Delta Gives Up on Asia This Winter While Others Continue to Prune

Schedule Changes

Airlineville continues to race past summer. Time flies when you’re being tortured having fun, but at least there’s one last hurrah on Saturday when the residents celebrate Cranky Dorkfest. A mere four days later, fall is here. While fall tends to be a delight for pilots as the summer thunderstorms let up and the snowstorms remain on the horizon, for the residents of Airlineville, well, it brings uncertainty… this year in particular.

The Cirium data showed many residents continue to pull back on their plans this year. Notably it was the Heart, the Widget, and the Globe that decided to ease up. The Animal went nuts again and made a whole bunch of plans for November and December, but we know how the Animal works. A lot of those will end up being canceled.

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

Alaska Starts to Bring 2022 Down

Alaska is looking far out and making some changes in the January and February schedule. It looks like the airline is just suspending (or extending the suspension) of some of its weakest routes including Anchorage – Chicago; Los Angeles – Kona, Līhuʻe; Portland – Billings, Bozeman, Missoula, Redmond/Bend; San Diego – Fort Lauderdale, Līhuʻe, Redmond/Bend; San Francisco – Fort Lauderdale, Washington/Dulles; and San Jose – Līhuʻe.

Allegiant Gets Cutty

This was an active week for Allegiant which made some short term cuts. September cuts start today, so there wasn’t much advance notice. For the full month, cuts average out to 2.5% of available seat miles. Beyond this month, Allegiant added some new Key West routes to Asheville, Indianapolis, and St Pete.

American Targets Election Day

It’s certainly not a major election this year, but the first Monday of November along with Election Day which is always the first Tuesday after the first Monday — that’s November 1 and 2 — saw a net loss of 236 flights from the schedule. A few other routes got boosts in the November schedule more broadly.

Meanwhile, New Orleans saw more cuts for September. This winter, LA loses one of its two daily frequencies to both Kahului and Kona. American also made some cuts with Anchorage – DFW not operating in the spring and Anchorage – Phoenix being pulled from the schedule next summer.

Lastly, Seattle – Bangalore and Dallas/Fort Worth – Tel Aviv were going to start in November, but now they’re pushed to January 4.

Avelo Cuts Burbank Again, Maybe, I Think

Avelo has not been good at keeping schedules up to date in Cirium, but this week it did file changes. I’m not sure whether this is to be believed or not, because the flights were still on sale on the airline’s website, but the filing shows Pasco and Redding being canceled. Further, Medford and Ogden are being cut from 4x to 2x weekly while Redmond/Bend drops from 3x to 2x weekly. Is it real? Avelo told me that Pasco and Redding weren’t canceled, but it wasn’t clear if the frequency reductions are real.

Avianca Files New Flying

Avianca has filed schedules for its new Central America and non-Bogota South America flying from the US. Look for Guatemala City to get service from Miami, New York/JFK, and Washington/Dulles. San Jose (CR) will have flights from Los Angeles and New York/JFK. JFK will also get a flight to Cali and Guayaquil. Lastly, there will be a holiday service from Orlando to Cali.

Delta Gives Up on Asia

Delta is tired of hoping that Asia will open back up. It is giving up on any meaningful growth from its very low pandemic schedule through the winter (until late March). That includes China which will continue to have no service from the US — only the tag from Incheon — until March at the earliest. Delta also gave the axe to Paris/CDG – Boston and Salt Lake through the winter.

After last week’s adjustment to summer schedules in the Caribbean, Delta took its scalpel to Mexico where it made similar types of changes. In more short-term moves, Delta slashed New Orleans service through November.

Lastly, Delta has made some additional adjustments to Christmas and New Years Eve/Day schedules reflecting lower demand on those days.

Frontier Spikes November and December

Just as it did in September and October previously, Frontier has now spiked its capacity in November and December through the winter holiday. Those months saw available seat miles climb by more than 11 percent. Presumably it will start cutting back shortly as the roller coaster rolls on.

Southwest Pulls Down the Rest of Its Schedule

After cutting capacity due to weak demand through October, Southwest said more was coming for the rest of the year. That happened this weekend. November and December are now down about 5 percent, and it’s a cut pretty much across the network.

United Takes on the Holidays

United brought down the back half of December for a more accurate holiday schedule. The schedule is just a bit bigger than the first half of December at this point.

