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Could Spirit Develop ORD & DFW Into Hubs?  
User currently offlineCIDFlyer From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 2271 posts, RR: 3
Posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 3335 times:

Spirit Air seems to be adding these days, especially at ORD and DFW. So what does the future hold with Spirit at these two cities? Could they be developed into hubs? Granted they wouldnt have to be large with maybe 100-200 flights a day (similar to what AirTran has at ATL). Does anyone see if this is the driection Spirit wants to go? DFW has the satellite terminal at E which could give them a fair amount of gates. What's available at ORD? Any more gates on L? Or at terminal 5?

18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineFWAERJ From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 3716 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 3290 times:

Quoting CIDFlyer (Thread starter):
What's available at ORD? Any more gates on L? Or at terminal 5?

IIRC, NK uses 3 out of the 11 gates on Concourse L at ORD. One of the gates is split with 3E (Air Choice One), though NK uses the jetway portion and 3E boards from the ramp. The rest of the L gates belong to AA (6 gates), B6 (1 gate), and VX (1 gate).

NK once used T5 at ORD, but moved to T3 several years ago. Although T5 is common-use, they wouldn't be able to get gates during peak times, and T5 gates are more expensive to operate from than T1/2/3. As NK is a ULCC, they may not be able to absorb the extra cost of using T5, and keep in mind that NK used T5 long before they were a ULCC.

Unless AA is willing to give up some gates on L (and I think they actually might want to in Chapter 11), NK doesn't have much more room to grow at ORD. But I could see AA giving up some L gates, as AA and NK target very different clientele and don't really compete with each other. And I'm sure AA would be fine with giving leisure junk-yield traffic to NK so they can focus on bread-and-butter business travelers.

I do know that NK has looked at GYY (now served once again by G4 to SFB), but I have a feeling that GYY service would complement, not replace ORD. Different parts of Chicagoland, different demographics, different catchment areas, different story.



I don't work for FWA, their tenants, or their ad agency. But I still love FWA.
User currently onlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17322 posts, RR: 46
Reply 2, posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 3141 times:

They *could* develop LBE into a hub if they wanted to, but all signs seem to point to NK having difficulty making money off of their primary hub in FLL. Almost all of NK's recent additions have come at the expense of stagnant growth and even decreases at FLL, which lead me to believe that if NK can't fill a plane primarily off the local market, they're not interested. I don't expect them to do anything that requires any significant connecting traffic, especially in DFW/ORD.


E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlinebobloblaw From United States of America, joined Jan 2012, 1590 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 3106 times:
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Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 2):
but all signs seem to point to NK having difficulty making money off of their primary hub in FLL.

Given that they have the highest profit margins in the industry, I th ink they must be making $$$ at FLL


User currently onlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17322 posts, RR: 46
Reply 4, posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 3080 times:

Quoting bobloblaw (Reply 3):

Given that they have the highest profit margins in the industry, I th ink they must be making $$$ at FLL

Sure, they must be making money in FLL, but they're not growing it. In fact they're trimming it here and there and adding things like LAXLAS instead.



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlineCIDFlyer From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 2271 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 3009 times:

Quoting FWAERJ (Reply 1):

IIRC, NK uses 3 out of the 11 gates on Concourse L at ORD. One of the gates is split with 3E (Air Choice One), though NK uses the jetway portion and 3E boards from the ramp. The rest of the L gates belong to AA (6 gates), B6 (1 gate), and VX (1 gate).

NK once used T5 at ORD, but moved to T3 several years ago. Although T5 is common-use, they wouldn't be able to get gates during peak times, and T5 gates are more expensive to operate from than T1/2/3. As NK is a ULCC, they may not be able to absorb the extra cost of using T5, and keep in mind that NK used T5 long before they were a ULCC.

Unless AA is willing to give up some gates on L (and I think they actually might want to in Chapter 11), NK doesn't have much more room to grow at ORD. But I could see AA giving up some L gates, as AA and NK target very different clientele and don't really compete with each other. And I'm sure AA would be fine with giving leisure junk-yield traffic to NK so they can focus on bread-and-butter business travelers.

I do know that NK has looked at GYY (now served once again by G4 to SFB), but I have a feeling that GYY service would complement, not replace ORD. Different parts of Chicagoland, different demographics, different catchment areas, different story.

6 more gates (assuming AA would give them up) would enable NK to have a decent focus city or hublet at ORD. I find Spirit kind of fun to watch these days grow and eager to see what they have planned next.


User currently offlinenomorerjs From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 444 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 2974 times:

NK could be positioning for the L gates at ORD if AA decides to opt out of their lease while in Chapter 11 or de-hub ORD (ain't gonna happen), or to prevent B6 / VX from gaining potential gates at ORD (B6, no. VX, interesting). Who knows. But ORD is turning into a A-Netters Soap Opera!

DFW, on the other hand, has gates, free rent and potential for a hub (like ORD has location and O&D), and competition against one airline, that is in Chapter 11.

Fun times awaiting!


User currently offlineSurfandSnow From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 2844 posts, RR: 30
Reply 7, posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 2941 times:

Let's see how everything they already have out of these airports is really doing before we get too carried away. This is an airline that can be quick to expand one day and then rapidly contract the next - DTW was once their primary hub, now its an afterthought; FLL then became their main focus, but they have already done pretty much everything they can from there; their unprecedented LAS expansion in the wake of the US/HP hub closure already seems to be faltering (see enilria updates). At ORD itself NK was pretty big in the late 90s/early 2000s, then they shrank down to FLL/RSW before building back up again. Admittedly, a lack of cheap domestic terminal gate space was an issue, but still...

