SegmentKing
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Fixing Independence Air

Sun Nov 21, 2004 1:05 pm

Everyone keeps saying the business plan is flawed. I think they have the perfect concept, they have the planes, and the money (for now).

If I were Kerry Skeen, here's what I'd do:

1. Introduce I-Air to markets in which no LCCs or few exist. Lansing & Dayton pull-out should have been reworked to flight reductions, versus completely leaving. I'd add the following markets to DH:

-> Grand Rapids, Michigan (3x a day)
-> St. Louis, Missouri (5x a day)
-> Richmond, Virginia (4x a day)
-> Lexington, Kentucky (3x a day)
-> New Haven, Connecticut (6x a day)
-> Allentown, Pennsylvania (4x a day)
-> Roanoke, Virginia (5x a day)
-> Asheville, North Carolina (3x a day)
-> Wilmington, North Carolina (3x a day)
-> Green Bay, Wisconsin (2x a day)
-> Augusta, Georgia (2x a day)
-> Toronto, Ontario (4x a day)
-> Quebec City, Quebec (3x a day)
-> Ottawa, Ontario (4x a day)
-> Chattanooga, Tennessee (3x a day)

See, by offering easier connections to smaller cities, they may have a chance of pulling this off. The frequencies I'd run are after each city.. but man, offer connections in markets that connect PROP to PROP or PROP to JET....

2. Larger Regional Equipment. Upgrade to the EMB 170/190 or get their paws on some CRJ 700s. Use these planes to reduce frequency in a few markets to maintain adequate charter & maintenance spares. Could also open up some O/D potential out of New York.

3. Increase yields by cutting out fare buckets. Change the gap between fare classes to $20 versus $10.

4. New hub. Focus on cities that have been abandoned by previous airlines. Pittsburg & St. Louis come to mind. Although I think a Columbus hub would work if connecting the right cities. People need a reason to connect, otherwise they'll stick with the big guys and keep flying thru Detoilet.
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ERJ170
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Sun Nov 21, 2004 1:11 pm

How about a 2x daily to New Bern, NC... besides getting a subsidy for it, it would also be the only LCC and would offer the only service to the DC area..
Aiming High and going far..
 
ClipperAurora
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Sun Nov 21, 2004 1:26 pm

The only way to fix I-air is to cut your losses put the UAL paint job back on the airplanes and cut pay of employee's and bid for UAL flights and welcome profitability with welcome arms, it is way to late to open new stations, (training, hiring, etc. etc.)
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Cubsrule
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Sun Nov 21, 2004 1:37 pm

I agree with Point 1 above. From what I can see, both anecdotally and on this board, CLT is really successful for DH. Fairly large markets which are underserved by LCCs are certainly where DH could make some money. Of the cities on the list above, I think DH could particularly stand to investigate YYZ and YOW, and I might add YUL and MSP to the list. Preclearance could be extremely kind to DH, though international flying is somewhat more difficult and costly logistically than domestic flying even without the need for FIS at IAD. That's not to say, however, that DH should focus exclusively on these routes. Despite being something of an employee shuttle (understandably), Chicago seems pretty successful for them even though WN flies to BWI and TZ to DCA (for now).

[Edited 2004-11-21 05:39:08]
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flyCMH
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Sun Nov 21, 2004 2:38 pm

I truly like your suggestions, SegmentKing, however many of those proposals require lots of cash, something that Independence must conserve until profitability can be seen. Some new cities, especially ones with limited or no low-fare carrier service would be great, but for the time being the airline will continue to monitor its present markets and adjust schedules accordingly. Another hub, preferably west of IAD, is definitely needed. St. Louis, Pittsburgh, or Columbus would all work nicely, but it's an endevour that, like opening up new markets, can probably wait until the airline gets a firm grasp on what it has already established.

Cubsrule wrote:
From what I can see, both anecdotally and on this board, CLT is really successful for DH.

This is very true. Charlotte, as well as Pittsburgh, have overpreformed incredibly since service was started to each city, and additional frequencies have been added to meet the demand. As I mentioned earlier, the airline (contrary to popular belief) is examining its markets and adjusting the schedule accordingly. PIT, CLT, LAN, and DAY are all examples of that.

Clipperaurora wrote:
The only way to fix I-air is to cut your losses put the UAL paint job back on the airplanes and cut pay of employee's and bid for UAL flights and welcome profitability with welcome arms

So, who's going to pay to paint all those aircraft in UAL colors, retrofit all the aircraft back into UAL interiors, take the A Concourse and completely overhaul it back in the United motif, etc. United? Trying to make Independence Air into ACA would be shooting both carriers in the foot.
 
