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Why Did CO Abandon MDW?  
User currently offlineEWRandMDW From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 410 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 4963 times:

I'm asking this from both curiosity and selfishness. Until about 18 months ago CO had a presence at Chicago's Midway Airport which had lasted for at least a dozen years. They flew to CLE and EWR, and during the CO Lite experiment they also flew to GSO and MSY and I think there was even a trial schedule to IAH at one time. My question is why did CO decide to concentrate on ORD and allow its MDW ops to end? I flew on CO out of MDW quite a few times and most of the flights were at least 50% full, ranging between almost empty to completely full. For my own purposes, flying between EWR from MDW was great. A lot of my business was and still is in northern and central NJ. Sometimes I had to travel to a smaller station in OH, MI, western PA where I could get in on CO via CLE.

Is there any chance at all that CO might come back to MDW? I sure hope so!

29 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineGxman From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 93 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (5 years 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 4907 times:

They cut MDW last year when oil was at its highest and the RJs were flying full, though at a loss. CO cut a number of routes during that crisis. That is my recollection.


Steve
User currently offlineEXAAUADL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (5 years 2 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 4860 times:

Anyone remember when CO Lite served MDW

User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21478 posts, RR: 60
Reply 3, posted (5 years 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 4831 times:



Quoting Gxman (Reply 1):

Yes they stupidly cut a few Established stations that were consistently full due to the temporary oil spike. It has cost them many longtime customers.



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineGxman From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 93 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (5 years 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 4722 times:



Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 3):

Hindsight is 20/20. I wish they had not cut stations, but no one really knew what to do back then. The "spike" was more than a few weeks, it lasted months and the airlines were bleeding cash with RJs into stations like MDW. Full planes don't necessarily mean profitable loads.

Oil is more reasonably priced now, but the global downturn has left many empty seats and very few Y fare passengers are lining up to fill them. I don't think we will see that station reopened until they can make money there.



Steve
User currently offlineToltommy From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 3288 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (5 years 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 4708 times:

CO was competing with WN in a low yield market using airplanes that they couldn't turn a profit with against WN. Cost of fuel was the final straw. CO probably stayed in the market for years longer than they should have.

User currently offlineUnited787 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 2692 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (5 years 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 4641 times:

I would think that once CO joins Star that they would be able to draw from Chicago's UA base, I would think that they could pull this off!

User currently offlineSTT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 16825 posts, RR: 51
Reply 7, posted (5 years 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 4632 times:

Due to the current economic downturn and reduced demand for air travel CO decided to slash service to secondary airports serving major metropolitan, such as..

OAK in favor of SFO and SJC
JFK in favor of LGA and EWR
MDW in favor of ORD

CO dropped IAD-CLE and IAD-IAH but is maintaining EWR-IAD service, hopefully more frequencies will return once the partnership with UA is implemented.



Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
User currently offlineWROORD From United States of America, joined Mar 2009, 946 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (5 years 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 4577 times:

I think that it was oil prices as well as a new WN strategy to add business fares (not understand why someone would pay twice as much money to get a priority seating). Another issue was the aircraft type CO EMR 135/145 vs. WN 737. Neither one had a true business class and if you were to chose I think you pick more room on 737.

User currently offlineEWRandMDW From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 410 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (5 years 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 4485 times:

I often flew CO to EWR and sometimes to CLE on 737-100/200 aircraft and the loads were quite respectable. I know that eventually they went all ERJ to CLE, but near the end CO introduced Q400s on that route, suggesting they might have the demand for larger aircraft. ORD is fine, but I'd much prefer the convenience (to me, anyway) of MDW. These days I fly WN to PHL when I need to go to NJ. LGA may be closer geographically, but PHL seems far more convenient and all around reasonable. But if any carrier decided to fly from MDW to EWR, I'd become a loyal customer.

User currently offlineAtrude777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 5692 posts, RR: 52
Reply 10, posted (5 years 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 4448 times:



Quoting WROORD (Reply 8):
WN strategy to add business fares (not understand why someone would pay twice as much money to get a priority seating)

It was not "twice as much" it was around between 10-30 bucks more each way depending on distance above the Y fare, and that fare got you the priority seating as you said, as well as extra bonus points, a free drink and faster security lane. For some people that was worth the extra 10-30 bucks right there.

