Exciting new airline routes from January 2020 and beyond
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Airlines are constantly adjusting their schedules, launching new services while canceling others — all to perfect their networks while increasing profitability. New routes are announced nearly every day, some seasonal and some more permanent. Others are dropped as carriers change course.
Here’s a look at some interesting flight changes that were announced in January:
Next up in Alaska Airlines‘ expansion to California is a new nonstop route between Monterey, California, and the carrier’s Seattle hub.
Alaska will launch daily service between SEA and MRY on June 18. The flight will operate daily on an Embraer 175 jet with 76 seats. The carrier already has been flying between Monterey and its San Diego focus city since 2012.
The new route is the latest in Alaska’s deepening of its network between the Pacific Northwest and California. Beginning this month and continuing through June, the carrier will add 11 new routes in the market. Among those are Boise (BOI)-Los Angeles (LAX); Portland, Oregon (PDX)-San Luis Obispo (SBP); and Redmond/Bend (RDM)-San Francisco (SFO).
Allegiant announced 44 new nonstop routes – and three new cities – in what the company is calling the largest single expansion in its history. All of the new routes are seasonal.
The new destinations – Boston, Chicago and Houston – represent the boldest move yet by Allegiant into large markets that do not have a traditional beach or warm-weather draw.
The leisure carrier was once known almost exclusively for flying to warm-weather destinations from small towns like Grand Island, Nebraska, and Plattsburgh, New York. Those routes remain part of Allegiant’s DNA, but the airline has increasingly turned its focus to larger markets during the past decade.
Austin, Baltimore, Nashville, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and even Newark’s busy Liberty International Airport are among the bigger cities that became dots on Allegiant’s route map during the 2010s. The new announcement thrusts Allegiant into three of the nation’s biggest markets in one fell swoop.
The latest by American will be three new routes from Boston (BOS) to Indianapolis (IND), Raleigh/Durham (RDU) and Wilmington, North Carolina (ILM). The carrier will serve Indianapolis twice daily, Raleigh five times daily starting May 7 and Wilmington only on Saturdays beginning May 9.
All of the new flights will be flown with Embraer 175 jets with 76 seats.
The new routes pit American against Delta, which upgraded Boston to a hub last year. Delta flies to both Indianapolis and Raleigh/Durham — the latter one of its focus cities — from Boston. JetBlue also flies nonstop between Boston and Raleigh/Durham.
American also will go head-to-head with both Delta and JetBlue on its Boston-Austin route, another addition to American’s schedule that’s coming in April.
Delta Air Lines
Miami looks set to become Delta Air Lines’ next focus city with four new routes coming online this year. The growth in South Florida comes as Delta ramps up its new partnership with LATAM Airlines.
Delta’s new Miami (MIA) routes will be to Orlando (MCO), Raleigh/Durham (RDU), Salt Lake City (SLC) and Tampa (TPA). The Salt Lake City service begins July 28 and will be flown with Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The three other routes launch during May and will be flown with Embraer E175s.
With the new routes, Delta will offer up to 41 departures to 10 cities from Miami.
Miami is the main gateway to the U.S. for new partner LATAM. The carrier operates up to 11 daily flights from MIA to 10 South American cities, including Buenos Aires (EZE), Lima (LIM) and São Paulo Guarulhos (GRU), according to Cirium schedules.
Miami also is a major hub for American, LATAM’s longtime partner that it is now dropping in favor of Delta.
Delta president Glen Hauenstein said in October that the airline would add “key spokes” in Miami to support LATAM.
“We’re not creating a new hub, we’re not creating a giant connecting complex — we’re making selective adds,” Hauenstein explained then.
Delta Air Lines will add an additional connection to the Caribbean this summer.
Beginning June 13, the carrier will fly weekend-only service from its New York JFK hub to Grand Cayman (GCM) in the Cayman Islands. Delta will operate one round-trip flight each Saturday through Aug. 20 on 160-seat Boeing 737-800 jets.
This will be Delta’s first nonstop service on the route since 2015, according to the airline.
Frontier Airlines is returning to Delaware in May, bringing regular passenger airline service back to the state for the first time in nearly five years.
The ultra low-cost carrier will offer seasonal service between Wilmington’s New Castle Airport (ILG) and Orlando (MCO), starting May 14. Flights will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays with Airbus A320-family jets.
Frontier previously served Wilmington from 2013 to 2015, ending flights to Orlando and Tampa (TPA) in April 2015, according to Cirium schedule data. At its peak, the airline served seven cities nonstop from Wilmington.
Currently, neither Wilmington nor any other airport in Delaware has regularly scheduled airline service, making it the only U.S. state without regular passenger flights.
The Wilmington airport sits relatively close to two major nearby airports. Philadelphia International (PHL) is just about 25 miles away and Baltimore/Washington International (BWI) is about 75 miles away.
