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Eastern And Braniff In MCI  
User currently offlineWDBRR From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 610 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 3 months 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 2322 times:

Recently found out that Eastern had purchased the
MCI hub from the original Braniff in a bankruptcy auction.
I remember Braniff II also having a hub in MCI,
how did Braniff II get gates and facilities to
start a new hub there? was there excess gates?
Vanguard had a hub there in the 90's too.

17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineEA CO AS From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 13560 posts, RR: 62
Reply 1, posted (1 year 3 months 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 2264 times:
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Quoting WDBRR (Thread starter):
Recently found out that Eastern had purchased the
MCI hub from the original Braniff in a bankruptcy auction.

They did?



"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan
User currently offlineWDBRR From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 610 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (1 year 3 months 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 2250 times:

This was 30 years ago, last until 1988.

User currently offlineTW870 From United States of America, joined Jan 2013, 232 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (1 year 3 months 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 2192 times:
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Quoting WDBRR (Thread starter):
MCI hub from the original Braniff in a bankruptcy auction.

Eastern may have taken over some leases on gates or equipment - but I am skeptical that there was any big transfer in bankruptcy court.

Take a look at the schedules on this excellent website departedflights.com:

http://www.departedflights.com/MCIintro.html

http://www.departedflights.com/MCI85intro.html

So for the summer of 1983, a year after Braniff collapsed, Eastern had no service at MCI. TWA ultimately picked up most of the initial slack after Braniff. Frank Borman, who was still at the helm of Eastern prior to Frank Lorenzo's 1986 hostile takeover, wanted a midwestern hub or focus city to help Eastern build east-west traffic flows. Thus he built up the MCI operation sometime in 1984 I believe - well after the first Braniff was gone. Eastern served about 15 destinations from MCI, but most of the service was fairly infrequent - once or twice a day.

Once Lorenzo was at the helm and began to siphon assets off to Continental, MCI's days were numbered, and as the poster said above the operation was gone by 1988 when Lorenzo gave it - and so many of the other parts of Eastern - the axe. Word on the street was that before Lorenzo morale was pretty high at the station, as it was self managed by front line employees, and that it got really high customer service rankings.

Bottom line is that I think Borman opened it up not because he directly bought a bunch of stuff at the Braniff auction, but because with Braniff gone and TWA retrenching (and putting the OZ deal together to re-focus on STL), Kansas City was up fro the taking.


User currently offlineASFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2005, 1170 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (1 year 3 months 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 2168 times:

Quoting WDBRR (Thread starter):
Recently found out that Eastern had purchased the
MCI hub from the original Braniff in a bankruptcy auction.

Eastern didn't purchase a hub from BI through the bankruptcy courts. BI was long gone when EA started their MCI hub. Braniff II originally started operating from DFW and then opened up a hub in MCI as well. They didn't last long. Later on, Vanguard started their MCI hub and YX had a bit of a focus city there as well. MCI doesn't seem to do very well as a hub/spoke airport despite their fairly central location. Perhaps it's in part due to the poor set up of their terminals that make facilitating a large connecting operation difficult at best. Or maybe it's due to the smaller local market. Braniff, Eastern and Vanguard opened their hubs there when airlines were opening hubs in any large/medium sized city they could find that didn't have a mega carrier already operating there. If it were still operating as a hub for any airline it would likely be going the way of MEM, CVG, STL, MKE, etc.


User currently offlineFlyPeoria From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 434 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (1 year 3 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 2140 times:

Quoting WDBRR (Thread starter):
Recently found out that Eastern had purchased the
MCI hub from the original Braniff in a bankruptcy auction.
I remember Braniff II also having a hub in MCI,
how did Braniff II get gates and facilities to
start a new hub there? was there excess gates?
Vanguard had a hub there in the 90's too.

