Five years ago, I looked at how air service at FAT compared with cities similar to Fresno. I found that relative to the size of the metro area, Fresno had less passengers and less destinations served. Fresno also lacked service by both Jetblue and Southwest, but did get a larger share of airlines, thanks to the competition on flights to Mexico. Airlines would price fares high out of Fresno, and locals would save money by driving to LAX or SFO.
Well, today is a big day, as Southwest Airlines has finally started to serve Fresno.
There’s also been other changes since I wrote my post. Delta has started flying to LAX and Seattle. Both American and United have added service to Chicago. There are now 4 destinations in Mexico. Airlines have continued to add larger planes along existing routes. Click to read more!
Just a quick post to share some news from Fresno2Minneapolis on Twitter. Starting in September, Alaska Airlines will begin service twice a day between Fresno and Los Angeles! The flight will be on an Embraer RJ-175, operated by Skywest.
If all goes as planned, they would join American Airlines and United on this route. Note that due to COVID-19, those flights are currently not operating. However, if they come back as before, there would be 10 daily flights between the two cities.
The flight schedule, (assuming no more Coronavirus changes) from Fresno to LAX would be as follows:
6:00 AA 6:20 UA 7:30 Alaska 8:01 UA 11:55 AA 13:55 UA 14:00 Alaska 16:10 AA 17:57 UA 19:15 AAClick to read more!
Ten days ago, I decided to make a record of how COVID-19 (coronavirus) has affected transportation providers in Fresno and the surrounding areas – including the Bay Area and LA region. This post is a follow-up, to chronicle what has changed since. I have also added a few agencies I missed last week. It is sort of lucky I waited until today to make this, instead of last Sunday, as a bunch of changes go into effect today!
Fresno Area Express (FAX)
Officially, no changes to the schedule, but the system has been struggling with drivers calling out, as seen in this tweet:
This makes Fresno one of the only transit systems to continue running full service. Click to read more!
If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent the last few weeks reading a LOT of news about COVID-19 (coronavirus). All the bad news has taken away most of my motivation to write blog articles, and not just because “regular” news is on pause, but because it’s been pretty exhausting. I also figured that because the news has been changing so quickly, there was little reason for me to write. This isn’t like a new trail, where posting two weeks late is still timely. By the time I get around to posting any news, it has likely changed.
That being said, I’m thinking there may be some value in having a static record looking backwards. Because of the volume of news, six months from now, it will be pretty difficult to do a Google search to find exactly what the transportation impacts were. So the goal of this post (and a probable follow up), is to have one place summarizing what the impacts of the virus were on Fresno-area transportation. Here is what the impacts looked like as of March 29, 2020. Click to read more!
I’ve been super busy, so here is a short post with some recent transportation news I didn’t post about:
Starting October 28, Volaris will be adding two flights a week to Leon/Guanajuato airport. This means Fresno will now have service to three cities in Mexico! (Guadalajara and Morelia are the other two). The flight will be on an Airbus A320.
United brought back the Chicago flight and upgraded it from a regional jet to a Boring 737 or Airbus 319. Flights leave Fresno at 11:15pm arriving in Chicago at 5:11am. The return flight leaves Chicago at 7:40pm and arrives in Fresno at 10:10pm. Roundtrip starts at $449, which isn’t great – but that shows demand was there last summer.
It will be a little easier to fly to Japan because JAL is code-sharing with Alaska. That means you can fly Fresno-Seattle-Tokyo on one ticket, so your bags go all the way and you don’t have to check in twice.
If you read this blog, you’ve probably heard the news that Fresno Air Terminal (FAT) will be expanded in the next couple of years, and they’re calling it FATforward because why not. This will be the first customer-facing expansion since 2006, when the international arrivals area was built. Since then, there have been some changes on the air side, but nothing major. Of course, the biggest expansion in FAT history was in 2002, when the second-level concourse was built with jet bridges (title picture).
The expansion has two components: terminal expansion, and parking expansion. Let’s talk about parking first!Click to read more!
While not the focus of this blog, I’ve talked a few times about air service from Fresno Air Terminal (FAT). A couple of years ago, I compared air service in Fresno to a group of peer cities, which confirmed that Fresno is under-served.
One big question has been: what destination is missing from Fresno? United answered that question in part last year by adding trial service to Chicago on an Embraer 175 operated by Skywest. This route was somewhat noticeable because it became one of the longest flights in the US operated by a small regional jet. Well, the test proved successful, and United will again operate flights to Chicago in 2019, but this time with a full-sized plane (A319). However, service will still be summer-only. In 2017, United also increased their service to Fresno by upgrading San Francisco to a mainline jet. Click to read more!
