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Is The WN 8-Flight Rule For New Cities Dead?  
User currently onlineFWAERJ From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 3739 posts, RR: 2
Posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 12375 times:

For many years, WN said that they would not start a city unless it could support eight departures a day from day one. This so-called "eight-flight rule" ruled out many airports from being WN candidates.

But that seems to be changing - and fast. At least four full FL station conversions (BKG, DSM, FNT, and ICT) along with several partial station conversions (EYW being one) have five or fewer departures a day. Just three years ago, when WN opened up every new city with seven or eight departures, this would have been unheard of.

Once the WN/FL merger integration is complete, could we see WN opening up more new domestic destinations with five or fewer flights? And has WN almost run out of new cities that they could start with the "eight-flight rule"? (I can think of CVG, FAT, and GSO... and that's about it.)


Primary Airport: FWA/Alternate Airport: DTW/Not employed by the FWACAA or their partners
53 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineyellowtail From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 6124 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 12340 times:

Yes, especially on the forthcoming international.....


When in doubt, hold on to your altitude. No-one has ever collided with the sky.
User currently offlineLHCVG From United States of America, joined May 2009, 1556 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 12279 times:

For many years WN did a lot of things (flew into secondary airports like PVD vs. BOS, didn't have true hubs, didn't offer connecting service, and the list goes on).

In all seriousness though: yes, that rule is dead. WN is now a major network carrier that simply lacks a regional feeder operations to fill in all the holes that even they can't make a 737 work on. As part of that, as they chase the long tail of demand, there will be fewer markets capable of supporting initial service levels meeting that criteria. That's not to say the rule isn't a good rule of thumb for looking at new stations, but as a hard and fast rule it's time is done.


User currently offlineouboy79 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 4589 posts, RR: 23
Reply 3, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 12242 times:

Quoting FWAERJ (Thread starter):
But that seems to be changing - and fast. At least four full FL station conversions (BKG, DSM, FNT, and ICT) along with several partial station conversions (EYW being one) have five or fewer departures a day. Just three years ago, when WN opened up every new city with seven or eight departures, this would have been unheard of.

I believe some of the new contracts allow the costs to make sense for some of these smaller cities. We'll see if it lasts. BKG and ICT are subsidized I believe. EYW is one of those unique situations.

The company is evolving and needs to find ways to make these small cities work. However, the company is still going to demand a certain ROI and level of margin on these flights. If they don't meet the margin goal they'll get cut. They also need to have a certain level of high O&D on routes since that makes more money than dealing with connecting pax.


User currently offlineiowaman From United States of America, joined May 2004, 4391 posts, RR: 6
Reply 4, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 12199 times:
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Quoting FWAERJ (Thread starter):
For many years, WN said that they would not start a city unless it could support eight departures a day from day one. This so-called "eight-flight rule" ruled out many airports from being WN candidates.

That was certainly the case for many years, although CRP had been "grandfathered" in and always has and likely will be a small station.

Quoting FWAERJ (Thread starter):
Once the WN/FL merger integration is complete, could we see WN opening up more new domestic destinations with five or fewer flights?

I think down the road it seems logical to add some more destinations and fill in holes. Cities like COS, PIA (Peoria, IL), BTR, LAN (Lansing, MI), and a few others could probably support a token presence (similar to DSM's two daily to MDW). Until WN hits a 15% ROI (Return On Investment) and the merger is largely complete I don't see this as likely.

Quoting yellowtail (Reply 1):
Yes, especially on the forthcoming international.....

  

Quoting FWAERJ (Thread starter):
And has WN almost run out of new cities that they could start with the "eight-flight rule"? (I can think of CVG, FAT, and GSO... and that's about it.)

I sure hope CVG gets WN, they are in need of more pax/operations/low fares.



Next flights: WN DSM-LAS-PHX, US PHX-SJD. Return: US SJD-PHX, WN PHX-MDW-DSM
User currently onlineFWAERJ From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 3739 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 12181 times:

Quoting ouboy79 (Reply 3):
BKG and ICT are subsidized I believe

Correct. ICT by the city, and BKG by the local tourism industry.

Quoting LHCVG (Reply 2):
WN is now a major network carrier that simply lacks a regional feeder operations to fill in all the holes that even they can't make a 737 work on. As part of that, as they chase the long tail of demand, there will be fewer markets capable of supporting initial service levels meeting that criteria. That's not to say the rule isn't a good rule of thumb for looking at new stations, but as a hard and fast rule it's time is done.
Quoting ouboy79 (Reply 3):
The company is evolving and needs to find ways to make these small cities work.

