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What If The New AA Re-opens Former Focus Cities?  
User currently offlineTWA85 From United States of America, joined Feb 2012, 223 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 8632 times:

Hello everybody!

Now that the new AA will have operating costs that are more competitive with UA and DL, and should the new AA decide to re-open former AA and US focus cities, what markets would make the most sense for the new AA. Also, what destinations and frequencies would make the most sense to be served from the re-opened focus cities?

52 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20625 posts, RR: 62
Reply 1, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 8642 times:

Moving the PHX hub to somewhere sensible like SJC gets my vote.   


International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineIrishAyes From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 2188 posts, RR: 15
Reply 2, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 8643 times:

The AA will not re-open some focus cities for several reasons:

1. The merger will ADD new hubs to the map that further create redundancy for re-instating mass at cities like SJC (with LAX and now PHX nearby) or BNA/RDU (with PHL, DCA and CLT serving the same region).

SJU lost its importance once AA could fly nonstop to the Caribbean markets from its MIA and JFK hubs with suitable aircraft.

2. In some cases of focus city closure, AA's cost structure relative to DL and UA was NOT the reason for the pull-down, but rather growing LCC infiltration. This was the reason for BNA (WN) and BOS (B6). Even post-bk, AA will not be cost-competitive with these carriers.

3. Other former focus cities are economically depressed/non-viable to return to status, such as STL or SJU.

However, what the AA-US merger WILL do is create more travel options for OneWorld fliers out of the former focus cities, as well as other spoke markets, by adding more capacity to stay competitive with UA and DL. It's actually a huge win for fliers, IMO and contrary to popular belief, I don't believe it will cause airfares to rise a ton.



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User currently offlinewarden145 From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 521 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 8637 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 1):
Moving the PHX hub to somewhere sensible like SJC gets my vote.   

I would love nothing more than to see that, but with the history of both of these airlines (AA/Reno Air/AirCal and US/PSA come readily to mind), I would expect the merger to result in closed/gutted focus cities and hubs, not expansion.  



ETOPS = Engine Turns Off, Passengers Swim
User currently offlinePRAirbus From Puerto Rico, joined Apr 2005, 1139 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 7816 times:

SJU also became a low cost destination after NK, B6 and now WN contaminated the market. The Puerto Rican economy is also very depressed.

User currently offlinecommavia From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 11602 posts, RR: 61
Reply 5, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 7748 times:

I don't know if a new, larger, reinvigorated AA would "reopen" former focus cities per se, but I do expect AA to bulk up its presence in some non-hub markets where the combined AA-US presence is already strong and concentrated. The three markets that come to mind most prominently are BOS, RDU and PIT.

All three are places where the combined airline will be the largest (or among the largest) single competitors, with a very strong and comprehensive network focused on hubs but with at least some point-to-point flying. And in all three markets there are further opportunities for growth that will position AA as an even stronger force in the local market with an extremely attractive value proposition for business travelers. Specifically, in BOS, priority #1 needs to be reestablishing a nonstop connections to SFO, and beyond that RDU and possibly YYZ. In RDU, just adding the single route to BOS would give AA the strongest network to all the major northeast business markets (BOS, NYC, PHL, WAS) and nicely compliment AA's already-substantial schedule to its hubs (which, not coincidentally, happen to be some of the nation's largest business travel markets). And in PIT, a nonstop 757 (or maybe even 767 in the summer) to LHR would give AA coverage of many if not most of the market's most important domestic and international business destinations and, again, compliment the combined carrier's already-huge presence on key business routes.

Beyond BOS, RDU and PIT, I think there are some limited opportunities for other nonstop growth outside of hubs - but it's much more limited and targeted. But BOS, RDU and PIT should most definitely be the priorities - because those are the three large non-hub cities where the combined carrier will have sufficient scale to be a major force.


User currently offlineAVLAirlineFreq From United States of America, joined Jun 2008, 1045 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 7612 times:

In what context is the term "focus city" being used here? Cities like RDU, BNA, PIT and SJC were full fledged hubs and almost certainly aren't coming back.

