Southwest, Spirit File Spring Break Schedules While Cuts Continue Elsewhere

Schedule Changes

Will Airlineville ever return to normal? Once again this week, the residents pulled back on their plans, but there was some hope that maybe next year will be different… or not.

Cirium data shows that the Widget is going to bring some foreign friends to Boston next summer. And both the Heart and the Taxi started making spring break plans.

How many of these plans will hold? Only time will tell. All this and more this week. Like sands through the hourglass, so are the skeds of air lines.

Alaska Pulls Down Into 2022

Alaska took January capacity down nearly 15 percent, bleeding into February which came down a little over 9 percent. A whole host of markets lost 1 to 2 daily flights during that period, as compared to the placeholder that was filed. Buried in there, however, were a few gainers, mostly in Mexico. Cancun – LA and Seattle along with Cabo – San Jose each get an extra 1x per week. Guadalajara – LA gets 1x more per day while Las Vegas – LA and Puerto Vallarta – Seattle get an extra 5x per week. San Diego – Santa Rosa and Cabo – Seattle each get an extra 4x per week. Paine Field – Portland will now return in January while Palm Springs – Seattle grows by 11x per week.

American Works on December

American brought December capacity down another 5.6 percent. It was really about double that amount for the first half of the month since it was concentrated between December 1 and 15. It also removed all China schedules through November, and when it does return, it is moving its DFW – Beijing flight back to Beijing/Capital from Beijing/Daxing.

Beyond that, American upgauged a couple routes. Miami – Barcelona goes from a 787-8 to a 777-200. A 787-8 flight from Miami to Buenos Aires will go to a 777-300ER. It looks like DFW – Kona hasn’t done well since it’s gone from the schedule after the holidays. Lastly, American’s big slot squatting effort from JFK to Baltimore has been deflated a bit. One daily flight will move to Washington/National instead.

Delta Brings Up Boston

Delta didn’t do much this week, but it did bring back some international flights from Boston next summer. Rome and Lisbon both start in May while Edinburgh was filed for July.

Frontier Cancels Routes Next Year

Frontier brought January through April down by 3 to 5 percent this week. The cuts were primarily markets being removed for all or part of that time period. Canceled/suspended markets are Chicago/O’Hare – Cozumel, Pensacola, Sarasota; Cincinnati – New Orleans, Sarasota; Cleveland – Sarasota; Denver – Cozumel, Tucson, Wichita; Fort Myers – Minneapolis/St Paul, Providence; Las Vegas – Bloomington/Normal, Islip, Newark; Miami – Ontario, San Salvador, St Thomas, Trenton; Orlando – Austin, Oklahoma City; Tampa – Minneapolis/St Paul.

Southwest Extends Through Spring Break

Southwest extended its schedule from ending in early January to now ending in late April. The big news in the new schedule is the addition of several routes from Austin. The press release gives the details.

Spirit Goes Up and Down

Spirit made a whole bunch of moves this week. First, it brought down January and February by just over 14 percent. Cuts were spread broadly, and they were deeper on off-peak days. January and February now look more real than the mid-November through the holidays period, but none of them look final. Spirit also extended its schedule from early March to later in May, but that looks a lot like a placeholder.

United Cuts Pacific

United worked on extending its Pacific schedule cuts. China is now gone through year-end while Hong Kong is gone through November. It also brought down San Francisco – Atlanta, New Orleans, and Pittsburgh until February.

In better news, United is bringing back some test markets from this past summer. Newark – Dubrovnik and Chicago/O’Hare – Keflavik will both be back. And Washington/Dulles – Lagos is in the schedule from this November.