The original Braniff filed for bankruptcy and shutdown in May 1982. IIRC, Eastern Airlines began service to MCI for the first time one month before starting the hub in late 1983 (EA had served nearby OMA for years prior). EA built MCI into decent hub but the carrier closed it down in 1988 as part of a post Texas Air Corp-downsizing.

The interesting part is that Braniff re-started operations out of DFW in 1984 and eventually established a mini-hub (or focus city) at MCI. When EA closed its MCI hub, the new Braniff expanded rapidly.

Too rapidly. It purchased Florida Express in 1988 and ordered Fokker 100s and A320s to replaced aging BAC111s and 727s (BN had some 737-200s too). I understand the carrier poorly managed its fleet modernization, driving up costs. As a result, it was forced into bankruptcy in late September 1989 at which time it shut down.


User currently offlineRWA380 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 3205 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (1 year 3 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 2136 times:

Quoting TW870 (Reply 3):

So for the summer of 1983, a year after Braniff collapsed, Eastern had no service at MCI. TWA ultimately picked up most of the initial slack after Braniff. Frank Borman, who was still at the helm of Eastern prior to Frank Lorenzo's 1986 hostile takeover, wanted a midwestern hub or focus city to help Eastern build east-west traffic flows

So MCI was not the first place that EA started a bit of a mini focus city in the mid west, but a few years before 1984.....

http://www.departedflights.com/EA090672.html - 1972

http://www.departedflights.com/EA050181.html - 1981



AA-AC-AQ-AS-BN-BD-CO-CS-DL-EA-EZ-HA-HP-KL-KN-MP-MW-NK-NW-OO-OZ-PA-PS-QX-RC-RH-RW-SA-TG-TW-UA-US-VS-WA-WC-WN
User currently offlineTW870 From United States of America, joined Jan 2013, 232 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 3 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 2112 times:
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Quoting RWA380 (Reply 6):
So MCI was not the first place that EA started a bit of a mini focus city in the mid west, but a few years before 1984.....

Yeah good call on STL. Eastern was always pretty aggressive with requests for new route authority during regulation. They came into MSP - my home town - really early (in the early 60s I think), which always surprised me as MSP is so far north and west of their core business. STL was also rather far afield.

It is interesting that Eastern didn't push things further at STL right after deregulation as they had more to work with there. TWA was obviously bigger - but not that much bigger as they hadn't bought Ozark yet, and still had a lot of assets at O'Hare. I guess Borman didn't come up with the midwest hub plan until things had shaken out a bit more, and the big hole opened up at MCI.


User currently offlinechristao17 From Thailand, joined Apr 2005, 941 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (1 year 3 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 2112 times:

Something interesting reading the Departed Flights link showing the February 1985 service levels, is the number of commuter airlines serving smile markets like Omaha, Lincoln, Columbia, Des Moines, Joplin, Moline, Cedar Rapids, Topeka, and Wichita direct from MCI. These days such flights are pretty much gone and the only option is to drive.


Keeping the "civil" in civil aviation...
User currently offlineRWA380 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 3205 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (1 year 3 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 2089 times:

Quoting TW870 (Reply 7):
They came into MSP - my home town - really early (in the early 60s I think),

Well as of 1961 EA was serving the twin cities ...... http://www.departedflights.com/EA1961.html



AA-AC-AQ-AS-BN-BD-CO-CS-DL-EA-EZ-HA-HP-KL-KN-MP-MW-NK-NW-OO-OZ-PA-PS-QX-RC-RH-RW-SA-TG-TW-UA-US-VS-WA-WC-WN
User currently offlineTW870 From United States of America, joined Jan 2013, 232 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (1 year 3 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 2060 times:
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Quoting christao17 (Reply 8):
Something interesting reading the Departed Flights link showing the February 1985 service levels, is the number of commuter airlines serving smile markets like Omaha, Lincoln, Columbia, Des Moines, Joplin, Moline, Cedar Rapids, Topeka, and Wichita direct from MCI.

