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America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 3:29 am

I'm actually surprised this didn't happen sooner:

America West Eliminates Unprofitable Columbus Hub Operations
Monday February 10, 1:14 pm ET
Airline To Phase 12 Columbus-Based Regional Jets Out of Fleet


PHOENIX, Feb. 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- America West Airlines (NYSE: AWA - News), the nation's second largest low-fare airline, announced today that it is eliminating hub operations in Columbus, Ohio, and, as a result, phasing 12 regional jets out of the America West Express fleet.

"The airline industry continues to face very difficult economic conditions, and the outlook for the foreseeable future offers little relief," said Douglas Parker, chairman and chief executive officer. "A necessary and critical component of restoring industry profitability is the elimination of consistently unprofitable flying. While it's clear that the airline industry's hub-and-spoke system is here to stay, it is also clear that we, as an industry, have far too many hubs.

"America West simply will not retain unprofitable portions of its operation in hopes that things might one day get better. To that end, we have made the decision to discontinue utilizing Columbus as a hub within the America West network and to concentrate our assets in our stronger hubs in Phoenix and Las Vegas," added Parker. "This is a most difficult decision for us because it impacts our loyal customers, the city of Columbus and, most importantly, our employees. However, as we look ahead it is clear that this is the right decision -- a step we must take to enhance America West's financial position, which will benefit everyone associated with our airline in the long run."

While it no longer will be a hub, Columbus will remain an integral part of America West's network as a field station, or destination city. Between early April and mid-June, America West will gradually downsize the hub to a planned four mainline flights per day to Phoenix and Las Vegas. Today, Columbus accounts for 49 daily departures to 15 destinations.

"America West established Columbus as part of a strategy to connect passengers within the southern and central United States to East Coast markets," said Scott Kirby, executive vice president, Sales and Marketing. "However, as flights from our primary hubs of Phoenix and Las Vegas grew to major East Coast markets, the value of Columbus as a connecting hub has diminished."

According to Kirby, a number of other factors have also changed in recent years. "Due to the large number of regional jets now deployed by many airlines throughout the east, an abundance of capacity exists relative to demand in the markets served by Columbus today. Additionally, Columbus has seen a much larger decline in profitability during this economic downturn than the rest of our system."

As a result, he said, despite America West's best efforts to improve financial performance, the airline is incurring losses of approximately $25 million per year from its Columbus hub operations.

As part of the downsizing of the hub, beginning April 1 America West will phase 12 Columbus-based regional jets, all of which are currently operated by Chautauqua Airlines under the America West Express banner, out of its fleet. The aircraft, which form the nucleus of America West's hub in Columbus, are scheduled to be fully transitioned out of the fleet by mid-June. All 12 jets will remain with Chautauqua.

"Chautauqua Airlines has been a valuable partner to America West in Columbus, and we regret having to end our very close relationship," said Kirby. "As a regional partner to other major airlines, Chautauqua understands the difficulties facing our industry and has been very supportive of our position."

About 65 America West employees will remain in Columbus. The remainder of the approximately 400 Columbus-based employees will be offered the opportunity to transfer to other positions within America West. Those who choose not to relocate will receive severance packages.

"We take this action with particularly mixed emotions," said Parker. "Our employees in Columbus are outstanding. They've done a great job over the years of building a hub, representing America West in the community and providing wonderful service to our customers. We are hopeful that all of them will remain a part of the America West team. Those choosing not to will be treated fairly and with respect.

"Likewise, business and political leaders in Columbus and throughout Ohio have been incredibly supportive of America West. Fortunately for the people of Columbus, America West faced major airline competition on nearly every route that we are discontinuing, so the city will not lose significant non- stop service to any market."

With the downsizing of Columbus, America West must eliminate service to New York City LaGuardia Airport because perimeter rules at that airport prohibit flights beyond 1,500 miles. This precludes service from America West's hubs in Phoenix and Las Vegas. However, the airline will continue to serve the New York metropolitan area through both John F. Kennedy and Newark International Airports. With the exception of LaGuardia, no other year-round America West destination will be closed as a result of the elimination of the Columbus hub.

