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The Future Of FAT  
User currently offlineQXatFAT From Israel, joined Feb 2006, 2405 posts, RR: 5
Posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 2665 times:

Hello everyone,

I was just wondering what the future of FAT just might be? I walked in yesterday to pick up my girlfriend on her flight from DTW via LAS and saw lots of construction! I have not been home for awhile and just got home myself. Are they expanding the airport or are they just trying to update the ticketing area?

Also, what will the future be of some of the routes that XE is currently flying? (LGB, ONT, SAN). Is FAT in the works to be getting new service? I know that before DL was looking at flying ATL-FAT and rumors have always had FAT on WN's idea list.

Just wondering here,

QXatFAT


Don't Tread On Me!
16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 2585 times:

FAT will come through just fine. While there might be spill-over to LAX and SFO, it is still a draw from the rest of the central valley that is surviving while other airports, such as BFL, are drastic decline.

Located halfway between SMF/Bay Area airports (SFO, OAK, & SJC) and the Los Angeles region, FAT is generating enough business traffic that finds a 4+ hour drive from northern and southern California to keep most of its traffic.

Compare that to BFL which is just too close to LAX for its own good - it will be losing GDL, SLC, SAN, SMF, and LAS very soon, with cutbacks on SFO, LAX, PHX, and DEN. Even the Airport Bus Of Bakersfield is cutting down from seven to five the number of roundtrips to LAX.

As for ExpressJet routes, Horizon should be the one coming in with their Q400's on intra-California routes. XE might have had a chance if fuel hadn't doubled, but now jets simply can't make money on shorter routes like this. Until someone comes along who can fly these routes economically, I wouldn't count on anyone filling the void anytime soon.



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 offlineFATFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2001, 5844 posts, RR: 28
Reply 2, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 2508 times:



Quoting QXatFAT (Thread starter):
I was just wondering what the future of FAT just might be? I walked in yesterday to pick up my girlfriend on her flight from DTW via LAS and saw lots of construction! I have not been home for awhile and just got home myself. Are they expanding the airport or are they just trying to update the ticketing area?

Several projects going on.

Outside they are building a consolidated car rental area. It will include covered parking for the ready cars, great for rain and hear. The canopies will have solar panels to generate power for the airport.

Baggage claim is being redone. The existing luggage belts will be removed and new larger ones installed. All rental car companies will get new counters.

In the ticketing lobby there will be major changes.

AA is moving to join the other airlines, so every airline will be in one spot.

The airport is installing common use terminals (CUTE) which will allow sharing of check-in positions.

The current AA ticket area will become a meet and greet area and a conference room.

Behind the ticket counters will be a common bag make-up room to allow TSA screening.

Near TSA screening they will remodel. The stainless steel column look will come out. Instead support columns will be wrapped with artificial sequoia trees made by NatureMaker. The area will take on the look of the Sierras.



"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
User currently onlineWhatUsaid From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 667 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 2478 times:

FAT as an airport is certainly a mess due to the construction. Until XE pulled the plug on branded, we've been watching other airports take a hit while we'd escaped.

XE had been scheduled to pick up one of the 3X to SLC for DL in September, now, we wait to see if we'll go back to Skywest on all 3X or that we'll be down to 2X to SLC. Loads are always decent, you'd wonder if they wouldn't look at reduced frequency with '900s?

MX LF is either up or down. One month, decent loads, the next not good at all. But, the load factor doesn't really tell the true story on this route to GDL, given that we're now 7X per week as compared to 5X and the aircraft were upgraded to 320's. From what I hear, the actual number of passengers on the GDL route is steady. All things considered with the economy, that's about the most we can ask for.

G4 should be improving its position in the market as US scales back its LAS capacity.

