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Was Original Airtran Ever Profitable?  
User currently offline727LOVER From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 6437 posts, RR: 17
Posted (6 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 2017 times:

Reading these recent Skybus threads, a lot of people brought up focusing on Orlando market from secondary markets or secondary airports. I believe this sounds a lot like the original Airtran. Were they ever profitable? How long were they flying? What about them attracted Valujet?


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Listen Betty, don't start up with your 'White Zone' s*** again.
10 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineEXAAUADL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (6 years 5 months 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 2001 times:

Well I think the operating certificate plus name is what attracted Valujet plus some 737s that werent as old as their DC-9s

User currently offlinePHLBOS From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 7521 posts, RR: 23
Reply 2, posted (6 years 5 months 2 weeks ago) and read 1939 times:



Quoting 727LOVER (Thread starter):
How long were they flying?

IIRC, they started flying in 1994. The original FL was actually an off-shoot from XJ.

Quoting 727LOVER (Thread starter):
How long were they flying?

Roughly 3 years pre-J7.

Quoting 727LOVER (Thread starter):
What about them attracted Valujet?

Actually, it was the other way around. J7 sought to buy FL. Unsure of the exact reason, but If nothing else; acquiring another carrier (and keeping their name) was the best way to shed the negative press and jabs that J7 received following the 1996 crash of Flight 592 (and to get out of the late-night comedian's radar). After the crash (and brief shutdown), many outside of ATL were hesitant/reluctant to fly J7.



"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
User currently offlineN702ML From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 1839 times:

I spoke to a friend of mine who worked for the original AirTran and when I asked him: "Was the original AirTran ever profitable?" His response was: "I'm not 100% sure, but I don't think so."

The information i could find was that AirTran began operations on October 6, 1994.

In July 1997 ValuJet decided to spend $61.8 million to acquire AirWays Corp, owner of AirTran Airways.

On September 24, 1997, ValuJet became AirTran Airlines and the two airlines were operated under one brand with the same FL designator.

For a time, ValuJet operations were operated as AirTran Airlines and original AirTran operations were conducted as AirTran Airways.

There are multiple AirTran route maps here (both pre-merger and post-merger):

http://www.departedflights.com/routemaps1b.html

Here are some brochures from the original AirTran:

http://www.departedflights.com/FLsmiles.html

http://www.departedflights.com/FLbrochure.html

According to an original AirTran timetable dated September 1997, Orlando departures were as follows:

To Akron/Canton
Flight 720 Departed 9:40am Daily

To Albany
Flight 500 Departed 5:05pm Daily

To Allentown
Flight 560 Departed 2:15pm Daily

To Bloomington
Flight 740 Departed 7:00pm Daily

To Boston
Flight 567 Departed 2:15pm Daily (1-stop via Allentown)
Flight 680 Departed 3:10pm Daily (1-stop via Islip)

To Buffalo
Flight 552 Departed 11:10am Daily (1-stop via Rochester)

To Cincinnati
Flight 702 Departed 3:55pm Daily

To Dayton
Flight 704 Departed 10:35am Daily (1-stop via Toledo)

To Des Moines
Flight 930 Departed 11:20am MonThuSatOnly
Flight 921 Departed 11:20am WedFriSunOnly (1-stop via Moline)

To Greensboro
Flight 670 Departed 7:30pm Daily

To Greenville
Flight 630 Departed 4:45pm Daily

To Harrisburg
Flight 580 Departed 11:05am Daily

To Islip
Flight 590 Departed 3:10pm Daily

To Kansas City
Flight 830 Departed 6:35pm Daily

To Knoxville
Flight 620 Departed 8:35pm Daily

To Moline
Flight 931 Departed 11:20am MonThuSatOnly (1-stop via Des Moines)
Flight 920 Departed 11:20am WedFriSunOnly

To Newburgh
Flight 532 Departed 8:15pm Daily

To Norfolk
Flight 642 Departed 12:50pm Daily (1-stop via Richmond)

To Omaha
Flight 832 Departed 6:35pm Daily (1-stop via Kansas City)

To Richmond
Flight 650 Departed 12:50pm Daily

To Rochester
Flight 570 Departed 11:10am Daily

To Syracuse
Flight 540 Departed 12:20pm Daily

To Toledo
Flight 730 Departed 10:35am Daily


User currently offlineAcvitale From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 922 posts, RR: 10
Reply 4, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 1736 times:

The original Air Tran was spun off from Mesaba and was profitable after the first 14 months of operations.

It was profitable when the reverse merger occurred.


User currently offlineCitrusCritter From Pitcairn Islands, joined May 2007, 1104 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 1734 times:

A better question might be "is an airline based heavily on a vacation focus city today" profitable? That airline would be Allegiant (G4) and the answer would be "yes."


TLH
User currently offlineFlyboy7974 From United States of America, joined Jan 2003, 1540 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 1618 times:

CitrusCritter - great point made, and last week USAToday illustrated that same point that with all the criticism sometimes made about Allegiant, the paper showed a small chart with fuel prices going up, and which airlines would profit/lose at different levels of the cost of fuel, and at the highest cost, I think it was $160 a barrel, the only two airlines not to lose money were Southwest and Allegiant. Southwest would break even and Allegiant would be the only airline to make a profit at that level. I've been trying to get on the usatoday page to find that small chart but it's saying down for service, maybe it's just being uploaded with next day topics, but, interesting enough that Allegiant has found and can maintain their niche in the commercial market through the years.

