USPIT10L From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 3295 posts, RR: 8 Reply 1, posted (6 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 3823 times:
Quoting TWA1985 (Thread starter): It seems that CO operated flights to several non-hub cities from ORD via Britt Airways such as... Moline, Springfield, and South Bend, etc.
My question is, why would an airline base an express carrier at a city that is not even a hub or focus city?
Was it sucessful?
The operation you are speaking of was Britt Airways. It was purchased by PeoplExpress in 1986 to help diversify the network away from EWR. Don Burr was acquiring anything and everything in sight trying to save PE. It didn't work out in the end. CO had a bunch of weird routes in 1987. Take the IAD hub, for example. Hope this answers your question.
Access-Air From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1939 posts, RR: 14 Reply 4, posted (6 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days ago) and read 3544 times:
Bill Britt sold Britt Airways to PeoplExpress in 1985.......Only after PeoplExpress/Frontier #1/Britt And PBA
was purchased by the Texas Air group in 1987 did Britt's ORD operation become a Continental Express operation.
As a consequence of the Britt withdrawl of al their flights from STL in the same year, Some of the Britt fleet was divided between Continental's new Clevealnd hub and the Houston hub.....The Britt CO Express hub was officially shut down and all Britt ORD Slots sold to AmericanEagle carrier Simmons Airlines.
The current airline ExpressJet is what remains of the original Britt Airways.
If you want a sumamry of the story of Britt Airways, there is supposed to be sucha storyu published in the next issue of AIRLINERS magazine issue 107 due out in early August....That might help to answer some questions.
Continental didnt place a hub in ORD....Its just what they got ass part of the deal with their integration of the PeoplExpress/Frontier/Britt/PBA into the Texas Air Group that included Continental/Eastern and NY Air....
Knope2001 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 2661 posts, RR: 30 Reply 6, posted (6 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 3456 times:
A side note which is part of the CO* issue at ORD in 1987 is that Britt did not jump on the code-share wagon when others did. In the heyday of the ORD independent regional airline boom of about 1980-1985 these were the big ORD players in approximate order of size:
Mississippi Valley (MVA)
These were the primary benifactors of United, Ozark and North Centra/Republic dumping lots of smaller feeder routes in the midwest. There were a few smaller players here and there, but these were the airlines with at least 15+ flights and 50+ seat aircraft.
Air Wisconsin bought MVA in 1985 and became United Express
Simmons signed on as American Eagle
Britt (RU) and Midstate (IU) were left out in the cold as AA and UA cancelled their joint fare agreements. Both RU and IU found that increasingly the code-share airlines were eating their lunch in formerly lucrative markets. The Britt sale to People Express, even with the acqusition of Frontier and the consolidation into Contenental, didn't help Britt's losing battle much. The CO* code which was placed on Britt flights at O'Hare helped very little since there wasn't much to feed at ORD that didn't require an interline connection or a double-connection via DEN / IAH / EWR.
PExDCA From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 255 posts, RR: 2 Reply 8, posted (6 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 3408 times:
Quoting USPIT10L (Reply 1): Don Burr was acquiring anything and everything in sight trying to save PE.
I was there... it was not quite as dramatic as all that!
Quoting TWA1985 (Thread starter): My question is, why would an airline base an express carrier at a city that is not even a hub or focus city?
Britt had a long established independent commuter operation at ORD when PE acquired them (in addition to an independent STL operation and a DAY Hub where Britt served as a commuter affiliate for Piedmont). The ORD operation while not a tailor-made fit for the PE/Frontier I network did provide feed on some level since PE ran nearly hourly service between ORD and EWR where pax could connect throughout the PE east coast system.
[Edited 2007-07-30 23:19:42]
"A single twig breaks, but the bundle of twigs is strong." - Tecumseh
TWA1985 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 647 posts, RR: 0 Reply 12, posted (6 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 3314 times:
The Air Wisconsin/UA Express marriage occured in late 1986 or early 1987 correct? If I remember correctly, the Chicago Tribune ran an article in the summer of 1986 saying that an agreement had been met and the Air Wisconsin planes would soon be painted in UA colors.