User currently offlineFlyPeoria From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 434 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 7442 times:

Kind of ironic that AA orginally established its BNA (1986) and RDU (1987) hubs after becoming envious of PI's success with its large and growing hub at medium-sized CLT. Soon, CLT might be AA's!

User currently offlineBigGSFO From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 2924 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 7228 times:

Wishful thinking: reopen SJC as a focus city. Tech and the Silicon Valley is flourishing again and having a mid-coast TPAC gateway (Tokyo, China) would be beneficial.

User currently offlineBoeingGuy From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 3072 posts, RR: 7
Reply 9, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 7172 times:

Quoting BigGSFO (Reply 8):
Wishful thinking: reopen SJC as a focus city. Tech and the Silicon Valley is flourishing again and having a mid-coast TPAC gateway (Tokyo, China) would be beneficial.

NH has SJC-NRT covered. I think it can support one flight profitably, but I doubt there'd be room in the market for two carriers. Even though I personally don't do Star Alliance (I'm an AS frequent flier person), I'm pulling for NH to be the one to succeed on this flight. They are a good airline and they were apparently the only airline willing to step up when SJC was trying to get someone to restart NRT.

AS seems to have stopped their SJC build-up dead in it's tracks. SJC is ripe for some additional service though: a second carrier SJC-SNA, resumption of some more east coast non-stops: EWR, IAD, BOS, JFK, MIA or FLL.


User currently offlineBigGSFO From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 2924 posts, RR: 6
Reply 10, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 7054 times:

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 9):
AS seems to have stopped their SJC build-up dead in it's tracks. SJC is ripe for some additional service though: a second carrier SJC-SNA, resumption of some more east coast non-stops: EWR, IAD, BOS, JFK, MIA or FLL.

I am curious how much of the higher yielding tech traffic uses SFO instead of SJC due to the frequency and choices of premium service.


User currently offlineBoeingGuy From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 3072 posts, RR: 7
Reply 11, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 6983 times:

Quoting BigGSFO (Reply 10):
I am curious how much of the higher yielding tech traffic uses SFO instead of SJC due to the frequency and choices of premium service.

I agree with that. People have cited that the PDEW on some SJC routes like ORD or BOS is very small (for the very few flights from SJC). I contend that is because of the lack of service to SJC, so people drive to SFO. It's not because there is really that low of a demand from SJC to other destinations, if such service existed.

You can say there is no demand for, say, SJC-MIA but lots of daily passengers between SFO-MIA, so therefore all the demand must be from SFO. I think that's BS. It's because all the available service is from SFO, not because SJC couldn't support it.


User currently offlinesteeler83 From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 9205 posts, RR: 20
Reply 12, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 6874 times:

Quoting AVLAirlineFreq (Reply 6):
In what context is the term "focus city" being used here? Cities like RDU, BNA, PIT and SJC were full fledged hubs and almost certainly aren't coming back.

I would think "focus city" in this context would mainly involve a series of non-stop flights from these cities to many of the top business centers. I would think limited connections would be available, but this will mainly focus on the business origin/destination traffic.

To reference PIT here -- AA will soon start its LAX service, which is a market that I feel is lacking from PIT. UA flies the route only a few times a week, and over 400 people a day travel between PIT and LAX.

AA is also building up ORD-PIT with larger aircraft.

PIT-LHR would be very nice. It would give international PIT travelers an option if they don't want to fly DL to CDG. A 767 would be awesome, but I think a 757 might be more suitable if LHR is ever launched...

In addition to the markets mentioned above, I wonder if AA might beef up PIT-STL, RDU, and BDL (I think anyway, I forget which other NE market is "at risk" flying). US serves those with either Beeches or Dash 8s. I know that STL and RDU are AA strongholds...

My one concern is that pax who were once loyal to US might switch over to UA if they want to stay flying with Star Alliance, therefore rendering PIT to be overserved by over 60-some daily departures. I've flown on AA before, and I think they're awesome. I'd fly them again and again if I could. I hope the PIT travelers will be loyal to AA...



Do not bring stranger girt into your room. The stranger girt is dangerous, it will hurt your life.
User currently offlineUSPIT10L From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 3295 posts, RR: 7
Reply 13, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 6838 times:

Quoting steeler83 (Reply 12):
UA flies the route only a few times a week, and over 400 people a day travel between PIT and LAX.

