Exciting New Airline Routes for August 2019 and Beyond

Aug 31, 2019

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Airlines are constantly adjusting their schedules, 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, some seasonal and some more permanent. Others are a dropped as carriers change course on their route plans.

Here’s a look at some interesting flight changes that were announced in August:

Domestic Carriers

American Airlines

An American Airlines Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft lands Athens International Airport (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
An American Airlines Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft lands Athens International Airport (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

First-ever Africa destination headlines new trans-Atlantic service

American will add its first-ever route to Africa. Flights between Philadelphia (PHL) and Casablanca (CMN), Morocco, were included as part of five new trans-Atlantic routes planned for 2020.

Also included in the list is American’s return to Tel Aviv (TLV), a city it dropped from its route map in 2016. Back then, American served the Israeli city from its Philadelphia hub. But when the service returns on Sept. 9, 2020, American will fly the route from Dallas/Fort Worth using Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.

Related: Why American is headed to Africa, adding more Eastern Europe, and returning to Tel Aviv

Also being added to American’s trans-Atlantic schedule for 2020 are:

  • Budapest, Hungary (BUD): Four-times weekly from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) on Boeing 787-8 aircraft from May 7 to Oct. 24
  • Krakow, Poland (KRK): Five-times weekly from Chicago O’Hare on 787-8 aircraft from May 7 to Oct. 23
  • Prague, Czech Republic (PRG): Five-times weekly from Chicago O’Hare on 787-8 aircraft from May 8 to Oct. 24

As for Casablanca, American will fly that route three times a week with Boeing 757-200 jets. The seasonal service begins June 4 and continues through Sept. 8.

American will be the only US carrier to fly to the city, which is a hub for pending Oneworld alliance member Royal Air Maroc. The Moroccan airline is due to become a full alliance member in 2020.

Summertime in Alaska and Montana (and skirting LaGuardia’s ‘perimeter rule’)

American is betting big on Alaska and Montana for next year’s summer schedule.

Seven new routes — all seasonal — will be spread across five of American’s hubs and are targeted toward outdoor travelers and enthusiasts of national parks.

Chicago O’Hare (ORD) is getting two of the seasonal routes, with daily service to the Alaskan cities of Anchorage (ANC) and Fairbanks (FAI).

Another two of the seven new routes will come from New York LaGuardia (LGA), and they’re perhaps the most interesting additions of the bunch. From LGA, American will add Saturday-only service to the Montana cities of Bozeman (BZN) and Kalispell/Glacier National Park (FCA).

Normally, those routes would not be permissible at LaGuardia, which is governed by a “perimeter rule” that bars airlines from adding flights of more than 1,500 miles from the airport. But Saturday flights are exempted (as are flights to Denver), so American’s Montana flights from LGA — Kalispell at 2,035 miles and Bozeman at 1,894 miles — make they cut since they’ll operate only on Saturdays.

Iceland stays, but there’s a new way to get there

American will move its seasonal Iceland service to its Philadelphia hub next summer, tapping into East Coast demand for the North Atlantic nation.

Beginning June 4, the carrier will offer daily Boeing 757 flights between Reykjavik (KEF) and Philadelphia. The route will replace the company’s existing daily seasonal service between Reykjavik and Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), which it has offered since 2018.

The switch to Philadelphia will allow American to better collect the high amount of East Coast connecting traffic to Reykjavik, spokeswoman Nichelle Tait tells TPG.

United Airlines

United
United’s ‘high-J’ Boeing 767-300. (Photo by Zach Honig, TPG)

Sicily, Curacao and south of France added in international push

United is continuing what’s been an aggressive international expansion with the announcement of several new high-profile international routes.

From Newark (EWR), seasonal routes to Palermo/Sicily, Italy (begins May 20); Nice, France (May 2); and the Caribbean island of Curacao (Dec. 7) highlight the new additions.

United also tapped its Chicago O’Hare hub for new trans-Atlantic service, adding year-round flights to Zurich (ZRH) that will begin March 28.

Elsewhere, two other high-profile international routes — Denver-London Heathrow and San Francisco-Delhi — are set to transition from seasonal to year-round.

Even better is that the new flights don’t appear to be coming at the expense of reduced service elsewhere in United’s network. The airline confirmed it will continue to serve existing seasonal destinations in 2020, such as Athens (ATH); Naples (NAP), Italy; Porto (OPO), Portugal, and Barcelona (BCN).

Tweaks to Tokyo schedule

United Airlines will double the number of Tokyo flights it offers from Los Angeles and Newark once its new Tokyo Haneda schedule begins.

