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US Airways Sells 29 Gates At BWI

Fri Mar 01, 2002 12:46 pm

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- | Section: Business

Feb. 28, 2002, 5:32PM

US Airways sells Baltimore airport gates
Reuters News Service

NEW YORK - US Airways Group has agreed to sell 29 gates at Baltimore/Washington International airport for about $4.3 million after cutting back on its services in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Maryland Aviation Administration said it has agreed to pay US Airways for early termination of its lease on 17 of its 24 jet gates and 12 of its 18 commuter gates at the airport.

Maryland state officials will hand over the some of the gates to Southwest Airlinesand UAL Corp.'s United Airlines and allow other carriers to pick up the remaining gates.

After last year's attacks on the United States, Arlington, Virginia-based US Airways discontinued its MetroJet service, which had 49 daily flights operating out of BWI airport. Before the attacks, US Airways operated a total of 148 daily flights from the airport and it now operates about 76 daily flights.

US Airways shares closed today down 3 cents at $5.32 on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock has lost about 87 percent over the last year and is off about 54 percent since the attacks which sharply curtailed travel demand.


Since the reduction in flightsfrom BWI, this was inevitable. More gates for other airlines moving in on a weakened US Airways. More Airtran and Southwest, to be sure.


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RE: US Airways Sells 29 Gates At BWI

Fri Mar 01, 2002 12:53 pm

i am sure airtran is loving this.
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RE: US Airways Sells 29 Gates At BWI

Fri Mar 01, 2002 1:11 pm

Southwest, AirTran and Pan Am in the new "Battle of Baltimore". Can't wait to watch this develop!
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RE: US Airways Sells 29 Gates At BWI

Fri Mar 01, 2002 1:11 pm

Why are some of the gates going to UA? Are they going to greatly increase their presence there, with IAD just down the road?
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RE: US Airways Sells 29 Gates At BWI

Fri Mar 01, 2002 1:15 pm

No, UA is not increasing the number of gates they have. They are just moving from Concourse A to Concourse D (where U's gates are). This will allow for construction on A to progress along easier and then SW will get all the A gates.
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RE: US Airways Sells 29 Gates At BWI

Fri Mar 01, 2002 1:17 pm

A more detailed article from the Baltimore Sun:

US Airways to give up 29 BWI gates, trim staff
110 more jobs cut in sign downsizing of airline is permanent; Called bargain for airport
By Paul Adams
Sun Staff

February 28, 2002

US Airways Group Inc. has agreed to give up 29 of its airplane gates at Baltimore-Washington International Airport and will eliminate an additional 110 ground crew positions as part of its post-Sept. 11 cost-cutting plans.

The financially battered Arlington, Va.-based airline has slashed dozens of flights at BWI since last year's terrorist attacks, leaving it with more gates and ground employees than it needs to service its planes.

With Southwest Airlines and others looking for more space at BWI, the Maryland Aviation Administration agreed to pay $4.3 million to buy US Airways out of its lease on 17 jet gates and 12 commuter plane gates.

Analysts described the deal as a bargain for the airport, which can now market the underused gates to other airlines.

The deal, approved yesterday by the state Board of Public Works, will leave US Airways, the airport's second-biggest carrier behind Southwest, with seven jet gates and six commuter gates. BWI has 65 jet gates and 18 commuter gates, but more are under construction as part of the airport's $1.8 billion expansion.

In a region where airlines have historically fought over control of airport gates, analysts said, the deal is further evidence that US Airways' downsizing at BWI is permanent.

"There are hundreds of airports with scheduled air service in this country that don't have 29 gates total," said Robert Mann, a New York aviation consultant. "This is a massive giveback of what is typically a scarce resource."

The announcement comes as US Airways is preparing to eliminate about 110 ground crew positions at regional carrier Piedmont Airlines, a subsidiary that serves BWI. The work will be taken over by US Airways' own ground crew and maintenance staff, though a date has not been set. Employees at the subsidiary were notified Tuesday, an airline spokesman said.

"Following the events of Sept. 11 there has been a subsequent reduction in traffic, and we, like other carriers, have been restructuring our operations," said David Castelveter, a spokesman for US Airways.

A spokesman for the International Association of Machinists, which represents most of the Piedmont ground workers, said it was too soon to talk about the furloughs because it was unclear which employees will be affected.

Airport officials downplayed concerns about US Airways' cutbacks, saying the gate buyback will give other airlines room to grow. The deal will also make it easier to complete construction on Pier A, which is being expanded to give Southwest Airlines more gates. The deal calls for United Airlines to move from its current location in Pier A to Pier D, where US Airways is giving up gates.

Pier D is also home to AirTran Airways, a new carrier at BWI that is considered a more credible competitor to Southwest's dominance in the low-fare market. AirTran officials say they are confident they will thrive at BWI - something US Airways was never able to do because of its high operating costs relative to Southwest.

