Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: All Roads Lead to Lincoln, Frontier’s New Frontiers and More…

Cranky Weekly Review

The Way Leads to Lincoln

Noted aviation hub Lincoln, NE has been clamoring for new service to fulfill the overwhelming demand from the city, and this week we learned that dreams do come true.  The newest “airline” in the United States is Red Way, operated by Global Crossing Airlines, and it’ll be based in Lincoln.

The name was chosen for two reasons – one because red is the dominant color in Lincoln as it represents the University of Nebraska which is in the city, and also because it’s a preview of what’s to come for the airline’s books as it attempts to base an airline in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Flights from Lincoln will begin this summer, and it will operate to seven destinations with 2x weekly service to begin. The lucky cities to receive service are:

  • Orlando (begins June 8)
  • Las Vegas (June 8)
  • Atlanta (June 16)
  • Dallas/Fort Worth (June 16)
  • Minneapolis/St Paul (June 16)
  • Austin (June 24)
  • Nashville (June 24)

Austin and Nashville will only operate through the summer at which time Atlanta, DFW, and MSP will receive a third weekly frequency each.

The airline will fly A320 and A321 aircraft from Global Crossing with buy-ups to more legroom seating available if having an entire row to yourself — and sometimes an entire aircraft – isn’t enough.

Frontier Adds New Frontiers

Frontier is expanding in Cleveland and Raleigh-Durham, with four new nonstop destinations from Cleveland and two from Raleigh-Durham.

From Cleveland, the carrier will begin seasonal flights to Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, San Diego, and San Francisco. DFW and CLT will both begin May 12 with 4x weekly flights, San Francisco will also operate 4x weekly but begin on June 23, with San Diego starting June 8 with 3x weekly service. The additions give Frontier 17 nonstop destinations from CLE, the most of any airline – a prestigious honor that gives the carrier unfettered 24-7 access to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

As for RDU, Frontier is increasing its presence adding Chicago/MDW and Houston/IAH from the airport, along with beefing up other destinations it currently serves. MDW and IAH will both operate 3x weekly, with MDW beginning June 16, and IAH two days later on June 18. At RDU, Frontier will now operate 112 weekly departures to 20 destinations, some of which will even operate to places people want to go.

FAA to Administer Further Search for Administrator

Phil Washington withdrew his name as a candidate to be the next administrator of the FAA after it became clear his confirmation process would be unlikely to end well.  The Biden administration floated Washington’s name for the top job at the FAA several months ago, and Washington’s struggles at a confirmation hearing earlier this month seemed to be the final straw of his fledgling candidacy.

Considering the track record of terrible choices to run the FAA this time around, it was widely expected that former Chicago Mayor Richard M Daley would be nominated for the role since he is well-loved and respected absolutely despised in aviation circles for his work 20 years ago today. Daley is considered to have more aviation experience than Washington, which says just about nothing.

Possibly more likely is Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen, who’s been acting in the role since last April.  Nolen has support from both parties, with one senator saying off the record that “he’s been administrating for nearly a year now, which is why it makes the most sense to administer a process that leads to Nolen continuing as administrator.”

JetBlue, DOJ to Spar on October 16

A trial date of October 16 was set for the opening of the lawsuit between the DOJ and JetBlue over its merger with Spirit, providing an early victory for the government.  JetBlue and Spirit had requested the trial to begin on September 11, with the DOJ preferring a late October date – so round one goes to the DOJ.

JetBlue wanted the earlier date because it needs time to appeal when it inevitably loses during trial prior to its July 2024 deadline to close the deal.  As part of its offer to Spirit, JetBlue prepaid Spirit shareholders $2.50 per share regardless of the outcome of the antitrust process. This combined with the Buzzballs JetBlue will have to return if the deal is not approved, gives JetBlue greater incentive to find a way to make this work.

The bench trial is expected to last four weeks with a ruling expected early next year.

Connect Announces Potential Connection Plans

Connect Airlines – the U.S.-based airline with plans to operate from a base in Canada – is moving closer to becoming an actual airline that flies airplanes with people on them.  It’s still working through regulatory hurdles with both the American and Canadian governments and is not yet ready to announce a launch date, but it did announce the ten destinations it received permission to fly from Toronto/City when the time comes.  Those destinations are:. 

  • Boston
  • Baltimore
  • Charlotte
  • Greenville/Spartanburg
  • Milwaukee
  • Nashville
  • Newark
  • Raleigh/Durham

It also says still expects Philadelphia and Chicago/O’Hare to be its initial routes from its Toronto/City base when service does begin.

Despite this announcement, the airline acknowledges it’s unlikely to operate all of these which is a shame because the demand on Toronto to Greenville/Spartanburg seems like it must be overwhelming.

Connect received 3,386 slots to operate from YTZ this summer – representing about 11% of the slots available at the airport, way behind Porter’s 22,564 slots and also lagging behind Air Canada’s 5,060.

