- Tell us airlines are planning for a long, slow Asian recovery without telling us they are planning for a long, slow Asian recovery. United Airlines has challenged Delta Air Lines‘ request for for three weekly U.S.-South Africa frequencies with its own application for the rights. United, which was the largest U.S. airline to Asia prior to the pandemic, wants the frequencies to launch thrice-weekly service between Washington Dulles and Cape Town. The airline has added long-haul flights to Africa and other international destinations where demand is or has recovered, as Asia remains largely closed. Delta wants the frequencies for its own Atlanta-Cape Town service. U.S. officials only have four South Africa frequencies available to award.
- Lille is the first of two new bases that Volotea plans in 2022. The Spanish discounter will open the new domicile on April 1, and plans to add five new routes from the city — including to Palma de Mallorca and Varna, Bulgaria — in May. Volotea will serve nine destinations nonstop from Lille in April, per Cirium schedules.
Separately, Volotea will add twice daily flights between Paris Orly and Tarbes-Lourdes-Pyrénées in southern France from June 1. The route will be offered for four years under a contract from Pyrénia, a consortium made up of the Tarbes-Lourdes-Pyrénées airport and the adjacent industrial area. Volotea will compete with Air France on the route, according to Cirium.
- Ryanair is well on its way to flying 15 percent more capacity this summer than in 2019 with 25 new routes, including 14 from London and 11 from Paris Beauvais. The discounter will connect London Gatwick, Luton, and Stansted to Burgas, Bulgaria; Catania, Naples, and Trapani, Italy; Helsinki and Tampere, Finland; Lublin, Poland; Maastricht, the Netherlands; Madeira, Portugal; Menorca, Spain; Orebro, Stockholm Arlanda, and Växjö, Sweden; and Tangier, Morocco. Ryanair did not indicate which London airport each route will operate from.
And from Paris, Ryanair will add nonstops to Agadir, Morocco; Gdansk, Poland; Helsinki; Liverpool, UK; Madeira; Malaga, Santander, and Santiago, Spain; Riga, Latvia; Tallinn, Estonia; and Turin. The additions follow 18 from Cork, Edinburgh, and Leeds-Bradford that it unveiled in February.
- Allegiant Air will add three more new routes in May, including its first-ever nonstop between Las Vegas and Orlando Sanford — its largest and third-largest bases in March, per Cirium. The discounter will connect Orange County and Idaho Falls from May 18, and Newark and Des Moines from May 20. Las Vegas-Orlando flights begin May 27.
- Spirit Airlines will add Monterrey, Mexico, to its map this summer. The discounter will connect the Mexican city to Austin and Houston Bush Intercontinental daily from June 22. Monterrey joins Memphis, Rochester, N.Y., and Salt Lake City among new destinations for Spirit in 2022.
- And while many are adding routes ahead of an expected surge in summer travel, United cut 17 regional routes, including exiting Alexandria, La., amid continuing pilot staffing challenges. Gone are nonstops between Chicago O’Hare and Bismarck, N.D., Charlottesville, Va., Jackson, Miss., Pasco, Wash., and Redmond-Bend, Ore.; Denver and Dayton; Houston Bush Intercontinental and Akron-Canton, Ohio, Alexandria, and Columbia, S.C.; Newark and Knoxville, Tenn., Oklahoma City, and Omaha; and Washington Dulles and Allentown, Pa., Lexington, Ky., Madison, Wis., Oklahoma City, and Pensacola, Fla., Cirium shows. These are in addition to the at least eight markets United exited in the fall, and 14 routes it cut at Dulles in December.
American Airlines and Delta are not immune from pilot staffing issues. The former has pulled its nonstop between Dallas-Fort Worth and Long Beach — previously suspended until August — and the latter ended its service between Minneapolis-St. Paul and Dayton, per Cirium. The “staffing situation is a perfect storm,” said Regional Airlines Association (RAA) President Faye Malarkey Black on the latest route cancellations. She expects more service cuts this summer as the U.S. industry faces a roughly 5,000-person pilot shortfall in 2022.
March 7th, 2022 at 12:01 AM EST