The big question is SAN. XE was putting about 120 pax a day on their 3X to SAN. If there's no non-stop replacement, that traffic will vanish. The cost of flying to SAN on the other carriers simply takes air travel out of consideration. QX has a good reputation and name recognition in FAT and 2X on Q's would certainly be welcomed. My gut feel is that most of the FAT-SAN traffic is leisure or business on multiple day trips. I find the number of same-day RT travel to be perhaps 10% of any flight that I've flown. Thus, I wonder if G4 could run a 1X, say on peak travel days, and make it work. If the leisure segment is large enough, they could add incremental flying on their BLI-SAN days. Just a (hopeful) thought. (Anyone at G4 listening here?)


User currently offlineFATFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2001, 5844 posts, RR: 28
Reply 4, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 2427 times:



Quoting WhatUsaid (Reply 3):
My gut feel is that most of the FAT-SAN traffic is leisure or business on multiple day trips. I find the number of same-day RT travel to be perhaps 10% of any flight that I've flown. Thus, I wonder if G4 could run a 1X, say on peak travel days, and make it work. If the leisure segment is large enough, they could add incremental flying on their BLI-SAN days. Just a (hopeful) thought. (Anyone at G4 listening here?)

I would think that FAT-SAN would be appealing to Allegiant, although they need to increase the number of hotels they offer in San Diego for leisure packages, right now I think they offer 6 hotels down there.

I always thought FAT-SAN would be a nice choice for a potential route for WN if they opened Fresno. But given the industry these days, I now don't see Southwest entering Fresno for many years.



"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
User currently offlineSANFan From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 5592 posts, RR: 12
Reply 5, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 2242 times:



Quoting WhatUsaid (Reply 3):
The big question is SAN. XE was putting about 120 pax a day on their 3X to SAN.



Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 4):
I would think that FAT-SAN would be appealing to Allegiant.

I thought I'd weigh in on this topic - from the other end of the city-pair.  Wink

I certainly agree that SAN-FAT is certainly a high point of the XE "experiment" -- one that I truly hope is not lost. I remember about a year or so ago having a discussion or 2 here on A.net about maybe AQ adding a SAN-FAT tag-on to their OGG-SAN flight, etc., etc. etc.

Then came XE and the route grew and service expanded. In September, as WhatUSaid suggested, we will see the traffic between the 2 cities "disappear" back into LA-leakage and the I-5/99 corridor if nobody else steps in to serve the route. And, UEx and its fares and long flight times will again be the only game in town.

Certainly QX and G4 are the most logical and hopeful cx to step in and fly the route. I wonder if Allegiant really would consider entering such a market and offering what, maybe 2 flights per weekday, in order to serve the business travelers. It seems doubtful but we'll have to see how G4 does in SAN and if we see any expansion materialize at Lindbergh.

QX would seem to be the best option of providing service, frequency, equipment and pricing that would assure success of the service. When AS/QX secured a third gate at Lindbergh Field in early 2007, the word was that it might be primarily to allow for Horizon expansion. FAT would certainly be a good start for an increased and very welcome presence of QX at SAN! (The history of Horizon's service at Lindbergh is not very impressive...)

I've got my fingers crossed that our hopes are realized and that there is not a long break (after August) in nonstop service offered between SAN and FAT.

bb


User currently onlineWhatUsaid From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 667 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 2181 times:

Looking at the XE June stats and their 79% LF for branded, you can't help but wonder, if fuel had not been a factor, what the future would have been for expanded P2P service in the West.

I'd hope that the Fresno business community gets behind QX. I don't think that Skywest can come in any do "at risk" to SAN with an EMB120 and maintain the route, but these days, who knows. I'm actually waiting for Vision to come to our rescue....yea, right.


User currently offlineHondah35 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 119 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 2136 times:

I'm not sure what further construction they need to do there at FAT, I don't think anybody could make a case that they don't have enough space.......even at the height of their service levels the new concourse never was that crowded. Maybe the bag claim could use an expansion, but I hope they go pencils down before wasting anymore taxpayer money.

User currently offlineQXatFAT From Israel, joined Feb 2006, 2405 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 2117 times:

It seems that if they allow the long break for flights from FAT to SAN, that any company that starts up the route would be starting out slow as people will still continue to drive, train, or use other flights. I feel that it would take a little bit of time to build back up the pax that were flying on XE for this flight.

