Underscoring the accelerating trend by airlines that are reducing service to small and mid-sized airports to concentrate more on toward beefing-up high-revenue business-travel routes that also feed into global routes, United Airlines said today it will start daily nonstop service between San Francisco and Reagan Washington National Airport, effective May 14. Westbound service from Reagan to San Francisco will begin May 15.
This will give United 13 flights a day from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, including at Dulles. It will be United’s first flight from Reagan to San Francisco.
Industrywide, the focuses is more on high-yield routes with good international-feed potential, and on international routes in general. Three weeks ago, for example, United said it would start new daily nonstops flying between the hilariously named Newark International Airport on July 1.
Meanwhile, domestic capacity continues to shrink as airlines weed out routes deemed not sufficiently productive for the type of planes that must fly them. In January, United's domestic available seats miles dropped 6.4 percent compared with January 2011.