Alex



Good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who go AFTER it!
User currently offlineSteex From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 1611 posts, RR: 9
Reply 11, posted (5 years 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 4410 times:



Quoting United787 (Reply 6):
I would think that once CO joins Star that they would be able to draw from Chicago's UA base, I would think that they could pull this off!

I think exactly the opposite is true, their future access to UA fliers (and UA connections) will make them all the less likely to return to MDW. Note that not even UA itself was able to capture enough UA fliers at MDW to make it worthwhile, so it seems unlikely to me that CO will do so and dilute their presence at ORD once again in the process.


User currently offlineNomorerjs From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 450 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (5 years 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 3376 times:

With CO joing *A and moving in with UA at ORD, MDW will not happen. Do expect to see larger planes flying ORD-IAH soon...

User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22737 posts, RR: 20
Reply 13, posted (5 years 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 3372 times:



Quoting Toltommy (Reply 5):
CO was competing with WN in a low yield market using airplanes that they couldn't turn a profit with against WN.

EWR?

The legacy "success stories" in MDW (DTW, MSP, LGA) seem to be the places with enormous local markets and reasonable yields (despite WN, average fare on CHI-DTW is nearly 50 cents/mile). EWR certainly is/was a large local market good yields.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineSTT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 16825 posts, RR: 51
Reply 14, posted (5 years 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 3342 times:



Quoting EWRandMDW (Reply 9):
But if any carrier decided to fly from MDW to EWR,

FL was on EWR-MDW, as well as ATA and Kiwi. None of them made it work, the business traffic demand is for ORD (at least from EWR).



Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22737 posts, RR: 20
Reply 15, posted (5 years 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 3342 times:



Quoting STT757 (Reply 14):
None of them made it work, the business traffic demand is for ORD (at least from EWR).

Can't you make the same argument at DTW and MSP?



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineSTT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 16825 posts, RR: 51
Reply 16, posted (5 years 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 3315 times:



Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 15):
Can't you make the same argument at DTW and MSP

I think there's more ties and commerce amongst Midwestern Cities than there is between Chicago and the NYC/NJ area.



Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22737 posts, RR: 20
Reply 17, posted (5 years 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 3302 times:



Quoting STT757 (Reply 16):
I think there's more ties and commerce amongst Midwestern Cities than there is between Chicago and the NYC/NJ area.

Fair enough, but MDW-LGA apparently works (unlike MDW-ATL, DL isn't flying MDW-LGA to respond to FL). CHI-NYC is also several times larger than CHI-MSP or CHI-DTW despite the LCC presence to DTW.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineSTT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 16825 posts, RR: 51
Reply 18, posted (5 years 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 3265 times:



Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 17):
CHI-NYC is also several times larger than CHI-MSP or CHI-DTW despite the LCC presence to DTW.

Air travel wise yes, overall travel including land options (bus, car, Amtrak) I would say no.



Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
User currently offlineCkfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5182 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (5 years 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 2379 times:

For some reason, DL can make ATL-MDW work, even flying planes as large as MD-90s and 737-800s. NW has succeeded out of MDW to both DTW and MSP for years, even flying 757s.

On the other hand, UA has tried MDW several times since if first left in 1973 during the oil embargo and has never succeeded. AA tried MDW to both DFW and LGA, first with F100 and/or MD-80s, then with RJs. It gave up.

So, I'm not sure why some legacies succeed at MDW while others don't.


User currently offlineSteex From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 1611 posts, RR: 9
Reply 20, posted (5 years 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 2339 times:



Quoting Ckfred (Reply 19):
For some reason, DL can make ATL-MDW work, even flying planes as large as MD-90s and 737-800s. NW has succeeded out of MDW to both DTW and MSP for years, even flying 757s.

On the other hand, UA has tried MDW several times since if first left in 1973 during the oil embargo and has never succeeded. AA tried MDW to both DFW and LGA, first with F100 and/or MD-80s, then with RJs. It gave up.

So, I'm not sure why some legacies succeed at MDW while others don't.

