KarlB737 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 3007 posts, RR: 11 Posted (5 years 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 5889 times:
In an effort to save a little money Southwest has decided to cut the number of gates it leases at BWI. They claim that the number of flights will not change. They are going to attempt to provide the same flight service with fewer gates. Some frequent passengers are concerned that there might be a cut in service however that is not the intent. What is your take?
Southwest Air To Give Up Some Gates At BWI - Video Report Included Available
SANFan From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 5010 posts, RR: 15 Reply 2, posted (5 years 4 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 5445 times:
No surprise here, IMO. In fact, I'm surprised WN hasn't cut their real estate in BWI already.
Using the latest WN "Top-10 Stations" list dated 8-15-08 (albeit a bit old now and inaccurate but still a good reference), http://www.swamedia.com/swamedia/fact_sheet.pdf , BWI is by far the most "over-gated" of WN's top cities:
LAX = ~12 flts/gate/day
LAS, SAN = ~ 11 flts/gate/day
OAK, DAL = ~ 10 flts/gate/day
MDW, PHX, HOU, MCO = ~ 8 flts/gate/day
and BWI = ~ 6 flts/gate/day!
Whether there was expected growth that hasn't materialized, or just availability at a cheap price once-upon-a-time, or maybe WN has been able to tighten up on boarding efficiency at enough other stations to realize that 6 flts/gate is WAY low today, it's about time they save some $$ at BWI.
Seeing that LAX, for example, uses their 11 gates twice as efficiently as BWI is pretty revealing and I remain surprised that the WN bean-counters didn't do something about this a year or more ago.
DCA-ROCguy From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 4424 posts, RR: 35 Reply 3, posted (5 years 4 weeks ago) and read 5327 times:
A bit of history: BWI planned the expansion of Terminal A before 9/11, as part of a big package of improvements. The B concourse extension was finished first, then they started working on the current massive Southwest landside terminal and A-gate area. When these buildings were planned, AirTran did not serve BWI. They only served IAD in the DC-Baltimore metro-glom.
Even after AirTran entered BWI in the fall of 2001, I think WN was still counting on even more growth at BWI than has happened, as SANFan speculates. Also, Maryland has a history of building big for tenant carriers at BWI (e.g. the current concourse D for PI and then US). The current B-concourse extension was built for WN to get around US gate squatting in D in the mid-90's, and then later, the rest of A was built to accommodate big WN growth.
And of course, the spate of legacy-carrier bankruptcies in 2003 allowed them to slim down their costs some, which put them on a better (though still not equal) cost footing in relation to Southwest--which may have affected WN's BWI buildup. I also wonder if WN wasn't considering PHL yet when the BWI A-B buildings were being planned, and was counting on continuing to draw people from there. Also, I wonder if WN's move into DEN, IAD, PHL may have taken planes that perhaps at one point could have been put into existing major stations like BWI.
According to the article, WN hasn't decided how many BWI gates they will give up; out of 26 current gates, I'll bet not more than 5 or 7. I doubt they're done growing altogether, and at 162 flights as of August, why shoehorn themselves into 11-12 dailies per gate when they don't have to? 20 gates would raise them to 8-9 dailies per gate but not turn BWI into an East Coast version of the LAX station.
Also, unless there's something big I've missed, it's unlikely anyone is going to come knocking for any gates WN vacates. The legacy carriers aren't doing big expansions at BWI, and AirTran has room to grow if needed in D. So if WN does want the gates back at some point, they'll probably be readily available.
777fan From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 2442 posts, RR: 3 Reply 4, posted (5 years 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 4335 times:
Quoting DCA-ROCguy (Reply 3): A bit of history: BWI planned the expansion of Terminal A before 9/11, as part of a big package of improvements.
I used to love flying UA's presence at BWI prior to the expansion. They ran out of the A "concourse" which consisted of gates A-1 and A-2. The waiting area was so small but made for easy access as it was the first drop off area on the upper level loop. Moreover, it was so close to the curb that smokers could pop out and grab a puff in a matter of minutes. IIRC, there used to be a decent microbrew pub between the A and B hallway. The A concourse is really convenient for flight arrivals too, as it sits on the end of 15/33 which is typically BWI's most active runway.
Quoting DCA-ROCguy (Reply 3): According to the article, WN hasn't decided how many BWI gates they will give up; out of 26 current gates, I'll bet not more than 5 or 7.
Fair use: "Southwest's plan to reduce its lease at BWI from 26 gates to 20 gates represents a scaling back of long-term expansion prospects in Maryland. In 2005, the airport opened a $264 million terminal dedicated solely to Southwest, which planned to use the extra capacity to expand its offerings. "
Quoting DCA-ROCguy (Reply 3): Also, unless there's something big I've missed, it's unlikely anyone is going to come knocking for any gates WN vacates.
