Exciting new airline routes for October 2019 and beyond
Airlines are constantly adjusting their schedules, which often means launching new services while canceling others. It’s all part of their efforts to perfect their networks while increasing profitability. New routes are announced nearly every day, with some of those seasonal and some more permanent. Others are a dropped as carriers change course.
Here’s a look at some interesting flight changes that were announced in October:
American Airlines is doubling up on New Zealand with two new routes. Among those is the only nonstop between the U.S. and New Zealand’s South Island.
The flights will begin in October 2020, with American adding new service between Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Auckland (AKL) and between Los Angeles (LAX) and Christchurch (CHC). The new Auckland route will be flown on a Boeing 787-9 while the Christchurch route will be on the smaller 787-8 variant.
The high-profile routes are part of a bevy of new international service announced by American for next year. Among other new destinations are Casablanca (CMN), Morocco; Tel Aviv (TLV), Israel; and Krakow, Poland.
American also announced a return of transatlantic service from Boston in 2020, with nonstop London Heathrow flights to begin March 29.
The flight will complement British Airways’ existing schedule of four daily round-trip flights on the route. American’s last transatlantic route from Boston ended in October 2017, when nonstops to Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) were discontinued.
American says it added the route by acquiring an additional slot at capacity-controlled Heathrow. The carrier declined to comment on who it bought the slot from or how much it paid to get it.
American Airlines is reinforcing its position at the top of the pack in Hilton Head (HHH), South Carolina, by adding new flights to its hubs at Chicago O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth and Philadelphia.
American will launch the new seasonal service to its three hubs on March 7. Flights on each route will operate once a week on Saturdays with 76-seat Embraer 175 aircraft.
American’s new Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Philadelphia (PHL) flights complement its existing service between Hilton Head and Charlotte (CLT) and Washington National (DCA).
American Airlines will add flights on three key Latin American routes out of its Miami hub, a move that appears aimed at LATAM Airlines.
American said it would add a third flight between Miami and both Lima and Sao Paulo and a second to Santiago. All three cities are hubs for South American giant LATAM Airlines.
American announced a date for the extra Lima service – April 7 – but specified only “Winter 2020” for when the additional Santiago and Sao Paulo flights might be added to its schedules.
The extra flights were announced less than a week after the aviation industry was jolted by the news that Delta would take a 20% stake in LATAM, which had been a longstanding partner of American and fellow member of the Oneworld alliance.
United Airlines continues to build up its Washington Dulles hub as a major north-south connecting complex on the East Coast, adding new flights to Akron/Canton, Philadelphia and West Palm Beach.
Starting Feb. 13, United will offer one daily round-trip flight between Dulles and West Palm Beach (PBI) in Florida. And on May 8, United will add three daily flights between Dulles (IAD) and Akron/Canton (CAK) in Ohio, plus four daily flights between Dulles and Philadelphia (PHL).
United will operate 50-seat regional jets on the Akron and Philadelphia routes, and a 70-seat Bombardier CRJ700 on the West Palm Beach route.
The three cities, all of which United already serves, are the latest route additions to the connecting hub it’s building at Dulles. The airline begins service to Fort Myers (RSW) and Sarasota (SRQ) later this month, and added service to five other cities earlier this year: Asheville, North Carolina (AVL); Elmira, New York (ELM); Hilton Head, South Carolina (HHH); Lexington, Kentucky (LEX); and Manchester, New Hampshire (MHT).
United Airlines is jumping into the lucrative New York air shuttle market with expanded service to Washington.
Beginning in the spring, United will offer up to 13 daily flights between its Newark Liberty (EWR) hub and Ronald Reagan Washington National (DCA), United commercial chief Andrew Nocella said. The service will be flown with either Bombardier CRJ550s with 50 seats or Embraer 175s with 76 seats. Both aircraft offer first class and economy sections.
“It’s about the convenience of an hourly pattern,” said Nocella when asked if United would offer any other shuttle amenities, including complimentary beer and wine or free changes to other flights.
United will end its daily flight between Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) and San Francisco (SFO) on Jan. 3. The flight is operated with an Airbus A319. United spokesman Jonathan Guerin said the decision to end the route came after a “careful analysis of demand for both business and leisure travel.”
