In domestic route news, Virgin America breaks into a big new business market; JetBlue targets Ft. Lauderdale for substantial growth; Southwest doubles capacity on a Bay Area transcontinental route; American adds some secondary markets; and Frontier plans three new routes.
On Tuesday, Virgin America started flying its newest U.S. route, offering three flights a day between San Francisco and Denver – a route dominated by United. Earlier this month, United prepared for battle by increasing frequencies on the SFO-DEN route to as many as a dozen flights a day. To promote the new route, Virgin is offering promotional discounts of up to 30 percent off Main Cabin fares between DEN-SFO for travel from April 12 to May 25, on bookings made through March 24.
JetBlue announced plans for significant growth at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, saying that it expects to increase operations there during the winter to 140 flights a day “in the coming years;” that’s an increase of 75 percent over its current schedules. The only specific expansion it mentioned in the announcement was a plan to begin Ft. Lauderdale-New Orleans service on September 29, with one daily roundtrip; and an increase in Ft. Lauderdale-Nassau, Bahamas service from three flights a day to five, starting August 1.
Effective for the summer season from June 5 through August 6, Southwest Airlines plans to add a second daily roundtrip between Oakland and Baltimore-Washington International. The carrier said it will increase capacity on several other BWI routes during the same period, adding a sixth daily flight between BWI and Denver, a ninth between BWI-Manchester, N.H.; an eighth between BWI and Hartford Bradley; a seventh between BWI and Tampa; and a 10th between BWI and Orlando.
American Airlines will add a new spoke from its Phoenix hub on June 2, launching one daily roundtrip to Redmond, Oregon. The route will be operated by Skywest/American Eagle with a CRJ700. And on May 5, new Envoy/American Eagle E145 flights are due to begin between Dallas/Ft. Worth and Sioux City, Iowa’s Sioux Gateway Airport (for trivia buffs: the airport’s three-letter code is SUX).
Frontier Airlines has unveiled plans for three more new routes in the months ahead. On May 15, it will begin flying between Salt Lake City and Las Vegas three times a week; on June 22, it will kick off one daily roundtrip between Denver and Washington Dulles; and on June 28, it will start daily service linking Phoenix with Colorado Springs.
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