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Southwest Merger History Questions  
User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 46
Posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 2795 times:

I miss the "old" Southwest: the dirty brown and red, the brown seats with the red and orange dots on them, the small airline fun atmosphere.

To me, nowadays, they have simply gotten too big. Todays Southwest is not (in my sole humble opinion) the same Southwest it was 10, 15, and 20 years ago.


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But that's really neither here nor there.

My question is in regards to the Muse Air and Morris Air buyouts.

First, why were those airlines purchased-especially Muse Air, which was a direct competitor and flew a totally noncompatible fleet?

Second, why was Muse Air renamed TranStar? Why weren't they simply blended into mainline ops?

Why was TranStar shut down barely two years later?

Why was Morris Air purchased, and then half the cities dropped?

34 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26815 posts, RR: 75
Reply 1, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 2744 times:

Quoting Matt D (Thread starter):
First, why were those airlines purchased-especially Muse Air, which was a direct competitor and flew a totally noncompatible fleet?

Second, why was Muse Air renamed TranStar? Why weren't they simply blended into mainline ops?

Muse Air was named for ex-WN CEO Lamar Muse and was renamed TranStar to differentiate from Southwest operations. The reason for this is because TranStar was a different airline, offering different service levels, aircraft, etc.

Quoting Matt D (Thread starter):
Why was TranStar shut down barely two years later?

Because it was hemmoraging cash

Quoting Matt D (Thread starter):
Why was Morris Air purchased, and then half the cities dropped?

WN dropped Morris Air's unprofitable routes, while getting a bunch of airplanes compatible with their fleet, a hold in SLC and several profitable routes, along with dumping a competitor. Additionally, they wanted to bring in some of the management team to see if the clicked with the Southwest team. Most notable was David Neelman. He wanted more power than Herb, Colleen and the rest were ever willing to give him, so he left and went to Canada to set up WestJet and develop Open Skies



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineFATFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2001, 5848 posts, RR: 28
Reply 2, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 2734 times:

Quoting Matt D (Thread starter):
Why was Morris Air purchased, and then half the cities dropped?

My understanding was that Morris operated cities with fewer flights than Southwest preferred. So the smaller stations were dropped and the aircraft used to increase frequencies in other cities.



"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
User currently offlineFATFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2001, 5848 posts, RR: 28
Reply 3, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 2716 times:

Quoting N1120A (Reply 1):
Additionally, they wanted to bring in some of the management team to see if the clicked with the Southwest team.

Don't forget, June Morris had been diagnosed with cancer, so she approached WN about the sale.

Additionally, Morris Air had adopted much of Southwest's operation model such as boarding cards, 737s, etc. So there was a closer fit to Southwest than most mergers would ever offer.



"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
User currently offlineJfrworld From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 365 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 2677 times:

Quoting Matt D (Thread starter):
Why was Morris Air purchased, and then half the cities dropped?

At the time of the merger, WN had no presence in the pacific NW or mountain states.

Morris had operations to most major cities in the NW and in the mountain states, but also flew to a bunch of smaller cities like Laughlin, NV, Eugene, OR, etc. WN dropped the smaller markets, but used the Morris merger to instantly gain access to SEA, PDX, BOI, GEG, SLC, and TUS. By dropping the smaller cities they were also able to boost the frequencies and city pair offerings from each of the major cities that they kept. Remember that most Morris cities only had flights to SLC.


User currently offlineJfrworld From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 365 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 2657 times:

Also, the Morris Air merger was an all-stock deal so it didn't really cost WN any cash.

User currently offlineAv8trxx From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 657 posts, RR: 6
Reply 6, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 2652 times:

Quoting Matt D (Thread starter):
First, why were those airlines purchased-especially Muse Air, which was a direct competitor and flew a totally noncompatible fleet?

Lamar Muse was the first President of Southwest Airlines, Co. He resigned 1978 after a dispute with the BOD and founded Muse Air in 1981. Muse Air was nicknamed "Revenge Air" and took up direct competition with WN as well as CO.

The Muse purchase was partially motivated to eliminate the competition from Muse and to try and block Continental from increasing their presence at Hobby. At the time CO was considering moving some of its operations from IAH to HOU, as that airport was experiencing a big growth in passenger traffic. Herb thought that by making Muse a subsidiary of WN that two against Lorenzo would be better than one but it didn't turn out that way. He later admitted that it was probably not the best move and WN wound up selling Muse Airs assets to Frank Lorenzo.


