Another Quiet Week as Airlines Lie Low on Schedule Changes

Schedule Changes

It was another quiet week in Airlineville as that turkey hangover swept the town. That doesn’t mean nothing happened at all, but it means there just wasn’t much of substance going on. Quiet isn’t a bad thing.

The Cirium data shows that turkey doesn’t travel to the north. The Maple Leaf was busy. Then again, they were busy in Vegas as the Sun made summer plans. For the rest of the residents, it was a week of cleaning up after the holiday.

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

Air Canada Brings Down The First Four Months of 2022

Air Canada is hoping that it can better predict the future, so it’s bringing down January through April 2022 closer to reality. January was down 15 percent, February 19 percent, March 13 percent, and April 11 percent, putting them down 38 percent, 34 percent, 27 percent, and 17 percent respectively vs 2019.

As part of this, most markets see reduced service in the US. These are some notable markets that see suspensions extended:

  • Calgary – Houston/IAH, Los Angeles, Newark
  • Halifax – Sydney (Canada)
  • Montreal – Dallas/Fort Worth
  • Ottawa – Edmonton, Winnipeg
  • Toronto – Baltimore, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Dallas/Fort Worth, San Diego, Sarasota, Tokyo/Haneda; Vancouver – Newark

Alaska Makes Minor Tweaks

After last week’s action, this week was calm for Alaska. The airline is bumping up service in a couple markets, including LA – Honolulu and Palm Springs – Seattle. It also won’t fly from Portland to Redmond/Bend through the summer.

Allegiant Files Summer Schedule

Allegiant has rolled out its summer plans by filing schedules between May 18 and August 16, 2022. In each month, Allegiant will be about 30 percent above 2019 levels. The airline also made a few gauge changes in December and trimmed frequency on some routes in January.

American’s Small Change

American took one daily flight out for all or part of the spring in DFW – Billings and Bismarck. It also decided it had big plans for Wilmington, NC. That airport goes from 1x daily to 3x daily to Washington/National from April.

Delta Works on March

Delta brought March down by just over 3 percent, leaving it down 15 percent vs 2019. It was a broad cut, and one that saw suspensions of flying in several markets extended. That includes Atlanta – Rochester (MN); Boston – Buffalo, Norfolk; Detroit – La Crosse (WI); Minneapolis/St Paul – Great Falls, Marquette (MI); New York/JFK – San Antonio; and Salt Lake – Cleveland. Further, Atlanta – Rio will not operate during the summer.

In something of a surprise, Boston – Newark is coming back early with service now resuming in January.

Frontier Shuffles in Miami

Frontier made some changes to its Miami schedule. Flights are gone during various time periods from Albany, Buffalo, Chicago/O’Hare, Portland (ME), Rochester (NY), and San Jose (CR). It also looks like Newburgh/Stewart flights are gone for good. Miami will get some additional flying in existing markets of Baltimore, Boston, Cancun, Dallas/Fort Worth, Nassau, Norfolk, San Juan, and Santo Domingo.

Spirit Makes February More Accurate

It only pulled February down by 2 points, but February now looks more accurate for Spirit. Routes that will not operate during the month include Baltimore – Boston and Detroit, Denver – Los Angeles, and Minneapolis/St Paul – Detroit and Fort Lauderdale among others.

United Goes North

Last week I figured United wasn’t done growing Alaska next summer, but I didn’t think it would come this soon. United has now added 1x daily from Anchorage to Houston/IAH, Newark, and San Francisco. Meanwhile, Chicago/O’Hare will go up from 1x to 2x daily to Anchorage, and it will get a 1x daily Fairbanks flight.

Internationally, Hong Kong – Newark and San Francisco and Melbourne – LA and San Francisco will not fly through February. Neither will LA to San Pedro Sula.

