Where U.S. airlines are flying the wide-bodies idled by China flight suspensions
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Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) will see wide-bodies operate on at least eight domestic routes in March and April that were the sole domain of narrow-body aircraft a year ago, according to the latest Cirium schedule data. Phoenix (PHX), San Diego (SAN), San Francisco (SFO) and Tampa (TPA) will also see twin-aisle jets on select domestic routes this spring.
The aircraft were idled following the decisions by American, Delta and United to suspend flights to mainland China and Hong Kong through at the last April 30. Flights were suspended amid a drop in demand due to fears of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, outbreak in China.
American will deploy Boeing 777-200s and Boeing 787-8s on three routes:
- Chicago O’Hare (ORD) – Las Vegas: Daily on a 787-8 from March 5-March 27
- Chicago – San Francisco: Daily on a 787-8 from March 28-April 24
- Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) – Las Vegas: Up to twice daily on 777-200s and 787-8s from March 5-May 6
Delta will deploy Airbus A330s and Boeing 767s on six routes:
- Atlanta (ATL) – Las Vegas: Up to four-times daily on A330-200s, A330-300s, 767-300ERs and 767-400ERs from March 9-April 30
- Atlanta – Phoenix: Up to three-times daily on A330-300s, 767-300ERs and 767-400ERs from March 11-April 9
- Atlanta – San Diego: Twice daily on A330-300s and 767-300ERs from March 12-April 30
- Detroit (DTW) – Las Vegas: Daily on a 767-300ER from March 9-April 30
- Detroit – Phoenix: Daily on a 767-300ER from March 12-March 31
- Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP) – Las Vegas: Up to twice daily on A330-300s or 767-300ERs from March 9-April 15
United will deploy 777-200s on four routes:
- Chicago – Las Vegas: Up to daily from March 5-April 30
- Newark Liberty (EWR) – Las Vegas: Up to daily from March 5-April 30
- Newark – Tampa: Daily from March 29-April 24
- Washington Dulles (IAD) – Las Vegas: Daily from March 29-April 24
The above domestic schedule additions exclude any hub-to-hub routes, for example between Dallas/Fort Worth and Los Angeles on American, that already see wide-body jets on occasion. In addition, airlines may add one-off wide-body-operated flights on other routes that are not reflected here.
“[The] network adjustments by the three U.S. airlines appear largely rational in an attempt to maximize the utilization… while minimizing the impact on overall yields,” wrote Raymond James analyst Savanthi Syth on the domestic wide-body deployment in a report earlier in February. “The [wide-body aircraft] being flown to China and [Hong Kong] by U.S. airlines are being grounded during the off-peak and redeployed during the peak-demand Spring Break and Easter travel periods.”
The China and Hong Kong flight suspensions have impacted 12 aircraft at both American and Delta, and 26 aircraft at United, according to Raymond James.
Spokespeople from American, Delta and United all told TPG that the shifts to larger aircraft on the above routes were all in response to demand when asked where they were redeploying their idled wide-body jets.
In a report Monday morning, analysts at Cowen called the spread of the latest coronavirus to meet the “definition of global pandemic,” citing new cases in Iran, Italy and South Korea. Global health authorities have confirmed roughly 77,000 COVID-19 cases, with 2,592 confirmed deaths in China.
Featured image by GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images.
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