Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: Avelo Goes to Vegas, IndiGoes All In on Airbus, More

Cranky Weekly Review

Avelo Gambles on New Base

Avelo Airlines will open its 6th base since its launch in 2021, this time in Las Vegas.

The carrier will operate four new routes from Las Vegas and will base one aircraft at LAS to begin, along with establishing a new crew base. This is Avelo’s second new base this year, following Wilmington, DE (ILG) back in February. The four new cities from Vegas for Avelo will be:

  • Bend, OR (RDM)
  • Brownsville, TX (BRO)
  • Dubuque, IA (DBQ)
  • Eureka, CA (ACV) (re-entry)

Future destinations will include:

  • Any city where Allegiant hasn’t bothered to fly

Those four will complement Avelo’s existing service from Las Vegas to Sonoma, CA (STS). The four new cities will all operate 2x weekly from LAS while Sonoma will see its frequency doubled to 4x weekly flights beginning September 8. RDM flights will begin first, on September 7, followed by ACV and BRO on September 8, and DBQ on September 13.

All five destinations have one thing in common — Avelo is the lone operator on each route. The carrier expects that to remain, although the Dubuque service is ripe for competition, as Avelo expects it to do especially well. The town is commonly referred to as the Las Vegas of eastern Iowa, known for its arboretum, botanical gardens, world-class culinary experiences, and wild nightclubs.

IndiGo Goes All the Way with Airbus

Indian carrier IndiGo and Airbus agreed to the largest order in aviation history this week at the Paris Air Show with the airline ordering 500 A320s and one $25 gift card to a Toulouse-area patisserie.

IndiGo is India’s largest carrier by market share, with 60% of the domestic market it flew 86 million customers last year — some of which got where they were going on-time. The order is set to be delivered between 2030 and 2035, with Airbus needing that long just to figure out how it’s going to make this many airplanes in such a relatively short time while also dedicating staff hours to purchasing the $25 gift card within its procurement rules.

Airbus is currently pondering the development of a successor to the A320neo by the second half of the next decade, with the expectation that IndiGo negotiated the right to shift the balance of its order to that new aircraft if it come to fruition. It’s also believed that if Airbus doesn’t roll out a new airplane during the lifetime of this order, IndiGo has the right to go the opposite way and receive the remainder of its order as A300s.

Sunwing to Set for Final Time

A week after announcing it would end Swoop, WestJet announced this week that another subsidiary’s time is short — as Sunwing will be folded into the mainline WestJet brand, ceasing to exist on its own sometime next year.

Swoop will reach its demise much sooner, with WestJet expected to drop the brand this October. WestJet CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech said the sunset of the two brands would not lead to higher fares in the market, but he refused to let reporters see if the fingers placed behind his back were crossed or not.

Swoop and Sunwing operated 34 aircraft between them, and those will now be part of WestJet’s nearly exclusive fleet of B737s. WestJet’s regional operator, WestJet Encore will continue to operate under its own brand — for now — but any plane that sees the paint begin to chip off likely won’t be repainted as a hedge for a future rebrand into the mainline brand.

Those fans of air + land packages can rest easy, as Sunwing Vacations — the tour operator that sends pasty Canadians into the Florida and Caribbean sun will continue to operate outside of the WestJet brand.

Southwest FA Leadership Votes Down Contract

The executive board of Transport Workers Union Local 556 — the union representing Southwest’s FAs — voted down a tentative contract with the Dallas-based carrier.

A two-thirds vote of the executive board was required for the agreement to move forward, but it was unable to meet the threshold. Adam Carlisle, the lead negotiator for Southwest said he was disappointed in the vote, especially after the airline offered the key concession of allowing all flight attendants the chance to punch any passengers who opened a closed overhead bin during the boarding process.

The offer which was voted down proposed a 15% raise including boarding pay, but did not meet the union’s demands over compensation for delayed flights amongst others. The two parties will go back to their federal mediator to continue to try and find working middle ground while Southwest simultaneously continues to negotiate with both its pilots and ground staff.

The Votes Are in: Isom Leads the Pack

CEOWORLD Magazine ranked the world’s top 50 airline CEOs and AA’s Robert Isom came out on top, with four U.S. CEOs all ranked in the top five. This seemingly makes U.S. airlines the SEC football of the airline world.

Delta’s Ed Bastian came in second, followed by United’s Scott Kirby in third, while Southwest’s Bob Jordan rounded out the top five. Jordan was originally hovering in the mid-teens before paying for Early Bird Ranking Status, moving him up the list quickly. The only non-American in the top five was Lufthansa Group’s Carsten Spohr who deserves a top five ranking just for juggling all the different brands within Lufthansa and Lufthansa Group. The top woman on the list was Air France’s Anne Rigail, who might have ranked higher but she missed the ranking meeting due to yet another French ATC strike.

