Dutch Government Suspends Flight Restrictions
The Dutch federal government pumped the brakes on its previous plan to cap the number of flights at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport next summer after meeting with U.S. officials who sent a bloodied horse head to the home of several Dutch government officials. Schiphol was bafflingly angry that it would have to have more business.
The U.S. government was considering multiple retaliatory measures against KLM and its ability to operate to the United States with JetBlue calling for the airline to be banned from operating to New York/JFK. The two airlines, both known for their blue airplanes, are longtime rivals ever since JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes was found to have an attic full of KLM delft houses with no record of how they were acquired. KLM officials suspected foul play.
If the flight caps had been implemented, JetBlue would have lost access to AMS next summer. The reduction in flights was expected to reduce aircraft movements at the airport from about 500,000 down to about 462,000. The airport now plans to pursue a reduction in flight movements at nighttime to still reduce some noise pollution.
Allegiant Adds 12
Allegiant is adding 12 new nonstop routes beginning in the spring to connect
completely random cities vacation destinations throughout its network, led by the addition of one new airport — the chronically underserved Orlando International Airport.
MCO is getting three destinations on Allegiant — Asheville, Allentown, and Knoxville — with all three beginning in May. Orlando’s other airport — Sanford International (SFB) is adding one new destination on Allegiant as it begins service to Rapid City, SD.
The other new city pairs for Allegiant include:
- St. Pete/Clearwater – Bismarck
- Los Angeles – Billings
- Nashville – Rockford
- Las Vegas – Chattanooga
- Punta Gorda – Washington/Dulles
- Newark – Appleton
- Fort Lauderdale – Traverse City
- Austin – Eugene
Unfortunately for Allegiant fliers, its network team ran out of darts to throw at a map to add any additional routes, but the good news is that Amazon just received an order for 200 darts to be sent to Allegiant’s offices next week, so more routes could be on the way.
Delta, airBaltic Begin Codeshare
Delta Air Lines announced airBaltic as its newest codeshare partner with the partnership beginning next week. Delta will place its code on 20 airBaltic routes to its three biggest markets — Riga (RIX), Tallinn (TLL), and Vilnius (VNO). airBaltic will also receive access to Delta’s Biscoff tunnel in Atlanta.
The Latvian Civil Aviation Authority just recently was promoted to a Category 1 safety rating from the FAA, which made this partnership possible. airBaltic will find itself in the unusual position of being a partner of Delta’s without being part of a JV, but this could potentially begin a pathway to a greater relationship. If airBaltic is able to promise to lose gobs of money for shareholders, Delta will certainly be enticed to take a stake in the airline.
Delta’s JV partners in Europe — Air France and KLM — have large European networks, but have no current service to Riga, Tallinn, or Vilnius, allowing this codeshare to fill a hole in Delta’s network.
Alaska Unifies Award Charts
First off — what’s an award chart? It’s a pre-published chart listing the required miles or points for a loyalty redemption on a specific airline — and a concept U.S. airlines have been moving away from for the better part of a decade. But Alaska still uses them, and it’s bringing all of its different charts for different partners under one roof, similar to Air Canada’s Aeroplan program.
Beginning in March, Alaska fliers will have one-stop shopping for mileage redemptions, and while the elimination of partner charts does remove some of the sweet-spots in redemptions for AS fliers, the new program will keep Alaska’s loyalty program competitive. The carrier will offer four charts, based on where the customer is traveling:
- From the lower 48 to the U.S or Canada, flown by Alaska
- Other travel within the Americas not flown by Alaska itself
- Flights between the U.S. and Africa, Europe, and the Middle East
- Flights touching any part of Asia/Pacific
A fifth chart for space travel and a sixth chart for flights on alternate Thursdays to cities that begin with Q are believed to be in the works.
The good news is that — for now — free stopovers will continue, as will free changes and cancellations.
Virgin Australia and Air New Zeland Look to Make What’s Old New Again
Former closely-aligned carriers Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand are exploring reviving their partnership under a new trans-Tasman alliance.
If approved, the new partnership would see Virgin Australia codeshare on NZ’s flights between Australia and its three biggest destinations — Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington. Customers will be able to earn Virgin Australia Velocity loyalty points when flying NZ flights with VA’s code and would also be allowed to redeem points for flights to those three cities or a year’s supply of Vegemite, whatever tickles their fancy.
Both airlines confirmed they’d be bringing the potential partnership to their respective regulatory bodies and would await word from their governments. If approved, it would mark the first time the two carriers would partner in more than five years, after Air New Zealand pulled itself out of the partnership over the leadership then VA-CEO John Borghetti was providing for Virgin Australia.
- Abelo, a German turboprop lessor signed a firm order for 10 ATR 72-600s. Arch-rival Avelo Airlines had no comment on the transaction.
- Aerolíneas Argentinas is increasing its number of domestic destinations to 14. The airline is also finally upgrading its on-board fax machines.
- Air Japan is beginning 5x weekly flights to Seoul in February.
- Air Loyaute is an airline, apparently and it wasn’t flying, apparently. But it’s back, baby.
- Air Serbia added wet-lease capacity from GetJet.
- American is teaming with JetBlue in asking for more government support to develop SAF. The DOJ is reviewing the situation.
- Asiana is beginning seasonal service to Melbourne.
- Bonza opened a base in Gold Coast.
- Copa is printing money.
- Delta was victorious over Salt Lake County in the Utah Supreme Court when the court upheld Delta’s valuation of its fleet at $14 billion. Salt Lake County wanted it valued at $37 billion for tax purposes — but Delta’s legal team successfully argued that the county was counting the value of Delta’s Biscoff futures in the valuation.
- EgyptAir is ordering 10 A350-900s.
- Emirates added a commitment for 90 B777s and a new engineering facility.
- Ethiopian signed an MOU to add 11 A350-900s.
- Fly Gangwon is going to try again to sell itself for lots and lots of won.
- FlyDubai is resuming flights to Afghanistan for the first time in two years.
- ITA has pulled off the impossible again, as it looks to convince seemingly intelligent people to loan it €300 million.
- JAL flew its final B777-200ER.
- JetBlue has one eye turned to Portugal.
- Mexicana plans to relaunch with a single wet-leased E145.
- Norse Atlantic went to Antarctica. On purpose.
- Norwegian settled its trademark fight with Bank Norwegian.
- Royal Air Maroc ordered two Dreamliners.
- Royal Jordanian ordered four Dreamliners, making it twice as good as Royal Air Maroc.
- Ryanair lost in court.
- SCAT Airlines struck gold with its latest order of seven B737 MAX aircraft.
- Singapore is entering into a codeshare agreement with Philippine Airlines.
- SirLankan is getting government assistance to pay down its debt in preparation for a sale.
- SKYhigh Dominicana has never been higher after adding its first E175.
- Turkish leased an additional 20 narrowbody airplanes.
- United is the latest airline to announce service to Tulum’s new airport.
- Virgin Australia flight attendants are voting on a potential strike.
- WestJet expects to fly more airplanes to more places next year.
I’ve never really understood why a false set of teeth is called “dentures.” Seems to me the dental community missed a huge opportunity to call them “substitooths.”