A Busy Week as Airlines Make Their Bets for 2022 – Cranky Flier


That was a short-lived slumber in Airlineville. This week, the residents got back to work… and in a big way. The Cirium data shows the the Heart set spring plans while the Taxi went all the w…

That was a short-lived slumber in Airlineville. This week, the residents got back to work… and in a big way.

The Cirium data shows the the Heart set spring plans while the Taxi went all the way through summer. The Eagle too was thinking about summer, but he was scaling back unlike all the rest. The Eagle’s sister, the Queen, was also thinking about summer.

All this and a whole lot more this week. Like sands through the hourglass, so are the skeds of air lines.

Alaska Works on Spring Break

Alaska brought down February capacity by four points, mostly because of the proper gauging of 737-900s down to 737-800s which will actually fly. It also flopped frequencies around during the spring:

  • Markets gaining frequency: Anchorage – Fairbanks; Boise – Paine Field, Palm Springs, Seattle; Los Angeles – Belize, Bend/Redmond, Portland; Portland – Oakland, Ontario, San Diego, Seattle; San Francisco – Spokane; Seattle – Bellingham, Bend/Redmond, Calgary, Eugene, Kalispell, Missoula, Pasco, Vancouver, Victoria
  • Markets losing frequency: Los Angeles – Newark, San Francisco; Portland – Boston, Burbank, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Minneapolis/St Paul, Palm Springs, San Jose; San Francisco – New Orleans, Tampa; Seattle – Dallas/Fort Worth, Kansas City, New Orleans

Also, SFO – Cancun will fly this summer while San Jose – Spokane is gone, some frequency being pushed up to San Francisco instead.

American’s Week of Forced Cuts

It was announced publicly last week, and I have a much more in-depth look coming tomorrow, but American has set its long-haul plans for next summer now that it has given up most hope on getting long-delayed 787s delivered any time soon. You can read the press release or wait until tomorrow for more.

But before that, American pulled down February into March by a little over 1 percent. Why? The airline tells me that this is due to labor capacity and not based on demand.

In other news, from April, American is slashing its Washington/National – Boston flights from 16 to 10x daily and DFW from 10x to 9x daily. There are also some Charlotte cuts. Washington/National will get an extra daily to Atlanta, Burlington (VT), Cleveland, Dayton, Fort Myers, Hilton Head, Memphis, Nashville, Orlando, Tampa, and West Palm.

British Airways Plans Summer

British Airways is bulking up summer schedules, and that means more frequencies in most markets, but there’s a little nuance. LA goes from 2x to 3x daily. Houston and Seattle each go from 12x weekly to 2x daily. Orlando (to Gatwick) goes from 1x to 2x daily. Nashville (to Heathrow) and Tampa (to Gatwick) each go from 5x weekly to 1x daily. New Orleans creeps up from 3x to 4x weekly.

On the fleet side, Chicago gets a boost with a 777 going to an A380. Dulles also sees an A380 come in, upgauged from a 787. Boston gets an A380 as well, but it has to sacrifice a frequency to get it, dropping from 4x to 3x daily.

In mixed news, San Jose will remain gone until June, but then it goes 1x daily instead of the previous plan for 5x weekly.

The two losers are JFK, which drops from 8x to 7x daily, and Las Vegas – Gatwick which is gone. (Heathrow still operates.)

Delta Runs Into Regional Trouble

It’s happened to everyone, and Delta is no exception. Delta pulled down a point of capacity in March and over 3 percent in April. In April, it is a broader cut, but mainline flights are down only 5 percent while Endeavor is down nearly 7 percent and Republic is down a whopping 18 percent. It looks like Detroit – Lacrosse; Minneapolis – Great Falls, Lincoln (market exit), Marquette; and Salt Lake – Cody (market exit), Grand Junction (market exit), Indianapolis are all out of the schedule through summer at least.

In better news, Delta will fly JFK – Stockholm this summer starting in June. Atlanta – Rome will go from 1x to 2x daily this summer. Oh, and Boston – Savannah will operate starting in March.

