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US Airline Industry 10 Years From Now?  
User currently offlineNWAA330 From United States of America, joined Jun 2003, 215 posts, RR: 1
Posted (12 years 8 months 19 hours ago) and read 7697 times:

What will the United States airline industry look like 10 years from now? What airlines will still be around? Will the LCC's have basically taken over? What hubs will have been dropped. Etc. Opinions.


[Edited 2003-10-06 06:01:18]

[Edited 2003-10-06 06:02:57]

To Fly is to Live.
38 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineWorkbench From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (12 years 8 months 19 hours ago) and read 7611 times:

AA Gone
UA Gone

SWA #1
Delta #2
NWA #3
CO # 4
B6 #5

User currently offlineCALMSP From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 4190 posts, RR: 8
Reply 2, posted (12 years 8 months 19 hours ago) and read 7570 times:
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I dont think UA/AA will be gone, B6 its hard to say, once the years start adding up, you may see some problems arise, just as CEO Neelan has stated, higher maintenance costs, higher employee wages, etc. but ya never know. I do think in 10 years, aviation should almost be back where it was, the economy will eventually turn around and aviation will be back to normal.

User currently offlineJhooper From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 6210 posts, RR: 11
Reply 3, posted (12 years 8 months 19 hours ago) and read 7554 times:

back to normal? I don't know exactly what is 'normal' in the airline industry, it changes pretty fast! Anyway, I wouldn't be surprised to see air travel demand double by 2013.

Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
User currently offlineLambertMan From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 2102 posts, RR: 34
Reply 4, posted (12 years 8 months 19 hours ago) and read 7540 times:

Hmmmmmmm....UA and AA gone? I don't know about that one. This whole post is a tough one to call, there are really too many intangibles in this whole post to make a good predicition in my mind.
I'll give it my best shot though:
5.HP, LCC experiment seems to be working, company looks good
The rest are B6, FL, TZ, AS, US, F9 all jumbled up at the bottom
Hubs dropped, ehh....depends how each company is doing, I would guess at this time the ones in danger are DL@DFW, CO@CLE ( I know there was that post awhile ago about how it wasn't in danger, but do you remember STL and how they were bragging about all the new rennovations and how it would continue to be a major player in the AA system? Well I do, threw us a bone? affirmative ghostrider.) US@PIT, AA@STL. If it really picks back up you could even see re-births of certain hubs such as AA@STL or DL@DFW if the capacity is needed.

User currently offlineOkie From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 3809 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (12 years 8 months 17 hours ago) and read 7489 times:

UAL 1997 $101 per share 2003 $1 per share. A monkey with flash cards could make a buck in the stock market in the 90's, the airlines were making money inspite of themselves there was no end in sight.
The only large airline I can remember pulling out of bankruptcy long term has been CO.
The industry has always been fluid, gone over the years BN, EA, TWA, Panam, the list goes on and on.
My guess one of the majors will fail. (I suspect UA). Especially if interest rates start climbing real soon which will cause higher debt service.
Some of the LCC,s will fail as the competition increases among themselves over popular routes. B6 seems to be positioning themselves with smaller aircraft to pick up thinner routes and feeder routes looks like they are ahead of the curve.
Scope clauses in pilot contracts will move towards putting 110 passenger aircraft (I'm thinking 717/170-190) to second tier carriers. They will phase in as not to displace existing pilots, but due to retirements and atriction.
Possibly a series of accidents on a carrier due to some mx, or unforeseen airframe problem (thinking electra, comet) causing passengers to shift loyalties to other carriers.
Toooooo many intangibles would be an understatement.

and of course I forgot about the giant fissure opening up and swallowing up all the runways at ORD causing all operations to be shifted to STL, how about that Lambertman

User currently offlinePilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3176 posts, RR: 9
Reply 6, posted (12 years 8 months 17 hours ago) and read 7461 times:

"and of course I forgot about the giant fissure opening up and swallowing up all the runways at ORD causing all operations to be shifted to STL, how about that Lambertman"


I don't see STL being a dominant hub any more. Don't get me wrong, I love the airport I work at. I do see it becoming a very competitive market. TWA used to own Lambert. Now that AA's extra slots are being taken back and they will likely move all operations into one councourse I think we may see a lot more variety here as other airlines add in flights to try and get a piece of the pie. I still think somebody like Jet Blue or AirTran would be smart to jump in here.