PITLAX has been daily all summer on UA.



It's a Great Day for Hockey!
User currently offlineMIflyer12 From United States of America, joined Feb 2013, 1020 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 6765 times:

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 11):
I contend that is because of the lack of service to SJC, so people drive to SFO. It's not because there is really that low of a demand from SJC to other destinations, if such service existed.

Do you know of any entity that is doing origin location (office or residence) of departing SFO passengers? This isn't going to show up in DOT data.


User currently offlinesteeler83 From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 9205 posts, RR: 20
Reply 15, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 6694 times:

Quoting USPIT10L (Reply 13):
PITLAX has been daily all summer on UA.

Did not realize that. I thought they dropped that to 3 or 4x weekly, or is that only from Sep/Oct thru April or May?



Do not bring stranger girt into your room. The stranger girt is dangerous, it will hurt your life.
User currently offlineUSPIT10L From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 3295 posts, RR: 7
Reply 16, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 6641 times:

Quoting steeler83 (Reply 15):
I thought they dropped that to 3 or 4x weekly, or is that only from Sep/Oct thru April or May?

That was a temporary seasonal reduction, planned long before the AA/US merger became public. I would expect UA to keep PITLAX and PITSFO at daily levels, maybe even add service down the road. Even though they're likely losing some of the US FF base here, LAX and SFO are huge with UA elites, especially SFO. I've seen less PITLAX itineraries booked by US lately, and that will continue to decline the further the merger proceeds.



It's a Great Day for Hockey!
User currently offlineckfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5234 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 6499 times:

Quoting warden145 (Reply 3):
I would love nothing more than to see that, but with the history of both of these airlines (AA/Reno Air/AirCal and US/PSA come readily to mind), I would expect the merger to result in closed/gutted focus cities and hubs, not expansion.

Remember that AA/Air Cal and US/PSA made sense, until WN entered the West Coast. Everyone bailed on the West Coast. DL dropped what was left of Western's point-to-point flying on the West Coast, focusing on moving traffic via SLC. What was left of the Hughes Air West route structure was dumped by NW.

Even Shuttle by United, launched to fight WN, eventually retrenched its West Coast service to LAX and SFO, and maybe a tiny bit out of SEA.

As for AA/Reno Air, it was bad timing. AA bought QQ just before the tech/dot.com bubble burst. According to a friend of mine at AA, there was a lot of tech traffic flying because of Y2K. Once Y2K was behind us, a lot of tech flying disappeared as consultants were no longer needed and tech buying declined. Dot.com executives were flying a lot, buying walk-up tickets, often in first, because they were flush with IPO cash. When investors started to realize that many of the dot.coms weren't making money and weren't going to make money, businesses failed.

By the same token, hubs like RDU, BNA, STL, and CMH were located in metro areas that didn't have enough traffic to support a hub city. We're seeing that CVG and MEM are having the same fate, and one has to wonder how long the old CO hub at CLE will last.

You will probably find that at any former hub or focus city of AA and US, there are still plenty of F/F flyers. In STL, you might see not so much expansion but rather shifting of flights. I could see some moving of flights from ORD and STL to PHL and PHX.

PIT is a place where I would see some increases. I suspect that US F/F flyers have been flying UA to ORD, and that will probably lead to additional seats on AA.


User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20625 posts, RR: 62
Reply 18, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 6452 times:

Quoting ckfred (Reply 17):
Remember that AA/Air Cal and US/PSA made sense, until WN entered the West Coast.

As Kelleher states in his book "Nuts", and I recall directly living there at the time and flying intrastate often, WN only entered the California market because US pulled out. If that hadn't happened, WN probably wouldn't be the force within California it is today.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlinecschleic From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 1248 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 6244 times:

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 18):
As Kelleher states in his book "Nuts", and I recall directly living there at the time and flying intrastate often, WN only entered the California market because US pulled out. If that hadn't happened, WN probably wouldn't be the force within California it is today.

