Exciting new airline routes from December 2019 and beyond
Airlines are constantly adjusting their schedules -- launching new service, some of it seasonal and some more permanent. Meanwhile, other flights are canceled in efforts to attract more customers and improve profitability.
Here’s a look at interesting flight changes that were announced in December:
(Previous months for 2019: November | October | September | August | July | June | May | April | March | February | January)
Alaska Airlines axes two California routes, drops one from Portland
Alaska Airlines will end service on two California routes and downgrade two others to seasonal status as it focuses on its core Pacific Northwest markets.
The two routes Alaska will drop are Los Angeles-Salt Lake City and Sacramento-Kahului/Maui, Hawaii. Both will end May 19. The two routes being downgraded to seasonal service are Los Angeles-Fort Lauderdale and San Diego-Salt Lake City.
In addition, another de facto cut will come next summer as Alaska confirmed it will not resume seasonal service between Philadelphia (PHL) and Portland, Oregon (PDX).
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 (SLC) while dropping Sacramento-Kahului allows Alaska to add a second daily flight between San Diego (SAN) and Kahului (OGG).
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Alaska has doubled down on protecting 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.”
American Airlines takes on Delta in Austin with two new routes
American will beef up its presence in Austin, offering a challenge to Delta Air Lines’ plan to build a focus city in the Texas capital.
On April 7, American will add new service between Austin (AUS) and Boston Logan (BOS) and resume service between Austin and San Jose, California (SJC). Both routes will operate twice daily on weekdays with Boeing 737-800 aircraft.
American will also add weekend service between Austin and Los Cabos (SJD) in Mexico. Those flights will operate on Saturdays and Sundays beginning May 9.
Asked whether the new routes are a sign that American plans an expanded presence in Austin, spokeswoman Nichelle Barrett said the routes are a direct response to customer demand. She added that the airline does not consider the destination a “focus city.”
The additions pit American against Delta, which considers Austin a focus city. The latter opened a new Sky Club lounge there in May, and steadily added new flights. Delta’s Austin presence also will be bolstered with new service to Amsterdam (AMS) that partner KLM will begin in May. Delta also considers San Jose a focus city and lists Boston as its newest hub.
American Airlines to end Argentina route
American will end service to Cordoba in Argentina in the face of continued weak demand in the South American country.
The carrier will end flights between its Miami (MIA) hub and Cordoba (COR) on May 6. The airline operated the route with a Boeing 767-300ER for just over a year.
American spokesman Justin Franco said the decision to drop the route is part of a “continuous evaluation” of the airline’s network.
American continues to serve Buenos Aires (EZE) with nonstops from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), and New York-JFK.
Related:Choosing the best credit card for American Airlines flyers
Delta Air Lines
Delta adds three new routes from Atlanta and Salt Lake City hubs
Delta will add three new routes from its hubs in Atlanta and Salt Lake City next summer.
The carrier will connect Atlanta (ATL) to Boise, Idaho (BOI) and Spokane, Washington (GEG), while Salt Lake City (SLC) gets a connection to Memphis (MEM). The Boise route will be flown with an Airbus A320, the Memphis route with an Airbus A319 and the Spokane route with a Boeing 737-800. The routes begin July 6.
Delta is resuming the Salt Lake City-Memphis route after a five-year hiatus, Cirium schedule data shows. The airline also flew the Atlanta-Boise route from 2005 through 2009.
The new routes connect three cities already in Delta’s network to more of its hubs. Both Boise and Spokane are served from the airline’s three western hubs — Los Angeles (LAX), Salt Lake City, and Seattle (SEA) — plus Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP).
Memphis is a former hub that Delta inherited from Northwest Airlines in 2009 and closed in 2013.
Delta is flying to India again
Delta restarted service to India, launching nonstop service between New York-JFK and Mumbai (BOM).
The route was announced in April, but the start of the service on Dec. 22 gives Delta one of its highest-profile new routes of the year, returning it to a country it last served in 2015.
Delta's current schedule features daily round-trip service on Boeing 777-200LR aircraft.
Related: The ultimate guide to Delta Sky Club access
Frontier Airlines grows in Miami, Newark with 25 new routes
Frontier will add 25 new routes beginning in March, with many originating from the New York, South Florida and Washington, D.C. areas.
The Denver-based ultra-low-cost carrier will add three routes from Baltimore/Washington (BWI), nine from Newark Liberty (EWR), seven from Miami (MIA), three from Southern California’s Ontario (ONT), and three from San Juan (SJU) beginning in March. The airline flies an all-Airbus A320 family fleet.
Among the highlights are new Frontier routes to El Salvador (from BWI, Miami, Ontario) and Guatemala City (from Miami and Ontario).