SegmentKing
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Sun Nov 21, 2004 2:51 pm

Oops, forgot to mention the iClub.

I'd tag that puppy into Carlson's famous Gold Rewards network / Gold Points. Turn those miles into free food, free hotel stays, free crap instead of free tickets. I mean, for crying out loud, their fares are so low you don't need to save up 25,000 miles to pay for a $600 ticket, as most legacy carrier FF miles turn into.... a free ticket on I-Air is all of what, $150 roundtrip?

-n
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burnsie28
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Sun Nov 21, 2004 2:58 pm

Sorry but your plan has a problem, to do that, it would cost more money then I-Air even has. It's far too late to fix I-Air
 
swadispatcher
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Sun Nov 21, 2004 4:47 pm

It's never too late.. until the airplanes stop flying..
It is very sad how so many "armchair CEO's" on this board have already decided to liquidate Indy Air.. yet very few have thought about how it could be fixed..

SegmentKing.. welcome to my respected users list..
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wgw2707
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Sun Nov 21, 2004 4:57 pm

I think if Independence Air does file, Kerry Skeen should be the subject of a class-action suit by investors and employees. He basically poured the blue koolaid down everyone's throat, and now that the Independence Air business plan has been shown to be non-viable, he refuses to change it.

I think operating an independent regional carrier (not neccessarily a low fare carrier) is a viable concept that deserves closer examination, but Independence Air definitely went down the wrong avenue. The delays in taking delivery of the A319 etc also reveal a strong level of managerial incompetence at the operational level.

The really discouraging part of the Independence Air situation is that if it flops, no one is going to be willing to try the independent regional carrier concept again any time soon...

-WGW2707
 
fjnovak1
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Sun Nov 21, 2004 5:15 pm

Would a codeshare arrangement with another LCC benefit them? AirTran/ATA perhaps? Maybe not, i'm just wondering...
Go Blue!!
 
qwerty
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Sun Nov 21, 2004 5:17 pm

1. Introduce I-Air to markets in which no LCCs or few exist. Lansing & Dayton

DAY was a dumb move, most Dayton people live close enought to CVG or CMH to get their fill of 1) numerous destinations (DL) or 2) LCC coverage (WN).

Central problem with IndyAir is Dulles hubbing. They should be going point to point more.

-> St. Louis, Missouri (5x a day)

WN, AA?

-> Augusta, Georgia (2x a day)
-> Chattanooga, Tennessee (3x a day)


I don't know the NE, upper midwest, or canadian markets as well as I should, so I will hold comment on them. But have you been to either TN or GA city above? There is no way you are going to have a load >50 for these cities, much less conecting through Dulles.

2. Larger Regional Equipment. Upgrade to the EMB 170/190 or get their paws on some CRJ 700s


Embraer's order book is stacked. Non-starter. They already can't fill their extra CRJs.

4. New hub. Focus on cities that have been abandoned by previous airlines. Pittsburg & St. Louis come to mind. Although I think a Columbus hub would work if connecting the right cities.

CMH worked great for AWA and is too close to Dulles. PIT's also too close to Dulles. WN would eat their lunch in STL, unless Indy wanted to go after the very short legs like STL-BNA, STL-IND, WN doesn't route, or fly some of the close cities WN further doesn't do out of BNA.
 
akjetBlue
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Sun Nov 21, 2004 8:31 pm

Nate,

What would you think of if they started some point to point flying?
Maybe BUF-SYR-ALB-BOS?
Maybe ORF-GSO-ATL?

Some of the flights out of MCO & TPA could continue onto places like CLE, DTW, DAY, PIT or IND?

Something that has not been brough up, is this:

Indy Air has a great product! - If they are running low on cash - let them team up with anyone who is willing to let them stay "Independant" but "code share" and offer a feeder service to other carriers who aren't doing so well and looking to gain more customers - Aka both US and UA - it would be a nice treat to be connecting from an old US 737 to a bright Indy interior. I think it would work out as a possitive for both ends.

