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Air Tran Grows A Pair, Adds BWI MKE And IND Routes  
User currently onlineRL757PVD From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4646 posts, RR: 11
Posted (5 years 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 7040 times:

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/AirTra...ew-prnews-2946724092.html?x=0&.v=1

new routes include:
BWI-IND
BWI-MSY
Both WN routes! they finally got some balls to take on WN

Also MKE-PIT and MKE-IND


Experience is what you get when what you thought would work out didn't!
47 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineMSYtristar From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 6521 posts, RR: 51
Reply 1, posted (5 years 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 7013 times:

BWI-MSY....nice....it's about time!

WN only has one nonstop on BWI-MSY so I don't think it'd be too hard for FL to see some success on it.


User currently offlinePilotfox From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 551 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (5 years 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 6891 times:

Good to see more MKE flights, here are the times

Milwaukee Denver 893 7:55 p.m. 9:25 p.m. Daily 737
Denver Milwaukee 404 8:05 a.m. 11:20 a.m. Daily 737
Milwaukee Indianapolis 353 6:45 p.m. 8:45 p.m. Daily 717
Indianapolis Milwaukee 342 8:00 a.m. 8:00 a.m. Daily 737
Milwaukee Pittsburgh 738 6:40 p.m. 9:10 p.m. Daily 717
Pittsburgh Milwaukee 490 7:35 a.m. 8:05 a.m. Daily 717


User currently offlineKnope2001 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 2873 posts, RR: 30
Reply 3, posted (5 years 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 6830 times:

It will be interesting to see how they do head-to-head with Southwest in a non-leisure route. It's something they have pulled away from in the past.

What's interesting to me is that I fully expect people here to say this is because AirTran has lower costs now than Southwest, and that AirTran is profitable and Southwest is not. While those may be technically true (although Southwest is also expected to be profitable for the quarter just ended and the rest of the year) I don't think these items really make the diffierence:

(1) If the "difference" is that Southwest doesn't have the same cost advantage anymore (largely fuel-hedging based advantage) that they once did, I don't see how that makes them any less of an aggressive competitor on specific routes against AirTran. If AirTran added Houston-New Orleans, for example, does anyone think that Southwest would *not* compete as aggressively today because their costs are not the absolute lowest anymore? Although AirTran's costs may not have specifically matched Southwest's in the past, they have been close for quite some time.

(2) So if the "difference" is not AirTran's costs are now lower than Southwest's, then is it beause AirTran posted a profit and Southwest did not? I don't think that is it, either. AirTran lost a lot of money last year, and had some red-ink quarters here and there over the past few years. But other than last year, they have posted annual profits for several years, and I doubt that a couple of competitive challenges to Southwest would have broken the bank.

So if it is neither of these, did something else lead to a change in their stance? Perhaps it's simply a matter of facing the inevitable, that there are not all that many good opportunities at BWI left unserved by either WN or FL.


User currently offlineItalianFlyer From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 1099 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (5 years 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 6743 times:

Kind of puts a new take on WN's "It's On" promos  duck 

This will be interesting to watch, as WN and FL are encroaching on each others turf (outside of Florida) and demographics. I cant wait to see if LCC consumers choose the 'fees dont fly' (inclusive, upfront pricing) route of WN or the bells and whistles (XM radio, WiFi) approach FL is taking.


User currently offlineKnope2001 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 2873 posts, RR: 30
Reply 5, posted (5 years 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 6665 times:



Quoting Pilotfox (Reply 2):
Milwaukee Denver 893 7:55 p.m. 9:25 p.m. Daily 737
Denver Milwaukee 404 8:05 a.m. 11:20 a.m. Daily 737
Milwaukee Indianapolis 353 6:45 p.m. 8:45 p.m. Daily 717
Indianapolis Milwaukee 342 8:00 a.m. 8:00 a.m. Daily 737
Milwaukee Pittsburgh 738 6:40 p.m. 9:10 p.m. Daily 717
Pittsburgh Milwaukee 490 7:35 a.m. 8:05 a.m. Daily 717

AirTran's current MKE schedule has aircraft which end their day in Milwaukee in the 6:30pm-7:30pm range, and aircraft which don't start flying until 8:30-9:00am. The single daily MKE-PIT and MKE-IND additions are being offered by using this downtime.