I have a few friends from here in Madera (right outside of Fresno) that go to UCSD and CSUSD and fly on XE to come home for Fathers Day, Christmas, Mothers Day, and other hollidays that are short too because the cost for them to go round trip can be as low as $120! I believe that in order to get the pax that XE was taking to SAN, you need to have comparable prices flying there. No one can come in here and charge $110 O/W and expect the people going there for a Friday and Saturday night to continue going at that price. It was a nice vacation for a weekend where your plane tickets were just as cheap as 2 night stay at a nice hotel.

As for XE's service to ONT, I dont believe that the traffic at FAT will ever warrant another L.A. area flight. I know of only two people that used this flight once a week. Their banks headquarters were 2 miles from the ONT airport or something like this. They could take the early morning flight to be there for a meeting and then flight back on the late afternoon flight. Once they got rid of it, they slowed down the travel on XE to ONT because they did not want to spend a night every week in ONT.

Expansion out of FAT with new airlines is hard to see it seems like. It would be interesting to see the numbers for people still flying on AA, UA, or US that continue on to Mexico tourist destinations still. Some of us thought PVR would have been a big flight out of FAT but could travel have really slowed down already for that with the cost of everything? And as for G4 doing the SAN flight, could they even fill 2 planes a day or make a profit on this flight? Thats a lot of pax to take those planes.

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 2):
Baggage claim is being redone. The existing luggage belts will be removed and new larger ones installed. All rental car companies will get new counters.

This is a joke over there right now. One belt for all airlines! I had to wait for two other planes before ours came up! The AA bird from DFW was before so 100 pax there and the UAx flight also and then of course the US A319 that came in took awhile to get to my girlfriends luggage.



Don't Tread On Me!
User currently offlineLAXintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 26128 posts, RR: 50
Reply 9, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 2076 times:



Quoting WhatUsaid (Reply 6):
Looking at the XE June stats and their 79% LF for branded, you can't help but wonder, if fuel had not been a factor, what the future would have been for expanded P2P service in the West.

Fuel is not what killed XE branded. It was hopelesly high CASM using RJs and a significant RASM deficit.

I posted this in another thread, as its rather easy to prove that even if fuel would have stayed at pre branded levels from Q1 2007, they would have been taking massive losses. Additionaly note, XE was quite well insulated from fuel cost having the majority of 2008 its fuel hedged at quite signficant discount off current market rates.



Here are the numbers taken from 10Q filings.
We can use the Q1 2007 Avg Cost Gal $2.10 which can serve as our baseline

02Q07 -
XJT Net Loss - $26.4mil
Branded Fuel Cost $2.21 so premium was $0.11 X 9.9mil gallons consumed = $1.1mil added cost

03Q07
XJT Net Loss - $22.3mil
Branded Fuel Cost $2.40 so premium was $0.20 X 18.7mil gals consumed = $3.7mil added fuel cost

04Q07
XJT Net Loss - $31.6mil
Branded Fuel Cost $2.52 so a premium of $0.42 X 18.1mil gals consumed = $7.6mil added fuel cost

01Q08
XJT Net Loss - $31.3mil
Branded Fuel Cost $2.70 so premium was $0.60 X 17.1mil gals consumed = $10.3mil added fuel cost

So XJT racked up $111.6mil losses over 4 quarters, which would have simply been reduced by some $22.7mil if fuel had remanded at where it was prior to launching branded.
XJT would no mater what be posting substation losses even if fuel had remained at $2.10 USG.


