Posts: 68
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2001 12:32 pm


Tue Dec 23, 2003 11:29 am

Does anyone know if WN or JetBlue are planning to fly into Richmond,VA (RIC)? I had heard that both were considering it recently. I will be moving to that area this summer and currently flights out of there are pretty expensive.
Posts: 2144
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 8:02 am


Tue Dec 23, 2003 2:42 pm

We've been trying to get Southwest for years. We had AirTran, but they didn't stay long. Maybe that is scaring the other LCCs away.

Bob Bradley
Richmond, VA
Fly Eastern's Golden Falcon DC-7B
Posts: 3957
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2000 5:03 am


Tue Dec 23, 2003 3:30 pm

RIC is in a tough spot, I think, at least for a couple of years. AirTran could probably return to RIC pretty easily and run three dailies to ATL, and maybe one to MCO. The airline's spoke system at ATL is much better developed than it was when they were at RIC the first time. Also, the economy is very different, and businesses are less likely to kowtow to road warriors' addiction to Delta FF miles.

As we know AirTran chose PHF to serve the Norfolk-Hampton Roads area, a half-hour closer to RIC than is ORF. The population numbers of both metro areas, it seems to me, could support FL stations. Also, FL does very well at both ROC and BUF, which are about twenty-five minutes further apart than PHF/RIC. If Richmond businesspeople were willing to do the legwork of getting support, not even a travel bank but simply a commitment to do a certain amount of flying, (like Rochester businesses did) they might be able to win AirTran back. Otherwise, probably unlikely.

RIC seems to me a very, very good spoke market for JetBlue once the EMB-190's come online. Probably 4-5 dailies to JFK and one to FLL. But JetBlue seems to be avoiding medium-size markets as long as they have only bigger A320's. ROC/ BUF/ SYR were added to get Congressional support from the NY delegation for slots at JFK (let's hear it for the politicians!!). The 190's don't come online until around the begining of 2005.

Southwest seems very snakebit about new stations since 9/11. The announcement of 'intention' to fly to RIC, made at the time of the ORF announcement in 2001, is probably meaningless now. As I've said elsewhere, WN can continue to box itself in with its 10-dailies requirements and lose out while its competitors extend LCC service to new markets. RIC would probably still be a good market, but the possibility in the next three to five years is slim.

Good luck to RIC. My guess is that the market will have JetBlue within three years, and could have AirTran with some very hard work. But WN might be a tougher nut to crack.

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