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Morris Air And Southwest Merger Question  
User currently offlineolddominion727 From United States of America, joined Jan 2012, 385 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 7 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 3521 times:

I can remember when WN bought Morris. It appeared that SLC was going to be a focus city with n/s SEA, PDX, GEG, OAK, LAX, SNA, SAN, PHX, LAS, MCI, ABQ, HOU, MDW, SMF, BOI and some others. Morris was also going to PSP, FAT, COS, ANC, LGB, EUG all excellent cities in their network (PSP), but WN dropped them like a hot potato like they did with MuseAir and now AirTran. Maybe I am naive and if so, forgive me, but are they in it for the planes or pilots? I know carriers have had to trim the fat etc. But just a for instance, one could really argue that FAT would be a wonderful city for them, Be kind on your thoughts...

15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinen471wn From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1537 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (2 years 7 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 3496 times:
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Agree with you on FAT......I am a huge SWA supporter and customer but not going into FAT has never made any sense as it sits in the middle of a huge populaiton and in this case SWA simply missed the boat---I can see dropping Lake Havasu (as they did) but the decision to not keep FAT was a huge blunder------I think at the end of the day they wanted the instant SLC presence (I was living in SLC at the time) but mostly they wanted the aircraft in the deal......

User currently offlineOzarkD9S From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 5110 posts, RR: 21
Reply 2, posted (2 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 3353 times:

Quoting n471wn (Reply 1):


I think at the end of the day they wanted the instant SLC presence (I was living in SLC at the time) but mostly they wanted the aircraft in the deal.....

More likely WN wanted to

A) Eliminate a potential competitor
B) Grow quickly in the western US

I'm thinking even if Morris had been based at DEN instead of SLC the end result would have been the same (Big DEN, typical WN presence at SLC). But they got the small SLC hub from Morris, said hub has now been moved to DEN with the resulting downsizing at SLC. The acquisition served it's purpose at the time.



Next Up: STL-LGA-RIC-ATL-STL
User currently offlineSurfandSnow From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 2865 posts, RR: 30
Reply 3, posted (2 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 3325 times:

Quoting olddominion727 (Thread starter):
It appeared that SLC was going to be a focus city with n/s SEA, PDX, GEG, OAK, LAX, SNA, SAN, PHX, LAS, MCI, ABQ, HOU, MDW, SMF, BOI and some others.

Indeed that was the case, and it did happen. The SLC hub was largely absorbed by WN, although they themselves would never call it (or any other station, no matter how big) a hub  . SLC was pretty big and important, a major interior Western operation a la ABQ, until the mid-2000s. That was when a resurgent post-bankruptcy DL and the rapid rise of nearby DEN (which served the same network connectivity purpose, but with better O&D and superior airport facilities) led to SLC's slow but steady decline. The SLC operation today is just a fraction of what it used to be in the late 90s and early 2000s.

It's important to remember that WN did add 7 new markets thanks to the Morris Air acquisition: SEA, PDX, GEG, SNA, SLC, BOI, and TUS. I think a lot of people forget that the large Pacific Northwest markets only came online at that time, not unlike the fact that stuff like CLT and DCA will just now be getting canyon blue service thanks to the FL takeover. GEG and BOI would have been some surprisingly small market additions, although TUS wouldn't have been a big surprise thanks to their established presence in the Southwest along the SoCal-Texas corridor. The one that shocked industry observers was SNA, a heavily slot/capacity restricted airport. They didn't think WN would be willing to bother serving an airport that offered virtually no major growth opportunities, but low and behold WN came in and patiently waited for other carriers to give up slots. Now they are the airport's biggest carrier!

Quoting olddominion727 (Thread starter):
Morris was also going to PSP, FAT, COS, ANC, LGB, EUG all excellent cities in their network

PSP is a highly seasonal market, and it would be impossible for WN to run a viable operation at or above the 8 daily flight minimum during the oppressively hot, slow summer months. Moreover, WN maintains a big schedule at ONT, which is an easy drive down the 10 freeway from Palm Springs. I don't doubt they could pull PSP off between October and April, something like 2x daily OAK/2x daily SJC/2x daily SMF/2x daily LAS/2x daily PHX. But WN is not in the business of doing seasonal flying - yet (I'm interested to see what happens with BDA). For now let's see how the airport's new LCC tenants F9 and VX do with their recently added flights.

FAT is probably now one of the largest markets in the country without WN service, taking into account all of the FL cities that will soon be getting canyon blue. I remember reading on here that WN was considering adding it in years past (not sure if it was when they bought Morris Air or not), but the airport rebuffed them in favor of keeping UA happy. I'm sure they are kicking themselves now! But, I do wonder where WN could really go from FAT. It seems the market might be just a bit too close to Sacramento, LA, and the Bay Area? Obviously I have no doubt that service to LAS and PHX would do very well.

