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WN Ending MAF-ELP?  
User currently offlineSsides From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 4059 posts, RR: 21
Posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 2847 times:

I just read that WN is ending its nonstop MAF-ELP service in November. I'm quite surprised by this, since this is the flight many pax in MAF take for connections westward like PHX, LAX, SAN, etc.

I'm assuming these pax can simply get where they need to go via ABQ and LAS now?

This is just a bit of a big deal for me ... my very first commercial flight was the non-stop WN morning departure from MAF to ELP. I remember being astonished that the flight arrived before it left

[Edited 2007-08-13 19:20:42]


"Lose" is not spelled with two o's!!!!
15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6343 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 2721 times:

Not suprising...the West Texas economy is highly cyclical. Very boom and bust prone.

I'll bet the route will come and go a few more times in our lifetimes, just as it has in the past  Smile

Heck, I left the area in 1999 because, as a young professional with a bachelor's degree in a technical field, finding employment was not easy  Sad

Also, with the speed limits on I-10 and I-20 between ELP and MAF at 80 MPH in many sections now, the differences in the door-to-door times between driving and flyng are dropping.

Culturally, MAF and ELP are also worlds apart, where the Midland/Odessa area is very much "old school" Texas culture and El Paso never really was much like the rest of Texas, and actually is more similar culturally to cities in New Mexico and Arizona. I think the only thing the two cities ever had in common was the 915 area code, and even now that's gone  Wink



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineSsides From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 4059 posts, RR: 21
Reply 2, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 2599 times:

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 1):
I'll bet the route will come and go a few more times in our lifetimes, just as it has in the past

Has the route really come and gone? I had thought it had long been a WN staple at MAF, much like MAF-HOU. There's no doubt the markets are different, but the economy in Midland-Odessa is booming (and not just because of oil prices).

I'm assuming that many people were beginning to connect westward from MAF via ABQ and LAS -- or that WN wants them to, and is therefore shuttling them to those routes.



"Lose" is not spelled with two o's!!!!
User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6343 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 2550 times:

Quoting Ssides (Reply 2):

I'm assuming that many people were beginning to connect westward from MAF via ABQ and LAS -- or that WN wants them to, and is therefore shuttling them to those routes.

Good question, but I'll still wager that the O&D traffic from MAF to ELP and vice-versa was probably weak...however, I think WN has probably gotten over being peeved with the management at ELP for imposing all the new fees for the terminal rennovation (and Thank God ELP had the gaul to see the rennovation through! It's a nice place now...). WN is still #1 at ELP with over 50% of the seats into and out of El Paso...and I don't think they're looking to destroy the brand loyalty that they have there  Wink Southwest has a loyal bunch of passengers in El Paso.



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlinePanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 2517 times:

Goodbye WN, Hello XE maybe?

I don't know how Southwest would feel, but is this a route that ExpressJet could make work for them?

And wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall at THAT corporate meeting? Picture an ExpressJet rep meeting with Southwest and saying, "would you mind terribly if we took over a route you can't seem to make work?

How would Southwest react?



Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
User currently offlineSANFan From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 5354 posts, RR: 12
Reply 5, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 2448 times:

Doesn't it seem that WN generally serves/seeks markets needing high frequency service? There certainly are exceptions such as ELP-MAF, ELP-LBB, ELP-SAN, SAT-SAN, SAT-LAX, SAN-HOU, STL-LAX, etc., all of which have only 1 daily n/s flight. However, most of these exceptions are quite a bit longer than ELP-MAF (except for ELP-LBB which is not nearly as "freeway convenient".) It seems to me that most short-haul city-pairs that WN connects do tend to have higher frequencies of service. (I haven't really sat down yet and carefully studied the flight schedule to make sure about these statements but I think I'm pretty close to the facts.)

I guess my thinking, therefore, is that it doesn't surprise me that during a flight schedule "house cleaning" (as we are seeing now from WN), a city-pair that is only 50 minutes apart by air (what, maybe 200 miles?) and directly connected by an Interstate, and sees only 1 flight a day, will see the flight be cut. ELP-LBB may survive because the surface connection between the two is more time-consuming. However, having just noticed that it is not even a daily flight on the November schedule, I wonder if it is on the way out as well...

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 3):
however, I think WN has probably gotten over being peeved with the management at ELP for imposing all the new fees for the terminal rennovation

I disagree with you on this point KELP'; it doesn't look to me like ELP has seen much of any WN growth lately, not to mention this flight cut we are now discussing. I think there are definitely growth possibilities at ELP: I am positive SAN could support at least one more n/s; a flight to TUS, just announced by XE in fact, has seemed like a no-brainer for WN; and what about DEN? Yet nothing is happening.

Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 4):
...but is this a route that ExpressJet could make work for them?

Hey PanAm', with the a/c shortage at XE, I think new stations are gonna be kinda rare (besides LGB of course.) But I betcha the XE schedule planners are watching Texas pretty closely for opportunities...  scratchchin 

bb


User currently offlineKanebear From United States of America, joined May 2002, 953 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 2307 times:

Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 4):
Goodbye WN, Hello XE maybe?

