Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: JetBlue Takes on the EU, a Breeze is Blowing, and More…

Cranky Weekly Review

JetBlue Looks to go Dutch, Government Leaves it Feeling Blue

JetBlue Airways is claiming the Dutch government is in violation of the open-skies agreement between the United States and the EU after rejecting JetBlue’s multiple requests to begin serving Amsterdam’s Schiphol.

The open-skies agreement allows carriers to operate an unlimited number of flights between the United States and EU provided the carrier can scoop up the required slots. JetBlue says it made at least three applications for open slots at AMS and has been denied on each occasion.  

JetBlue requested slots that have since been abandoned by both Aeroflot and Flybe, with the airport hiding behind the Dutch government policy of hating all things blue reducing noise and carbon emissions at the airport as the reason for the denials. Other sources say its JetBlue’s recent purchase of Spirit, and the stink of Spirit’s fees that have scared off the EU.

The challenge by JetBlue is not likely to yield a quick resolution.  The DOT will first evaluate the complaint at whatever speed it damn well pleases before deciding whether or not to support the carrier in its challenge. At that point, the airline will be at the mercy of not just the American federal government but the EU bureaucracy as well.

In other JetBlue news, the carrier announced plans to add 250 daily flights from Fort Lauderdale when (if) its purchase of Spirit is approved including the headline grabbing addition of what it calls long-awaited service between FLL and Tallahassee. The carrier also says it’ll begin service to Europe from FLL, filling a key void for Europeans who want the south Florida experience without the hair gel and cologne that Miami has to offer.

Breeze Blows into New Markets

Breeze Airways is adding more than 20 new nonstop routes, including new service to Portland (ME) from four cities, at least two of which thought they were gaining flights to Oregon.

Portland flights begin May 17 with service to Charleston and Tampa, while Norfolk and Pittsburgh will follow on June 2.  Los Angeles gets three new breezy destinations: Raleigh-Durham, Jacksonville, and New Orleans, while RDU also adds Louisville and Pittsburgh. 

RDU’s three new cities give it eight destinations to blow into on Breeze, with the carrier’s other new routes being:

  • Cincinnati: Richmond
  • Hartford: Fort Myers, New Orleans, Tampa
  • Pittsburgh: Orlando
  • Providence: Fort Myers, Orlando, Sarasota, Tampa
  • New York/Islip: Richmond, Pittsburgh
  • Norfolk: Akron-Canton, Syracuse

Portland — Portland, ME that is — becomes the 35th destination for Breeze.  It generally sticks to underserved routes with little or no competition (typically because no one actually wants to go there), but this round of expansion includes several flights on which it will challenge incumbents, including RDU-LAX, BDL-TPA, and PVD-MCO.

Air India Buys Some Airplanes

Air India announced orders for 470 airplanes this week, ordering 250 jets from Airbus, 220 from Boeing, and an option to purchase 12 more L-1011’s from Lockheed Martin if anyone ever locates that time machine.

The order of 220 from Boeing consists of 190 B737 MAX, 20 Dreamliners, and 10 B777X, Boeing’s most recent version of the 777 which is currently still undergoing certification. The order is the third largest in the history of Boeing, but was still dwarfed by the 250 planes AI ordered from Airbus.

The Airbus breakdown is 140 A320neo and 70 A321neo for a total of 210 narrowbodies, with 34 A350-1000 and six A350-900s. 

The rack rate for both orders would be about $34 billion for the Boeing portion and over $40 billion for Airbus.  Airlines receive significant discounts from the list price, and the larger the order, the larger the discount, which is why so many carriers look to purchase new airplanes at Costco.  The first plane from the order is expected be delivered late this year with the bulk of deliveries to begin in 2025 and end when Air India goes bankrupt.

You Think Your Week is Bad, Ask Lufthansa 

This was a week Lufthansa would like to forget, and forget quickly.  On Wednesday, a construction mishap outside of its Frankfurt hub forced the carrier to slow its operation to a crawl for most of the day causing delays and cancellations throughout the system, and that was just the start.

Construction work by Germany train company Deutsche Bahn damaged the fiber optic cables of a telecom provider that fed Lufthansa its data at the airport.  The mishap forced all LH group carriers to process all flights manually, slowing down its trademark German efficiency.  

Thursday saw the a fire close Lufthansa’s Terminal 1 at New York/JFK with a reopening date unknown at this time. The good news there is Lufthansa probably wasn’t going to use the terminal Friday anyway, because…

On Friday, ground workers at seven of the country’s largest airports are staging a 24-hour strike to force a speed up in collective bargaining efforts that have reached a stalemate.  The operator of Frankfurt’s airport urged travelers to avoid the airport that day, perhaps unaware that travelers don’t show up at an airport on random days, but do so based on what it says on their ticket.

Munich, the second-largest airport in the country expects to ground all commercial flights for the day, only operating charter flights for the 59th Munich Security Conference which begins this weekend. 

To Be or Used to Be, Flybe Used to Be (And Aeromar Too)

It was a bad week for airlines teetering on the edge as both Flybe and Aeromar threw in the towel and called it a day, ending operations after both ran out of cash.

Flybe, the Exeter-based regional carrier in the UK announced Wednesday that it would not be making a comeback after filing for bankruptcy last month.  Interfaith Advisory, the insolvency practitioner for the carrier (that’s British for bankruptcy administrator) ended talks with carriers that might have rescued the airline, including Air France-KLM and Lufthansa to instead focus on coming up with a new name for their company. 

