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Future Of AirTran Hubs  
User currently offlineblr380 From United States of America, joined Sep 2009, 160 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 6219 times:

I feel this deserves a seperate thread since the hubs can have real impact (pos or neg)
With all the news going on today with Southwest/AirTran deal, it will be interesting to see what happens to the hub/spoke concept of AirTran. Soutwest doesn't like to use the name "hub" (although several airports serve that purpose). I am more concerned about smaller markets the hubs serve. Very likely we will see 737's replacing the older AirTran fleet and small cities may find hard to fill these larger planes. We can see the current hubs shrink Or, do you all feel Southwest may join DL and others in hub/spoke models?

32 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinemrskyguy From United States of America, joined Aug 2008, 1214 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (4 years 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 6207 times:

Southwest really doesn't have a "hub" system, rather focus cities in play. From that perspective, the ATL hub is toast. However the market has power, and the PLF's AirTran was pulling are enough to show that WN isn't going to leave ATL onc the merger consummates.


"The strength of the turbulence is directly proportional to the temperature of your coffee." -- Gunter's 2nd Law of Air
User currently offlinemogandoCI From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (4 years 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 6174 times:

i'm not so much concerned about ATL or MKE, but if i were Southwest, i'd throw away a bunch of ultra low-yield midwest/northeast-to-florida p2p routes and concentrate on swapping exisiting DCA and LGA flights to link up with all the "focus cities" of WN.

e.g. instead of wasting LGA slots on low-yield via-BWI connecting flights, send them to Raleigh, Richmond, or Charlotte.


User currently offlineRoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9666 posts, RR: 52
Reply 3, posted (4 years 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 6082 times:

Quoting blr380 (Thread starter):
Very likely we will see 737's replacing the older AirTran fleet and small cities may find hard to fill these larger planes. We can see the current hubs shrink Or, do you all feel Southwest may join DL and others in hub/spoke models?

The AirTran fleet on average is less than twice the age of the WN fleet. FL's average age is 7.1 years compared to 14.8 years for WN.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineHermansCVR580 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 510 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (4 years 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 6048 times:

Now this could and most likely is just all talk only to kill the fire but according to this article on jsonline it stats Kelly saying that they want to grow MKE & ATL. See below

"We think we have a wonderful opportunity to grow in Milwaukee," Kelly said in a teleconference with industry analysts. "We have not thought about reducing flights. We've only thought about adding flights, particularly in Atlanta and Milwaukee."

http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/103847559.html



The right decision at the wrong time, is still a wrong decision. "Hal Carr"
User currently onlinedrerx7 From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5193 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (4 years 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 6035 times:

Southwest route planners have some work to do - AirTran dehubbing will be interesting.


Third Coast born, means I'm Texas raised
User currently offlineblr380 From United States of America, joined Sep 2009, 160 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (4 years 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 5883 times:

Quoting HermansCVR580 (Reply 4):


We keep hearing about this during all mergers (keeping STL/CVG/MEM/CLE, etc...). There is a lot of route overlap (ex: Orlando, MKE) - capacity reduction should be inevitable. Not sure how many p2p routes can be added from the already saturated markets like ATL and MKE.


User currently offlineKcrwflyer From United States of America, joined May 2004, 3830 posts, RR: 7
Reply 7, posted (4 years 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 5855 times:

Quoting mogandoCI (Reply 2):
e.g. instead of wasting LGA slots on low-yield via-BWI connecting flights, send them to Raleigh, Richmond, or Charlotte.

Tally up the RDU-NYC flight schedule and tell me if WN adding that route is a waste or not.. I say it is. Who ever said their LGA flights were low yield. They may only have BWI and MDW service, but if anything, the limited amount of seats they have there should keep their yields up since they're essentially funneling in pax from the whole system.


User currently offlineClipper136 From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 319 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (4 years 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 5499 times:

In MCO, using OCT10 figures:

In terms of no.of flights, WN (87daily flights) and FL (55 daily flights) are no.1 and no. 2. Combined there are 142 daily flights.

In terms of seats, WN (11,868 daily seats) are no. 1 and FL (6,769 daily seats) is no.3. Combined there are 18, 637 scheduled daily seats.

WN serves 32 cities, FL serves 40 cities. Combined they will serve 62 cities as there are 10 that overlap (BWI, BUF, MDW, CMH, IND, MKE, PHL, PIT, STL and I combined ORF and PHF together)

MCO will loose the Corporate Offices, the brand new Operations Center and the Call Center. Hopefully the maintenance base will stay and expand. Airside 2 will be all WN (22 Gates).