Frontier Files Fort Lauderdale

Frontier has, as announced, gone into Fort Lauderdale in a big way. Details of that and other additions can be found in the press release.

Southwest Extends Its Schedule, Part 1

Southwest did the first part of the Texas two-step this week. It extended its schedule from April 24 to June 4. Next week it is expected to roll through the summer. In the new period, capacity is roughly flat vs 2019. You can see the primary schedule changes in the press release.

Spirit Extends Through Summer

Spirit also extended this week, but it went long, extending from May 24 through September 6. As announced, it has filed a Philly extension, and you can read the press release for more.

Like many of the older folks living in the airline’s home state, Spirit seems to be having PNS problems. Flights won’t be getting up to Columbus, Indianapolis, Kansas City, and St Louis until the end of May, delayed from April.

Ok, ok, there are actually a few other markets in the same boat. Also not flying in April: Chicago – Baltimore, Phoenix; Dallas/Fort Worth – Philly, San Diego; Detroit – Oakland, Philly; Fort Lauderdale – Kansas City, Raleigh/Durham; Fort Myers – Pittsburgh; Milwaukee – Cancun; Minneapolis/St Paul – Denver; Myrtle Beach – Akron; and Tampa – Kansas City.

United Tinkers

United pulled March capacity down about a point and a half with a mix of mainline and regionals, though GoJet was hit hardest with departures down over 10 percent, and Mesa followed down 6 percent vs the 3 percent for mainline. There was also just a lot of tinkering. Notable moves:

  • Denver – Anchorage boosted from 1x to 2x daily next summer
  • Houston will gain a daily flight to Comayagua, the new airport that will replace Tegucigalpa for good at some point.
  • San Francisco – Atlanta, Baltimore, Madison, Omaha, and Pittsburgh will not operate in February. That list of suspended hub overflight markets from SFO continues to shrink.

WestJet Sets April

WestJet continues to feel more confident looking into its crystal ball. It brought April capacity down 35 percent which has it sitting 25 percent below 2019 levels. It’s a general cut, but noted cancellations for the month including Cancun to secondary cities (Halifax, Regina, and Saskatoon) along with Calgary – London/Gatwick, Ottawa – Orlando, and Winnipeg – Las Vegas.

Other Randomness

  • Aha! has shifted the Reno – Spokane route to operate on Tuesday/Thursday/Sunday instead of Monday/Wednesday/Friday.
  • Air France will add another LA – Paris frequency this summer, going up to 26x weekly.
  • Asiana won’t fly to Honolulu through the winter schedule.
  • Breeze added two new cities, Islip will have flights to Charleston (SC) and Norfolk along with West Palm Beach Saturday service to Akron/Canton, Charleston (SC), Columbus, New Orleans, Norfolk, and Richmond.
  • Finnair will start Helsinki – Seattle in June as well as extend its Stockholm – JFK and LA flights through summer.
  • Hawaiian extended its Asia pandemic schedule through February.
  • Icelandair’s summer schedule sees increases in JFK (12x weekly -> 2x daily), Chicago and Toronto (11x -> 12x weekly), and Newark (5x weekly -> 1x daily).
  • KLM will raise LA service from 13x weekly to 2x daily next summer. Minneapolis/St Paul goes from 4x to 6x weekly.
  • Porter will bring back weekend Myrtle Beach service in March.
  • Public Charters, the assumed Hard Rock flights from Scranton to Atlantic City, are now showing flights from Scranton to Philly, for those who think the two hour drive is just not short enough.
  • Ukraine International will restart Kiev – New York/JFK (4x weekly) and Toronto (2x weekly) in June.
  • Ultimate Air Shuttle has suspended all flights after December 16.
  • Vietnam Airlines will reduce its San Francisco flight from 2x to 1x weekly.
  • Volaris El Salvador will begin flying from San Salvador to Los Angeles (1x daily), New York/JFK (4x weekly), and Washington/Dulles (3x weekly) in late March/early April.

That’s all for this week. Stay tuned for next week’s episode of Skeds of air Lines.

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