P.S. Access-Air, I am truly sorry for the picture thing, I was sending so many emails to people for permission that I may have overlooked you. The funny thing is though that 95 percent of the photographers I emailed never responded, even after repeated attempts, so I just kept the photos on the site. So in the spirit of better late then never, can I use them? I will be sure to include your name near the photos. I just removed the names after getting no response.
Access-Air From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1939 posts, RR: 14 Reply 14, posted (6 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 3204 times:
To both who asked to use my photos...by all means you have my permission....Im not a stuffy old crank that gets upset even if someone doesnt ask......Im just flattered that someone thought enuff of my shot to use it...Thats what this hobby is all about...not to be a bunch of greedy self absorbed snots. So, to both of you.....No worries man!!!!!!!
And to the debate over the Air Wisconsin/ MVA thing.....I was at the Quad City Airport in Moline Illinois on the day the WQAD TV showed up with Anchor woman Kelly Eckerman to do a story of the prospsed merger between MVA and Air Willy and that was in May of 1985.....I put the date on the MVA Timetable that I had Ms. Eckerman autograph....I also shot a picture of the WQAD TV camera man vidoe-ing one of the MVA Fokker F.27...I believe that it was N271MA...If I remember correctly....
In June of 1985 I believe that ZW and UA formed an informal allaince but the then President of Air Wisconsin, Preston Wilbourne was totally against his airline wearing the United colours on his planes....He was actually one of many outspoken Commuter regionals that was against the Dual-designator/Code Sharing, before it started to spread like the teaming cancer that it is today.....Other outspoken Commuter/Regional CEOs that were against it were Kingsley Morse of Command Airways based in POU, Bill Britt of none other than Britt Airways. The aforementioned Preston Wilbourne of ZW....I also believe that Gordon Autry of Rocky Mountain Airways, Joe Fugure of Pilgrim Airlines. These guys had woked most of their lives to build their airlines from small planes to larger regional aircraft, some even jets.
They were not convinced that giving up their individual identities was the right thing to do...However if we are talking about the Chicago Ohare market, the the CEO Joel Murray of Negaunee, Mi. based Simmons Airlines jumped at the chance to become an American Eagle carrier.... Like it or not, Preston Wilbourne of Air Wisconsin was pressured into giving in to the concept and the familiar Orange and Green colours of Air Wisconsin disappeared and eventually Air Willy planes started flying in United Express colours. As stated earlier in this thread, Britt Airways prior to all this code share nonsense was the # 3 carrier based on departures at ORD behind United Airlines and American (I think that is awesome) whilst the other carries, Air Wisconsin, Simmons and Midstate had smaller Ops.
One of the reasons that Bill sold to PeoplExpress was because he was tired of all the games, fighting with airline reservation system dipslays that put his flights in a less than obvious display far down in availability even when they had the better flights. Mostly because UA and AA chose his competitors over his operation...He watched whilst everything he had worked so hard for just evaporated into thin air.....In its heyday, Britt Airways served the states of Indiana and Illinois like no other airline had, in my opinion even better than Ozark had in their earlier days when they were running DC9s and FH-227Bs into rural towns in both states. You could actualy get around the different cities on Britt without having to funnel thru ORD or STL to do it.....
Did I mention at the height of its operations that Britt was also # 3 in terms of departures in STL behind TWA and Ozark???
It was a sad day when the last Britt Ops left ORD.... I was at the inaugural for the start of Britt Airways on 01 Sept 76...
There were actually two Britt companies Britt Airlines that was originally called Vercoa Air Service....Vercoa and acronym for Vermillion County Aviation and was the FBO in Danville, Il. Vercoa inaugurated its foirst replacement carrier service for Allegheny as an Allegheny Commuter in 1968.....After they moved HDQ to Terre Haute, Ind. they also changed the name to Britt Airlines. The Airlines portion lasted until the agreement with Allegheny (USAir by then in 1981) was dissolved and integrated into the Britt Airways system which was started and operated independantly since 1 Sept of 76. The rest is, as Bill Britt told me on the phone ina brief conversation with him.....He said. "thats old history..."