_Philzy_
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johnnybgoode
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Sun Nov 21, 2004 9:26 pm

i don´t think the problem is their service or the network. friends of mine have used Independence and really enjoyed it.
the thing is, apparently Independence doesn´t cover their costs. that´s the risky part of operating all those CRJs which have low capacity and high operating costs. there´s not been any real LCC succesfully using aircraft that small. the one carrier that comes close, Britains flyBE, is now incoporating 737s (which seems to underscore the fact that small birds cannot be the backbone of an LCC) and until now, mainly used aircraft bigger and less expensive than the CRJs (Dash 8-400s).

rgds
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zippyjet
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Sun Nov 21, 2004 10:10 pm

Time for some sage Zippyjet humorous advice:

That "FUGLY" livery has got to go and fast! Maybe a little superstitous but, sometimes a thing as basic as the livery hence image and put an airline over the top or, plunging toward the financial toilet. Look at DL; it seems all their bad karma and misery developed when they painted their birds with the generic Wavy Gravy design and then rolling out a LCC division named of all things SONG.

While on my soapbox, isn't it amazing that NW DC-9 bashing and satire (I'm included in lording it over with the humor) became a popular hot topic in the aviation funnies once they rolled out their 70's throwback tinkertoy livery.

I know, I know this is over simplification and generalizations but, a Zippyjet reply/posting without controversy or especially ribald humor?


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SunValley
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Sun Nov 21, 2004 11:03 pm

I Air would do itsself well to get some West Coast Feed into their Dulles Hub, and start filling up some of those CRJ that are running up & down the Eastern Seaboard at 25-40% load factors. They should also look at expanding thier service at CLT, as they are pulling phenomenal loads out of there. It just goes to show that CLT needs the major presence of a LCC. I air would really become the local hero if they added a few more cities out of CLT to points West. (The USAAirways Dynasty would react, but allready, the talk on the street in CLT is how great I Air is)
 
avek00
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Sun Nov 21, 2004 11:30 pm

There is nothing fixable about a low-cost-carrier that uses high-cost (per seat mile) planes for its operation, period. Indy Air's best hope is that United accepts their RFP to replace Air Wisconsin.
Live life to the fullest.
 
MSYtristar
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Sun Nov 21, 2004 11:39 pm

Ditch the CRJ's, replace them with mostly all 190's, forget about the 319's until the airline can attain profitability, reduce frequencies on most routes, cut underperforming stations altogether, keep most markets at 3-6 daily flights so that 190 service can be supported, etc. If they did 6 flights a day to ATL/JFK/RDU, for example, they can still offer service at peak travel times throughout the day and not worry about those "marginal" in between time frames....10:00am, 3:00pm, 8:00pm for example.
 
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ERJ170
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Sun Nov 21, 2004 11:50 pm

I still think I-Air should concentrate on the routes they have now and try to connect the dots to some of those destinations. Many of the destinations they currently fly are missing from some of their current destinations. For example, they fly to SAV.. well, try SAV-CHM or SAV-BDL.. try BUF-BOS or BUF-RDU or BUF-JAX... or others which would work well.. ORF-PVD or ORF-JAX or ORF-SYR... there are LOADS of possibility... I think they would do well to see which destinations are the top destinations at each airport that is not served and then use the RJ to fill some of those voids.. Then they are getting totally unused routes in which they are getting "guaranteed" passengers.. at the prices they are offering, I'm sure they will find plenty of passengers to fill those RJ!!

I know RDU-BUF, RDU-MAN, RDU-JAX would be able to fill at least 2 daily and RDU-HSV would be able to fill at least 1 daily RJ....
Aiming High and going far..
 
acvitale
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Mon Nov 22, 2004 12:06 am

Ihave not yet written off I Air. I think the recent addition of GDS systems could be the difference that makes or breaks the airline.

In the begining even WN was in the GDS systems

You could not book it but you could see it.

Now I air is in and you can see it, See the pricing and book it.

It might turn them around when Travelocity, Expedia, and ITN start showing the flights.

ACVitale
 
johnnybgoode
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Mon Nov 22, 2004 12:13 am

i second Avek00's thoughts.

there´s one reason why LCCs don´t work with GDS: it´s expensive.
airlines have to pay fees for using the GDS which in the end amount to a significant portion of overall distribution costs.
there´s no doubt that this could enhance the presence of I Air, but i will be interesting to see if it pays out.
If only pure sweetness was offered, why's this bitter taste left in my mouth.
 
fjnovak1
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Mon Nov 22, 2004 1:15 am

How about basing a few of the CRJ's at DFW after Delta vacates-- let us remember that there are some unique destinations served by DLX out of DFW that are not served by Amer. Eagle...I know SAV is one, and VPS is another... there could be some possibilities there...
Go Blue!!
 
kim777fan
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Mon Nov 22, 2004 1:25 am

I still have to go back to the premise of the original post.