Flybe’s 45 remaining employees were informed Wednesday but knew the writing was on the wall Tuesday when the only tea available in the break room was the powdered stuff that Linda left in the back of the cupboard way back in 2018.

Not to be outdone, Mexican carrier Aeromar jumped into the mar of insolvency on Wednesday as the carrier announced the “definitive end of operations,” after it failed to reach an agreement with investors and creditors.  Passengers holding future tickets on the carrier should contact their credit card company for a refund and their financial advisor to explain why they booked a flight on an airline that clearly wasn’t going to be around in a week.

  • Air France is bringing back amenity kits for kids. Finally.
  • Air Serbia is beginning service between Belgrade and Lisbon on April 15.
  • Air Transat is wet-leasing two B737MAX from Smartlynx Airlines Malta.
  • ANA is dreaming about the Dreamliner.
  • Azul is considering restructuring. As always, it is also considering not restructuring.
  • Cathay Pacific flew a million people in January. Some of which wanted to be there.
  • Copa is adding Austin to its route map, marking its 15th city in the United States and 80th overall when service begins July 6.
  • Delta is planning to grow its international presence in Seattle. Also it might not.
  • El Al will begin service between Tel Aviv and Tokyo/Narita on March 2. The 2x weekly flights will make the first nonstop flights between Israel and Japan. It’s also ready to connect Tel Aviv and Fort Lauderdale with six flights this fall. Sometimes the jokes write themselves.
  • Ethiopian added two new cargo destinations in China.
  • Finnair impressively eeked out a profit.
  • Fly Gangwon is for sale.
  • flyDubai will dd 29 B737 MAX 8 aircraft to its fleet over the next four years.
  • GlobalX secured a long-term agreement to operate charters for Cuba.
  • Greater Bay Airlines is close to acquiring 15 B737-9s.
  • Loganair has its eye on flybe’s London/Heathrow slots.
  • Lufthansa is finding that it isn’t easy feeling green.
  • MIAT has chosen San Francisco as its first U.S. destination. It won’t begin service until the country receives Level 1 certification from the FAA.
  • Norse Atlantic announced it would serve both Fort Lauderdale and Orlando from London/Gatwick from late May.
  • Porter is now serving every province in Atlantic Canada as it begins seasonal, daily service between Ottawa and Charlottetown on May 17.
  • Qantas is reopening its lounge in Hong Kong despite closing it permanently in 2021.
  • Rex signed an LOI for 2 B737-800 aircraft.
  • Southwest says it has reimbursed 96% of requests from its late December operational meltdown. What it didn’t tell you was that most of the payments were made not in cash, but in the cash equivalent of its salty death mix.
  • Spirit announced three new cities from San Jose (CA): Dallas/Fort Worth, Las Vegas, San Diego. It also told Frontier where it could stick its Puerto Rican expansion, adding new service from San Juan to Atlanta, Chicago/O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, and Hartford. Hartford service begins June 7, with the other four beginning on May 5.
  • Surinam Airways might beginning flying to the UK and Germany. Also it might not.
  • Uganda Airlines wants some new airplanes. If you’re interested in selling new planes to the carrier, now’s your time to shine.
  • Virgin Atlantic is ending service to Pakistan this summer.,
  • Wizz Air will need to return subsidies it was paid between 2007 and 2010 by Timisoara Airport (TSR) in western Romania after the approval of the payments was overturned by the General Court of the European Union.

My Visa declined at the sweater store. It was pretty awkward when the cashier then had to ask for my cardigan.

Get Cranky in Your Inbox!

The airline industry moves fast. Sign up and get every Cranky post in your inbox for free.

11 comments on “Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: JetBlue Takes on the EU, a Breeze is Blowing, and More…

  1. Tiny correction: FlyBe 1 was indeed based at Exeter Airport, FlyBe 2 was based at Birmingham and didn’t even serve Exeter.

  2. >hating all things blue
    I know this was meant to be a joke, but it’s funny considering KLM’s planes are, well, blue.

  3. Andrew – Thanks for the sarcasm, Tata group’s networth is more than many sovereign nations and loosing few 10’s of billions is still a pocket change for them (Air India has already turned operating profit in the very first year). They have many companies in the group that can subsidize Air India for many years to come!

  4. I like reading this news every week, but why does almost every item have to have some kind of joke in it?

  5. That “long awaited” JetBlue FLL to TLH service? It’s been flown for years by Silver on a ATR-72 with a United code share.

  6. Nothing to add, other than we all appreciate a good L1011 reference now and again. Would these be Whisperliners?

    1. Best plane ever! Even if it nearly bankrupted Lockheed. That was mostly the fault of Rolls Royce due to the engine delays and Douglas for getting that POS deathtrap DC10 on the market sooner and cheaper.

      1. Lockheed engineers: “Let’s build a plane with FOUR completely independent hydraulic systems, and do our best to prevent all of the hydraulic systems from being routed in a group, because that would defeat the purpose.”

        Douglas engineers: “Hold my beer. Why don’t we just have THREE hydraulic systems, and have them converge at one or more critical points? Wouldn’t that be much easier for us and far more exciting for pilots and pax?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Cranky Flier