Routes: Hawaiian, Alaska to Hawaii + American, JetBlue, Spirit
In domestic route news, Hawaiian Airlines will increase service to the islands from the West Coast next year; Alaska Airlines is about to begin a new Hawaii route from San Francisco; American adds Oakland as a spoke from a major hub, and plans several other new routes; JetBlue adds more transcontinental Mint service this month; and Spirit unveils 10 new domestic route starting next spring.
Hawaiian Airlines, which is on the verge of beginning commercial service with its new Airbus A321neos, said it will use the planes to expand service from the West Coast next year. The airline will add a new route on May 1 between San Diego and Kahului Airport on Maui using an A321neo, and will begin extra seasonal summer flights with the aircraft (in addition to its regular schedule) between San Francisco and Honolulu from May 26 through July 31, and between Oakland and Kona from May 26 through September 2. The carrier has also scheduled an extra seasonal flight between Los Angeles and Kahului, Maui from June 1-August 31, using an A330.
According to FlightGlobal.com, Hawaiian will actually start flying the new A221neos on December 19, deploying them on inter-island routes to familiarize its flight crews with the aircraft. The carrier is due to put the planes into mainland service starting January 8 from Oakland to Maui, and on January 18 from Portland to Maui.
Speaking of Hawaii, Alaska Airlines next week will start flying the last of several new Bay Area routes that it announced earlier this year. On December 14, the carrier will inaugurate daily service between San Francisco and Kona, on the Big Island, using a Virgin America aircraft. The SFO departure time is scheduled for 11 a.m.
American will use an A320 on its new Oakland-DFW route. (Image: Jim Glab)
American Airlines will kick off new Bay Area service next spring. The carrier plans to start daily flights on April 3 between Oakland and its Dallas/Ft. Worth hub, with an 11:50 a.m. departure from OAK and a 9:10 a.m. departure from DFW, using an A320. American also announced some new domestic routes out of its Chicago O’Hare hub starting next spring, including twice-daily ORD-Charleston, S.C. flights beginning May 4; and weekend-only service from ORD to Bangor, Maine and Myrtle Beach, S.C., starting June 7, using American Eagle/Envoy Air CRJ700s. At Phoenix, American will kick off daily flights to Amarillo, Tex. and Oklahoma City on April 3, using Mesa Airlines CRJ900s. On the same date, it will add twice-daily LaGuardia-Portland, Maine service with Enviy Air ERJ140s.
Elsewhere, American’s 2018 schedule includes some new Saturday-only seasonal routes, all flown with regional jets, including DFW-Asheville, N.C., DFW-Myrtle Beach, DFW-Wilmington and Los Angeles-Bozeman, Mont., all operating June 9-August 18; LAX-Flagstaff, Ariz., May 5-September 1; and New York LaGuardia-Traverse City, Mich., June 23-September 2. Finally, on February 14, the company will terminate its American Eagle/SkyWest service from Phoenix to Bullhead City, Ariz./Laughlin, Nevada, due to a lack of passenger demand.
The next step in JetBlue’s ongoing expansion of its premium-cabin Mint service, with lie-flat seats, comes on December 10, when the carrier is slated to introduce a Mint-equipped aircraft on one of its daily San Diego-Boston flights, adding a second daily Mint flight on the route starting December 20. It already offers Mint cabins on two daily San Diego-New York JFK flights. Last month, JetBlue added Mint service on two daily New York JFK-Las Vegas flights.
Spirit Airlines unveiled a bunch of new domestic routes that will kick off next spring, including daily year-round service from Baltimore/Washington to Denver beginning March 22; daily year-round flights between Tampa-Los Angeles, Tampa-Las Vegas and Orlando-Las Vegas starting April 12; daily seasonal service from Seattle to Ft. Lauderdale, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas/Ft. Worth and Minneapolis-St. Paul beginning April 12; and daily seasonal flights from Detroit to San Diego and Portland kicking off April 23.