JpetekYXMD80 From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 4311 posts, RR: 28 Reply 1, posted (10 years 4 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 2870 times:
I was surprised as well, it seemed to be sudden,as i was checking their web site some time last year, and it said they had ceased operations . I heard only good things from people i know who traveled MDW-LAS, cheap First upgrades as well. Their 757's looked sharp too!, i saw many of them at LAS, i even have a model of theirs! oh well..
AWA22 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 3, posted (10 years 4 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 2787 times:
I always heard bad things about them, never wanted to fly them myself. From the old timers I know at HP they say Conway was a people person but lacked the skills required to run a successful airline, if he had been allowed to stay at HP I dont think they would be around today.
IndustrialPate From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 4, posted (10 years 4 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 2761 times:
...and all of a sudden they "ceased operations".
The death of National Airlines had been predicted for quite some time... it wasn't unexpected -- in fact, my travel agent refused to book her clients on National in its final months because she deemed it "high risk."
HAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2499 posts, RR: 53 Reply 5, posted (10 years 4 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 2631 times:
They ran into the same problem that any airline does when flying from a 'leisure' market - low fares. The majors can usually charge less to go to LAS or HNL or Orlando because of high volumes on those flights, and the fact they can make up the difference on other flights. But when ALL of your flying is to or from those places, you can't charge the higer fares because ALL your flights are to the 'leisure' destination. That is what's called 'low yield'.
The majors are hurting because the business traveller isn't flying as much as before, but there still are a few last minute people flying and buying expensive tickets. That just can't happen at an airline like National, because they couldn't raise fares against the low ones everyone else had into LAS. That is what killed them.
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
Gr8slvrflt From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 1587 posts, RR: 11 Reply 6, posted (10 years 4 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 2603 times:
The post-ValuJet crackdown on new entrants caused long delays in getting certified and ate up a lot of cash. The sharp increase in fuel prices in 2000 was the direct cause of their bankruptcy filing. The poor economic climate both before and after 9/11 made it difficult for them to ever right themselves. The ATSB's refusal of their loan request was the final straw. National was yet more proof that the public doesn't care about premium service if it costs even one cent more. Low fares are the new king.
N670UW From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1599 posts, RR: 8 Reply 7, posted (10 years 4 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 2596 times:
IMO, one of the problems may have been the 757. I believe the 757 really capped their expansion abilities. They had to keep in mind that any new market they entered had to be able to fill a 757. Other LCC's are able to expand more easily using 100 and 125-seat aircraft. It can't be that easy when you have an aircraft that seats almost 200. Not only that, but fierce competition at LAS from WN and HP certainly couldn't have helped either.
Dutchjet From Netherlands, joined Oct 2000, 7864 posts, RR: 58 Reply 10, posted (10 years 4 months 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 2527 times:
A couple of things happened........
1. the 9/11 tragedy and the decrease in air travel that followed
2. expensive leases for the 757.
3. the economic situation in the USA
4. the 757s is a great airliner, but not best suited for routes like LAS-LAX or LAS- SAN. National was going to look at a smaller type, but went out of business before it happened.
5. the owners lost interest and no longer wanted to invest in the venture - National was founded by the owners of serveral of the casino/hotels in Las Vegas to increase airline service and seats into Las Vegas (explains the free Vegas stopover, why not spend a night or two at one of our hotels), when Southwest and America West greatly expanded at LAS, the traditional larger carriers cut back some services to LAS (due to low fares and yeild problems on the routes), especially nonstop services into Las Vegas from East Coast cities and National was formed to fill the gap.....at a certain point, the airline was losing much money and the owners did not want to invest anymore into the venture, and the airline went bankrupt and closed down.
