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July 10, 2018

Air Travel: Potential Allegiant Strike, New Cancun Terminal

A potential strike in the United States and a new terminal project in Cancun lead this week's air travel news. 

Potential Strike on Tap for Allegiant

A pilot strike could be on tap for Allegiant Air, potentially disrupting flights out of Las Vegas, Phoenix and Fort Lauderdale.

According to a statement from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), pilots at the low-cost carrier voted to authorize a strike following a one-week voting period that took place from June 29 to July 6. The union says the strike vote is in response to an ongoing dispute regarding the airline’s scheduling system.

If a strike does take place, the union warned that it could result in cancellations out of major hub airports, including Las Vegas, Phoenix and Fort Lauderdale.

The union said that pilots had raised concerns regarding the airline’s scheduling system, saying that it disregards pilots’ seniority and preferences, making taking planned time away with their families difficult. In 2016, the pilots and Allegiant reached an agreement requiring that they negotiate and implement a new system within 180 days.

"We remain committed to, and are actively working towards the completion of implementing the scheduling system, working with the vendor selected by IBT," an airline spokesperson tells our partner publication, Travel Agent. "Under the Railway Labor Act, as well as the terms of the current collective bargaining agreement, this issue would not constitute grounds for a legal work stoppage.​"

New Terminal in Cancun

Meanwhile in airport news, this week officials in Mexico announced plans for a new terminal at Cancun International Airport. Construction on the new Terminal 5 is set to begin at the end of 2018 or start of 2019. The move follows the recent opening of Terminal 4, which expanded the airport’s capacity by 9 million passengers, to a total of 25 million. 

New Flights From Southwest, Alaska

In flight news this week Southwest Airlines announced it is extending its bookable flight schedule through March 6, 2019. Highlights of the expanded schedule include new nonstop daily service between Dallas Love Field and newly available or previously offered cities of Charleston, Fort Myers/Naples, Jacksonville, Louisville, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis/St. Paul, and seasonal service on Sundays to/from Tucson, kicking off January 7, 2019. Southwest is also bringing back twice daily service (only once on Saturdays) between New York/Newark and Nashville, as well as additional seasonal flying to Florida from the Heartland, Great Lakes, and New England, and returning seasonal flights to the Mountain West from the Midwest.

In other domestic travel news, this week Alaska Airlines began nonstop service between San Jose and New York City’s JFK Airport. The new service, which runs daily, means that Alaska now operates 15 flights per day to JFK from six West Coast gateways. 

In Hawaii, this week Hawaiian Airlines announced plans to begin nonstop daily service between Sacramento and Kahului, Maui, next year, on the airline’s new Airbus A321neo. Bookings are available now for travel beginning April 1, 2019. 

In the Caribbean, this week Air Canada announced plans to increase its seasonal service to St. Kitts to a full six months. Under the new schedule the airline will make weekly nonstop flights from Toronto every Saturday from December 15, 2018, to April 27, 2019.

Air New Zealand's Impossible Burger

In onboard product news, this week Air New Zealand announced a collaboration with Silicon Valley food tech start-up Impossible Foods to serve the Impossible Burger onboard its aircraft. The Impossible Burger is a plant-based burger that is said to closely replicate the look, taste and feel of a beef burger, through a combination of ingredients including potato protein, wheat protein, coconut oil, and heme, an iron-containing molecule from the roots of soy plants. As part of the new partnership, Air New Zealand will serve the Impossible Burger on flights NZ1 and NZ5 from Los Angeles to Auckland through late October. 

Finally, this week Ethiopian Airlines announced an agreement with CellPoint Mobile to provide more mobile payment options and an improved mobile experience for its passengers. The airline also took delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX jet, the first of 30 on order for the airline. 

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