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CLT And ATL After Proposed US/DL Merger  
User currently offlineRyeFly From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1396 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 4685 times:

Like many people here, I am skeptical about this potential merger between US and DL. With that being said US Airways has given us the the green light to begin discussing all aspects of the combination with it's offer. For this thread, lets focus on the CLT and ATL hub.

It's interesting to note that both are currently the largest hubs of both airlines and only 270 miles apart from each other. US Airways has already stated that CLT would remain a major hub after the merger... again I am skeptical but let's take their word for it and see how the two can coexist to compliment each other rather then compete against each other.

Could CLT take some pressure off of ATL by routing most domestic USA bound connecting passengers in CLT for a more efficient and easier alternative to delayed prone ATL? Thus freeing up space for the new DL to tailor ATL towards mainly it's O&D passengers and funneling of international or Caribbean bound passengers.

22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineMAH4546 From Sweden, joined Jan 2001, 32789 posts, RR: 72
Reply 1, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 4676 times:

Any talk that US will keep their CLT hub larger after a proposed merger is just that...talk. They can say what they want, they won't be obligated to do it. The Charlotte hub would, without a doubt, be cut, at least, in half. In the end you are looking at a 200 flight a day city focusing on O&D traffic and minimal connections.


a.
User currently offlineRyeFly From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1396 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 4662 times:

Any large fall out to CLT will most likely result in Southwest making it's final approach and landing. I'm not saying it would be a tidal wave of cayon blue but a decent sized operation which US has been accustomed to seeing at PHL. Up until now the competition from anyone let alone low fare carriers at CLT has been very minor at best. This leads me to believe it could mean all or nothing for US/DL.

User currently offlineLAXdude1023 From India, joined Sep 2006, 7616 posts, RR: 24
Reply 3, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 4608 times:

Hello RyeFly,
Being from Charlotte, you must be concerned about this merger. I think CLT will probably lose international service and ATL might lose some as well. I think that ATL will be their international hub as well as handle most of their international service. CLT will probably lose alot of service on this deal. I think they will retain service to most domestic markets, but come out the lose on international flight in favor of ATL. I think in return ATL will lose some domestic service. Some one (WN) will come in and fill the void at CLT once Doug Parker and his goons are finished pillageing it. CLT is a market that cant be ignored, but will lose to ATL in most every way on this one.

Im still hopeing this doesnt go through.



Stewed...Lewd...Crude...Irreverent...Belligerent
User currently offlineSupa7E7 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 4579 times:

CLT would lose probably 80% of caribbean flying. It would keep the Europe flights, which serve mainly CLT.

Whether you slice 100 flights out of CLT, ATL, or 50% at each, same difference. Both hubs become more profitable if you cut some fluff out of the pair (functioning as one unit).

The region has no other choices unless you count NW at MEM, and you shouldn't.


User currently offlineMKEdude From South Korea, joined May 2005, 1011 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 4560 times:

In the event the merger takes place CLT would likely be reduced to something akin to a super focus city, mainly focused on RJs flying about the southeast. International traffic would be siphoned to ATL which would remain DLs biggest hub.

What would happen to JFK and PHL? It seems unlikely that both would retain current service levels. DL has spent a lot of time and money developing their operations at JFK, it seems unlikely that US would walk away from them or even shift them down to PHL given all the O&D out of JFK.

There are so many reasons why this merger doesn't make sense. Overlapping hubs and route systems, incompatible fleets, not to mention US and HP haven't finished their merger yet. This merger just seems like a bad fit all around.



"You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline." Frank Zappa
User currently offlineRyeFly From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1396 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 4551 times:

Let me just throw a wrench into things for a second. The DOJ will most likely site a combined CLT and ATL hub a monopoly. Delta is the one in bankruptcy not US Airways so rejecting long term leases like they did in PIT at CLT quickly wouldn't be easy nor cheap. Perhaps transferring the leases and selling the entire hub maintenance facilities etc.. and all to another airline may be the way to go. If it gets no offers the only other alternative I see is making room for another airline at ATL since Delta while under bankruptcy protection can reject leases on gates quickly.