As the company evolves, their rules have to evolve, too. I have a feeling that the famous "eight-flight rule" found in business school textbooks everywhere is in the process of becoming a "three-flight rule" (or even a "two-flight rule" for the upcoming international routes).

[Edited 2012-12-17 10:53:18]


Primary Airport: FWA/Alternate Airport: DTW/Not employed by the FWACAA or their partners
User currently offlineLHCVG From United States of America, joined May 2009, 1556 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 12147 times:

Quoting ouboy79 (Reply 3):
The company is evolving and needs to find ways to make these small cities work. However, the company is still going to demand a certain ROI and level of margin on these flights. If they don't meet the margin goal they'll get cut. They also need to have a certain level of high O&D on routes since that makes more money than dealing with connecting pax.

ouboy has a good point here, and brings up a good example of a recent exception: DCA-AUS (WN's first original WN DCA service). That flight is likely a cash cow for them even at 1x daily, and may well be a better investment than starting a small "beach market" at 2-3x a day. Obviously post merger they now have FL's ops at DCA, but that's an example of a route that might have been a good starter flight regardless.


User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6897 posts, RR: 46
Reply 7, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 12148 times:

I would be suspicious of making any conclusions about WN policy based on the FL acquisition. It may or may not have been a good move; based on their decision to dump the 717's so fast they may be having second thoughts about the whole thing. They had to take FL as they found it; they may or may not keep all of the routes they acquired, but as for making any assumptions about what WN will do in the future based on routes acquired with FL is treading on shaky ground indeed.


The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlineAWACSooner From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 1902 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 12128 times:

You can add DAY and CAK to the list of

User currently onlineFWAERJ From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 3739 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 12103 times:

Quoting AWACSooner (Reply 8):

You can add DAY

DAY still has FL service and more than eight total WN+FL flights per day.



Primary Airport: FWA/Alternate Airport: DTW/Not employed by the FWACAA or their partners
User currently offlineouboy79 From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 4589 posts, RR: 23
Reply 10, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 12028 times:

Quoting iowaman (Reply 4):
I think down the road it seems logical to add some more destinations and fill in holes. Cities like COS, PIA (Peoria, IL), BTR, LAN (Lansing, MI), and a few others could probably support a token presence (similar to DSM's two daily to MDW). Until WN hits a 15% ROI (Return On Investment) and the merger is largely complete I don't see this as likely.

COS won't shock me if it happens. PIA, BTR, LAN all would. I don't see those happening.

Quoting iowaman (Reply 4):
I sure hope CVG gets WN, they are in need of more pax/operations/low fares.

This one seems like a good possibility going forward. I do whonder if DAY would be hurt if it happens though.

Quoting FWAERJ (Reply 5):
As the company evolves, their rules have to evolve, too. I have a feeling that the famous "eight-flight rule" found in business school textbooks everywhere is in the process of becoming a "three-flight rule" (or even a "two-flight rule" for the upcoming international routes).

I haven't heard of the magic eight flight rule while being with WN, so to me it is meaningless. Focus more on ROI, margin, and O&D. Why do you think short haul routes like IND-MDW are dead?

Quoting AWACSooner (Reply 8):
You can add DAY and CAK to the list of

They'll both be above 8 flights after FL flights are converted. CAK should be a decent sized station when it is all done.

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 7):
I would be suspicious of making any conclusions about WN policy based on the FL acquisition. It may or may not have been a good move; based on their decision to dump the 717's so fast they may be having second thoughts about the whole thing. They had to take FL as they found it; they may or may not keep all of the routes they acquired, but as for making any assumptions about what WN will do in the future based on routes acquired with FL is treading on shaky ground indeed.

I don't think anyone seriously thought the 717s had a chance at WN. It might have been able to work, but the math didn't add up and it was most cost effective to sub lease them off to DL. Are they second guessing? Not at all. Things are just taking time to allow FL to be dismantled and the WN brand to back fill.


User currently offlineFlytravel From United States of America, joined Dec 2009, 873 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 11979 times:

Quoting FWAERJ (Thread starter):
And has WN almost run out of new cities that they could start with the "eight-flight rule"? (I can think of CVG, FAT, and GSO... and that's about it.)