United has absolutely dropped the hammer on Heathrow. Denver and LA are gone through winter. Washington/Dulles will have 2x daily instead of 3x. Chicago will go from 3x daily to either 1x or 2x. Houston and San Francisco will have 1x daily instead of 2x.

The rest of Europe didn’t escape unscathed. SF – Paris won’t fly until early December while Newark – Berlin and Washington/Dulles Tel Aviv are gone until mid-December. Dublin loses Washington/Dulles through December and SF through the winter. Houston – Munich and Chicago – Zurich are gone through the winter as well. SF – Frankfurt will drop from 2x to 1x daily through winter as well.

Other Randomness

  • Aeroflot reinstated what it cut last week, so ignore everything I said.
  • Air Canada reduced frequency on some long-haul routes this winter including Calgary – Frankfurt along with Toronto – Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna, and Zurich.
  • Air France has continued its LA – Papeete suspension through October.
  • Breeze has cut more flying with New Orleans – Louisville and Norfolk along with Louisville – Tampa dropping from 4x to 2x weekly.
  • Condor won’t fly Frankfurt – San Juan this winter.
  • Hawaiian will finally bring back Pago Pago with 2x monthly flights. Incheon flights will be pulled down from 5x to 3x daily weekly through the winter.
  • JetBlue continues to add its 162-seat A320s into the schedule, increasing capacity simply by retrofitting the airplanes.
  • KLM won’t fly to Las Vegas, Miami, or Orlando through the winter.
  • La Compagnie appears to have given up on its Newark – Milan service. It’ll just focus on Paris from Newark.
  • LATAM won’t fly JFK – Guayaquil through year-end.
  • LEVEL has suspended service on its three US routes through the winter. That leaves only Buenos Aires and Santiago operating.
  • Lufthansa won’t fly to Las Vegas through the winter.
  • Singapore won’t fly to Houston or JFK (correction: JFK won’t fly via Frankfurt, but the new nonstop hasn’t changed) through year-end while LA – Tokyo/Narita will be slashed from 1x daily to 3x weekly.
  • Spirit also took down September with capacity down just shy of 2 percent. New Orleans led the charge.
  • Sun Country has dropped plans to fly from St Louis to Fort Myers this winter.
  • Ukraine International has canceled JFK service through winter.

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

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26 comments on “Delta Gives Up on Asia This Winter While Others Continue to Prune

  1. “Hawaiian will finally bring back Pago Pago with 2x monthly flights. Incheon flights will be pulled down from 5x to 3x daily through the winter.”

    I assume HNL-ICN should read weekly, instead of daily?

    For PPG, is 2x/month viable? I don’t know the market at all, but this seems almost like a scheduled charter.

    1. Great call out on the Pago Pago flight. I had to check to see if “2x/month” may have been a typo (as opposed to 2x weekly, which was the “pre-COVID” frequency of the route), but the Hawaii news outlets are reporting 2x monthly on a 276-seat widebody A330.

      Given the very low frequency with a widebody, I assume Hawaiian is seeing some decent demand for air freight on the route, not just for pax service.

    2. Whoops, yes, HNL-ICN is weekly, not daily. That’s fixed.

      As for Pago Pago, I think it’s important to remember that they didn’t want Hawaiian to fly there through the pandemic. They wanted to stay isolated.
      So I assume this is just the slow reopening of that lifeline that’s probably more about cargo supply than much else. I don’t know for sure, but that’s my guess. The flights are operating every other Monday.

    3. Pago Pago has been for decades a 2/wk service, ramping up to 3/wk during certain times of the year. The service remains a lifeline for the residents for medical transport, cargo and VFR travel. During the pandemic, travel was shut down completely which isolated people on both sides of the route until 2021 when regular medical/repatriation charters were flown. These 2/mo flights resume on a scheduled basis to reconnect American Samoa to the world. The charters were a flown at least 1/mo, so this basically makes what has been done all year a scheduled operation.

      As for ICN – it was 5/wk pre pandemic and has shuffled around various frequencies during the pandemic for cargo flying and some passenger services. It seems now the cargo contracts are ending and 3/wk passenger service is what they’ve settled on.

  2. LH &KL not flying to LAS through the winter is quite telling as the on season is between mid-September & end of May. Also KL not flying either MCO or MIA is equally odd as logicly they would want to fly those routes at that time of year. But then again… Covid.