In the first quarter of 2003 the company expects to record a pre-tax special charge of approximately $10 to $15 million resulting from the elimination of its Columbus hub operations. The charge is related to the costs to terminate certain contracts, the write-off of leasehold improvements and employee transfer and severance expenses.

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause America West's actual results and financial position to differ materially from these statements. The risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks and government responses, the resulting negative impacts on revenues due to airport closures and reduced demand for air travel, increased costs due to enhanced security measures and related government directives, the ability of the company to obtain sufficient additional financing if necessary to survive the adverse economic effects following the September 11 attacks, limitations on financing flexibility due to high levels of debt, financial and other covenants in debt instruments and cross default provisions and the potential dilutive impact of the warrants and convertible notes issued in connection with the term loan and related transactions, the cyclical nature of the airline industry, competitive practices in the industry, the impact of changes in fuel prices, relations with unionized employees generally and the impact of the process of negotiation of labor contracts on the company's operations, the outcome of negotiations of collective bargaining agreements and the impact of these agreements on labor costs, the impact of industry regulations and other factors described from time to time in the company's publicly available SEC reports. The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances that may arise after the date of this press release.



Free-thinking, left-leaning secularist
 
jrlander
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 3:36 am

The EMB planes are going to the Delta Connection operation of Chautauqua. A separate press release was issued to disclose this. Any new destinations planned?
 
ouboy79
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 3:39 am

Good luck to the hundreds that have now joined the thousands on the street.
 
desertjets
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 3:42 am

Like the original poster said, this isn't a shocker. Even in this dramatically slimmed down times there is still too much capacity out there. What was left of mainline HP at Columbus could be better deployed out of PHX and LAS. And it seems that Chautauqua's 12 ERJs have found a new home, which also isn't much of shocker.

The raison d'etre of the Columbus hub which pretty much diluted by the mid-90s with the massive influx of the A320s into the fleet, which made flights from Phoenix and Las Vegas to destinations that were only serve from Columbus possible. Had times been better (doesn't that seem to be the mantra these days) there was certainly potential to make CMH viable. But it still begs the question, would that type and level of expansion come at the expense of Phoenix and Las Vegas. Ultimately it is a smart decision by Parker and company to keep America West flying.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
 
FlyPNS1
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 3:44 am

I'm not really surprised by this either. This hub never could compete with DTW,CVG and PIT all surrounding it.

Looks like the Chautauqua RJ's will find a good home with DL however.

http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/030210/102437_1.html

DL also hinted that they will be adding more new service at CMH. My bets are CMH-DFW and CMH-BOS. HP will be abandoning both these routes and they fit well within DL's strategic goals to improve feed at DFW and buildup BOS. DL might also add another flight from CMH to MCO.

Question, what happen's to HP in-perimeter slots as DCA and LGA? HP already said that they will be forced to abandon LGA completely because of the perimeter rule. HP has 6 beyond perimeter slots at DCA, but they also have in-perimeter slots for the flights to CMH. I assume they will go up for bid by the DOT....might be Airtran's chance to get a hold of more slots.
 
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EA CO AS
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 3:49 am

I seem to recall a request by HP on the DOT docket for an exemption to the 1,500nm LGA perimeter rule so they could fly PHX-LGA nonstop. LGA is currently the only HP destination to be closed by the CMH downsizing, since it's the only city they could serve LGA from.

The idea behind the request was that HP was at a "competitive disadvantage" in the NY market since they could only offer nonstops to EWR and JFK from their LAS and PHX hub operations, while other carriers enjoyed the ability to serve LGA from one if not all of their hubs.

Does anyone have an idea what the status of this request is?
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
FlyPNS1
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 3:58 am

RSW will also be closed since it is only served from CMH. I think this flight was only seasonal anyway.

Of course, HP is free to start service from RSW to PHX/LAS. However, I don't see that happening in the near term.
 
desertjets
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 4:02 am

I also thought Toronto was still served only from Columbus, or was that cancelled or moved back to Phoenix as well?
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
 
petazulu
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 4:25 am

I was recently on an LGA-Denver flight. Is that the longest current nonstop route from LGA? I was curious about that at the time.

