Oakland International Airport announced Thursday that Southwest Airlines will begin nonstop service between San Francisco’s East Bay and Palm Springs, California (PSP) twice per day starting Nov. 15.

Southbound flights will depart Oakland at 9:05 a.m. and 6:45 p.m. Return flights depart PSP at 8:30 a.m. and 4:25 p.m. for the hour-or-so trip.

Fares are for sale on Southwest.com starting Thursday, and a quick check shows the cheapest OAK-PSP roundtrips at a remarkably low $79 roundtrip. That’s super cheap, and I expect we will soon see United, Alaska Air and Sun Country match those fares from the Bay Area.

Only Southwest will serve the Oakland-Palm Springs route, and will use Boeing 737s. Alaska, United and Sun Country fly nonstop between San Francisco and PSP. Alaska will soon add a nonstop from San Jose. United and Alaska fly a combination of various jets on the route, but primarily use smaller Embraer or CRJ aircraft.

RELATED: Why Palm Springs is so hot these days


What’s best about Southwest fares is that you can go ahead and make reservations now, then make changes later with no penalties. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, most other carriers have also eliminated those frustrating fees, which is going to make a getting to and from the Coachella Valley this winter quicker, easier and less expensive.

Southwest will also fly to Denver and Phoenix from Palm Springs.

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“Palm Springs is an often requested yet unserved destination from the East Bay,” said Port of Oakland Director of Aviation Bryant L. Francis. “So, we’re especially pleased that the new service will allow over 4 million East Bay residents to use their home airport when they fly to Palm Springs.”

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a man wearing a suit and tie: Ed Bastian


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Ed Bastian

The airline hasn’t had the massive layoffs of the other major airlines in part because it gave employees a choice.

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It’s a rough time to be an airline.

Look no further than the decisions by United and American to impose massive layoffs and furloughs that began on October 1. That was the date airlines had agreed to when they received assistance from the U.S. government. Between them, those two companies say as many as 35,000 employees may lose their jobs, at least in the short term.

While the airline industry has pushed for a second round of aid to preserve jobs through next March, it’s unclear whether that will happen. The President tweeted that he believes Congress should provide $25 billion for airlines despite previously indicating that there would be no further pandemic-related assistance package until after the election.

Of all the businesses affected by the pandemic, I think it’s fair to say that airlines have faced some of the greatest challenges. Not only are people simply not traveling as much (or at all), but when they do, airlines face the enormous responsibility of keeping them safe.

That combination of decreased demand and increased safety expenses makes it very hard for airlines to make money. As the entire industry has canceled flights and reduced overall capacity, it may seem logical that the quickest way to reduce expenses is to furlough employees.

Delta, however, is taking a different approach. It said in September that it will avoid furloughing flight attendants, and has delayed any pilot reductions until at least November 1. That is largely the result of the company’s

CHICAGO (Reuters) – American Airlines

has delayed plans to begin scheduling Boeing Co

737 MAX training for its pilots in November, the Allied Pilots Association said on Tuesday, as the grounded jet awaits regulatory approval to return to the skies.

Boeing is seeking approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on a series of changes to the 737 MAX following two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019 that triggered the aircraft’s global grounding. The FAA has also yet to determine new pilot training requirements for the jet.

Last month, American said its training plans could be canceled if the 737 MAX was not recertified.

“We have not made any definitive plans regarding the 737 MAX as the return to service timeline remains fluid,” an American Airlines spokeswoman said. “That’s why we recently adjusted the pilot training scheduling process and will continue to do so depending on when the MAX is recertified.”

She said American Airlines remains in contact with the FAA and Boeing on the recertification process, and continues to work in close collaboration with the pilots union.

Attempting to start MAX training for pilots in November seemed “a bit premature,” as we said recently, said Dennis Tajer, spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, which represents American Airlines’ pilots.

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Paul Simao)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

Source Article

Even if a vaccine for Covid-19 becomes widely available – and widely used – around the globe, and if the very onerous government restrictions on international travel largely disappear, airlines still will continue to struggle with extraordinarily weak demand for business travel through the end of 2021, and likely beyond.

And that could be devastating for already cash-depleted airlines that are guaranteed this year to report losses that, even for an industry with a long history of red ink, will be record-shattering.

The economic importance of business travel for all conventional airlines and even for most so-called “discount” carriers simply cannot be overstated. It is the kind of travel that historically has generated more than half, and in some cases as much as 75% of carriers’ profits. In effect, cheaper seats sold mostly to leisure travelers are “loss leaders” that serve to fill 75% of the industry’s available seats so that the carriers then are able to offer near-on demand flights to their big-spending business travel customers.

In 2018, business travelers globally spent $1.4 trillion on airlines, hotels, ground transportation, food and other travel services. Half of that was spent in just two countries, the United States and China, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council. About 20 percent of the remaining global business travel spending occurred in Europe.

But since the arrival of the pandemic early this year travel has plummeted to unprecedented lows. U.S. air travel fell by as much as 95% in

KEY POINTS

  • Trump accused Democrats of holding $1,200 stimulus checks hostage to aid for cash-strapped state and local governments
  • The president is still recovering from COVID-19 and is taking a steroid that interferes with thought processes and causes aggression
  • Trump’s shift in direction comes as the recovery from the coronavirus-induced recession appears to be losing steam

After putting the kibosh on further coronavirus stimulus negotiations, President Donald Trump Wednesday urged Congress to send him a trimmed-down measure that would provide $1,200 payments to individuals, along with funds to shore up the airlines and small businesses.

Trump sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average into a more than 375-point dive Tuesday, tweeting he had ordered an end to negotiations between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The two sides were more than $500 billion apart on the size of the next round of stimulus. The president said there would be no new talks until after the Nov. 3 election.

The action came after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell urged lawmakers to pass a sizable stimulus package, warning failure would lead to a protracted recovery and permanent damage to the economy.

The Dow opened higher Wednesday, recouping Tuesday’s losses.

Hours after halting the talks, the president, who still is undergoing treatment for COVID-19 and taking a steroid that interferes with thought processes, tweeted Congress should move immediately to “approve $25 billion for airline payroll support and $135 billion for [the] Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses.”

He also accused Pelosi and other Democrats of “playing games” with stimulus payments for individuals, holding them hostage to funds for cash-strapped state and local governments reeling from the costs of dealing with the pandemic.

Wednesday morning, Trump urged Congress to “move fast” on stimulus checks for individuals.

Trump’s shift in direction comes as