The additional DEN flight is also something of a "utilization" flight because it leaves MKE in the evening as well. It does not return to Milwaukee until 11:20am the next day, so they did some shuffling to allow that. But to a great extent this expansion came from improved utilization.

I'd guess that we'll see at least some further winter expansion to sun markets. Right now they only have MKE-RSW showing once daily right up into mid-February, and that's a route they had 3x/day last year.


User currently offlineEnilria From Canada, joined Feb 2008, 7037 posts, RR: 13
Reply 6, posted (5 years 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 6641 times:



Quoting RL757PVD (Thread starter):
Also MKE-PIT and MKE-IND

It really looks like they plan to build a (banked) hub. Those are both YX routes correct? I wonder why they were chosen? They don't jump out to me as obvious next additions.


User currently offlineCrAAzy From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 771 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 6591 times:
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Quoting Enilria (Reply 6):


Quoting RL757PVD (Thread starter):
Also MKE-PIT and MKE-IND

It really looks like they plan to build a (banked) hub. Those are both YX routes correct? I wonder why they were chosen? They don't jump out to me as obvious next additions.

I wonder if they're thinking they can pull enough additional feed from IND and PIT to the west coast with the early morning bank of flights to keep all the MKE-West Coast routes going through the winter?

I don't know the numbers, but PIT/IND-MKE-SEA/SFO/LAX/LAS/DEN/PHX all sound better than back tracking to BWI or ATL. They also could capture connections to MSP and STL via MKE.


User currently offlineKnope2001 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 2873 posts, RR: 30
Reply 8, posted (5 years 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 6552 times:



Quoting Enilria (Reply 6):
It really looks like they plan to build a (banked) hub. Those are both YX routes correct? I wonder why they were chosen? They don't jump out to me as obvious next additions.

That's exactly what they're doing...flying those to feed the west coast bank. Midwest flies those with ERJ and E170, 4x/day on each (PIT goes to 4x in August). One flight per day on AirTran may work for business traffic originating in PIT and IND, but these routes will have to rely greatly on connections to fill seats.


User currently offlineLuv2cattlecall From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 1650 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (5 years 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 6524 times:
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Quoting Knope2001 (Reply 3):
(1) If the "difference" is that Southwest doesn't have the same cost advantage anymore (largely fuel-hedging based advantage) that they once did, I don't see how that makes them any less of an aggressive competitor on specific routes against AirTran. If AirTran added Houston-New Orleans, for example, does anyone think that Southwest would *not* compete as aggressively today because their costs are not the absolute lowest anymore? Although AirTran's costs may not have specifically matched Southwest's in the past, they have been close for quite some time.

WN's industry-wide cost advantage was partly hurt by the grossly unfair bankruptcy proceedings on the part of a few legacy carriers, but you're right that FL runs a tight ship.. However, WN still have a CASM advantage by sticking to 1 aircraft type and having quick turns. I'm sure having 500+ Boeing aircraft gets them some great deals on parts, airframes, hull insurance, etc... They also fly to bigger cities (unlike MLI/PHF/ICT on FL's part) which leads to a MUCH higher percentage of P2P flights. Remember, when pax have to go through a hub, you're effectively doubling your costs to transport them.


OTOH, FL's CASM is slightly skewed since they have a J cabin. If they had all Y cabins, the CASM would indeed be even lower.