Time will tell if the businesws plan acn work with the A319's. But as it is right now, I just don't see how an all-RJ company can compete in this market. They just aren't attractive enough to lure customers and don't have the low enough CASM you can get with a uniform fleet of 737's or A320's.

Sorry to borrow from recent political news, but I'm beginning to believe Indy going Independent may have been the wrong move with the wrong concept at the wrong time.
 
srbmod
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Mon Nov 22, 2004 6:47 am

They need to scale back out of markets where the competition is fierce (ATL for example. 4 airlines on this route means that someone, more than likely the newcomer, will come out the loser. The last airline to try ATL-IAD in competition with DL, UA, FL was Metrojet, and they got stomped. I happened to be on D this morning around the time of the 10:00 am ATL-IAD flight, and it looked to have nearly a full load sitting in the gate area, which is a good sign.). When you got your competitors cutting their fares to match (And in the case of ATL-IAD, FL and DL have even cut their fares to DCA and BWI as well.), and they offer better connection and FFPs than yours, you're bound to end up on the short end of the stick. They need to move into markets where the only competition is a feeder airline or is non-exsistant.

IAD-CHA makes sense, as no airline serves the route directly. You have to fly into ATL, CLT, ORD, CVG and connect to IAD from there. The only CHA-DC-area service is a once daily US Airways Express flight to DCA. IAD-AGS, same story, you have to fly to ATL or CLT to get to IAD.

A western hub would be a good idea. COS is sitting there waiting for an airline to move in. Throw a dozen CRJs and maybe base 2 or 3 Airbuses there (for some transcons to IAD, MCO, and maybe FLL). Setting up a small base @ DFW would be smart as well, bring in enough a/c to replace ASA's intra-Texas service that will be discontinued with the closure of the DFW hub.
 
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ERJ170
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Mon Nov 22, 2004 6:55 am

how about trying a midwest hub with no landing fees and free gates.. ie.. MidContinent airport aoutside St Louis.. free gates, free landing.. use it mainly for connecting traffic.. what more would they need?
Aiming High and going far..
 
SegmentKing
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Mon Nov 22, 2004 8:22 am

Wow.. intelligence lives on a-net. Too bad I can't add more people to my Respected Users list, most of you would be on it.

In regards to the posts talking about how CRJ's don't make money, then you are suggesting that they go back to flying for a major. Which then requires ACA/IDE to rely on that major to wire them their accounts payables (on time, yah right!), and pay for a money loosing operation. United lost $80 million on its United Express contracts and is looking to minimize that loss. Delta is loosing like $140 million, and American is loosing $55 million on Eagle ops. That is proof that these lil jets don't really bring ya a profit, but help airlines loose LESS money than if they were doing it themselves... so why would I-Air partner with a major who will then milk as much as they can to prevent them from making money or be told by a major HOW MUCH (or little) money they can make. At least with I-Air being independent, they can give it their best show.

Back to the cities.

I listed those markets as you can't really get to any of the I-Air destinations on another airline without going thru a major hub that sucks. (Atlanta comes to mind... I dunno about you, the airport looks cool, but I hate ground times of 1/2 an hour just to cross a runway). Adding markets like Asheville, North Carolina and Augusta, Georgia is perfect... Deltaflot used to fly MD-80s and 737s into these markets, now serviced by CRJs or ATR-72s... massive drop in capacity... meaning DH/IDE can come in with new nonstop service to Washington and offer better connections in its nice A Concourse to the points in the northeast versus flying to Atlanta then hopping a 757 on up.

Yield->

No one has really hit this one. I believe they should still offer their low fares, but no more $10 jumps in prices. $10 does didly squat for you.. make it at least a $15 or $20 jump between buckets.

Someone talked about CHS and SAV.

Perfect summer weekend traffic. I-Air should move some of the jets from the NE corridor to fly nonstops to SAV/CHS on the weekend. I believe American Eagle did this at one point, as well as Deltaflot.

I still stick by the fact they need something between the 50 seater and the A319... the EMB would be fantastic and I bet they could sweep in with some money and pick up 9 USAirways birds not delivered that are sitting down at Campos field (or wherever Embraer parked them).