    1. SEAN – The common thread is that these are all markets that are heavy Europe origin routes, and Europeans still can’t come to the US. The other routes have more of a mix of US and Europe origins, so they have a better shot of working.

  3. “United has absolutely dropped the hammer on Heathrow.” – you know what the solution is, if you want full flights for the eastbound crossings…

  4. Judging from the continued cutting at Avelo and Breeze, both airlines seem to be having difficulty gaining traction. And the lower frequencies (especially at Avelo) would seem to lead to an endless cycle of backsliding because customers like to have more options for their travel, not less. I wonder what David Neeleman knows, as they exercise their option for 20 more A220’s (bringing the order to 80) while cutting the limited network that they have. Truly hoping for both of these airlines to be successful, but I question the concept of cutting your way to success. That leads to failure in most cases.

    1. Or, it can lead to innovation and success. Consider, for example, infant Southwest. They got 3 “white tails” from Boeing to start. But when the 4th airplane arrived, they were losing cash big time. As you observe above, shrinking ASMs isn’t the way out, productivity is. So Southwest decided to try to fly a 4-plane schedule with just 3 ships. The only way to do that is to put more block hours on each airframe every day. And the only way to do that (short of red-eyes) is to decrease ground time between flights. And so the now-famous (and now extinct) Southwest “10-minute turn” was born. It was innovation driven completely by necessity. This is what Avelo will need.

      1. But this is not the model that Avelo is trying to build. It wants to be Allegiant-like which is all about cheap ownership costs which allow the airplane to be sat down without any real penalty. I agree that seeing shrinking is concerning since that would seem to indicate that they can’t figure out any markets that work from Burbank. I still think Burbank is a mis-step and other places will do better, like New Haven. But they can’t put the 737-800s in New Haven. One thing they have been doing is running a lot of charter. Look at your favorite flight tracker and punch in VXP8400 through VXP8500. You’ll see airplanes probably making much better money doing that than flying from Burbank.

        1. Call me jaded, but I’m reluctant to believe that Avelo’s initial business plan was to fail in scheduled passenger service so that it could get into the charter business. But, it would be novel.

          1. Saw – I think the minute Avelo decided to go to Burbank, it threw its original business plan out of the window. It just thought it saw an opportunity that not many others would agree existed. The New Haven stuff is the original business plan, as I understand it. So now they just need to do more of that kind of work.

            1. CF….You have the inside info on Avelo. Very interesting that New Haven was the #1 plan all along. If that is true, then getting 737-800s is the equivalent of having two distinct fleet types for them. Yes, pilots are qualified on both 737 variants, but if the -800 is unusable in New Haven, then what’s the point?? Also, thank you for the added color on their start-up plans. This new info makes the entire BUR operation even more of a head-scratcher.

            2. Saw – I don’t think that’s a secret. Andrew Levy has said that they pivoted toward Burbank because of the opportunity that arose during the pandemic. Whether New Haven would have been the first base or just something similar, I don’t know.

    2. What you are describing happens in corporate America all too regularly. The logic goes like this… if we keep cutting, we’ll hit the sweet spot that will allow for profitability. Meanwhile the brand suffers as customers look elsewhere.

      1. I mean, with Breeze, they said that they 95% of their routes were routes with zero competition, implying they’d do well.
        Well, on the routes they’re cutting, mostly Louisville routes, there are two issues.
        Breeze started Louisville with flights to Tampa, Charleston, and New Orleans. ALL of these routes have competition. Granted, Charleston and New Orleans are seasonal competition from Allegiant, but Southwest serves Tampa daily (and sometimes more than daily), Allegiant serves nearby st Petersburg year round, and Spirit says they will start Louisville-Tampa this winter. So – there is competition. Furthermore, Breeze’s schedule from Louisville really sucks. The Tampa flight leaves Louisville at 8:30PM, the New Orleans flight leaves Louisville at 10:00PM. Really not great timing for a weekend or a long weekend trip. you miss a full day.
        They need to retime and think about the markets they’re serving if they want to be successful.

      2. Agreed! Best example I can think of (though unrelated to aviation) is what has happened with newspapers. Most of the ones that remain have slashed news staff and a more limited product – combined with a higher price per paper. True, they usually have an online presence, but in most cases it doesn’t seem to help a lot. Anyhow, the slimmer, thinner newspaper (sold now for say $2) has a steadily declining subscriber (customer) base. In other words, they can’t cut their way to success but they keep trying.

