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Aviation Industry Updates: September 27, 2022

By September 27, 2022October 3rd, 2022Industry News

Delta Adds 9 Transatlantic Routes

  • The Atlanta-based carrier unveiled on Friday the details of its transatlantic service for summer 2023, which includes a slew of added routes, including two new destinations for the carrier.

  • The expansion is largely focused on connectivity at three major hubs: Atlanta, Los Angeles and New York. In total, the carrier will fly 8% more transatlantic seats than it did in 2022.
  • “With nearly 620 weekly flights and connectivity to 32 destinations in Europe and beyond, customers will have a wealth of iconic destinations to explore and an unmatched journey to enjoy across the pond,” Delta’s senior vice president of network planning Joe Esposito said in a statement.
  • The most exciting will likely be the two new route-map pins for the carrier: Geneva, Switzerland, and London Gatwick.
  • Delta will once again connect its hub at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) with Europe. The carrier last operated a transatlantic route from LAX in March 2020, before suspending the service indefinitely due to the pandemic. Now, Delta will bring back flights to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) on May 8, 2023, as well as to London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) from L.A. on March 25, 2023.
  • Atlanta is Delta’s mothership — and the mega-hub is growing next summer with three long-haul route resumptions.
  • The first will be service to Stuttgart Airport (STR) beginning on March 26, 2023. This business-focused route connects Mercedes Benz’s and Porsche’s U.S. headquarters in Atlanta with their main offices in Germany. It was last operated in March 2020, according to Cirium schedules.

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JetBlue Says It Will Become A “National Challenger”

KEY POINTS:

  • JetBlue sees its planned merger with Spirit Airlines as the best way to become a true national competitor against the likes of Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and even its Northeast partner American Airlines.
  • “JetBlue just wants to compete,” JetBlue’s chief operating officer Joanna Geraghty said Tuesday. “We want to be a national challenger brand.”
  • Still, she acknowledged the merger could take longer than those engineered by JetBlue’s peers during the past two decades. The U.S. Department of Justice is already questioning JetBlue’s partnership with American in the Northeast. Plus, some regulators are wondering how past mergers have helped consumers, especially after a summer of record airfares and operational meltdowns.
  • Speaking at the Skift Global Forum in New York, Geraghty noted JetBlue has a history of “disrupting” the industry. She added that JetBlue will make a case to the government that its growth into a true national carrier will break up markets currently dominated by the nation’s four largest airlines. American, Delta, Southwest and United currently carry more than 80% of all domestic passengers.
  • “We are often asked about the Midwest and many of the states we fly over,” she said. “Spirit is going to allow us to fly there.”

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Mesa Airlines Offers Accelerated Path to 1,500 Hours

KEY POINTS:

  • Mesa Airlines has purchased 29 two-seat Pipistrel Alpha Trainer 2 aircraft and placed options to buy another 75 over the next year to serve as the foundation of the company’s in-house training course called the Mesa Pilot Development Program. Announcing the move on Thursday, Mesa said it expects the program, which gives pilots the opportunity to accumulate the 1,500 flight hours required for a Part 121 first officer, to help alleviate a shortage of pilots at the airline and offer them a direct route to a long-term career.
  • “The pilot shortage could become a permanent feature of the airline industry if we don’t get more aviators into the system,” said Mesa chairman and CEO Jonathan Ornstein. “It is basic math. If there aren’t enough trained pilots, customers suffer from loss of service and high-ticket prices.”
  • Mesa plans to put the aircraft into operation in Inverness, Florida, starting next month, followed by expansion to Arizona over the next year. The airline expects the fleet eventually to provide capacity for up to 2,000 daily hours of flying time and train more than 1,000 pilots per year.
  • Qualified pilots who join the program fly up to 40 hours per week, allowing them to build company longevity, receive flight benefits, and gain priority status for employment as a first officer at the airline. Mesa fully finances the $25-per-hour training cost interest-free.

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