In international route news, Air Canada and American have both announced plans to expand service between the U.S. and Canada; Aer Lingus comes to Seattle next year; low-cost carriers Norwegian and WOW will increase capacity to the U.S. in 2018; Copa boosts West Coast frequencies; Lufthansa’s Eurowings subsidiary sets more U.S. routes; and Thomas Cook Airlines comes to New York JFK.
Air Canada has unveiled plans to add new service to six U.S. cities next spring, including San Francisco and Sacramento. All the routes will be operated as Air Canada Express, with 76-seat or 50-seat regional jets. On May 1, the airline will kick off daily flights between San Francisco and Edmonton with a 76-seat aircraft, as well as daily Omaha-Toronto service, using a 50-seat plane. May 17 is the launch date for 76-seat regional jet service between Sacramento and Vancouver as well as daily roundtrips between Baltimore/Washington-Montreal and Pittsburgh-Montreal, both served by 50-passenger aircraft. All those routes will operate year-round. Air Canada will also begin seasonal service on May 17 between Providence and Toronto.
American Airlines is also increasing its transborder service to Canada. It will boost its Phoenix-Edmonton schedule from one flight a day to two effective December 15 to April 2. Next spring, American will launch new daily year-round 737 service from its Chicago O’Hare hub to Vancouver starting May 4, and seasonal daily flights from O’Hare to Calgary June 7-September 4, with an American Eagle/Envoy Air E175. On February 15, American will increase frequencies between New York LaGuardia-Toronto from four a day to five, and on May 4 it will boost its Washington Reagan National-Toronto schedule from two flights a day a day to three. Also on May 4, the airline will lay on a third daily roundtrip between Philadelphia and Ottawa.
Ireland’s Aer Lingus, now a part of International Airlines Group along with British Airways and Iberia, will add a new U.S. West Coast gateway next year when it starts Dublin-Seattle service. The carrier plans a May 18 start for the new route, using a 265-passenger, two-class Airbus A330-200 to operate four flights a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday). Passengers flying back to Seattle will be able to pre-clear U.S. Customs at Dublin. Aer Lingus previously announced plans to start Dublin-Philadelphia service four days a week next March.
Faced with new and growing competition from British Airways/Iberia’s Level affiliate, Norwegian plans to increase capacity between the U.S. and Barcelona next year by switching to larger aircraft – specifically, from the current 291-passenger 787-8 to the 344-seat 787-9. The changeover will take place in late March, affecting Norwegian’s two weekly flights from Barcelona to Ft. Lauderdale, three flights a week to Los Angeles and Oakland, and four a week to Newark.
Another low-cost carrier – Iceland’s WOW – will also add more U.S. seats next year, increasing frequencies on its route between Newark Liberty International and Reykjavik from seven flights a week to 13, effective May 29 through September 16. That’s in addition to the airline’s new daily flights out of New York JFK starting April 28.
Panama’s Copa Airlines plans to increase its West Coast capacity this winter. The airline will boost its Panama City-San Francisco schedule from twice-daily service to 18 flights a week starting March 1, and its Panama City-Los Angeles frequencies from three a day to 25 a week effective January 2.
When Lufthansa announced its recently-launched New York JFK-Berlin service (taking over for the defunct Airberlin), it said the route would be turned over next summer to Eurowings, its fast-growing, leisure-oriented subsidiary. Now it has even more transatlantic plans for Eurowings. The carrier will start a new route between JFK and Dusseldorf starting April 28, using a Brussels Airlines A340-300 to operate six flights a week. Lufthansa said Eurowings will also begin Dusseldorf-Miami service three times a week as of May 4, and Dusseldorf-Ft. Myers flights three times a week starting May 3.
Thomas Cook Airlines has launched new service between New York JFK and Manchester, operating three flights a week with an Airbus A330 and fares starting as low as $209 one-way – including a checked bag and in-flight meals. And JetBlue will kick off its fourth Caribbean route from Newark next spring, beginning daily service to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on May 3.
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