        Obviously this is a more extreme example than Avelo or Breeze – perhaps their cuts are intended to be temporary. But, that said, it’s a slippery slope, especially for an unproven new airline. I think we’d all agree that it would be a healthier sign if many of the cited routes were seeing increased frequencies rather than cuts.

        1. Sorry — but it’s a completely a different story with newspapers. With newspapers (the print side of the business – not necessarily the online side) it is a story of managed decline. The publishers (especially the chains) are trying to milk as much cash flow out of the businesses as they decline as the possibly can. They know that the print product will never again be a growth engine, so there is no real sense in investing in it. The investments are on the digital side. They aren’t trying to cut their way to success as much as they are trying to cut to keep up with the decline in revenue for as long as it makes sense to keep delivering a paper on the doorsteps of a declining base of subscribers. To put it really bluntly, they are trying to get as much money out of an aging subscriber base as they can.

          With airlines (even with Avelo) it’s not a case of of managed decline (well, maybe over time we’ll find that it was). It’s a case of trying to fine-tune the business model. No amount of fine-tuning the business model is going to make print newspapers a growth industry, with the exception of very specific niches.

      3. Agreed, Sean, that an airline SHRINKING its way to profitability is a fool’s errand. So if you can’t shrink to profitability and you are constrained and cannot GROW to profitability, then what? The only answer is to WORK your way to profitability. Find a way to do more with less. Sell that seat six, eight or ten times a day, not two or four times.

  5. I can understand Breeze having to cut MSY service due to the hurricane damage, but the cuts to TPA-Louisville are not a good sign. I’d always questioned this route, as Southwest flies it 1x/day non-stop, Allegiant offers 2x/week (3x/week occasionally) out of PIE (and seasonal to SRQ), and now Spirit is jumping in with 3x/wk starting in November. And, of course, tons of connections.

    Perhaps Breeze was trying to consolidate a position on the TPA-SDF route before Spirit entered and they’re just not getting any market traction? I’ve gotten a few Breeze ads on Instagram, but other than that haven’t seen anything on TV, heard anything on radio, or seen any billboards. (There could be billboards on 275 east of the Howard Frankland or on I-4/I-75, I’m never out there.)

    I’d imagine both Breeze and Avelo have to be losing money right now – anyone have any information on that, and how long they can sustain a cash burn?

  6. Given that BlackRock & KCM dropped $200M into Breeze a few weeks ago at least some market makers think the business model has a shot.
    As I’ve said before, getting butts in seats during the summer/holidays & spring break seasons to leisure destinations is easy. The complicated part is trying to convince a very finite demographic to take that impromptu long weekend adventure during the shoulder seasons that gets tricky.

  7. Hi Brett,

    Just a note about Alaska Airlines schedule changes. Anything past January isn’t up to date. The current schedules only goes until 1/4 and it looks like they haven’t gotten to editing much past it. It has a lot of work to be done. I think some of the seasonal adds (SAN-FLL, SFO-FLL) haven’t been added in. Only ones taken out. I noticed this new way of doing the schedules like that the past year. Stuff doesn’t get added in that will continue until they do the big edit for that month (I hope that makes sense).

    For example, SAN-FAT shows 4x after 1/4 DAN-SBP/SBA daily at completely different times and different regionals operating than it does until 1/4. A lot of the times after 1/4 are far off current schedules. I think you will see routes like SAN-FLL continue to fly as you will ORD-ANC. I just think the priority has been the holiday schedules and they should be getting to January soon (within the next month or so).

    1. Mb – It’s true that Alaska’s schedule beyond the holidays is far from final, but I’m not highlighting routes that don’t show up in Jan or Feb but do show up before. All the routes I’ve mentioned are routes that were actively removed from the selling Jan/Feb schedule over the weekend.

  8. Cranky – it also might be worth noting that Allegiant abandoned Jackson Hole after their load factors were absolutely abysmal. (Jackson Hole Airport publishes load factors on their Website). They had been flying to Jackson from four cities.

    I could never imagine that many people wanting to fly from Reno to Jackson or from Vegas to Jackson on one or two particular days each week, especially when Jackson has such good, frequent connections through most of the regional hubs (especially Salt Lake and Denver).

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