When you have to breaststroke to your connecting flight...it's a crash!
User currently offlinePHLBOS From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 7511 posts, RR: 24
Reply 10, posted (5 years 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 6459 times:

I have to wonder if the reasoning behind FL adding these routes is, in part, retaliation for WN invading their prized BWI-BOS route?  scratchchin 


"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
User currently offlineKnope2001 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 2873 posts, RR: 30
Reply 11, posted (5 years 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 6232 times:

With the addition of IND and PIT into the big west coast bank, I wonder if they're going to run into the issue where it is too lopsided. This is something I pointed out when the unveiled their big MKE plans for a Midwest merger, and the hub was simply too heavy on one side.

AirTran will have this in the morning westbound bank. Virtually the same thing happens in reverse in the evening bank:

Arrivals

BOS
LGA
BWI
DCA
IND
PIT

Departures
SEA
SFO
LAX
LAS
STL
MSP

Seemes balanced enough. The problem, however, is local traffic. Those early AM arrivals from the east coast have a fair amount of local traffic, but they also put a lot of connecting passengers onto westbound flights. Those early AM arrivals from PIT and IND will likely rely even more heavily on connecting traffic. Why? With just one flight per day they have limited local travel appeal, and these markets are much smaller than BOS/LGA/BWI/DCA to Milwaukee. The flights from IND and PIT will need to carry a lot of connections or they will carry a lot of air.

So we have six inbounds. For a reasonable onboard load, four of those six must carry a decent amount of connecting traffic, and the other two (IND and PIT) must carry a whole lot of connecting traffic.

Now lets look at the westbound flights those inbounds feed. Four of the six westbounds have a great deal of local traffic demand boarding in Milwaukee. The Vegas flight could nearly fill just with locals on many days. Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle also can put 75-110 local Milwaukee passengers onboard. Only MKE-MSP and MKE-STL have a lot of room for connections.

So we've got a situation where perhaps AirTran could sell 15 Indianapolis-Las Vegas tickets each morning via Milwaukee, and there's plenty of room to get them on IND-MKE. But if MKE-LAS is full, those passengers go elsewhere.

This is something of a simplification, of course. But the geography and the market size at MKE makes this an issue. Unless they purposely downplay local MKE traffic to serve more connections, they end up with strong loads to the west coast, so-so loads to the east coast, and weak loads on shorter routes.

The original plan AirTran trotted out when they were trying to acquire Midwest was more troubled by this issue, with hundreds of seats coming inbound from places like Richmond, Akron, Rochester and White Plains, primarily needing to connect west onto flights that already run high load factors. The current situation for this fall is not that extreme, but it looks like they may face the same fundemental issue to a smaller degree.

[Edited 2009-07-08 09:41:27]

User currently offlinePlanesNTrains From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 5449 posts, RR: 29
Reply 12, posted (5 years 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 6132 times:



Quoting Knope2001 (Reply 11):
With the addition of IND and PIT into the big west coast bank, I wonder if they're going to run into the issue where it is too lopsided. This is something I pointed out when the unveiled their big MKE plans for a Midwest merger, and the hub was simply too heavy on one side.

Great post. So what is the answer? Do you think adding a second airport in either the Bay area or LA basin would allow them to diversify their westbound traffic? How about PHX/SAN? I know that they then would need additional planes, but perhaps that can all be worked in as well.

Without looking at past schedules, Midwest always "looked" lopsided too. Was it that they fed from the east with props and flew to the west with jets that made it work? Just curious.

-Dave



Next Trip: SEA-ABQ-SEA on Alaska
User currently offlineFlyPNS1 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 6578 posts, RR: 24
Reply 13, posted (5 years 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 6034 times:



Quoting Knope2001 (Reply 3):
So if it is neither of these, did something else lead to a change in their stance? Perhaps it's simply a matter of facing the inevitable, that there are not all that many good opportunities at BWI left unserved by either WN or FL.