User currently offlineSupa7E7 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 4487 times:

Quoting RyeFly (Reply 6):
erhaps transferring the leases and selling the entire hub maintenance facilities etc.. and all to another airline may be the way to go.

Look, that is exactly what they DON'T want to do. They want to maintain CLT a defensive array and ATL the primary hub in the region. The DOJ might well recognize DL went bankrupt and might need a "stronger" footing than it had. They might allow this merger, although some disagree.

As for JFK-PHL... they are self sufficient. JFK is a focus city pretty much serving NYC itself. PHL does not do that. Although close together, JFK and PHL each have plenty unique O&D to have large international gateways at each one. There is no reason to shrink one or the other (unlike CLT/ATL).


User currently offlinePositiverate From United States of America, joined May 2005, 1590 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 4482 times:

Quoting RyeFly (Reply 6):
Let me just throw a wrench into things for a second. The DOJ will most likely site a combined CLT and ATL hub a monopoly. Delta is the one in bankruptcy not US Airways so rejecting long term leases like they did in PIT at CLT quickly wouldn't be easy nor cheap. Perhaps transferring the leases and selling the entire hub maintenance facilities etc.. and all to another airline may be the way to go. If it gets no offers the only other alternative I see is making room for another airline at ATL since Delta while under bankruptcy protection can reject leases on gates quickly.

You hit the nail right on the head. It is FAR easier to reject real estate and airplane leases for the entity in BK then for the entity not in BK. Any capacity reductions that would occur under a merger, and any divestitures of assets should DOJ approve it, will be on the backs of Delta and their employees.

But, of course, that is if this even happens...which I doubt.


User currently offlineVega From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 4401 times:

Quoting MKEdude (Reply 5):
What would happen to JFK and PHL? It seems unlikely that both would retain current service levels. DL has spent a lot of time and money developing their operations at JFK, it seems unlikely that US would walk away from them or even shift them down to PHL given all the O&D out of JFK.

PHL and JFK have nearly identical Domestic O&D.


User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 23022 posts, RR: 20
Reply 10, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 4346 times:

Quoting MAH4546 (Reply 1):
In the end you are looking at a 200 flight a day city focusing on O&D traffic and minimal connections.

With a 10% reduction in capacity (the number US is throwing around), they can't just route all the folks who connect over CLT currently through ATL. It simply won't work. They're going to continue to route at least some connections over CLT because they have to (unless their 10% capacity drop is a 20% drop in the southeast and 10% elsewhere to mollify the DoJ, which is a possibility).

Quoting Supa7E7 (Reply 4):
CLT would lose probably 80% of caribbean flying. It would keep the Europe flights, which serve mainly CLT.

I wonder if they might make CLT the main hub for Latin America flying and leave all of the Europe flying in ATL. Most of the international flights aren't relying on O&D in either city, so it doesn't seem like moving that flying up the road to CLT would make or break the flights, and it would certainly help to make ATL less congested.

Another thing to keep in mind is that US has a lovely situation in CLT right now in that the airport authority is basically at their beck and call (see Concourses D, E, and the new part of E), there is minimal LCC competition, and yields are generally pretty good. They'd be stupid to completely abandon those things.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineLAXdude1023 From India, joined Sep 2006, 7616 posts, RR: 24
Reply 11, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 4325 times:

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 10):
I wonder if they might make CLT the main hub for Latin America flying and leave all of the Europe flying in ATL.

I think they will probably have most (if not all) of the European and Carribean flying from ATL. I think CLT will be a mostly doemstic hub. For example: if you are flying from JAX-SFO, you could go through CLT, however if you are traveling from JAX-LGW, CDG, FCO or any other European Destination, you would go through ATL. Same for the Carribean. If you wanted to travel from SEA-MBJ, you would most likely be routed through ATL. But if you were traveling from SEA-TPA, you could maybe go through CLT. ATL will take most the international flying, while CLT takes some pressure off of ATL with the domestic flying.