Yeah that is interesting. Some of it came from the way that smaller carriers could start up to take over small town service from the middle size regulated carriers who wanted to drop the service. They allowed that toward the end of regulation I believe. My dad always had to do business in South Bend, Indiana, and he flew Britt a lot in the late 70s through the mid-80s. Britt took that route over from Ozark, who could't make money on it with a DC-9. My guess is the same went for some of that service to places like Joplin. Those little outfits running Metro IIs and EMB-110s had rock bottom costs - as they were extremely low-tech, simple operations.

When fares plummeted in the decades following deregulation, it just got harder to keep your costs low enough to compete with prevailing prices out of the bigger airports that people could drive to.


User currently offline747buff From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 742 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (1 year 3 months 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 2023 times:

Quoting TW870 (Reply 7):
They came into MSP - my home town - really early (in the early 60s I think)
Quoting RWA380 (Reply 9):
Well as of 1961 EA was serving the twin cities

Coincidentally, EA pulled out of MSP in 1988 at the same time they shut down the MCI hub. Kind of odd since they didn't even fly MSP-MCI, and they served MSP for so long.

[Edited 2013-05-28 22:56:15]


At Eastern, we earn our wings every day!
User currently offlineknope2001 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 2899 posts, RR: 30
Reply 12, posted (1 year 3 months 6 days ago) and read 1912 times:

Quoting TW870 (Reply 7):
It is interesting that Eastern didn't push things further at STL right after deregulation as they had more to work with there. TWA was obviously bigger - but not that much bigger as they hadn't bought Ozark yet, and still had a lot of assets at O'Hare. I guess Borman didn't come up with the midwest hub plan until things had shaken out a bit more, and the big hole opened up at MCI.

Eastern in St Louis was one of those legacy stations from the days of regulation that went by the wayside as airlines sorted out their networks into hubs and spokes. STL wasn't so much a point for connecting traffic (though there was definitely some) by more of a stop enroute linking Florida and Atlanta to SEA/PDX/SLC/OMA. Looking at info from 1979, there were no nonstop flights on any airline from Atlanta to Portland, Salt Lake or Omaha, and only two ATL-STL. Eastern served that traffic over St Louis.

I also suspect there may have been an MX base in St Louis as it appears they made a point of repositioning planes there. The single daily SDF-STL and EVV-STL flights are both late evening arrivals, and there's a late PM OMA-STL flight, too.. Looking at a 1979 date, Eastern did have 27 flights from STL in 1979, but 12 of those 27 flights were to ATL or OMA. And those 27 flights put them as #4:

TW 105 flights to 37 nonstop cities
OZ 54 flights to 18 nonstop cities (including TPA, ORD, DFW, BWI, MSP, MKE, MCO, HOU)
AA 35 flights to 18 nonstop cities
EA 27 flights to 12 nonstop cities

As for Kansas City, Braniff was down to about 25-30 flights to fewer than 10 cities in a north-south line flying routes like MSP-OMA-MCI-TUL-DFW, DSM-MCI-DFW, ORD-MCI-ICT-OKC-DFW, etc. The multidirectional, banked hub that Braniff built up at MCI that peaked around 55/day in 1980 or so was gone before Braniff shut down. As for Eastern, they peaked in the mid-late 80's around 60/day to nearly 2 dozen cities, plus around 75 prop flights to another 15 or so cities operated by Air Midwest at EA*.

Braniff II started ramping up Kansas City some while Eastern was still operating the hub, with perhaps two dozen mainline flights to some key destinations (LAX, LGA, LAS, ORD, DCA, SFO, PHX, etc) but they really expanded after Eastern pulled out. Braniff peaked even higher than Eastern did...close to 200 flights in about a 50/50 mainline/prop mix by the time they went under in 1989 or 1990.


