I just noticed that AS has essentially suspended PDX-DCA for the month of October; there is a r/t in the market on 10/1 & 10/3, and then nothing until 10/31. That's what AS shows as of now.
My wondering concerns the nature of the route. PDX-DCA was a hard-fought battle to get, as part of the last DCA Beyond-Perimeter hearings in 2012 involving Congress and the DOT. The route is very restricted (essentially non-changeable) even down to the times it op's due to the conditions at Reagan, and I'm curious if AS can indeed simply suspend the route entirely for almost a whole month?
Since this particular Beyond-Perimeter Exception route is capped at a single daily flight by a single carrier, it is particularly obvious when it doesn't operate. I'm not aware of any of the other such routes to other western cities (including SEA, DEN, PHX, LAX, AUS, SLC) seeing any trimming of their permitted flights but it does raise a question in my mind regarding any restrictions as to whether a designated carrier can just cease serving a Beyond-Perimeter route, either temporarily or permanently? If they do, is anything triggered at the DOT regarding non-service of an awarded route of this kind? Could there be temporary changes in place to the rules to allow suspensions due to Covid?
I do see that the PDX-route resumes daily service in November (as of now) but that could certainly change if AS doesn't see the traffic in the market..
Does anyone out there have any information or thoughts on this situation? Since I had a pony in this race, I consider myself pretty familiar with many of the particular facets of the 2012 Beyond-Perimeter case but don't know about temporary suspensions of the awarded routes. I don't believe I've ever seen it happen before.
PDX-DCA was suspended at the onset of Covid & it's been inactive for times during the last 18 months. at some point the only mainline flight from Portland to Seattle was about 6 AS flights. This is about the slowest time of the year, the staffing shortages. AS would in a day, have that flight back in the air, if they were ever faced with a use or lose situation. AS would not allow any carrier to get that gem.
I admit up front that I have no privy info here, but routes are often awarded PDX/SEA but I know this is not one of them. But I bet you AS could argue that the best service of this route would be via SEA & even if the flight was a one-stop in SEA, they could change it in time. But I know this is a valuable route to AAG & it won't become at risk of loss.