Airlines constantly tweak their schedules, trying to find profitable new routes or pulling the plug on ones that have underperformed. Airports and communities court these new services.
There are dozens of changes to airline routes each month. Here’s a look at some of the most interesting:
United Airlines grows in Denver
United Airlines is adding three new domestic routes at its Denver hub, all of which will go head-to-head against service offered by Denver-based budget rival Frontier Airlines.
Daily flights to Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina, and Syracuse, New York, will begin June 6 and will operate year-round. Flights to Portland, Maine, start June 8, but they’ll operate only on weekends during the summer schedule.
They join previously announced United routes to Charleston, South Carolina; Eureka, California; and Fairbanks, Alaska; that begin June 6.
Allegiant Air announced 19 new routes – all seasonal – as it rolled out more of its summer schedule.
Allegiant’s bases at Destin, Florida, and Nashville, Tennessee, were the biggest winners in the expansion. In Florida, the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport gets seven of the new routes while Nashville gets six.
The latest schedule expansion also continues Allegiant’s push into larger markets, with routes like Cleveland-Nashville; Pittsburgh-Knoxville, Tennessee; and Los Angeles-Las Vegas among those added.
All 19 of the routes will feature two flights per week.
Norwegian Air adds Greece, drops the Caribbean
Norwegian Air is tweaking its U.S. schedule, adjusting its European offerings but cutting its Caribbean service altogether.
To Europe, the low-cost giant will add its first flights from the USA to Greece. That will come June 7, when Norwegian starts seasonal nonstop service between New York JFK and Athens. The airline will fly four flights a week through Oct. 26 with Boeing 787 Dreamliners. From New York JFK, Norwegian will fly either seasonally or year-round to 13 different European cities once the Athens service begins.
Norwegian also is adding a new option from Chicago O’Hare, making the Spanish city of Barcelona its second destination from the Windy City. The seasonal service begins June 7 and runs through Oct. 26 – also on Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Norwegian already flies from Chicago to London Gatwick.
One European route that will not return for Norwegian is its now-discontinued service between Newark, New Jersey, and Paris’ Orly Airport. The route was suspended for the season on Jan. 11 and had been expected to resume in March.
“We will focus on operating from one long-haul airport in Paris, meaning that our priority is our popular New York JFK to Paris’ Charles de Gaulle route, which remains as a daily service,” he said.
Norwegian also plans to continue its two other routes from Newark that go to Barcelona and Rome.
However, other routes were on the chopping block for Norwegian.
The carrier said it will not return to the Caribbean once its current seasonal service comes to an end this spring.
While Norwegian is perhaps best known to Americans for offering dozens of trans-Atlantic routes to Europe, it also flies several routes from the USA and Canada to the French Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe.
Norwegian currently flies to both Martinique and Guadeloupe from two U.S. cities (New York JFK and Fort Lauderdale, Florida) and from one in Canada (Montreal).
That service operates during Norwegian’s winter schedule, but it will be discontinued as part of a cost-cutting effort. The airline has moved to trim expenses and slow growth after hitting a financial rough patch.
“While our routes to Guadeloupe and Martinique have performed fairly well, with cost-cutting measures as a priority and aircraft utilization in focus, it is not financially sustainable as a European airline to each winter season move operations – aircraft, pilots and cabin crew – from Europe to these islands,” Lindström said.
Charlotte is the second-busiest hub for American Airlines, the world’s largest airline. Spirit’s entrance to the airport will put it in direct competition against American, which – along with Delta and United – has tried to push back against encroaching budget airlines like Spirit with new “Basic Economy” fares to try to remain competitive for the most budget-conscious flyers.
Alaska Airlines’ first flights from the John Glenn Columbus International Airport begin March 7, when the carrier adds nonstop service to its hub in Seattle.
Alaska Airlines will be the only airline to fly nonstop between Seattle and Columbus, offering one daily round-trip flight on Airbus A320 aircraft. Columbus will be Alaska Airlines’ first city in Ohio.
Royal Air Maroc is set to make Boston its fourth destination in the United States.
Starting June 22, the carrier will fly a schedule of three flights a week to its base in Casablanca. Royal Air Maroc will use Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners on the route.
Boston becomes the second U.S. destination to be announced by Royal Air Maroc since last summer. The carrier will begin flying to Miami in April, also with a schedule of three weekly flights on Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
The airline already flies to Morocco from both New York JFK and Washington Dulles.