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What If AS, QX, F9, And AA Sort Of Merged-ish?  
User currently offlineAirport From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (4 years 5 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 3235 times:

A couple disclaimers before I make this post...

1) I'm not saying this will happen
2) I'm not saying this is the most logical outcome
3) I'm not making any predictions here
4) The airline industry is ailing, I'm simply trying to think outside the box.
5) I'm just an 18 year old college student, be kind, don't shoot me down.  

Okay, so I just got done flying BOI-LAX-BOI on QX, and on the last segment, a strange thought crossed my mind that slowly developed into something that I became extremely curious about, so much so that I sped a little bit home to post about this.

I gazed at the Alaska and Horizon route map. I was bored, and I didn't have much to do. I started thinking about discussions I've had with other people, some here and some not, regarding AS merging with any carriers. I've been really adament in my belief that Alaska will not merge with anyone anytime soon, in the near or far future.

But I started looking, and I continued to think about the relationship between Alaska and Horizon. I got done reading "Remember the Magic: The Horizon Air story", and I started thinking about when QX became a part of the Alaska Air Group.

Then I started thinking about the future. The codeshare AS shares with AA and DL. A brilliant juggle between two powerful players in the US airline industry. But I started thinking, could you take it further, and how?

So, the beginning...

First off, AS/QX, by association of the fact that my family has worked at QX since long before I was born, is my most traveled on airline, and as well probably my favorite airline. The unique culture of motivated, spirited employees that treat each other like family and treat the customers like guests rather than cattle is almost unmatched. I say almost, because I can think of airline, where I have seen a very similar cuture of very spirited and motivated employees that truly show a lot of passion in their job: Frontier Airlines.

I've long believed that Frontier Airlines and Alaska Airlines are a perfect match for at least something along the lines of a codeshare. Both offer a relatively low cost, but high-quality product, and both have wonderful employees. Both carry a product that can serve a LCC purpose, and yet they also carry suits and ties of the business travelers, to destinations such as DCA. In all of my experiences where AS/QX crews and F9 crews have interacted with each other, the encounters have been nothing but very friendly compared to any other carrier between the two. Even better, they're in the same general geographic region, and yet they barely compete, compared to just about every other airline.

They also share one interesting thing in common: Their two biggest competitors are Southwest and United.

In fact, if you were to ask me, I get this hunch that something incredible could come out of something more than just a codeshare. To me, the two airlines are so complimentary, I'm not sure I could find two airlines that seem to be a better fit.

Yet, ironically, I firmly believe an all-out merger would be a disaster for both carriers. The two have incredibly unique, and absolutely excellent brands that command a great deal of loyalty. A tremendous amount would be lost by replacing one brand with the other. There are perhaps fleet issues and labor issues to deal with, in an all out merger between AS and F9. And I get the feeling that neither are gung-ho at the thought of merging with any other carrier.

So the way I'm looking at this, it's almost as if there should be something much more than a codeshare, and yet nothing that would reach the level of an all out merger.

And so I continued to look at the route map.

And I continued to think about the relationship between AS and QX...

And then I had an "aha!" moment. An idea is right there!

----------------------------------------------

Again, I'm laying out these disclaimers...

1) I'm not saying this will happen
2) I'm not saying this is the most logical outcome
3) I'm not making any predictions here
4) The airline industry is ailing, I'm simply trying to think outside the box.
5) I'm just an 18 year old college student, be kind, don't shoot me down.  

-----------------------------------------------

What if Frontier Airlines became a part of the Alaska Air Group?

Let me rephrase that. What if Republic Airways Holdings either sold Frontier to the Alaska Air Group, or perhaps entirely merged with Alaska Air Group, Inc., but didn't merge the seperate entities?

I'm NOT saying they should merge with Alaska Airlines. I'm saying imagine a situation where the relationship between Alaska Airlines and Frontier Airlines would be exactly the same as Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air; two unique and seperate but similar airlines operating as sister carriers under this new Alaska Air Group. Not competing with each other, but boosting each other in ways so far beyond what a simple codeshare and mileage agreement could ever provide.