In part, I think the inevitably you mention is there. Something else though, is that Airtran is expecting some pretty substantial profits this year. This year Airtran is expecting a profit of about $100 million. That's a lot of cash for a carrier FL's size, especially when they aren't spending a lot of money on new planes. So I think with that type of cash, FL might be willing to take more risks since other parts of the network are generating serious cash.

I'll admit that I'm a bit surprised FL would start some of these routes going into fall. They certainly aren't classic leisure markets (except for MSY to some extent), but they do help add some connecting flows for the BWI and MKE hubs.


User currently offlinePlanesNTrains From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 5449 posts, RR: 29
Reply 14, posted (5 years 3 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 6020 times:



Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 13):
In part, I think the inevitably you mention is there. Something else though, is that Airtran is expecting some pretty substantial profits this year. This year Airtran is expecting a profit of about $100 million. That's a lot of cash for a carrier FL's size, especially when they aren't spending a lot of money on new planes. So I think with that type of cash, FL might be willing to take more risks since other parts of the network are generating serious cash.

If this were a game, I would think the next move would be for WN to put some pressure on FL in some of their core markets. ATL would be nice, but any of their eastern money makers would be fine. Something to take Airtran's mind off of MKE.

Or just buy them.

-Dave



Next Trip: SEA-ABQ-SEA on Alaska
User currently offlineKnope2001 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 2873 posts, RR: 30
Reply 15, posted (5 years 3 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 5847 times:



Quoting PlanesNTrains (Reply 12):
Great post. So what is the answer? Do you think adding a second airport in either the Bay area or LA basin would allow them to diversify their westbound traffic? How about PHX/SAN? I know that they then would need additional planes, but perhaps that can all be worked in as well.

Having some more western destinations can help, although they are pretty much at MKE gate capacity in that big bank. The other options are basically:

(a) Grow the local markets to/from BOS, BWI, LGA, DCA enough so they do well enough on their own and don't need to carry many connections in markets like BWI-MKE-LAS. There there are open seats so they can sell 20 IND-MKE-LAS, and 18 IND-MKE-SEA, etc, and put decent loads onto IND-MKE.

(b) Limit the number of eastern destinations that rely on connections to those west coast destinations. IND and PIT might be too much already, but certainly don't also add similar thinner market flights from CMH, ROC, EWR, IAD, etc.

(c) Get larger aircraft, or fly "wingtip" double frequencies at the same time, to key western destinations like LAX.

Quoting PlanesNTrains (Reply 12):
Without looking at past schedules, Midwest always "looked" lopsided too. Was it that they fed from the east with props and flew to the west with jets that made it work? Just curious.

Midwest was and continues to be lopsided at MKE, however they don't have nearly the same issue for a few key reasons:

(1) Midwest does not pursue nor rely on traffic in markets like LGA-MKE-LAS.

(2) They primarily go after the local market, with differing aircraft size for different markets. Hence no 100+ seat planes to IND or PIT.

(3) What connections they do carry are primarily from close-in cities, and their banks are not directional. A flight from Grand Rapids arriving at 6:40 connects east, west and south.


User currently offlineMSYguy From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 113 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (5 years 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 5739 times:

It's somewhat interesting that FL "beat" WN to the BWI-MSY route. I would have expected WN to add a second daily nonstop on this pair prior to now, as a defensive measure to fend off FL. Instead, WN left the route thin, and FL moved on it.

WN has somewhat underserved the BWI/MSY market since Katrina, with only one daily nonstop. By comparison, AUS-BWI sees 2 daily nonstops, BHM sees 3, and even JAN sees 2.

Very glad to see FL bolster its service at MSY.


User currently offlineMSYtristar From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 6521 posts, RR: 51
Reply 17, posted (5 years 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 5699 times:



Quoting MSYguy (Reply 16):
would have expected WN to add a second daily nonstop on this pair prior to now

Ditto. IIRC, it has always been once daily ever since they flew it. Even when Metrojet flew the route 2x daily, WN only had one.