COS would have made a great alternate to DEN, but there was a major Western Pacific Airlines hub there at the time and WN probably didn't want to endure such a big battle in such a small market. Turns out that carrier's hub was not viable anyway - they ended up shifting it to DEN before going out of business. If COS couldn't woo WN when it adamantly refused to serve DEN and Western Pacific had just pulled out, I doubt they'll ever be able to get WN.

ANC suffers from the same seasonality issues as PSP, but there is another problem: AS. WN has long feared AS, such that they still won't serve SEA and PDX nonstop from their strong SoCal markets! It doesn't even seem likely that the new WN, with much broader network reach than ever before, will go into ANC. But, you never know.

LGB would have rounded out WN's presence at all five major LA area airports. However, the strict cap on 40-some daily mainline flights was unacceptable to a carrier that wanted to offer high frequency shuttle schedules to the likes of OAK, SJC, SMF, LAS, and PHX.

EUG was probably just too small of a market to support WN. I believe it is considerably smaller than the likes of BOI, GEG, and TUS that were added. Just like FL made certain small markets work that WN never could with its different costs and network structure, EUG worked for Morris Air but couldn't for WN.



Flying in the middle seat of coach is much better than not flying at all!
User currently offlinen471wn From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1537 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (2 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 3297 times:
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Quoting SurfandSnow (Reply 3):
But, I do wonder where WN could really go from FAT. It seems the market might be just a bit too close to Sacramento, LA, and the Bay Area?

great response but this sentence puzzled me-----FAT is very much by itself geographically with only Bakersfield in proximity---all the other airports you mentioned are way too far away......


User currently offlineFATFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2001, 5804 posts, RR: 14
Reply 5, posted (2 years 7 months 4 weeks ago) and read 3240 times:

Morris had only been operating at FAT for a few months before WN purchased it. There were only 1 or 2 Morris flights a day at FAT. Part of WN's decision was probably a reallocation of scarce aircraft to locations that Morris had already developed into stations larger than FAT.

Quoting SurfandSnow (Reply 3):
I remember reading on here that WN was considering adding it in years past (not sure if it was when they bought Morris Air or not), but the airport rebuffed them in favor of keeping UA happy.

My inside sources have always said that rumor was false. It seems to be a phony negative spin by some based around Westair having developed a large UAX base and operation at FAT.

Quoting SurfandSnow (Reply 3):
But, I do wonder where WN could really go from FAT. It seems the market might be just a bit too close to Sacramento, LA, and the Bay Area? Obviously I have no doubt that service to LAS and PHX would do very well.

At one time WN supposedly said if they started at Fresno that LAX-FAT would be a potential market. Partially it would be for connections thru LAX and partially O&D. Current fares for O&D run high on FAT-LAX which pushes many people to drive the 4 hours or more to Southern California.

Some years ago a major casino hotel manager said if he had one request from WN it would be for FAT-RNO to start. The Fresno area used to send a lot of tourists to Reno but I do not know what that market is like today.



"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
User currently offlineknope2001 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 2911 posts, RR: 30
Reply 6, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 3041 times:

Quoting SurfandSnow (Reply 3):
Indeed that was the case, and it did happen. The SLC hub was largely absorbed by WN, although they themselves would never call it (or any other station, no matter how big) a hub . SLC was pretty big and important, a major interior Western operation a la ABQ, until the mid-2000s. That was when a resurgent post-bankruptcy DL and the rapid rise of nearby DEN (which served the same network connectivity purpose, but with better O&D and superior airport facilities) led to SLC's slow but steady decline. The SLC operation today is just a fraction of what it used to be in the late 90s and early 2000s.


Actually Salt Lake has pretty much been a point of stagnation for Southwest since it came aboard from the Morris acquisition. Southwest acquired Morris in 1994. These are average daily flights and number of nonstop destinations for August of each year since that point:

1993 33 to 15 nonstop destinations
1994 39 to 14 nonstop destinations
1995 40 to 13 nonstop destinations
1996 43 to 14 nonstop destinations
1997 39 to 14 nonstop destinations
1998 38 to 14 nonstop destinations
1999 35 to 13 nonstop destinations
2000 35 to 12 nonstop destinations
2001 39 to 13 nonstop destinations
2002 38 to 13 nonstop destinations
2003 37 to 13 nonstop destinations
2004 37 to 13 nonstop destinations
2005 39 to 14 nonstop destinations
2006 42 to 14 nonstop destinations
2007 43 to 14 nonstop destinations
2008 48 to 14 nonstop destinations
2009 41 to 14 nonstop destinations
2010 39 to 13 nonstop destinations
2011 37 to 13 nonstop destinations

When one thinks about how much many Southwest cities grew during this period, it's remarkable how flat SLC has been. The peak in 2008 has likely deflated with the growth at DEN, of course, but SLC never blossomed for them over the years, even in the many years when Southwest shunned Denver.