Under its revised Tokyo schedule that will debut this spring, United will serve Los Angeles (LAX) and Newark from both Haneda (HND) and Tokyo Narita (NRT). But two other United hubs — Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and Washington Dulles (IAD) — will lose Narita nonstops in favor of new Haneda flights.

The Haneda flights start March 28, when United begins four new flights to the airport that the US Department of Transportation finalized in July. New daily service from Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles, Newark and Washington Dulles begin that day and will complement United’s existing Haneda flight from San Francisco (SFO).

Alaska Airlines

An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-990 takes off from New York JFK on Aug. 24, 2019 . (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
An Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-990 takes off from New York JFK on Aug. 24, 2019 . (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

West Coast route shake-up: 8 adds, 11 drops

Alaska Airlines is doubling down on its West Coast footprint, announcing eight new nonstop routes within the region and adding frequencies on several existing routes.

Alaska’s hub in Los Angeles (LAX) got half of the new routes while San Francisco (SFO) landed three. San Diego (SAN), a focus city for Alaska, landed the other.

All three of those airports are getting nonstop flights to Redmond/Bend (RDM), Oregon. And Spokane (GEG), Washington, gets new nonstop links to both LAX and SFO.

However, Alaska’s additions are being at least partially offset by cuts elsewhere. The carrier is dropping 11 nonstop routes and will reduce another five from year-round to seasonal service. The biggest cuts were at San Diego — six permanent cuts and one seasonal downgrade — and San Francisco (two permanent cuts and four seasonal downgrades).

You can see the full list of Alaska’s route changes here.

Paine Field to Spokane

Alaska continues to expand its map from Paine Field north of Seattle, adding new intrastate service to Spokane.

The daily service will begin Nov. 4 and will be on 76-seat Embraer 175 jets.

With the addition of Spokane, Alaska will offer nonstop flights on 10 routes from Paine Field. The carrier’s other destinations from the airport are: Las Vegas (LAS); Los Angeles; Orange County, California (SNA); Palm Springs (PSP), California; Phoenix (PHX); Portland, Oregon (PDX); San Diego; San Francisco; and San Jose, California (SJC).

Delta Air Lines

A Delta Boeing 757-200 at the San Francisco Airport in October 2017. Photo by Alberto Riva / The Points Guy
A Delta Boeing 757-200 at the San Francisco Airport in October 2017. Photo by Alberto Riva / The Points Guy

Hello Haneda, so long Narita

Delta has made good on its long-standing threat to leave Tokyo Narita in favor of the city’s Haneda airport, a move that will be the biggest change to the carrier’s Asia network in a decade.

The airline plans to end all service to Narita (NRT) and consolidate its Tokyo operations at Haneda (HND) in its summer 2020 schedule, which begins at the end of March.

In preparation for the move, Delta will end service to Singapore (SIN) on Sept. 22, citing “financial pressure.”

Delta plans to serve Haneda from Atlanta (ATL), Detroit (DTW), Honolulu (HNL), Los Angeles (LAX), Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP), Portland (PDX) in Oregon, and Seattle (SEA).

Related: Sayonara, Narita: The Rise and Fall of Delta’s Tokyo Hub

Going back to Gatwick amid UK changes

Delta will return to London Gatwick next May after an eight-year hiatus with a new flight from Boston.

The carrier will offer a daily flight between its Boston Logan (BOS) hub and London Gatwick (LGW) starting May 21. The company will fly the route with 165-seat Boeing 757-200s configured with 16 lie-flat business class seats.

The service was announced amid a number of changes to its 2020 United Kingdom schedule.

Partner Virgin Atlantic will complement Delta’s Gatwick flight with its own new service between the London airport and New York JFK. Starting May 21, the airline will offer a daily flight on an Airbus A330-200 aircraft with 266 seats, though only 19 lie-flat business class seats.

Delta had ended service to Gatwick in 2012 when it moved all of its London flights to Heathrow.

JFK to Bogota, nonstop

Delta will once again serve Colombia’s capital of Bogota, launching nonstop service from New York JFK on Dec. 21. The airline will fly one daily round-trip flight on Boeing 757-200 aircraft featuring 20 first-class, 29 Delta Comfort+ and 150 economy seats.

Southwest Airlines

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-800 approaches for landing at Baltimore/Washington International Airport on March 11, 2019. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP)
A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-800 approaches for landing at Baltimore/Washington International Airport on March 11, 2019. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP)

Finally, Hawaii is back on

Southwest’s long-awaited “second wave” of expansion in Hawaii is now underway.

The carrier announced five new routes from California and detailed plans for three new inter-island markets.

Among the California airports getting new Hawaii service is Sacramento (SMF), where Honolulu (HNL) will become Southwest’s first Hawaii route from the city when it launches Jan. 19.

