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History Of WN Opening 2-3 New Cities On Same Day  
User currently offlineLoneStarMike From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 3826 posts, RR: 33
Posted (8 years 5 months 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 3985 times:

Here's a topic I don't think has been discussed much that I would love to hear other people's opnion on.

I was looking at an old (incomplete) list of WN stations and the dates they opened that I had from a long time ago and noticed there have been several occasions when Southwest opened more than one new city on the same day.

The first time, of course, was June 18, 1971 when they opened DAL, IAH, and SAT. DAL had flights to both SAT and IAH, but I believe the SAT-Houston leg was added a short time later and I can't remember if it was before or after WN starting shifting their IAH flights over to HOU in November 1971.

LBB and MAF both opened on May 20, 1977, and while I believe they each had flights to both DAL and HOU, there was no scheduled n/s service between LBB and MAF.

SAN, PHX and LAS all opened on January 31, 1982. Does anyone remember whether or not each of those three cities had nonstop service to the other two as part of WN's initial schedules out of those three cities?

MDW and STL both opened March 17, 1985 and I believe each city had nonstop service to the other as part of the initial service.

PDX - 06-06-1994
SEA - 06-06-1994
GEG - 06-06-1994

BOI - 10-04-1994
SLC - 10-04-1994
TUS - 10-04-1994

These weren't really "new" cities -- they were cities where Morris Air had established service and those stations were merged into WN's network.

TPA and FLL were both opened on the same day -- January 22, 1996 and each city had nonstop service to the other as part of the initial service.

TPA opened with 12 daily departures and FLL with 6.

TPA had
6 x FLL
2 x MSY
2 x BWI
1 x BNA
1 x STL.

FLL just had 6 x TPA to start, although by April 7, 1996 when WN opened MCO, FLL was up to 8 daily TPA n/s and got 5 more to MCO.

January of 1996 was the last time WN opened multiple cities on the same day.

They've already announced IAD but they haven't yet announced which destinations they'll serve nonstop from there. Wouldn't it be a surprise if one of the destinations to be served nonstop from IAD turned out to be another new city like CLT or CVG? Talk about killing two birds (new cities) with one stone.

Here's some IAD/DCA Data from 3Q 2005

CVG - IAD/DCA - 411 miles

407 daily passengers
avg. fare $193.09 (47.0 cents per mile)
DL mkt share 81.01%
DL avg. fare $208.84 (50.8 cents per mile)
US mkt share 13.26%
US avg. fare $109.54 (26.6 cents per mile)

If WN offered IAD-CVG service, they'd mainly be competing with DL and their 50 cent per mile fares and not so much with US. Isn't most of US's service to CVG from DCA, or do they serve that city-pair from IAD too?

As a comparison look at what WN did in the PIT-MDW market. PIT-MDW is 412 miles, or one mile further than IAD-CVG.

That route now sees 1520 daily passengers
avg. fare (all carriers $82.88 (20.1 cents per mile)

Less than five months after entering PIT, WN is now the market share leader on that city-pair with a 42.10% share and WN's avg. fare is $56.42 or 13.7 cents per mile! They could charge 20 cents per mile for IAD-CVG for an average fare of $82.20, which would still beat US' avg. fare (and certainly DL's) and still make a nice profit.

CLT - IAD/DCA - 330 miles
732 daily passengers
Avg. fare $140.91 (42.0 cents per mile)
US mkt share 52.45%
US avg. fare $169.96 (50.7 cents per mile)
DH (now gone) was the low fare leader on that route with a 31.81% share and an avg. fare of $96.47 or 28.8 cents per mile) WN could do it for a lower avg. fare than DH did (and not have to file for bankruptcy.)

Again, we have a similar route we can look at as a comparison. PHL-RDU is 336 miles or six miles further than IAD-CLT.

RDU - 336 miles
Q3 2003 (pre WN): 403 daily pax
$213.24 avg. fare (63.5 cent per mile)
Q3 2005 (post WN): 1512 daily pax (up 275%)
$76.19 avg. fare (all cariers) (22.7 cents per mile)
(down 64.3%)
US mkt share 49.33%
US av. fare $88.25 (26.7 cents per mile)
WN mkt share 46.82%
WN avg. fare $61.98 (18.4 cents per mile)

WN could charge an avg. fare of 20 cents a mile on CLT-IAD and have an avg. fare of $66.00. That's more than enough for WN to turn a profit and would still represent a 61% savings over US avg. fare on that route in Q3 2005 and a 32% savings over DH's avg. fare back then.

Here's another interesting aspect about opening two cities at once where part of the initial service From New City #1 is to New City #2..

Suppose WN decides to open two new cities. The decide they want each of the new cities to have an initial schedule of 12 daily departures and 12 daily arrivals. (24 total flight segments)

The open one city on the West Coast and one on the East Coast. 48 total flight segments.