User currently offlineChugach From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 1041 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 2623 times:

I may be way off base here, but didn't Morris Air fly to ANC at one point in time?


GO ROCKETS
User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 46
Reply 8, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 2610 times:

Thanks for the replies so far. I can see Morris having dropped some of the small stations like Medford and Laughlin. But why Fresno not converted to a WN city? That still is the gaping hole for them here in CA.

User currently offlineSrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 2606 times:

Quoting N1120A (Reply 1):
Most notable was David Neelman. He wanted more power than Herb, Colleen and the rest were ever willing to give him, so he left and went to Canada to set up WestJet and develop Open Skies

Plus the work hard, play hard attitude among WN's management (Case in point, Herb's love of whiskey) clashed with Neeleman's Mormon beliefs.


User currently offlineAv8trxx From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 657 posts, RR: 6
Reply 10, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 2589 times:

Quoting Matt D (Reply 8):
But why Fresno not converted to a WN city? That still is the gaping hole for them here in CA.

Even though the area is growing, FAT doesn't presently generate the kind of traffic to justify opening a WN station there, although passenger traffic in the future may warrant considering it. Filling RJs & turboprops is quite another from ten 737s a day. Many of my flights to FAT only have a dozen people on them! I am sure Jim & Colleen will be watching Frontiers new service to FAT and how successful it is. However, two flights a day are a lot easier to fill than the number WN requires to open a city.


User currently offlineFATFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2001, 5848 posts, RR: 28
Reply 11, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 2566 times:

Quoting Av8trxx (Reply 10):
Even though the area is growing, FAT doesn't presently generate the kind of traffic to justify opening a WN station there, although passenger traffic in the future may warrant considering it. Filling RJs & turboprops is quite another from ten 737s a day. Many of my flights to FAT only have a dozen people on them! I am sure Jim & Colleen will be watching Frontiers new service to FAT and how successful it is. However, two flights a day are a lot easier to fill than the number WN requires to open a city.

Actually, Fresno was on Southwest's short list prior to 9/11. After 9/11 WN wouldn't talk to anyone about starting new service. But FAT was the first airport that Southwest took a meeting with about opening a new city. Ultimately, they chose to move instead in a new direction of large cities, going to PHL instead. But I imagine FAT still sits high on their radar.

Fresno has had a high drive away market due to fares, equipment, and frequencies. Mexicana has realized that, determining that the FAT area has been providing 100,000 pax a year to Mexico at other California airports. That is why they will start service in April. The domestic markets are the same way. Currently Frontier is running above expectations.

I have no doubt that WN could get 8-10 flights a day at FAT easily at the start. But right now there are some larger cities that may be more tempting to them.



"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
User currently offlineFrugalqxnwa From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 565 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 2539 times:

Quoting Jfrworld (Reply 4):
Remember that most Morris cities only had flights to SLC.

Actually, Morris flew BOI-SEA,PDX before the merger (and possibly BOI-GEG as well, and all at very low fares). Morris gave WN a very profitable route network out of BOI. WN's main competition out of BOI has always been and is still QX/AS.


User currently offlineFATFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2001, 5848 posts, RR: 28
Reply 13, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2528 times:

Here is a pre merger route map for Morris.
http://www.airtimes.com/cgat/usb/misc/m/morris/detail/mapkn830801.jpg

Not everything is through SLC. For example notice FAT is served by flights to OAK, LAX, and LAS. No Salt Lake City.



"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
User currently offlineFrugalqxnwa From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 565 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2511 times:

Well, I was wrong about the BOI-GEG route that WN now flies. Thanks for the link, FATFlyer.

User currently offlineAv8trxx From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 657 posts, RR: 6
Reply 15, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2495 times:

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 11):
But FAT was the first airport that Southwest took a meeting with about opening a new city. Ultimately, they chose to move instead in a new direction of large cities, going to PHL instead. But I imagine FAT still sits high on their radar.

You gotta wonder. Two years ago Mike Boyd said, "Southwest has to be in the cards [for Fresno] in the next three to five years." But another av analyst, Stuart Klaskin said he is "not sure Fresno has the size to attract a carrier such as Southwest, which must depend on a large number of passengers for a profit."