Quoting MSYguy (Reply 16):
By comparison, AUS-BWI sees 2 daily nonstops, BHM sees 3, and even JAN sees 2.

At least MSY still had a jump over all of those cities in terms of service to the D.C metro area:

MSY: 8 nonstops (4 DCA, 3 IAD, 1 BWI)
AUS: 4 nonstops (2 BWI and 2 IAD)
BMH: 4 nonstops (3 BWI and 1 IAD)
JAN: 3 nonstops (2 BWI and 1 DCA)


User currently offlineMariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25008 posts, RR: 85
Reply 18, posted (5 years 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 5690 times:
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Quoting PlanesNTrains (Reply 14):
Something to take Airtran's mind off of MKE.

The question is, which does Airtran see as the greater threat at MKE - Southwest, or the Frontier/Midwest combo?

mariner



aeternum nauta
User currently offlinePlanesNTrains From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 5449 posts, RR: 29
Reply 19, posted (5 years 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 5665 times:



Quoting Knope2001 (Reply 15):

Thank you, Great analysis.

Quoting Mariner (Reply 18):
The question is, which does Airtran see as the greater threat at MKE - Southwest, or the Frontier/Midwest combo?

I'm not sure. I can't help but think that Southwest is a concern, but the "combo" is going to have a greater ability to move into smaller markets and right-size capacity.

Hmmmm...

-Dave



Next Trip: SEA-ABQ-SEA on Alaska
User currently offlineMariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25008 posts, RR: 85
Reply 20, posted (5 years 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 5629 times:
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Quoting PlanesNTrains (Reply 19):
I'm not sure. I can't help but think that Southwest is a concern, but the "combo" is going to have a greater ability to move into smaller markets and right-size capacity.

I think it is a double bind for Airtran. Southwest has clearly planted a flag at MKE.

Equally, Airtran has to be miffed by the Republic deal - the combo. I've been waiting for some reaction to that, and perhaps we had the start of it today.

When Airtran announced MKE-DEN it was summer only, seasonal. Then they took it to year round and now, today, they are adding a second daily - in October.

So as things presently stand, a Frontier passenger could fly DEN-MKE on Frontier, on Midwest (code share) or on Airtran (FF agreement).

I don't that will last - something has to give.  Smile

mariner



aeternum nauta
User currently offlineMSYguy From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 113 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (5 years 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 5431 times:



Quoting MSYtristar (Reply 17):
Ditto. IIRC, it has always been once daily ever since they flew it. Even when Metrojet flew the route 2x daily, WN only had one.

I could have sworn they had 2x daily before the storm, but I defer to you.

Quoting MSYtristar (Reply 17):
At least MSY still had a jump over all of those cities in terms of service to the D.C metro area:

MSY: 8 nonstops (4 DCA, 3 IAD, 1 BWI)
AUS: 4 nonstops (2 BWI and 2 IAD)
BMH: 4 nonstops (3 BWI and 1 IAD)
JAN: 3 nonstops (2 BWI and 1 DCA)

Agreed. And that may well be the reason for WN having held at 1x daily. It's truly funny that so many carriers are competing on the MSY-DC market while MSY-Bay Area goes completely and utterly unserved.


User currently offlineAtlwest1 From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 1046 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (5 years 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 5212 times:

This is indeed welcomed and great news but not totally surprising. These markets make sense from MKE and BWI respectively.Airtran is definitely a carrier to watch. I think they are realizing they have to make stands and fight for there market share some places. I doubt these will be the last announcements we hear for MKE and BWI certainly MKE.


ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co. or Airt
User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22727 posts, RR: 20
Reply 23, posted (5 years 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 4783 times:



Quoting RL757PVD (Thread starter):
BWI-IND

I wonder whether FL is going to try something bigger at IND. It's awfully convenient that they chose IND for both new MKE service and new BWI service. IND is a pretty fragmented market, so it might not be a bad place to see if they can make something happen.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineMariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25008 posts, RR: 85
Reply 24, posted (5 years 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 4729 times:
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Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 23):
I wonder whether FL is going to try something bigger at IND.

