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CO And Its Denver Hub  
User currently offlineJfrworld From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 365 posts, RR: 0
Posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 5981 times:

I'm not sure if this topic has been discussed in detail before (I tried looking), but why did CO shut down its DEN hub in the early 90's.

IIRC, CO and UA were basically neck and neck at Stapleton, which UA having a bit of a larger presence ( just like UA and AA at ORD). My understanding is that CO has built up DEN through the its own presence and the acquisition of the old Frontier. The DEN hub really opened up CO to the west coast and the rocky mountain region, but in the mid 90's CO pulled back and basically became a southern and eastern carrier with hubs at Houston, Newark, Cleveland, and Greensboro.

I know that CO made an investment in the new DIA, but never made it over there. Did they pull back because of the high costs of operating at the new airport or did they really just refocus themselves outside of the west (regardless of the costs of DIA)?

Any help would be appreicated!
 veryhappy 

[Edited 2005-07-08 20:13:23]

37 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineGigneil From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 16347 posts, RR: 85
Reply 1, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 5958 times:

They weren't TOO neck and neck. The terminal CO specified at DIA was much much smaller than the one UA had built.

There's a lot of very long stories. They were being plagued by horrifying problems at Stapleton. Mayor Webb had a better relationship with UA. The costs were higher. They were going bankrupt again. Etc.

N


User currently offlineDutchjet From Netherlands, joined Oct 2000, 7864 posts, RR: 56
Reply 2, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 5855 times:

CO was having big financial problems when it closed its Denver hub....dont forget that CO has really turned itself around, CO has also made two visits to the bankruptcy court over the years. It took years for CO to recover and find its way after the first merger (Texas International + CO) and the second merger (intergration of NY Air into CO + People Express which itself had only recently taken over Denver based Frontier One)......its a long story, but at the time CO had a mismatched fleet of older aircraft (731/732/733/72S/747/D9S/M80/D10/A300) and a reputation for rather lousy service.

CO was a distant second to UA at Denver (even with the ex-Frontier routes) and CO claimed that is was losing money with the Denver hub. When the new DIA opened up, CO strongly objected to the very high operating costs at the new airport which were much higher than those at Stapelton.....since CO was already losing money at Denver, the high costs associated with the new airport would only make the situation worse, something that CO could not afford. Thus, CO did not make the big move to DIA and began winding down its Denver operation during the last year or so at Stapelton - by the time DIA opened up, CO only had limited operations out of Denver to its other hub cities.

As you said, CO refocused its route system around the Houston, Newark and Cleveland (plus Guam) hubs and then began the ill-fated Continental Lite venture which did not work out. CO hit bottom and then began its turnaround under new management (read, Gordon) and began its massive fleet replacement program, and you probably know the rest of the story.

At one time, Denver was a hub (focus city) for UA, CO, Frontier One, and Western. Western downsized its Denver operation earlier on when it created and built its SLC hub which is still part of the Delta system today.


User currently offlineJfrworld From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 365 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 5784 times:

Thanks Dutchjet for your explaination... it was very thorough and much appreciated.

 bouncy 


User currently offlineORD From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 1390 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 5739 times:

IIRC Continental was larger than United at Denver for a few years after their big merger in 1987 with PeoplExpress and Frontier. I believe at the time Continental had about 250 departures to United's roughly 230.

User currently offlinePzurita1 From Greenland, joined Sep 2002, 1393 posts, RR: 14
Reply 5, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 5697 times:

Slightly off topic.

Quoting ORD (Reply 4):
IIRC Continental was larger than U

I see this IIRC all over the place, in every single thread.
What does that mean?



Next flight: IAH-DBX-MRU-ANT
User currently offlineCory6188 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2692 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 5679 times:

If I recall correctly

User currently offlineLuv2fly From United States of America, joined May 2003, 12150 posts, RR: 49
Reply 7, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 5673 times:

IIRC = If I remember correctly!