Seems kind of arbitrary to allow Denver flights, but not Pheonix, Salt Lake or Las Vegas.
 
flyCMH
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 4:52 am

As an America West employee at the Columbus hub, I feel like a shell of my former self. There are so many wonderful people here that will be left without a job. This airline made it possible for me to finally realize my dream of being a part of the aviation industry, and now I am watching my dream smashed to pieces.

All I can say is this, I still love this airline, I wish it the best of luck without Columbus, and godspeed to all my fellow coworkers, that they all may see better times.

Crushed in Columbus,

flyCMH
 
United777
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 4:56 am

I've always wondered why America West has Columbus as one of there hubs.
 
FlyingTexan
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 5:03 am

About 65 America West employees will remain in Columbus. The remainder of the approximately 400 Columbus-based employees will be offered the opportunity to transfer to other positions within America West. Those who choose not to relocate will receive severance packages.

Beats the alternative.

Does anyone know how AA/Eagle is doing with their Columbus station these days?
"Wouldn't your boss like to fly home nonstop at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon?" -Airline Exec to Congressional Staffer
 
scottysair
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 5:05 am

Yeah, me too. I'm guess that about CMH hubs is close for AWA. I wish that will best good luck for without Columbus, OH. Well, when is think now with Delta Connections will chance expand more flight out of CMH to midwest or the south? Please let us know! Thanks!!

Regards!
 
ScottB
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 5:13 am

America West had served Toronto from PHX in the past, starting in Oct. of 2000; I believe the service was discontinued after 9/11/2001. Mainline service was restarted this past December, with flights to both LAS and PHX.

Interestingly, I think the beyond-perimeter DCA slots helped to kill the CMH hublet, since keeping DCA in the route system was probably one important reason for maintaining the level of service at CMH. And access to LGA with about 250 seats daily probably wasn't worth the overall expense of the hub, especially considering that they need to get the operation to break-even soon in order to start paying back their loan. Cash flow in 2002 looked to be close to -$150 million. 2003 looks to be as bad as 2002 or worse if there's a war in Iraq; it won't be pretty if their cash drops into the $100-150 million range.

As their press release stated, HP faced competition on virtually all its non-stop routes from CMH (WN to BWI, PHX, LAS, MCO; DL to LGA, DCA, MCO; US to LGA, DCA, PHL; AA to DFW, ORD, LGA, BOS; AC to YYZ, CO to EWR, UA to ORD; the only exceptions seemed to be BDL, RSW, and LAX), and that certainly didn't help the viability of the hublet. Not to mention being sandwiched between several larger hubs (PIT, DTW, CLE, CVG) within 250 miles. Annual losses of $25 million in the CMH operation mean that HP was losing, on average, $20 on every seat flown in and out of that hub.
 
MSYtristar
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 5:16 am

It's a shame, becuase geographically, CMH is in a pretty good spot to be a decent sized hub. Perhaps we'll FINALLY see Southwest adding some new CMH service. That'd be a nice thing.

Steve in NOLA
 
portcolumbus
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 5:26 am

Sad to see it come to this. Any idea who will pick up the slack? WN? DL?
 
dan2002
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 5:38 am

Does anyone what is going to happen to the 757 "City Of Columbus"?
I sure like that plane! It would be too sad to see it go.
A guy asks 'What's Punk?'. I kick over a trash can and its punk. He knocks over a trash can and its trendy.
 
desertjets
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 5:38 am

I think that the point of Parker's statement is that there is no slack in that market. Likely Southwest and Delta might pick up a handful of flights, but nothing major and more likely related to build-ups elsewhere than in Columbus.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
 
portcolumbus
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 5:54 am

Well, there must be some market here to warrant a few new flights after losing 45 departures. This is all after HP dumped money into those nice RJ gates.
 
rojo
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 6:00 am

Very bad news for all of us who use Port-Columbus International Airport several times a year. Losing one low fare airlines like HP will make ticket prices go up on certain routes.

To all America West Employees in Columbus, I wish you the best and thanks for making me feel at home every time I flew to/from Columbus.