  

Although Kelleher didn't write it, Kevin Freiberg and Jackie Freiberg did, even though Herb is on the cover. But your point is correct... PSA and Air California/Air Cal created and dominated the intrastate California market until they were acquired. Neither new owner did well in the market, which had expanded to the full western U.S., and WN moved into the vacuum. AA had the brilliant idea of using a hub at SJC to compete against point-to-point service with other carriers. USAir slowly pulled down the former PSA route structure. Taking the smile off the planes had to be one of the dumber brand management moves in corporate history. Yes, the PSA name went away, but the smile was a different story, and was almost iconic.


User currently offlineBoeingGuy From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 3072 posts, RR: 7
Reply 20, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 6162 times:

Quoting cschleic (Reply 19):
Although Kelleher didn't write it, Kevin Freiberg and Jackie Freiberg did, even though Herb is on the cover. But your point is correct... PSA and Air California/Air Cal created and dominated the intrastate California market until they were acquired. Neither new owner did well in the market, which had expanded to the full western U.S., and WN moved into the vacuum. AA had the brilliant idea of using a hub at SJC to compete against point-to-point service with other carriers. USAir slowly pulled down the former PSA route structure. Taking the smile off the planes had to be one of the dumber brand management moves in corporate history. Yes, the PSA name went away, but the smile was a different story, and was almost iconic.

People often forget that PSA taught WN how to be a successful LLC. Most people think that WN was the original LLC. Not so. PSA was doing that in the 1950s and literally taught WN that business model.

US buying PSA and gutting them still makes me mad to this day. I think a well run PSA would have done very well today in the expanded west coast market.


User currently offlinebrilondon From Canada, joined Aug 2005, 4226 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 5745 times:

They won't be opening any hubs. If the very least they will be rationalizing their operations and may keep most of their new hubs open. Lets face it, most of the airlines that have merged have closed the redundant hubs or at the very least reduced their flying from those hubs. Look at what UA did to CLE, DL has done to both CVG and MEM, and AA has done to STL. Opening hubs just doesn't fit into the merger track record, wishing is nice but probably is just that.


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User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20625 posts, RR: 62
Reply 22, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 5543 times:

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 20):
I think a well run PSA would have done very well today in the expanded west coast market.

Yup, one only has to look at how well AS has done to see that the west coast has the capacity for a well-run regional carrier within the west. Even without meals or a First Class, PSA was a very convenient and comfortable way to fly.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlinepsa1011 From United States of America, joined Jan 2011, 297 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 5267 times:
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Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 20):
People often forget that PSA taught WN how to be a successful LLC. Most people think that WN was the original LLC. Not so. PSA was doing that in the 1950s and literally taught WN that business model.

US buying PSA and gutting them still makes me mad to this day. I think a well run PSA would have done very well today in the expanded west coast market.

Agreed.


User currently offlinePITrules From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 3203 posts, RR: 5
Reply 24, posted (1 year 1 month 1 week 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 5117 times:

Quoting steeler83 (Reply 12):
UA flies the route only a few times a week, and over 400 people a day travel between PIT and LAX.

As USPIT10L mentioned it is daily in the summer; however this winter it will be 6x weekly as opposed to the 3-4x weekly last winter. No doubt a response to AA entering the market.

Quoting steeler83 (Reply 12):
In addition to the markets mentioned above, I wonder if AA might beef up PIT-STL, RDU, and BDL (I think anyway, I forget which other NE market is "at risk" flying). US serves those with either Beeches or Dash 8s.

They are served with E145s, not Beeches or Dashs.

I wonder however if there might be room for some more "at risk" flights from PIT under the US/AA banner to unserved or under served destinations, possibly by Republic Airlines? They seem to be adding quite nicely to their PIT maintenance and crew base (see the latest PIT update #27). Perhaps IND, PVD, or MCO?



