American Airlines Group, which includes American and US Airways, has arranged for the sale of eight more takeoff and landing slots at Washington D.C.’s close-in Reagan National Airport, marking the completion of the DCA slot divestitures order by the Justice Department as a condition to approving the AA-US Airways merger.
Air Travel News
In airport news, London Heathrow’s new Terminal 2 is expected to open to the public in June; international arrivals formalities for passengers at Dallas/Ft. Worth and Houston Bush Intercontinental should go more smoothly thanks to new self-service kiosks; TSA adds PreCheck for international connecting travelers at Miami International; and US Airways moves at LAX.
Tech-savvy Virgin America Airlines has rolled out a new feature for business travelers who like to network wherever they go — an app for person-to-person social networking with other passengers on the carrier.
In news of U.S. airlines, American plans to extend its extra-legroom seating to US Airways; Virgin America lowers some change fees, raises others; Southwest eyes expansion to airports where rivals are downsizing; and a new intrastate carrier is announced in Florida.
In route developments at U.S. airlines, details have emerged about United’s planned cutbacks at Cleveland; Delta and Alaska Airlines intensify their ongoing 'Battle for Seattle'; and American will drop a key Latin American route next year.
It’s probably a good thing that US Airways’ Dividend Miles program is being merged into American’s AAdvantage, based on the results of a frequent flyer survey; on the other hand, frequent travelers seem relatively happy with Southwest’s Rapid Rewards.
Last week, we reported that a growing shortage of pilots at regional airlines has led to a cutback in service to some small communities by Great Lakes Airlines and was partially responsible for United’s decision to end Cleveland’s status as a connecting hub. And now another regional operator is blaming a pilot shortage for a downsizing of its fleet.
An unending series of winter storms and freezing weather during January came with some heavy costs, according to an analysis by masFlight, a data and software firm specializing in airline operations — and the costs to passengers were a lot higher than those of airlines.
In airline news, American and US Airways have expanded their code-sharing program; Hawaiian will add extra-legroom seating on its A330s; and worldwide air travel demand is back to pre-recession growth rates.
A small carrier in the U.S. heartland has stopped flying to several towns, and United is sharply curtailing regional flights from Cleveland, in the first instances of what could be a serious pilot shortage affecting other companies, especially regional airlines.