I believe the key is that NW/DL essentially have ORD and MDW as separate spokes that pull from different portions of the Chicagoland area for them. However, once UA and AA established large hubs across town at ORD, there no longer became any incentive for their passengers to utilize MDW. Those folks are already accustomed to using ORD for their trips and, in general, can reach their destinations non-stop on UA or AA from ORD rather than flying out of MDW and flying to a different hub to connect.

That fact was only further reinforced as Southwest built its huge operation at MDW, offering non-stop service to the vast majority of major Chicago markets. At this point, why would a loyal UA flier take a MDW-DEN-LAS route when they can instead fly ORD-LAS? People who overwhelmingly prefer MDW have likely switched their allegiance to WN by now, and would fly MDW-LAS non-stop with them.

For someone who already plans to specifically use NW/DL to fly in or out of Chicago, the choice of airport doesn't really change the overall routing. Flying CHI-LAS could be accomplished ORD-MSP-LAS or MDW-MSP-LAS and couldn't be done non-stop on NW/DL regardless. As noted above, this is certainly in contrast to AA and UA.

Now that CO will be codesharing with UA and provide the opportunity to earn UA miles, I think CO will have no incentive to return to MDW. The UA base of fliers already uses ORD, not to mention the fact that anyone interchanging between CO and UA would have to go through ORD.


User currently offlineUnited787 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 2692 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (5 years 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 2322 times:



Quoting Steex (Reply 20):
At this point, why would a loyal UA flier take a MDW-DEN-LAS route when they can instead fly ORD-LAS?

Good point...I agree.

Quoting Steex (Reply 20):
Now that CO will be codesharing with UA and provide the opportunity to earn UA miles, I think CO will have no incentive to return to MDW. The UA base of fliers already uses ORD, not to mention the fact that anyone interchanging between CO and UA would have to go through ORD.

I am a loyal UA flyer, when the price is reasonably competitive, but I live downtown and so therefore prefer MDW, it is easier and quicker to get in and out of. So, I would think there would be enough people like me that would fly CO from MDW to CLE, EWR & IAH not to connect at those airports but as a final destination, purely O&D on either end...


User currently offlinePlanefxr From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 443 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (5 years 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 2219 times:



Quoting Steex (Reply 20):
Flying CHI-LAS could be accomplished ORD-MSP-LAS or MDW-MSP-LAS and couldn't be done non-stop on NW/DL regardless.

How about MDW-SLC-LAS? The SLC-MDW on 738 is doing quite well.


User currently offlineSteex From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 1611 posts, RR: 9
Reply 23, posted (5 years 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 2206 times:



Quoting Planefxr (Reply 22):
How about MDW-SLC-LAS? The SLC-MDW on 738 is doing quite well.

Yes, of course any of the routings would work. I was just giving one example rather than MDW-ATL/DTW/MSP/SLC-LAS vs. ORD-ATL/CVG/DTW/JFK/MEM/MSP/SLC-LAS. The point is the same, that the majority of trips in and out of Chicago on NW/DL would be no more convenient from ORD than MDW or vice versa in terms of routing. I suppose it is worth nothing, though, that there are generally more frequencies to ORD that does allow for more schedule flexibility.


User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22737 posts, RR: 20
Reply 24, posted (5 years 1 week 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 2093 times:



Quoting STT757 (Reply 18):
Air travel wise yes, overall travel including land options (bus, car, Amtrak) I would say no.

I doubt there are many business travelers traveling over land between Minneapolis and Chicago. Are there business travelers taking the bus from Boston to Washington (about the same distance)? College students on the Chinatown bus, sure, but not the moneymaking pax.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
25 STT757 : The distance might be the same, however the Northeast is much more densely populated than anywhere in the Northeast which makes driving difficult.
26 Cubsrule : Fine. Let's go a different direction. Is anyone driving from Cleveland to Philadelphia on business? That drive goes through zero major cities...
27 STT757 : Cleveland to Philadelphia no, Philadelphia to Pittsburgh yes.
28 Cubsrule : Phildelphia-Pittsburgh ~ Chicago-Detroit Philadephia-Cleveland ~ Chicago-Minneapolis
29 Cody : I remember it was somewhat comical that after Continental abandoned the DEN hub and moved all the airplanes back east for that terrible CALite experim
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