- Better late than never? KLM is (finally) beginning the Austin flights it first unveiled in September 2019 but were postponed amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The SkyTeam Alliance carrier will begin thrice-weekly service between Amsterdam and Austin with a Boeing 787-9 on March 28.
- Speaking of Austin, Allegiant Air also plans to expand in the Texan capital amid a nine route expansion this spring. The discounter will connect Austin to Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla., San Diego, and Washington Dulles. Other new routes include Nashville to Providence, R.I., Roanoke, Va., and Washington Dulles; Orange County to Des Moines, Iowa; San Diego to Sioux Falls, S.D.; and Savannah to Flint, Mich., all beginning in April or May.
- More pilot shortage cuts? American Airlines has suspended or delayed the resumption of at least 26 routes to May from April, in a move that comes less than a month after it first suspended select regional routes to “mitigate” the shortage. All of the previous suspensions are extended with at least 19 more routes added, including flights between Chicago O’Hare and Boise, Colorado Springs, Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Rapid City, S.D.; Charlotte, N.C. and El Paso, Texas, Reno, Nev., and Sacramento; and Philadelphia and Charlottesville, Va., and Daytona Beach, Fla., according to Cirium schedules. A spokesperson for the airline said the reductions were to “better align with customer demand and mitigate any future travel disruptions related to near-term pilot staffing challenges.” However, sources indicate that more tactical schedule cuts in response to the pilot shortage are likely in May.
- European carriers have bumped up their London offerings this summer with a sprinkle of new routes. Air France will connect Nice with Heathrow daily from July 9 through the end of August with an Airbus A320. British Airways will say guten tag to Nuremberg with up to six-times weekly flights to the Bavarian city from Heathrow. And EasyJet is expanding its Gatwick base, which marked 20 years on February 1, with new twice-weekly service to Rijeka, Croatia, from May 3.
- New York is Icelandic startup Play‘s third U.S. destination. The discounter will connect New York’s Stewart airport with Reykjavík from June 9, following the launch of Baltimore-Washington flights in April and Boston in May. Stewart, however, strikes an odd choice. The airport at nearly 70 miles, or a nearly hour-and-a-half drive, from Midtown Manhattan is a distant alternative to either JFK or Newark, and has seen a revolving door of airlines try — and fail — to make it work, most spectacularly Norwegian Air. Conversely, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is eager to attract more service to Stewart and is likely offering Play attractive incentives to serve the airport.
- SAS‘ new leisure-oriented subsidiary SAS Link will launch from a new base in Bergen, Norway, later in 2022. Details are still scant but the carrier, which will operate under the SAS brand like KLM Cityhopper at competitor KLM, will initially operate a fleet of Embraer E195 aircraft. The number of aircraft and planned routes, which will include both domestic and European ones, are still to come. Link and its peer SAS Connect are part of SAS’ larger pivot towards a future with more leisure and fewer business travelers.
- The push south by Mexican discounters, which cannot expand to the north as long as the country’s U.S. FAA safety rating stands at Category 2, is continuing. Viva Aerobus will add Medellin, Colombia, to its map with nonstops from both Cancun and Mexico City beginning April 8. Medellin is its second Colombian destination after Bogotá where it began service this past August. Viva Aerobus faces competition on both routes from Avianca, which exited bankruptcy in December with a plan to slot in between low-cost and full-service carriers, and Viva Air, Aerobus’ Colombian partner, Cirium schedules show. Copa Airlines‘ subsidiary Wingo also flies Medellin-Cancun, and Aeromexico Medellin-Mexico City.
February 7th, 2022 at 12:01 AM EST