Other Randomness

  • ANA has suspended Narita – Honolulu and JFK along with Haneda – Chicago, Houston, Seattle, and Washington/Dulles through year-end.
  • Avianca has downgauged JFK – Bogota from a mix of 787s and A330s to A319s/A320s for the rest of the year.
  • Azul has extended the suspension of Campinas – Orlando well into February.
  • British Airways has extended pandemic cuts through November. Service will remain suspended to Baltimore, Nashville, New Orleans, and Newark.
  • Caribbean Airways is bringing back JFK – Barbados and St Vincent in November. It will also leave Montego Bay and shift those flights over to Kingston.
  • Condor has updated its summer schedule, and Frankfurt – San Juan is out.
  • El Al won’t fly Tel Aviv – Boston and San Francisco through the winter. Chicago is gone through November.
  • Emirates has upgauged New York/JFK – Milan and San Francisco – Dubai to an A380 through the winter.
  • Finnair has filed its new schedules from Stockholm to Los Angeles and New York/JFK.
  • Hawaiian is adding an extra 1x weekly to Orlando through the winter, a positive sign that market is working.
  • JetBlue took out another 4.5 percent of capacity in November. Newark and LA were the focus cities that saw the biggest cuts.
  • LOT is out of Warsaw – LA through the winter.
  • Philippine will cut San Francisco – Manila from 2x to 1x daily.
  • Singapore will not fly Singapore – Newark and Seattle as well as Hong Kong – San Francisco through year-end.
  • TAP is out of Boston – Ponta Delgada.

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

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32 comments on “Southwest, Spirit File Spring Break Schedules While Cuts Continue Elsewhere

    1. Wow, that’s impressive. Looks like I’ll have to make a trip to my local library later this week.

    2. He was also quoted in the most recent Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine (the most respected aerospace and aviation magazine) on pages 20 and 21.

  1. The Battle of Austin is on, and the big loser is……Delta. For whatever reason(s), Delta just cannot seem to organically develop a hub. AUS, BNA, and SJC are the most recent failures. Toss in DFW, MEM and CVG from recent history.
    So let’s look at Delta’s hubs. ATL is entirely organic (aided by Eastern’s demise). DTW was acquired through NW. MSP was acquired through NW. SEA was acquired primarily through NW. SLC was acquired through Western. Clearly, Delta’s forte is acquisition, not organic innovation.
    Let’s also investigate its other three coastal hubs. New York international was acquired from Pan Am. New York domestic was gifted by Eastern and through slot acquisition from USAirways. Boston should have been a Delta stronghold ever since they acquired Northeast, with another assist from Eastern. And, finally, Delta should have been number one in LAX for the past 35 years via its purchase of Western.
    So, to recap, Delta has one organic success (ATL), six organic failures (DFW, AUS, BNA, SJC, MEM, and CVG), four successful acquisitions (SEA, SLC, MSP, and DTW), and three reclamation projects (NYC, BOS, and LAX).

      1. Delta would be a excellent merger partner with United-with United being the surviving carrier. Its obvious Delta does not know how to run a airline on its own.

    1. One could argue that SEA is an organic hub. What DL got from NW in SEA was at best a 20 flight a day operation with a couple of Asian routes and a code-share with AS. DL decided that SEA made a better TPAC gateway than NRT. So they built upon what the combined DL/NW had in SEA, ditched AS and organically grew SEA into what it is today.

      1. Okay, let’s add SEA to the plus side, without debate or nuance and completely disregard how crucial what NW in SEA gave Delta in terms of TPAC presence, particularly in Japan and beyond. Let’s pretend that never happened. That doesn’t change the narrative.

        1. It might change your definition of “organic” somewhat. MSP/DTW were full fledged hubs inherited from NW. SLC from WA. SEA is a different beast in that it really wasn’t a hub at the time of the NW/DL combine. It is now, for however long it lasts.

    2. SHHH, You don’t want to anger Tim. You know how sensitive he is when it comes to his beloved airline. He’s an Alpha for his Delta.

    3. AA is definitely in it to win it at AUS. Had a nice chat with an AAer at Dorkfest and he pointed out that departures/day are actually quite close between WN and AA, to the point that WN had to add service to stay ahead, though of course ASMs are higher on WN because WN doesn’t fly E75s (or A319s, for that matter…-700s are 10+% more seats).

      Been interesting to see stuff like MCO/RDU switching from B6 to AA…want to say B6 dropped RDU before it even started. AUS’s AA FF base is pretty strong, given that they’ve been #2 in AUS for quite awhile, which means AA is more likely to fill planes than B6 is, I suppose.

      One of the more fun plays AA is doing is soaking up spill traffic to DEN on a 319. They can’t run anything smaller because they’ll get murdered on unit costs by WN, but a 319 is good enough as I never seem to be on an -800 on that route. Business demand sufficient to fly a 319 isn’t significant over the holidays, but folks wanting to go skiing is apparently enough to make a play. Or so the story goes. Looking at some dates, AA is running at a discount vs. everyone but Frontier, but $200+ R/T on a 775-mile flight filled with leisure traffic isn’t the worst way to utilize an aircraft.

