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Hubs Airlines May Give Up On?  
User currently offlineDeltaflyertoo From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 1653 posts, RR: 1
Posted (12 years 2 months 20 hours ago) and read 1562 times:

As the airlines enter a new phase of their crisis, i.e. the remainder of the year, there have been many rumours about new business strategies from all the airlines. UAL/US are now hooking up, DL is supposedly going to reevaluate all ways in which it does business and possibly launch some kind of massive point to point low fare deal and AA is looking for an alliance partner and building up LAX-again, to name a few.

So I got to wondering, would it be possible in the next 3 years we may see an airline dump a hub as all this transition takes place and airlines struggle to truly understand what makes sense?

I was thinking, could we see AA dump ORD in favor a beefed up STL service, maybe a new terminal there? Would AA then take these resources and reallocate them to a total hub at JFK and a bigger MIA? What about DL and DFW, would they possibly throw the towel in and let AA take all in favor of less attention there and more to a low fare point to point operation elsewhere? CO and CLE? A longtime speculative point amongs analyst. Do they really think they will get it to the size of DL's CVG operation? Would UAL maybe pick either LAX or SFO instead of both as its west coast hub? And if HP goes, who might possibly pick up the pieces in PHX, NW or CO? ANd finally I've heard speculation that if PHL goes on US, NW wants it real bad.

The subject seems farfetched at first, but the more I think about it, the logic maybe there if anyone of these scenarios to play out in the coming years. Should be interesting.

13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineSeiple From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (12 years 2 months 20 hours ago) and read 1547 times:

I was thinking, could we see AA dump ORD in favor a beefed up STL service, maybe a new terminal there?

They are already scaling back service at St. Louis. STL is congested at times and only has one runway when the weather gets bad. As far as a new terminal.... where? The airport is fairly landlocked and it's unbelievable the amount of work it has taken to get further land for the new runway.

Would AA then take these resources and reallocate them to a total hub at JFK and a bigger MIA?

One of American's advantages is its centrally located primary hubs.



User currently offlineUA744Flagship From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (12 years 2 months 9 hours ago) and read 1457 times:

Hello Deltaflyertoo,

You post a good concern, but I don't think ORD or LAX will be scaled down by AA or UA, respectively.

At ORD, AA is experimenting with making its banks less crowded while running flights more or less continuously throughout the day, basically realigning its schedule there with no net loss in daily flights.

From an operational perspective, this means more productive use of labor, more automation, and generally less labor needed. As you can imagine, it leads to better operational performance on all counts.

From a marketing perspective, it is doing exactly what AA intended by acquiring the STL hub. Because connections through O'Hare are now on average twice as long as going through the typical bank-saturated hubs of DFW and STL, AA is trying to push connecting consumers to go through STL.

This all makes sense if AA is trying to capture more of ORD's O&D traffic, something which UA has had a lock on for years (it is the hometown carrier after all). It remains to be seen whether this move will be successful by AA, for it is alienating customers who are turned off by the long padded connections, increasing their journey time through ORD.

I've gotten to see this marketing tactic in action as I've selected to go through STL and DFW coming home for Thanksgiving from IND -- but AA doesn't want the low-fare purchaser like me going through the high yield hub it intends ORD to be; so from my perspective, it is working at making low-yield traffic connect through STL, and to a lesser extent, the flagship hub at DFW. But do they want to alienate ALL connecting traffic?

As for LAX by United, United has already shrunk there as much as it can without hurting its market share too much. Former shuttle operations have been turned into RJ operations... a great move. While it was sad to see LAX lose service to CDG (a no-brainer) and HKG (this has actually left quite a bit of market demand), it still has a very vital function in the United system.

While the LA import/export market has sagged, the high-roller O&D travelers are still there, making the hub still very lucrative. In addition to funneling these passengers onto important transcons to JFK, BOS and to international gateways at SFO, MIA, ORD, and IAD, there is still much market demand for service to the western cities either by mainline (SEA, PDX) or express (PHX, TUS). LAX will not be replaced as the Central American or South Pacific hub, either. Look for LAX-FRA service soon.

Express provides VERY strong feed from all over SoCal and much of the Southwest, and LAX is an important *alliance city.

Also, if UA were to cut any further service, AA's expanded and streamlined operations would start to eat away at UA's market share. Once the LAX expansion is in effect, expect UA to play a large part in the new terminal facilities.


User currently offlineUA744Flagship From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (12 years 2 months 9 hours ago) and read 1434 times:

I forgot to add, AA's ORD schedule tweaks are aimed at making it a more attractive choice to ORD origin+destination traffic, with more flights spread out throughout the day to major destinations.

United basically countered by offering hourly flights to major destinations, basically just expanding its schedule. It had already realigned it when it reworked its whole schedule post 09/11, but did not gear it towards O+D traffic simply because it offers more frequencies and doesn't really need to.


User currently offlineSrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (12 years 2 months 9 hours ago) and read 1432 times:

I doubt you will see any hubs get dropped by the likes of AA, UA, or DL. The only airlines that could drop hubs are the ones that are in financial straits, U.S. Airways and America West. If U.S. Airways goes under, PHL will definitely turn into a NW hub. Northwest is lacking in the East, and would love to have somewhere in the East to grow. PIT is going to not be picked up as a hub by anyone, but there would be a flood of new airlines flying into PIT within a matter of months. CLT, could be interesting. Since it is so close to ATL, someone like DL or FL would not be interested in it. Someone like AA could use it, and move some ops out of RDU. UAL wouldn't want it, too close to IAD. JetBlue? ATA? Who knows. As for AWA, PHX would probably get picked up by either NW, JetBlue or FL. AirTran is looking into moving out West in the future, and PHX could be a good spot for them. NW could use it as a base for Asian flights and for flights south of the border. JetBlue could utilize it as a hub more more effectively than at LGB. LAS, too competitive for anybody's tastes. CMH, too close to too many hubs (IAD,CVG,CLE,ORD,DTW) to be profitable.