One day after Frontier announced its return to Delaware, Frontier upped its growth in the region with three routes from Philadelphia, to Boston (BOS), Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and Los Angeles (LAX).
The Boston (begins May 1) and Los Angeles (April 23) routes will feature daily service; the Chicago (May 17) route will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. All will be seasonal.
JetBlue Airways is making significant cuts in Long Beach and dropping another California destination altogether.
The airline will end service to Oakland (OAK) – one of its first West Coast destinations and one it has served since 2001 – as it further restructures its route map around its bases on the East Coast. JetBlue will continue to serve the Bay area from the San Francisco (SFO) and San Jose (SJC) airports.
At Long Beach (LGB), JetBlue will cut its schedule by about a third. From its biggest hub at New York JFK, the carrier’s daily flight to the Cuban capital of Havana (HAV) will be downgraded to Saturdays only, starting in April.
JetBlue also will drop two Caribbean routes from both Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and Orlando (MCO).
At the same time, JetBlue will expand its Boston (BOS) and New York JFK bases. The airline will add service between Boston and Bozeman, Montana (BZN), and between JFK and Bozeman, Guatemala City (GUA), and Nashville (BNA) in April and June.
“We continue to identify opportunities to strengthen our focus cities and allocate flying so we can offer better schedules and high-demand destinations for our customers,” Scott Laurence, head of revenue and planning at JetBlue, said in a statement.
Baltimore/Washington International has become an increasingly important base for Spirit Airlines since the carrier consolidated its D.C.-area presence at the airport in 2012. Now, the budget airline has yet more growth plans for the airport in 2020.
Spirit’s highest-profile route announced so far this year is to El Salvador’s capital city of San Salvador. Service on that route begins May 21, when Spirit will launch daily service.
With the route, Spirit will be catering to the large Salvadoran population in the greater Washington, D.C., area.
News of the San Salvador also came less than a month after budget rival Frontier Airlines unveiled the same route as part of the announcement of 25 routes involving a variety of U.S. airports. Frontier’s BWI-San Salvador flights start June 21 and also will be daily.
Asked about the timing of the San Salvador announcement, Nick Bartolotta – Spirit’s director of network planning – told TPG that it was not an “emotional response.” He said Frontier likely saw the same demand data as Spirit.
Spirit also will grow capacity on several of its existing BWI routes, adding additional daily flights in April to Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and Orlando (MCO). The schedule will give Spirit four daily round-trip flights on both routes. The carrier also will add a second daily round-trip to Puerto Rico’s San Juan airport (SJU) in May.
Spirit Airlines is adding a new cross-country route from Fort Lauderdale, which will get nonstop service to the San Francisco Bay Area.
The carrier will add service between Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and Oakland (OAK) in April, offering one daily round-trip flight on an Airbus A320 family aircraft.
Spirit will be the only airline flying nonstop between Fort Lauderdale and Oakland, according to Cirium schedule data. However, Alaska Airlines, JetBlue Airways and United Airlines fly between the South Florida gateway and San Francisco (SFO).
Spirit Airlines will add two more cities in Colombia to its route map in April, giving it the most destinations in the South American country of any U.S. carrier.
The airline will add service between Fort Lauderdale and Barranquilla (BAQ) on April 23, and Bucaramanga (BGA) on April 22. Both routes will operate three times per week on Airbus A320 family aircraft.
With the additions Spirit will serve seven cities in Colombia: Armenia (AXM), Barranquilla, Bogota (BOG), Bucaramanga, Cali (CLO), Cartagena (CTG), and Medellin (MDE). By comparison, American Airlines serves six cities in the country, and JetBlue Airways three cities, according to Cirium schedules.
Beginning March 29, the carrier will offer departures on the hour, nearly every hour from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., between Newark Liberty (EWR) and Ronald Reagan Washington National (DCA) airports. Ten flights will operate on the Bombardier CRJ550, a 50-seat regional jet with 10 first-class seats; the remaining three frequencies will be aboard Embraer E175s.
Sarah Murphy, senior vice president of United Express, said the new hourly schedule is in response to customer demand for more frequent and comfortable flights in the market.
United currently operates up to nine flights a day between Newark and Washington National, Cirium schedule data shows. The majority of those flights are operated with Embraer ERJ-145 regional jets, which have 50 seats in an all-economy layout.
The new shuttle means nearly 50% more seats overall between Newark and Washington National but – notably for business travelers and elite frequent fliers – a nearly four-fold jump in first-class seats on the route.
United will end two more routes from Cleveland this spring. The airline will drop nonstops to New York LaGuardia and Washington Reagan National in favor of expanding service elsewhere from the slot-controlled airports.