Similar cultures.
Similar brand loyalty.
Similar competitors.
Similar products.
Complimentary route networks.

By entering Frontier Airlines into the Alaska Air Group, there would be absolutely no need to change the brand, and yet the actual mechanics could work very similar to a merger, without the indigestion of losing what makes each company unique and amazing. Instead of being buddies like in a codeshare, they'd be brothers under the AAG name.

Here's what the combined route map would look like, thanks to my boredom, a crapton of caffiene and Paint.NET.  



Obviously such a dramatic move could pose a few problems. What happens to the extremely valuable AA and DL codeshare? That's an extremely important question that begs a very good answer. Perhaps under this concept AA and DL would now not only get codeshare access and a tremendous amount of feed through ANC, SEA, PDX, and LAX, b

So here's where it gets crazy...

I started thinking about how this could dramatically shape the valuable relationships AS/QX have with AA and DL. But then, I got another strange "aha!" moment. Keep in mind, I'm at 24,000 ft. on a Q400, so perhaps the lighter air and noise pollution is getting to my brain.  

----------------------------------------------

Yep here's that disclaimer again...

1) I'm not saying this will happen
2) I'm not saying this is the most logical outcome
3) I'm not making any predictions here
4) The airline industry is ailing, I'm simply trying to think outside the box.
5) I'm just an 18 year old college student, be kind, don't shoot me down.  

-----------------------------------------------

What if AMR Corporation and the Alaska Air Group merged into one much larger holding company encompassing all of the current subsidiaries? (which in this hypothetical example, includes Frontier Airlines)

Again, I'm not saying a merger. I'm talking about a new holding company that encompasses Alaska, American (and American Eagle), Frontier, and Horizon Air.

I'm saying buddies become brothers. A unity of four excellent airlines. A unity of four excellent brands. The same unity between all four that two currently share, Alaska and Horizon.

But not a merger.

Think of it. Perhaps most importantly is the potential for growth here.

This new Air Group/Holding Company would have major hubs or operations in:

Anchorage
Chicago/Milwaukee
Dallas/Ft. Worth
Denver
Los Angeles
Miami
New York
Portland
San Juan
Seattle

Worldwide coverage. A dominate position in Los Angeles, New York, Seattle and Miami; every corner of the US as well as a trifecta powerhouse domestic network centered around Denver, Dallas Ft. Worth and Chicago/Milwaukee to cover everything else. A commanding role in the State of Alaska. A vast Hawaii and Mexico/Latin America network. A network that would span every corner of the United States, from the mountains of the Cascades and the Pacific Northwest, to the shores of Kauai; from the landscapes of Barrow, Alaska to the pristine beaches of Florida and Puerto Rico.

The boost of LAX and SEA traffic this would give as well as AA/JL ATI could very well provide the foundation of a new and very powerful trans-pacific network.

After all, these are the not the buddies of codeshare, but the brothers of the partnership to the highest level, without going to an all out merger between brands.

All four share one interesting thing in common: Southwest and United are two of their biggest competitors.

Another thing, this new partnership, along with AA/JL and AA/BA/IB ATI would put this new "Liberty Air Group" into an extremely strong position to compete not only with Southwest, but with the combined DL/NW and a potentially combined UA/CO or UA/US.

But with much less indigestion of a merger. No rebrandings. No loss of company culture. Each company is still specialized and unique and able to compete most effectively in their respective regions they currently serve.

Different yet complimentary on-board products
Similarly excellent brands, and brand loyalty
Complimentary route networks
Friendly grounds between AA/AS/QX (unknown about AA/F9)
and...

There would be a very diversified but complimentary product that can cater to nearly every traveler, a diversity much moreso than WN, DL, UA, CO, or US could ever provide.

I keep seeing threads like "The Future of AA" that seem to indicate that there is a bit of doubt in AA's ability to effectively compete with DL and UA/CO (or UA/US), and that AA would need to merge with someone to survive. To me, this seems like the ticket.