-n
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CRPilot
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Mon Nov 22, 2004 8:54 am

Actually SegmentKing, the model has proven to work fine, as in the case of CO with ExpressJet. Is how you use the aircraft to complement your service that determines this. If you look at CO, they use the jets on anything from small Mexican and Canadian markets (which are very profitable), to large markets such ORD to complement mainline service.

The point being is that not all routes are as profitable, but CO and COEX find ways to balance it all out.
Flying is a privilege!
 
Hannigan
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Mon Nov 22, 2004 9:13 am

As a SAV Independence Air employee, I can vouch for perhaps a SAV-MCO (needs to be done bad), SAV-ORD (get those disserviced UA pax), SAV-NYC (get asked at least 3x a day about it), and maybe even a SAV-ATL (asked even more than NYC) to offer an alternative to DL and FL in high volume times. P2P is what needs to happen IMO also. Bring down the IAD frequency and start connecting those passengers with nonstops.
We got planes! We got gates! What the hell!
 
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ERJ170
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Mon Nov 22, 2004 9:20 am

Hannigan, I can't agree more.. I just don't think they need all those frequencies to Dulles. Most of the middle to large size airports already have a multitude of frequencies. They should work more on providing P2P from unserved markets. they should start with 1 or 2 daily, then add on if necessary (much like they did with TPA and MCO). For example, the 9 dailies to RDU could be replaced with 5 dailies and the other 4 could be used to other destiantions not served (contact RDUAA, they will tell them their best routes with no service). It would make a big difference...
Aiming High and going far..
 
avek00
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Mon Nov 22, 2004 9:22 am

"In regards to the posts talking about how CRJ's don't make money, then you are suggesting that they go back to flying for a major. Which then requires ACA/IDE to rely on that major to wire them their accounts payables (on time, yah right!), and pay for a money loosing operation. United lost $80 million on its United Express contracts and is looking to minimize that loss. Delta is loosing like $140 million, and American is loosing $55 million on Eagle ops. That is proof that these lil jets don't really bring ya a profit, but help airlines loose LESS money than if they were doing it themselves... so why would I-Air partner with a major who will then milk as much as they can to prevent them from making money or be told by a major HOW MUCH (or little) money they can make. At least with I-Air being independent, they can give it their best show."

1. Actually, most regional carriers who are partnered with big airlines are weathering the storm well, ExpressJet being one example of many.

2. Any business model predicated solely around flying RJs is bad, but one that involves RJs for a LOW COST OPERATION is far worse than the others - you simply cannot have low costs with a high-CASM aircraft.
Live life to the fullest.
 
iowaman
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Mon Nov 22, 2004 2:09 pm

-> Toronto, Ontario (4x a day)
-> Quebec City, Quebec (3x a day)
-> Ottawa, Ontario (4x a day)



That would be a long CRJ flight, and they lots of dots to connect in the U.S. before they start International ops.


[Edited 2004-11-22 06:10:39]
 
ATWZW170
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Tue Nov 23, 2004 12:20 am

Going back to UA isn't the answer for FlyI. They would have to give up so much! In order to even drop the A319 order they would have to file for bankruptcy, repaint their planes, retrain stations to handle their flights...a huge cost! It's not logical. I almost think UA sent the request to them as either a joke or to rub it in their face. I've always thought that secondary markets would work better for an airline like FlyI. Austin, TX is a good market, and yes I know that WN flies there but AUS-BOS, or AUS-NYC would be a pretty nice flight, twice a day...and yeah, they would need the A319 for that market - unless they picked up the EMB-175. RDU can support certain markets...I don't think JAX is a good one however. It was all leisure travel and most of them connected through RDU. CLT wouldn't be a bad idea. US is down, and down hard...go in and take some of the business traffic. CTL-LGA, CLT-BOS, heck, even CLT-PHL or CLT-PIT. I would think there was more money to be made in CLT than in IAD. Think about it, little to no LCC service and the fares out of CLT are so high FlyI could go in, and have say $79 fares as opposed to $59 fares....better yields.
Success is getting what you want...happiness is liking what you get
 
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ERJ170
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Tue Nov 23, 2004 12:25 am

I'll give you 2 excellent markets for DH to open from RDU... BUF and PBI.. seeing as that you can't get to Florida from NC on FlyI.. a NS to PBI would make excellent sense..
Aiming High and going far..
 
Hannigan
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Tue Nov 23, 2004 12:27 am

ERJ170 - I hope they do start some more of that NS P2P. The frequency to IAD can definately come down some IMO. BTW - Indy just announced NS to PBI from IAD today.  Big grin
We got planes! We got gates! What the hell!
 