Stewed...Lewd...Crude...Irreverent...Belligerent
User currently offlineMAH4546 From Sweden, joined Jan 2001, 32789 posts, RR: 72
Reply 12, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 4316 times:

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 10):

I wonder if they might make CLT the main hub for Latin America flying and leave all of the Europe flying in ATL. Most of the international flights aren't relying on O&D in either city, so it doesn't seem like moving that flying up the road to CLT would make or break the flights, and it would certainly help to make ATL less congested.

The O&D might be minimal from both, but Atlanta's is still probably 5-8x what Charlotte provides.



a.
User currently offlineScottB From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 6764 posts, RR: 32
Reply 13, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 4286 times:

Quoting Supa7E7 (Reply 7):
The DOJ might well recognize DL went bankrupt and might need a "stronger" footing than it had. They might allow this merger, although some disagree.

The problem with this theory is that Delta's management, and not the creditors or the bankruptcy judge, need to make that sort of case with DOJ and/or DOT. Delta's management is on record saying that they are well-positioned to emerge from bankruptcy as a standalone carrier. In the US Airways-America West merger, US Airways management stated that the merger was essential to the survival of the company. The only argument that has been made so far is that a US-DL merger would make for a more profitable "new Delta" -- not that it is necessary for Delta to continue as a going concern.

Quoting Vega (Reply 9):
PHL and JFK have nearly identical Domestic O&D.

Yes, but the true prize at JFK is the international O&D and JFK simply blows PHL out of the water there.

Quoting RyeFly (Thread starter):
Could CLT take some pressure off of ATL by routing most domestic USA bound connecting passengers in CLT for a more efficient and easier alternative to delayed prone ATL? Thus freeing up space for the new DL to tailor ATL towards mainly it's O&D passengers and funneling of international or Caribbean bound passengers.

What's more likely, as others have suggested, is that mainline frequencies at ATL would be increased (with a corresponding decline in RJ traffic) while mainline frequencies at CLT would be decreased. CLT would look much more like CVG does in the Delta network. It simply makes sense to concentrate the connecting traffic in one facility that can handle it, while focusing CLT on local O&D. CLT couldn't handle ATL's traffic without a massive upgrade of the terminals and airfield, and the Charlotte market doesn't have the O&D to support that in any event.


User currently offlineVega From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 4245 times:

Quoting ScottB (Reply 13):
Quoting Vega (Reply 9):
PHL and JFK have nearly identical Domestic O&D.

Yes, but the true prize at JFK is the international O&D and JFK simply blows PHL out of the water there.

International O&D is only meaningful if the airline (DL/US) has the resources, gates and access rights to acquire the international routes which create the traffic - a large part of which is served by foreign carriers. Domestic O&D is very different in that it represents cities readily available to all U.S. carriers and (for U.S. carriers) represents the bulk of their Revenue. If one was to move flights from JFK to EWR or PHL - the International O&D would follow - not likely the case for Domestic O&D (in the PHL case). Actually within a few years, or even possibly sooner, the DOT and others are considering combining the NYC/PHL MSAs for statistical purposes. International O&D really only provides a measure of how future routes MAY fare if an airline could economically share the routes with existing U.S. and/or foreign carriers, or start new international routes themselves. In an area as crowded with international traffic as NYC, it could be risky to assume much additional O&D is available to existing destinations and indeed many U.S. - major Europe destinations may now even be nearing saturation.


User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 23022 posts, RR: 20
Reply 15, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 4136 times:

Quoting ScottB (Reply 13):
What's more likely, as others have suggested, is that mainline frequencies at ATL would be increased (with a corresponding decline in RJ traffic)

Where at ATL would they find space to do that? And what's the point of CLT if all it is is an RJ hub.

Quoting MAH4546 (Reply 12):
The O&D might be minimal from both, but Atlanta's is still probably 5-8x what Charlotte provides.

Just out of curiousity, on what are you basing that? My guess would be more like 3 times greater from ATL, but you might be seeing something I'm not.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineVega From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 4123 times:

International O&D (2005)

CLT = 1,945,749
ATL = 7,321,693


User currently offlineMAH4546 From Sweden, joined Jan 2001, 32789 posts, RR: 72
Reply 17, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 4073 times:

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 15):
Quoting MAH4546 (Reply 12):
The O&D might be minimal from both, but Atlanta's is still probably 5-8x what Charlotte provides.