---Alaska Airlines wins by directly becoming one with a worldwide network and what would be a very impressive domestic network, while still remaining its own entity and brand so as to still be able to effectively compete with WN, UA, VX. Sure, they lose the codeshare with DL, but it seems to me that there's a lot more revenue potential in this scenario than the status quo.

---Frontier Airlines wins by again becoming one with a worldwide network, while still maintaining its excellent brand and loyalty, allowing it to far more effectively compete against WN and UA.

---American Airlines wins by being given a very strong presence in the West Coast and Intermountain West, further establishing solid foundations for a vast and impressive transpacific and transatlantic network along with Japan Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, and JetBlue Airways.

---The consumer wins because this would even the playing field among legacy carriers and international US traffic; between DL/NW, UA/CO, and AA/AS/F9/QX.

This goes beyond what a codeshare or alliance would be. This could perhaps be considered merging without actually merging.

American
American Eagle
Alaska Airlines
Frontier Airlines
and
Horizon Air

Maintaining their unique, specialized brands.

But operating all under the same roof. As one.

Just imagine!

----------------------------------------------

Guess what, disclaimer-time!...

1) I'm not saying this will happen
2) I'm not saying this is the most logical outcome
3) I'm not making any predictions here
4) The airline industry is ailing, I'm simply trying to think outside the box.
5) I'm just an 18 year old college student, be kind, don't shoot me down.  

----------------------------------------------

Hey, you know what?! This is a forum for idle speculation on the airline industry! I'm speculatin' here! I'm trying to think up some ideas here, sheesh!

Let's get a few things straight, I understand that there are probably a lot of things I haven't thought about. In fact, I'm not even entirely sure I wholly understand the system of the respective holding companies and the subsidiaries roles. I have little knowledge of the facts and numbers behind such a concept. And honestly I'm not even sure I fully understand the AS/QX relationship and whether it even could apply to F9 or AA.

The point of this thread is not to say that this is a good idea, but to ask the question if this idea has any merit, and if not, why not? I'm trying to understand it all because on paper to me this makes a lot of sense. I got fascinated with the thought of AA/AS/F9/QX being run under one common company with all-common goals.

Am I crazy?

Anyone at all see where I'm coming from?

Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Or am I a lone voice in this, reminscent of the infamous crane shot before the showdown in High Noon?  

(yes, I kinda feel stupid posting what's probably a silly idea that I'll end up realizing something insanely obvious...)

Speculate (or Flame) away!  

Cheers!
Anthony/Airport

PS...I'll try and work on what a hypothetical AA/AS/F9/QX route map would look like...

11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineMacsog6 From Singapore, joined Jan 2010, 531 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (4 years 5 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 3216 times:
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F9 and AS/QX might make sense, especially looking at the route map you provided. (Well done by the way) However, I still can see little that AS would gain by merging - even as part of a holding company - with AA. But you do raise some interesting points.


Sixty Plus Years of Flying! "I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things." - Saint Ex
User currently offlinepoint2point From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 2758 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (4 years 5 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 3200 times:

I like your disclaimers.
With that said, this could be quite a powerful force if this ever happens. Now add in JetBlue, which American now has a relationship, and it's even that much more powerful.
18 is a good age to be, especially in college...


User currently offlineCRJ200FAGuy From United States of America, joined May 2007, 400 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (4 years 5 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 3152 times:

Good job, I really enjoyed your idea. Don't let the sure to come along haters get you down. I have my great merger idea, but I don't nearly the info you do for yours. My merger idea is US and UA merge. They merge with CO, but it is run like AF and KLM. CO is the one calling the shots, but they have UA and CO run seperately.

User currently offlineAirport From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (4 years 5 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 3132 times:

Whoops, I spent like all day writing this post and making this route map, and I see now that there are a few places in my original post that don't make any sense. Sorry, I'm too burnt out right now to edit it, so I'll come back later and elaborate on those sentences that cut off...  

Cheers!
Anthony/Airport


User currently offlineBOACCunard From United States of America, joined Dec 2009, 864 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (4 years 5 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 2963 times:

It's an interesting idea, but it's not realistic.