You can cut the irony with a knife
User currently offlineFlashmeister From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 2903 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 5648 times:
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Continental was very bullish on DIA's construction, at least initially. As I recall, they committed to DIA's construction long before UA did, hence their sweet concourse position (concourse A, the only one connected directly to the terminal).

They continued to flirt with the DEN market, though, at one point having a close FF and ground relationship with Frontier Two. Before that, even after they closed their major hub operation, they operated DEN-LGW for a while.


User currently offlineFlyHoss From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 598 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 5255 times:

There was no DEN Continental hub, it's just wishful thinking. Like the Lost City of Atlantis, it's just a fantasy. Despite all the talk (still) at CO and all the alleged "memories" there is no "Lost Hub of Denver." People believe just because it sounds good or they want to.

 Wink



A little bit louder now, a lil bit louder now...
User currently offlineZOTAN From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 613 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 5217 times:

Hasnt CO said they will pounce on DEN if UA falls?

User currently offlineDLKAPA From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 5198 times:

Quoting ZOTAN (Reply 12):
Hasnt CO said they will pounce on DEN if UA falls?

Some say yes, though the tops at CO deny it.


User currently offlineTango-Bravo From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 3806 posts, RR: 29
Reply 12, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 5116 times:

Quoting FlyHoss (Reply 11):
There was no DEN Continental hub, it's just wishful thinking. Like the Lost City of Atlantis, it's just a fantasy. Despite all the talk (still) at CO and all the alleged "memories" there is no "Lost Hub of Denver." People believe just because it sounds good or they want to.

If Continental's DEN hub is so much mythology as asserted, then the F9 DEN hub of today is every bit as much or more a case of "our minds playing tricks on us." For now, I am separated from my timetables, so I'm not able to give specific numbers of cities served, etc, when the CO DEN hub was at its zenith -- from the time of absorbing the original Frontier/PeopleExpress conglomerate (fiasco would be a more fitting choice of words) under the Continental brand on Feb. 1, 1987, until CO began to draw down their scale of operations at DEN in the 1991-92 period, ultimately de-hubbing DEN by 1995 to consolidate their hubs at IAH and EWR. Interestingly, EWR evolved into a CO hub only after their acquision of PeopleExpress; unlike DEN, EWR remained "a keeper" for CO.

When comparing CO's hub at DEN to UA's during the same time periods when CO had their DEN hub, CO was always #2 at DEN, much like AA at ORD today -- but nonetheless a major player and very much a hub airline and a serious competitor to "numero uno." Much like DL ultimately conceded DFW to AA as a hub city after years of flight reductions, CO conceded DEN to UA although the process of CO's ultimate de-hubbing of DEN took place over a shorter time period. In fact, it was CO's pullout from hubbing at DEN that gave impetus to the formation of F9 Frontier Airlines.


User currently offlineFlyHoss From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 598 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 5084 times:

Quoting Tango-Bravo (Reply 14):
In fact, it was CO's pullout from hubbing at DEN that gave impetus to the formation of F9 Frontier Airlines.

To be more precise, the new Frontier started before CO pulled down the DEN hub. F9 began with services to cities that CO had abandoned from DEN, but the real opportunity came a (short) bit later when CO "de-hubbed" DEN entirely.



A little bit louder now, a lil bit louder now...
User currently offlineCOSPN From Northern Mariana Islands, joined Oct 2001, 1661 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 4742 times:

Too bad UA didnt pick up SYD-HNL-DEN-LGW CO 15

User currently offlineTango-Bravo From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 3806 posts, RR: 29
Reply 15, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 4690 times:

Quoting COSPN (Reply 14):
Too bad UA didnt pick up SYD-HNL-DEN-LGW CO 15

For whatever reason(s), except for occasional 1-2 days per week seasonal schedules, United has historically shunned non-stop DEN-Hawaii service, although one-stop same-plane service by way of LAX and/or SFO has appeared more or less regularly in their timetable.