PSU.DTW.SCE
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Tue Nov 23, 2004 12:31 am

Again Indy has 2 options:

1) Put forth their best effort at making this plan work. And they seem to be making the changes necessary to make this plan attempt to work. Change is not easy, and hard decisions are being made on what stations to drop and how to best use their fleet. Planes don't make any revenue sitting on the ground. Indy is unique as they started with a huge fleet from Day 1. Unlike the other LCC's who built up over time and added capacity incrementally, Indy has a large fleet that had to be utilized from the beginning. I think they need to put some resources into PIT, and make a focus operation out of there. Everyone there is sick of US and the shell of what they once were, and don't see them sicking around long. If Indy can get one foot in the door and stick around longer than US, they will be sitting on a gold mine once they kick the bucket, which is likely sometime in 2005.

2) Go back to being a whore for United, who has no long term interest in keeping them around. Even if Indy were to get the contract, its only for 5 years, and you can bet that United doesn't want to keep them around and would rather bargain out for someone cheaper. United treats their regional partners like crap and its not the best of positions to be in.
 
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ERJ170
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Tue Nov 23, 2004 12:35 am

Ohhh.. you did not call them a United 'ho! LOL.. that was funny..
Aiming High and going far..
 
ATWZW170
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Tue Nov 23, 2004 12:50 am

Being that it's just a five year contract I don't think that Indy should bid on the contract....too much money to spend for not enough time.
Success is getting what you want...happiness is liking what you get
 
avek00
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Tue Nov 23, 2004 1:13 am

"If Indy can get one foot in the door and stick around longer than US, they will be sitting on a gold mine once they kick the bucket, which is likely sometime in 2005."

No, Indy Air won't be a gold mine under ANY circumstances with their current business model. You simply cannot be a LOW COST/LOW FARE OPERATION with a HIGH CASM AIRCRAFT - that's why no one has tried it before.
Live life to the fullest.
 
avek00
Posts: 3160
Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2004 5:56 am

RE: Fixing Independence Air

Tue Nov 23, 2004 1:17 am

"Even if Indy were to get the contract, its only for 5 years"

That gives Indy 4 more years than it can reasonably hope for at this point. Let's face facts here - ACAI gambled that a) United wouldn't cut them loose, or b) United would collapse or otherwise pull down the IAD hub. Neither has happened (at least, not yet), and therefore Indy finds itself simply adding excess low-fare capacity to already well-served markets using high-cost (per seat mile) aircraft. A return to serving as a United Express carrier is probably the only way to salvage something from this monstrosity.
Live life to the fullest.
 
asteriskceo
Posts: 436
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Tue Nov 23, 2004 1:32 am

Too many planes too fast.
It was rushed. Hopefully future airlines will learn from I-Air's mistake.
 
bohica
Posts: 2308
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Tue Nov 23, 2004 2:57 am

Dulles, VA, (November 22, 2004) – Low-fare airline Independence Air (Nasdaq: FLYi) announced it has received final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to begin flight operations with its new Airbus A319 aircraft. The first two 132-passenger A319s will begin nonstop service tomorrow morning from Washington Dulles International Airport to Tampa and Orlando. Another A319 is scheduled to begin flying in December, nine more are expected go into service during the first half of 2005, and 16 others are scheduled for delivery in 2006 and 2007.

Independence Air Chairman and CEO Kerry Skeen said, “We are very proud to be able to offer these brand new Airbus aircraft to our customers. This means that low-fare service to a number of destinations in Florida—and eventually, cities all across America—will become part of the Independence Air route network.”

The schedules to Tampa and Orlando each include three low-fare non-stops from Washington Dulles. On December 21st, the Orlando schedule will be expanded to five daily non-stop flights.

NEW West Palm Beach Service

In addition, Independence Air is announcing that new Airbus service from Washington Dulles to Florida’s Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) will begin February 1st. The schedule to West Palm Beach will include three daily low-fare non-stop roundtrip flights. As a way to celebrate the new service, Independence Air is offering introductory advance purchase internet fares of just $59 non-stop to/from Washington, and $79 to/from any scheduled connecting city served by Independence Air. Travel to West Palm Beach must be booked by December 6, 2004. The simple Independence Air fare sale rules are seen below. Complete details are available at FLYi.com.
 