      Meanwhile, DL insists AUS is a focus city, while AA insists it isn’t. DL’s operation at AUS is *fine*…they’re how I got to Dorkfest…but they have precisely zero point to point routes (CVG/RDU don’t count). They’re comfortably earning 3rd place, and their hard/soft product is better than AA/WN/UA (AFAIK they still don’t touch AUS with 737s), but that just makes us a well-connected spoke with a Sky Club I wish I could get into :)

      1. Correct me if I”m wrong but unless flights from AUS are heading to JFK, LGA. BOS or DCA they are not a part of the Northeast Alliance. If AA or B6s flights out of AUS, are heading to any other than the airports listed those flights are not included in the NEA.

    4. And your point is? What difference does it make how a hub is established? If it is a profitable operation, it works, period! Since you brought it up, the same logic could be used for some of American’s largest hubs, namely ORD, MIA, and DFW. How so? Remember, it was USAirways that acquired American, not the other way around, then US adopted American’s name. American has had failed hubs, too, at ATL (that was a focus city back in the Nineties), BNA, RDU, and SJU. But they still maintain stations at all of those locations with good service to their hubs, along with some point-to-point flights. Delta does the same. Research and development, merger and acquisition, expenditure of capital, trial and error, and return on investment are just a few of the categories that all commercial air carriers deal with every day (unless they are government-owned and subsidized).

      1. “SkyVoice”?…….From your tone and content, I think the careful reader knows who you are. Regardless of your moniker, you are correct: AA (and its predecessors) have failed in PIT, BWI, DAY, CMH, LAS, BNA, SJC, RDU and SJU. I would add LGA to that list as well, although a different scenario is playing out there; more of an usurpation than an actual abandonment. Toss in Piedmont’s “Florida Shuttle” onto the trash heap, as well. So, like Delta, a litany of failures, driven by lack of a SUSTAINABLE business plan fueled by two large waves of industry consolidation, junk bonds, and America’s favorite business tactic: DEBT.
        There is most likely one final round of industry consolidation to go. Some combination of AA, UA, DL, B6 and WN resulting in 2 or 3 mega carriers and perhaps Mr. Franke pulling the trigger on Spirt and Frontier in the ULCC category. Maybe Allegiant is purchased as well. At any rate, 2 or 3 “full service” carriers, one “low cost” carrier, and one ULCC airline. At that point, the musical chairs game of Deregulation ends. And those with sustainable business models that are consistently profitable will thrive. Those that play “hub whack-a-mole” will, once again, fail.

        1. Your comments (which have a timestamp of today) seem rather hard to believe in light of the DOJ’s announcement yesterday re: the AA-B6 NE alliance.
          And your assumption in the next to last sentence is flawed. Multiple US airlines achieved double digit profit margins pre-covid. Just because one or more had below-average profitability says far more about specific airlines, their management teams and their strategies than it does about the industry and what needs to be done.

          1. It will be interesting to see how Mr. Snyder spins this latest event in the NEA process. Perhaps something along the lines of “We were expecting this all along.” Let’s see if any slots eventually fall to Spirit and Southwest to grease the NEA skids. Sorry to disappoint you, but I just learned about this about an hour ago. Airline punditry is an avocation, not a vocation, of mine. However, I do stand by my remark of another industry consolidation. Since it deregulated 43 years ago, there have been two rounds of major merger mania. If that is our blueprint, perhaps in another 10-15 years???

            1. Thank you for giving me the biggest LAUGH I’ve had all day, over your thinking that I was someone else! I’m one of several thousand former Comair (OH) employees that used to work at CVG. I do like Delta very much, but lately I have flown with Southwest and Frontier. Historically, my family & I have been partial to American. One of my cousins was a Flight Attendant with them.

              Anyway, please allow me to agree with you about another round of consolidation. In the near term, I don’t think there will be multiple mergers, but there may be a one-off deal, such as when Alaska bought up Virgin America. However, I think your 10-15 year horizon is spot on, but I don’t think that it will involve any of the USA’s legacies to any great extent. Right now, we have two new entrants, Avelo & Breeze, putting people in the skies. I have no doubt that there will be more new entrants in the next few years, and those that make it to around the year 2030 will be the major participants in “Consolidation III”.