User currently offlineCitrusCritter From United States of America, joined May 2007, 1117 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (4 years 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 5434 times:

Quoting mrskyguy (Reply 1):
From that perspective, the ATL hub is toast.

You have got to be kidding me if you think WN paid $1.4 bn for the privilege of tearing down ATL. ATL will not shrink under WN; it will only continue to grow back to FL's peak size. Will there be changes in what cities are offered ATL flights? Absolutely. Some of WN's western stations will definitely get ATL flights while many of FL's small midwest markets (e.g. BMI) will lose them. But WN paid this money to establish a major base at ATL; the whole "hub" vs. "focus city" thing is purely semantics at this point.

As to the small bases, they will stay as well. It is a chance for WN to become a true nationwide airline by offering access into a lot of smaller, eastern markets that can be served by the 717s to major WN bases such as MDW, BWI, BNA, and now ATL. The only base I see closing is PHF, because it is truly duplicating ORF; additionally WN has said DFW must be closed contractually based on their agreements re: DAL. So those are two bases that will merge, but I guarantee WN will keep every other station in some capacity; there's no reason they would give up FL's market share in places like FNT just because people in FNT can conceivably drive to DTW.


User currently offlinelambertman From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 2078 posts, RR: 36
Reply 10, posted (4 years 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 5354 times:

Quoting HermansCVR580 (Reply 4):
"We think we have a wonderful opportunity to grow in Milwaukee," Kelly said in a teleconference with industry analysts. "We have not thought about reducing flights. We've only thought about adding flights, particularly in Atlanta and Milwaukee."

If history has taught us something its that don't listen to figureheads speaking about acquired hubs right after a deal goes down. As pointed out by another poster, they are politically correct statements aimed at making the transition go smoother and to keep morale high. It's just smart business.

Quoting drerx7 (Reply 5):
Southwest route planners have some work to do - AirTran dehubbing will be interesting.

It will be extremely interesting to see what happens in MKE. How Southwest views it in relation to MDW will determine what happens. If they see it as a viable alternative to MDW and start to flow traffic there (although I'm not sure why St. Louis isn't a better option), F9 could be in trouble and have to retreat to DEN.

Purely, and obviously, speculation.

[Edited 2010-09-27 17:52:21]

User currently offlinemrskyguy From United States of America, joined Aug 2008, 1214 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (4 years 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 5188 times:

Quoting CitrusCritter (Reply 9):
You have got to be kidding me if you think WN paid $1.4 bn for the privilege of tearing down ATL. ATL will not shrink under WN; it will only continue to grow back to FL's peak size.

Re-read the post.. I was not insinuating that WN will abandon Atlanta. Quite the opposite. I was drawing attention to the fact that WN doesn't operate on a hub model.. they are focus cities, and have a completely different impact on routes than H.A.S. operations after a merger.



"The strength of the turbulence is directly proportional to the temperature of your coffee." -- Gunter's 2nd Law of Air
User currently offlinemariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25431 posts, RR: 86
Reply 12, posted (4 years 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 5144 times:
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Quoting lambertman (Reply 10):
If they see it as a viable alternative to MDW and start to flow traffic there (although I'm not sure why St. Louis isn't a better option), F9 could be in trouble and have to retreat to DEN.

Why?

Up until now, it has been an external pressure has been that Frontier must fight to retain the #1 share position at MKE.

That changes now - the Southwest/Airtran combo, just based on present numbers, becomes #1 at MKE.

Frontier will be in its most desirable position - the alternate, even the underdog, if you will - and that has always, always been where it has been most comfortable.

mariner



aeternum nauta
User currently offlinelambertman From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 2078 posts, RR: 36
Reply 13, posted (4 years 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 5080 times:

Quoting mariner (Reply 12):
Why?

Up until now, it has been an external pressure has been that Frontier must fight to retain the #1 share position at MKE.

That changes now - the Southwest/Airtran combo, just based on present numbers, becomes #1 at MKE.

Frontier will be in its most desirable position - the alternate, even the underdog, if you will - and that has always, always been where it has been most comfortable.

That position, I'm assuming in reference to Denver, led to bankruptcy. While fuel prices admittedly helped accelerate the process, they took a real beating in Denver after Southwest entered and dumped a ton of capacity in the market. I doubt that same thing will happen in Milwaukee though.