ATWZW170
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Tue Nov 23, 2004 3:49 am

This could be the help that Indy needed. More seats, spreading the cost around. Is Indy going to replace any of the RJ routes? NYC, BDL, ORD??
Success is getting what you want...happiness is liking what you get
 
NUAir
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Tue Nov 23, 2004 3:56 am

IAD (Independence Air Delay as know by DC natives) Sucks!

Any airline that is based out of that airport is going to fail. The problem is that it is not anywhere close to DC, LCC passengers would rather fly out of BWI and business passengers go to National.

I work in DC and everyone at my company would rather take a connecting flight out of National than take a direct flight out of Dulles. Why?

Because who wants to drive 1 and a half hours in traffic from DC to IAD (or take a cab for $50), wait to check in (actually a good thing about FlyI is the fast check in time) and then go through a 1 and a half hour security check (typical of IAD), wait to take one of those gate transport vehicles from Star Wars and then walk 30 minutes down a corridor to get to your gate?

It takes you 3-4+ hours to board a flight from the time you leave your office in DC. Say goodbye to your business travelers. If you are looking for cheap tickets you will pay $5 to take the train out to BWI before you will take the metro out to a bus which takes you to IAD for $8 and you will still be stuck in the awful traffic so you will still have to leave about one hour earlier than you would have to if you left from BWI and you will still pay more. Say goodbye to your LLC travelers.

Independence Air's biggest mistake was Dulles! Dulles is going to need another decade before they start figuring out how to run an airport and until then its best to avoid using that s*%&hole as a hub.

I like FlyI and I agree on the point to point flight idea over any further expansion at IAD.
"How Many Assholes we got on this ship?" - Lord Helmet
 
LambertMan
Posts: 1696
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2003 1:26 pm

RE: Fixing Independence Air

Tue Nov 23, 2004 3:57 am

how about trying a midwest hub with no landing fees and free gates.. ie.. MidContinent airport aoutside St Louis.. free gates, free landing.. use it mainly for connecting traffic.. what more would they need?

Not a bad idea, but the St Louis community hasn't responded well to an airport on the Illinois side of the river as most of the population is on the MO side. Besides, it would be interesting to see how American would respond to new competition in one of their strong markets..

Hopefully not like what they used to do (roll over)...

I-Air just seems like it has almost too many problems to fix at this point, but some of Segment Kings suggestions could be a good starting point (I.E. E170)




 
ATWZW170
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RE: Fixing Independence Air

Tue Nov 23, 2004 4:18 am

Mid-American Airport, I just don't see that happening. Indy needs to go where there isn't a lot of other carriers fighting over passengers. To go to the STL area probably wouldn't be too smart because of both AA and WN being rather big out of STL. I could see trying to invade another airline hub, MSP, or DTW. Spirit wouldn't be much of a competition. NW will bite back, might be a problem. What about CVG? I know DL has a hub there but if FL can survive ATL, could Indy do well in CVG?
Success is getting what you want...happiness is liking what you get
 
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ERJ170
Posts: 5486
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2004 11:15 am

RE: Fixing Independence Air

Tue Nov 23, 2004 4:26 am

But why jump into someone else's bedroom if you don't have too? Why try to take on AA and WN if it's not necessary? If they used Mid-America (MidContinent, whatever it's called), they could basically use it as a connecting hub where they could reach almost everywhere. Much as CLT is for US, it would be used for a majority of connecting flights. And they could pull from southern Illinois/Indiana/Kentucky without taking from STL. And it is virtually FREE!!!! The airport would provide all the equipment and no landing/gate fees, why not use it? And, they can build a larger O&D at MidAmerica over time... I just think that the airport seems like a diamond in the rough.. A perfect place to avoid a fight and still be able to reach nationally..
Aiming High and going far..
 
whlinder
Posts: 58
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2000 12:47 am

RE: Fixing Independence Air

Tue Nov 23, 2004 5:04 am

Independence Air has lots of problems. Their CASM is much higher than expected, and their RASM is less than expected. So how do you fix FlyI? Simple! Find ways to increase RASM and lower CASM!  Big grin

Ohh its not that simple? I have to explain how? OK...
Rework the flight schedule. Several cities have too many daily flights to IAD, such as CRW. However, every city in their system has at least 6 flights/day. This is a good thing- they get pretty good utilization from their airport assets. But they should get more out of those cities with only 6-8 flights. Better use of the gate and personnel. Like WN does it. So for CRW, instead of 6x IAD, maybe 3x IAD, 3x JFK and 2x BOS. Same for SAV. Instead of 6x IAD, drop to 4x and add 2x to JFK and 2x to MCO. Try to limit the routes where they compete head to head with big jets. Especially out of IAD.

