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RNO As An AA Hub?  
User currently offlineTSS From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 3070 posts, RR: 5
Posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 4589 times:

Several times I've read on here that AA missed a good chance to have a Western US hub by not utilizing RNO when they bought out Reno Air, but I'm not so sure about that. Don't get me wrong, I think RNO is a great airport for it's size, but with only three runways and two concourses comprising 23 or so gates it seems rather small to be used as a viable west coast hub for a major carrier like AA.

Is there something I'm missing? Did Reno Air utilize an entire concourse and I'm only seeing RNO now that other carriers have stepped in to fill the void left by Reno Air's closure?


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14 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3494 posts, RR: 46
Reply 1, posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 4536 times:

Quoting TSS (Thread starter):
... AA missed a good chance to have a Western US hub...

To do what? To fly N/S on the west coast? There is very little market to "hub" on those short flights. Too much competition using direct (non-stop) flights. To fly E/W? AA already had ORD & DFW --attempts at a third have always drawn more traffic away from ORD/DFW than inducing new E/W traffic. Simply put, AA never _wanted_ to buy QQ, but did so in an attempt to protect its high revenue AAdvantage members (so they didn't go elsewhere). Purely a defensive move so the "drawdown" in ex-QQ ops was highly expected.



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User currently offlineFlyPIJets From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 926 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 4522 times:

One challenge on the west coast is the capture the north south traffic flow. I think one advantage for the purchase of QQ was for that reason, and RNO is actually pretty sweet for a hub operation to capture north south flow sans the major O and D non-stops.


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User currently offlineRL757PVD From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4717 posts, RR: 11
Reply 3, posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 4515 times:

No offense to anyone here from RNO... but have you been there? I was there for a conference last february and to put it bluntly, RNO is the after thanksgiving stool of LAS. The surrounding recreation is nice, but the city is certainly not hub material.


Experience is what you get when what you thought would work out didn't!
User currently offlineSANFan From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 5599 posts, RR: 12
Reply 4, posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 4494 times:

Let's not forget the many failed SJC-hub attempts by AA. The close-down of RNO by AA was a given by most and pales in comparison to the various moves by them at SJC. IF American suddenly decided they need a w/c hub, I don't think RNO would be real high on the list of prospects. (I would expect SFO/SMF/even SJC to top the list.)

bb


User currently offlineHPRamper From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4142 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 4485 times:

RNO is in a nice spot for north-south connections, and marginally acceptable for east-west, but its O&D is a joke. A small airline like Reno Air could make it work, a large carrier would be just too large for the airport and city to handle.

User currently offlineFrontierflyer From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 216 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 4477 times:

NW and F9 could not make it there with a few flights, doubt anyone can hub at a leisure low yield destination.

User currently offlineCommavia From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 11973 posts, RR: 62
Reply 7, posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 4457 times:

Quoting TSS (Thread starter):
Several times I've read on here that AA missed a good chance to have a Western US hub by not utilizing RNO when they bought out Reno Air, but I'm not so sure about that.

I don't think anyone has ever said that AA missed an opportunity to build up RNO as a West Coast hub, because realistically, there is absolutely no way whatsoever that RNO could ever be a viable major regional hub for any major airline. The market is just way, way, too small.

Now, what has been discussed repeatedly here and elsewhere is whether AA missed an opportunity (again) to fully capitalize on the RNO hub at SJC - which was, their name notwithstanding, actually their largest and by far most important hub. On the flip side, however, it is also in fairness important to remember that AA came into the SJC hub at almost the exact wrong time: right at the end of 1999, going into 2000, just as the economy was starting to slow and right before the tech bubble burst.


User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6428 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 4457 times:

Quoting FlyPIJets (Reply 2):
One challenge on the west coast is the capture the north south traffic flow. I think one advantage for the purchase of QQ was for that reason, and RNO is actually pretty sweet for a hub operation to capture north south flow sans the major O and D non-stops.

And do what, steal traffic form AS ans UA?

I always thought that UA's hub at SFO was wierd, until I see all the people lined up at the UA ticket counter at PDX in the morning, heading down to California...



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User currently offlineAS739X From United States of America, joined Apr 2003, 6194 posts, RR: 24
Reply 9, posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 4413 times:

American has lots of north-south west coast traffic. It's called Alaska Airlines codeshare. They have no reason to fly their jets N-S. RNO would have been a money loser from day one. If you can not make SJC work (population of 975,000), you can't get RNO (190,000) to work.

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 8):

How is United's SFO hub weird? +20 flight to Hawaii and Asia

ASSFO



"Some pilots avoid storm cells and some play connect the dots!"
User currently offlineFrontierflyer From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 216 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 4342 times:

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 8):
Quoting FlyPIJets (Reply 2):


I always thought that UA's hub at SFO was wierd, until I see all the people lined up at the UA ticket counter at PDX in the morning, heading down to California...