I don't even want to guess how it will be in 10 years. This industry seems to go in a 8-10 year cycle and it's either feast or famine. The ones that survive and remain strong will be smart during the feast and save some cash up. I still think that airlines will shy from such a dedicated hub and spoke system in favor of smaller aircraft capable of more direct flights at a lower cost.

User currently offlineAcidradio From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 1880 posts, RR: 10
Reply 7, posted (12 years 8 months 16 hours ago) and read 7433 times:

Nobody is factoring in whatever the next thing our terrorists are cooking up next. That never helps out the airlines.

Ich haben zwei Platzspielen und ein Microphone
User currently offlineAzafata From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 42 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (12 years 8 months 16 hours ago) and read 7421 times:

I consulted my crystal ball and this is what I saw : Crystal Airways will never take off,AA ,UA ,CO, NW,America Waste,SouthWest will still be around this are "Die Hard" airlines. JetBlue,Frontier,AirTran will be in bussiness as long as they keep themselves away from a fatal crash.USAirways is tricky right now,well have to see.Song AND Starfish,,,will anybody even remember them by 2013? This is just my opinion,PLEASE dont take it personal!!!!!!!

User currently offlineAzafata From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 42 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (12 years 8 months 15 hours ago) and read 7372 times:

OH! almost forgot , Delta will be around of course,hating AirTran more than ever and NWA will finally start retiring the DC-9 maybe by 2023....Yaikes!!!!!!

User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 30414 posts, RR: 57
Reply 10, posted (12 years 8 months 14 hours ago) and read 7355 times:

Legs that take longer the a couple hours will be history, with the idiotic security situation now, it takes less time to drive say, Seattle/Portland or simular then it will to fly.

And cost less too.

User currently offlineUal747 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (12 years 8 months 13 hours ago) and read 7316 times:

Frequency, frequency, frequency, until the skies become jammed (which they already are in some places). Then it will be bigger, bigger, and bigger planes flying on routes that once only small airliners flew.


User currently offlineSsides From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 4059 posts, RR: 19
Reply 12, posted (12 years 8 months 12 hours ago) and read 7265 times:

Things that I think will happen in the US over the next 10 years:

1. One major airline will go under completely. Probably UA. Definitely not AA, but maybe a smaller major like US.

2. WN will become the largest carrier in the US, in terms of passengers and mainline aircraft.

3. The regional jet phenomenon really takes hold. More than half of US departures will be on jets with less than 90 seats.

4. The US and EU reach an "open skies" agreement, allowing more carriers to serve LHR. Some European airlines will enter the "very large" US domestic market, flying LAX-JFK, etc.

Here are things I hope will happen in the next 10 years:

1. All turboprops are eliminated from commercial service (except on ESA routes)

2. AA makes a decent profit and is able to negotiate more fleet flexibility with its pilots union]

3. DFW surpasses ORD and ATL, becoming the world's busiest airport

"Lose" is not spelled with two o's!!!!
User currently offlineLuv2fly From United States of America, joined May 2003, 12341 posts, RR: 45
Reply 13, posted (12 years 8 months 12 hours ago) and read 7242 times:
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The first airline that realizes that the high end business traveler is NOT coming back will be the winner. Someone will have to go, who I have no idea, I never thought PanAm, Eastern or TWA would be gone. LCC's will have even more of the market that today.

You can cut the irony with a knife
User currently offlineBobnwa From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 6920 posts, RR: 8
Reply 14, posted (12 years 8 months 10 hours ago) and read 7202 times:


How about that airline to the north of you? The one with the red tails. Do they just disappear into the sunset without a whimper?

User currently offlineElwood64151 From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 2477 posts, RR: 5
Reply 15, posted (12 years 8 months 9 hours ago) and read 7160 times:

My predictions (take them for what they are):

1) AA and UA will continue to fight over the #1 spot, unless

2) Either AA or UA (probably UA) goes under

3) If 2, scrap 1 and replace the bankrupt carrier with DL

4) WN will not yet have achieved the "#1" carrier status, but will be tantalizingly closer, perhaps #3 or 4

5) B6 will merge with F9 when F9 starts showing diminishing profits, but has not yet taken on a massive debt load.