After ValuJet592 happened, I spent a week working with the airline because so many of my friends from school had gotten jobs with them and it was just a real young, fun airline that had been doing so well. While originally an entire summer was suppose to be the internship, for obvious reasons that was scrapped and I was able to get a week in with the airline in all areas in Atlanta. One day with diff board at a corporate office building not too far from ATL, one more day there working with routing/scheduling/crew & a/c, a day with ops, a day onsite at ATL, and one day doing inflight observation. During this whole time, there was talk of the merger and buyout and who it was, and I remember interestingly enough that a lot kept on saying ATA and didn't realize that whoever thought they knew something must have misread something at one point or another and the merger/buyout was AirTran Airways and not Amer Trans Air as most speculated. The day in the corporate building with diff board members and meetings and dept briefings, the major talk was Orlando, the airline wanted to move hq to Orlando and keep ATL as the major hub. At that point, the whole emphasis was going back to basics, they were simply focusing on rebranding. Exec knew they had the product, they knew there was a demand, it was just that the crash had completely tarnished their name and the FAA to c.y.a was so quick with the press/media to slam "low-cost" carriers after 592. ValuJet had an abundance of cash on reserve and thank God for them, somebody was taught right to put away when doing well, and they were able to sustain the turbulent times after the crash and it became apparent that operating as ValuJet would just not make it. The quickest solution to both, rebranding and initial move, was the AirTran merger.

As already mentioned here, I am almost positive that the original AirTran was profitable through a good part of their history and I think, even at the time of the buyout. Aside from this, there was a lot going on more with the Mesaba side of things and owning AirTran and Mesaba being a NWA partner. Somebody on here has to know more about that and I can't find anything right now, but, wasn't there heat from NWA about the Mesaba ownership of another airline and it being competitive against NWA on certain routes, although indirectly since NWA hubs weren't served by the original AirTran, but I thought there was something about the CEO of Mesaba or the side ownership of AirTran. The only time I was able to ever see one of their 737-200 was in MCI and I was cruising the terminals on a layover and saw the plane pulling in. Went over to the gate to watch and talked with the g/a and I forgot where they tagged the flight onto, but another airline had cxld a flight and sent pax over to AirTran and the g/a was trying to get all the paperwork figured out since they weren't use to boarding many there in MCI, I think it was to OMA or DSM or somewhere like that, but afterwards the g/a talked a bit and just raved about the airline. For that day, g/a had a paper printout of e.b.t. for flights throughout the system and overall the airline that day looked to be doing quite well and g/a said that was about norm for them, and it makes me think that maybe they had back then what Allegiant does now. Find unserved or underserved markets out of MCO and offer nonstop service which other airlines have ignored and create a niche out of a leisure market with ample demand.

I can't find, but, if correct, the aircraft was all coach, right? Did they offer any inflight service or just traditional drinks and peanuts?


User currently offline727LOVER From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 6437 posts, RR: 17
Reply 7, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 1594 times:



Quoting Flyboy7974 (Reply 6):
CitrusCritter - great point made, and last week USAToday illustrated that same point that with all the criticism sometimes made about Allegiant, the paper showed a small chart with fuel prices going up, and which airlines would profit/lose at different levels of the cost of fuel, and at the highest cost, I think it was $160 a barrel, the only two airlines not to lose money were Southwest and Allegiant. Southwest would break even and Allegiant would be the only airline to make a profit at that level. I've been trying to get on the usatoday page to find that small chart but it's saying down for service, maybe it's just being uploaded with next day topics, but, interesting enough that Allegiant has found and can maintain their niche in the commercial market through the years.

I saw that, it was an analysis from Merrill Lynch. The highest fuel was $110 a barrel. WN would have a $445 m profit and G4 would have a $3m. profit. It also said FL would break-even, but since it also said FL would have loss at lower oil prices, I believe this is not accurate.



Listen Betty, don't start up with your 'White Zone' s*** again.
User currently offlineDocChaos From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 84 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 1493 times:



Quoting N702ML (Reply 3):
Here are some brochures from the original AirTran:

http://www.departedflights.com/FLsmiles.html

http://www.departedflights.com/FLbrochure.html

That second brochure amazed me. I never knew that the original AirTran had signed a codeshare agreement with Comair to provide flying out of Orlando. I would assume that ended as a result of the Valujet purchase.

If anyone else has any more info, please share.


User currently offlineClearedDirect From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 271 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 1477 times:



Quoting DocChaos (Reply 8):
That second brochure amazed me. I never knew that the original AirTran had signed a codeshare agreement with Comair to provide flying out of Orlando.

That was the most amazing thing to me as well!


User currently offlineN702ML From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 1367 times:



Quoting 727LOVER (Reply 7):
If anyone else has any more info, please share.

Here is a quote from AirTran's 1997 annual report:

"On June 13, 1997, the Company entered into a code-sharing agreement with
Comair, a large regional airline operating flights in Florida. The
code-sharing agreement permits AirTran Airways to sell tickets to its
passengers allowing them to connect in Orlando with Comair flights
continuing on to nine other Florida destinations other than Orlando. These
tickets will be sold to passengers under the tradename "AirTran's Florida
Connection". The Company began taking reservations on June 19 and carried
its first passenger that same day."


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