JetBlue boosts LaGuardia shuttle amid Boston expansion
JetBlue Airways is adding more flights in the competitive shuttle market between Boston and New York, part of a larger move to bulwark its Boston base from competition.
The New York-based carrier will add four flights for up to 10 a day between Boston Logan (BOS) and New York LaGuardia (LGA). With the added service that will begin this spring, the airline will offer up to 22 flights a day between Boston and the New York area, including Newark Liberty (EWR) and New York-JFK.
The airline does not mention any additional shuttle amenities that Andrea Lusso, director of route planning, told TPG it was considering in September. Possible amenities included free same-day changes, complimentary coffee at the gate and beer and wine onboard.
All of JetBlue’s flights between Boston and LaGuardia are operated with 100-seat Embraer 190 aircraft. The jets feature both seatback personal TV screens and inflight Wi-Fi.
Related:JetBlue’s TrueBlue changes are (mostly) bad news for Mosaic elite customers
Southwest adds 10 new routes in summer schedule rollout
Southwest will add 10 new routes across several of its busiest bases as part of its summer schedule roll out.
The low-cost carrier revealed three new daily routes from Baltimore/Washington (BWI) and two from Atlanta (ATL), which were announced in December as the airline extended its booking schedule through Aug. 10.
Southwest also will add new weekend-only routes from Nashville (BNA) and Houston Hobby (HOU) and add a Saturday-only nonstop between Kansas City, Missouri, and Charleston, South Carolina.
All of the new routes will be seasonal.
Southwest’s new service from Atlanta will be to Charleston, South Carolina (CHS); Norfolk, Virginia; and Panama City, Florida. Southwest will compete head-to-head with Delta Air Lines on all three routes. From BWI, Southwest will add flights to Pensacola, Florida, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. The carrier will offer daily service on all five of those routes starting June 7.
Sun Country expands into Canada
Minneapolis-based low-cost carrier Sun Country Airlines will begin flights to Vancouver from its home base in Minneapolis-St. Paul.
The seasonal flights begin May 20 and will operate on Wednesdays and Sundays.
“Our expansion into Canada is the latest signal of the incredible growth we’re experiencing at Sun Country Airlines,” Grant Whitney, Sun Country’s chief revenue officer, said in a statement.
Vancouver is just the latest in a series of new seasonal routes for the airline, including nonstop flights to Baltimore and Cleveland from Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP) and Newark and Seattle from Madison, Wisconsin.
Related: Budget carrier Sun Country lowers its change fees
United launches highly anticipated Cape Town nonstops
United Airlines launched the USA’s only nonstop service to Cape Town, South Africa, on Dec. 15. The route was announced earlier in 2019 and the December startup out of Newark marked one of the highest-profile new routes of the year.
The 7,819-mile nonstop flight is the sixth-longest in United’s network and its only flight to Africa. The route is scheduled to operated seasonally, with three flights a week through March 2020 on Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.
Behind the scenes: TPG’s Zach Honig reports from United’s Cape Town inaugural
The flights are timed to offer connections via United’s Newark hub. United has already confirmed to TPG’s Zach Honig that the flight will resume for the 2020-21 season.
United Airlines adds two more routes at growing Washington Dulles hub
United will add two more routes to its growing Washington Dulles hub next summer, connecting the airport to Bangor, Maine, and Madison, Wisconsin.
The airline will begin service between Dulles (IAD) and Bangor (BGR) on June 4, and Madison (MSN) on May 8. Both routes will operate twice daily, with Bangor flown on Embraer ERJ-145s and Madison on either Bombardier CRJ700s or ERJ-145s.
The Bangor and Madison routes are the latest additions by United at its growing Washington-area hub. To date, the airline has unveiled plans for five new routes from Dulles in 2020, including West Palm Beach (PBI) starting in February, and Akron/Canton (CAK) and Philadelphia (PHL) starting in May.
Related: The 8 best credit cards for flying United
Air Canada adds new Boston, Nashville routes
Air Canada will add new connections to Boston and Nashville as it connects the dots between its hubs and major U.S. markets.
The carrier will offer seasonal service between Calgary, Alberta (YYC) and Boston (BOS) on an Airbus A319, and Montreal (YUL) and Nashville (BNA) on an Embraer 175. The Boston route will operate from June 22 through Sept. 22 while the Nashville route runs from June 1 to Oct. 25.
In addition, Air Canada will boost service on its existing route between Vancouver (YVR) and Newark Liberty (EWR), adding a second daily flight during its summer schedule.
Air Canada boosts summer service to Paris
Air Canada customers will have more options to get to Paris this summer. Canada’s flag carrier is boosting its summer schedule to the French capital, adding three additional weekly flights from Montreal and four from Toronto.