The reduction leaves Delta Air Lines as the only carrier flying year-round between Cincinnati and San Francisco, Diio by Cirium schedules show. Frontier Airlines flies the route on a seasonal basis.
United will add several new routes to its 2020 schedule as it continues to fill out its domestic network.
From Chicago O’Hare, the airline will begin new service to Pasco (PSC) in Washington, Santa Barbara (SBA) in California, and Vail (EGE) in Colorado. United also will add nonstop service between Denver (DEN) and Nassau (NAS) in the Bahamas and between Houston Intercontinental (IAH) and Spokane (GEG) in Washington. The Chicago-Vail route is a summer extension of existing seasonal winter service.
Flights between Chicago and Pasco and Vail, and between Houston and Spokane, will be flown by Embraer 175 aircraft that seat 76. Between Chicago and Santa Barbara, United will fly Airbus A319 jets that seat up to 128.
All but the Vail route will begin on June 4, with the Colorado service launching sometime that month.
United Airlines will add a new nonstop route between Los Angeles and Anchorage, Alaska. Seasonal summer service will begin June 18, with United offering one daily round-trip flight through Aug. 17 on Boeing 737-800 aircraft.
United will face competition between the cities. Alaska Airlines flies year-round between LAX and Anchorage (ANC) while American offers seasonal service during the summer.
Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines will connect Seattle/Tacoma and Tampa (TPA) next year, its first new domestic route from Seattle for next year.
The carrier will offer a daily flight between the cities with Boeing 737-800 aircraft that seat 160 passengers. Tampa (TPA) will be Delta’s second nonstop flight to Florida from Seattle (SEA), joining Orlando (MCO).
Delta is trimming two seasonal leisure routes to Europe from New York next summer, a move that comes even as the carrier plans to grow its overall transatlantic franchise.
Delta will not resume service next summer on its routes between New York JFK and both Malaga (AGP) in Spain and Ponta Delgada (PDL) in the Azores. Both routes were flown with Boeing 757-200 aircraft.
The two European routes are the only two of the two-dozen destinations that Delta served from JFK this summer that currently will not return in 2020, schedule data from Diio shows.
Alaska Airlines is consolidating its flying to Kona on the big island of Hawaii, ending routes to two California airports. The move comes as Southwest Airlines continues to expand its presence in the market.
Alaska will discontinue flights between Kona (KOA) and both Sacramento (SMF) and San Francisco (SFO) in March, the company confirmed to TPG. However, Seattle-based Alaska will boost service between Kona and both San Diego (SAN) and San Jose (SJC) in California to daily frequency.
“With competition increasing for travel to Hawaii, this schedule positions us to be competitive when guests are booking vacations,” Alaska spokesman Ray Lane told TPG.
Alaska Airlines is taking further steps to refocus its California route map on its core territory in the western U.S., shaving five more routes from its current Bay Area schedules.
Two cuts come from Alaska’s San Francisco hub. Raleigh/Durham (RDU) flights end Nov. 3 while Nashville (BNA) service ends Nov. 4, according to Diio by Cirium schedules. Alaska will also end three routes from San Jose (SJC) in California: service to Tucson, Arizona, ends Jan. 5 while flights to New York JFK and Orange County (SNA) end Jan. 6.
But Alaska is not only cutting routes. The airline will begin twice-daily flights between San Francisco and Phoenix (PHX) and add daily flights between San Jose and Puerto Vallarta (PVR) next year. Both routes will be flown with Airbus A320s with up to 156 seats.
The airline had operated the San Francisco-Phoenix route on a seasonal basis in February and March for the past two years.
Southwest is again expanding in Hawaii. The low-cost airline will add service from a fourth mainland city while also adding to its schedule of inter-island flights.
San Diego (SAN) becomes the carrier’s newest city on the U.S. mainland to land Hawaii flights. That service begins April 14, when Southwest starts daily nonstop service to Kahului Airport (OGG) on the island of Maui. A second Hawaii route begins April 20 with daily nonstop service to Honolulu (HNL) on the island of Oahu.