I remember it being talked within the company that FAT was 'possibly being considered', and a few joked about transferring there, but of course nothing came of it. I think it is correct to assume that there are far more attractive markets to enter into first. The overall growth potential of the city also has to be figured into the equation and you can bet that filling a dozen flights a day is a baseline and WN would be looking to double or triple that over the long haul. SNA is the smallest WN city in CA with 31 daily departures and it may well be that FAT could manage that but as long as WN can find other cities they can grow to 60 or 80, FAT will be on the 'short list' for a while. It's also not the only market with a high number of drive away passengers. Look at ATL. With DL drawing down post Ch 11, there is a whole other opportunity that sure beats FAT. (But that is a whole other thread, and I am sure it's on this forum someplace already!) While they could certainly benefit from the sevice


User currently offlineAv8trxx From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 657 posts, RR: 6
Reply 16, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2494 times:

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 13):
Not everything is through SLC. For example notice FAT is served by flights to OAK, LAX, and LAS. No Salt Lake City.

Those LAX-GEG & LAX-SEA flights were great too! Non-reving on those nonstops was far better than jumping all over the system.


User currently offlineFATFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2001, 5848 posts, RR: 28
Reply 17, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2488 times:

Quoting Frugalqxnwa (Reply 14):
Well, I was wrong about the BOI-GEG route that WN now flies.

Don't give up too quick, that map is early 1993. I have a Summer 1993 schedule for Morris that shows BOI-GEG operating 3 times a day. So it looks like the route started in 1993 but just before the Southwest merger.



"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
User currently offlineFATFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2001, 5848 posts, RR: 28
Reply 18, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2467 times:

Quoting Av8trxx (Reply 15):
but as long as WN can find other cities they can grow to 60 or 80, FAT will be on the 'short list' for a while.

I agree. I said a few years ago that once it became evident that WN was willing to enter cities like PHL, that Fresno's immediate moment had passed.

But let's also not forget that California is seeing a shift. In the past, if people decided to move out of LA or SF they left the state entirely. Now they move to the Central Valley instead.

The population and economic growth around Fresno is fascinating to watch. Job and population growth is exceeding the most of the rest of California.

Currently it is like the entire retail and restaurant sector has discovered the area. Today's news was that Coach will open a store in the area, their only free-standing location between Los Angeles and the Bay Area. Others like Banana Republic and J. Jill have announced new Fresno stores in the last few weeks.

So it will be interesting to see the airline sector. Given the limited services at FAT a market will soon arise for someone to grab. It will be interesting to see if it is Southwest or someone else.



"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 2439 times:

Quoting Srbmod (Reply 9):
Plus the work hard, play hard attitude among WN's management (Case in point, Herb's love of whiskey) clashed with Neeleman's Mormon beliefs.

So, where did you hear/read it was a clash of beliefs regarding alcohol?


User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26815 posts, RR: 75
Reply 20, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 2450 times:

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 3):
Don't forget, June Morris had been diagnosed with cancer, so she approached WN about the sale.

The tough old bird made it through and is still a member of the WN BOD to boot.

Quoting Chugach (Reply 7):
I may be way off base here, but didn't Morris Air fly to ANC at one point in time?

Yes they did.

Quoting Matt D (Reply 8):
But why Fresno not converted to a WN city? That still is the gaping hole for them here in CA.

At the time, FAT was not quite as strong a market. The skyrocketing Southern California and Bay Area real estate markets has changed things. Back then, WN was concentrating on gaining greater coverage in various larger regions across the country, like adding service to the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and PNW. With SMF, RNO and OAK/SJC/SFO (it was still part of the network then) all destinations, FAT wasn't a priority

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 18):
I agree. I said a few years ago that once it became evident that WN was willing to enter cities like PHL, that Fresno's immediate moment had passed.

Well, the thing with PHL (and now PIT) is that US became vunerable and less defensive, particularly with PIT. With US in a troublesome position, WN knew they did not have the strength to fight dirty as DL did in ATL against B6, so they took a chance and saw success. PIT was an absolute golden chance that they also took. Fresno likely does have a place in WN's system, and I would not be surprised to see the usual suspects (LAS, PHX, California shuttles to LAX/BUR/ONT/SAN) and possibly some SEA/PDX/SLC service.