And again, this completely depends on how WN views MKE. If they see it as hurting MDW, Frontier could be the undisputed number one carrier in MKE. Just going to have to wait about 2 - 3 years to find out. It should be fun to watch no matter what happens.


User currently offlinemariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25431 posts, RR: 86
Reply 14, posted (4 years 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 5043 times:
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Quoting lambertman (Reply 13):
That position, I'm assuming in reference to Denver, led to bankruptcy.

I don't think I mentioned DEN.   

Nor do I see how DEN applies, because Frontier retained a fairly constant market share in the face of Southwest, until July of this year when they deliberately removed capacity.

Even if Frontier retains present market share at MKE, they automatically drop to #2 because the two other airlines combine.

mariner

[Edited 2010-09-27 19:34:38]


aeternum nauta
User currently offlinelambertman From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 2078 posts, RR: 36
Reply 15, posted (4 years 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 4940 times:

Quoting mariner (Reply 14):
I don't think I mentioned DEN.

With the "underdog" mentality you mention how am I supposed to think of anything other than the city they essentially concentrated 100% of their operations in. It's a pretty logical thought process. I'm sure others would agree.

In reference to Denver, I'm merely pointing out that if WN dumps a significant amount of capacity in the market that it could potentially make things difficult.


User currently offlinemariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25431 posts, RR: 86
Reply 16, posted (4 years 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 4900 times:
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Quoting lambertman (Reply 15):
With the "underdog" mentality you mention how am I supposed to think of anything other than the city they essentially concentrated 100% of their operations in. It's a pretty logical thought process. I'm sure others would agree.

My preferred word was the "alternate".

Quoting lambertman (Reply 15):
In reference to Denver, I'm merely pointing out that if WN dumps a significant amount of capacity in the market that it could potentially make things difficult.

Yes, surely Southwest could dump a significant amount of capacity at MKE. I'm just not sure why they would.

mariner



aeternum nauta
User currently offlineknope2001 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 2948 posts, RR: 30
Reply 17, posted (4 years 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 4640 times:

Certainly Southwest could choose to dump capacity into Milwaukee to ramp it up if they decided to. Might happen. However look at what Southwest will have on their plate with the merger:

1. Atlanta: Huge opportunities and work for them to do here.

2. A few dozen new AirTran cities coming to the Southwest map will need to be dealt with, and that likely means integrating them into the network with new flights. Some could well be dropped, and there's a chance that Southwest will continue some low-frequency markets as they are today with AirTran. But it's very likely that several of the bigger markets AirTran is bringing aren't going to stay with just a handful of flights.

3. The new slots Southwest is getting at LaGuardia and National give them more opportunities than what AirTran is currently using them for. When Southwest gains access to DCA and can fly around a dozen or so flights, does anybody think that they will believe the best use of 1/3 of their DCA assets is to fly to [i]Milwaukee[/]? They fly 6x to ATL, 4x to MKE, and a couple of Florida flights (including a RSW trip which is Air21 and will probably be re-bid). It seems very implausible that they'll keep 4x DCA-MKE and 0x DCA-MDW.

So with all these other things on Southwest's plate, we have Milwaukee. In the combined new Southwest system, Milwaukee ranks as 23rd busiest based on the first half of 2010's WN and FL stats. It ranks a bit behind places like ABQ and SAT, and just ahead of MSY and RSW. Southwest did not buy AirTran to get at Milwaukee.

Southwest will likely keep quite a bit of service at MKE, but it just doesn't seem likely that the AirTran east-west operation will make sense to invest in, especially since key componants will be reduced;

--Key access to LGA (5x) and DCA (4x) is likely to be slashed to give WN more access to other key markets
--DFW will go away too.
--Skywest feed is very likely gone -- 16x/day CRJ is not insignificant to FL when they only fly around three dozen mainline.
--Long haul west coast flying is from all indications a losing proposition in good parts of the year, and Southwest has shown they're not afraid to pull long haul routes in the offseason. AirTran kept their west coast nonstops at MKE (except for SAN) through the winter to makee the MKE hub flow work, but WN probably won't.
--MSP, the biggest feeder market for the AirTran MKE hub, carries very little lotcal traffic but tons of people destined for places like DCA, BOS, PIT, DFW, IND, LGA, etc. With those destinations trimmed or dropped, MSP-MKE doesn't make as much sense.

