The Long Long Roundup

By | March 9, 2008

We’ve been very behind lately. We keep saying we’ll catch up, but life happens. We are committed to providing the best in airline news and commentary we possibly can, but we do have day jobs, of course.

  • Delta received preliminary approval to fly from New York’s JFK Airport to Bogota, Columbia.
  • Spirit Airlines announced starting May 8th, it will serve Cartagen, Columbia daily from its Ft. Lauderdale hub.
  • Spirit Airlines will also add service to Columbia, South Carolina on May 22nd, from its Ft. Lauderdale hub.
  • ATA discontinued service at Chicago’s Midway Airport. ATA was only a few years ago one of the nation’s top-10 carriers, and has terminated the majority of its scheduled service in favor of redeploying resources on its charter routes. ATA is owned by the same parent company as North American, which terminated all scheduled service.
  • Orlando-Sanford Airport will be receiving nonstop seasonal service beginning June 22nd to Brussels, Belgium. Service will be operated on Sundays through November 2nd using a 262-seat 767-300ER operated by Belgian airline Jetairfly.
  • Qatar Airways will be operating three flights weekly from Houston Intercontinental Airport to Qatar’s Doha Airport beginning November 10th, with a planned increase to daily service in December.
  • AirTran Airways launched flights this week from Orlando and Atlanta to San Juan.
  • China Southern is expanding its service from Beijing to Tehran. China Southern had been operating the flights on Wednesday and Saturday with a stop in Urumqi, with a flying time of ten hours. The new service will be nonstop, taking only eight hours, and operate on Monday and Friday. China Southern is a recent Skyteam member.
  • Air Canada will launch daily nonstop service from Calgary to Newark’s Liberty Airport, operate by an Airbus A319 aircraft. Service will begin June 16th, and will compliment the airline’s nonstop service to JFK.
  • American Airlines will begin nonstop service from Ft. Lauderdale to Kingston, Jamaica beginning June 1st. Service will be daily, operated by a 737-800. American already operates three flights from nearby Miami, but if it wishes to maintain its dominance of the South Florida to Caribbean and South American market, it must increase its presence at Ft. Lauderdale, where JetBlue and Spirit are both ramping up service.
  • Expedia is now selling Westjet flights. We don’t particularly like Expedia, but we know they’ll be good for business.
  • JetBlue announced the launch of a service to buy TrueBlue points. People will be able to buy points for themselves or give them to others. Cost for this service, ten points will cost you fifty dollars, which places the price at $5 per point, not including the $20 transaction fee or the 7.5% federal excise tax. Doesn’t sound so wonderful.
  • Continental Airlines began service on the 29th from Cleveland to Greensboro, Omaha, and Savannah, which continues its increase of service from its Midwest hub.
  • Spirit also announced service from Long Island’s MacArthur airport in Islip. Twice daily service to Ft. Lauderdale will begin May 1st, with convenient connections to the Caribbean and Latin America. Spirit will compete with Southwest out of the city. Spirit previously operated out of Islip before moving operations to LaGuardia in 2001.
  • North American, which has announced termination of scheduled service, will be operating service from New York’s JFK Airport to Ft. Lauderdale, Trinidad and Tobago, and Georgetown from June 24th through September 6th on behalf of Travelspan. We would have researched Travelspan to comment on it, but they only allow Internet Explorer to view their site, and we do not have it installed. We do know they are a tour operator. North American Airlines likely finds being paid by them to fly to Georgetown better than assuming the risk themselves.
  • American Airlines is fighting the decision to take away one of its daily flights to Colombia and give it to another carrier. American operates six daily flights to Colombia. The flight it is taking away was acquired from Eastern Airlines in 1990. Delta, JetBlue, Spirit, and Continental will be adding service to Colombia as a result of this and additional negotiated air rights.
  • Denver International Airport is blocking ‘offensive’ websites on its free internet service. Critics say the airport is using the same technology used by repressive regimes in Sudan and Kuwait.
  • Skybus’s founder, John Weikle is planning to start a similar discount airline for Yeager Airport in Charleston, WV. Why we need another airline like this we don’t know. Can’t they just convince Skybus to try it out? Assuming anyone wants to subject themselves to the Skybus experience.
  • The director of New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority included a proposal in his State of the MTA address to create a second Airtrain service to connect LaGuardia Airport to the Long Island Railroad station and subway station in Woodside, Queens. The airport currently lacks subway connections, and the existing bus transfer is far from convenient. The Long Island Railroad, the Astoria as well as the Flushing-Corona subway pass not far away from the airport.
  • All American Airlines service to London’s Gatwick airport will move to Heathrow by April 13th. Earlier plans called for keeping one Gatwick flight to Dallas, but the airline secured more Heathrow landing rights. Secondary airports like Gatwick and Stansted offer alternate entries that avoid the crowded nature of Heathrow, and should be able to stand up on their own.
  • Detroit Airport officials are proposing a new 10,000 foot runway that would displace 3,500 people, 15% of the residents of the city of Romulus, where it is located. The plan, which also includes expansion of the McNamara and North Terminals as well as a monorail, goes to federal regulators in the spring.
  • Beginning May 1st, Mexicana Airlines will begin nonstop service from New York’s JFK Airport to Monterrey, Mexico. Service will be once daily on Airbus A319s.
  • A new baggage system at BWI Airport could allow AirTran to schedule as many as 100 departures per day. The two-year, $32 million project at Terminal D would begin this spring if approved, and upgrade its baggage capacity to 1500 bags per hour from 550.
  • Pan Am…the New Hampshire resurrection of the classic airline has terminated operations. The airline most recently used Boston-Maine Airlines to operate its service. The decision came after the DOT proposed revoking Boston-Maine’s flying certificate. The small airline, which often opened and closed routes in a few months, was a disgrace to the name Pan Am, which despite its final days, was a hallmark of the industry. We wonder if the name is for sale…
  • AirTran will begin service to San Antonio, TX on June 11th. The carrier will offer four nonstop nonstop flights to Atlanta.
  • Northwest Airlines will add a seasonal nonstop service between Hartford, CT and its Memphis hub from June 15th through October 31st. The service will be operated by Pinnacle Airlines using 50-seat CRJs. Northwest also has service from Hartford to Amsterdam, Detroit, Indianapolis, and Minneapolis/St. Paul.
  • Ryanair is now allowing its passengers to check-in online within five days of departure, unlike the 24-30 typical of most airlines. For an airline that serves out of the way locations, and even ones that don’t, this can be a good idea. Many passengers do not have internet access on holiday, and this allows them to take their documents if they are going for a quick weekend, a common thing on a discount airline. However, we worry Ryanair will use this to create problems if passengers already checked-in want to change.