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AA Caribbean Dominance  
User currently offlineDIA From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 3273 posts, RR: 28
Posted (8 years 4 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2080 times:

Take this subject however you see fit.

I simply am wondering how A^A (of all U.S. carriers) got to be the dominant airline in the Caribbean. I do not know of any other U.S. carrier running widebodies down there, especially Puerto Rico. Why is A^A the chosen tool? Is it because of their hubs in Miami and JFK? If so, was Eastern as big in the Caribbean once upon a time? Why isn't Delta bigger down there? Was Pan Am a big player? Just some thoughts...


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10 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineDc10hound From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 463 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (8 years 4 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2060 times:

Trans Carribean Airlines.

 Wink



"Eagles soar. But weasels never get sucked into jet intakes.."
User currently offlineJFKLGANYC From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 3382 posts, RR: 5
Reply 2, posted (8 years 4 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2051 times:

Most of their flights down there started out of NY/JFK in the 70s I believe. Then when they took over Eastern's ops in Miami in the early 90s they had a dual gateway working in their favor.

Very similar to DL taking over Pan Am European Ops. A dual gateway to a region certainly helps. In DL's case JFK/ATL- Europe.

In AAs case JFK/MIA-Carib. Keep in mind that the two most sought after destinations from the Caribbean are Miami and New York.

Major reasons behind this:

1. Large population centers
2. Large immigrant populations
3. Lots of vacationers

#2 is the most telling though. AA has managed to reach out to the immigrant community it serves with these routes like no other airline.

-City offices in immigrant neighborhoods such as NY's Washington Heights allow Dominicans to buy tickets with cash and in person

-Perfect Aircraft for LOTS of cargo. The A300 is the perfect plane for these routes because when immigrants travel back to their homeland they bring EVERYTHING. Cargo is the determining factor on the Caribbean flights, especially to the Dominican Republic

-Large marketing campaign in Spanish also attracts a lot of people returning home


Remember, JetBlue couldn't make inroads on the NY-Santo Domingo route. The above reasons play a big part in that.

PJ


User currently offlineAA1818 From Trinidad and Tobago, joined Feb 2006, 3429 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (8 years 4 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2044 times:

I think AA became big because of their major hub in SJU and MIA central spots for us Caribbean dwellers! Not very insightful but that's all I can come up with!

AA1818



“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.” J.M. Barrie (Peter Pan)
User currently offlineUSPIT10L From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 3295 posts, RR: 7
Reply 4, posted (8 years 4 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2044 times:

MAH4546 and Commavia could give more details, but after AA purchased Trans-Caribbean in 1971, they continually made an effort to build up a presence in the Caribbean. They swapped trans-Pacific authority to SYD and AKL for more Caribbean route authorities from PanAm from New York. Other expansions followed, and by 1986 SJU was a full-fledged hub. Other airlines have tried to build a presence in the Caribbean to compete with AA, with varying degrees of success. Some, like EA and TW, didn't make it. Others, like US and CO give AA a little competition from the US. Intra-Caribbean, there really is no one to give AA a serious run for their money. But that could change if jetBlue proceeds with a code-share arrangement with Cape Air. I hope that answers some of your questions.


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User currently offlineCommavia From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 11432 posts, RR: 61
Reply 5, posted (8 years 4 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2013 times:

AA's dominance of the Caribbean began with the 1970 merger of AA with Trans Caribbean Airways (really an AA takeover). This gave AA its first real presence in the Caribbean, which was solidified in 1971 with flights to Puerto Rico, the U.S.V.I., Haiti, Curacao, and Aruba, and in 1975 to Bermuda, Santo Domingo, Barbados after trading these routes for AA's own rights to the South Pacific with Pan Am. By 1977, AA had also launched flights to Jamaica, Guadeloupe, and Martinique.

In November 1986, AA opened its Caribbean hub in San Juan, the only major airport in the islands capable of handling a major Caribbean hub operation, and -- luckily for AA -- also the only major Caribbean airport in U.S. control. AA's hub at SJU gave AA an opportunity no U.S. airline before or since has had, namely the ability to link many smaller island communities throughout the Caribbean basin right into the network of a global, U.S. carrier. AA brought with it to SJU and the Caribbean a massive fleet of jet and Eagle turboprop aircraft, sophisticated pricing and marketing programs the likes of which no local Caribbean carrier had ever even dreamed of, and massive feed funnelling into SJU from all across the eastern seabord.

Finally, what really solidified AA's dominance of the region came much later, in 1991, when AA took over Eastern's MIA hub. This gave AA the power to operate many, many more flights to the islands and link them to AA's huge and growing hub in South Florida, an O&D magnate for Caribbean travel. By complimenting AA's immense lift from JFK in New York to the Caribbean (which served an equally immense O&D market of mostly VFR traffic from the TriState area to the islands) with a new hub at MIA that was able to serve more cities with more flights, AA's dominance was set.


