AA has taken its moves to consolidate its merging process with TWA as we saw in the past few weeks. The strategy priority, at this moment, is based in improving the operational efficency, like sharing ground and handling facilities. Eventually, the next steps will expand to the sales & marketing and purchasing sectors.
I think the points listed above are "easy wins", but will the next steps like route planning, which are not based in management sinergy, be enough to guarantee progressive growth for the new-formed mega carrier?
The most worrying point is how AA´s hubs are positioned in the market and how St. Louis hub fits on it.
I think that St. Louis is quite near to Chicago, which makes it a natural competitor for O´Hare hub in many AA´s routes, specially for the East / West conexions. The competition can be off-set if one of the the two airports reaches its operational capacity for handling passengers and aircraft.
In other words, to gain efficency at this future stage, AA has to forward its traffic to either Chicago or St. Louis to take advantage of the centralized ground facilities and the economies of scale for flying larger jets.
But how to do it, considering that:
1. Both airports do share most of the connecting high-profitable traffic?
2. Both airports have not reached their handling capacity and air travelling may slow down?
3. No major carrier can afford to hand-over precious slots in any major airport?
4. Future growth may depends in the use of larger aircraft flying to a single huge distribution center rather than smaller planes flying to smaller hubs?
Your input will certainly help me to understand better how AA / TWA startegy will take place. Also, I will appreciate if you have any additional information of how the management board plans to proceed in this issue. It has past experience with Rhino Air...
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