Sure, so they can pull off it 3 months after they start, just like CRP-AUS...


User currently onlineJoeljack From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 933 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 2271 times:

Quoting Kanebear (Reply 6):
Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 4):
Goodbye WN, Hello XE maybe?

Sure, so they can pull off it 3 months after they start, just like CRP-AUS...

at 24 passengers per day for dirt cheap fares why in the world would XE serve this? Maybe a little homework should be done before posting. Just a thought.


User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6343 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 2210 times:

Quoting SANFan (Reply 5):
I think there are definitely growth possibilities at ELP: I am positive SAN could support at least one more n/s; a flight to TUS, just announced by XE in fact, has seemed like a no-brainer for WN; and what about DEN? Yet nothing is happening.

Does sound kinda like WN is handing over ELP to XE on a silver platter here...  scratchchin 

Hmm....

Maybe a little deja vu here? Here's KELPkid's abbreviated history of the jet age at ELP:

60's-70's: ELP is well-served by CO, and is a focus city for CO, seeing how the airline was founded in the city, even if Robert Six did move the headquarters to Denver...Along comes deregulation, Frank Lorenzo, Texas International, and Southwest, all in short order. Give this about 4-5 years to sort itself out...

1982: Frank Lorenzo has successfully de-emphasized El Paso after TI swallows CO, and WN is doing nothing but grow, not only at ELP, but everywhere else they go. CO, of course, makes ELP just another station in their new hub and spoke system.

Mid-1980's: CO founds a new regional airline called ExpressJet to do their regional flying.

1999-ish: ELP starts rennovating the terminal, much to WN's chagrin, but also much to the relief of locals (the old air terminal was a major embarrasment, and had all the appeal of a Greyhound bus station). WN begins dropping service, including plans for many connecting flights at ELP.

2007: ExpressJet starts flying for itself using WN's point-to-point model of service, filling underserved markets, including ELP.

In a sense, this is CO's revenge on WN  mischievous 



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineKanebear From United States of America, joined May 2002, 953 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 1993 times:

Quoting Joeljack (Reply 7):
at 24 passengers per day for dirt cheap fares why in the world would XE serve this? Maybe a little homework should be done before posting. Just a thought.

You mean like actually looking at the fares being charged? Again; XE could've done better on the load factors if they'd been more reliable. The service was almost as dependable as HP at their worst. $91 one way isn't what I'd call dirt cheap for a 210 mile flight. Full fare is $119 each way. IMO they could've charged $200 each way and it still would've worked if people could've depended on it!


User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6343 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 1983 times:

Quoting Kanebear (Reply 9):
You mean like actually looking at the fares being charged? Again; XE could've done better on the load factors if they'd been more reliable. The service was almost as dependable as HP at their worst. $

I'm assuming you mean WN, not XE here... XE doesn't (yet) fly the route  Wink

Quoting Kanebear (Reply 9):
rst. $91 one way isn't what I'd call dirt cheap for a 210 mile flight. Full fare is $119 each way.



Quoting SANFan (Reply 5):
guess my thinking, therefore, is that it doesn't surprise me that during a flight schedule "house cleaning" (as we are seeing now from WN), a city-pair that is only 50 minutes apart by air (what, maybe 200 miles?)

slightly over a 350 (statute, not nautical) mile drive...The town "Midland" was named by the Texas & Pacific railway because it was exactly half way between Fort Worth and El Paso  Smile



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently onlineScottB From United States of America, joined exactly 14 years ago today! , 6710 posts, RR: 32
Reply 11, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 1921 times:

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 8):
Mid-1980's: CO founds a new regional airline called ExpressJet to do their regional flying.

More like CO bought up a number of small prop operators (or inherited them through mergers). The "ExpressJet" marketing term didn't appear until 1997 when the ERJ's started entering the fleet of what was then called "Continental Express, Inc." That subsidiary was renamed ExpressJet in 2001, when Continental started to put plans in motion to spin off ExpressJet.

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 8):
1999-ish: ELP starts rennovating the terminal, much to WN's chagrin

Was the issue solely the fact that the terminal was being renovated/rebuilt, or the cost that came along with the planned scope of the project?

Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 4):
And wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall at THAT corporate meeting? Picture an ExpressJet rep meeting with Southwest and saying, "would you mind terribly if we took over a route you can't seem to make work?

That wouldn't be even remotely legal under U.S. antitrust law.


User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6343 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 1887 times:

Quoting ScottB (Reply 11):
the cost that came along with the planned scope of the project



 checkmark  The City of El Paso funded the rennovation primarily through increasing landing fees, gate and ticket counter rentals, and handling fees at ELP.



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineTxAgKuwait From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 1803 posts, RR: 43
Reply 13, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 1839 times:

Okay, I'll wade in.

Yes, El Paso was a Continental stronghold from way back....as was Midland/Odessa.