Other Randomness

  • Aer Lingus will bring Washington/Dulles – Dublin up from 1x to 2x daily next summer. Philly – Dublin will also come back early starting in April.
  • Aeromexico has filed some growth in seats in many US markets for next summer. The only loser this week is Mexico City – JFK which will not have the 787.
  • Azul will drop Fort Lauderdale – Campinas down from 1x daily to 5x weekly from February through June.
  • Boutique ends Boston – Burlington (VT) service this month.
  • Cape Air will fly from Burlington (IA) to both Chicago/O’Hare and St Louis starting in Feb.
  • Copa will pause Boston – Panama City service from January 19 until June 2.
  • Elite is doing something weird this winter. It has canceled Newark – St Augustine and Melbourne – Newark, but it has left the other direction in each. I assume there may be a round-robin filed or it was a mistake.
  • Iberia will increase Madrid – Boston (5x -> 6x weekly during spring), LA (4x -> 5x weekly during summer), and San Juan (3x -> 5x weekly) for summer.
  • Japan Airlines will extend its pandemic schedule through February. That means most beach markets stay suspended, and some mainland US flying shifts from Haneda to Narita.
  • Jetstar won’t fly to Honolulu through February now.
  • JetBlue canceled all flights from St Thomas to Boston, New York/JFK, and Newark starting in February and moved some capacity over to San Juan. The thing is, it didn’t cancel any of the southbound flights. I’m guessing this was a misfile.
  • Lufthansa won’t fly Philly – Frankfurt in February.
  • Qantas won’t start San Francisco – Brisbane until late March instead of February.
  • SAS won’t fly Copenhagen – Boston and Stockholm – Chicago in February.
  • Viva Air won’t fly from Orlando to Medellin into June now.
  • WestJet has filed its new service from Calgary to London/Heathrow beginning at the end of March.
  • ZipAir has pulled Honolulu and LA – Narita flights from the schedule in March. This feels like another misfile.

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

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20 comments on “Another Quiet Week as Airlines Lie Low on Schedule Changes

  1. The JetBlue cut of STT and redirecting northbound traffic over SJU is because of the short runway in STT. Right now the flights are leaving STT with many, many blocked seats.

    1. Is the runway there under construction? That runway is 7000′ long, and should be enough to handle a 320.

      1. No construction, the runway has very high mountains off the east end of the airport (which is the runway used 95% of the time due to winds) which restricts the amount of fuel the plane can carry. Long story short taking off over the water to the west, no problem making a nonstop to BOS/JFK, but taking off to the east into the mountains even a 757 cannot do that and make it up to the northeast.

        1. Hey Rob, that’s really interesting. Good for B6 for finding a workaround to reflect the operational realities of the airfield.

        2. Interesting. I don’t have time to fully go down that rabbit hole, but I wish someone else would do so and explain it a in a way that a non-pilot avgeek could understand… After 5 minutes of quick internet searches, it appears that the runway 10 departure on STT requires a climb rate of 462’/nm, and the FAA warns about the potential for confusion from lights on a hill 4 miles SE of the airport.

          On the surface it appears that a 757 might be able to climb well enough, even heavily loaded, to handle that departure, but I’m not a pilot and I’m sure I’m missing something big, so I’ll trust B6 on the matter, as I’m sure it’s done the math 20 times over, trying to find a way to make things work and still stay safe and legal.

        3. I am not sure there is that big a restriction there. American runs 319s to DFW from there, 600 miles farther than JFK, and a look at future flights doesn’t indicate a ton of blocked seats.

          American also runs 319s to PHL, and United has 73Gs to Newark.

          American also flies 738s to Miami, and these are fully loaded.

          To the east of the airport, there is a 200’ hill about 1000’ off the end of the runway. That means they have 8000’ to clear a 200’ obstacle, plus you can actually zig zag around it also.

          Maybe B6 has stricter clearance requirements?

