Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: Denver’s Mile High Plans, Air Canada’s Top Ten Performance

Cranky Weekly Review

United Submits First Plans for Denver Site

United Airlines plans to have the first facility — a new simulator building —  on its recently-acquired 113-acre site in Denver functional by fall of 2027. Because this is United, it’s expected to announce a brief delay just before the fall of ’27 with additional brief delays every few days after that before eventually canceling the project altogether and sending everyone to a customer service desk in Newark to sort it out.

The city of Denver requires plans to be submitted on any building site five acres or larger, forcing United to share its plans as it moves forward with construction.

The new site is expected to host a 12-simulator building for pilots to practice go-rounds at Newark because they don’t actually want to land there plus a central utility plant.  The entire space is expected to become a full-service flight training center for the airline and host as many as 5,000 corporate employees. 

Some are speculating that this site could eventually be the home of a new corporate headquarters should the carrier elect to move from its Chicago home while others see it is an effort to placate the ghosts underneath Denver’s airport. But our question — why can’t it be both?

Air Canada’s Flights Showed Up On-Time, Sometimes

Air Canada pulled up the rear amongst large North American airlines in 2023, with its flights arriving on-time just 63% of the time, good enough for 10th out of the 10 airlines ranked, setting off wild celebrations in Long Island City once JetBlue realized it surprisingly wasn’t actually the worst performer.

Using the A15 metric, in which flights are considered on-time if they arrive within 15 minutes of their scheduled arrival time, Air Canada managed to have approximately a whopping 140,000 miss that mark. The performance for Air Canada was well below JetBlue and Frontier, the 8th and 9th place finishers.

The carrier disputed the rankings, saying that with the exchange rate, A21 is the Canadian equivalent to A15 and that should be the standard it’s judged on.  Unfortunately for Air Canada, it could have been judged by A120 this past year and it still would have been 10th out of 10.

Alaska Begins New Max Era

Alaska Airlines received its first longer-range B737-8 MAX aircraft, a key part of its strategy to begin flying longer nonstop flights, including its new service between Anchorage and New York/JFK. This means the long-awaited Spokane – Addis Ababa flight is finally on the table.

Alaska has between 20 and 40 of the aircraft set to deliver over the next four years, and its range of 3,500 miles is the second longest in the 737 MAX family. The aircraft will be configured for 159 passengers when in service for Alaska in a two-class configuration with additional room for basic economy passengers in the cargo hold.

The carrier is currently planning to receive between 15 and 25 new Boeing aircraft each year with B737-10 MAX delivery expected to begin in 2025, if it is ever certified.

New Pacific’s Vegas Gamble Ends

New Pacific, the airline with more names than routes, ended its 2x-weekly flights between Ontario and Las Vegas on Monday, ending the carrier’s brief foray into Las Vegas. The fledgling airline is now left with two routes — both out of Ontario — the criminally-underserved Ontario – Nashville market and a slightly less strange flight to Reno.

The carrier cited ground delays as the reason for ending its flights to Vegas, which seems as good as a reason as any to just make up.  Southwest and Frontier continue to fly the route just fine without any of the debilitating ground issues that seem to plague New Pacific and New Pacific only. Some industry veterans theorized that the delays were caused by LAS airport staff not knowing what the airline was going to call itself each day leading to mass confusion.

Schiphol Begrudgingly Prepares For Increased Capacity in 2024

Much to the chagrin of the airport itself, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport — the most confused airport in the world about what it’s purpose is — will increase its capacity this summer despite its own proposal to dramatically reduce the number of flights at the airport.

The airport, along with the Dutch government, proposed a reduction in the flight activity for 2024, but pushback from airlines and the EU and U.S. governments caused a reversal.  The airport announced this week its flight capacity for 2024 — which would be 483,000 flights for the year, including 293,000 during summer — a bump of 13,000 from what it had originally proposed. It hopes those extra slots are used for long-desired Spokane service.

Schiphol is moving forward with its plan to raise take-off and landing fees by nearly 15% this year as it pouts about not getting the flight reductions it wanted. KLM CEO Marjan Rintel warned that the higher fees would only lead to higher ticket prices, something we all realized the moment the fee hikes were announced, so thanks for that, Captain Obvious.

  • Air China is Istanbul’s 100th airline.
  • Air Dolomiti is in the market for an Embraer or six.
  • Air India will begin operating its A350 later this month.
  • Air Japan is selling tickets.
  • Air Transat flight attendants politely rejected a proposed labor deal.
  • American has no interest in your Argentinian Peso.
  • Asiana began twice-weekly flying between Seoul/ICN and Melbourne.
  • Austrian Airlines had a good year, according to Austrian Airlines.
  • Azerbaijan Airlines is getting into the Baku – London/Gatwick game.
  • Cathay Pacific is now offering free WiFi for business class passengers. Finally.
  • Condor announced six new airplanes earned their stripes.
  • easyJet pandemic vouchers expire at the end of this month.
  • Envoy is adding 19 airplanes.
  • Fly Coralway, which you absolutely had heard of even though it never flew, is no more.
  • Iberia ground staff began a four-day strike today.
  • Korean‘s takeover of Asiana will be completed in 2024. This is according to Korean.
  • Lufthansa‘s purchase of ITA may not be ruled on by the EU until later this year. Don’t hold your breath.
  • Ryanair is expanding its HQ. Its neighbors are surely thrilled.
  • Thai Smile flashed its pearly whites for the final time.
  • Turkish will jump into the Australian market starting with Melbourne.
  • Spirit‘s employee who put an unaccompanied minor on the wrong flight late last year is no longer a Spirit employee.
  • Sudan Airways is back.
  • Zipair‘s new service from Tokyo/Narita to Vancouver will zip across the Pacific ocean 3x weekly at launch.

As you get older you start to realize which drinks give you a hangover. For me it’s usually the ones after my 10th drink of the night that get me every time.

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13 comments on “Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: Denver’s Mile High Plans, Air Canada’s Top Ten Performance

  1. Regarding the Japan Airlines disaster (condolences to the 5 Coast Guard members who died) – I am more impressed with the passengers than the airline crew too. If this was the US, it would have been a free-for-all fistfight between passengers on who gets to get off and in which order.

    1. The more I read about that, the more I wonder what would have happened in the same situation in the US. I fear you’re correct though… every sucker for themself.

  2. Always love the snark on these weekly posts, especially when an airline like Air Canada deserves it.

    Is GEG now officially Cranky Weekly’s airport of choice to pick on in the West (or at least for Alaska), similar to EWR and United, or is this just a one-time thing? Maybe time will tell.

  3. New(ish) Pacific cancelled all of its scheduled flights on Jan 1 and Jan 2 between ONT, RNO and BNA. Why? They flew football fans home from the Sugar Bowl, and evidently, they couldn’t get their other plane running to do their regular schedule. A few ticket holders complained on their FB page, and of course, the airline took down those comments (“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!)

  4. I can’t stop laughing over the fact that Bloomberg actually wrote an article about Ryanair’s 1,820 square foot “expansion.” Yes, I checked 3 times and even converted the metric measurement to be sure but I still hope it’s a typo. My buddy’s home expansion was about that size, maybe he should call Bloomberg lol!

  5. There’s a wrong link in the article: the link to the Korean Air/Asiana merger actually links to the Azerbaijan Airlines article (again).

  6. Really fail to see why Alaska would even be considering a route from Spokane to Adais Ababa That route cant be viable in anyone’s book.

  7. *The GAT Airline Ground Services employee who put an unaccompanied minor on the wrong flight late last year is no longer part of the Spirit Airlines contract.

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