FLYi
25 steeler83 : Oops, I didn't realize those were on CRJs... I'm wondering that myself. Given that it would be serviced with E175s in a 2-class layout, I wonder if t
26 floridaflyboy : Still not quite right. ERJ-145, not CRJ. RP is Chautauqua, which does not have a crew base at PIT. YX (Republic Airlines) has a large crew base at PI
27 USPIT10L : Not nonstop. It is served through hubs here, mostly ORD/CLE/EWR by UA, ATL/MSP/DTW/CVG by DL and PHL/CLT by US.
28 USAirALB : US still operates several P2P routes in the Northeast from BOS: MDT, BUF, SYR, ROC, RIC. This is in addition to CLT, PHX, DCA, LGA, PHL, PIT, CUN, GCM
29 TWA85 : How big were AA and US in BOS and where did they fly from BOS during the peak of their operations there? Same question for BWI and SJC?
30 commavia : I agree that RDU is a necessity from BOS, along with SFO. Beyond that, I don't think a return of at least 1 AA-operate LHR flight is totally inconcei
31 BoeingGuy : IIRC AA had about 77 departures a day from SJC. Let me see if I can do this from memory: NRT, HNL, OGG, SEA, YVR (but not concurrent with some other
32 commavia : Yes - several daily MD80s (along with the several daily MD80s PHX-LAX) - incredible to think about that now. Ah, the heady days of the late 1990s and
33 USAirALB : AA at one time served: ALB, LHR, BRU, MAN, BDA, SJC, SFO, SAN, BGR, PWM, CUN, PBI, SNN, MSY,AUA, BNA, BTV, BWI, CMH, DCA, EWR, FLL, HPN, ISP, YYZ, YH
34 commavia : When did AA fly BOS-BRU? Certainly not in the last 10-15 years, if ever. AA did, however, codeshare with SABENA on BOS-BRU for several years until SA
35 TWA85 : Agreed! If it wasn't for the fact that TWA was very influencial during my early life, I would even forget that AA inherited STL from TWA. Today one w
36 BoeingGuy : Well QQ did SJC-COS, so maybe it was already gone before the takeover? QQ also did SJC-RDM and SJC-IFP for a short time with MD-80s.
37 TWA85 : What about AA at JFK during there peak and US at BWI towards the end of their hub at BWI?
38 psa1011 : BWI info. is on departedflights.com
39 Post contains images steeler83 : Wow, I am just full of faux pas lately... Well, in any event, so much for my and Pitrules' thinking of them possibly adding more city pairs from PIT
40 ckfred : When did WN buy Morris Air? It seems to me that WN's move into California was somewhere near that time in the early 1990s. And when UA started Shuttl
41 cschleic : That's correct. December 1993. Morris started as a travel company doing public charters. I recall Kelleher calling it a "unique opportunity" as South
42 Post contains images uberflieger : e x c e l l e n t American will regain corporate contracts & frequent flyers in many spokes AA & US lost to Delta and United over the last fe
43 Post contains images SANMAN66 : RDU re-invented themselves after the AA hub days. The old terminal (used for hub operations)was demolished and a new terminal-2 was built in it's plac
44 777STL : Not anymore. AA is down to three gates and 30 some odd flights/day, all to hubs with the exception of DCA. I know they're at least the #3 carrier at
45 BoeingGuy : Yes, I've speculated the same thing. My guess is a nice fleet of 737-700s and 737-800s. PSA had retired the 727s, 737s and Electra's before the US Ai
46 flyguy89 : With all due respect, the OP wasn't arguing for hubs to be reopened but rather focus cities. As far as that's concerned, I could see a couple possibi
47 steeler83 : Ok. I guess "strong hold" was not the choice word here. Do both markets still have a loyal AA following? Man did STL fall hard and fast, not quite as
48 Post contains links AeroWesty : Ask and ye shall receive: http://www.departedflights.com/TWSTLhub.html In the 400 departures range beginning around 1987 and the 500 departures range
49 psa1011 : Do you happen to know if AA maintained this number all the way til 11/2003, or if there was already a gradual pull down? I think HNL was gone pretty
50 Post contains links AeroWesty : It was already being pulled down. I remember flying through STL in the summer of 2003 (I had to look up when the black out was, I flew through STL to
51 steeler83 : Did AA still call it a hub at that point? A drop of 100 flights per day... do you mean "per year?"
52 AeroWesty : STL was still a hub in 2003. In 2001 it was operating around 500 departures per day. The thread I linked indicated that the schedule was being cut by
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