AA's unions would be very unlikely to allow AMR to buy another mainline carrier and maintain it is a separate airline as you propose with AS and F9. (By mainline I simply mean that they operate aircraft of a size that AA also operates.) And AA could not profitably operate AS's and F9's networks with its much higher costs. The cost issue is the same reason that the oft-talked-about DL/AS merger is not viable, or the new favorite speculative merger, AA/B6.

The AS/F9/QX idea is much more realistic IMHO, but I don't think AS and QX would want to become subsidiaries of Republic. However, merging them would create a great high-quality, (relatively) low-cost airline with a comprehensive network in the Western US. I'm not sure Frontier and Alaska would survive as separate brands, but there is a greater chance of that happening in such a scenario than in one where they were taken over by AMR; not only would separate airlines by unworkable given the labor climate at AA,



Getting There is Half the Fun!
User currently offlinedeltal1011man From United States of America, joined exactly 9 years ago today! , 9423 posts, RR: 14
Reply 6, posted (4 years 5 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 2936 times:

Quoting Airport (Thread starter):
What if AMR Corporation and the Alaska Air Group merged into one much larger holding company encompassing all of the current subsidiaries? (which in this hypothetical example, includes Frontier Airlines)

Can't be done.........SCOPE for any of the big 5 will not let this happen

BTW i like how no way no how is DL and AS become one is a bad bad bad bad bad bad no way no how idea. But AS and AMR is a good one? You must not like AS because AMR would cut everything in time. At least Delta is growing in both LAX and SEA....... Oh well. (why would they? just ask the 1,000+ employees from TWA who are on the streets. AA.....and its unions......don't play nice most of the time..... man would that one be ugly, AS's pilots vs APA....would like to be a fly on the wall in that meeting. I can see it now, no AS pilots ever fly anything larger than a 737-900 and no leaving the SEA base, and they go onto the very end of the SL.)

Anyways, all of them together would be to large because you have to add in RW/S5/RP which would never make it past the gov.........yet alone the APA/TWU/AMPA.

AA is so large now that even with a CO/UA merger they will be just fine on there own, and they will have JVs/ATI with BA/IB/JL which will just make them larger.

Quoting Airport (Thread starter):
1) I'm not saying this will happen
2) I'm not saying this is the most logical outcome
3) I'm not making any predictions here
4) The airline industry is ailing, I'm simply trying to think outside the box.
5) I'm just an 18 year old college student, be kind, don't shoot me down.

This is the same person who "shot me down" right?   



yep.
User currently offlinechrisair From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 2116 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (4 years 5 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 2854 times:

Quoting Airport (Thread starter):

You must be incredibly bored tonight. No good parties going on?  


User currently offlinepeanuts From Netherlands, joined Dec 2009, 1438 posts, RR: 4
Reply 8, posted (4 years 5 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 2820 times:

Quoting chrisair (Reply 7):
No good parties going on?

Actually, from reading the 1st post, sounds like he's been "partying" all day...   

You forgot to throw VX and B6 in there, for good measure...



Question Conventional Wisdom. While not all commonly held beliefs are wrong…all should be questioned.
User currently offlineEA CO AS From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 13602 posts, RR: 61
Reply 9, posted (4 years 5 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 2714 times:
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Actually, I've long thought that FL (and not F9) would be a good fit as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alaska Air Group, harmonizing routes between AS/QX and FL from coast to coast. It would also allow AAG to retain their codesharing relationship with AA.

Of course it's INCREDIBLY unlikely that this would occur, as DL and AS have become BFFs and obviously DL competes with FL quite a bit.



"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan
User currently offlineAirport From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (4 years 5 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 2421 times:

Quoting deltal1011man (Reply 6):
BTW i like how no way no how is DL and AS become one is a bad bad bad bad bad bad no way no how idea. But AS and AMR is a good one? You must not like AS because AMR would cut everything in time. At least Delta is growing in both LAX and SEA....... Oh well. (why would they? just ask the 1,000+ employees from TWA who are on the streets. AA.....and its unions......don't play nice most of the time..... man would that one be ugly, AS's pilots vs APA....would like to be a fly on the wall in that meeting. I can see it now, no AS pilots ever fly anything larger than a 737-900 and no leaving the SEA base, and they go onto the very end of the SL.)

