AC’s Rouge.

      1. Thanks, Kevin.

        After about 2 minutes of research, I got the sense that ZIp Air is just a rebranding/subsidiary play (and/or an effort to try to get around some labor rules) and use some 787s that JAL had laying around, but I didn’t know if there was more to it than that.

        1. Kilroy – That’s about it. Just a longer-haul low cost operation… because that’s what the world needs, apparently.

    2. Can we all agree to not bring back those awful incarnations of Ted and Song? Surprisingly, AMR never had the “bright” idea to try something similar.

      1. Agreed.

        A bit off topic, but I really wish a creative type with a better singing voice than I (read: someone whose singing voice isn’t confused with the sound of an air raid siren) would make a parody song with the names of the (U)LCCs started by the majors, especially the failed/failing ones, as the names of so many of those airlines just lend themselves to puns and parodies.

      2. Well they kinda did, it was just under the legacy US umbrella… MetroJet. That being said, it was a better name than Ted or Song but talk about clearing a low bar!

  2. Now that demand has stabilized, are airline schedule changes enough to justify weekly capacity update articles? It was exciting last year when there were massive changes, but now its just business-as-usual capacity/route adjustments.

      1. Consider me somebody who absolutely wants to see weekly schedule updates continue ad infinitum.

      2. I’m with Bill from DC on this one, though as a Cranky Daily subscriber I suppose I’ll get my fix either way. Also means the other two content posts per week can be deeper dives, as Skeds takes care of the quick stuff.

        1. I partially agree with my northern namesake. Please continue with this for a while. There is still a lot of change going on in this industry and this is a good summary. I look forward to these posts!

          1. Another vote for keeping these posts coming! I can see Delta stuff, but not what other carriers are doing.

  3. The United Max 8 seat map has been up on United.com for over a week. Unlike the Max 8, it will feature seatback on-demand video similar to the Dreamliners. I guess they weren’t kidding about it coming back.

    1. It is rather interesting comparing UA’s MAX8 with both the 9 and AA’s MAX8.

      Compared to the AA 7M8, UA’s has four more E+ rows, one less row overall (so five fewer standard Economy rows), and IFE. Seat pitch is nominally the same, so UA’s planes will probably be slightly worse in the knee room department due to the IFE monitors.

      Compared to the UA 7M9, the UA 7M8 has only 13 fewer seats, as the MAX 9 has 1″ more seat pitch in E- and 2″ more in E+. The MAX 9 also has two rows fewer of E+, matching the 737-800 and making the MAX 8 significantly more premium heavy than either. With that said, UA seems to like putting a lot of E+ on their aircraft, so e.g. the -700 still has a higher E+/E- ratio than any of the larger aircraft.

  4. The Monday threads would be more meaningful if compared on a YOY basis or some other benchmark. Telling us that an airline pulled down its schedule tells us nothing without additional context.

    1. The context is compared to schedules prior to the beginning of the pandemic or at least the last quarter of 2019.

    2. Cranky, in numerous places, says where he compares numbers versus 2019 or if it’s versus a prior schedule load. It seems clear to me.

    3. Eric – Those are all things that we include in Cranky Network Weekly. I’m not going to get in broad industry metrics in a post here. This is really just an effort to highlight that changes that are being filed that week.
      For more in-depth analysis, I certainly recommend CNW!

  5. Brett, how does the service increase you mention for Vivaerobus jive with the recent safety rating downgrade for Mexican airlines? Seems that additional service was banned, or was this announce before that ruling?

    PS Count me in as liking the continued Skeds of Airlines on Mondays.

    1. John G – It definitely won’t fly if Mexico can’t get back up to Category 1. They must just be assuming that Mexico will get this resolved relatively quickly.

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