Rojo

 
ScottB
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 6:46 am

I'm not sure I'd call America West a low-fare airline on all those routes; walk-up round-trip fares to LGA are still $798; CMH-BOS walk-up is $866; CMH-PHL is $750; CMH-DFW is $834; CMH-BDL is $552. Amazingly, though, CMH-BWI is only $182 round-trip...could that have something to do with Southwest?

To be frank, I believe that HP's conversion to a "low-fare" strategy was more-or-less an acknowledgement that they compete with WN on the vast majority of their routes -- and that they needed to be more like WN in order to compete with WN.
 
flybulldog
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 6:53 am

Too bad. I hope this doesn't cause tickets in the CMH market to increase. My company is starting to make us fly out of Dayton to save money.
 
FlyingTexan
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 7:08 am

I'm not sure I'd call America West a low-fare airline on all those routes; walk-up round-trip fares to LGA are still $798; CMH-BOS walk-up is $866; CMH-PHL is $750; CMH-DFW is $834; CMH-BDL is $552. Amazingly, though, CMH-BWI is only $182 round-trip...could that have something to do with Southwest?

It’s called the Southwest Effect.  Big grin

Dan2002, Good question about HP’s City of Columbus 757.


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Anyone going to Airliners International 2003? I believe Columbus is the host city.
"Wouldn't your boss like to fly home nonstop at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon?" -Airline Exec to Congressional Staffer
 
HlywdCatft
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 7:26 am

I don't think increased Delta operations will work there either with CVG so close, same with Chataqua as a DL connection hub there with Comair/ACA at CVG.
 
redngold
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 7:41 am

What Columbus hub? Last time I checked, HP had roughly the same amount of service as AE, what does that say about the reality of Columbus's former hub status? It wasn't much of a hub.

redngold
Up, up and away!
 
deltairlines
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 7:48 am

As mentioned, I would not be surprised to see DL start CMH-BOS/DFW. However, I think these flights would not be with Chautauqua, but with ACA and ASA respectively.

Could some of the newly acquired ERJs be heading for FLL? I think DL could handle an expansion at FLL, as well as possibly a few more destinations from TPA and MCO.

Jeff
 
flyCMH
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 7:58 am

I had to defend this in the past, and I still do now, America West's operated a hub here in Columbus. America West connected passengers through the airport just like Delta connects passengers through Cincinnati. For example, here were the passenger boarding totals for America West's 4PM bank at CMH on February 9:

City: total passengers/local passengers

BDL: 48/18
LGA: 38/18
YYZ: 30/18
BOS: 39/35
PHL: 45/41
LAS: 123/92*
ORD: 36/27
PHX: 113/64*
BWI: 50/46
DFW: 41/11
EWR: 29/15

*mainline flight

So as you can see, the hub DID filter connecting traffic on to other destinations. BDL had 32 passengers connect through CMH, and DFW had 30. It's also apparent that there was a strong O&D base in CMH, as flights to cities like BWI and BOS always did well, and were comprised mainly of local passengers. But it doesn't matter now. I'll expand on my thoughts about all this later.
 
flyCMH
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 8:10 am

10TV Eyewitness News just reported that Delta will be holding a news conference here in Columbus on Wednesday. Maybe some good news in light of loosing such a major part of this airport's operations. I'll be getting my application ready...
 
AirOne
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 8:34 am

Hi,

As a Columbus resident, it is hard to see them go. It will reduce the aircraft movements significantly and Terminal B will be a ghost house. On the up side, I am a loyal Delta flyer and hope this gives them reason to build up flights and hopefully reinstate the nonstop FLL flights.

Thanks,
AirOne
 
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OzarkD9S
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 9:49 am

Wonder what AirTran makes of all this? CMH would fit very nicely into their system, maybe even a mini-hub.
Coast to Coast and Border to Border, Ozark Flies YOUR Way!
 
PSU.DTW.SCE
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 9:56 am

I highly, highly doubt anyone will step up to take over CMH. There is simply way too much capacity available. This is a small step in the direction to bring down supply to where demand is. You might see a few additional frequencies or larger aircraft put on by other airlines to their hubs but this you won't see AirTran stepping in and starting a mini-hub.
 