User currently offlinerampart From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 3138 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 2904 times:

Quoting OzarkD9S (Reply 2):
I'm thinking even if Morris had been based at DEN instead of SLC the end result would have been the same (Big DEN, typical WN presence at SLC). But they got the small SLC hub from Morris, said hub has now been moved to DEN with the resulting downsizing at SLC. The acquisition served it's purpose at the time.

If WN had kept COS, they might have had that, much in the same way that they were using alternate airports to major cities at the time (Long Island, Manchester, Oakland). COS was an airport that had just expanded, and encouraging "small hub" operations, if WN (or any other airline) grew. Of course, that WN business model is no longer valid.

Quoting SurfandSnow (Reply 3):
COS would have made a great alternate to DEN, but there was a major Western Pacific Airlines hub there at the time and WN probably didn't want to endure such a big battle in such a small market. Turns out that carrier's hub was not viable anyway - they ended up shifting it to DEN before going out of business. If COS couldn't woo WN when it adamantly refused to serve DEN and Western Pacific had just pulled out, I doubt they'll ever be able to get WN.

Actually, WestPac began service in 1995, and incorporated in 1994. WN bought Morris Air (at their behest, BTW), in 1993, and integrated by 1994. So, if WN had started service in COS, they would have been just another airline serving the airport, as no hubbing airline existed there yet, certainly not major. As it turns out, WestPac developed its own "Southwest Effect", massively stimulating traffic (not just from COS and DEN), and prompting new service from CO, DL, and UA, as well as NW, who never served the airport before. If WN had seen COS as a potential focus city to build, WestPac may not have succeeded as long as they did, and may not have even gone forward with initial service.

Frontier F9 did begin service in DEN in 1994, 1 year earlier than WestPac.

WN might have had a Colorado presence 10 years earlier than they did (not counting their original attempt in the mid-80's).

-Rampart


User currently offlineWhatUsaid From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 664 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 2805 times:

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 5):
Morris had only been operating at FAT for a few months before WN purchased it. There were only 1 or 2 Morris flights a day at FAT. Part of WN's decision was probably a reallocation of scarce aircraft to locations that Morris had already developed into stations larger than FAT.

Quoting SurfandSnow (Reply 3):
I remember reading on here that WN was considering adding it in years past (not sure if it was when they bought Morris Air or not), but the airport rebuffed them in favor of keeping UA happy.

My inside sources have always said that rumor was false. It seems to be a phony negative spin by some based around Westair having developed a large UAX base and operation at FAT.

Having been around FAT Mgt at the time we were after WN, there's no truth that FAT somehow didn't want WN because of Westair/UA. The number of flights they required to start-up service and the number of potential markets just didn't match.

FAT serves a large population base but the disposable income doesn't really match up to what WN needed at the time and we can only image that the requirement has dramatically increased. That's not to say that WN couldn't tap the market and pull people from driving to flying. But, WN isn't exactly the low fare carrier it once was. It will be interesting to see how AS/QX does on FAT-SAN. From what I can see, they've a fare structure that pretty much mirrors that of WN out of the Bay Area to SAN. Maybe AS will provide evidence that WN can work after all. But, I tend to agree with airport mgt, that WN would basically push US and G4 from LAS and PHX and the net gain won't be as life-changing as we'd hoped. I can't see WN shuttling to OAK or LAX at $100 a barrel. Morris Air did pack 'em in on FAT-LAS, with FAT-OAK-SEA running well under LAS in both numbers and yield. FAT-LAX didn't work...but that could have been due to the single RT.


User currently offline737tanker From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 269 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 2546 times:

Quoting rampart (Reply 7):
WN might have had a Colorado presence 10 years earlier than they did (not counting their original attempt in the mid-80's).

In 2000 I heard Herb say that the biggest mistake he made when SWA bought Morris was dropping COS and ANC.


User currently offlinen471wn From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1537 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 2530 times:
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Quoting 737tanker (Reply 9):
In 2000 I heard Herb say that the biggest mistake he made when SWA bought Morris was dropping COS and ANC.

COS is so badly underserved when one looks at the population around it and espeically the fact that it is equi-distant between DIA and COS for so many people south of Denver----I remain so amazed that F9 and WN fight it out at DIA and yet let COS languish-----F9 should "blink" and move flights to COS.