Okay, now Ill shut up, now that my fingers are bloody from typing so much......LOL....j/k
p.s. Do you get the idea that I am bored tonite????????????
TWA1985 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 647 posts, RR: 0 Reply 16, posted (6 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 3158 times:
Oh, People Express.... An airline that "introduced air travel to hicks in America." (Ok, this was not my quote, I think Homer Simpson said something similar to this in a 90's Simpson's episode. They were a low cost carrier based out of Newark that charged for everything from snacks to pillows to drinks. They were the first to do this I believe, but the experiment ended in 1987 and PE went belly up after a nice run. An eerie foreshadowing of todays air travel huh?
Knope2001 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 2661 posts, RR: 30 Reply 19, posted (6 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 3072 times:
Sad to think about how the regional segment is in many ways gone from how it existed back then. Today they are primiarily just suppliers who sell lift to the majors with Wal-Mart style pressure to continually do it cheaper or somebody else will be brought in. Little control, little differentiation, little identity.
You're definitely right that Preston Wilbourne (who just died in the past year IIRC) was a strong opponant of code sharing, but the CRS display issue you alluded to, Access-Air, really sealed the deal. Computer reservations systems were configured to show online connections before interline connections -- even if they were longer or less convenient. Air Wisconsin found the impact of this out the hard way. Air Wisconsin had be creatd 20 years earlier to serve Appleton when North Central pulled out, and over the year ZW grew ATW from 9-seat planes to 15, 19, 50, and finally mostly 100-seat jet aircraft. Air Wisconsin owned ATW, which had grown to far surpass Oshkosh and challenge Green Bay. When Republic came in to ATW in 1985 with ancient Convair 580's to MSP and DTW, Air Wisconsin saw traffic plummet at their home base. Passengers used to flying, say, ATW-DFW via a ZW/AA connection at O'Hare now found RC connections via MSP or DTW listed first, not seeing a single ZW option on the first screen or two. Long before the internet, this made a huge difference and essentially sealed the fate of the stand-alone regional in competitive markets. Sad to think back on how that all changed.
Access-Air From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1939 posts, RR: 14 Reply 22, posted (6 years 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 3002 times:
Quoting TWA1985 (Reply 16): They were a low cost carrier based out of Newark that charged for everything from snacks to pillows to drinks.
Actually, for my Britt article I was corrected by one of my fomer Britt buddies when I mistakenly labeled PeoplExpress as a Low Cost Carrier......The LCC moniker was not made popular until recently......PE was called a No Frills Discount Carrier.
I had the chance to fly with PE in 1986 from, Providence to Newark on PBA YS-11 and then to OHare on a PE 727-200....But I had to cancel the trip....Oh what I would have given to fly on that YS-11!!!!!!
The whole reason Britt Airways became a Continental Express is because the PE system was absorbed into CO in early 1987.
PE offered what Don Burr, the founder of PEOPLExpress, called an "unbundled product" where your fare basically covered nothing more than the cost of your seat. Additional products and/or services were available for an additional charge. While we never charged for pillows (since there were none), there was a charge for drinks and snack items as well as a charge to check luggage. Additionally, on trans-con and Europe flights there was a charge for full meals, headsets (which once purchased could be reused on later flights or used with a Sony Walkman). Passengers were allowed to bring on their own food if they chose and boarding at many airports used outside roll-up stairs. People loved to complain about PE... it seemed like back then everyone had a good PE horror story to tell, but most usually ended with something like "...but when you are paying $39 to fly PEOPLExpress EWR-DCA and the Eastern Shuttle cost $99 I'd rather fly PE and have the $60 in my pocket!"
"A single twig breaks, but the bundle of twigs is strong." - Tecumseh