A frequent topic here has been about how expensive it can be to fly out of Fresno. Specifically, how the lack of lower-cost airlines (especially Southwest) has kept prices high. Even though the city was the birthplace of Allegiant Air, that company is now based in Las Vegas and only flies from Fresno to Vegas (although they have previously flown to Honolulu and Mesa/Phoenix as well). Frontier is low cost, but their flights to Denver come and go based on airport incentives. On the nicer end, Jetblue is nowhere to be found, nor is Spirit at the low end.
In comparison, Boise (metro population of 709,845, less than Fresno’s 972,297) has low cost flights to 15 different cities through Southwest, Allegiant, and Frontier. A couple of years ago, I looked at some peer cities and found this:
There have been some changes since, but nothing too drastic. Frontier came back to Fresno, for example, and Reno gained an additional Jetblue destination.
Personally, I’d love for Jetblue to add Fresno, but it seems incredibly doubtful. I was hoping that they would buy new planes and shift their older Embraer 190s to smaller markets like Fresno. Instead, they simply committed to replace their existing Embraer fleet with a larger Bombardier model and retire the older planes. That makes Fresno even less likely in their future, since each flight has more seats to fill.
The airline said it hasn’t yet decided how many seats it will put on the A220-300, which can hold as many as 160 passengers. It also has the right to convert some orders to the smaller A220-100 plane, which can take as many as 135 seats. The Embraer E190s being replaced carry 100.
However, there may be some hope.
The guy who created Jetblue – and other airlines around the world such as WestJet in Canada and Azul in Brazil – is back to start a brand new airline. Unlike Jetblue, which began by focusing on major airports like JFK, Boston, and Fort Lauderdale, this new airlines is aiming for undeserved airports. This isn’t just an idea, he’s already signed up to buy 60 brand new airplanes.
David Neeleman is raising funds to launch a new low-cost airline, called Moxy, Airline Weekly reports. Moxy could launch as soon as 2020, as soon it takes delivery of its first aircraft.
Moxy has big plans for thinking small. The airline will use Bombardier CS5300 aircraft to shuttle passengers between smaller airports, like Providence, Rhode Island; Hollywood Burbank Airport in Los Angeles; and Chicago’s Gary International Airport.
Moxy has placed an order for 60 Bombardier CS5300 aircraft, according to Bloomberg. Capable of carrying 130 passengers, the lightweight carbon fiber plane was designed to service smaller airports. It offers “over 15% cash operating cost advantage, over 20% fuel burn advantage, exceptional operational flexibility, widebody comfort and an unmatched environmental and noise footprint,” according to the manufacturer. Travel and Leisure Click to read more!
I’ve always though the next domestic airline destination from Fresno would be to Houston, via United, but today we get a surprise: it will be Chicago….with United!
United Airlines in 2018 continues its domestic routes expansion, as the airline opened reservation for a total of 12 routes in 2018. Following routes opened for booking since Friday night (Pacific Time) 17NOV17. Chicago O’Hare – El Pasoeff 09APR18 2 daily Embraer E170 (Republic Airlines) Chicago O’Hare – Fresnoeff 07JUN18 1 daily Embraer E175 (Skywest) Denver – Jacksonville FLeff 09APR18 1 daily Embraer E175 (Skywest) Denver – Liberaleff 06FEB18 6 weekly CRJ200 (Skywest) Denver – North Platteeff 01FEB18 2 daily CRJ200 (Skywest; weekends frequency varies) Denver – Pueblo – Liberaleff 06FEB18 6 weekly CRJ200 (Skywest) Denver – Scottsbluffeff 30JAN18 2 daily CRJ200 by Skywest (weekends frequency varies) Los Angeles – Kalispelleff 07JUN18 1 daily CRJ200 (Skywest) Los Angeles – Medfordeff 09APR18 2 daily CRJ200 (Skywest) Los Angeles – Missoulaeff 07JUN18 1 daily CRJ200 (Skywest) Los Angeles – Redmondeff 09APR18 1 daily CRJ200 (Skywest) Newark – Elmiraeff 09APR18 2 daily ERJ145 (Commutair)Click to read more!
About a year ago, I took a look at air service available from Fresno Air Terminal (FAT). In that post, the news wasn’t good. Fresno had lost service to Las Vegas by US Airways and United, leaving only Allegiant. Allegiant dropped Honolulu, but added Mesa (Pheonix), which they apparently are no longer selling tickets for (as of last week!). Frontier left, again. Bakersfield lost Houston, and Visalia lost all service. The switch away from propeller airplanes meant Fresno got larger planes – but less frequency.=&0=&