User currently offlineAA-STL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (12 years 2 months 6 hours ago) and read 1338 times:

Seiple, do I agree w/ you when you say its landlocked and there is no place to put a new terminal? YES, but i read somewhere that there was room for a completely new midfield terminal. Although they decided against it they did decide to add 20 new gates next to the current A concourse, and renovate the existing concourses. Personally, I wish we would abort Lambert (not gonna happen tho) and go to MidAmerica(BLV). And by the way....from youre standpoint what do you think american is gonna do with St. Louis? turn into a RJ hub or beef it up w/ more mainline?

User currently offlineAcidradio From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 1874 posts, RR: 10
Reply 6, posted (12 years 2 months 6 hours ago) and read 1342 times:
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NW taking the east coast shuttle? Hot damn! That would be kind of interesting  Smile I kind of wish they had a more western hub. MSP I guess would be the western hub, but it is not far enough west. But I guess that is why they have the agreements going with Alaska and such.


Ich haben zwei Platzspielen und ein Microphone
User currently offlineSeiple From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (12 years 2 months 6 hours ago) and read 1324 times:

Seiple, do I agree w/ you when you say its landlocked and there is no place to put a new terminal? YES, but i read somewhere that there was room for a completely new midfield terminal. Although they decided against it they did decide to add 20 new gates next to the current A concourse, and renovate the existing concourses.

Renovating the existing concourses would be great.... C concourse needs to be widened. As far as expanding A concourse... I don't see how it is really needed now as the airlines there aren't really hurting that much for space, and there are three or four empty gates. I can't see American putting gates over there as connections would require a transit outside of security. Anyway, American just gave up the lease to their last four gates on D concourse (D30 to D36 or something like that).

Personally, I wish we would abort Lambert (not gonna happen tho) and go to MidAmerica(BLV).

The growth in the St. Louis area is mainly toward the west. I live in Chesterfield/Wildwood area near Spirit Airport. Sorry, but it'd be as easy to drive to Columbia and fly out of there or a little further to Kansas City than get from Chesterfield or St. Charles to BLV in rush hour. As far as convenience to downtown, it's a toss up between STL and BLV, but with many businesses moving west (just look down I-270 south of I-70, and out US40), would a new airport at BLV really work?

And by the way....from youre standpoint what do you think american is gonna do with St. Louis? turn into a RJ hub or beef it up w/ more mainline?

TransStates is rumored to be receiving gates on the D concourse. I've heard this from several people who work at the airport for Trans States and TWA folks working in the training center on Natural Bridge Rd. American cannot make a major cut of routes at STL as they need minimum capacity to guarantee flying for the TWA crews who are stuck there (if they want to keep their seniority) and the aircraft based there that have to be flown by TWA crews. I think we can see a further redistribution of capacity and addition of frequencies such as what happened with Omaha.... used to be all MD-80s, now a mixture of MD-80 and ERD/J with an increase in frequency.


User currently offlineTravelin man From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3504 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (12 years 2 months 6 hours ago) and read 1323 times:

If you go by past history, St. Louis has no hope of retaining an AA hub. Yeah yeah, I know: AA promised to keep it and "save jobs". However, if you look at what they've done with their other purchases (Reno Air, Air Cal, etc.), I'd expect STL will soon be decimated.

User currently offlineSeiple From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (12 years 2 months 6 hours ago) and read 1305 times:

If you go by past history, St. Louis has no hope of retaining an AA hub. Yeah yeah, I know: AA promised to keep it and "save jobs". However, if you look at what they've done with their other purchases (Reno Air, Air Cal, etc.), I'd expect STL will soon be decimated.

Perhaps true, but the scale of operations is different. Additionally, there is a sizeable feeder network into the STL hub and it is more strategically located and already used for relieving the other hubs from some of the transcon traffic.


User currently offlineAA-STL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (12 years 2 months 5 hours ago) and read 1261 times:

Travelin Man, AA needed another midwestern hub already. And St. louis is not Reno.......St. Louis has a much much much larger O & D base.

User currently offlineTravelin man From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3504 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (12 years 2 months 2 hours ago) and read 1223 times:

Ummm... I know all of these things AA-STL.

That's why I said "If you go by past history"

Historically AA has been VERY bad at maintaining the operations of the airlines they have taken over. AA is already reducing flights from STL (LGW is the last int'l destination, and they recently reduced its frequency).

And a large O&D base does not ensure hub status. LA is a huge O&D status, but AA doesn't call LAX a "hub".


User currently offlineUs330 From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 3871 posts, RR: 13
Reply 12, posted (12 years 2 months 2 hours ago) and read 1212 times:

Travelin Man, wasn't LGW St. Louis' only international destination other than those to Mexico and Canada?

User currently offlineAA-STL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (12 years 2 months 2 hours ago) and read 1187 times:

They had CDG before american as seasonal but they scrapped the route all together.

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