Airlines shift and add routes constantly, but the last few weeks have brought a flurry of interesting changes, some of them representing long-term strategy for the carriers. Here are a few of the more interesting...
- Southwest Airlines, the biggest 'small' carrier, is filling out some gaps in its non-stop routes, including a number of routes from the New York area (to Oakland and Tampa); Baltimore to Chicago, Cleveland (Atlanta and St. Louis) , and Portland to San Francisco.
But perhaps the biggest Southwest news is that it is starting service from Cincinnati, a city that has lagged in connections since Delta dropped it as a hub. The Southwest flights will offer connections to more than 100 Southwest destinations.
- Portland's getting new flights, and not just from Southwest. Alaska Airlines, whose biggest hub is just north at Seattle, is adding service from Portland to BWI, Milwaukee and Philadelphia on seasonal routes and year-round to Albuquerque.
Alaska is also beefing up its cross-country service with a new route from San Diego to BWI. It has already, in the past 4 years, added San Diego routes to Boston, Orlando and New York/Newark
- Among the ultra low-cost carriers, Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air is adding 17 new routes, including to Fort Lauderdale, Louisville, Destin/Fort Walton, FL,, Orlando, St. Petersburg, and to Savannah, GA. Destin is becoming a hub for the airline.
- And on its home ground, Allegiant will soon have company (but not new competition) from abroad; Qatar Airways will start flying to Las Vegas from its base in Doha next year. It's also opening routes to Canberra, Australia, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago de Chile and several others.