I have hear a rumor that Chicago Express-ATA Connection is looking to open 4-5 new cities mainly west of Chicago this spring. Do they have the aircraft to do this type of expantion or will they be adding more Saabs to their fleet and what cities are they looking at?
I agree with Lindy field. Chicago Express should pick up some RJ's to do medium-size cities that ATA does not serve. Even though there is a huge backlog of orders for RJ's, haven't some regionals been deferring their orders?
Anyway, the Saab 340 is a fine a/c. It seats 33 in the Chicago Express config. However if they're going to open new cities with those aircraft, they're probably not going to be very large cities, so forget OMA, MCI, and CMH. Those fall under the RJ category.
What Chicago Express needs to do is start flying to some of the cities in Illinois....like Peoria, Moline/Quad Cities, Rockford and maybe Bloomington or Chanpaign/Urbana. Those citys have a lot of traffic to be had and some are large college towns...The could maybe try going to Cedar Rapids and or Waterloo....there are many shorter haul routes that could use an alternat to over crowded Ohare...Lets not forget that Sioux City has no direct air link to Chicago...only to St. Louis and Minneapolis.....so there are many possibilities...Yes and Traverse city would be good!!!
Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think that ATA serves any airport in Il. other than MDW. One or more destinations should be towns in Il with high-fare service to get some more political power. After that, serve the larger towns such as CMH or OMA.
The only problem with using RJ's is that they tend to high-seat-mile costs. ATA is a low-fare carrier, and as far as I know, RJ's don't have low-enough seat-mile costs to be economical for a low-fare carrier.
ATA will probably have to stick to turboprops if it wants to do regional services and keep seat-mile costs low. The Saab isn't a bad plane as far as turboprops go, and they could get the Saab 2000 for a 50-seater. They'd probably not want to fly turboprops any further than say Nebraska to the west, Tennessee to the south, and Pennsylvania or Upstate NY to the east.
Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)