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OzarkD9S
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 10:00 am

Probably not, but those gates wont sit idle for very long. Someone will find a use for them...and the low fare carriers/regionals are the only ones growing at this time, so who knows?
Coast to Coast and Border to Border, Ozark Flies YOUR Way!
 
thomacf
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 10:03 am

I imagine a couple of new carriers may start service to CMH. Possibly Frontier, ATA, AirTran or JetBlue. I imagine Southwest will expand its service to and from CMH. No airline will ever come to CMH and build a hub any bigger than the one HP has there now. The terminal doesn't have the gate space, the airport is surrounded on all four sides by other major airline hubs and Columbus just doesn't have the pop. base (1-1.5 million) to make it an attractive market for O&D traffic. I feel that the the Columbus Port Authority should concentrate on two things, more airlines and more low fare carriers keeping prices low and competition high. The second is CARGO!!! The best thing Columbus has going for it in the aviation world is Rickenbacker Int'L. That place is a logistical dream for cargo airlines and freight forwarders. I say concentrate that.
 
HlywdCatft
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 10:07 am

Delta might just be having a press conference to announce Song Air coming to CMH, since Delta Express serves there.
 
flyCMH
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 10:18 am

Delta Express no longer serves CMH. The routes to MCO and TPA were taken over by Chautauqua ERJ-145s in November.
 
ContinentalEWR
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 10:23 am

The introduction of the A319/A320 into the HP fleet made the Columbus mini-hub redundant. East-West traffic no longer needed a connection point as the airline's strategy has been increasing point to point flights from its LAS/PHX hubs to many more cities on the East Coast. Second, Columbus faces a lot of competition from more established hubs like DTW (NW), ORD (UA/AA), CVG (DL), CLE (CO), and even MDW (ATA). I would imagine that connecting thru CMH was probably a far more pleasant, stress free experience than ORD, it is clear that the resources are better deployed elsewhere in the HP system.

I'm sorry for the employees. Surprised though that 65 positions will remain. Do they need that many for a field station with flights to LAS and PHX that seem likely to be short lived anyway? Will HP continue to serve CMH? Does it need to?

 
usairways85
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 10:29 am

I dont see Airtran making a mini-hub at Columbus, they have no need to. They are already committed to BWI as a mini-hub with 9 destinations and i believe somewhere around 25 flts a day. THe most Columbus will see is maybe an Airtran flt to ATL and a very slight possibility to see a flt from MCO or BWI. How far is Columbus from Dayton because Airtran already operates DAY-ATL and DAY-MCO.
 
FlyingTexan
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 10:42 am

What Columbus hub? Last time I checked, HP had roughly the same amount of service as AE, what does that say about the reality of Columbus's former hub status? It wasn't much of a hub.

Redngold -

AA has the following brand non-stops from CMH:


Eagle ERJ to ORD
Eagle ERJ to BOS
Eagle ERJ to RDU
Eagle ERJ to LGA

Mainline MD-80 to STL
Eagle ERJ/Mainline MD-80 mix to DFW

In recent history, Eagle had ERJ service to MIA and possibly DCA.

I’m sure there was BNA n/s at one time, but that is going back 10 years.

Although AA/AE's Columbus operation is pretty decent for a line station , I'd say AWA's was greater.
"Wouldn't your boss like to fly home nonstop at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon?" -Airline Exec to Congressional Staffer
 
portcolumbus
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 11:20 am

AE also had service CMH-JFK several years back.
 
portcolumbus
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 11:27 am

According to the AP story, Delta will be announcing expanded service.

Associated Press
America West Eliminating Ohio Hub
Monday February 10, 5:22 pm ET
By Eduardo Montes, Associated Press Writer
America West Airlines Eliminating Unprofitable Ohio Hub by Mid-June, Reducing Work Force


PHOENIX (AP) -- America West Airlines will eliminate its unprofitable hub in Columbus, Ohio, by mid-June, reducing the number of daily flights originating there from 49 to four, the company announced Monday.

The airline will also reduce its Columbus work force to about 65 from roughly 400 employees. The remainder of the Columbus employees will have the option of transferring elsewhere within the company or taking a severance package, the airline said.