Now suppose that instead, they opened two new cities simultaneously in close proximately to each other and part of New City #1's initial service was nonstop flights to New City #2 and vice versa.

Just using IAD and CLT as a "what if?" example, what if 7 of IAD's initial 12 daily departures (and 7 arrivals) could be to other cities like MDW, RDU, MHT for a total of 14 flight segments. Ditto for CLT - 7 departures and 7 arrivals to Florida, MDW, West Coast - wherever. 14 more flight segments.

IAD and CLT would then each need 5 additional daily departures (and arrivals) to bring the total number of daily roundtrip flights at each to 12.

IAD's five additional departures/arrivals could be to/from CLT and CLT's five additional departures/arrivals could be to/from IAD for a total of 10 additional flight segments.

14 flight segments plus 14 flight segments plus 10 flight segments = 38 total flight segments needed to open 2 new cities with 12 daily roundtrips each. If you open a new city on either Coast it takes 48 flight segments to give each of the two new cities 12 daily roundtrips. Seems like you'd get more for less opening 2 new cities with initial service to each other. Does that make sense?

Heck if WN really wanted to blow people's minds, they should jus go ahead and open IAD, CVG and CLT (3 new cities on the same day.) The could either start with the three cities each having service to the other two, or they could just start with the IAD-CVG and IAD-CLT legs and add CVG-CLT later like they did with SAT-HOU.

Look at the three triangles (Original Texas Triangle, 1982 West Coast Triange and proposed IAD-CVG-CLT Triangle) on a map.

The CLT-IAD-CVG triangle has longer sides than the Texas Triangle and the 1982 West Coast Triangle and it's inverted, but they're all three kind of similar.

WN has said it will announce IAD destinations sometime this summer. They could make the announcement on their 35th anniversary June 18, 2006 by saying they were replicating their original Texas Triangle in the Mid-Atlantic.

What are they chances WN would ever do this type of thing again? And what cities not currently served by WN are in close proximity to each other where WN could pull this off?

I don't know if Southwest would ever do something like this again, but it sure is fun to dream about.  Smile

LoneStarMike

11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offline28L28L From Australia, joined Nov 2005, 459 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 3743 times:

I thought AUS, CRP and ELP opened at the same time. Also OKC, TUL and ABQ? Not certain on the latter.

User currently offlineTxAgKuwait From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 1803 posts, RR: 42
Reply 2, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 3727 times:

AUS, CRP, and ELP were not opened at the same time.

Corpus Christi was the 5th station, actually...somewhere around Feb/Mar'77. (I know someone will chime in with the exact date). El Paso was shortly after Midland/Odessa and Lubbock...the initial pattern was two ELP-MAF-DAL, two ELP-LBB-DAL, and two ELP-DAL nonstops.

(After so many 35-50 min flights, the hour-and-35 minute nonstop DAL-ELP seemed like an overseas flight)

AUS was the last of the 1977 expansion, somewhere around September.

I don't think OKC, TUL, ABQ all opened on the same day....they were close to each other.


User currently offlineLoneStarMike From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 3826 posts, RR: 33
Reply 3, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 3686 times:

Well, here's the incomplete list I have

City - Service Began

DAL - 06-18-1971

IAH - 06-18-1971

SAT - 06-18-1971

HOU - 11-14-1971

HRL - 02-11-1975

CRP - 03-01-1977

LBB - 05-20-1977

MAF - 05-20-1977

ELP - 06-30-1977

AUS - 09-15-1977

AMA - 12-12-1978

MSY - 01-25-1979

BPT opened around this time, but don't have a specific date.

OKC - 04-01-1980

TUL - 04-20-1980

ABQ - 04-30-1980

HOU re-opened sometime in 1980 but I can't remember when. I think it officially closed again eff. 04/02/05

LAS - 01-31-1982

PHX - 01-31-1982

SAN - 01-31-1982

MCI - 02-18-1982

LAX - 09-18-1982

SFO also opened in 1982, but I dont have a specific date.

DEN - 05-26-1983 (closed 10-26-1986)

LIT - 02-27-1984

MDW - 03-17-1985

STL - 03-17-1985

ONT - 05-15-1985

BNA - 03-18-1986

BHM - 03-10-1987

DET/DTW? - 06-04-1987

I don't have an exact close date for DET and I can't remember if WN operated from both airports simutaneously for a short time or not.

IND - 04-03-1989

OAK - 05-15-1989

BUR - 04-16-1990

RNO - 11-15-1990

SMF - 06-18-1991 (opened on WN's 20th anniversary)

CLE - 02-13-1992

CMH - 06-02-1992

SDF - 05-24-1993

SJC - 06-01-1993

BWI - 09-15-1993

SNA - 05-26-1994

PDX - 06-06-1994

SEA - 06-06-1994

GEG - 06-06-1994

BOI - 10-04-1994

SLC - 10-04-1994

TUS - 10-04-1994

OMA - 03-04-1995

TPA - 01-22-1996

FLL - 01-22-1996

MCO - 04-07-1996

PVD - 10-27-1996

JAX - 01-15-1997

JAN - 08-09-1997

MHT - 06-07-1998

ISP - 03-13-1999

RDU - 06-01-1999

BDL - 10-31-1999

ALB  - 05-07-2000

BUF - 10-09-2000

PBI - 01-21-2001

ORF - 10-07-2001

PHL - 05-09-2004

PIT - 05-04-2005

RSW - 10-02-2005

DEN - 01-03-2006

If anyone could fill in any of the missing blanks, it would be appreiated.