              Thank you for your comments. I wish you well.

        2. Good luck if you think the DOJ will allow any consolidation of AA, UA, DL, or WN. They already control 80% of the US market. If B6, Spirit, Allegiant, Frontier, Alaska, or Hawaiian want to merge with each other, I don’t think anyone would have a problem with that. Can’t see any of the minor players being allowed to merge with the big 4 outside of bankruptcy.

  2. EU/UK to US restrictions allegedly being lifted for fully vaccinated people in November, which should significantly boost the transatlantic routes.

  3. As I’ve been reading the skeds of air lines for the last several months, I think it would be interesting to interview someone that is over scheduling at an airline to hear their experiences about the difficulty of figuring out demand during all of this. I’m just reading and imagining how much their workload has gone up during these times.

  4. Definitely looks like Southwest is both defending its turf in Austin from American also while helping AA block Delta from building a hub there.

  5. The real news is that the Biden administration is apparently set to reopen the US to vaccinated international visitors. We could see some rare international flight adds by next week.

    As for the discussion about Delta, hubs, really, what is the point? Revenue and profits don’t care the origin of a hub. And, given, that Delta is the only one of the big 4 that is expecting to show a profit in the 3rd quarter and was the most profitable global airline in the world pre-pandemic, Delta clearly has a better grasp of how to succeed as a for-profit business than alot of aviation fans.

    The DOT should be releasing its next Air Travel Consumer Report any day which will once again show that Delta does a whole lot better job of running its operation than its peers and to the benefit of its customers.

    And, specific to airline schedules (which is presumably what this article is about), Delta continues to maintain a higher percentage of capacity compared to its competitors in its hubs than it did pre-covid.

    1. Yes, you are correct on both points: 1) The opening of Europe will be HUGE for all the players; and 2) Delta is still a great company, without question. My point about their hub failures was not a criticism of their strategy, per se. I was using the hub critiques as evidence of my main point; that is, that Delta has never been particularly innovative. I absolutely give them credit for being smart enough to see what’s not working (unlike some of the others, both historically and currently), but tossing in the towel does not replace innovation or developing a business model that will work nearly universally. Also, thank you for your measured response to my initial post. I mean that sincerely.

      1. So you were thinking I would fly off the handle?

        I’m still not sure what the point is. Not a single airline that has been through a merger is the result of that management’s own strategy including Southwest and Alaska. and American and United.

        The point of mergers and acquisitions in business is to maximize revenue and profits. If Delta or any other for profit company has figured out how to use mergers to grow while getting rid of underperforming assets are disposed of, they have succeeded.

        and you still miss the point about AUS. Delta could be perfectly happy to watch American and Southwest duke it between themselves. Delta never said they intended to be the largest airline there. We don’t even know that Delta won’t have access to gates even if decides to start adding flights right now.

        And you also neglect to note that Delta has increased its REVENUE share in Los Angeles, a far bigger market and is on track to equal if not surpass B6 in revenue in Boston this fall given that its capacity is higher than it has been relative to B6 and DL has always had a healthy revenue premium to B6 in BOS; whether they sustain that into 2022 remains uncertain but anyone that would have suggested that a few years ago would have been laughed at.

        And they have still passed United as the 3rd largest carrier in Austin.

        Delta plays the long game while alot of armchair airline CEOs pick a moment of time and a unique part of the world and think those tell a story – and they rarely do.

  6. “LOT is out of Warsaw – LA through the winter.” Well, I’m glad I got to see what may be one of the last LO 787 flights land at LAX during Dorkfest last Saturday. ;-)

    1. Robert – Great point! It looks like there are only 7 more operations before the last flight before winter on Oct 14.

  7. I know this seems obvious, but it’s important to remember that many of these changes are reactions to short-term trends. It’ll be interesting to see how things work out in the long run.

    It’s also important to remember the wise words of Mark Twain who observed, “There are three kinds of lies; lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

  8. And….the Continental Micronesia…er United Airlines island hopper is going to twice a week, up from once a week, and up from once a month.

  9. Of minimal interest to most, us folks around Boston are wonder when–or even if–United will debut their already-announced service to London. Was it a toothless gambit to flesh out JetBlue’s plans? Will it really take flight? I suppose we will know this winter.

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