A hub that United inherited from Continental Airlines, United once had a robust presence at the Ohio airport. But its route map has shrunk there since 2014, when United officially dropped the airport as a hub.
The latest cuts to LaGuardia (LGA) and National (DCA) will occur on March 29, according to United spokesman Jonathan Guerin. United offers up to five flights a day on the New York route, and up to four flights on the Washington route.
Ending the two Cleveland routes will allow United to introduce a new hourly shuttle schedule to Newark (EWR) at Washington National. Guerin said the airline is still evaluating how to redeploy the slots at LaGuardia.
Travelers will still have options to fly between Cleveland and both LaGuardia and Washington National. American Airlines flies both routes and Delta Air Lines flies the former, according to Cirium schedule data.
United is pruning its operation in Dayton, Ohio, in 2020, adding Houston to the list of routes it will drop from the Ohio city in the new year.
The airline will end service between Houston Intercontinental (IAH) and Dayton, Ohio (DAY) on March 26, according to Cirium schedules. The ax comes two months after United ended flights between Dayton and its hub at Newark Liberty (EWR).
United offered daily service with a 50-seat Embraer ERJ-145 on the Houston-Dayton route, schedules show.
United is returning to Santa Maria on California’s Central Coast and will expand in Milwaukee this June as it continues to grow its domestic route network.
The carrier will return to Santa Maria (SMX) with three routes, adding service to Denver (DEN), Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO). All three routes begin June 4 will operate daily on 50-seat Bombardier CRJ200 jets.
United previously served Santa Maria, which is about halfway between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, until 2016, according to Cirium schedules. Prior to ending service, the airline had served Santa Maria continuously since at least 1987.
CANADIAN, MEXICAN CARRIERS
Mexican ultra-low cost carrier Volaris is adding several new routes to the U.S. this spring.
Volaris confirmed to TPG that it would begin flying to both Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and Las Vegas from Leon/Guanajuato, Mexico (BJX), on April 2. Flights from BJX to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) start April 3. Volaris will fly three flights a week on the Chicago and Las Vegas routes and two to DFW.
The Mexican budget carrier said it would fly to DFW from Zacatecas, Mexico (ZCL), offering two flights a week starting April 2.
Volaris will also operate a weekly seasonal flight between Los Angeles (LAX) and Cancun, Mexico (CUN). That service is set to begin on May 23 and continue through Aug. 15.
The Canadian city of Halifax is getting a new WestJet route to Europe.
That will come June 5, when WestJet launches seasonal nonstop service from Nova Scotia’s largest city to Manchester (MAN), England. The carrier will offer four flights a week through Oct. 24 on Boeing 737-700 aircraft.
The Manchester route gives Halifax (YHZ) another transatlantic link on WestJet, which already offers a seasonal schedule from the city to Dublin, Ireland (DUB); Glasgow, Scotland (GLA); London Gatwick (LGW) and Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG).
The route covers a distance of 2,749 miles, according to the Great Circle Mapper website.
There will be a new option for travelers between New York and Brazil this summer when Brazilian carrier Azul adds the Big Apple to its growing international map.
The airline will begin service between its Viracopos (VCP) base near São Paulo and New York John F. Kennedy (JFK) on June 15. It will offer daily service on Airbus A330 jets.
“We already offer the broadest network in Brazil with service to more than 100 domestic destinations and now we are adding a very important corporate destination to our portfolio,” Azul CEO John Rodgerson said in a statement.
The Chinese carrier ended service between Beijing Capital (PEK) and Las Vegas (LAS) after three years on Jan. 11, McCarran chief marketing officer Chris Jones confirmed to TPG. Hainan was the only airline offering nonstop flights between the Nevada city and China.
“It’s definitely disappointing,” said Jones. “Hopefully, conditions will improve and we can revisit this again sometime down the line, as I believe there is a market for this city pair.”
Philippine Airlines appears set to add a new route connecting Manila to Seattle and to relaunch service between Cebu and Los Angeles.
Both the Seattle (SEA) and Los Angeles (LAX) flights would begin in May, with Philippine Airlines offering three flights a week on the routes. Seattle would be flown with an Airbus A350 and Los Angeles with a Boeing 777.
Both routes were first reported by Airlineroute. However, TPG could only independently confirm the Cebu-Los Angeles flights.
Los Angeles International Airport spokesman Heath Montgomery confirmed Philippine Airlines’ plans to relaunch flights between the central Philippine city of Cebu (CEB) and LAX starting May 2.
Philippine Airlines ended flights between between Cebu (CEB) and Los Angeles in May 2017, according to Cirium schedules.
The carrier is the only airline flying between the Philippines and the mainland U.S., according to Cirium. The airline serves Los Angeles, New York John F. Kennedy (JFK), and San Francisco (SFO) from its Manila base.
Featured photo by Zach Griff, TPG
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