6) HP will try again to open up an east-coast hub, its change-over to LCC becoming complete reality and so it will be able to absorb the cost better than it did at CMH

7) FL will open up a midwestern or western hub, partially causing 5. This hub will ease connections from the east- to west-coast and vice-versa

8) CO will surpass NW

9) YX will barely survive, keep its Saver Service, and turn into a regular LCC with better food

10) Air Travel will grow by 50% or more of 2003 levels, allowing most carriers to operate profitably again within two years (by 2005)

11) AS will begin serving markets further and further east

12) Another LCC will start up at MCI. Whether it succeeds or fails depends on whether it is started by someone with intelligence or not, and whether the city will let them have a single, large gate area

13) Atlanta's new international terminal will allow it to continue as the busiest airport for the foreseeable future by freeing up terminal E for domestic operations

14) WN will realize that it must either begin serving smaller airports (probably with RJs or reduced numbers of flights to its major markets) or must expand to international travel, either of which will appear to cut into its profits but will actually be helping the airline stay profitable

15) Open Skies will be delayed several years but will become reality. Cabotage will not happen during the next 10 year period, and probably not even in the next 20.

16) Someone will develop a super-sonic transport, moving probably Mach 1.4, that carries 100-120 pax for the same cost as an A319 or 73G over the same distance. If it's a US manufacturer, expect restrictions on domestic supersonic flight to be lifted.


[Edited 2003-10-06 16:16:53]

Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
User currently offlineAirbazar From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 9890 posts, RR: 10
Reply 16, posted (12 years 8 months 8 hours ago) and read 7068 times:

I expect that there will be no "major" airlines as we know today. Most airlines will have a niche of their own but there won't be an airline that caters to everyone and everything.

User currently offlineCO2BGR From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 558 posts, RR: 4
Reply 17, posted (12 years 8 months 8 hours ago) and read 7042 times:

In 10 years there will be about 3 majors that cater to the business travler (AA,DL,CO) in order by size. The LCC's will fly the leisure travler everywhere. B6 will buy F9to move their opps. out west WN will be the biggest carrier IF they go into the smaller airports AND they fly internationaly. At least one LCC will fly 767s to Europe, The first one to do that will be in the best position for the long term. HP, song and starfish will be long gone. Thats my 2 cents.


There are too many self indulgent weiners in this town with too much bloody money" Randal Raines- Gone in 60 Seconds
User currently offlineDLMHT From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 99 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (12 years 8 months 7 hours ago) and read 6993 times:

I also see 3 major airlines, (AA, DL, CO....not sure what order).

WN will definitely be the biggest LCC, but they are in for a bit of a surprise. Right now, they have some of the lowest labor costs in the industry, and I don't think that their crews will be willing to "fly for peanuts" when their company doubles in size and starts to rival the major carriers. Especially if they fly internationally. The other union groups will also want increases, and I just hope they're poised to handle it (we all know the problems that Comair, DL, and UA had with their union groups).

The era of the future is definitely high-frequency regionals, and each major should be planning on strengthening their regional groups over the next few years in order to be able to handle it.

User currently offlineKaiTakFan From United States of America, joined Oct 1999, 1589 posts, RR: 6
Reply 19, posted (12 years 8 months 7 hours ago) and read 6947 times:

This thread sure is funny to see what people think will happen in the airline industry. All I can say is it will be interesting to see what it will be like then, but no way in hell will I bother predicting the future of one of, if not the most volitile industry in the world!

User currently offlineAirbazar From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 9890 posts, RR: 10
Reply 20, posted (12 years 8 months 7 hours ago) and read 6950 times:

Oh, one more thing. Not only do I think that there won't be a "major". The hub and spoke system will be returned to it's original concept of providing feeder traffic from small airports. As the LCC's have proved, p-to-p service is a lot cheaper than making people go through a hub while traveling between cities than can sustain non-stop flights.

User currently offlineDsuairptman From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 935 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (12 years 8 months 6 hours ago) and read 6887 times:

I sepulate that UA will be much smaller w/ the majority of all domestic flights on regional partners,possibly some operating 737Ngs. Smaller UA planes in the mainline fleet will serve high frequency, high yield markets.

Air Tran will be the number 2 LCC, and could easily be #1 if SWA doesn't open
flights to many smaller markets. The entire Jet Blue, Frontier thing is kind of blury to me, but they may forge an alliance before 2010.

US Airways will be flying, expect more mainline flights to the centeral and Western US, Canada and Mexico. They will probaly be the East Coast number one choice for tarvel to the Carribiean.