America West spokeswoman Janice Monahan said the Columbus hub, one of three for the airline, has been consistently unprofitable. America West lost about $25 million per year on the operation.

The Tempe, Ariz.-based airline, the nation's eighth-largest carrier, has posted losses for nine straight quarters.

Airline officials said the Columbus hub was no longer as crucial as it was when it was established in 1991 to connect passengers to the East Coast.

"As flights from our primary hubs of Phoenix and Las Vegas grew to major East Coast markets, the value of Columbus as a connecting hub has diminished," said Scott Kirby, an America West executive vice president.

As part of the downsizing, America West will phase 12 Columbus-based regional jets out of its fleet. The aircraft will remain with Chautauqua Airlines, which operated them under the America West Express name.

Monahan said the America West Express flights made up the bulk of the airline's flights out of the Columbus hub, which served 15 destinations. The airline will now only operate two daily flights to Phoenix and two to Las Vegas.

David Whitaker, a vice president at Port Columbus International Airport, said America West carried 21 percent of the airport's passengers in 2002, more than any other carrier.

On Wednesday, Delta Air Lines plans to announce expanded service from Columbus.

Shares of the airline's parent, America West Holdings Corp., rose 2 cents Monday to close at $1.83 on the New York Stock Exchange.

America West: http://www.americawest.com

Port Columbus: http://www.port-columbus.com/


 
EIPremier
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 12:01 pm

Although this is not surprising news, I'm very disappointed to see HP discontinue their Columbus hub. I think they had the opportunity to develop a stronger presence at CHM during the late 90s, but they never developed the route network/frequency necessary to attain a particularly dominant marketshare.
 
MAH4546
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 1:54 pm

I don't want to jinx it, but I think DL FLL-CMH service is a given, though MIA-CMH would be so much better.
a.
 
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ERJ135
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Tue Feb 11, 2003 7:01 pm

I'm not happy at all. I have pre paid three flights during this time including the day after my wedding. I don't need to hear this at all.
I remember when the DC-3 was new!
 
flyCMH
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RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Wed Feb 12, 2003 5:06 am

It's been 24 hours, and the news is still sinking in. I have given much thought to what has happened and the reason it has happened. The hub in Columbus just wasn't meant to be, for 3 main reasons:

1. The failure of past management to balance over-flying the CMH hub from PHX and LAS.

2. The failure of past management to expand the hub at critical times.

3. The events of September 11, 2001 and resulting economic downturn.

One of the main reasons that the hub is being dismantled is the fact that with aircraft suited for longer range routes, therefore allowing more nonstop flights from Phoenix and Las Vegas to the East Coast, the Columbus hub essentially lost its original purpose. During the mid-90s, America West began adding more and more nonstop flights to places such as Boston, which was served originally with 757's from CMH. Connecting traffic dwindled, and local demand could not support the mainline jets. While the airline continued to focus on overflying Columbus, no routes were added from CMH out West. The only city a person could fly to from Columbus without connecting in Phoenix or Las Vegas was Los Angeles. The result: people in Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, etc used PHX and LAS in order to fly to Western destinations.

Former CEO Bill Franke's contempt for the Columbus hub was apparent during the mid-90's, especially after the pullback of America West Express service with Beechcraft 1900's in June of 1995. While the replacement of mainline jets with Mesa Canadair Regional Jets was a step in keeping the Columbus hub viable, but it could have done more. Regional equipment could have allowed the hub to expand into new markets, instead of only replacing mainline in current ones. It took a change in management for the hub to finally start seeing new markets, with the introduction of Atlanta, Dallas, and Toronto in August and September of 2001, and 6 new regional jet jetways on the way with plans for 6 more coming soon, it looked like the hub might make it after all.

Then came 9/11/01.

No explanation needed there. The entire airline industry was deeply shaken by the events and resulting economic downturn. America West was in a perilous situation, desperately needing a federal loan to remain in operation. Local, as well as state, leaders in Ohio pushed feverently for the U.S. government to approve the loan guarantee for the airline, which succeeded. However, the damage had already been done, and the hub was loosing money. It was a situation that could not be remedied, and the result was the closure of the Columbus hub.

