Saturday, 8 September 2018

USA: Alaska Airlines Begins Seattle -Pittsburgh Service, Stops Some Destinations. Other Airlines Follow.

Alaska Airlines has announced that it will begin nonstop, daily service between Seattle and Pittsburgh.

This new service is currently the only nonstop flight offered from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT).

The new route effectively links Seattle to the thriving business community in Pittsburgh, which continues to grow as top technology companies, entrepreneurs and start-ups look to establish a presence in the city.

Nonstop service to Seattle is a critical link for the Pittsburgh region and is the latest addition to the growth at Pittsburgh International Airport during the past three years.

We are thrilled to welcome Alaska Airlines, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said.

Increasing service to the West Coast has been a top priority and the connections between our two regions, including our vibrant tech growth, will fuel the success of this flight.”

Alaska Airlines has dropped more California routes.

In route news, Alaska Airlines drops California routes, but adds one from Seattle; JetBlue begins a new California transcon; United and American expand to Mexico; Southwest plans new weekly flights next spring; Lufthansa offers more air-rail connections at Frankfurt; Primera Air, LOT and

WOW enter new transatlantic markets; and Avianca adds U.S. frequencies.

In the latest adjustments to its network, Alaska Airlines will discontinue its twice-daily 737-800 flights between Los Angeles and Mexico City on November 6.

That marks the end of MEX service for Alaska, which earlier this year discontinued service to the Mexican capital from both San Francisco and San Diego.

Alaska also plans to discontinue a pair of regional routes on January 6: daily flights from San Francisco and Orange County to Albuquerque, both operated by SkyWest with Embraer 175s.

Meanwhile, Alaska added a new domestic spoke from its Seattle hub this week, launching daily year-round 737 service to Pittsburgh – the only non-stops in the market.

The eastbound segment leaves SEA at 8 a.m. and the return sets out from Pittsburgh at 5 p.m.

Another new West Coast route that started this week is JetBlue's daily A320 service between Ontario, California and its New York JFK hub –the tenth California city served by the airline. The eastbound leg is a red-eye.

While Alaska cuts back on its Mexico presence, United and American are expanding there.

On October 28, United will begin daily flights from Chicago O'Hare to Leon/Guanajuato, operated by SkyWest with an E175.

And on January 9, United will resume twice-weekly service to Mazatlan from Houston Bush Intercontinental, flown by Mesa Airlines with an E175.

American, meanwhile, will operate new seasonal daily service from its Charlotte hub to Guadalajara from January 6 through April 1 – a route where Mexican low-cost carrier Volaris is starting service in November.

Southwest has updated its schedule for spring 2019. On March 9, it will begin new or returning weekly seasonal service on Saturdays from St. Louis to Montego Bay, Jamaica and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; from Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Raleigh-Durham and San Antonio to Cancun; and from Baltimore/Washington to Cabo San Lucas.

On the same date, Southwest will kick off seasonal Saturday service from Cleveland to Tampa and from Cincinnati to Orlando, and on March 10 it will start weekly Sunday flights from Dallas to West Palm Beach, Florida and to Harlingen, Texas; and from Houston to Lubbock.

No word yet on Southwest's Hawaii intentions, but an announcement is expected soon. In the meantime, fare wars keep springing up, like this sale we wrote about this week.

Lufthansa has announced plans for a big expansion of its air/rail connecting service within Germany, in cooperation with Deutsche Bahn, the national rail network.

The airline's Express Rail program currently offers single-ticketing connections through Frankfurt Airport's on-site rail station to Dortmund, Dusseldorf, Cologne, Mannheim, Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, Nuremberg and Wurzburg.

This month, Express Rail will add service via Frankfurt to Gottingen, Kassel, Erfurt and Aachen, followed by Freiburg and Ulm in December.

By next summer, Lufthansa Express Rail will add service from Frankfurt to Essen, Bochum, Duisburg, Wuppertal, Oberhausen and Bonn.

European low-cost carrier Primera Air, which most recently announced plans to start flying to Brussels from three U.S. cities, is continuing its rapid transatlantic expansion.

Primera is now targeting Germany, with plans to begin daily flights from New York JFK to Berlin on June 7 of next year, followed by four weekly flights from Boston to Berlin effective June 9.

The carrier will add daily Frankfurt-JFK service June 16 and four weekly Frankfurt-Boston flights as of June 21. All the new flights will use 737 MAX 9s. Primera also flies from the U.S. to London Stanstead and Paris CDG.

In other transatlantic news, LOT Polish Airlines plans to launch new U.S. service between Warsaw and Miami next June, using a 787-8 to fly the route four days a week.

Iceland's WOW Air will jump into the Reykjavik-Orlando market December 19, operating three weekly flights with an A321.

To Latin America, meanwhile, Avianca filed plans to add a fourth daily frequency between Miami and Bogota effective October 28, and a third daily New York JFK-Bogota flight beginning December 1.


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