Also lets not forget, XJT had most of its 2008 fuel hedged -- quote from its annual report
As of December 31, 2007, we had committed to purchase 15.1 million gallons, or 85% of our anticipated Branded Flying fuel needs for the first quarter of 2008, at a weighted average price per gallon of $2.40, excluding taxes and into-plane fees. Additionally, we have committed to purchase 11.9 million gallons for the second quarter of 2008, 9.0million gallons for the third quarter of 2008, and 6.0 million gallons for the fourth quarter of 2008.
So the carrier was actualy quite insulated from the recent fuel spike.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineFATFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2001, 5844 posts, RR: 28
Reply 10, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 2031 times:



Quoting SANFan (Reply 5):
Certainly QX and G4 are the most logical and hopeful cx to step in and fly the route. I wonder if Allegiant really would consider entering such a market and offering what, maybe 2 flights per weekday, in order to serve the business travelers. It seems doubtful but we'll have to see how G4 does in SAN and if we see any expansion materialize at Lindbergh.

I would not see G4 do 2X a day, probably only once a day for leisure traffic.

Quoting Hondah35 (Reply 7):
Maybe the bag claim could use an expansion, but I hope they go pencils down before wasting anymore taxpayer money.

I don't think that they are wasting money. FAT has been running at about a 9% increase in traffic this year. It has shown growth rates above the national average every year since 2002.

The existing projects are all designed to be more efficient in the existing space. With the installation of common check-in terminals underway, the airlines will not need large exclusive ticketing areas. Behind the scenes work is being done for TSA bag screening.

The only project remaining is replacement of the old 1 story concourse area, it dates back to the 1960s/70s. But that is not on any plan for quite a while.

Quoting QXatFAT (Reply 8):
As for XE's service to ONT, I dont believe that the traffic at FAT will ever warrant another L.A. area flight.

FAT-ONT was never a big seller, even in the old days when Skywest flew it.

FAT-BUR used to do decent.

BUT FAT-SNA always seemed to do fairly well.

Quoting QXatFAT (Reply 8):
Some of us thought PVR would have been a big flight out of FAT but could travel have really slowed down already for that with the cost of everything?

The airport has been together the numbers for FAT to different Mexican resort areas. They will present those to airlines to try to gain service. Quite a few people are still travelling. We just returned from Cancun and have discovered a number of people from the area who also went or are going there this year. Then I know several people who went to Hawaii in spite of gas prices.

I believe that since Fresno has a lower real estate foreclosure rate than many areas that the local economy is down a little but not horrible.



"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
User currently offlineFATFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2001, 5844 posts, RR: 28
Reply 11, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 2011 times:



Quoting LAXintl (Reply 9):
significant RASM deficit.

The RASM just points out to me that they should have been pruning nonperforming routes much quicker. Keeping routes that were only at 20-some% loads as long as they did was a mistake that hurt.

Especially given rising fuel prices I think management made the mistake of not admitting some routes were not working. Large number of cities and routes should have been gone at the 3 to 6 month point.

The system should have been refocused on a smaller network that MIGHT have stood a chance.



"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
User currently offlineQXatFAT From Israel, joined Feb 2006, 2405 posts, RR: 5
Reply 12, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 1870 times:



Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 10):
The only project remaining is replacement of the old 1 story concourse area, it dates back to the 1960s/70s. But that is not on any plan for quite a while

But what would really need to be updated here? Maybe boarding stations? There is only so much you could do to update that section. All the prop planes and smaller jets do not hook up here and require pax to just walk out the door. I will say that FAT is just a beautiful airport to me but they could over do it one some projects. They need to watch all that they do. First get some contracts for flights, then expand some things at the airport. Sure you need to do some construction before a flight comes in but in all honesty, what NEW destinations could FAT really use? Possibly ORD but then SFO and DEN loads might drop as well as unless it was served by AA. I say bring in CO to IAH and lets see some comp. from the Lone Star State.

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 10):
a number of people from the area who also went or are going there this year.

Thats real good to hear!

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 10):
I believe that since Fresno has a lower real estate foreclosure rate than many areas that the local economy is down a little but not horrible.

