jeffrey1970
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US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 12:20 am

I apologize if this question has already been asked. If Us airways had maintained all, or most of PSA routes when they bought PSA, would they have been able to compete with Southwest? After all, in the early 80's, when Us airways bought PSA, Southwest was successful, but not nearly the giant they are now.
God bless through Jesus, Jeff
 
aa757first
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 12:52 am

Remember, at that time United has a major West Coast presence, plus AirCal was still flying IIRC. They did maintain PSA routes for a while. Southwest started to move in and I guess it just got a little to hot for US Airways.

AAndrew
 
supa7E7
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 1:04 am

Could US have beaten WN at its own game, early on?

Well, nobody did... WN was clever about growth and nearly unstoppable in that region of the country.

Now in 2005, HP knows how to battle Southwest at its own game. US did not, never has, but will be taught those skills by HP executives very soon.
"Who's to say spaceships aren't fine art?" - Phil Lesh
 
commavia
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 1:07 am

Quoting Jeffrey1970 (Thread starter):
I apologize if this question has already been asked. If Us airways had maintained all, or most of PSA routes when they bought PSA, would they have been able to compete with Southwest?

No, in a word. IMO, US could never have taken on Southwest effectively as it had (and still has) higher costs, less efficient planes and a more complex operation.
 
Jamake1
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 1:30 am

Actually, PSA was merged into USAir shortly after Air Cal was merged into American. The Air Cal/American merger occurred in 1987 and PSA was integrated into USAir in April of 1988.

Shortly after both mergers, American began to replace former Air Cal routes with American Eagle Convair 580's on routings such as OAK-BUR and SJC-BUR.
Needless to say, the service didn't last long.

Shortly after AA pulled out of several intra-California routes, Southwest embarked on a major expansion. They came into OAK for the first time, having served SFO in the Bay Area since 1982. USAir, with its higher cost structure, couldn't compete with Southwest in intra-California flying. Southwest's OAK operations were (much like PHL) almost an immediate success and frequencies were quickly increased. Within a very short time, Southwest had entered the OAK-BUR, OAK-SAN, OAK-ONT, and OAK-LAX market with multiple frequencies.

USAir meanwhile, was still trying to digest Piedmont which was merged into USAir in August 1989. Losses began to quickly mount and the the gulf war broke out in early 1991. USAir had a very hodge podge fleet of 727's, 737-200/300/400's, Fokker F-28's, MD-80's, BAe-146's. In the Spring of 1991, as losses continued to mount, USAir grounded the BAe-146 fleet (inherited from PSA) and closed most of the satellite airports in California including OAK, SJC, SMF, CCR, SCK, MRY, ONT, FAT as well as the smaller stations in the Pacific Northwest. It was quite a blow to the good folks of PSA.

USAir pretty much packed its bags and ran back east seeking refuge in safer territory (with its high cost, high fare model) hoping to never have to compete with the likes of Southwest. And you know the rest of the story...
United's B747-400. "She's a a cruel lover."
 
DCAflyboy
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 1:42 am

Also keep in mind that the cost in having California crew bases were killing US financially. California is a very pro-employee state. Sicktime, leaves of absence rules and OJI injury claims were sucking out any profits US made in the West.

Therfore, when former CEO David Siegle was asked if US would ever have another base on the West Coast, he quickly stated "never again".
 
Jamake1
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 1:57 am

Quoting DCAflyboy (Reply 5):
Also keep in mind that the cost in having California crew bases were killing US financially. California is a very pro-employee state. Sicktime, leaves of absence rules and OJI injury claims were sucking out any profits US made in the West."

Sorry, flyboy, you are totally mistaken. USAir leaving California had NOTHING to do with California labor laws. USAir simply could not compete against Southwest's lower cost structure. Plus, USAir instituted silly gimicks like serving hot breakfast on SFO-BUR and SFO-SAN flights. USAir thought they could turn the former PSA system into the Northeast system with market dominance and a high-cost premium fare model. And it backfired because Southwest entered the picture.

USAir never made profit out west after the PSA merger. Period. Your thesis is just dead WRONG.

[Edited 2005-06-09 19:01:53]
United's B747-400. "She's a a cruel lover."
 
DCAflyboy
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 2:08 am

Quoting Jamake1 (Reply 6):
USAir leaving California had NOTHING to do with California labor laws.

Um, I never said that was the reason they left. Was only saying it was part of thereson they left and will never go back.
 
Jamake1
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 2:18 am

And I completely disagree with you. USAir closed crew bases because there was no flying left out west...hence, it wasn't cost effective to keep crew bases open with only a handful of flights into SFO and LAX. Your thesis is STILL flawed. That is NOT part of the reason why they left.