User currently offlineskywaymanaz From United States of America, joined May 2012, 516 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (1 year 3 months 6 days ago) and read 1912 times:

I worked at MCI during the Eastern and Braniff hub days. It is remotely possible that Eastern got something out of a bankruptcy deal there. I vaguely recall a reservation center along I-29 that changed hands from Eastern to Braniff to America West before closing for good. Terminal A though, where US Airways is now, was not used for much except Air Midwest commuter flights before Eastern came in. There were a lot of vacant gates they were able to lease. Southwest, Braniff II and Western took leases and in some cases ground handling from TWA in their former B terminal gates, except the core TWA 33-34-35 complex. After Eastern pulled out Braniff II expanded to the former Eastern A gates as well. I think this made MCI a less desirable connect point. Before 9/11 I didn't think it was a big deal for passengers to leave one EA or BN gate area and reclear security at another gate complex. Involved more manpower then needed at the airport which gave me a job though . Given the level of security then I felt it made it safer since it took about a minute to reclear in most cases with only a short walk between gate complexes. Changing terminals on the other hand is not fun at all. Wait 10-15 minutes for the bus to go from A to B, B to A was even worse having to go thru C first then back around. Braniff II clearly had some huge problems of its own but I don't think the gate arrangement helped. This is a big reason MCI wants a new terminal to consolidate ops. No carrier is going to hub there again with that arrangement in the post 9/11 security regime. MCI may not be a prime target for a hub anyway but right now it's a lousy connect point on Southwest now with limited room to grow.

User currently offlinebobloblaw From United States of America, joined Jan 2012, 1715 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (1 year 3 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 1746 times:
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Quoting WDBRR (Thread starter):
Recently found out that Eastern had purchased the
MCI hub from the original Braniff in a bankruptcy auction.

No they didnt.

EA expanded into MCI using their own version of B-scale employees.

Quoting knope2001 (Reply 12):
Looking at info from 1979, there were no nonstop flights on any airline from Atlanta to Portland, Salt Lake or Omaha, and only two ATL-STL. Eastern served that traffic over St Louis.

For Nov 1979, I am seeing 7 ATL-STL flights, all on EA.


User currently offlinesw733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6321 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (1 year 3 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 1726 times:

Quoting christao17 (Reply 8):
Something interesting reading the Departed Flights link showing the February 1985 service levels, is the number of commuter airlines serving smile markets like Omaha, Lincoln, Columbia, Des Moines, Joplin, Moline, Cedar Rapids, Topeka, and Wichita direct from MCI. These days such flights are pretty much gone and the only option is to drive.

Not pretty much...completely. None of those cities, unfortunately, are served anymore from MCI. A few small places are, but not many. I must admit that, living 30 minutes from MCI and doing work near (or at) the airport in ICT...it would be great to be able to run up to MCI, hop on a plane, and just fly down to ICT. Same with CID.

One thing that intrigued me was the WN schedule - only serving TUL and OKC from MCI at one point. A far cry from today when WN is the largest airline, by far at MCI...but has no more service to TUL, and is ending OKC service this summer.


User currently offlineknope2001 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 2899 posts, RR: 30
Reply 16, posted (1 year 3 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 1678 times:

Quoting bobloblaw (Reply 14):
Quoting knope2001 (Reply 12):
Looking at info from 1979, there were no nonstop flights on any airline from Atlanta to Portland, Salt Lake or Omaha, and only two ATL-STL. Eastern served that traffic over St Louis.

For Nov 1979, I am seeing 7 ATL-STL flights, all on EA.

Middle of the night typo...I meant only two ATL-SEA. There were seven ATL-STL on Eastern, and because there were so few nonstop options to points northwest, a lot of the passengers Eastern served over St Louis were 1-stop or connections from ATL to Salt Lake, Portland, Seattle and Omaha.

Thanks for catching that typo!


User currently offlinedeltacto From United States of America, joined Mar 2009, 440 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (1 year 3 months 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 1647 times:

Here is a thread from 2011 that discusses EA's MCI hub

Eastern And The MCI Hub? (by ABQopsHP Aug 24 2011 in Civil Aviation)


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