March 8, 2022

Airline Schedule Updates at ICT

These are very challenging times for the airline industry. In addition to a pilot shortage and higher fuel costs, now the Ukraine invasion has added a level of uncertainty to global travel. Leisure travel is increasing but the higher revenue from business and international travel continues to lag. Therefore, fares and revenues are depressed. The pilot shortage has only worsened during COVID as pilots took early retirement packages, forcing airlines to increase salaries. Personnel costs (salaries and benefits) and fuel make up the two largest cost centers for airlines. According to research by Oliver Wyman, “with an aging pilot population and heavy use of early retirements, the shortage in North America is projected to reach over 12,000 pilots by 2023 — 13 percent of total demand. However, Asia Pacific, with a faster growth trajectory will surpass this by the end of the decade with a projected shortage of 23,000 pilots by 2029.”

The pilot shortage is forcing airlines to cut flights and, in some markets, cancel service altogether.  The mainline airlines are hiring pilots from the lower-cost, regional carriers, leaving fewer airlines to serve small markets.  Airlines intend to phase out the smaller, 50-seat regional jets as they are less economical to operate, and upgauge to larger aircraft.  However, scope clauses in pilot union contracts limit the number of flights that can be outsourced to the larger regional jets.  At ICT, more narrowbody aircraft have been scheduled.  Wichita will have 3% more flights and 16% more seats in Q2 2022 vs. Q2 2021.

Due to these challenges, the airlines continue to make changes to their schedules on a weekly basis.  These are recent airline schedule updates:

  • Alaska Airlines – daily service to Seattle returns in April
  • Allegiant Air –
    • Destin service resumes March 10
    • LAX nonstop will begin June 2
  • American Airlines –
    • a second daily flight to Chicago returned in March
  • Frontier – Las Vegas service returns April 1; flights will operate on Mondays and Fridays
  • Southwest Airlines –
    • St. Louis service returns to twice/daily in April except Saturdays when there will be 1 flight
    • Denver service will operate twice daily, with the exception of Saturday
    • Las Vegas service will operate on Saturdays only
    • Phoenix service will be suspended in April
  • United Airlines –
    • a third daily flight to Chicago is added in April
    • Denver service will be 3 times/day
    • Houston service will be 2 times/day

Media Contacts

Valerie Wise

Air Service & Business Development Manager

(316) 946-4780

Brad Christopher

Assistant Director of Airports

(316) 946-4700

Jesse Romo

Director of Airports

(316) 946-4700

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