Another misconception that is rearing its head here now is that "if city X and city Y are equal size, an airline should serve them equally." That is not true. First off, filter out the population and go with actual O&D figures. These are the people that WANT to travel for whatever reason. That is going to be the total figure for the whole airport - however it is divided up amongst the airlines.
The statement above about DL
not doing much at BUF
because of SWA's presence is very accurate. The question has to be raised is not necessarily "how many passengers are underserved" but rather "of the passengers that are underserved, how many can we expect to secure for OUR airline?" Those are not always the same thing.
The statement about Buffalo not being in the south is very true as well. Of the pax with an O&D of Buffalo, how many are going to destinations in the NE or Midwest? For them, it would be silly to go through ATL
... if not monetarily, then by time... or even psychologically. Many passengers are going to THINK it is silly to go to IAD
before they even look at the prices and schedules.
The question for an airline is, then. "What are the top markets for a certain city" and "how does our service to those markets compare with other carriers serving that same city?" For hubs, this is an obvious issue. No one is going to want to penetrate CVG
since Delta will fly to practically anywhere from CVG
. The O&D traffic from CVG
alone is just not worth the effort for anyone to go head to head with Delta.
For feeders, the choice is a little less obvious. For some place like Omaha, we have a fairly even distribution of all the majors. It used to be ted by UAL via ORD
but now SWA has taken over as #1... but not by much. We have all the big guns except USAir (not. incl. a token B1900D for MCI
). However, there are other cities that are smack in the middle of a territory served by one airline. Remember, the farther you have to travel to get to a hub city, the more likely you will have to do some serious back-tracking to get to where you are really going. Delta owns the southeast, for example. No one is going to compete with United for the small cities around Denver. It is just simply more economical to go to your nearest hub and then from there.