First off, I did think about the idea of AAG and DL merging as holding companies, but not merging the airlines.

I sincerely do not believe such a merger between AA/AS/F9/QX could get past the DOJ, as there is far, far more overlap in that scenario than in a AA/AS/F9/QX.

I don't have anything against DL, and I don't know why you would assume that I do. I'm thinking for the best of all companies involved. In a full merger situation, where both the airlines and the brands AA/AS/F9 merged, then yes, I would agree that AS and F9 would be history, as AA's cost structure would render both of their networks uneconomical.

But, if you didn't merge the brands and the products, there'd be absolutely no reason AA would gut AS. Like I've said before, AS is one of the most financially secure airlines, with a very profitable network. AA wouldn't have any reason to toy with that.

Quoting deltal1011man (Reply 6):
Anyways, all of them together would be to large because you have to add in RW/S5/RP which would never make it past the gov.........

Again, I think it would, as there's very very little overlap between AS/QX/F9 and the regional contracts between RP/S5.

Quoting deltal1011man (Reply 6):

This is the same person who "shot me down" right?

Yes, and I expect you to not shoot me down because I have a blatant double standard and an illogical mind. 

All kidding aside, like I say, I don't have anything against DL. I just don't think a full DL-AS merger would work, and a lot of my statements that I gave to you were not simply just my opinions, but the opinions of AS management and a lot of long discussions I have with people whom I trust to know what they were talking about.

What I was trying to say was that this is just a silly idea proposed by me with very little factual thought whatsoever. I acknowledge that, so please don't shoot me down for idlly thinking about it out loud. I'm not saying it's a good idea, I'm asking if it is, and if not, why?

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 9):
Actually, I've long thought that FL (and not F9) would be a good fit as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alaska Air Group, harmonizing routes between AS/QX and FL from coast to coast. It would also allow AAG to retain their codesharing relationship with AA.

Of course it's INCREDIBLY unlikely that this would occur, as DL and AS have become BFFs and obviously DL competes with FL quite a bit.

Agreed.   

Though I still think AS/QX/F9 would be a more complimentary fit, I'd still love to see either happen, and the nice thing is that I don't think entering F9 into the AAG would have that huge of an impact on either codeshare. Probably DL more than AA, but truthfully AS brings so much to the table for DL, I don't think they could care too much about it.

In fact, imagine both AS/QX/F9 and FL. At this point there's no realism involved, just idle speculation. That, actually, would be a fantastically complimentary network. Yeah, the AA/DL codeshares are reason enough to not let such a venture happen, but it does make for a mighty fine route map. Maybe I'll try that...  
Quoting chrisair (Reply 7):
You must be incredibly bored tonight. No good parties going on?
Quoting peanuts (Reply 8):
Actually, from reading the 1st post, sounds like he's been "partying" all day...

Har har har...laugh it up, laugh it up. 
Quoting peanuts (Reply 8):
You forgot to throw VX and B6 in there, for good measure...

Actually, I think a AS/QX/F9/B6 would also be an incredibly powerful combination. Unfortunately, again, I think the prospect of losing codeshares would ultimately kill the idea.

I'm just having fun with this thought, that's all. I'm not wholly taking it seriously, because I'm sure I haven't thought of everything.  

Cheers!
Anthony/Airport


User currently offlineBOACCunard From United States of America, joined Dec 2009, 864 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (4 years 5 months 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 2419 times:

Er, looks like the last bit of my post got cut off there, and it's too late to edit.

Quoting BOACCunard (Reply 5):
[Not] only would separate airlines by unworkable given the labor climate at AA,

but AMR has never shown any interest in operating brands other than American and American Eagle - unlike just about every other major (Song, Ted, MetroJet, etc.). AMR is very proud of the AA brand (and rightly so) and will use it wherever possible.

So the closest you would ever get to your proposed scenario would be AMR taking over AS/QX and F9, merging AS and F9 into AA and QX into MQ. But other than some AS flying from LAX, these airlines don't have anything that AMR would actually want to operate itself.



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