727LOVER
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Another Southwest Vulnerability?

Tue Nov 11, 2003 8:10 am

Adding to my scare-dy cat thread,
http://www.airliners.net/discussions/general_aviation/read.main/1256867/

Thinking about the miss-out on JFK got me thinking about this airport. Is this another area where Southwest needs to consider before some other LCC becomes ensconced there?


DALLAS/FT. WORTH (DFW)

They can't fly everywhere from Dallas-Love Field. They serve both Houston airports and from HOU they can fly anywhere.
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DCA-ROCguy
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RE: Another Southwest Vulnerability?

Tue Nov 11, 2003 9:03 am

I've thought a lot about this one, 727, and figure it comes down to numbers. What's the least expensive way for WN to get coast-to-coast access from Dallas?

Launch a legislative campaign to sink the Wright Amendment? If WN wanted it gone, they could sink it. All they'd have to do is dangle the prospect of service in front of key senators--like they did with Trent Lott and JAN for the Shelby Amendment--and the WA would be gone. AA and Fort Worth could cry and bleat all they'd want, but the WA would go. But sinking the vile, anticonsumer WA would cost Southwest political chits and a new station or two someplace they might not have put at the top of their list.

Start a DFW station? Apparently AirTran got hold of all four gates that just came open in the D terminal, which leads me to think WN wasn't interested. WN has lots of cash, and if they had wanted those gates, they'd have had them. With four gates, WN could have run 40 dailies--enough for nice daily frequencies to say BWI, MDW, LAX, LAS, and PHX. Certainly such a station would more than pay for itself. And WN could stuff AA and Fort Worth's longtime argument that they can start DFW service anytime they want, down their corrupt throats.

LoneStarMike or TxAgKuwait, do you know anything about the gate situation at DFW? Are any more gates there likely to come open soon? The current international gates will presumably be freed up once the new int'l terminal opens, but I can't think of any others.

These are the only two options I can think of; recent events suggest that WN is not terribly interested in either. Why, I don't know, because they could make a killing with flights to the coasts from the Metroplex; the financial incentive is not lacking. It's hard to imagine the cost of either sinking the WA or opening a DFW station would not pay for itself many times over. Thoughts?

But make no mistake, more LCC service will be coming to Dallas in the next few years whether Southwest provides it or not. AirTran's bold recent move signals an end to major LCC's longtime avoidance of confronting AA at DFW. AA is suffering like every other Cartel-network carrier, and their comfy high-fare gouge-plantation at DFW isn't going to last forever. The question is who will liberate the Metroplex. It's Southwest's prize to win or lose, I think. Right now, AirTran is taking the initiative.

Jim
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RE: Another Southwest Vulnerability?

Tue Nov 11, 2003 9:29 am

WN might grouse about it at times, but they actually like the Wright Amendment just as it is. They've got almost exclusive rights to DAL, with an O&D market that is familiar with the situation there.

They have no interest in DFW's higher fees, nor in having the network carriers open up DAL to nationwide service if the Wright Amendment were repealed.

They're content to maintain the status quo in the Dallas area and have bigger fish to fry elsewhere.
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txagkuwait
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RE: Another Southwest Vulnerability?

Tue Nov 11, 2003 10:17 am

EA CO AS always says that, but I can assure you that the folks at WN are not now nor have they ever really been happy with the Wright Amendment.

The Wright Amendment never protected them.....BN and TI both (and later CO and AA) have thrown intrastate flights at them over at Love Field. CO's flights to IAH work out okay because they are on RJs and a whole lot of the traffic is connecting rather than O&D. AA got their butt handed to them with MD80s to AUS 14x per day. Braniff was the most belligerent about staying at Love Field but in the long run it never did them much good, did it?

Not sure about the gate situation at DFW but I can tell you why WN really would prefer not to go there - as a user friendly airport it stinks. I live in El Paso. Even when I need to go to Ft Worth I fly into DAL. I can be in a rent car on Stemmons 15 minutes after wheels down. At DFW, 15 minutes after wheels down I may still be waiting for a gate! If we have managed the gate, then I will be waiting on a bag. Then a bus ride to the rent a car terminal, which always seems understaffed. I am usually lucky to be on 183 an hour after touchdown when I use DFW. Therefore, I don't.

The real solution, and I think we will see it one of these days, is a compromise.....WN agrees that all flights out of DAL have to stop in a WA state before proceeding to final destination. You can do a lot with DAL-TUL-STL, DAL-ELP-PHX, DAL-ABQ-AS / KLAS), USA - Nevada">LAS, DAL-MSY-TPA, DAL-BHM-BWI, or DAL-LIT-STL ad infinuitum.

 
DCA-ROCguy
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RE: Another Southwest Vulnerability?

Tue Nov 11, 2003 10:26 am

They have no interest in DFW's higher fees, nor in having the network carriers open up DAL to nationwide service if the Wright Amendment were repealed.

It's unclear to me what interest the network carriers would have in DAL. Only CO even bothers to run RJ's, to Houston, now that the 1990's economic boom is over. Several network carriers tried RJ service to their hubs during the boom and it failed. Why would any of them bother to open a station at DAL when they already have the cost of a DFW station, and a reasonable (30-40) minute drive to either downtown Dallas or Ft. Worth?

AA would be very unlikely to enter DAL. Southwest is *not* Legend and it won't be put down by a predatory DAL station. AA would draw back a costly, bloody stump if they tried that nonsense on WN. They have much better things to spend their money on right now. Like losing it by matching JetBlue fares from JFK to the West Coast.

They're content to maintain the status quo in the Dallas area and have bigger fish to fry elsewhere.

Even if Southwest is content to maintain a Metroplex status quo of low fares to WA states and still-high fares to non-WA states, their LCC competitors aren't. As Jason noted in a recent thread, America West is indeed now an LCC and they along with ATA, Frontier, and AirTran are at DFW. With four gates, AirTran could get quite a focus operation going at DFW.

Things are changing in Dallas. The question is, will Southwest lead the way in their home market, or will they let their competitors do it?

And as I've written before, Southwest could have great hub synergy at a WA-free Love Field. They could have an operation bigger than PHX, on top of what they already run at DAL.

Jim
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RE: Another Southwest Vulnerability?

Tue Nov 11, 2003 10:42 am

I don't know, guys. I respect both your opinions, but I personally believe that while WN could theoretically open the floodgates from DAL, they're probably content to leave things as is.

For now.

Again, they've got higher-yield traffic to go after on the East Coast, and they'd like to shore that up against B6 before they start getting their E-190s.

It's all a matter of fleet deployment. Sure, WN could go nuts from DAL if the Wright Amendment were yanked tomorrow, but why bother? They've already got a great operation there, and why put more planes on low-yield runs when you can expand to much higher yield markets in larger population centers?

Down the line, when WN decides they've gotten as big as they can in the East, THEN they might look at getting the WA pulled from DAL...but only then, IMHO.
"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
 
AA7573E
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RE: Another Southwest Vulnerability?

Tue Nov 11, 2003 10:45 am

The only gates that I know of coming open are a result of CO moving into the E Terminal with their new partner Delta. That will have DL, NWA and CO operating from one terminal, and leave three or four gates free in the B Terminal. It was my understanding that those were the gates that Air Tran would be taking, as the D Terminal is the dedicated new international facility slated to open down the road a piece.
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