The Hawaii service had long been expected for San Diego, with Southwest announcing that San Diego would among its first four cities to land flights to Hawaii. But San Diego had been left off the list as Southwest launched service to the state in March and subsequently expanded its schedule there. Now, with the carrier’s spring schedule update, San Diego will finally get its flights to Hawaii on Southwest.
Additionally, Southwest will beef up its intra-state schedule between Honolulu and Maui/Kahului. Starting April 14, Southwest will fly six daily round-trip flights on the route, up from the current four.
Spirit Airlines is raising its challenge to JetBlue Airways in Puerto Rico.
The ultra-low-cost-carrier will add new flights to San Juan (SJU) from both Boston Logan (BOS) and Newark Liberty (EWR). Daily service begins Dec. 19. Spirit will also add a second daily flight between Philadelphia (PHL) and San Juan on March 1.
Florida-based Spirit will compete directly with JetBlue on both the Boston and Newark routes. JetBlue is the largest carrier in San Juan with up to 34 flights a day, but Spirit is rapidly growing with plans for around 11 daily flights by March.
The ultra-low-cost-carrier also will add three new routes from Austin. Service to Cancun (CUN) begins Feb. 26, while flights to Nashville (BNA) and Newark Liberty (EWR) begin March 26. The Cancun route will operate four days a week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and the Nashville and Newark routes will operate daily.
Spirit Airlines announced three new routes to Nashville, with the announcement coming the same day that the carrier began its first flights from the city.
Service to Cancun (CUN) begins Feb. 27, while flights to Los Angeles (LAX) and Newark (EWR) start March 12. The Los Angeles and Newark routes will be daily. The Cancun route will operate three times a week.
Spirit launched service from Nashville (BNA) on Oct. 10 with routes to Baltimore/Washington (BWI), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Las Vegas (LAS) and New Orleans (MSY). Orlando (MCO) flights followed a day later, while Tampa (TPA) flights are set to begin Nov. 5.
Spirit Airlines also will connect Cancun with Cleveland, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh next year.
Thrice-weekly service from Pittsburgh (PIT) begins Feb. 13, while four weekly flights from Cleveland (CLE) starts a day later. Daily service from Philadelphia launches March 1.
Other changes of note
The United States is banning commercial flights to all cities in Cuba except Havana. The move, announced by the Trump administration earlier this month, rolls back an easing of Cuba-U.S. flight restrictions that began under Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.
Airlines will have 45 days to end their operations to Cuban cities beyond Havana, according to The Miami Herald. Currently, only two U.S. carriers – American and JetBlue –offer regularly scheduled service to Cuban cities beyond Havana. Both pledged to abide by the changes.
Charter flights, which have long operated between the U.S. and Cuba, will not be affected by the latest change.
WestJet will be the first airline to connect Calgary to Rome, Italy.
The airline will begin thrice-weekly service between Calgary (YYC) and the Italian capital of Rome (FCO) from May 2 through the peak summer season. It is the first time a carrier has offered regularly scheduled nonstop service on the route. The airline will fly its new Boeing 787-9 aircraft between Calgary and Rome. The jets feature 16 lie-flat business-class seats, 28 premium economy seats, and 276 economy seats.
The new Rome flights are the latest addition to WestJet’s transatlantic expansion. The carrier will launch seasonal daily service between Vancouver (YVR) and London Gatwick (LGW) on April 26.
Las Vegas already has nonstop flights to both London Heathrow and to London Gatwick. Now it has flights to another London airport — the one in Canada.
Canadian discounter Swoop started flying between London (YXU), Ontario and Las Vegas McCarran (LAS) on Oct. 3. The airline will fly the route twice-weekly with Boeing 737-800s in an all-economy, 189-seat layout. Flights operate on Thursdays and Sundays.
With the new route, the WestJet-owned carrier now connects Las Vegas to six Canadian cities: Edmonton (YEG) in Alberta; Hamilton (YHM) and London in Ontario; Kelowna (YLW) and Vancouver (YVR) in British Columbia; and Winnipeg (YWG) in Manitoba.
