WestJet Goes for Sixth Freedoms
- WestJet appears to be taking a page out of Air Canada‘s sixth-freedom hub strategy. The Calgary-based carrier announced new nonstops from Toronto to Chicago O’Hare, Dublin, Edinburgh, and Glasgow — the latter three routes will be flown with Boeing 737-8 aircraft — all beginning in May, in a release that touted “convenient options” between all of the cities and Toronto. The new routes are part of a broader summer schedule roll out that will see it flying near pre-pandemic capacity levels. Some other transatlantic highlights include resuming seasonal Toronto-Barcelona flights that flew during summer 2019, launching Calgary-London Heathrow flights on March 26, and debuting delayed Calgary-Rome flights on May 7.
- And the Canadian ULCC market continues to heat up with four new destinations for startup Lynx Air. The discounter will add Edmonton, Halifax, Hamilton, and St. John’s to its map in June and July. Lynx will serve Edmonton, Halifax, and St. John’s from Toronto Pearson; and Hamilton from Calgary and Halifax. The airline plans its first flight, between Calgary and Vancouver, on April 7.
- All-business class La Compagnie will add Milan to its map in April. The airline will operate five weekly flights between Newark and Milan Malpensa on 76-seat Airbus A321neo jets.
- Southwest Airlines is making some adjustments to its California network this June. The carrier will add new daily flights between Sacramento and Santa Barbara; San Diego and El Paso; and San Jose and Eugene, Ore., on June 5. However, the day before, Southwest will suspend flights between San Diego and Kahului, Kona, and Lihue that it has flown since June 2021 when it began a big push for the Hawaiian islands. A Southwest spokesperson said the suspension is only for the summer. Southwest competes with Alaska Airlines on the three San Diego-Hawaii routes, per Cirium schedules.
- And Spirit Airlines is also making moves out West. The discounter will add Albuquerque, Boise, and Reno — three communities that anecdotally have benefitted from the Covid exodus from high-cost metro areas — to its map in August. Spirit will begin flights from Las Vegas and Albuquerque on August 3, Boise on August 5, and Reno on August 10. The carrier will face stiff competition on all of the routes: Southwest and Allegiant Air fly to Albuquerque; Alaska Airlines, Allegiant, and Southwest to Boise; and Frontier Airlines — which Spirit seeks to merge with — Allegiant, and Southwest to Reno, per Cirium.
- Despite executives citing staffing “constraints” at its regional affiliates, Delta Air Lines will add three new routes from New York LaGuardia: daily Dayton, Oklahoma City, and Roanoke flights begin June 6. But it’s not all additions at Delta. The airline has indefinitely suspended plans to resume flights between Minneapolis-St. Paul and Knoxville and Lexington; and Seattle and Indianapolis and Milwaukee that were slated to return later in 2022, per Cirium. The Minneapolis routes were flown with regional aircraft, and the Seattle routes mainline jets.