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 19):
Quoting Srbmod (Reply 9):
Plus the work hard, play hard attitude among WN's management (Case in point, Herb's love of whiskey) clashed with Neeleman's Mormon beliefs.

So, where did you hear/read it was a clash of beliefs regarding alcohol?

I have the same question as OPNLguy. From what I heard, it was the other members of the WN board who thought Neelman didn't fit into their system (there were at least 4 people ahead of him in the pecking order) and Neelman wanted to control things more than he could, as he was not Herb or one of the big 3 Herbolytes. I can see Herb's Texas liberal, party hard lifestyle being tough on Neelman, but he seems the pretty laid back guy and gets along famously with people like George Soros, so I doubt it was that.



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineFATFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2001, 5848 posts, RR: 28
Reply 21, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 2423 times:

Quoting N1120A (Reply 20):
I would not be surprised to see the usual suspects (LAS, PHX, California shuttles to LAX/BUR/ONT/SAN) and possibly some SEA/PDX/SLC service.

Pretty much the list I've said in the past, but I also consider OAK and RNO as possibles.



"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
User currently offlineStirling From Italy, joined Jun 2004, 3943 posts, RR: 21
Reply 22, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 2413 times:

Within my company, out of the 83 regions across the U.S.A., Fresno (the region includes Bakersfield in the south to as far north as Modesto, and everything in between)....is the 3rd Fastest growing region, right behind #1 Orlando and #2 Raliegh. (It's a Health Insurance company).
5 years ago, the Fresno region was ranked 70-something.

This is not an isolated incident...many businesses across many sectors report similar growth.

So yes, I will concur with FAT, the growth around here is astonishing to watch.

It will be very hard to ignore Fresno and the rest of the Central Valley for too much longer.

I didn't realize a metro of 800,000 and growing everyday was considered "Small".



Delete this User
User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26815 posts, RR: 75
Reply 23, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 2406 times:

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 21):
Pretty much the list I've said in the past, but I also consider OAK and RNO as possibles.

RNO and OAK may be a bit close, but I can see your point

Quoting Stirling (Reply 22):
It will be very hard to ignore Fresno and the rest of the Central Valley for too much longer.

I didn't realize a metro of 800,000 and growing everyday was considered "Small".

I agree, though the driving distance is just close enough that the airlines can justify their low level of service to FAT. Only for now though



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineFATFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2001, 5848 posts, RR: 28
Reply 24, posted (9 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2389 times:

Quoting N1120A (Reply 23):
I agree, though the driving distance is just close enough that the airlines can justify their low level of service to FAT. Only for now though

Although traffic time and security clearance times have caused some FAT area travellers to lose patience with the drives to other cities. What used to be 3 hours on the road plus airport time is stretching out to the point where I'm finally starting to hear more grumbling about catching flights elsewhere than grumbling about small planes and higher fares at FAT.



"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
25 FATFlyer : OAK would be for connections. RNO is a 5 hour drive from Fresno. Also a few years ago the manager at the Reno Hilton was quoted as saying that Fresno
26 BHMBAGLOCK : Oh Joy! You can pay $1000 for a butt ugly purse.
27 Jetdeltamsy : Muse Air was purchased and shut down so that competition could be eliminated. The company was not profitable. Muse was rebranded Transtar when Lamar
28 Stirling : MuseAir was one of the first airlines I can remember to ban smoking. I thought their planes looked sharp, even if they stole a page from Braniff's pla
29 N1120A : That is going backwards to go forward. LAS and PHX would be great, however Coach is ok, but Louis Vuitton are fugly
30 FATFlyer : I-5 south over the Grapevine keeps getting worse. With Bakersfield now turning into a Los Angeles suburb (yes people are doing the commute) it is onl
31 FATFlyer : I'm thinking north to Boise, Spokane, etc. Plus the east coast connections. Many FAT travellers already are routed through LAX and SFO first so it re
32 PlanesNTrains : They did, and a couple quick stories about a roundtrip my wife and I did in '93 (I believe)... It was January, and we flew the typical northbound out
33 Post contains images FATFlyer : I'd have no problem with that. And that is probably true. The more recent openings have seen a couple of longer distance flights.
34 Lono : Not at all off base... I tried to fly this once and the flights were full.... I don't know why WN did not stick it out... It will be good to hear why
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