If all goes well, I think continuing to connect the dots makes great sense (i.e. ORD-ATL/TPA, DFW-LAX/CUN, etc.). I also think expansion into other prime domestic markets like Houston from these airports would be a great idea. But I am curious to see how its doing first, or if this is just a temporary focus of linking major domestic markets before something else pops up in the coming years.



Flying in the middle seat of coach is much better than not flying at all!
User currently offlinepoint2point From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 2740 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 2810 times:

If I recall from one of the other NK threads here, it seems that from the last investors/conference call that NK had, one of the major officers there stated that NK has something like a 90% O&D pax rate, and only about 10% pax connecting traffic. I would have thought the connecting pax would have been somewhat higher, especially with the FLL hub..... but I guess not.

And with an O&D rate of about 90%, I think that it's pretty easy to see why NK has been pulling in the profits as of late (well, that and all of it's other fees that they charge) and if so, why would they want to change this model. O&D is what makes the $$$$$, so why be concerned with making connects. If the connect is there, fine, but at present, I don't think that NK needs to focus on any connects at any airport.

 


User currently offlineROSWELL41 From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 774 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 2341 times:

Spirit needs more gates in ORD. Starting this month NK is running a 1am departure bank to FLL, RSW and MCO from ORD. This becomes necessary due to the high utilization of two gates and is a good way to keep those aircraft making money.

User currently offlineapodino From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 4234 posts, RR: 6
Reply 10, posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 2293 times:

If gate space ever became an issue in DFW (Not likely in the near term, The airport could always build Terminal F, and I believe there are provisions to allow up to 10 terminals someday (Not likely in my lifetime though) In fact, DFW offered to build it now if they could get WN to leave DAL for DFW, which of course they didn't, and instead Wright is going to be repealed. In the near term, what is more likely to happen is for the Satellite in E to reopen, and NK would be the most likely candidate to move out there based on current service levels into DFW.

ORD is a lot trickier. I don't think a new terminal will be built in the near term because AA and UA would be forced to pay for it and they of course don't want to do that. What I do think is likely is for AA to reject lease terms on L gates in bankruptcy, which would allow a carrier like an NK or VX to pick up a couple of extra gates. One other thing that could happen would be for US to move into L and for UA to pick up even more gate space in E and F (I don't see this as likely in the short term unless the US/AA merger actually happens).

NK is taking delivery of a lot of new aircraft though, and they need places to fly those aircraft. However while I feel ORD and DFW may gain traffic, I don't see anything resembling a hub operation in either place because it would not be consistent with an O and D centered business model.


User currently offlineFWAERJ From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 3716 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 2271 times:

Quoting apodino (Reply 10):
I don't think a new terminal will be built in the near term because AA and UA would be forced to pay for it and they of course don't want to do that.

Keep in mind that the Chicago Department of Aviation wants a new west terminal at ORD for new/limited access entrants. The new/limited access part is what makes UA and AA mad more than anything else. If the west terminal that's being proposed was, say, a dedicated UA/Star Alliance terminal, then the story would probably be very different.

Quoting ROSWELL41 (Reply 9):
Starting this month NK is running a 1am departure bank to FLL, RSW and MCO from ORD.

I thought ORD had a night curfew?



I don't work for FWA, their tenants, or their ad agency. But I still love FWA.
User currently offlinedeltaffindfw From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 1438 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 2200 times:

Quoting apodino (Reply 10):
In the near term, what is more likely to happen is for the Satellite in E to reopen

Satellite E will reopen. As part of the TRIP project, they need the satellite terminal as they close down certain parts of Terminal E for construction. In fact, as of a week or so ago, they have fenced in the satellite and have begun working on it. I saw the lights on inside while flying out at night.


User currently offlinebohica From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2668 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 2195 times:

Quoting FWAERJ (Reply 11):
I thought ORD had a night curfew?

They have nighttime noise abatement procedures in effect from 2200 to 0700 local but no curfew. I don't know the specific procedures though.


User currently offlineROSWELL41 From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 774 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 2084 times:

ORD is a 24 hour airport. No night curfew.

User currently offlineLOWS From Austria, joined Oct 2011, 1112 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 2039 times:

Quoting deltaffindfw (Reply 12):
Satellite E will reopen. As part of the TRIP project, they need the satellite terminal as they close down certain parts of Terminal E for construction. In fact, as of a week or so ago, they have fenced in the satellite and have begun working on it. I saw the lights on inside while flying out at night.

I guess they will run shuttle buses to and from the regular terminal E?


User currently offlinenomorerjs From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 444 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 1924 times:

ORD is open to all who will come, but good luck finding a gate and an on-time arrival/departure!

User currently onlinemhkansan From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 668 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (2 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 1887 times:

Quoting LOWS (Reply 15):
I guess they will run shuttle buses to and from the regular terminal E?

DFW will begin refurbishing Terminal E, along with all the other terminals except D. While airline's "regular" E gates are being renovated, the airline ops will move out to the satellite terminal. Pax will access the satellite as they always have, via the underground tunnel that goes out there. Its blocked off now, but sometimes the escalators are running.

There are empty gates for Spirit on "regular" E if they wanted them, though. I think the satellite will be tied up with this renovation process long enough, though.


User currently offlineCIDFlyer From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 2271 posts, RR: 3
Reply 18, posted (2 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 1631 times:

it will be interesting to see how they develop their route network once they start getting more planes. Spirit has become a little more interesting to watch these days, especially around DFW and ORD!

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