American Races Toward the Sun, Skirmishes Break Out Elsewhere – Cranky Flier

How about a bonus post today? Things are happening quickly in this industry this week, and if I don’t post this now, I’ll never post it.

The Eagle has set its October schedule, and there are a lot of cuts, but that is less interesting than what’s happening south of the border with its evil twin… El Aguila. Meanwhile, Ms Blue has been doing some last minute downsizing in both September and October. The Eskimo strikes back at the Widget, and the LUVer sends the Tulip a message.

All of this and more on this week’s episode of Skeds of air Lines.

American’s October is Set (Mostly) While Point-to-Point Runs Wild

American has been busy slashing a burning in the near term. We’ve already been told that 15 markets are going away. That’s actually now down to 14, with two of those being delayed, but none of this made this week’s filing.

What was loaded this weekend was American’s first whack at October. This isn’t final, since, well, nothing is final until it’s flown, but American is now targeting to fly 51.6 percent of flights in October vs 2019. In September, that number was 49.3 percent, so this really isn’t much growth.

In October, 49 routes that didn’t fly in September are coming back. It’s mostly Caribbean, Hawai’i, Mexico, and other winter destinations… which is no surprise since September is a dead time in most of those In addition, flights return from Charlotte to Westchester; Chicago to Charlottesville (VA), Little Rock, and Toledo; and both Los Angeles and Miami to Seattle. Meanwhile summer-seasonal flights like Anchorage and Montana go away. Outliers that disappear are Chicago to Columbia (MO) and Huntsville; Miami to Baltimore; Philly to Charlottesville, New York/LaGuardia, and Omaha; and Washington/National to Greenville/Spartanburg and Memphis.

But look, this is all kind of boring compared to the longer term stuff American is trying. Like United and JetBlue, American is going to take a swing at some non-hub leisure routes. But it also has the benefit of having a hub or two in the sunbelt, and those see growth too.

Let’s start in Phoenix, where American is preparing for the annual tradition of snowbirds descending on the city. This is what American had said it would do more of in Phoenix, so it’s no surprise.

  • Billings to Phoenix: Daily from November 4 through April 5
  • Bismarck to Phoenix: Daily from November 4 through April 6
  • Calgary to Phoenix: Daily from November 5 through April 6
  • Cincinnati to Phoenix: 4x weekly November 5 through April 4
  • Cleveland to Phoenix: Saturday-only from November 7 through April 3
  • Nashville to Phoenix: 4x weekly from November 5 through April 4
  • Tulsa to Phoenix: Daily from November 4 through April 5

American did the same thing in Miami, but this is not just about bringing people to Florida. It’s also about taking them through Miami to the Caribbean. A new route from Sioux Falls to Charlotte falls into a similar bucket since it’s also about warming people up.

  • Dayton to Miami: Saturday-only from November 7 through April 3
  • Lexington to Miami: Saturday-only from November 7 through April 3
  • Milwaukee to Miami: Saturday-only from November 7 through April 3
  • Portland (PWM) to Miami: Saturday-only from November 7 through April 3
  • Rochester to Miami: Saturday-only from November 7 through April 3
  • Sioux Falls to Charlotte: Daily from November 4 through April 5

Then there’s Mexico, where American is taking some bigger swings.

  • Austin to Cabo San Lucas: Saturday-only from December 19 through April 3
  • Charlotte to Puerto Vallarta: Saturday-only from December 19 through April 3
  • Columbus to Cancun: Saturday-only from December 19 through April 3
  • Indianapolis to Cancun: Saturday-only from December 19 through April 3
  • Kansas City to Cancun: Saturday-only from December 19 through April 3
  • New York/JFK to Cabo San Lucas: Daily from December 17 through January 4, 4x weekly from January 7 through February 8, Daily from February 11 through April 5
  • Raleigh/Durham to Cancun: Daily from December 17 through January 4, Saturday-only from February 13 through April 3
  • Sacramento to Cabo San Lucas: Saturday-only from December 19 through April 3
  • St Louis to Cancun: Saturday-only from December 19 through April 3

Those Cancun routes should look familiar. Those are the same ones that Delta pulled out of the schedule last week. American is going to give it a shot. New York to Cabo, well, the revived Eastern has just decided to start that up, so I guess this is a response to that. Austin to Cabo is less surprising since American was flying that before the pandemic, but Sacramento. Well, that’s something.