I'd add MDT. 2 million residents in PA are within 1 hour of MDT, where another major airport isn't closer. WN will have service at 4-5 OH airports but just 2 PA airports, even though PA is larger and greater in population.

MDT-MDW would probably be the network connection, but it is just under 600 miles. It would have been more ideal if that was ~350 miles, but I think WN would be competitive against UA and AA on Harrisburg-Chicago, plus having connections, and it could offer Florida service as well.

[Edited 2012-12-17 11:20:54]

User currently offlineLHCVG From United States of America, joined May 2009, 1556 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 11887 times:

Quoting ouboy79 (Reply 10):
This one seems like a good possibility going forward. I do whonder if DAY would be hurt if it happens though.

Yup that one keeps cropping up from time to time. I'd say one thing in WN's favor is that they have the scale and muscle to break into the market that B6, F9, VX, etc. might not have. If B6 couldn't make the more openly competitive CMH market work, I'd think they or anyone else but WN would have trouble at CVG too. They could have competitive offerings to any/each of BWI, MDW, DEN, or HOU for hub connecting service, let alone other WN cities they might be able to poach from DL specifically (PHX, STL, Florida).


User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6897 posts, RR: 46
Reply 13, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 11671 times:

Quoting ouboy79 (Reply 10):

I don't think anyone seriously thought the 717s had a chance at WN.

That is not what WN was saying at the time.



The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlinejetmatt777 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 2779 posts, RR: 33
Reply 14, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 11574 times:

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 13):
That is not what WN was saying at the time.

Talk is cheap. Especially in the airline industry.



No info
User currently offlineKcrwflyer From United States of America, joined May 2004, 3814 posts, RR: 7
Reply 15, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 11510 times:

Quoting FWAERJ (Thread starter):
Once the WN/FL merger integration is complete, could we see WN opening up more new domestic destinations with five or fewer flights?

I would think.. Of course they cut a handful of cities that could have easily made 3-5 flights work before they decided they could open a station like DSM or PWM with 2 or 3 flights.

I'm sure they believe they can grow every city they keep into at least 6 or 7 flights per day over time, so I'm sure the existence of the rule is in the eye of the beholder.

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 13):
That is not what WN was saying at the time.
Quoting jetmatt777 (Reply 14):
Talk is cheap. Especially in the airline industry.

As we all know, pre merger promises and discussions manufacture more BS than all the farmland in the Americas. This was no different.


User currently offlineAADC10 From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2088 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 11376 times:

Quoting FWAERJ (Thread starter):
Once the WN/FL merger integration is complete, could we see WN opening up more new domestic destinations with five or fewer flights? And has WN almost run out of new cities that they could start with the "eight-flight rule"? (I can think of CVG, FAT, and GSO... and that's about it.)

One of the reasons for the eight flight rule is that with less than 8 flights, the fixed costs on the ground are spread over too few flights and there is not enough work to keep ground staff around full time. However, in stations where FL is already established, WN probably would prefer not to give up on established customers.


User currently offlinebobloblaw From United States of America, joined Jan 2012, 1714 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 11300 times:
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Yes, its dead. Just like WN's rule that they would never serve LGA, DCA or other congested northeastern cities. The only rul that still applies in ORD and DFW.

I would think COS would work. I dont know why there isnt COS-PHX service (Iam not counting F9's less than daily service).


User currently offlineVC10DC10 From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 1036 posts, RR: 3
Reply 18, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 11070 times:

With the DL drawdown at MEM, is it conceivable that once the dust on the FL acquisition settles and WN starts real domestic growth again, would MEM be a possibility?

User currently offlineiowaman From United States of America, joined May 2004, 4391 posts, RR: 6
Reply 19, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 10553 times:
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Quoting LHCVG (Reply 6):
ouboy has a good point here, and brings up a good example of a recent exception: DCA-AUS (WN's first original WN DCA service).

I think more than anything politics came into play on DCA-AUS. I'm also assuming it was an Air21 slot that gave priority to low-fare entrants that offered to serve previously unserved small and medium markets from DCA.

Quoting VC10DC10 (Reply 18):
WN starts real domestic growth again, would MEM be a possibility?

MEM will be integrated into the WN network eventually. I see no reason WN couldn't hit the key destinations and stations from MEM such as MDW, HOU, DEN and maybe other stations down the road such as LAS, PHX, BWI, and MCO. It sounds promising WN will be in MEM for the long haul and will be adding new destination(s):


Quote:
Technically they are already a reality here. They've signed a long term lease here and looking at facilities within the airport," said Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority President and CEO Larry Cox.