RNO is no SFO.


User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6428 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 4319 times:

Quoting AS739X (Reply 9):
How is United's SFO hub weird? +20 flight to Hawaii and Asia

ASSFO

Well, for one, it's not geographically centered, the only hubbing it can do (for domestic ops, anyways  Wink ) is capturing West Coast travellers going north to south or vice-versa.

I know it is a major hub for UA's pacific operation, however JFK has many Europe flights on AA, and is not really an AA hub...



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineAS739X From United States of America, joined Apr 2003, 6194 posts, RR: 24
Reply 12, posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 4178 times:

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 11):

CO/EWR
UA/IAD
DL/ATL
AA/JFK

None of these are centrally located for domestic flight. I'm not trying to argue, but it just make sense to me why SFO is any different from these other cities. All have a very distinctive purpose. And in United's case for SFO/IAD is it centrally located for domestic to tran-Pac/Atlantic flights.

ASSFO



"Some pilots avoid storm cells and some play connect the dots!"
User currently offlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3494 posts, RR: 46
Reply 13, posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 4084 times:

Quoting FlyPIJets (Reply 2):
One challenge on the west coast is the capture the north south traffic flow. I think one advantage for the purchase of QQ was for that reason, and RNO is actually pretty sweet for a hub operation to capture north south flow sans the major O and D non-stops.

Location alone does not make a hub successful.

Quoting Commavia (Reply 7):
Now, what has been discussed repeatedly here and elsewhere is whether AA missed an opportunity (again) to fully capitalize on the RNO hub at SJC

I disagree since AA tried unsuccessfully to make SJC a hub. The market simply will not support a N/S west coast hub. IOW, why would you spend an extra hour (or more) to make a connection when direct non-stop flights are available for the same or nearly the same price? Bottom line is the N/S west coast market is, and always has been, a low-fare market. Adding the cost of a second flight (both $$$ and time) simply makes a N/S hub on the west coast inefficient... too much direct competition.

Quoting AS739X (Reply 9):
American has lots of north-south west coast traffic. It's called Alaska Airlines codeshare. They have no reason to fly their jets N-S. RNO would have been a money loser from day one.

CORRECT. That is EXACTLY what AA has been after since before I was hired (OC purchase). Back then they called it the "Halo Effect." No need to fly the routes themselves, but get the AAdvantage program in there and pickup those pax _when_ they want to fly east-west. The OC purchase was because the two competing "halo effect" capable airlines (OC & PSA) went up for sale. Years later AA had a marketing deal with QQ (the "halo effect" again) that both were happy with. But QQ management put QQ up for sale, and AA management purchased QQ to keep the AAdvantage members flying AA (rather than competitors).

Quoting AS739X (Reply 12):
AA/JFK

JFK is NOT a hub city for AA. Never has been.



*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 47
Reply 14, posted (7 years 1 month 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 3949 times:

Actually, even Reno Air apparently had a hard time making Reno viable as a hub-hence why they sold out. Of course a lot of that debate stems from whether it was despite the hub or because of it; although Reno Air was a great airline (at least in the beginning) from both a fare and service perspective, they were a sort of oddball carrier. Not only were they in and out of over two dozen cities, but many of their routes just didn't make sense: LAS-COS, LAX-TUL, LAX-TVL, ANC-FAI, to name just a few. And then there was that whole Gulf Coast Flyer debacle, which was completely truncated from the rest of the QQ network. The airline just wasn't able to establish and keep a profitable niche. Frankly, I'm surprised they lasted as long as they did. I'm sure that the SJC hub (opened in summer of '93) definitely bought them some time. Had they not jumped on that AA opportunity, I don't think QQ would've survived into the second Clinton term.

But then again....keep one other thing in mind. Reno Air was, for all intents and purposes, a carbon copy of Midway I (right down to the original stylized aircraft logo), ran by pretty much all of the same people. They couldn't make MDW work. And they had some pretty prime airport space and geographic location (O/D traffic) in their favor. What made them think they could make Reno work?

I guess as noted above, AA wanted to preserve some AAdvantage customers, being they handed over many of their prime SJC and SNA routes to QQ (which, incidentally, was the primary route that the M90's were purchased for and used on). With the late 1990's economic and Dotcom booms, I guess they wanted those routes and customers back. And QQ was all too happy to comply.

And as for the failed chance when they completed the ill fated AirCal buyout?

That's another story.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
MD-Didn't want it, didn't need it, but got it before someone else did

[Edited 2007-10-31 16:51:13]

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