The airline cited increasing tourist traffic between eastern Canada and France as the main driver behind the new flights. Toronto and Montreal are Air Canada‘s two biggest eastern hubs.
“These added flights will also allow customers additional flexibility of choosing their preferred departure time from the City of Lights, as Air Canada will introduce an early evening departure from Paris to both Montreal and Toronto,” Mark Galardo, vice president of network planning at Air Canada, said in a statement.
The extra summertime flights are in addition to the two daily round-trip flights Air Canada already offers to Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) from Montreal (YUL) and one daily round-trip from Toronto Pearson (YYZ).
Related: See all of TPG’s Air Canada coverage
WestJet challenges Air Canada on Calgary-Boston route
WestJet rolled out plans for new nonstop service between Boston and Calgary in an announcement that came just two days after rival Air Canada announced its own plan for the route.
Calgary-based WestJet will offer seasonal daily service between Boston Logan (BOS) and Calgary (YYC) starting May 14, operating the flights with Boeing 737 aircraft.
WestJet’s main hub is in Calgary, while Boston is a new hub for its partner Delta Air Lines.
The move appears to be a competitive response to Air Canada, which unveiled plans to offer the route on an Airbus A319 from June 22 through Sept. 22. Air Canada is a codeshare partner of United Airlines.
“While other carriers may fly the route, WestJet continues to build our schedule for the region’s business and leisure travelers,” WestJet’s commercial chief, Arved von zur Muehlen, said in a statement.
Related: WestJet: Reviews, deals, news & guides
Portland, Oregon, lands a year-round nonstop to London
British Airways will begin nonstop service to Portland, Oregon (PDX) from London Heathrow (LHR) this spring.
The flights will be operated by a Boeing 787 beginning on June 1, and will operate five times weekly.
Delta and its joint-venture partner Virgin Atlantic have had seasonal service between PDX and LHR since 2017, but the British Airways flight is the first year-round connection between the two cities.
“Portland will be a fantastic addition to our route map,” Neil Chernoff, British Airways’ director of networks and alliances, said in a statement. “As a major technology and innovation hub the city is drawing ever-increasing numbers of international visitors.”
Edmonton gets first Frankfurt nonstop since 2010
German leisure carrier Condor is landing in Edmonton next summer and expanding its transatlantic network with additional nonstop routes from Munich.
Condor will offer new service between Frankfurt (FRA) and Edmonton (YEG) on Mondays and Thursdays. The airline operates Boeing 767-300ERs on long-haul routes.
The new route is Edmonton’s first to Frankfurt since Air Transat ended the route in 2010, according to Cirium schedule data.
In addition, Condor will expand its long-haul presence in Munich (MUC) with new nonstop service to Halifax, Nova Scotia (YHZ) in Canada, and Seattle (SEA) next summer. The Halifax flights will operate on Fridays and the Seattle flights on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
LOT Polish Airlines
LOT adds capital-to-capital service between D.C., Warsaw
LOT Polish Airlines will make Washington Dulles its newest U.S. destination.
The carrier will start nonstop service between its hub in Warsaw (WAW) and the D.C.-area airport on June 2. LOT will use Boeing 787 Dreamliners for its three flights a week on the route.
“A direct flight from Warsaw to Washington, D.C., has long been on our shortlist,” LOT CEO Rafal Milczarski said in a statement issued by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority that runs both the Dulles and Washington Reagan National airports.
The Washington route continues LOT’s recent expansion in the U.S., and Milczarski suggested more flights may be in the works.
“New long-haul flights to the USA are the backbone of our strategy, and announcing the new connection to Washington now certainly is not our last word,” Milczarski added in the statement.
Norwegian pulls out of Oakland, consolidates in San Francisco
Norwegian is making San Francisco International Airport its full-time home in the Bay Area, ending its scheduled service from Oakland.
The airline said that consolidating its flights at a single Bay Area airport will help make its operations more efficient.
“For the summer season 2020 and beyond, we will offer all our five Bay Area flights from San Francisco International Airport (SFO), which will better position us for our return to profitability,” Matthew Wood, Norwegian’s senior vice president/commercial, said in a statement. “As the largest foreign airline in the Bay Area, we look forward to offering American travelers unbeatable fares matched with our award-winning onboard product and service out of SFO.”
Norwegian started operating out of Oakland (OAK) in 2014, but its flights to London, Barcelona and Paris moved to SFO earlier this year. Twice-weekly summer service to Oslo will begin from San Francisco on March 30 while thrice-weekly summer service to Rome will begin from San Francisco on April 1.
All of Norwegian’s flights from SFO will be operated by Boeing 787-9s.
Contributing: Zach Honig, Edward Russell, Zach Wichter.