Southwest opened a huge crew base in OAK after USAir's departure and United, Amercan, Northwest and ATA all have long had westcoast crew bases...to support the flying. USAir had NO flying left to warrant the continued operation of a crew domicile. Period.
United's B747-400. "She's a a cruel lover."
 
Jamake1
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 2:22 am

Quoting DCAflyboy (Reply 5):
Also keep in mind that the cost in having California crew bases were killing US financially

WRONG! Competing against Southwest's $39 and $59 fares in the California corridor was killing US financially.
United's B747-400. "She's a a cruel lover."
 
flashmeister
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 2:27 am

Hmm, plenty of other carriers with California bases, and they're still around... I don't think the labor laws came into play as much as it's been characterized here.
 
Jamake1
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 2:31 am

You said it Flashmeister. I will NOT let him get away with his flawed viewpoint on this subject....
United's B747-400. "She's a a cruel lover."
 
DCAflyboy
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 2:32 am

OJI claims and sick claims from FAs based on the West Coast for US were triple what they were on The East Coast. US was forking out millions of $s in workers compensation.

I can assure you, this didn't help matters any when it came to operating in the West Coast market. And I can tell you, other airlines including JetBlue have similiar issues.
 
B744F
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 2:36 am

Quoting DCAflyboy (Reply 5):
Also keep in mind that the cost in having California crew bases were killing US financially. California is a very pro-employee state. Sicktime, leaves of absence rules and OJI injury claims were sucking out any profits US made in the West.

How dare some people try to survive off their paychecks. Who do they think they are? They should be paid minimum wage to service my needs /sarcasm
 
Jamake1
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 2:38 am

Quoting DCAflyboy (Reply 7):
Was only saying it was part of thereson they left and will never go back.

They will never go back because they could not and cannot COMPETE.

Enough said...
United's B747-400. "She's a a cruel lover."
 
DCAflyboy
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 2:43 am

So you're telling me companies don't take into consderation labor laws like they take into consideration tax laws when choosing a location to operate their business?

And you're kidding yourself if you think these claims were all legit.
 
Azul320
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 2:47 am

Quoting Jamake1 (Reply 14):
They will never go back because they could not and cannot COMPETE.

Enough said...

Well, they are in a sense going back. Note the HP/US merger. The retained US name will be back on the west coast in 2-3 years.

[Edited 2005-06-09 19:47:55]
Excuse me, while I kiss the sky
 
DCAflyboy
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 2:54 am

Quoting Azul320 (Reply 16):
Well, they are in a sense going back. Note the HP/US merger. The retained US name will be back on the west coast in 2-3 years.

Exactly right...And with NO Calif. bases, ever.
 
Jamake1
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 3:02 am

Flyboy:

I am not going to debate you on eastcoast and westcoast work ethics. But the statements you made were not based on facts. You have insinuated that employees on the westcoast somehow "milked" USAir.

USAir abandoned the westcoast, hence, maintaining a crew base was no longer economically viable. It had very little to do with OJI claims, as you assert.

Your statements lack credibility and to suggest or imply that westcoast employees were the cause for USAir's withdraw, is flat out incorrect. The bottom line, is that USAir had a bloated cost structure and operating inefficiencies and they were not able to compete in the marketplace. And it has plagued them for years.

It's nothing personal. It's just a fact.
United's B747-400. "She's a a cruel lover."
 
DCAflyboy
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 3:24 am

Quoting Jamake1 (Reply 18):
It's nothing personal. It's just a fact.

Whether it had anything to do with US pulling out of the West Coast or not -- what I stated is factual as well.

Take it however you want.
 
DCAflyboy
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 3:33 am

And once again, I never stated this was the reason US pulled out.

Just a factual sidebar to the topic if you want.

Also, just because US pulled intra-West Coast flying, doesn't mean they could not have kept a crew base there. But I realized that was not the topic.
 
MGA
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 4:16 am

US is back in the west coast! in a form called ¨America West¨....  Wink

MGA
Que viva el guaro, el dinero y los aviones!!!
 
A330323X
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 4:19 am

Quoting DCAflyboy (Reply 20):
Also, just because US pulled intra-West Coast flying, doesn't mean they could not have kept a crew base there.

Which they did, for quite a while. LAX-SFO was the last of the mainline flying to go, in 1994, but the LAX crew base stayed open until 1998.

(The SFO crew base closed in 1994, with the elimination of the intra-California mainline flying; the SAN crew base closed with the big pull-down in 1991.)
I'm the expert on here on two things, neither of which I care about much anymore.
 