"We've gone from no flights at the beginning of December to 22 by April," said Kevin P. Healy, AirTran's vice president of planning. "I think BWI has additional potential."

Airport officials say they are confident they can lease the gates left behind by US Airways.

"There will be no unused gates, let's put it that way," said George Ferris, a member of the Maryland Aviation Commission and chairman of brokerage firm Ferris Baker Watts. "It will simply be a rebalancing of gates between airlines."

Analysts agree that there is opportunity for other airlines to pick up where US Airways has left off. BWI is one of a small number of airports that reported modest passenger gains last year despite an industry tailspin precipitated by the Sept. 11 attacks.

"From an airline planning perspective, I would tell you ... there are a number of carriers who will find [29 open gates] a tantalizing possibility that is very intriguing," said Stuart Klaskin of Klaskin, Kushner & Co., a Miami-area aviation consulting firm.

Mann, the New York consultant, said airlines are wary of going head-to-head against Southwest. But there are carriers that would be able to carve out a niche in the BWI market.

"That's actually a fairly forward-looking strategy on the part of the airport," he said. "They are replacing a failing situation in US Airways with someone who can properly utilize the assets."

Copyright © 2002, The Baltimore Sun

Look at Airtran. From no flights at BWI in December to 22 flights scheduled by April.
Wow! And the understatement of the week from the Airtran's vp of planning: "I think BWI has additional potential."

Any guesses which addtional cities or frequencies Airtran might add?

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RE: US Airways Sells 29 Gates At BWI

Fri Mar 01, 2002 1:23 pm

looks like airtran deffinately likes bwi. however who would take the commuter gates. i cant think of many airlines who would want them.
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RE: US Airways Sells 29 Gates At BWI

Fri Mar 01, 2002 1:24 pm

I'd really like to see Delta increase it's presence there. Maybe add flights to DFW, SLC, LAX, BOS, or MCO ( In moderation of course.) Maybe they could do some expansion if they bought some of these gates. I doubt that it will happen though.  Sad
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RE: US Airways Sells 29 Gates At BWI

Fri Mar 01, 2002 1:26 pm

Im just interested in the comment that all gates would be leased out. I doubt that AirTran will want all 29 gates. Pan Am might take a few, but the majority of their fleet (the 24 727's purchased from UA) cant be flown in the United States. I doubt they would want any of the 29 gates just because it is so far away from their A and B pier and they are building more over there. Any other airlines maybe wanting to move in????
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RE: US Airways Sells 29 Gates At BWI

Fri Mar 01, 2002 1:34 pm

Alaska could buy one of the gates and offer "triple service" to the Washington area.... (that was a joke for the stiff asses out there  Laugh out loud).
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RE: US Airways Sells 29 Gates At BWI

Fri Mar 01, 2002 2:41 pm

Whee! US Airways has decided to stop their strategy of anticompetitive, obstructionist gate squatting. Remember when they sat on all those BWI gates after they slashed the old Piedmont hub in '93, so Southwest couldn't get them? They squatted *five years* on the mostly empty gates in 9-18 wing, until MetroJet started in '98. $4.3 million is a small price to pay to free up 29 gates. Good job Maryland.

I'd look for AirTran to get 3-4 gates on top of the 2 ex-TWA they're using now; UA will probably take 4 or 5. They still do transcons as well as healthy ORD & DEN routes. I bet Delta moves over there, taking 2-3 gates, and WN picks up their 2 gates in C. Also, America West might come knocking, to get out of the International concourse and get some closer gates. They'd probably want 2-3 if they did that, they fly healthy routes to both LAS and PHX plus CRJ's to CMH. Figure 3 at most for Pan Am, maybe 2. That accounts for about 15-17 of 29 available gates. I don't know who else would go into D for now. Maybe Frontier will get their own gate there.

JetBlue would probably do a great transcon business from BWI, and it probably wouldn't affect their IAD business a whit.

I was surprised to see US letting go of the commuter wing....that's about the busiest part of their operation there these days. Is this a sign that they're going to shut down all the prop flights from BWI to various East Coast cities? At ROC, we'll be all right because AirTran is moving into the route on March 14. But a lot of places will lose access to BWI, unless Piedmont and Allegheny contract with another major carrier to provide these services.

Also, does this mean that the damn baggage carousel usage can finally be rejiggered? I just love coming off a WN flight at B and having to hike 40 years to the Promised Land at carousels 10 & 11, past D. US should move into carousels 10 & 11. WN should get 1, 2, 3. The other airlines can share the carousels in between.


Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)
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RE: US Airways Sells 29 Gates At BWI

Fri Mar 01, 2002 4:39 pm

I would think Boston Maine would want some of the gates and feed into Pan AM there. I have a feeling if there is a way to get more flights at BWI and use those 727s in the US, PA and BM will figure it out

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