As those components are reduces, the critical mass to keep MKE as a key east-west connecting operation skids. I would guess Southwest will keep perhaps 30-35 flights at MKE, which is not insignificant. But it just doesn't seem to be a priority for Southwest given everything else they will have on their plate. And it doesn't seem like it should be a priority.

[Edited 2010-09-28 05:22:16]

User currently offlineblr380 From United States of America, joined Sep 2009, 160 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (4 years 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 4438 times:

One big gain to WN in this process is having ability to operate int'l flights. If they decide to expand internationally, it'll give some competition in ATL. I know FL doesn't have any E-gates, but can someone tell me if the new F-gates are already assigned to DL or can WN find any spots there? If so, we can see some first TATL flights out of ATL on WN metal.

User currently offlineFWAERJ From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 3770 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (4 years 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 4404 times:

No one has mentioned CAK, a mini-hub for FL, yet?

I see the (bleak) future of WN/FL CAK operations, and it's spelled C-L-E. WIth the possibility of UA/CO drawing down CLE ops over the next five years, and limited growth/expansion potential at CAK compared to CLE, I feel that CLE will become SouthwesTran's home in the Cleveland area. And if WN consolidates at CLE, F9 and the other LCCs will consolidate as well.

Unless all CAK wants two years from now are some DL CR2s to DTW and US DH8s to PHL, CAK management needs to pick up the phone and call G4, quick...



"Did he really need the triple bypass? Or was it the miles?"
User currently offlinemariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25431 posts, RR: 86
Reply 20, posted (4 years 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 4282 times:
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Quoting FWAERJ (Reply 19):
No one has mentioned CAK, a mini-hub for FL, yet?

No one has mentioned PHF yet, either. And thus not ORF.

mariner



aeternum nauta
User currently offlineapodino From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 4287 posts, RR: 6
Reply 21, posted (4 years 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 4269 times:

Quoting knope2001 (Reply 17):
--Skywest feed is very likely gone -- 16x/day CRJ is not insignificant to FL when they only fly around three dozen mainline.

Two questions about this

1. How long is the OO agreement good for?
2. Isn't the OO agreement at risk for OO? If so, WN gains nothing by letting it terminate early.


User currently offlineRJNUT From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 1237 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (4 years 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 4252 times:

Quoting apodino (Reply 21):
If so, WN gains nothing by letting it terminate early.

What they do gain is not having to dabble in the RJ feed operation they have repeatedly and steadfastedly rejected outright!


User currently onlineDiamondFlyer From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 1572 posts, RR: 3
Reply 23, posted (4 years 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 4201 times:

Quoting RJNUT (Reply 22):
What they do gain is not having to dabble in the RJ feed operation they have repeatedly and steadfastedly rejected outright!

Not sure how the WN pilot contract reads, but I'd bet there is some substantial scope clauses there. I'd bet the OO operations are the first things cut.

-DiamondFlyer


User currently offlineblr380 From United States of America, joined Sep 2009, 160 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (4 years 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 4140 times:

Quoting mariner (Reply 20):


PHF is a focus city and will be a nice addition to WN network (no reason why seasonal increase can be made). Will it become a hub? ...Not in the dictionary of WN (at least for now). Lot of good news for destinations that are specific to FL since they can anticipate some potential increase in service. Not so good (in my opinion) news for those focus cities that already have WN presence (ex: IND) - you can certainly expect consolidation. Just my thoughts..


25 mariner : It seems awfully close to ORF. I would have thought one or other would be redundant. mariner
26 knope2001 : The deal expires in late 2012, but either side can cancel with 120 days notice. There are several things which lead me to think it won't be long term
27 Post contains links mariner : I believe they cannot do domestic code shares: http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...lots-deal-to-limit-codeshares.html "Southwest Airlines has agre
28 bobnwa : Neither FL or WN has ever indicated this is a possibility. Why do you think it is?
29 Post contains images Atlwest1 : The E gates are common use gates. FL only uses them for flights returning to the US and in major weather situations when C and D are full. FL will pr
30 blr380 : I am only hoping for it since DL dominates the TATL activity at ATL. Really exciting times. I guess a lot would depend on WN signing/continuing lease
31 DBQ : I agree completely. I can't think of many good reasons to expand in a small city of "arbitrary hub" status a la CVG or CLE when you have a behemoth o
32 Post contains links ManuCH : As there are now official WN/FL merger threads, this one will be locked. Please continue discussion here: WN/FL Merger: Impact On Airports (by Moderat
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