//Now as for CRAL. I don't think AA would want a real full service mainline national carrier. It would be more like AA wanting them to fly a few routes to feed AA's operations. YEG-YYC comes to mind as probably the biggest one. Or maybe YOW-YYZ and YUL-YYZ. But really for what it's worth, I don't think it would be very smart for AA to buy CRAL. For one thing, CRAL is really set up as a CP feeder, and as such is not aligned to feeding AA. //
Why then, does AA want to buy CRA in the first place!? Remember how AA and Onex got burned in the bid to buy AC?
//Routes like Lethbridge or Thompson wouldn't really fit into AA's requirements. //
I'd agree with you on that. But how come I see AA flight codeshares(AA flight numbers) on some CRA flights to smaller cities like Fort McMurray, for example? I see that all the time on departure/arrival screens!
//Another thing is that CRAL's ramping, reservations, and other functions are basically handled by CP. Thus is CRAL's life as a feeder. Tearing it away from that wouldn't work.//
How so? See, CRA's going to be sold. But what if the new owners want to turn CRA into a mainline? There's nothing anybody can do about that, unless they want to do battle in court. True, you can't tear CRA from its current functions right away - these things take time!
//Also, CRAL's F28 fleet is pretty old right now. Any partner they could find to take on a 75% share probably wouldn't want to be stuck with the costs of updating the fleet as well. And I can't see F28's as being something AA would want to keep feeding it with in the long run. //
Not if the new partners have enough cash and enough will to risk losing money in the short run! MEL first told me that and I agree with him on that. But I do agree with you about F28s not being the ideal RJs for AA to keep in the long run! As a matter of fact, anyone who tries to buy up an airline and doesn't bother to replace an aging fleet is insane in today's cut-throat air industry, because that means money gets eaten up by huge maintenance costs and lost passengers who would rather fly in a newer a/c. I have seen a Maclean's article about CP's financial plight in which they say passengers would rather choose to fly in AC's newer planes than CRA's F28s and CP's older 737s, as they're not that stupid to not know the difference. CP tried hiding this by offering up improved food service and business class seats, which is great, but not in the long run. In short, customers can be a fickle bunch and can vote with their feet! So, I see CRA in either direction - as a carrier with modern a/c at least the size of CRJs or EMB135/145s - or it will be bankrupt and therefore no longer a viable airline.
//Personally my view is that AA should rely on its existing connections, use Horizon Air connections in the west, and its Business Express connections in the east to feed its network, and should welcome any new independant regional carriers in Canada to do likewise.//
This one I agree with you totally - but only if these carriers have the resources to do so.
//Carriers like Athabasca Airways, Air Alma, Air Labrador, and others could be grown to feed AA adaquetly, with the eventual goal of them buying RJ's.//
Frankly, do you really honestly think that AA would even bother looking at these tiny airlines? I think that's why AA is looking at CRA in the first place as a way to get a handle on the Canadian market.