Flyboy80 From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1863 posts, RR: 3 Reply 13, posted (10 years 4 months 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 2359 times:
Great little airline, my most found memory: While waiting at EUG one night for a National 757 to arrive to pick up a foot ball charter group I saw the aircraft in the distance, it was a beautiful plane, landed... and still was beautiful. The aircraft taxied up to the hard stand where I was standing. I looked up as the tip of the wing passed two feet in front of me about 10 feet over my head! lol. The aircraft shut its engines down, the cabin door opend and two F/As came down the stairs laughing and talking with there cell phones out, and cigarettes in their mouths and lighters in their hands! they were great, One said, "hey our team beat ur ass eh?" and laughed, and so did I. I got on the 57 and looked around! Hilarious captain, He was telling me about them getting the 737s that they planned to revcieve prior to their death, he discribed them as "FLUFS" Fat Little Ugly Fu*^#%$ LMAO! It was a great day! The F/A said hey have a seat up here if you like kid (im only 15) right after I left the cockpit (the same F/A that was smoking lol) as she was warming up burgers for the soon to arrive foot ball players for their flight back to LAS, she then added, "hey its hotter then hell out there I bet you want a burger and something cold to drink (I just had something to drink) but she was so awesome! She was telling me about how Sept 11th was (this wasn't to far right after it) I really hope her life is okay after that ordeal, they just had a great crew! And, Definately the nicest coach seats I've ever seen in my life! And I've flown a lot of airlines!
Wedgetail737 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 5736 posts, RR: 5 Reply 14, posted (10 years 4 months 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 2333 times:
I hated to see this airline go. I flew National several times...SFO-LAS, SEA-LAS and DFW-LAS (all roundtrips). I flew them first class on every flight but once (DFW-LAS) and they were terrific. All of my flights were on time. The service was good!
Scottb From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 6439 posts, RR: 33 Reply 16, posted (10 years 4 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 2283 times:
Well, to be honest, I never thought the business plan for National (2.0) made much sense at all. Yeah, let's hub at an airport that is already very well-served domestically and, moreover, is a hub for the airline with the second lowest costs (HP) AND is a major focus city (no hubs) for the airline with the lowest costs in the industry at the time (WN). While subsidies from the casinos are all well and good, I think it is a very poor idea to try to build a business which will rely on subsidies (from the private sector) which could easily end at almost any time.
Reasons for N7's failure:
(1) LAS is probably about the worst place you could choose to start a new airline. (PHX is probably the worst.) While there is a huge amount of leisure traffic, average fares to and from LAS are among the lowest in the nation. It's Southwest's second-largest station, and it's America West's second hub. Both have very low costs compared to the rest of the industry, and Southwest's deep pockets (coupled with its low costs) mean it can easily outlast any fare war waged by an upstart AND probably make money doing it. You can get people on the planes (it's easy to get people to go to Vegas) but if you have to really lowball the fares, you won't make money.
(2) The 757 is a poor choice for short hauls -- turnaround times are considerably higher compared to a 737-300 or -700, or an A319 for that matter. Moreover, you have to get a LOT more people on the plane to just reach break-even. The break-even load for one of N7's 757's was probably more people than WN can get on a 737-300/700. Frequency is particularly important on high-density short hauls (like LAS-L.A. Basin/LAS-S.F. Bay Area), but having to fill a 757 means you can't offer as many flights as the competition.
(3) Hoping to make money on the connecting traffic lured by free stopovers is unrealistic. Connecting traffic, for the most part, simply helps fill the seats (and thus, brings incremental revenue) that the far more lucrative O&D traffic won't fill.
National was already in deep trouble before 9/11 -- in fact, I thought they had filed for bankruptcy protection *before* 9/11. It is telling that National did not receive a loan guarantee -- in large part because the ATSB did not feel that National had a business plan with a good chance of making enough money to repay the loan.
GARUDAROD From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 1495 posts, RR: 1 Reply 17, posted (10 years 4 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 2278 times:
Another mitigating factor was even though they flew only 757's, the
aircraft were from so many various airlines that they had to have up to
seven different sets of spares just to keep up the maintanence. I know they
literally had spares for the Brittania here, Iberia over there and the Turkish
ones over there. Those high costs along with the others mentioned above
all contributed to their demise
PROSA From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 5519 posts, RR: 5 Reply 18, posted (10 years 4 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 2267 times:
LAS is probably about the worst place you could choose to start a new airline. (PHX is probably the worst.)