I salute Doug Parker and the current management of America West for actually making an effort to make this hub succeed prior to September 11. I wish with all my heart that it did not have to come to this. But the mistakes of the previous people in charge, coupled with the sour economy, dealt the final blow. I wish the best to all my 324 other co-workers in Columbus, that they may recover from this sad turn of events and move on to even better things. To all my other colleagues that will remain with the airline in Columbus, in Phoenix, Las Vegas, as well as system wide, please continue your efforts on making America West a model company in this industry. The past seven months of employment with the airline have been nothing but extraordinary. It pains me incredibly to see it go, but time will pass, and new opportunities will arise.

Thanks for reading.


flyCMH
 
desertjets
Posts: 7575
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2000 3:12 pm

RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Wed Feb 12, 2003 6:47 am

Excellent thought piece FlyCMH. Sorry about losing your job, but times are indeed quite tough.

I think we have talked on this forum numerous times about the many missed opportunities that America West had with the Columbus hub. It can be pretty easily said that a viable eastern US hub was/is critical for America West to have to become a legitimate major carrier.

Too add to your points.

The amount of overflying of the CMH hub from Phoenix and to a lesser extant Las Vegas most certainly killed it. Even more so than a lack of west coast destinations from Columbus, it severely lacked regional destinations west of Columbus... ORD/MDW and only till recently DFW come to mind. So it was even more dependent on O&D traffic. Regional jets serving places like St. Louis, Des Moines, Milwauke, etc would have helped to make it a viable and real hub. It would have helped to support mainline service to BWI, DCA, LGA, BOS etc.

I cannot also help that the awarding of the beyond the perimeter slots for Phoenix and Las Vegas flights was a major nail in the coffin. The one gem, besides LGA flights, that Columbus had was access to National Airport.

Lastly I cannot help to think that America West, at its size, could not really support three hubs... especially given the relatively large size of the Phoenix operation versus the other two hubs. It seems that it would be a debate of Las Vegas vs. Columbus, and Las Vegas has made operational sense to keep as a hub.... likely that it manages to make money too.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
 
Guest

RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Wed Feb 12, 2003 11:11 am

I wish the best of luck on all the employees who are effected by the closing of the CMH hub. You guys in CMH have done a great job. Good luck to all.
 
Concorde SST
Posts: 68
Joined: Mon Jul 26, 1999 3:51 am

RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Wed Feb 12, 2003 12:18 pm


“Goodbye, Columbus”


How very sad. My thoughts are with all the America West employees in the Columbus operation, and would likewise like to thank them for their service in helping me fly back to my hometown, Columbus several times a year.

Take care . . .
 
bhmal
Posts: 134
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2000 1:09 pm

RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Thu Feb 13, 2003 11:29 am

Thanks for your input FlyCMH. Your information has always been very accurate and interesting. I too am sad to see the airline industry downsizing. It would have been nice to have seen HP expand in CMH and grow in the east.
With your positive attitude that is evident in your posts, don't worry about finding another job if you choose to leave America West. Any employer would be happy to have you join their team.
 
DeltaRules
Posts: 3727
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2001 11:57 am

RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Sat Feb 15, 2003 10:00 am

My computer was shot, so I couldn't post on this sooner...

This is a pretty sad situation, although I didn't think the CMH hub was doing too well, considering what was mentioned above with almost all the routes seeing competition. Sad for FlyCMH & all the employees- good luck to them. At least HP isn't pulling out totally- as far as I know, we'll still see the trans-cons to PHX & LAS, but it won't be the same without the Jungle Jets...

USAirways85- I'd say about 70 miles DAY-CMH.

DeltaRules
A310/319/320/321/333, ARJ, BN2, B722/73S/733/734/735/73G/738/739/744/757/753/767/763/764/777, CR1/2/7/9, DH6, 328, EM2/ERJ/E70/E75/E90, F28/100, J31, L10/12/15, DC9/D93/D94/D95/M80/M88/M90/D10, SF3, SST
 
maiznblu_757
Posts: 4952
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2002 12:05 pm

RE: America West To Close Columbus Hub

Sat Feb 15, 2003 10:22 am

I heard through the grapevine they are moving operations to Toledo.