DL, AA, CO, and good ol' NWA will be the major powerhouses. Hard to say if any could claim a number one title, but the will be the 'heritage' carriers still
flying and carring pax.

Turbo props probaly will have given way to RJs w/ the exectpion of Eagle's MIA, and San Juan, bases. Ditto for regionals flying intra-California routes form LAX, Intra-New England flights, and CO/SW props in TX.

NW will probly put the last nine out to pasture between 2012-14. It will be an historic last flight.

DL will start replacing the MD-80s en masse during the same time frame w/ 737 NGs, Ditto for AA.

Boeing will be the Number one airliner manufactuer will Airbus runs a distant second. Boeing SST could/will very well happen by 2019 w/ NW being the first to launch the type on East Coast to Asia flts.

User currently offlinePlanemaker From Tuvalu, joined Aug 2003, 7210 posts, RR: 37
Reply 22, posted (12 years 8 months 6 hours ago) and read 6878 times:

In ten years who can really predict the survivors. But here is the first two paragraph from an article in yesterday's news:

Low-cost carriers to 'inherit the earth' in US

By the end of 2006, the current crop of seven US low-cost carriers will operate 1,030 aircraft, up from 776 today, and will account for 40% of domestic mainline aircraft movements, according to JP Morgan analyst Jamie Baker.

By comparison, the domestic narrowbody fleet at the US network carriers (American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, United and US Airways) will remain static at 2,494 aircraft at the end of the period.

Here is the link to the rest of the article: http://www.atwonline.com/indexfull.cfm?newsid=3507

The thrust of the article is that LCC's have almost completely taken away the Major's pricing power on walk up fairs. They give several examples in the article.

Undoubtedly, within 10 years there will be some sort of international mergers - We can see that Iberia/BA, KLM/Air France are just now the beginning. BA/AA next??

Furthermore, hampering the Major's business class market recovery will be the increased use of fractional biz jet ownership AND jet air taxis. In the next few years the Eclipse, Adams 700, Cessna Mustang and others will enable executives to increasingly bypass the bogged down mass air transit system and fly from an airport 20 minutes from their home to another that is 20 minutes from their destination.

Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein
User currently offlinePaddy From Taiwan, joined Jul 2003, 390 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (12 years 8 months 5 hours ago) and read 6819 times:

Given that this is such a broad topic, I'm only going to focus on the airlines themselves for now.

1. The Fatso's (UA and AA). Everyone keeps predicting that one of them will fail. I'm not so sure of that yet. Although it the climate is bad, I think the industry has learned a few things from Pan Am, Eastern and TWA.
*UA may shrink a bit and lose some of its territory but it will come out of all this. UA is the world's largest airline and a key member of the world's largest alliance. No matter what is happening at home, keeping the international flights rolling out helps them keep something of a pulse. If they do fail, it will be a slower process and it will be due to the increased domestic success of the LCC's and the increased international success of other majors like CO and NW. I also wonder if "Starfish" is timed correctly. Maybe UA should clean up its current mess before putting a foot in the LCC door. Or maybe its now or never and its the only ticket to survival. I don't know the answer, but its still a crucial question.
*If either of them fail it will be AA in a few years. UA may be in more trouble now but I think it is more capable of weathering bankruptcy than AA. AA is barely avoiding bankruptcy and if it slides into it then it will be lights out at DFW. AA does seem to be cleaning house a bit, so maybe they will coast past annihilation. I'm curious what their plans for the future are. I wonder how they will deal with watching the LCC's devour the cities that they will inevitably pull out of.

2. The Other Majors: I see NW expanding in the Pacific and UA reducing some service there due to competition not only from NW but also from the Asian airlines who will start more service to the US when the economy takes off again (whenever that is!!??!!!). Anderson seems to be doing a good job at NW, being very prudent in his fleet-overhauling efforts.
*As for CO, I think it will expand in Europe and The Middle East and continue to grow as an airline. I see good things for them if they stay on the path that Gordo has set.
*DL is a tough one to call, I think. We'll see how Song does, they are smart to at least try it right now as the LCC's are kicking ass/taking names and DL seems to be keeping their head off of the chopping block financially. They may gobble up domestic service that UA and AA can't afford to keep. I also think DL is onto something in their major cutbacks in intl. service. They seem to be relying more and more on their codesharing partners (NW and Skyteam etc.) for international flights. This allows them to get rid of some expensive aircraft(notice the MD11's aren't being replaced right this second) and focus on staving off the LCC hordes at home.
*As for US, they don't seem to be going anywhere. God only knows whats in store for them. Hopefully not a merger with UA. If I were in charge of US I would try for a merger with an airline that is strong in the west but needs more presence in the east. This would keep them from being The Odd Man Out. But as the past has taught us, geography never seems to play a big enough role in airline mergers(maybe the conditions were never right for such mergers).