CO routed "Glden Jet" 707 and 720 service from Houston to California via El Paso....primarily because I don't think the CAB gave them nonstop authority.

Midland to El Paso was Viscounts beginning in the early 60s as I recall...before that CO did it with DC3s.

Before we say ooooh and ahhhhh over CO's Viscounts we might need to stop and remember that they also flew Viscounts into Hobbs, Carlsbad, and San Angelo. Southwest was good doing 10 minute turns with 737s but CO used to manage 5 minute turns with the Viscounts.

Trans-Texas / Texas International had been in El Paso since the late 40s......once upon a time they flew a route from El Paso to Van Horn to marfa/Alpine to Fort Stockton to McCamey/Sheffield to Del Rio to Eagle Pass to San Antonio. With routes like that, was it really any huge surprise that TTa/TI never had done particularly well in or out of El Paso? I seem to recall their annual boardings in the 1969-70 time frams as about 5500 psgrs a year.....about 16 a day.


Southwest's original pattern of service in and out of El Paso was two trips DAL-LBB-ELP, two trips DAL-MAF-ELP, and two nonstops DAL-ELP. At the time the 1 1/2 hr nonstop between Love Field and El Paso was looked upon as something of an incredible long haul.

There was never a huge amount of local traffic MAF-ELP or even LBB-ELP....there was enough when combined with the DAL-ELP thru passengers to make it worth doing. It also ensured a better load factor on the DAL-MAF leg and allowed southwest to offer some better frequency, especially early on.

Southwest wasn't so disturbed that El Paso decided to upgrade their terminal facilities....I think the amount of money that was spent on the upgrades, and whether or not the city got its money's worth (and that they have had to pay for) is what they found disconcerting. At any rate, a similar sized city 250 miles to the north, who was willing to listen to what Southwest Airlines Co had to say, has reaped a whole lot of benefit from El Paso's city fathers pigheadedness. Look at what ABQ has in the way of nonstops on WN and then compare that to ELP. ELP may have decent service, but ABQ has absolutely terrific service for a city its size.

ELP-MAF is maybe 4 1/2 to 5 hrs on deserted interstate highway. There are seldom rain or snow problems on the roads. There's not a huge "community of interest" between the two cities' business communities....MAF is almost strictly oil & gas and ELP has practically no interest in that whatsoever.

As Southwest expands the number of one stops from Love Field to AZ, CA, and elsewhere...the goal will be to go to ELP nonstop or ABQ nonstop so that they can go 1-stop to LAS or OAK or LAX. The incentive to run one stop out to El Paso (from DAL) via MAF has been reduced...if they do that, then they have just turned the California or Nevada trip from Love Field in to a 2 stop and a 2 stop is a whooooole lot tougher to sell than a one stop/no change.


User currently offlineJsnww81 From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2017 posts, RR: 15
Reply 14, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 1805 times:

Quoting TxAgKuwait (Reply 13):
Trans-Texas / Texas International had been in El Paso since the late 40s......once upon a time they flew a route from El Paso to Van Horn to marfa/Alpine to Fort Stockton to McCamey/Sheffield to Del Rio to Eagle Pass to San Antonio. With routes like that, was it really any huge surprise that TTa/TI never had done particularly well in or out of El Paso? I seem to recall their annual boardings in the 1969-70 time frams as about 5500 psgrs a year.....about 16 a day.

This is indeed interesting... I've always wondered how Texas International fared in El Paso. For an airline with "Texas" in the name they didn't cover the city too well... my 1973 timetable shows a single flight (a CV600 from Carlsbad and on to MAF/LBB.) When TT picked up Continental's old New Mexico/West Texas routes (inherited from Pioneer, if I'm not mistaken), I guess CO held onto some of the choicer nonstops to/from ELP.

Personally I would love to fly one of TT's "milk runs" across Texas circa 1970, but that's a subject for another thread. Back on topic, I hope Southwest hangs onto MAF-ELP... it'd be sad to see them let go of one of their pre-Deregulation routes, even if it's not so profitable for them.


User currently offlineSANFan From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 5354 posts, RR: 12
Reply 15, posted (6 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 1733 times:

Quoting TxAgKuwait (Reply 13):
As Southwest expands the number of one stops from Love Field to AZ, CA, and elsewhere...the goal will be to go to ELP nonstop or ABQ nonstop so that they can go 1-stop to LAS or OAK or LAX.

I agree with the premise here, TxAg' (although I would add SAN to the list of western destinations) and I imagine WN would love to be able to use ELP as well as ABQ. Unfortunately, I think WN is still unhappy about the cost of doing business at the Texas city and will continue to send most of the business thru New Mexico.

If a "lack" of business thru the airport finally gets the attention of the city (or airport management or whoever) and costs to the tenants drop, I would predict a fast increase in WN service at ELP. (It looks like the rift between WN and SEA has improved somewhat as we've seen several new Canyon Blue flights serving the Puget Sound this year.)

bb


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