Anyone know why DEN-Hawaii non-stop has not been a daily or year-around service offered by United?


User currently offlineFlewGSW From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 148 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 4644 times:

Here is a bit a history.

Name the first expansion hub announced for American Airlines.

The answer is Denver. Yes! Once the new airport was announced, and with DEN still having three hub airlines (United, Continental, Frontier) AA wanted to be the fourth. This was before AA purchased TWA LHR routes and Eastern's Central/South America routes. It was before BNA and RDU hubs were considered. It was before AirCal too.

As you can see, a DEN hub never got off the ground.


User currently offlineSkymileman From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 4253 times:

FlyHoss,
I believe what you say, but I read on F9's web-site that they did start the new Frontier because of the void left by Continental when they pulled their Denver hub.

-Lane


User currently offlineRogerThat From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 566 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 4249 times:

Quoting FlewGSW (Reply 16):
Name the first expansion hub announced for American Airlines.

The answer is Denver.

I too remember this tidbit of AA history. Soon after Bob Crandall got AA's unions to go along with the innovative "Market Rate" pay scales, AA announced the biggest aircraft order of all time: 65 firm orders and 100 options for the new Super 80. There was much speculation about where they would fly all these aircraft. I seem to remember hearing Las Vegas as the rumored 3rd hub. Alas, Denver was announced, never built up and never mentioned again.


User currently offlineStirling From Italy, joined Jun 2004, 3943 posts, RR: 21
Reply 19, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 4261 times:

Quoting FlewGSW (Reply 16):
Name the first expansion hub announced for American Airlines.

The answer is Denver.

I had forgotten all about that....

Quoting FlyHoss (Reply 9):
There was no DEN Continental hub, it's just wishful thinking. Like the Lost City of Atlantis, it's just a fantasy. Despite all the talk (still) at CO and all the alleged "memories" there is no "Lost Hub of Denver." People believe just because it sounds good or they want to.

What do you call it then? Or are you not being serious?
That's it....you are joking! Right?

1982. Continental Timetable Shows, and describes TWO hubs.
Houston and Denver.
107 Daily flights to 36 Airports.

Not a Hub? 2nd busiest city on the system?

What would you call it sir?
1985. 142 Daily Flights to 35 Airports.
Plus 25 Daily Regional commuter flights.

Not a Hub?

1987. 273 Daily Flights to 75 Airports.

ABQ-6
AMA-2
ATL-2
AUS-2
BFL-1
BWI-3
BIL-3
BIS-3
BOI-3
BOS-4/1 WIDE
BZN-2
BUF-1
BUR-5
CPR-3
CID-2
ORD-10/3 WIDE
CVG-3
CLE-4
COS-10
CMH-2
DFW-5
DSM-3
DTW-4
ELP-2
EUG-2
FAR-1
FAT-2
GJT-5
BDL-2
HNL-1/1 WIDE
HOU-3
IAH-10
IND-2
MCI-6
LAS-6
LNK-2
LGW-1/1 WIDE
LAX-9/4 WIDE
MIA-2
MKE-3
MSP-5
MSY-2
LGA-6
EWR-6/2 WIDE
OAK-5
OKC-4
OMA-5
ONT-5
SNA-5
MCO-2
PSP-2
PHL-3
PHX-7
PIT-3
PDX-5
RAP-3
RNO-4
SMF-4
STL-3
SLC-6
SAT-1
SAN-6
SFO-7
SJC-4
SBA-1
SEA-4/2 WIDE
FSD-2
GEG-3
SGF-2
TPA-1
TUS-4
TUL-4
IAD-5
ICT-5

I will say it again 273 Daily Flights. Not A HUB?



Delete this User
User currently offlineStirling From Italy, joined Jun 2004, 3943 posts, RR: 21
Reply 20, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 4102 times:

And here are the commuter flights from Denver in 1987.
An additional 63 Daily Flights.