Alaska Goes Long, Defends Ontario

Alaska didn’t file much this week, but it did respond to Delta’s announcement that it was going to fly Ontario to Seattle by bulking up its own service. It also added flying from Jackson Hole to San Diego, San Jose, and Seattle, as it had previously announced. Beyond that, Seattle gets another daily flight to Boston, Orlando, and Raleigh/Durham for the long run. That’s a lot of aircraft time.

JetBlue’s Late September Cut, October Goes Down Too

It is September tomorrow, and that means any September cuts are coming in late. While JetBlue was going to run 37 percent of flights vs 2019 in September, it’s now down to 28 percent. I guess demand was even weaker than originally believed. A whole bunch of routes that were going to operate in September won’t:

  • Boston – Barbados, Montego Bay, Nantucket, Newark, Philly, Portland (OR), Punta Cana, Salt Lake City
  • Ft Lauderdale – Austin, Bogota, Cartagena, Medellin, San Jose (CR)
  • Newark – Barbados
  • New York/JFK – Cartagena, Nassau
  • Washington/National – Ft Myers, Nantucket

Meanwhile, 65 additional routes will see reduced frequency. Beyond September, the first cut at October now has the airline planning to operate 44 percent of last year’s flights.

Delta Cuts October Again

Delta already knocked down October, but it’s at it again. Seven routes are going away, including Boston to Austin, Detroit to Bloomington, Los Angeles to Lihu’e and Tokyo/Haneda, New York/JFK to Dallas/Fort Worth, and Salt Lake to Cabo and West Yellowstone. Another 85 see reduced frequency with the biggest hits in Boston to Cincinnati, Richmond, and Seattle; Cincinnati to Newark and Washington/National; Detroit to Ft Lauderdale, New Orleans, Orlando, and Tampa; New York/JFK to Syracuse; and Seattle to Vegas.

On the bright side, Guadalajara to Los Angeles and Indianapolis to Memphis have been added to the schedule with daily service. Another 31 routes will see frequency growth.

In the long run looking at next summer, Delta is pulling out of Atlanta to Grenada and Reno along with Seattle to Bozeman. It will reduce frequency from Minneapolis to Cancun but boost frequency from Salt Lake to Puerto Vallarta. Those moves, of course, mean very little since next summer is just so far away.

Frontier and Allegiant Take Down October

Both Frontier and Allegiant have knocked down their October schedules. Frontier was planning on flying 82 percent of last year, but now it will only fly 62 percent. Meanwhile, Allegiant was going to originally grow with 114 percent of flights versus last year. Now it’s down to 92 percent.

United’s Late September Trim

What’s most interesting about United is what it didn’t do. It still hasn’t filed its October schedules. I assume we’ll see those next weekend. Maybe the airline is holding out hope that the government will throw more money at it. Instead, this weekend, all we saw was some last minute trimming in Central America and secondary Mexico cities like Veracruz and Aguascalientes.

Southwest Defends Florida

Southwest was busy doing its usual tweaking with October flights up 2 points, much of it in Florida. But that wasn’t the most interesting move. In November and December, we see Southwest taking aim back at United which had moved into some of its Florida markets. The airline will increase frequency on Fort Myers to Columbus, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh alongside Cleveland to Orlando. It also add new routes from United current and former hubs. Washington/Dulles to Orlando comes along with Fort Myers to Houston (Hobby, not Intercontinental, of course), and Cleveland.


That’s all for this week. Stay tuned for next week. Like sands through the hourglass, so are the Skeds of air Lines.

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