Yeah, seriously. There are plenty of underused gates in the B, C, and D concourses (we won't even talk about the international pier!); even if the demand was there, who would want to move in next to WN? They'd not only be dwarfed by their ops, but in reality, would be staring their competition in the face.
Long term, BWI is likely to contract even further before it expands. It's likely that WN's traffic levels will remain steady while the majors' further reduce their capacity: most of AA's flights are now handled by AE, NW/DL will probably squeeze a couple of flights out of their ops as the merger moves forward, while UA and CO continue to cozy up (I don't think it's a concidence that their D concourse gates are across from one another). BWI was once a hub for US but nowadays their long term viability is probably in question (they still occupy half of the D concourse).
I dunno if there's another carrier that would have any interest in BWI that isn't already there. Seems to me that BWI doesn't have the glitz, glamour and allure that B6 and VX would require. Likewise, most international carriers simply opt to use IAD for obvious reasons (I still think BWI's international ops could grow - refer to my comments about GYY in other threads).
Atlanta From United States of America, joined Jun 2008, 473 posts, RR: 1 Reply 5, posted (5 years 3 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 4036 times:
Quoting 777fan (Reply 4): dunno if there's another carrier that would have any interest in BWI that isn't already there. Seems to me that BWI doesn't have the glitz, glamour and allure that B6 and VX would require.
VX doesn't need glitz and glamour, Hell they can't even afford O'Hare.
Welcome To The New Delta- The World's Largest Airline
There is no question that the growth of WN in PHL and IAD as well as WN's closer-to-average fare level has reduced traffic at BWI. DCA also has fares that are closer to reasonable than they used to be, and that affects BWI as well. Every domestic concourse except A is currently underutilized and, of course, the "international" E concourse is pure governmental conceit.
If at some future time WN does launch international service from BWI, those A-to-E connections should be fun (think of O.J. Simpson in the old sprinting-through-the-airport ads). Maybe they'll scrap the existing E operation and put a small FIS in the A concourse.
777fan From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 2442 posts, RR: 3 Reply 7, posted (5 years 3 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 3609 times:
Quoting MasseyBrown (Reply 6): There is no question that the growth of WN in PHL and IAD as well as WN's closer-to-average fare level has reduced traffic at BWI.
I'm not sure that WN is actually reducing the number of flights at BWI, but rather reducing the turn times at their gates which will allow them to save some moolah by freeing up six gates.
Quoting MasseyBrown (Reply 6): Every domestic concourse except A is currently underutilized and, of course, the "international" E concourse is pure governmental conceit.
Eh, the D concourse sees a decent amount of traffic but yes, when compared to the A concourse (even after WN's reconfig), it's relatively underutilized. The international pier is at times, an oxymoron. I can actually recall departing from an E gate on a BWI-LAS flight on American West back in 2002. Nowadays, it seems it's served by little more than the Air Jamaica run, the token BA flight, and some MAC charters. Sad, but not surprising, and I highly doubt the current gaggle of anti-business, anti-clue clowns in Annapolis will be want or able to do anything about it for quite some time.
MasseyBrown From United States of America, joined Dec 2002, 4987 posts, RR: 7 Reply 8, posted (5 years 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 3531 times:
Quoting 777fan (Reply 7): I'm not sure that WN is actually reducing the number of flights at BWI,
I should have been clearer - WN's annual passenger increase in 2008 compared to 2005 at BWI is less than half their gain at PHL/IAD. On an annual basis, BWI is up about 1.5 million, while PHL/IAD combined are up about 4 million. The percentages don't work very well, since PHL started at a low level and IAD at 0, but it seems fair to say that their BWI numbers would be much greater without the other airports drawing traffic where their catchments overlap. I'd guess BWI is underperforming by a million or more pax from the plan at the time the construction of A was begun.
As possible good news, BWI in the 1990s was a passengers' delight to fly through; maybe it can return to those days better days.
SANFan From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 5010 posts, RR: 15 Reply 9, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 3212 times:
Just to update the numbers, the 2-15-09 schedule, for example, shows BWI with 151 (weekday) flights so the 26 gates would each be handling 5.8 flights/day; if they have only the 20 gates, they would still be at only 7.5 flts/gate.
I would expect the number of flights will increase next summer but in any case, 20 gates would still allow plenty of expansion.
Quoting DCA-ROCguy (Reply 3): Also, unless there's something big I've missed, it's unlikely anyone is going to come knocking for any gates WN vacates... So if WN does want the gates back at some point, they'll probably be readily available.