New Airbus A321LRs for new Montreal-Copenhagen flights
Canadian leisure carrier Air Transat will add nonstop service between Montreal (YUL) and Copenhagen (CPH), using its new Airbus A321LRs to launch the route.
Service will begin June 20 and operate twice-weekly through Sept. 20. The route will give Air Transat a total of 27 European destinations during its summer schedule for 2020.
“Air Transat is proud to be the only air carrier to offer non-stop service to Copenhagen out of Montreal,” Annick Guérard, Air Transat’s Chief Operating Officer, said in a statement.
Air Transat will add a new transcontinental route to California and extend its schedule to New Orleans. The highest-profile addition comes from Air Transat’s Montreal base (YUL), where the airline will add seasonal nonstop service to San Diego in summer 2020.
Air Transat, which says it will be the only carrier flying nonstop between the cities, will offer three Boeing 737-800 flights a week on the route from Jun. 15 through Oct. 28.
Elsewhere, Air Transat will extend its yet-to-launch Montreal-New Orleans (MSY) service. Twice-weekly flights are set to begin in November and now will continue throughout the summer because of “high demand.”
Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand will add a marquee new route to Newark from its hub in Auckland, New Zealand.
The route, which will begin in October 2020, will be the first-ever nonstop, regularly-scheduled service between New York and New Zealand.
The flights to Auckland (AKL) from Newark (EWR) will take around 17 hours and 40 minutes, according to the airline. At almost 9,000 miles, this will be the longest flight in Air New Zealand’s network and one of the longest in the world.
The route will be flown by a Boeing 787-9 that Air New Zealand says will feature a "higher proportion" of business-class and premium economy seating. In total, the jets will be configured with 275 seats.
As Air New Zealand adds this new route, it is also ending its service from Auckland to London via Los Angeles, a flagship flight for the airline since 1982. Air New Zealand just does not have the advantages that U.S. and European airlines have to make the North Atlantic route successful, acting CEO Jeff McDowall said in announcing the new Newark service.
Air New Zealand’s high-profile new route comes as rival Qantas is exploring the idea of adding ultra-long-haul routes from Sydney to both New York and London. Those routes would eclipse the Auckland-Newark route in distance, but Qantas needs either Airbus or Boeing to make improvements to aircraft that would allow it to fly those routes with a full load of passengers and cargo.
Transatlantic discount giant Norwegian is adding nonstop service between Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Austin (AUS), the first connection to Paris for the fast-growing Texas airport.
Norwegian will use a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner for the route. Service begins May 6, with Norwegian scheduling three flights a week through Sept. 20. From then, the frequency drops to two flights a week until the service ends Oct. 23, 2020.
The carrier already operates an Austin to London Gatwick (LGW) route that launched in 2018.
LOT Polish Airlines
San Francisco-Warsaw nonstops for next summer
LOT Polish Airlines will begin new service between its Warsaw (WAW) base and San Francisco (SFO) on Aug. 5. The new route will operate four days a week — Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday — with a Boeing 787 aircraft.
Icelandair will end service to Kansas City and San Francisco as it aims to shore up its business.
Seasonal Kansas City (MCI) flights ended on Sept. 15 and will not resume next summer. The carrier’s year-round San Francisco (SFO) flights will end Jan. 5, according to Diio by Cirium schedule data. Icelandair served both cities from Reykjavik (KEF).
Icelandair said it is ending the routes for “commercial reasons.” The airline continues to review its network to both improve profitability and minimize the impact of the Boeing 737 MAX grounding, it added. Icelandair had already suspended flights to Tampa (TPA) in June as a result of the grounding.
Alitalia is expanding to San Francisco, announcing a new route to the Italian capital. The carrier will fly to Rome Fiumcino (FCO) starting June 1, operating three weekly flights with Boeing 777 aircraft.
The new route brings Alitalia back to San Francisco for the first time since 2001, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
LEVEL will new service between Boston Logan (BOS) and Paris Orly (ORY). Flights will operate three times a week beginning March 31 and will be on Airbus A330-200 aircraft.
LEVEL is owned by International Airlines Group (IAG), the parent company of British Airways and Iberia.
Contributing: Edward Russell, Zach Wichter, and Victoria M. Walker.