          1. The hill in STT was modified many years ago to allow non-stops to the mainland. Prior to that, EA and PA ran 727’s non-stop from MIA to STT. Neither airline could run STT-MIA non-stop in the 727, so they actually operated (and sold) it as a through flight: MIA-STT-STX (St. Croix)-MIA. STX served not only as a destination, but also as the refueling point for the return to MIA. When Eastern became the U.S. launch customer for the 757, they were then able to fly non-stop STT-MIA, despite the hill.
            Several commenters have mentioned the current obstacle height and climb gradient. Please remember that obstacle clearance is predicated on engine loss at takeoff decision speed, making clearing that obstacle absolutely necessary on one engine, completely loaded, on a hot day. The airlines have very specific ground tracks that they will fly in these scenarios, depending on when they lose the engine. There is no zig-zagging unless that is required to meet the needs of the emergency. Some airports (eg. LGA, SLC) have different ground tracks that pilots are expected to fly based on what altitude the engine fails. Serious business, indeed.

            1. Ah, thanks. I’d forgotten all about the possibility of losing an engine, very interesting.

              I’m glad that things like this are given a lot of thought.

  2. Where is American getting 4 slots at DCA to take ILM from 1x to 3x?

    If they have a few extra slots here, I’d have many better ideas for them!

    1. Bill – They move slots around all the time. I’m not sure what the plan is here exactly, but it probably just takes a frequency from another route or two.

  3. Any possibility Cape Air goes “double-Burlington” and adds BTV-BOS to replace Boutique? I know there’s ample connecting opportunities out of BTV, but Boston is the largest city in New England and I would think there was at least some demand for nonstop service.

    1. I got curious and looked up bus service between Burlington, VT, and Boston, as it’s only a ~210 mile drive, and I wondered if there were some type of service catering to the point-to-point travel needs of student/hipster/young professional groups in and around each city, beyond merely the opportunities for connecting flights in BOS.

      I’m seeing a single stop (3:45 travel time) option on MegaBus a few days a week for $65-70 each way.

      I wish we had better options in the US for transportation between destinations that are ~3-10 hours drive time (say, 200-600 miles) apart, and (ignoring COVID-related travel restrictions and hesitancies) the naive idealist in me always wonders if there may be a decent opportunity in that area of the market if only someone can find a way to make it work, though perhaps there’s an argument to be made that some companies (such as Ultimate Air Shuttle and Megabus) have been able to find some success in that niche.

      1. Thanks for the info, this is interesting as I wasn’t aware of this service. The total travel time is comparable to flying (adding in check-in/security/etc.), and I’ve taken both Megabus and BoltBus and found both pretty comfortable.

  4. Maybe seven years ago, the standard daily Alaska schedule for Bend/Redmond was three Seattle flights and four Portland flights. This year, it has seemed to average maybe one Portland flight and somewhere between four and eight Seattle flights with, depending on the month, additional flights to a few California locations. Now the Redmond-PDX flight is gone next summer. Alaska seems to be trying to run as many NW connections through Seattle at the expense of Portland. I am sure I am over-simplifying this, but it feels like Portland is getting enough flights to handle O&D and connections are being routed through Seattle, without a lot of aspirations for Portland to be a major connecting hub. According to the market share figures on the PDX Wikipedia page, Alaska/Horizon have shed about 6 percentage points of market share over the past few years and Southwest now has higher market share than Alaska (but the combined Alaska-Horizon is still larger than Southwest).

  5. Re. ILM-DCA. Check the Transportation Committee/Subcommittee memberships to figure out which Congressman/Senator they were trying to win over.

  6. It’s not the close in hills that are the problem it’s the other taller ones that restrict the stage 2 climb performance of aircraft. There is one way to get around this and that is make the aircraft lighter to it can meet the single engine climb requirements. You can do this by capping the capacity of the aircraft IE only selling 100 of 150 seats or reducing the fuel IE make a tec stop in San Juan for fuel. What most airline do is sell all the seats and hope that the winds will favor runway 28 and if they have to take off on 10 and have to many passengers onboard to make it nonstop the guess what they stop in San Juan. JetBlue knows that this time of year they have very high load factors out of st Thomas and most day’s can’t make the flight nonstop so they are being honest and telling you in advance. That being said if the load is light and they can, then they will just fly it nonstop. Also there’s a big difference in performance between a 319 and a 320.

    1. There aren’t any higher hills in the way. Once you get past that initial hill, you can cut southeast and get over the water. Nothing on that route is higher than 250’.

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