User currently offlinePlanesNTrains From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 5582 posts, RR: 28
Reply 11, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 2420 times:

Quoting n471wn (Reply 10):
F9 should "blink" and move flights to COS.

I don't know....COS seems to have the same effect on carriers that MCI does, namely death. Other than a mild build-up, neither seems to be able to successfully maintain "hub" status. I think what Frontier is doing at MCI - among perhaps other destinations - is great, bulding up a presence but not necessarily a hub. However, for Frontier to move a full "hub" to COS would seem to me to be a deathwish.

Now, I will hedge that statement by saying that if F9 does indeed go the ULCC model, that type of operation might be more successful at an airport like COS, but Frontier and Denver seem synonymous.

-Dave



Next Trip: SEA-ABQ-SEA on Alaska
User currently offlinen471wn From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1537 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 2413 times:
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Quoting PlanesNTrains (Reply 11):
think what Frontier is doing at MCI - among perhaps other destinations - is great, bulding up a presence but not necessarily a hub

Agree....let them start with some limited flights at COS and see what happens---my guess is they would be surprised at the demand----COS to MDW and PHX and LAS would work.....trust me.


User currently offlineSurfandSnow From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 2865 posts, RR: 30
Reply 13, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 2256 times:

Quoting 737tanker (Reply 9):
In 2000 I heard Herb say that the biggest mistake he made when SWA bought Morris was dropping COS and ANC.

COS I can absolutely understand.. WN obviously wanted to serve the Colorado market, but had issues with the Stapleton Airport and then refused to serve the costly new DEN (as of 2000). COS would have made a great alternate for Denver a la MHT/PVD for Boston. But the inevitable WN entry to DEN would have certainly affected an existing COS operation.

As for ANC, I'm shocked to hear that. ANC as a small, distant, highly seasonal market certainly didn't fit the WN model of 2000, but then again it is an overland operation within easy range of the 737. Even today I'm not so sure WN is thinking of adding service to ANC/Alaska.

Quoting n471wn (Reply 10):
COS is so badly underserved when one looks at the population around it and espeically the fact that it is equi-distant between DIA and COS for so many people south of Denver----I remain so amazed that F9 and WN fight it out at DIA and yet let COS languish-----F9 should "blink" and move flights to COS.

The Colorado Springs metropolitan area has less people than those of Knoxville, TN, Charleston, SC and Toledo, OH while having slightly more than Greenville/Spartanburg, SC, Wichita, KS and Des Moines, IA. Colorado Springs is very prolific for having Pike's Peak, the U.S. Olympic Training Center, and the Air Force Academy. But it is not a very large metropolis in its own right, and the very close proximity of DEN leads me to believe that the airport is fairly lucky to have all the service that it does. After all, look what TOL offers in the shadow of nearby DTW...

The thought of F9 leaving DEN for COS is laughable. For starters, COS lacks the FIS to handle their incoming Mexican and Costa Rican flights. COS lacks the terminal facilities and amenities to handle the amount of connecting traffic that F9 generates. COS lacks the O&D to support the vast majority of F9's routes, especially the niche routes to small markets that have marked their latest expansion from the DEN hub (i.e. PSP, LIT, FSD, TYS, PVU). At most, COS might work for F9 as a small focus city experiment a la OMA. But it would never, ever replace the function of their entire DEN hub!

Quoting PlanesNTrains (Reply 11):
Now, I will hedge that statement by saying that if F9 does indeed go the ULCC model, that type of operation might be more successful at an airport like COS, but Frontier and Denver seem synonymous.

Now that MKE ops have been drastically reduced, DEN is once again the sole F9 hub. F9 would not be a viable entity without that DEN hub. If they do become a ULCC, then F9 can thrive at DEN (as well as MCI, OMA, MKE, and other markets) by undercutting WN, which now has some of the highest costs in the industry. I truly believe this is why WN has been working so hard to put F9 out of business. F9 was (and perhaps still is) vulnerable now, but could emerge as a resurgent force in key WN heartland markets in the coming years. WN underestimated the ability of US to come back from the brink of insolvency and effectively defend their PHL hub, and may very well fear that F9 could wreak similar havoc on them in 5-10 years.



Flying in the middle seat of coach is much better than not flying at all!
User currently offlinen471wn From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1537 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 2141 times:
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Quoting SurfandSnow (Reply 13):
The thought of F9 leaving DEN for COS is laughable.

I did not say all flights----just start with a few and see what happens


User currently offlineytib From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 574 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 1966 times:

Remember Western Pacific. They were based out of COS and tried to move up to DEN as they weren't making it in COS. This was also when UA was the dominant carrier so people in the springs would just go through DEN anyways.

With the toll road available it is easier to get to DEN from the south part of Denver then to COS mainly due to the mess I-25 can be between the two cities.


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