Shifting flights from IAD to more point to point flights will reduce their CASM (more efficiency) and hopefully increase RASM.

Get ticketing agreements with the other main GDS. They finally got one with Galileo. They need to be everywhere for the time being. When (if) they reach the point where customers know to book them they can leave the GDS.

Someone said earlier that FlyI should reduce the number of fare buckets. I disagree. They only have 5; I think they need at least that many, and maybe more. I also think they should make the fare structure slightly more complicated: every fare is a one-way fare. It doesn't have to be that way!
EWR-IAD right now is (Each way):
45
49
52
64
89
114

Instead, have the following structure:
OW RT
50 90
54 98
57 104
69 128
94 178
119 228
Still simple, just getting slightly more revenue out of passengers who buy one-way fares. And also not gouging one-way customers. WN does this.

I would also really limit availability in the lower fare buckets on connecting flights. Connecting people at low fares is not profitable. Either raise the connecting fares or don't sell cheap connecting fares. FlyI needs a LF in the 70s, and to make money the majority of their passengers need to be O&D.

FlyI needs to get a real frequent flyer program! I like the premise of the one they have now, it makes sense, however when your competition (UA) is giving away gobs of miles and free tickets and also matching your fares, you have to react with something. Maybe a buy 2 get 1 free promo. Whats wrong with running up a frequent flyer reward liability if you might not be around for long? Either way they have to do something- their loyalty program is pitiful when compared to the competition.

I think the airline needs to approach the pilots about temporary concessions. I don't advocate this and don't want to see it happen, but if the company is going to weather these times and turn the corner, relief from the pilots would not hurt. I mention the pilots because they have the most to lose should FlyI go to plan B and bid on the UAX contract- no airbuses to move up to. "Either take temporary concessions or you might not ever see that Airbus." Management would seem to be in a strong negotiating position.

Regarding codesharing- I think that could create a sizable expense for them when they want to keep their costs low. However, interline ticketing (and bag transfer) with the major foreign carriers that fly to IAD and JFK should be looked at to see if the benefits outweigh the costs.

Also for those who want to piss on IAD, the airport straddles the nation's wealthiest county (Fairfax) and the fastest growing county (Loudoun). There is an underground walkway to the FlyI concourse that just opened. The airport layout is ideal for a hub operation. Where exactly should they have put a hub? FlyI's biggest problem with IAD will come this winter when passengers have to trudge through snow to get to their planes- this also needs to be rectified.

So there you have my best shot at a solution, if there even is one.
 
whlinder
Posts: 58
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2000 12:47 am

RE: Fixing Independence Air

Tue Nov 23, 2004 5:08 am

Whoops, the new IAD underground walkway goes to terminal B, and FlyI operates out of A, which is connected to B, but still a bit of a walk. Their Airbus flights will operate from B.
 
ATWZW170
Posts: 755
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 4:18 am

RE: Fixing Independence Air

Tue Nov 23, 2004 5:27 am

Are we going to see the A319 go into business markets that demand larger aircraft?
Success is getting what you want...happiness is liking what you get
 
ScottB
Posts: 5456
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2000 1:25 am

RE: Fixing Independence Air

Tue Nov 23, 2004 5:32 am

Independence would lose even more money at CVG. Delta Connection's regional operations at CVG are even larger than DH's at IAD for a smaller population base. Moreover, Delta has already restructured its fares from CVG, leaving far less room for Indy to undercut them on price. And the vast majority of folks in the area are Delta SkyMiles members.

The idea of point-to-point RJ service on some of the larger unserved/underserved routes is a good one. That should allow them to reduce some of their reliance on IAD and reduce frequency on routes that aren't working as well. But at this point, it would be very difficult for FlyI to finance a bunch of Embraer's given their financial situation. To some degree, they had to make do with the fleet they had.
 
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OzarkD9S
Posts: 4764
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2001 2:31 am

RE: Fixing Independence Air

Tue Nov 23, 2004 6:40 am

Here's a thought: JetBlue...codeshare at IAD and combine the FFprograms...nah, would never work!  Big grin
Hell, why not throw F9 into the mix as well, they just announced DEN-IAD was being discontinued...let Fly-I operate it...A318/319/320's in a nice little 3-way, CRJ's feeding the Airbi at selected points...probably makes too much sense to ever work.
Coast to Coast and Border to Border, Ozark Flies YOUR Way!