Also landing new Hawaii routes are Oakland (OAK) and San Jose (SJC). Southwest already flies to Hawaiian islands from those airports, but the airline will add two additional destinations (Kona and Kauai) from each.

Beyond California, Southwest also announced plans for three new routes within Hawaii. Two will be from Honolulu, connecting the city with both the island of Kauai (LIH) and the city of Hilo (ITO) on the “Big Island” of Hawaii. The third will connect Maui (OGG) with the city of Kona (KOA), also on the Big Island.

Spirit Airlines

A Spirit Airlines Airbus A320. (Photo by Javier Rodriguez / The Points Guy)
A Spirit Airlines Airbus A320. (Photo by Javier Rodriguez / The Points Guy)

Well, that didn’t last long

Spirit Airlines will axe three routes from Fort Lauderdale that it began less than a year ago.

Flights to the North Carolina cities of Greensboro (GSO) and Asheville (AVL) will end Nov. 10 and Nov. 13, respectively. Spirit’s intra-Florida route between Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and Jacksonville (JAX) ends Nov. 12.

All three routes were introduced within the past year. The North Carolina routes began in September while the Fort Lauderdale-Jacksonville route begin in February.

Cape Air

Cape Air aircraft at Boston Logan. (Photo by Edward Russell/TPG)
Cape Air aircraft at Boston Logan. (Photo by Edward Russell/TPG)

Little Cape Air is thinking Big (Apple)

Cape Air is expanding its service to New York JFK with new year-round connections to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

From JFK, the regional carrier will offer one daily flight each to Martha’s Vineyard (MVY) and Nantucket (ACK) in Massachusetts beginning Sept. 16. The Nantucket flight will continue on to Hyannis (HYA) on Cape Cod, offering passengers a one-stop service from New York.

“Our initial JFK service proved to be a valuable way for our island communities to easily access Metropolitan New York during off peak season, but the demand for more was there,” said Linda Markham, president of Cape Air, referring to the seasonal service to JFK from Nantucket that it debuted last winter.

Frontier Airlines

A Frontier Airlines Airbus A320neo aircraft. (Image courtesy of Airbus)
A Frontier Airlines Airbus A320neo aircraft. (Image courtesy of Airbus)

Out with Spirit, in with Frontier at Newark

Frontier Airlines will add Newark to its map with 15 new routes beginning this fall. It lands at the New York-area airport just weeks after Southwest Airlines raised the white flag there.

The Denver-based ultra low-cost carrier will initially connect Newark Liberty (EWR) to seven destinations starting in November:

  • Atlanta (ATL) — daily from Dec. 10
  • Las Vegas (LAS) — daily from Nov. 14
  • Miami (MIA) — daily from Nov. 14, and twice daily from Dec. 10
  • Orlando (MCO) — twice daily from Nov. 14
  • Phoenix (PHX) — daily from Dec. 10
  • San Juan (SJU) — daily from Nov. 14
  • West Palm Beach, Florida (PBI) — seasonal daily from Dec. 10

Frontier says eight more destinations are set to begin next spring, though it did not reveal specific schedule plans. The additional cities Frontier is teasing from Newark are: Cancun (CUN), Mexico; Chicago O’Hare (ORD); Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW); Denver (DEN); Ontario (ONT) in California; Punta Cana (PUJ) in the Dominican Republic; Raleigh/Durham (RDU) and Tampa (TPA).

Allegiant

An Allegiant Air Airbus A320.
An Allegiant Air Airbus A320. (Courtesy of Allegiant)

24 new routes, 2 ‘new’ cities

Allegiant Air is adding two cities to its route map, part of a broader 24-route expansion.

The “new” destinations — Fort Collins, Colorado, and West Palm Beach, Florida — are both cities Allegiant served previously. The budget airline last flew from West Palm Beach in 2016 and from Fort Collins in 2012.

The 24 new routes, a mix of year-round and seasonal service, begin in November and are spread across six of Allegiant’s bases.

For the returning cities, Allegiant will launch with six new routes from West Palm Beach and two from Fort Collins.

Hawaiian Airlines

An image of a Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A321neo. (Courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines)
An image of a Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A321neo. (Courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines)

Maui-Las Vegas: It’s back!

Hawaiian will return to Las Vegas from Maui in December, a move that comes as the carrier expands its Airbus A321neo network.

The Honolulu-based airline will begin flights between Las Vegas (LAS) and Maui’s Kahului Airport (OGG) on Dec. 15. Hawaiian will offer four weekly flights with the A321neo.

Hawaiian was the last to fly nonstop between Las Vegas and Maui, ending service in 2012, according to Diio by Cirium schedules.