I thought they were planning to do that, back in 2006 when they announced IND-SFO.

I agree that something could happen at IND, but whether it is Airtran or not, I don't know.

mariner



aeternum nauta
25 Ridgid727 : I assume you are eluding to the formation of a new hub for Mokulele?
26 Mariner : Mokulele wasn't in my mind, but I was thinking that IND is home base for Republic. Assuming they get both Midwest and Frontier, I wouldn't be totally
27 Cubsrule : I think NW largely beat them to the punch. The conventional wisdom around here (which I question, FWIW) is that DL is less committed to IND than NW w
28 Knope2001 : Indianpolis lost their AirTran nonstops to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and San Francisco. But seemingly they think IND could still do more for them than j
29 Mariner : Hmmmm. I'm a tad surprised about that. Airtran knew how to compete with NWA. At this stage of the game, I would have thought IND would be a better be
30 Flyboy1108 : Our company has the contract to work the new FL flights at ABE and we get 28 minutes to turn a 717 (30 minutes to turn a 737 but we dont get that typ
31 Cubsrule : They knew, but that was a period in which they were choosing not to compete. Look at MDW, where they rolled over and died once they didn't get the TZ
32 Mariner : That may be true. But the landscape has changed, fairly dramatically, with (a) the arrival of Southwest at MKE and (b) the potential Frontier/Midwest
33 Cubsrule : If you were FL, would you rather deal with F9/YX/RW at MKE or DL at MSP? Agreed. But they're at a point where they've built at least some brand equit
34 Mariner : In most cases, I would agree with you, but Sun Country seems - to me - to be the beautiful exception. NWA - and thus Delta - seem to have comes to te
35 CrAAzy : Don't get me wrong, I love IND and we have family that we visit there several times a year, but I think MKE offers much more than IND from an airline
36 Cubsrule : They have-- but I'm not sure what the reaction would be if FL bought SY and then doubled the number of flights (which could well happen-- the 738s wo
37 Mariner : There is always that risk in anything and I think "an acquirer" would be foolish to double the number of flights. As you say of Southwest at MSP: But
38 FX772LRF : This is nice to see. IND getting more service. Maybe it'll actually be feasible for a spotting option..... And may I suggest the change of the thread
39 Yx302 : [quote=Cubsrule,reply=33] They'd be leaving a strong number 2 position at MKE Check the most recent numbers. 1. YX 2. DL/NW 3. FL I know someone is go
40 Cubsrule : By destinations (and flights, I think), FL is number 2. While it's nice that DL has 800 seats a day to DTW, the local market is only 70 PDEW...
41 Johnyv : I disagree with CMH. Metrojet used to do the run. Midwest used to do it mainline and still does it with E70's, Skybus although defunct, picked MKE qu
42 USAirways787 : Atta boy airTran! Good to see them compete head to head. I wish them the best of luck. USAirways787
43 Citruscitrus09 : As per Bob Fornaro, CEO, at the last townhall meeting in ATL...DAY is one of the top strongest markets for FL. Does this mean a flight or two, to and
44 Atlwest1 : Yep Day is a strong market. A lot of 73's go in and out of there and usually at or close to capacity. Plus it seems like a ton of crew is there.
45 AvConsultant : CMH is a "sleeper market" in the sense of O&D markets. ValuJet did very well there in '95-'96. The fact is most everyone does well in CMH. I was some
46 FlyPNS1 : I don't think IND will become a hub for FL, but as you mentioned it is a fragmented market, so it's probably easier to add flights there than other m
47 ItalianFlyer : True...but that's assuming that he wants to keep Midwest as an independently branded entity... and I'm not convinced that is the long range plan. Cou
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