3. As for the big regionals, I think AS will be the most successful. Its on the right track with its alliances with NW, CX etc. Flying AS seems to be almost as cheap as the LCC's but they have the international connections that the LCC's lack. This is a crucial difference that will keep them competitive. I think they will keep growing steadily, adding more flights to the east coast, and expanding their existing west coast service through Horizon.

4. The LCC's will continue to grow but as for which ones will remain in ten years, I don't know.
*WN for sure but I have know idea how they will grow. Bigger aircraft? MORE(!?!) frequencies and cities? Maybe they will gobble up some other LCC's. Its hard to say with them because they are so cautious that you can't predict what they will do until its safe and obvious.
*I Think B6 will have some growing pains but will continue to be successful. However, whether or not they have an idiot at the helm when things get tough will be important. They seem to be smart in fortifying existing cities before expanding to new ones. I hope they expand to more cities, though.
*As for the others, it's hard to say. TZ seems to be doing well but I'm curious to see what they will do in the future.
*FL needs to move west and gain presence in more cities if its going to be anything other than a bit player.

Those are my impressions from following the industry over the last two years, but I'm no expert. If anybody has facts to either back up or tear apart my predictions I'd love to hear them.

User currently offlinePVD757 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 3476 posts, RR: 16
Reply 24, posted (12 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 6725 times:

Ha, Ha, Ha! There wil be no first class domestically. The majors will have totally cloned themselves after the LCCs. With that idea, fractional ownership will really take off and pick up all the pampered and fly them anywhere and everywhere.

25 BoingGoingGone : 1. UAL Survives, barely. 2. DL, CO and NWA merge. 3. A majority of the work ticket counters, ramp, fueling and maintenance are contracted. Gate agents
26 Klwright69 : I doubt 1st class will disappear entirely. It is still a nice perk on longer flights, especially transcontinental flights. 1st class is already disapp
27 Post contains images OzarkD9S : Well here goes: 1) The network carriers will develop around their global alliances. Common brand identities will emerge similar to regional partners o
28 Luv2fly : Klwright69 Never say never, lots of us never thought the likes of PanAm, Braniff, Eastern and TWA would no longer be flying our skys above....
29 Klwright69 : Luv2fly, I reread my post several times. I never used the word "never" or "impossible" or something totally proposterous like "the government won't le
30 Klwright69 : I will clarify further, I said AA and UA can "certainly" make it. I did not mean that their continued existence is "certain," I meant that if they go
31 Post contains images Planemaker : OzarkD9S: Re: your point 2) If they (WN) form an alliance with anyone it will be WestJet in Canada... It would seem that JetBlue is the more likely pa
32 Cody : I like everyone's responses, but I honestly believe Mesa and a few other "regionals" will play a big role in the industry in the next ten years. If Me
33 Planemaker : Cody: I believe that Mesa growth and that of a few other "regionals" will only be constrained by finances. To paraphrase Allan Mullaly's words (Boeing
34 Startvalve : In the years to come Virgin will start up a US airline dropping their traditional red tail livery for a skull and crossbones. They will have a chief p
35 Elwood64151 : We have just been informed that teleporters will not be invented for another 19 years. Sorry for the inconvenience. Very funny post! I'd also like to
36 Startvalve : With the new livery and staffing I suggested in my previous post I think the US division of Virgin will serve many routes in the Caribbean. And Song w
37 WorldTraveler : I have to agree most w/ BoeingGoingGone in #25 exc. that CO is not interested in merging w/anyone. I think DL and NW will merge but including CO makes
38 Nwcoflyer : In 2013... Here are my predictions for largest carriers: 1. NW/CO 2. DL 3. AA 4. WN 5. UA 6. FL 7. B6 8. AS 9. HP NW will merge with CO in the same fa
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