International airlines

Air Canada

An Air Canada Airbus A330-300. (Photo courtesy of Air Canada)
An Air Canada Airbus A330-300. (Photo courtesy of Air Canada)

Just call it the ‘Airbus Express’

Air Canada will begin nonstop service between Montreal and Toulouse, France.

Once the service begins June 4, Air Canada says it will be the only carrier offering year-round nonstop service between North America and Toulouse. Canadian budget carrier Air Transat — which Air Canada is in the midst of acquiring — offers seasonal service, also from Montreal.

As for Toulouse, the city in southern France is home to Airbus’ headquarters and hosts one of the jetmaker’s largest factories. Airbus’ final assembly line there includes facilities for its A380, A350, A330 and A320 aircraft.

Air Canada’s service on the Montreal-Toulouse route — fittingly to be operated with Airbus A330-300 widebody jets — will connect Toulouse to a region that’s newly important to Airbus.

Airbus’ new A220 line — which was acquired from struggling Canadian manufacturer Bombardier in 2017 when the plane was known as the “CSeries” — was developed and is currently in production at a facility in Mirabel, Quebec, just outside Montreal.

Speaking of the A220 …

Air Canada is preparing to debut the first Airbus A220-300 in the Americas early next year, with plans for new routes to Seattle and Silicon Valley.

The carrier will first introduce the aircraft on existing routes from its Montreal (YUL) and Toronto (YYZ) hubs before launching the new markets next May. The company will take delivery of its first A220 before the end of 2019. Delta already flies the A220-100, but Air Canada will be the first in North America to fly the larger -300 variant.

Air Canada will use the aircraft to add daily service to San Jose (SJC) in California from Toronto, and to Seattle (SEA) from Montreal. Flights on those routes begin May 4.

Azul Airlines (Brazil)

An Azul E190 taking off from Rio de Janeiro. (Photo by Luiz Souza/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
An Azul E190 taking off from Rio de Janeiro. (Photo by Luiz Souza/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

New nonstop from US to Belo Horizonte

US travelers will soon have a new nonstop link to Brazil.

That will come Dec. 16, when Azul begins flying between Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte (CNF). Azul will offer three flights a week on Airbus A330 widebody jets.

From Fort Lauderdale, Belo Horizonte will become Azul’s fourth destination. The airline already flies from FLL to the Brazilian cities of Belém (BEL), São Paulo/Campinas (VCP) and Recife (REC).

From Belo Horizonte, Fort Lauderdale will give Azul its second US destination, joining Orlando (MCO).

A new Rio-Sao Paulo shuttle

Azul, Brazil’s third largest carrier, serves more domestic cities than either larger Gol and LATAM Airlines, but it does not fly the country’s highest-profile route. That is about to change.

On Aug. 29, the carrier jumped into the market between São Paulo Congonhas (CGH) and Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont (SDU) in a big way. Azul is touting its service as a new shuttle between the two city airports, offering a schedule of 17 daily round-trip flights on Embraer 195 aircraft.

Norwegian Air

A Norwegian Air Boeing 737. (By Aas Erlend, AFP/Getty Images)
A Norwegian Air Boeing 737. (By Aas Erlend, AFP/Getty Images)

A goodbye to Ireland

European low-cost carrier Norwegian Air announced it will discontinue all of the airline’s flights between North America and Ireland. The service will end Sept. 15.

The airline cited its focus on profitability and the ongoing grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX in terminating service between North America and Ireland.

Norwegian had been flying the following routes from the US and Canada to Ireland:

  • Providence, Rhode Island (PVD): Cork (ORK), Dublin (DUB), Shannon (SNN)
  • Newburgh/Stewart, New York (SWF): Dublin (DUB), Shannon (SNN)
  • Hamilton, Canada (YHM): Dublin (DUB)

Despite the loss of the Ireland flights, Norwegian continues to operate dozens of nonstop routes between the US and various cities in Europe.

Air China

Air-China-A330-at-Sydney-Airport-SYD
An Air China Airbus A330 is seen in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Patterson / The Points Guy)

Beijing-Honoulu doesn’t pan out

Air China will axe the only remaining nonstop flight between Beijing and Hawaii in several weeks, joining competitor Hawaiian Airlines in exiting the market.

The airline was scheduled to end flights between Beijing Capital (PEK) and Honolulu (HNL) on Aug. 27, citing “network layout, capacity arrangement and other reasons,” according to the airline’s website. Air China flew the route thrice-weekly with Airbus A330 aircraft.

Contributing to this roundup are Darren Murph, Max Prosperi, Edward Russell, Zach Honig and Zach Wichter of TPG. 

Featured photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

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