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Why Nothing Big At CLE (DL Pertained)

Mon Jun 24, 2002 10:23 am

Ok, some of you will instantly think I'm moaning about never seeing L10s, 747s, etc., at CLE, but this is more then that, particularly with DL. They have a lot of flights at CLE, all going to CVG or ATL. Now, they only use MD-88s and even the first flights of the day (at 6-6:30 AM) are full, so, if DL sees that their M88s are filled, why not try and sell more tickets per flight and up the aircraft to a 727 or a 738? UA has done it. Their seasonal loads have gone up, so they introduced their summer 757 service to ORD, DEN.

Now maybe I can get riduculous after my serious question. FedEx and UPS fly A306s out of CLE every day, so we can handle such large aircraft, and you could compare the A306 to the 767 family, so if DL really wanted to reduce their number of flights, have two 763 (or at least 752) flights to ATL and two to CVG and back, and then have maybe one DLX 732 flight to both in like early morning, midday, and late-evening. So, a total of 10 flights a day, about the same as now, and then you have more people to deal with, and possibly add a daily flight to somewhere else as a feeder for the 763 (or 752).

I know that won't happen with other airlines, since they are well, not content with what they have, but accept it. I'm sure if the landing fees were lower you'd see all sorts of stuff at CLE. The gates can handle the aircraft, as a matter of fact the one DL gate, B6, has the markings showing where to stop the different aircraft, L-1011, 757, 767, etc.
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RE: Why Nothing Big At CLE (DL Pertained)

Mon Jun 24, 2002 10:33 am

I think you've answered your own question: the landing fees are too high. Why should DL deploy their limited # of heavies in CLE when there are other markets that are equally lucrative from a revenue standpoint but more friendly from a cost standpoint?

And I will also say, CLE is very passive at marketing itself to the airlines, unlike other smaller airports such as CMH or RDU. USAir is down to no mainline to PIT or PHI anymore (only a handful to CLT now), AA only mainlines to DFW and once to MIA, so 2 big airlines have cut way back in recent years.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but UA has strong Mileage Plus base in CLE due to the hub that was once here, so UA may be able to justify some larger aircraft in a way that other airports can't.
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RE: Why Nothing Big At CLE (DL Pertained)

Mon Jun 24, 2002 10:36 am

DL, most likely, sees that utilizing a 752 or 762/3 aircraft on a 600 mile segent length doesn't make sense. Sure they use them between CVG and ATL but they're both hubs. These planes would be better served on longer transcon or transatlantic flights. Also, filling seats doesn't exclusively determine ac utilization...More and more Yield is the major force. Also, if you routinely flew 763's into CLE Delta would have to up and spend a bunch of money on additional ground crew and pallet containers (LD-5's) and equipment to move them. By using MD-88's and CRJ's DL is able to offer more flights...more travel choices.

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RE: Why Nothing Big At CLE (DL Pertained)

Mon Jun 24, 2002 10:41 am

Delta is willing to use it'd widebodies on shorter flights. They fly them from ATL to all over Florida.


RE: Why Nothing Big At CLE (DL Pertained)

Mon Jun 24, 2002 10:43 am

I'm surprised you didn't mention anything about Contin....I mean ExpressJet's hub there. Only large hub I can think of in the Midwest that flies RJs to LGA.
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RE: Why Nothing Big At CLE (DL Pertained)

Mon Jun 24, 2002 1:24 pm

Only large hub I can think of in the Midwest that flies RJs to LGA.

I think you're remiss in mentioning that AA flew RJ's exclusively CLE-LGA. I'm not sure, but I think they dropped that service. They do still service CLE-JFK with RJ's, if I'm not mistaking.

And I think you are remiss in not mentioning that CO also flies 737's to LGA as well from CLE. The reason for this is quite simple really-why not use an RJ in a time slot when 737 would not be full, but where a smaller plane can still be profitable on the route? I'm sure the break-even load factor on a 50 or 37 seat RJ CLE-LGA isn't all that high, and if you can't get the load with a 737, why not go down to an RJ to make a little more profit?

And yes, the landing fees are, I believe, one reason why you don't see any scheduled widebody service in CLE. I think CLE has the 3rd hightest fees in the country.

And Ncflyer is correct-up until now, and at least for that last 10-12 years at least-CLE has poorly sold itself to airlines. In fact, JetBlue and AirTran both wanted to come into CLE, but couldn't find anyone to talk to at City Hall about it! JetBlue is still hoping to come into town, and AirTran gave up and started service in CAK.

Plus, CLE, being very centrally located, is a perfect location for RJ's. CLE is not a huge market, pax-wise, and the RJ's can reach a large variety of destinations all over the country-especially with the 145XR coming online soon.

I think you are beginning to see the signs of change at CLE now. The new mayor, Jane Campbell got approval from City Council to drastically raise the pay for the Airport Commissioner, and that enabled Mayor Campbell to tap Mr. John Mok, who is a long-time airport professional, recently at DFW, then before that at HKG. Gone seem to be the days of putting in political cronies or hacks with no airport/airline experience in trying to run an international airport.

Plus, relations with the airlines are improving. Mayor Campbell has asked CO to put two of it's people in the group overseeing the construction of the new runway at Hopkins. Before now, City Hall didnt even bother getting airlines' advice on any matters-it was their way or the highway.

I think you'll see over the next two years, that CLE will start to improve dramatically-a refurbishing of the entire interior is beginning, and I think you'll see some long-range improvements start to show up very soon.
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RE: Why Nothing Big At CLE (DL Pertained)

Mon Jun 24, 2002 1:55 pm

Actually Delta flies 762s between DTW and ATL twice daily now and used to fly 763s between CVG and DTW a couple times a day prior to Sept 11. CLE and DTW are probably equivalent in distance to CVG and ATL.

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