Eisenhower airport announces Wichita flight changes
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Passengers flying in and out of Wichita’s national airport will notice changes in the weeks ahead with different options available. Some flights are being added and bigger planes are replacing smaller regional jets.
Changes are due to a pilot shortage and higher fuel costs, plus Russia’s invasion of Ukraine adding a level of uncertainty to global travel, The Wichita Airport Authority said.
The airport authority said Eisenhower National airport will have 3% more flights and 16% more seats in the second quarter of 2022 compared to the second quarter of 2021.
“Due to these challenges, the airlines continue to make changes to their schedules on a weekly basis,” the airport authority said.
Recent schedule updates include:
- 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
In looking at overall issues airports face, Wichita’s airport authority said leisure travel is increasing but higher revenue from business and international travel continues to lag.
“Therefore, fares and revenues are depressed,” the airport authority said.
The airport authority said the pilot shortage has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic as pilots took early retirement packages, forcing airlines to bump up salaries. It said personnel costs and fuel make up the largest cost centers for airlines.
“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,” the Wichita Airport Authority said,
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