This is true but looking at the income of a lot of people here in the Fresno area, high fuel prices could cut down maybe. Also, the GDL flights might see a drop in flights by the hispanic community because their money goes to the gas. That opinion is coming from my Hispanic extended family as they do not travel much the past year because of prices. They have done th GDL flight but say they can no longer afford it which in return cuts down my dad deciding to go to Mexico because he does not want to leave his extended family here.



Don't Tread On Me!
User currently offlineFATFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2001, 5844 posts, RR: 28
Reply 13, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 1765 times:



Quoting QXatFAT (Reply 12):
But what would really need to be updated here? Maybe boarding stations? There is only so much you could do to update that section.

The long term plan (and I mean long term, no time soon) is to eventually replace it with a 2 story section. I understand the basic idea is to create both second level and ground level gates. They would also be able to add office space for airlines and TSA.

Don't forget that the gate areas are small, only 40 seats or so at some gates, they would be cramped for large turboprops like Q400s or whatever replaces small RJs. Since high load factors and long waits are becoming the norm, passenger seating areas will increase in importance. And that section of concourse is very energy inefficient because of its age.

But again it is long term, nothing that I have heard about happening in the next few years in the city budgets.

Quoting QXatFAT (Reply 12):
Also, the GDL flights might see a drop in flights by the hispanic community because their money goes to the gas.

I used MX to GDL a few weeks ago to go to CUN. FAT-GDL flights both ways were full, only 2 or 3 empty seats each way. I spoke with other passengers who came down from Modesto, almost a 2 hour drive to FAT.

Since BFL lost its GDL flights I expect FAT-GDL will pick up some passengers from areas north of Bakersfield like Delano, Tulare, Hanford, etc.



"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
User currently onlineWhatUsaid From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 667 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 1700 times:



Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 13):
Since BFL lost its GDL flights I expect FAT-GDL will pick up some passengers from areas north of Bakersfield like Delano, Tulare, Hanford, etc.

I'd expect to see that same as well.

Has anyone run the Mexican O&D stats recently? I know the LF as reported by FAT is a little misleading. Am curious as to actual number of passengers flying the route since the move from 5X to 7X per week. Loads were down (way down) in May, but the number of departures are up, so, traffic may be steady, maybe not.


User currently offlineQXatFAT From Israel, joined Feb 2006, 2405 posts, RR: 5
Reply 15, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 1646 times:



Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 13):
Don't forget that the gate areas are small, only 40 seats or so at some gates, they would be cramped for large turboprops like Q400s or whatever replaces small RJs.

Well cant these planes be boarded by jetway in the upper level?

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 13):
I used MX to GDL a few weeks ago to go to CUN. FAT-GDL flights both ways were full, only 2 or 3 empty seats each way. I spoke with other passengers who came down from Modesto, almost a 2 hour drive to FAT.

I would say lets see what the load factors are in a 1 to 2 months. Seeing that people do book tickets in advance. After the effects of the high fuel prices and cost of food here in the area, flights just my slow down. I am in no way hopeing that this happens but just want to be on the cautious side.

By the way, I have not heard about this but how have the loads to DEN being doing? With F9 been gone now for awhile, have UAx loads gone up?


This is a good topic guys! Thanks for all of the information as well as opinions on situations!



Don't Tread On Me!
User currently offlineFATFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2001, 5844 posts, RR: 28
Reply 16, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 1596 times:



Quoting QXatFAT (Reply 15):
Well cant these planes be boarded by jetway in the upper level?

They can. Which is why at some point in the future there will need to be more than 6 jetways. You can only turn what, about 8 or 9 flights per day on a jetway gate.

Quoting QXatFAT (Reply 15):
I would say lets see what the load factors are in a 1 to 2 months. Seeing that people do book tickets in advance. After the effects of the high fuel prices and cost of food here in the area, flights just my slow down. I am in no way hopeing that this happens but just want to be on the cautious side.

I expect some slowdown, but since BFL-GDL was cancelled some of those potential passengers will probably end up chosing FAT-GDL. It may be enough to offset most of the lost Mexicana passengers at Fresno.



"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
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