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Aviation Industry Updates: May 18, 2021


United Announces Huge Schedule Boost


  • July is going to be a big month. United is adding 400 daily departures to its schedule. The new flights will cover points in the US and Europe.

  • United expects to hit 80% of its 2019 domestic US schedule this July on bookings up 214% compared to 2020 levels.
  • Compared to June 2021, United will increase its schedule 17% for July— making July United’s largest month from a scheduling perspective since the crisis hit.
  • “This July we’re taking a big step toward flying at pre-pandemic levels for our domestic network. By adjusting our bank structures at two key hub airports, we’re able to offer our customers easy connections to destinations across the U.S. so they can start their vacations at times convenient for them.”
  • Chicago is getting two more flight banks. This will take the hub to an impressive nine daily flight banks and over 480 daily departures. The new banks will help facilitate additional connections and give customers more options to choose their itineraries.
  • July is typically one of the best months for US airlines. Schools and colleges in the US start to close for the summer from May through June, while most resume from August and September. This leaves July as a singular month where almost every school-age child is out of school and families can plan travel. This is on top of favorable warm weather across the Northern Hemisphere, which encompasses popular geographies for American tourists.

Simple Flying

American Pares Back International Flying


  • As American Airlines rebuilds after the pandemic, it will look different than it did before, with less international flying and more concentration on interior domestic hubs.
  • “When we bring back international, we will be bringing back international that can do margins in line with domestic. The international that will be there will be way different than the international that went away in 2019.”
  • “We’re 50 to 60 long-haul airplanes lighter than we (were)”
  • In September 2020, American said it would move much of its trans-Pacific traffic from LAX to Dallas-Fort Worth. At that time, Brian Znotins, vice president of network and schedule planning, declared, “Even going into the pandemic, we were losing money on those L.A. flights,” so it is no surprise that American will not rush to restart them.
  • “We don’t have a big coastal international network,” he said. “We took out 150 jets; more than a third were widebody airplanes. We don’t have the ability to fly 20 widebodies a day to China. The best thing to do is orient the airline to where we can win it.”


American & Delta Start Quarantine Free Flights


  • American Airlines follows on Delta’s heels to become the second U.S. airline to offer quarantine-free flights to Italy for all customers.
  • While previously only available to those traveling for essential reasons, these flights now open the door to those itching to vacation in Italy.
  • American differs from Delta’s policy, which requires an additional rapid test taken at the airport just before boarding. The federal U.S. policy requiring that all passengers, 2 years of age and older, traveling to the U.S. from a foreign country must show a negative viral COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours of departure before being allowed to board their flights remains in effect.
  • The move comes after Italy announced on Friday that it’s ready to welcome all travelers flying on a COVID-tested flight from the U.S., Canada, Japan and the United Arab Emirates. The policy change is effective from May 16 through July 30, per the Italian health ministry.

The Points Guy

Frontier Executives Optimistic Despite Financial Hit


  • Frontier brought in $271 million in revenue over the first three months of the year, down 50% compared to the first quarter of 2020, before the virus took hold, numbers released Thursday show. It’s a demonstration that surging COVID cases last fall depressed air travel demand into the New Year.
  • But CEO Barry Biffle stressed it’s about what’s ahead not what’s behind after the airline went cash positive in March for the first time since the pandemic began.
  • Biffle said the airline’s goal is to get back to full utilization of its 107-aircraft fleet by the end of the year ahead of what he expects will be a strong 2022.
  • Frontier’s operating expenses were also down significantly at $363 million, 44% lower than the first quarter of 2020. That decrease was brought on by a 36% decrease in passenger capacity as measured by available seat miles and through payroll support and grant funding made available through the CARES Act, according to a company news release.
  • Right now, fares are still depressed but Biffle predicted that with announcements like national mask recommendations being relaxed demand will begin to outpace supply later this year and fares will rise.

Denver Post

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