PHX wouldn't be as bad. While it's HP's main hub and has big WN operations, Phoenix is a major business center and therefore attracts a lot of high-yield business travelers. LAS is much more leisure-oriented.
"Let me think about it" = the coward's way of saying "no"
Skiordie From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 73 posts, RR: 0 Reply 19, posted (10 years 4 months 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 2220 times:
My family and I have been flying to LAS for the last 20 years or so for the many conventions that have been calling Las Vegas home.
We started flying National to LAS from NYC because is was one of the only airlines flying nonstop. We had flown America West for a while, but most of their flights would go through PHX. We had started flying America West because United and most of the majors stop flying nonstop to LAS.
We now fly Jetblue, nonstop. If your going to take a long trip, I don't want to be spending my time traveling sitting in a airport waiting for another flight.
GARUDAROD From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 1495 posts, RR: 1 Reply 21, posted (10 years 4 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 2093 times:
The picture of the DC8 with National titles is actually Overseas National
airways with their updated logo. They were a charter operator.
You actually forgot the original "National" with the SunKing logo, so
that would make National/LAS the 4th "National"
WNfan From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 203 posts, RR: 0 Reply 23, posted (10 years 4 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 2006 times:
In August 2000 my coworker and I had to fly to San Francisco for a meeting. We hadn't booked a flight in advance, so being the junior member of the team I was tasked with finding a good deal. (It's a task that I rather enjoy, actually.)
WN didn't have MDW-OAK nonstop as they do now, and perhaps TZ didn't to the Bay Area either. In any event, I had seen the N7 ticket counter at MDW and knew about their product and their layover policy. AA and UA were quoting $1600-2000 prices and were out of the question.
One night I rang N7 and they quoted $400 roundtrip with an overnight layover in Las Vegas on the return trip. My coworker was skeptical about staying in Vegas for a night, but I was able to persuade him to do it. The flights to LAS and then to SFO went great (we changed planes in the new D terminal which is very nice), and we drove to central California for our business meeting.
Well, the meeting lasted longer than we anticipated, and as we drove north back to SFO we realized that we'd miss the last N7 flight of the day to LAS. So we called WN and asked if they could accommodate us, and they said sure, we have an evening SJC-LAS flight that you can be on for $100. We then called National and said, can we skip our SFO-LAS tonight but still fly the LAS-MDW tomorrow? They said sure no problem. So we booked our one-way SJC-LAS on WN and then stayed at Harrah's for $65 per room. National and Harrah's also had a deal then where you could have your luggage transported from the hotel to the airport -- you could drop off your luggage at the hotel before your flight and not have to worry about it any further until landing.
I wound up staying up all night and playing at Harrah's, Mirage, Caesars, Bellagio, and Paris, winning about $800 during the evening. I took a shower at about 6am at Harrah's and went to the airport for our flight home. I never even pulled the sheets off the bed. I told people it was a $65 shower but well worth it considering my winnings, and how fun the whole experience was.
When the demise of N7 finally occurred, I was sad, but of course I realize the industry in a more macroscopic perspective now. B6 serves LAS from the east, WN now has seven daily nonstops from MDW, and they also now serve MDW-OAK nonstop. TZ has MDW-SFO and MDW-SJC now that would have worked for us on that trip as well.
Thanks for creating this thread and allowing me to remember my one N7 trip. It will be with my fondly always.
MxCtrlr From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 2485 posts, RR: 37 Reply 24, posted (10 years 4 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 1991 times:
In talking with some of the people involved in getting N7 money to keep going, the main sticking point became Conway himself (and, I suspect, was the same problem the ATSB had with their loan request, too). Most of the investors had lost all confidence in his (and his team's) ability to operate the airline successfully and, as a condition for the funding, demanded that Conway and his top management step down. They refused and the rest is, as "they" say, history.
Freight Dogs Anonymous - O.O.T.S.K.
DAMN! This SUCKS! I just had to go to the next higher age bracket in my profile! :-(