User currently offlineKkfla737 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 1033 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (8 years 4 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 1942 times:

Quoting DIA (Thread starter):
If so, was Eastern as big in the Caribbean once upon a time?

EA's routes to the Caribbean were largely via SJU or MIA. They never had many direct JFK or BOS flights to islands beyond Puerto Rico. I would say AA was slightly larger than EA to the region but a healthy competition existed between the two. AA really didn't have a presence of any sort in MIA prior to opening a crew base in 1989. Pan Am rebuilt its Caribbean network between 1982 and 1985 (PA had basically bailed on the region after the route swap with AA although they maintained a few flights from Miami to Santo Domingo and Port Au Prince and re-entered San Juan-Miami after merging with National) but always seemed to be battling upstream at MIA versus Eastern. (the same goes for Latin America: Pan Am had a large hub out of Miami and probably served as many if not more int'l destinations from MIA than EA, but they never had sufficient domestic feed to really overtake EA).


User currently offlineAACUN From Mexico, joined Jan 2004, 516 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (8 years 4 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 1874 times:
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Eastern ran L1011 from JFK to SXM ANU SJU and as far as I recall, SDQ. They also ran 727-100´s from JFK to PSE back in the 80´s. But during 1986 while Eastern was having its labor problems, both airlines started running a hub out of San Juan simultaniously! Once Eastern pulled out, AA just took over the operation, along with the facilities they had in the airport, and that´s how the present terminal came to be.

User currently offlineCitationJet From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 2425 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (8 years 4 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 1821 times:

Quoting DIA (Thread starter):
I do not know of any other U.S. carrier running widebodies down there, especially Puerto Rico.

DL operates 763 ATL to San Juan. I was on one two weeks ago.
US operates 762 PHL to San Juan - there was one parked at the gate next to our DL 763.



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User currently offlineSLCUT2777 From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 4028 posts, RR: 11
Reply 9, posted (8 years 4 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 1658 times:

Quoting Commavia (Reply 5):
AA's dominance of the Caribbean began with the 1970 merger of AA with Trans Caribbean Airways (really an AA takeover). This gave AA its first real presence in the Caribbean, which was solidified in 1971 with flights to Puerto Rico, the U.S.V.I., Haiti, Curacao, and Aruba, and in 1975 to Bermuda, Santo Domingo, Barbados after trading these routes for AA's own rights to the South Pacific with Pan Am. By 1977, AA had also launched flights to Jamaica, Guadeloupe, and Martinique.

In November 1986, AA opened its Caribbean hub in San Juan, the only major airport in the islands capable of handling a major Caribbean hub operation, and -- luckily for AA -- also the only major Caribbean airport in U.S. control. AA's hub at SJU gave AA an opportunity no U.S. airline before or since has had, namely the ability to link many smaller island communities throughout the Caribbean basin right into the network of a global, U.S. carrier. AA brought with it to SJU and the Caribbean a massive fleet of jet and Eagle turboprop aircraft, sophisticated pricing and marketing programs the likes of which no local Caribbean carrier had ever even dreamed of, and massive feed funnelling into SJU from all across the eastern seaboard.

Finally, what really solidified AA's dominance of the region came much later, in 1991, when AA took over Eastern's MIA hub. This gave AA the power to operate many, many more flights to the islands and link them to AA's huge and growing hub in South Florida, an O&D magnate for Caribbean travel. By complimenting AA's immense lift from JFK in New York to the Caribbean (which served an equally immense O&D market of mostly VFR traffic from the TriState area to the islands) with a new hub at MIA that was able to serve more cities with more flights, AA's dominance was set

Probably the best explanation for this overall. Why does it continue? Very simply put, the geography of hubs and route establishment. AA has hubs in MIA and SJU which can effectively cover the region, especially during the busy winter season when the population of the eastern seaboard escapes the cold winter for some nearby tropical sun, one of the few corners of planet earth where this can be done in relative close proximity.
DL is the only other carrier that can come remotely close to AA's dominance of the region, with hubs in ATL and a large focus operation in FLL and dominance of the Florida market which is right at the northern gate to the region. US and CO have some market share, but nothing compared to the above two.



DELTA Air Lines; The Only Way To Fly from Salt Lake City; Let the Western Heritage always be with Delta!
User currently offlineUsairways85 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 3388 posts, RR: 7
Reply 10, posted (8 years 4 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 1650 times:

US operates an A333 daily year round PHL-SJU and also a 762 PHL-SJU and maybe even a 762 CLT-SJU during the winter. So that's 3 US widebodies daily in the winter

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