  • Aegean Air paid the final installment to fully repay its pandemic rescue loan to the Greek government.
  • Aer Lingus is again flying to Hartford and all is right with the world.
  • Air France and KLM are going to be happy to take the money of their business class passengers if they want to confirm a seat assignment for travel beginning next month. The fee won’t apply to flights to and from North America or for Flying Blue elites.
  • Air India is expanding its presence at London/Gatwick, moving 3x weekly service from London/Heathrow to four destinations: Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Kochi and Goa.
  • Air New Zealand is ballin’ in Bali again, 3x weekly until October 27.
  • Alaska is converting two B737-800 into cargo aircraft, increasing its cargo fleet from three to five.
  • ANA introduced a new Pikachu jet, sure to make children across the world and one or two specific travel bloggers very happy.
  • Atlantic Airways is beginning 1x weekly service to the United States on August 22 with flights on the criminally-underserved route between Vágar (FAE) in the Faroe Islands and New York/Stewart (SWF).
  • Austrian canceled more than 100 flights Tuesday as it continues to navigate labor actions by cabin staff.
  • Avelo is adding 2x weekly flights from Wilmington, NC to both Tampa and West Palm Beach.
  • Blue Air‘s financials have turned red as the carrier entered bankruptcy protection via a Romanian court this week.
  • Breeze is blowing into Charleston, WV (CRW), where it will begin 2x weekly service on May 31 to both Orlando and Charleston, SC. Charleston to Charleston…that should go just fine.
  • Brussels new CEO Dorothea von Boxberg will begin her new job on March 15.
  • Cathay Pacific wants to open a new flagship lounge in Hong Kong, but the project is being held up as it struggles to come up with a trendy one-word name for the new space.
  • Delta took the drastic measure of delaying a flight and forcing customers to change airplanes all because one passenger wanted some fresh air. Additionally, Delta refuses to confirm or deny if the passenger who wanted the fresh air was this guy.
  • Frontier is giving away five million Frontier miles through five random drawings with a one million giveaway each. When asked for comment if it would ever do something similar, a Delta spokesperson said “we often give $15 vouchers to customers who have a flight delay, so that’s basically the same thing.”
  • Hong Kong Airlines said “screw it, let’s go back to Phuket.” The carrier will resume 4x weekly service on June 16.
  • ITA claims macroeconomic deterioration is the reason it lost $500 million last year, not because it’s a poorly run airline that leaks money regularly.
  • JAL ordered 21 B737 MAX 8s.
  • Kuwait Airlines signed an interline agreement with Malaysia Airlines.
  • LOT still owes a lot of cash to the Polish government, most of which it hopes to repay by 2026. No rush.
  • Lufthansa will open two new lounges in Berlin next week.
  • Malaysia Airlines is not up for sale according to its owner, the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund. Until it is.
  • Qantas can continue to work with China Eastern on flights between Australia and China.
  • Qatar plans to retire its fleet of A380s by 2026, unless it changes its mind.
  • Riyadh Air, the potentially real, potentially not real airline from Saudi Arabia says passengers might be able to drink alcohol on its flights by 2025, but not sooner as the airline is concerned that any booze served on its aircraft is properly aged.
  • Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has beef with the French ATC strike.
  • Wingo will begin new domestic service in Colombia from its Bogota base to Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, Cúcuta, and Pereira later this year.

I’m not a fan of national anthems.  I just don’t really like country music.

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14 comments on “Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: All Roads Lead to Lincoln, Frontier’s New Frontiers and More…

  1. Atlantic Airways becomes the latest airline to fall into the unworkable transatlantic trap of flying into Stewart.

    Why do airlines keep trying this? It’s just so much easier for people in the NYC area to go to JFK or aster for someone to fly from JFK to Reykjavík or Copenhagen and connect, and have the opportunities for onward travel on the US side.

    I wish them well, but l just don’t see it working.

    1. The biggest problem with SWF is that it’s not even on the outskirts of the NYC suburbs – it’s *way* beyond that boundary. If you drive from Manhattan to SWF, it’s a 65 mile drive, and at least the last 30 miles of that is through almost empty countryside. It’s in a low-density area that doesn’t provide any catchment area of its own.

      I guess it’s plausibly more tolerable as a *destination airport* from travelers visiting NYC from Europe. But it’s hard to make an airline work without at least somewhat symmetric demand.

  2. It might interest people to know that Lincoln has a greater population than either Boise or Spokane. That doesn’t mean that Red Way will live long and prosper. I’m not sure why I wrote the allusion to Mr. Spock. I guess it’s because I saw that his birthday is March 26th.

    1. I probably should have written that Leonard Nimoy’s birthday was March 26th. I don’t know when Mr. Spock was (or will be?) born.

    2. The Spock reference amuses me, at least. Anyhow, one issue with your comparison between Lincoln and Spokane/Boise is that Lincoln’s catchment area is far smaller and less populous. Both Boise and Spokane are growing metropolises that dominate their respective regional areas while Lincoln is much less so. Not that Lincoln is a bad place; to the contrary, it’s quite nice. But definitely a small market with a larger one (Omaha) not far away at all. So yes, it’s a tougher sell.

      1. This is why I strictly focused on population. Neither Boise nor Spokane have a large city like Omaha nearby. Lincoln is within the DCA perimeter, so maybe an airline will try a nonstop flight at some point. We’ll see how all of this works out.

  3. As a Nebraska native and former Lincoln resident, the city’s eternal struggle in attracting and keeping service is that it’s only about an hour away from Omaha’s Eppley Airfield.

    With United being the only airline currently flying to LNK, I’m not surprised that all of the non-touristy destinations Red Way plans on serving are American or Delta hubs.

  4. As I was reading a bunch of this I wondered if this was an elaborate, early April Fools post … wow, some interesting stories this week. Thanks!

  5. Red Way sounds like Access Air…a quickly forgotten airline that was based in DSM.

    Yeah that will work…..

  6. Swear to higher power, I thought y’all were pulling an early April fools with the Red Air story. I even thought the link must have been April fools. I still secretly don’t believe you and feel tomorrow you’ll reveal April fools.

    1. Red Way Airline does not even have a website, but many other sources also reported the story. I wonder if they are going to have a 707 with Dean Martin as the captain flying into Lincoln Airport.

      1. The 707 would be a good idea, there’d be enough avgeeks wanting to fly it to make it a draw in itself.

  7. Until recently, it appeared that Avelo was the only US startup(ish) airline that served two cities with the same name (Wilmington), though Avelo doesn’t yet fly between them directly.

    Apparently Breeze wanted to one-up Avelo with its Charleston-squared flights.

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