Alaska Airlines exits 2 Los Angeles, Sacramento routes
Alaska Airlines will end service on two California routes and downgrade another two to seasonal status next May, as it focuses on its core Pacific Northwest markets.
The Seattle-based carrier will end service between Los Angeles (LAX) and Salt Lake City, and between Sacramento (SMF) and Kahului (OGG) on Maui on May 19, Alaska confirmed and Cirium schedules show. It will also downgrade service between Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale (FLL), and between San Diego (SAN) and Salt Lake City to seasonal status.
In addition, Alaska will not resume seasonal service between Portland, Oregon (PDX) and Philadelphia (PHL) next summer, the airline confirms.
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The moves feed growth elsewhere in Alaska's network, airline spokesman Ray Lane told TPG. Ending the Los Angeles-Salt Lake City route allows it to add a second daily flight between San Francisco (SFO) and Salt Lake City, and ending Sacramento-Kahului, allows the addition of a second daily flight between San Diego and Kahului.
Alaska has doubled down on defending its core markets. In July, CEO Brad Tilden said 2020 capacity growth would focus on "doing everything we need to do to sort of defend and grow markets out of the state of Washington, in the state of Alaska, the state of Oregon."
Andrew Harrison, Alaska's commercial chief, elaborated further on this in October saying the airline would continue to fly roughly the same number of seats into California -- just from areas where it is strong.
Related: Alaska Keeps Turboprops as Focus Shifts to Pacific Northwest
Alaska has culled a number of routes between California and primarily East Coast and Midwest cities this fall. Changes included announcing the end of 11 routes in August, and a further five routes plus two to Hawaii in October.
During the past decade, Alaska has built bases in San Diego and San Jose (SJC) in California, and grew its Los Angeles and San Francisco hubs through the purchase of Virgin America in 2016. Anchorage (ANC), Portland, and Seattle (SEA) remain core bases.
Alaska faces competition on all of the routes it will exit, or downgrade to seasonal status, in May. From Los Angeles, JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines fly to Fort Lauderdale, and American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines to Salt Lake City, Cirium shows. American flies seasonally between Portland and Philadelphia, and Delta and Southwest fly between San Diego and Salt Lake.
Hawaiian Airlines flies between Sacramento and Kahului, with Southwest beginning service in March.