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Hartford The New 'OK Corral?'

Tue Feb 04, 2003 10:58 am

It appears as though Hartford will be the litmus test for the pending battle between Southwest and Song. I think industry watchers are anxious to see true competition between these two carriers, and since Song is (thus far) turning a deaf ear to Providence and Manchester by opting for Boston-Logan, Hartford becomes the new 'OK Corral.' In the same way that JFK will be the litmus test for their battle with JetBlue, Song will surely crow if they siphon traffic from Southwest at BDL. This bears watching. If Southwest does lose traffic at BDL (how can they not??), will they front a stiff upper lip and maintain their Florida flights out of BDL? Nothing spells 'surrender' more than cutting out flights; it will be interesting to see who 'blinks' first.

Chris in NH
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RE: Hartford The New 'OK Corral?'

Tue Feb 04, 2003 11:58 am

Why is Song turning away from PVD and MHT? They could EASILY fill 2-3 757's a day to MCO and/or FLL. Everyone I know hates Logan and does whatever they can to avoid it. I say they should serve BOS, MHT, PVD, and BDL, I guarantee all the routes would be successful.

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RE: Hartford The New 'OK Corral?'

Tue Feb 04, 2003 12:19 pm

Delta has had this market now for the past 2 years ever since Metro jet died. Southwest hasn't really been a big player on the Hartford-Florida markets. They currently only offer 2X a day to MCO, and once a day to TPA. Delta on the other hand flys 4X daily to MCO (was 5X before 9-11), 3X daily to TPA, 3X to FLL, and 2X to PBI (3X 6/02).

I am not sure how much SW will want to expand into FL from BDL, I doubt they will at all, except for the far possibility of a JAX flight or RSW if they ever add it (They currently don't fly to RSW correct?). Delta on the other hand could use Song to RSW, which would be a head start on SW in that market.

Delta in the mid 90's ran 757's, 767's and I believe L1011's from BDL to MCO, FLL, and PBI, so Delta has been entrenched in that market for a while now.

Southwest has shown interest in a third gate (curently have 2) once they move into the new east concourse, and that means possible expansion. SW hasn't really expanded at BDL since they began service. Possible expansion I believe will be more in the west with the likes of PHX, and LAS. MCI, RDU, and STL are possibilities.

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RE: Hartford The New 'OK Corral?'

Wed Feb 05, 2003 9:44 am

If 'Song' is willing to fly out of all three New York area airports, they shouldn't have an aversion to all three Boston area airports. 'Song' plans on serving a whole bunch of cities by late 2003, and I wouldn't be surprised to see either PVD or MHT on the list. Indeed, the demand at both airports is terrific and MHT holds the distinction of being the only airport in New England to have grown in 2002. All others lost traffic.

Chris in NH
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RE: Hartford The New 'OK Corral?'

Wed Feb 05, 2003 10:48 am

I still maintain that I was a little surprised to see Song flying out of EWR, as I figured it would be easier for DL to just slap its code on Continental's flights to FL.

As for MHT, I can see why they didn't start service out of there yet. The reason is simple, lack of gate space. As we know, there is nil space at MHT. The only times that the DL gate is open at MHT is mid-morning and early afternoon, which are not the best times to use the gate. When the C concourse gets its jetways (and DL most certainly will pick up a 2nd gate), then we might see Song in MHT.

As for PVD, I was caught a little off-guard here. My first guess is that they don't have enough planes off the bat to start PVD ops. I'm sure PVD is on the list of considered cities (as they already have DLX service), but Song would rather use the 757s out of the larger markets.

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RE: Hartford The New 'OK Corral?'

Wed Feb 05, 2003 11:27 am

Comparing the NYC region to the BOS region isn't really fair. NYC has a substantially larger population base, so serving three airports makes more sense. DL also wants Song at all three NYC airports to give Song an advantage over JBLU which only serves JFK. Since, JBLU doesn't currently serve the BOS market, DL doesn't have to be so comprehensive. Now, if JBLU all of the sudden launches service from PVD or MHT, then DL would almost definitely send Song in.

You might see Song in MHT/PVD eventually, but I think DL wants to test Song out at the core airports. If Song is successful then DL will expand outward. If Song fails, then DL will not expand out to the periphery airports.

DL management has admitted that DLX was expanded into too many smaller markets and they will not repeat that mistake again (Song won't be showing up in CMH,IND,BUF,ALB,etc). Clearly, PVD isn't that strong of a Florida market for DL given that DL only serves PVD twice a day to MCO with 732's. One Song 757 would almost equal that amount of capacity. So in order for Song to work at PVD, DL would have to grow a lot more traffic without cannibalizing BOS.

MHT is in a similar boat although without gate space I can guarantee you won't see Song.
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RE: Hartford The New 'OK Corral?'

Wed Feb 05, 2003 12:06 pm

I don't really care if Song or DLX flies PVD-Florida, as long as some Delta division flies it. Perhaps they can keep the DLX 732's flying the service until Song can take over. I always thought MHT should be served by Delta when it comes to Florida markets, so hopefully that will happen too. As for BDL, I think they should try it out as one of their first airports, DLX has always had great loads there.

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RE: Hartford The New 'OK Corral?'

Wed Feb 05, 2003 8:30 pm

As of Right now, both PVD abd BDL have the same # of daily flights to MCO
BDL has 4 DL, 2 SW, PVD has 4 SW, 2 DL.

I believe Song will go to PVD within a year, however in the initial start up, they need it to succeed at their core cities (BOS). Many airlines seem to think with regards to PVD and MHT that people will actually drive TO BOS for their service ( quite the laugh) However, that is the airline's mentality. Once song has been established at BOS, then i think PVD will see its 2x daily song flights. MHT may come a bit later since they never had a chance to prove themselves with a 732, so with a 757 makes it all the more difficult.
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RE: Hartford The New 'OK Corral?'

Wed Feb 05, 2003 10:05 pm

MHT, with the help of some expansion, is in a great location to have service from Song, with competition from Southwest. MHT is a nice market, and airport. But once you hit Providence or Hartford you can get customers from the suburbs, which is practically not the case with MHT where people from BOS might unwillingly drive an hour. or Suburbs 1.5 2.0 hours.
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RE: Hartford The New 'OK Corral?'

Thu Feb 06, 2003 7:08 am

That's actually not correct regarding MHT and Boston's suburbs; there are several hundred thousand people along I-495 in the Merrimack Valley (Lowell, Lawrence, Haverhill, Andover, etc.) who are 30-40 minutes from MHT and 30-40 minutes from BOS (assuming traffic cooperates). BDL is the airport which sees limited traffic from the Boston suburbs, given that Windsor Locks, CT is approximately 100 miles from Boston by road. PVD is more convenient to Worcester than BDL, and Springfield can't be called a Boston "suburb."

BDL is a respectable market in and of itself, given that the population of CT is a bit over 3 million and air service to HVN and GON is quite limited. It's the most convenient airport for just about the entire state (excluding extreme eastern CT ,which is closer to PVD, and southwestern Fairfield County, which is closer to LGA), not to mention much of western Mass. and parts of southern VT.

As others have said, I don't see Song as being aimed against Southwest, but rather jetBlue. Delta wants to protect its market share and business in Boston, Hartford, and New York City, and this is how they intend to do it. They're not as big a player at PVD or MHT.
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RE: Hartford The New 'OK Corral?'

Thu Feb 06, 2003 9:37 am

There IS a market for NON-STOP PVD-PBI/FLL. I wish DL(Song), US, WN or even B6 would see that potential. Would B6 want to go head to head with WN at PVD? Good question. That's probably why they're more interested in the BOS market.

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