TxAg, (or anyone) do you remember whether or not LAS, SAN and PHX all had service to each other as part of WN's initial service they launched on 01/31/82?

And do you think WN would ever "surprise" us by opening 2 or more new cities on the same date again in the furture?

LoneStarMike

User currently offlineLindy Field From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 3120 posts, RR: 13
Reply 4, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 3679 times:
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Hello LoneStarMike,

If I recall correctly, SAN was inaugurated with nonstops to LAS and to PHX. SFO was added as the third destination from SAN, perhaps a year later or so. Unfortunately, my copies of old OAGs are sitting in storage so I can't confirm the dates or the info.


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User currently offlineTom in NO From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 7194 posts, RR: 32
Reply 5, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3615 times:

LoneStarMike,

That is a superb list you've put together. It answers some questions I had. Thanks much for posting it!

Tom at MSY



"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
User currently offline28L28L From Australia, joined Nov 2005, 459 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 3568 times:

SFO opened on 10-31-82. DTW opened on 6-4-87. DTT closed 9-15-93 (don't have a start date for DTT). I appreciate your sharing that great WN list! Good job!

User currently offlineTxAgKuwait From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 1803 posts, RR: 42
Reply 7, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 3511 times:

>>TxAg, (or anyone) do you remember whether or not LAS, SAN and PHX all had service to each other as part of WN's initial service they launched on 01/31/82?<<

As I recall, they did. I was not on any of those inaugurals but I was out there shortly afterwards.

I was living in Brownfield, TX at the time and flew from LBB-ELP-ABQ-PHX-LAS, LAS-SAN, and SAN-PHX-ELP-LBB.

They also had a HOU-LAS nonstop redeye which did rather poorly; I left LAS one time at 0200 hrs with 6 other people on the airplane.

The 737 with 7 psgrs makes a nice sleeper.....but ultimately didn't do much for the bottom line.


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 3477 times:

Quoting LoneStarMike (Reply 3):
HOU re-opened sometime in 1980 but I can't remember when. I think it officially closed again eff. 04/02/05

I think you meant IAH, not HOU.

I think the dates for OKC, TUL, and ABQ may be off. We took delivery of 3 new -200s at the same time to open those stations, and I think the dates are all closer to the first day or two of April 1980...

I'll check the archieves for exact dates...


User currently offlineScottB From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 6764 posts, RR: 32
Reply 9, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 3456 times:

Quoting LoneStarMike (Thread starter):
What are they chances WN would ever do this type of thing again?

I loved the historical perspective on Southwest adding multiple cities in a day, and the fare analyses you gave are compelling reasons for Southwest to (eventually) enter those markets, but I don't see WN going ahead with multiple city openings in the near future.

What I see instead is Southwest building up an East Coast point-to-point network that will allow them to expand to a significant number of smaller (i.e. 500K inhabitants or so) cities with decent-sized operations (10+ flights) in each. To some degree, they're replicating what USAir had before they went to a high-fare hub-and-spoke model. Cities like CAE, ROC, GSO, or HSV, for example, could be added with daily flights to TPA & MCO, 2 dailies to MDW, and 3 dailies to both PHL and BWI, giving a total of 10 flights. IAD has the potential to be a large operation for Southwest, though it would of course steal traffic from their BWI focus city.


User currently offlineWadnet From Mexico, joined Mar 2006, 7 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 3423 times:

TUS, BOI and SLC were added as part of WN acquisition of Morris Air.

User currently offlineLoneStarMike From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 3826 posts, RR: 33
Reply 11, posted (8 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3383 times:

>>I think you meant IAH, not HOU.<<

Doh.. yes I meant IAH.

..>>I think the dates for OKC, TUL, and ABQ may be off. We took delivery of 3 new -200s at the same time to open those stations, and I think the dates are all closer to the first day or two of April 1980...<<

I originally got all these start dates from ifly737.com. They used to have a station list and when you clicked on the individual station lots of info would come up like phone numbers, name of station manager, and date service began. This was probably 4-5 years ago that I looked and saved all this info, but since then that site has been revamped.

BPT, SFO, and DEN (The first time) wasn't listed because WN had already closed those stations when I was compiling that list, but DEN's opening and closing dates were mentioned in separate "On This Day in Southwest History" entries that also used to be part of the ifly737 site.

LoneStarMike

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