The rankings seems wildly random, with the criteria being unclear, with JetBlue’s Robin Hayes who led the carrier into two likely expensive, losing DOJ battles in the top ten in at #9. Or, perhaps the rankings value mediocre service and IT outages more than the rest of us, as BA’s Sean Doyle pulled in at #7. Qatar’s Akbar Al Baker come in at 11th, showing money doesn’t buy everything these days, while Michael O’Leary of Ryanair fell all the way to 23rd as he refused to pay the required fee to boost his ranking.

Amazingly, Sergei Aleksandrovsky of Aeroflot made the list, ranking 35th, proving that safe airplanes have no bearing on being named to the list. No. 45 on the list was WestJet’s Alexis von Hoensbroech, although the ranking came out before he put the smackdown to Swoop and Sunwing, so perhaps in a redo, he might fall out of the top 50.

The 50th and final spot on the list fell to LOT’s Michał Fijoł who was a good a choice as anyone as the final spot was awarded with all CEOs not previously ranked drawing lots. Missing out on the list in other’s receiving votes include all the Bjorn’s who run Norse Atlantic, Pakistan International Airlines CEO Muhammad Amir Hayat who’s carrier almost exclusively uses qualified pilots now, and South Korea’s Eastar Jet CEO Kim Moon-kwon, the first CEO of Eastar Jet who hasn’t been arrested on embezzlement in several years.

  • Air Algérie ordered eight B737 MAXs.
  • Alaska‘s renovated Alaska Lounge — or as its called internally at the airport, Lounge — in Concourse D of its Seattle base reopened Wednesday.
  • American ordered seven new E175s for Envoy.
  • BermudAir is leasing two E175s.
  • Cathay Pacific plans to reopen The Pier next month.
  • China Airlines dream came true as it announced an order for eight B787 Dreamliners.
  • Eastern Airways — the UK one — added its first E170.
  • Embraer sees demand for small jets, which is good for Embraer because all it makes are small jets.
  • Emirates expects all of its A380s to return to service early next year.
  • Etihad had an employee do something very shady and very wrong, sliding into the DMs of a passenger by pulling her number from her booking.
  • Flybig unironically ordered two very small DHC-6-400s and 10 also quite small DHC-6 Twin Otter Classic 300-Gs.
  • flynas ordered 30 more A320s.
  • Iraqi Airways took delivery of its first B787-8 Dreamliner.
  • KLM said in a low whisper that it’s investing $7.6 billion to make its airplanes quieter.
  • Luxair will be Boeing’s launch customer in Europe for the B737-7 MAX. There was no comment from airline officials as to why they gave permission to be launched out of an airplane.
  • Norse Atlantic is consolidating its operations in South Florida in Miami, moving all its flights from FLL over to MIA by September 18.
  • Northern Pacific delayed its inaugural flight indefinitely to July 14. Don’t hold your breath.
  • Philippine Airlines finalized an order for nine A350-1000s.
  • Porter is adding four new routes from Toronto/Pearson: Kelowna (YLW), St. John’s (YYT), Victoria (YYJ), and Winnipeg (YWG).
  • Qantas resumed flying to Rome, operating 3x weekly Dreamliner service from Perth through October 3.
  • Qatar confirmed it messed up — the first time the carrier has ever done so.
  • Scoot Flight 897 arrived in Taiwan on Monday morning proving that nose wheels are superfluous.
  • TAAG Angola Airlines said “you’re it” to four A220-300s.
  • Turkish grounded four A321neo aircraft. Reportedly the four airplanes all finished the school year with terrible grades and hadn’t been doing their chores around the hangar.
  • United Polaris customers can now preorder meals on long-haul flights beginning July 1.
  • Volaris announced an order of 25 A321neos it made last October that it felt needed to be kept secret for the last eight months,

I was called into the police station for questioning last night. We got into the interrogation room and the officer told me “Sit in that chair, we have some questions for you.” As I went to sit, my lawyer whispered in my ear, “Deny everything!”

So I looked at the officer, continued standing and said loudly “That isn’t a chair!”

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3 comments on “Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: Avelo Goes to Vegas, IndiGoes All In on Airbus, More

  1. Airbus gets the last laugh when IndiGo discovers that none of the patisseries in Toulouse will accept a gift certificate denominated in Dollars.

  2. I understand airlines making massive investments regarding carbon emissions and sustainability but spending $7.6 billion to make already very quiet planes even quieter seems ludicrous.

  3. If/when/ever Northern Pacific has its inaugural flight, I hope Cranky gets an invite to cover it.

    Regarding the Etihad creep… Not that I condone it, but he should probably count himself very lucky if his job is the ONLY thing he loses. :-(

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