More Cuts Flood the Fall, But Some Growth Creeps Into 2022

Schedule Changes

I was expecting to see a quiet week in Airlineville, but boy, was I wrong. No, as the Cirium data shows, it was a busy one indeed

The problem is, the residents are all getting very predictable and boring. The Globe, the Heart, the Widget, and the Animal all pulled back on their plans the rest of this year, and some went even further. But wait… what’s this?

Could it be that Ms Blue and the Taxi are actually making more plans for 2022? It certainly seems that way… or at least until May when Ms Blue pulls back once again. It’s a complicated world.

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

Air Canada Extends Its Cuts

Air Canada has stretched its suspended routes further out. These markets are suspended through the winter:

  • Calgary – Los Cabos, Newark
  • Edmonton – Fort McMurray, Grand Prairie, Saskatoon, Winnipeg
  • Halifax – Boston
  • Montreal – Baltimore, London (Ontario), Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Raleigh/Durham
  • Ottawa – Boston, Fredericton, Moncton, Newark, Washington/National
  • Toronto – Palm Springs, Sarasota
  • Vancouver – Yellowknife

In addition, Toronto – Charlotte, Cincinnati, and New Orleans are gone through the end of this year. And Hong Kong is suspended through November.

Alaska Cuts Into the New Year on Transcon

Alaska took down frequency on several transcon routes in January and February, including Seattle – Boston, Charleston, Pittsburgh, and Washington/Dulles. New York saw broader cuts from Newark to LAX, Seattle, and San Francisco while JFK was cut to Seattle and SFO.

American Shuffles Regionals

American pulled down CRJ-700 flying operated by SkyWest primarily in LA but also in Dallas/Fort Worth and Phoenix to a lesser extent. In LA, those CRJ-700s are being replaced (mostly) with Embraer 175s. SkyWest wasn’t supposed to start flying those for American until 2022, but it’s apparently now starting in early October.

American will also suspend Sydney service through year-end.

Delta Cuts the Fall Again

The death by a thousand cuts strategy is alive and well. This time, Delta whacked another 1.8 percent of available seat miles in November and December. Saturdays were hit particularly hard, especially in early December. But nothing was hit harder than Salt Lake – Durango… which is now gone from the schedule.

A few long-haul routes see some longer term trims. Boston – London comes back at the end of October, but it will see one of its weekly flights shifted to Detroit. Paris to both Minneapolis/St Paul and Seattle drops from 1x daily to 3x weekly.

Delta is also preparing to have to use its New York slots to the fullest on domestic routes by shifting around flights. It will introduce JFK – Norfolk and bulk up on some other shorter haul, slot-squatting routes while cutting elsewhere.

Hawaiian Does Some Housekeeping

Hawaiian brought down December interisland schedules, but it was the game of inches that was more interesting. The airline added a couple more flights to Austin scattered in January and February. It also added 3 more flights to Orlando in December. Honolulu – Seattle and Kahului – Los Angeles will each get an extra 4x weekly. And lastly, poor Pago Pago will now be down to 1 per month instead of 2.

JetBlue Goes Up, Then Comes Down

JetBlue bumped up capacity in the first four months of 2022, but that was almost entirely due to the A320 density project. From February, all A320 flights will have 162 seats. There were, however, also some more significant increases in LaGuardia – Florida markets.

Starting in May, JetBlue brought summer flying down substantially, over 10 percent in May. This is still well above where JetBlue was in 2019, so this just brings the stratospheric plans back toward earth. As part of this, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard will see their spring schedules cut down, Boston – Baltimore is gone through May, and Fort Lauderdale – Palm Springs is out through June.

Spirit Extendz

Spirit extended a handful of routes that were scheduled to end after the holidays into May. That includes:

  • Atlantic City – Cancun, San Juan
  • Ft Lauderdale – Comayagua (Honduras), Pensacola
  • Houston – Comayagua (Honduras)
  • Las Vegas – Charlotte
  • Milwaukee – Cancun

It is also canceling Miami – San Jose, San Salvador, and St Thomas through year-end.

United Pulls Down Again

United too was busy pulling down flying with 9.6 percent out of November and 6.1 percent from December. That number is so high mostly because it was the longer haul flights that went away. But also, Denver – Rochester (MN) is gone for good.

The airline was a little late pulling down Amsterdam – Houston and Washington/Dulles through November now that the Netherlands has reversed its quarantine plan for Americans. Either United couldn’t reverse this soon enough or it wanted to send a message to countries thinking about doing something similar. Washington/Dulles – Geneva was also pulled down. Bangalore service from San Francisco is now delayed through the end of the winter season.

Meanwhile, there are all kinds of pulldowns around Asia with most of these going through November including Tokyo/Narita – Denver and Houston along with Tokyo/Haneda – LA, Newark, and San Francisco. In addition, all Micronesia and Honolulu – Asia flying will be out through November with Shanghai – San Francisco gone through year-end. Hong Kong – Newark is suspended through January while Tokyo/Haneda – Washington/Dulles, Houston – Sydney, and Osaka – San Francisco are all gone through the winter.