Alamosa/3
Aspen/11
Casper/4
Cheyenne/5
Colorado Springs/2
Durango/4
Gunnison/2
Jackson Hole/2
Montrose/2
North Platte/1
Pueblo/4
Rapid City/4
Riverton/1
Rock Springs/3
Steamboat Springs/6
Telluride/3
Eagle/6



Delete this User
User currently offlineTrvlr From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 4430 posts, RR: 21
Reply 21, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 4042 times:

Quoting ZOTAN (Reply 10):

Gordon Bethune stated several years ago that "We would love to go back to Denver".

However, this was several years ago, and Bethune isn't really calling the shots at CO anymore.

Aaron G.


User currently offlineSCCutler From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 5618 posts, RR: 28
Reply 22, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 4030 times:

Quoting Dutchjet (Reply 2):
by the time DIA opened up, CO only had limited operations out of Denver to its other hub cities

Timing is a little off here- recall that the very last aircraft to depart Stapleton was a CO DC-10 bound for London.

See: http://www.geocities.com/~aeromoe/stapleton.html for a narrative and a couple of pictures.

[Edited 2005-07-09 19:51:27]


...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
User currently offlineTango-Bravo From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 3806 posts, RR: 29
Reply 23, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 3891 times:

Quoting FlyHoss (Reply 13):
To be more precise, the new Frontier started before CO pulled down the DEN hub. F9 began with services to cities that CO had abandoned from DEN,

Good point, the truth of which was reflected by F9's original "network" of four cities from DEN. Although I am not sure of which four cities, FAR was probably the largest city (remotely located area of about 100,000 population) served by their all-737-200 fleet. Seems I remember the other cities being something like BIS, RAP and a city in Montana (BIL or MSO?). On their early timetables they announced that their chosen mission was to provide convenient, reasonably-priced service to smaller communities that had come to be overlooked by the major airlines.

F9 reinvented itself, after a year or two, to what they are today, quickly dropping cities like FAR in favor of primary (rather than secondary) markets.


User currently offlineKkfla737 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 1033 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (9 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 3833 times:

Both TWA and Braniff attempted Denver hubs also shortly after deregulation. At the time I believe CO may have actually been larger than UA from DEN.

25 DeltaFFinDFW : Is Continental's name still on the walls of Concourse A? I remember getting off the train and seeing their name and wondering why it was there if they
26 Gigneil : Hmm? United has offered daily nonstop service DEN-HNL for awhile now, haven't they? N
27 Post contains images STLGph : my first flight was on Continental from Indianapolis through Denver to Phoenix, and return. what was neat was this was back in the day when you'd get
28 Newkai : Gordon Bethune doesn't talk much about the DEN hub in his Worst to First book. I guess that's because it was already being closed the year he took off
29 Toxtethogrady : "I'm not sure if this topic has been discussed in detail before (I tried looking), but why did CO shut down its DEN hub in the early 90's." Because it
30 An-225 : And UA43 DEN-HNL is an imaginary 777??? There's also a Saturday-only service to Kona. Check your info. Alex.
31 FlyHoss : Yes, yes, I was joking in reply 9. If you read reply 13, you'll see that I admitted that CO had a DEN hub (or how would they be able to "pull down" th
32 Stirling : Damn. All that work for nothing.
33 ORD : This is not true. Continental, in the late 1980s after its merger with Frontier/PeoplExpress, had more departures out of DEN than United.
34 ORD : I don't recall a buildup of TWA service at DEN after deregulation. If anything, TWA was one of the few carriers not to make major changes to its rout
35 CBERFlyer : Yes, it is still there... on both the east and west sides of the upper walls in the atrium in Concourse A. In a way, I'm surprised it hasn't been pai
36 Jmy007 : Are you sure? When I was last in A (ia month or so ago) I did not see them on the wall. Can anyone confirm this?
37 Flashmeister : When I was at DEN in December, I didn't see the Continental logo in the Concourse A atrium, as it had been since the airport opened. The logo is there
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