Cox says the carrier plans to convert all of its AirTran operations in nearly two dozen cities, including Memphis, to the Southwest name.

"We don't know the cities they will serve out of Memphis, but they currently serve Atlanta and we expect them to serve a number of other cities," said Cox.

http://www.wmctv.com/story/19837508/...hority-southwest-is-a-reality-here



Next flights: WN DSM-LAS-PHX, US PHX-SJD. Return: US SJD-PHX, WN PHX-MDW-DSM
User currently offlineusflyguy From United States of America, joined Jan 2012, 930 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 10490 times:

Quoting iowaman (Reply 19):
I think more than anything politics came into play on DCA-AUS. I'm also assuming it was an Air21 slot that gave priority to low-fare entrants that offered to serve previously unserved small and medium markets from DCA.

It was part of the beyond perimeter proceedings earlier this year.



My post is my ideas and my opinions only, I do not represent the ideas or opinions of anyone else or company.
User currently onlineFWAERJ From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 3739 posts, RR: 2
Reply 21, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 10466 times:

Quoting bobloblaw (Reply 17):
The only rul that still applies in ORD and DFW.

Even then, if gate space opened up at ORD through the proposed west terminal or other means, I could see WN grabbing a few gates and starting a 20-30 flight operation to fight for Chicago's north sider business travelers.

WN serving both MDW and ORD (plus MKE) would be like how they serve these major areas with multiple airports:
-BOS/PVD/MHT
-LGA/EWR/ISP
-BWI/DCA/IAD
-CLE/CAK
-DTW/FNT
-SFO/OAK/SJC
-LAX/SNA/BUR/ONT



Primary Airport: FWA/Alternate Airport: DTW/Not employed by the FWACAA or their partners
User currently offlineLHCVG From United States of America, joined May 2009, 1556 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 10438 times:

Quoting iowaman (Reply 19):
I think more than anything politics came into play on DCA-AUS. I'm also assuming it was an Air21 slot that gave priority to low-fare entrants that offered to serve previously unserved small and medium markets from DCA.

No doubt politics, but just AUS lobbying for service under:

Quoting usflyguy (Reply 20):
It was part of the beyond perimeter proceedings earlier this year.

WN really hit a home run there - breaking into DCA in their own right, getting a big route for them given the AUS focus city, and getting a beyond-perimeter exemption at DCA at that.


User currently offlineplanespotting From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3527 posts, RR: 5
Reply 23, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 9705 times:

Quoting Kcrwflyer (Reply 15):
Of course they cut a handful of cities that could have easily made 3-5 flights work before they decided they could open a station like DSM or PWM with 2 or 3 flights.

I know of nothing definitive at the moment, but I would venture a guess that there is more to come with WN at DSM.



Do you like movies about gladiators?
User currently offlineiowaman From United States of America, joined May 2004, 4391 posts, RR: 6
Reply 24, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 9536 times:
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Quoting FWAERJ (Thread starter):
For many years, WN said that they would not start a city unless it could support eight departures a day from day one.

Interestingly enough, when Southwest first got going in Texas they had relatively small station openings. Maybe this is one thing that is actually heading the direction towards their roots. HRL was started in 1975 at 4 daily, and AMA also opened as a station in 1978 with 5 daily (all to DAL). MSY started in 1979 with just 1x HOU, and ABQ opened with 3 daily flights in 1980. LAX in 1982 opened with 3 daily.

I think the lowering outsourcing costs may have a lot to do with keeping the old FL stations as someone else mentioned.

Quoting planespotting (Reply 23):
know of nothing definitive at the moment, but I would venture a guess that there is more to come with WN at DSM.


I'm guessing one of the following may eventually come to fruitation: DEN, STL, LAS, PHX.

Quoting FWAERJ (Reply 21):
Even then, if gate space opened up at ORD through the proposed west terminal or other means, I could see WN grabbing a few gates and starting a 20-30 flight operation to fight for Chicago's north sider business travelers.

WN serving both MDW and ORD (plus MKE) would be like how they serve these major areas with multiple airports:

Interesting thoughts. It seems to make sense - although in the short-term I don't think they would have much luck getting gates at ORD.

Quoting usflyguy (Reply 20):
It was part of the beyond perimeter proceedings earlier this year.

That makes much more sense, thanks for the correction.



