America West Cuts Back Flights

One day before its merger with US Airways was finalized, America West Airlines announced plans to scale back one of its daily flights out of Monterey.

The merger between America West and financially troubled US Airways becomes final today.

"Tomorrow in name, we will be one company," America West spokeswoman Zoe Guynn said late Monday.

But she said it could take up to three years for the two airlines to consolidate their operations.

For the meantime, fliers out of Monterey will continue to see the America West livery -- the airline's term for its painted logo on planes -- and America West signage throughout the terminal. Changing those to US Airways won't likely happen before 2006.

For customers, said Guynn, "it's petty much business as usual."

Except for those relying on the airline's Monterey-Las Vegas route for midweek travel.

Three months after debuting nonstop daily flights between Monterey Peninsula Airport and Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, America West is scaling that route down to three flights a week.

The airline launched its Monterey-Las Vegas route June 17. It will continue its schedule of a 1:40 p.m. departing flight to McCarran and a 1 p.m. daily arrival in Monterey through Nov. 8, said Guynn.

Beginning Nov. 10, the carrier will start providing three-times weekly service between Las Vegas and Monterey, with a later departure time from Monterey. The new flight has a scheduled 8:20 p.m. departure from Monterey on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. The schedule for flights to arrive in Monterey from Las Vegas is 1:27 a.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays.

Because of the transition, America West won't have any flights between Las Vegas and Monterey on Nov. 9, she said.

No changes are planned at this time to America West's other Monterey route, a twice-daily connection between Monterey and Phoenix.

Guynn said service adjustments are not uncommon for newly introduced routes.

The airline does not release ridership statistics on individual routes, she said, but changes can be driven by seasonal demand or an adjustment from initial demand projections.

"Typically, when we come into a market, we do so with a certain schedule, and you see how it goes," she said.

Monterey Peninsula Airport spokeswoman Jennifer Donat said she believed the shift in scheduling was a seasonal change, scheduled to run through Dec. 15. It is unknown what America West plans for the route after that date.

Donat said the move didn't come as a surprise, because airline officials had discussed making an off-peak change when the carrier introduced the Las Vegas flights in June.

Although Donat didn't have specific ridership numbers, she said the Las Vegas route seems to have had its most success attracting weekend travelers, who perceive the city more as a vacation spot than as a connection.

But Donat suggested the shift to a later departure time could make Las Vegas more desirable for some business travelers.

"It makes a great red eye out of Vegas to the East Coast," she said.

America West's Las Vegas route was one of three nonstop flights added to the Monterey airport docket in recent months.

America West added that route in the same month that United Express carrier SkyWest Airlines started nonstop daily service between Monterey and Denver.

In August, SkyWest, also a carrier for Delta and United Airlines, introduced a Salt Lake City route.

For flight and booking information, visit America West Airlines' Web site at or the Monterey Peninsula Airport at

Fewer flights America West Airlines is scaling back its nonstop flights between Monterey and Las Vegas. Beginning Nov. 10, flights will depart from Monterey on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays only; arrivals from Las Vegas will be Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays. Depart Monterey 8:20 p.m.; arrive 9:48 p.m. Depart Las Vegas 11:59 a.m.; arrive 1:27 a.m.

Monterey County Herald

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