Just out of curiousity, on what are you basing that? My guess would be more like 3 times greater from ATL, but you might be seeing something I'm not.

It's just a random figure, I don't have facts to back it up, just what I am guessing. Atlanta actually has some decent traffic to Brazil and Colombia. Charlotte does not at all.



a.
User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 23022 posts, RR: 20
Reply 18, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 4050 times:

Quoting Vega (Reply 16):
International O&D (2005)
CLT = 1,945,749
ATL = 7,321,693

Figures, right between Mah's guess and mine.

It's probably true, though, that if CLT had ATL levels of international service, its international O&D would be somewhat higher.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineFCYTravis From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 1191 posts, RR: 6
Reply 19, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 4034 times:

I don't think they can possibly route everything from CLT over ATL. Isn't ATL overcrowded and delay-prone as it is?

My guess is that CLT will be focused on domestic connecting traffic, while ATL keeps its international service and loses 50-seat RJs. Instead of 5x DL RJs to ATL and 4x US RJs to CLT from an outstation, you might see three mainline to ATL and two mainline and an RJ to CLT.

Of course, splitting connecting and O&D traffic is exactly what Doug Parker has said wouldn't work with PHL-PIT... so who knows?



USAir A321 service now departing for SFO with fuel stops in CAK, COS and RNO. Enjoy your flight.
User currently offlineLAXdude1023 From India, joined Sep 2006, 7616 posts, RR: 24
Reply 20, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 3981 times:

Quoting FCYTravis (Reply 19):
My guess is that CLT will be focused on domestic connecting traffic, while ATL keeps its international service and loses 50-seat RJs. Instead of 5x DL RJs to ATL and 4x US RJs to CLT from an outstation, you might see three mainline to ATL and two mainline and an RJ to CLT.

I think thats a pretty safe bet. You can look at the situation like PHL vs. PIT, but I dont think CLT will be stripped quite as bad as PIT was. But when you have two hubs close together, one eventually takes almost everything from the other.

Look at PIT vs. PHL for example. PHL is a serves a much larger area, it has more O&D, it has more business ties, etc. PIT lost all international service (except to Canada) in favor of PHL. On an international level, Id bet anything thats what happens to CLT.

For Domestic traffic its a different story. For domestic travel, I think FCYTravis put it well. I think well see CLT as a domestic hub with minimal international service. CLT would probably mostly be served by RJ's. ATL would be the international and mainline hub. My bet would be that ATL remains the combined airlines biggest hub.

The exception to two hubs not destroying each other (at a close distance) seems to be PHX and LAS who seem to complement each other well. PHX seems to service mostly connecting traffic and LAS seems to serve mostly O&D traffic as well as some connecting traffic.

However, I would be that CLT vs. ATL would resemble PIT vs. PHL more so.



Stewed...Lewd...Crude...Irreverent...Belligerent
User currently offlineFCYTravis From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 1191 posts, RR: 6
Reply 21, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 3969 times:

For hub comparison purposes:

CLT: 541 daily flights to 120 destinations
221 US Mainline
320 US Express

PHL: 440 daily flights to 111 destinations
162 US Mainline
288 US Express

PHX: 308 daily flights to 97 destinations
202 US Mainline (Yes, Virginia, PHX has more mainline than PHL)
106 US Express

PIT: 159 daily flights to 53 destinations
38 US Mainline
121 US Express

LAS: 139 daily flights to 65 destinations
116 US Mainline
23 US Express



USAir A321 service now departing for SFO with fuel stops in CAK, COS and RNO. Enjoy your flight.
User currently offlineWDBRR From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 610 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 3961 times:

I can see them making a deal with Airtran to move
their hub to CLT, swap gates in ATL and CLT...
DL/US would have ATL all to themselves with FL
having minimal service to their hub and focus cities.
Airtran would have CLT all to themselves with minimal
service by DL/US to their hubs and focus cites.


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