Next flights: WN DSM-LAS-PHX, US PHX-SJD. Return: US SJD-PHX, WN PHX-MDW-DSM
25 LHCVG : That's interesting, because I would have assumed the opposite - that a small/new carrier would want such a rule in order to prevent overextension (fo
26 Flytravel : Another rule was that every city had atleast one short-haul route w/ the exception being IAD. However, now markets along the East including LGA, EWR,
27 Post contains images Cubsrule : Aren't COS, BTR and LAN too close to DEN, MSY and DTW respectively? There's no point in flying BNA-MDW-COS when I can simply fly BNA-DEN nonstop and
28 bobloblaw : I can see WN serving COS-PHX/LAS/MDW. Using your logic however, why should COS have any HUB air service if driving to DEN and going nonstop is prefer
29 Cubsrule : The legacies don't count on people being willing to drive a couple of hours. WN always has.
30 737tanker : A few years ago, after WN had signed a new contact with their ground personnel, I had the COO on my jumpseat. He told me that since the new contract
31 airliner371 : The big problem with MIA is the fees are outrageous for airlines. Thats why B6 and VX don't serve it though they seem like a good fit. FLL is close e
32 iowaman : For comparative purposes: LAN is approximately 1.5 hours from DTW (all of these numbers are traffic dependent), but is a little less than an hour fro
33 Post contains images ouboy79 : If MDT was really in the cards, it wouldn't have been dropped by FL. Just like DL said CVG and MEM were safe? MEM will be a WN city.
34 IndianicWorld : At the end of the day, theres only so many cities that can sustain that level of service to start with, so trying to maintain that would only affect t
35 Flytravel : I didn't suggest "it was in the cards" but answering to the OP's question: "Once the WN/FL merger integration is complete, could we see WN opening up
36 Buddys747 : FL didn't drop MDT, WN made the decision. They cited they couldn't make MDT fit there model and the fact that BWI is 1.5 hours away (from the airport
37 Cubsrule : The problem at BTR is the where the airports are located in their respective metro areas. From LSU (south side of Baton Rouge) to MSY (in Kenner), fo
38 ouboy79 : That's pretty much what I meant. There really isn't much of a different between FL/WN anymore. I just said FL since it was the one operating.
39 Post contains links usflyguy : WN run's Boscov's Travel charters from many of the airports in this area to MCO and has done this for quite a while. Having done this, along with the
40 FWAERJ : WN has flown charters from FWA in the past even though they don't serve FWA on a scheduled basis. That said, I do think that WN would work with 3-4 f
41 ouboy79 : WN does a lot of Honor Flight operations, so you'll see them everywhere. The O&D numbers are going to have to be there from FWA. So unless those
42 FWAERJ : BWI and LAS would have no problem with O&D from FWA. There are many very strong ties between FWA and DC, and also huge demand to LAS. And a lot o
43 ouboy79 : It'll come down to yield then. WN expects a pretty good premium, so they better be ready to sell out Business Select and a good number of Anytime far
44 FWAERJ : Almost all the FWA-DC traffic is high-yield business and government travel, so they'll sell out the higher fare buckets on BWI in a jiffy. LAS would
45 Kcrwflyer : By FL you mean WN. I was gonna let that go. Then you said this. If the FWA-Washington traffic and demand was even 1/4 of what you are marketing it as
46 Post contains images ouboy79 : Indeed...which I later clarified if you scroll up.
47 LHCVG : FWIW, here is the FY12 GSA award for FWA-WAS: FT. WAYNE RONALD REAGAN NATIONAL AIRPORT Delta C 321.00 0.00 0.00 10/01/2011 09/30/2012 FT. WAYNE BALTI
48 GentFromAlaska : WN must use a couple of policies either that or the eight flight per day policy allows some wiggle room for higher volume micro cities/markets. In the
49 ouboy79 : My take away from a lot of this is the whole X number of flight rules is from several years ago or longer. The WN business plan is different now and
50 FWAERJ : Not the first time I've heard about WN needing a certain amount of gates: I heard a similar story once about FAT in the early 90s. WN had just acquir
51 Flytravel : However, WN is launching FNT-BWI 3x daily, when there is no service to BWI, DCA or IAD now. I suspect it's because of the BWI being hub like, and WN
52 Cubsrule : Never mind the fact that BWI-MSP is more than twice as long as BWI-FNT . . .
53 crj900lr : Correct. The only time you will see a WN aircraft in MDT is for their once a month charters to MCO and possibly some military movement activity.Plus
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