Other Randomness

  • Air France is boosting Miami – Pointe a Pitre from 2x to 3x weekly. Seattle – Paris will stay suspended through November.
  • British Airways will keep Las Vegas, Orlando, and Tampa – London flights suspended through October.
  • Cathay Pacific won’t fly from Hong Kong to Boston or Chicago through October now.
  • Condor won’t fly Frankfurt – Vegas this winter.
  • Copa will begin flying 4x weekly flights from Panama City into Atlanta this December.
  • Frontier pulled another 3.9 percent of capacity from November which is a long ways out considering the usual moves we see from Frontier.
  • Gol won’t fly from Brasilia to Miami or Orlando through year-end.
  • Japan Airlines has extended its pandemic scheduled through year-end with Hawai’i beach flying only being cut through November for now.
  • Lufthansa Group has also cut its frequencies to pandemic levels into January. Austin – Frankfurt and JFK – Geneva are now gone through November while San Diego – Frankfurt is out for the winter.
  • Royal Air Maroc will bring back Miami service beginning in May.
  • Southwest surprised with another 3 percent cut from November and 4 percent from December, only leaving peak holiday travel days untouched. Beyond that, it pulled down a few Hawai’i frequencies in February and March.
  • Surinam Airways won’t fly Miami – Georgetown (Guyana) through the winter.
  • Virgin Atlantic has continued to suspend some Manchester and Vegas flights through October and others through November.
  • Volaris is hoping to fly Chicago – Huatulco from January.
  • ZipAir will boost Honolulu – Tokyo/Narita flights from 1x weekly to 3x weekly from November.

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

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19 comments on “More Cuts Flood the Fall, But Some Growth Creeps Into 2022

  1. Seems like DL is taking a page from the AA playbook of yesteryear at JFK and using RJ’s (though admittedly better ones than the E145) to fly pointless, low demand regional routes at JFK to keep its slots.

    1. But, but, but I thought what ever Delta does is all good & what American does is not. At least to one commenter who shall remain nameless.

      In all seriousness slot squatting should be banned as it adds to congestion & most super short hall routes are pointless.

      1. And that’s my point. Slot squatting should be banned indeed, or the DOT needs to get a grip and extend the waivers until traffic is at or near pre-pandemic levels which broadly, it is not currently.

    1. Alan – It’s the US flights that are suspended. It keeps going through Incheon, the same pandemic schedule it’s been running.

  2. Considering that AA is flying 8ish flights/day from LGA and JFK to ORF, DL is flying 5ish and UA is flying 4ish from EWR, if slot squatting is going on, it is probably not DL or UA. if all 3 global airlines are operating between the same metro areas, it is more of a case of being competitive in a market which someone believes has value – because EWR is not slot controlled.

    1. EWR is not formally slot controlled, but new routes require approval and in practice slots still exist.

      Oh, and AA is running one flight per day in October between ORF and NYC. Not 8.

      That November schedule will clearly change.

  3. Aaah yes, the ORF-NYC market. A brief history lesson. United inherited their ORF-EWR routes from Continental, which obtained them from PeopleExpress. ORF was one of PE’s inaugural markets, operating from the old terminal (now deceased) to the North Terminal (now deceased) in EWR. The original Piedmont matched People’s $39 fares and further undercut them to $19. People’s matched that fare and it was a real blood bath! Piedmont dominated ORF, and they never blinked. I really liked both carriers and they both had some of the nicest folks working there. When Gordon Bethune took the reins at CO, it was gratifying to see the ex-PE employees have their day in the sunshine. Incredibly kind people!! As a bonus, PE/CO often operated the 737-100 on the route.

    Original Piedmont was the sole operator of ORF-LGA and AA inherited the route from them. For many years, this was a lucrative 737-200/300/400 route, but after the USAir merger, the Piedmont name was given to what had been Henson Airlines, flying Dash-8-100/300s on the route.

    Original Piedmont also ran ORF-JFK, using a 727-200 in a codeshare with TWA!!! This was a singular daily service timed to make TWA’s European connections. TransWorld Express also operated the route with ATR-42s and, occasionally, Jetstream-31s. Of course the Jetstream could not handle the massive international bags and so the passengers would literally wave goodbye to their suitcases sitting in plain view in the baggage cart as the plane taxied away. Welcome to Europe with no belongings!

    PanAm Express also operated the ORF-JFK route for a while, using ATR-42s. Ransome Airlines operated the flight and, fittingly, you felt like you would have to pay a ransom to get your luggage a couple days later in Europe!!

    1. “Of course the Jetstream could not handle the massive international bags and so the passengers would literally wave goodbye to their suitcases sitting in plain view in the baggage cart as the plane taxied away. Welcome to Europe with no belongings!”

      We used to have the same issue at Mesa (J31s were operated by WestAir). We’d send people to Redmond all day long, just w/o their stuff. Every other day or so, we’d run a truck full of skis/bags/etgc. over to RDM. It was…not great…

  4. The T-pac Hawaiian adjustments are the typical seasonal adds. Red-eye additions to HNL-SEA and OGG-LAX are brought back for the Christmas/New Year period of about 3 weeks. These seem to be running daily on the 330. MCO and AUS see seasonal adds during the same time frame.

  5. Allegiant Air announced on Friday that they will be discontinuing all service at CLE by the end of the year. They cited the high airport fees at CLE.

    1. Yes, and Hopkins International Airport’s Wikipedia post confirms it. All Allegiant service to CLE shall cease as of the last flight out on Friday, December 31, 2021. That’s a shame, and maybe Allegiant should consider serving the Akron-Canton International Airport (CAK) instead. There was a time, roughly 15-20 years ago, that Airtran made quite a go of it at CAK, drawing passengers down from the Cleveland metro area. Why can’t Allegiant attempt to do the same thing at CAK?

  6. AC still operating flights to Hong Kong (HKG) but making stop at ICN to change crew. ICN crew will fly ICN-HKG-ICN and do not get off at HKG. AC crews having COVID19 issues at HKG.

  7. All of these airlines are doing the best they can to match capacity to demand during these times. And what happened 5 years ago, 2 years ago, or 20 years ago doesn’t matter one bit. No one knows exactly what the industry will look like in five years.

    Signed, Captain Obvious

  8. American is already flying the Embraer 175s, I was on one to Tucson this past Saturday. Returned on a CRJ 700.

      1. The safety card was labeled SkyWest. Could it still be American? Changed my last name; phone auto-corrected first time)

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