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lindy field
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 4:59 am

All this talk is reminding me of why I continue to dislike US Airways to this day.
PSA had lost the plot by 1988, Southwest was beating it at its own game.

Perhaps it's too bad PSA didn't merge with Alaska or some other airline that knows how to compete and might have left something of PSA intact...
 
Piedmontbrat
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 5:04 am

IMHO, there were several factors pulling at US Airways execs in the late 1980's not the least of which was their incapability to digest two carriers almost at the same time...those being PSA and Piedmont. US Airways culture and attitude for doing business was almost 180 degrees different from that of PSA and Piedmont.

It was indeed an internal cultural and turf war that began to eat at the guts of the airline, external competition notwithstanding. Regrettably, there were no US Airways execs at the time that had the capability nor the skills to merge the cultures of the three carriers -US Air/PSA/Piedmont into one cohesive and efficient operating company and at the same time keep their eye on the competition....Southwest.

Many have said over the years that when the US Air/Piedmont merger took place, Piedmont should have been the surviving name...not US Air. In retrospect...how many name changes has US gone through since they started flying...versus how many name changes Piedmont went through. Almost seems to me that US has been trying to hide from a flawed image almost from the start....but then again, just my humble opinion.
 
DCAflyboy
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 6:52 am

Quoting Piedmontbrat (Reply 24):
Almost seems to me that US has been trying to hide from a flawed image almost from the start....but then again, just my humble opinion.

I agree with you to a point. I believe, however, the stigma lies mainly internally with the different airline employee groups that were merged. I have stated this before, US has gone through it's share of bad press, but as a whole it has enjoyed an excellent reputation, at least in the East, where it has it's best customers.
 
SunValley
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 7:16 am

California labor laws had little if anything to do with US shutting California down. WN was the major reason for their demise (in the intra California Market) Additionally, when US took the PSA flights, & tried to feed their East Coast departures, most frequent flyers doing East Coast travel from California were so entrenched in DL, UA, & AA frequent flyer programs going east on US was un-attractive to them.
 
AeroWesty
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 7:24 am

Wow, I can't believe how much disinformation this thread contains.

The historical truth to this situation is that US pulled out of California, leaving the door wide open for Southwest to gain a footing (was it May 1991?).

I was flying the LAX-OAK introductory routes 3-4 times a day on WN to get the free tickets they were handing out when the US gates were being shut down simultaneously. Prior to that, the only intra-California route WN flew was SFO-SAN.

There's plenty of interesting reading in the archives on this subject.

Cheers.
International Homo of Mystery
 
DCAflyboy
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 8:29 am

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 27):
The historical truth to this situation is that US pulled out of California, leaving the door wide open for Southwest to gain a footing (was it May 1991?).

You are exactly right. Again we have WN arrogance thinking they ran US out.
 
Jamake1
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 8:36 am

Quoting DCAflyboy (Reply 28):
You are exactly right. Again we have WN arrogance thinking they ran US out.

This is incorrect. I know. I worked for PSA and USAir at CCR. I know exactly what happened. Southwest opened up the OAK station in 1989, not 1991. USAir finally threw in the towel in 1991 BECAUSE they were unable to compete with Southwest. That is how the history of USAir's demise in California played out. Southwest in a sense, DID run USAir out of town.
United's B747-400. "She's a a cruel lover."
 
Jamake1
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 8:37 am

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 27):
The historical truth to this situation is that US pulled out of California, leaving the door wide open for Southwest to gain a footing (was it May 1991?).

Southwest had already WELL-ESTABLISHED its footing by 1991!
United's B747-400. "She's a a cruel lover."
 
DCAflyboy
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 8:42 am

Quoting Jamake1 (Reply 30):
Southwest had already WELL-ESTABLISHED its footing by 1991!

Yes, they had soild foooting, but not yet in California. Afraid not.
 
Jamake1
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 8:51 am

DCAflyboy:

You do not know what what you are talking about. I have every Southwest Airlines timetable from that era to prove it. You weren't even EMPLOYED by USAir at the time. You talk absolute NONSENSE. And you know something, you're WRONG! Southwest was already up to 8-10 flights a day in the OAK-BUR market by the time USAir gave up. I sat in on sales meetings about how USAir was going to try and compete against Southwest, at the time. Furthermore, I used to work overtime at OAK, even though I was employed as the CCR station and Southwest was a FORMIDABLE, ESTABLISHED competitor in the California cooridor by that time. You clearly do not have your historical facts correct...and you're pissing me off!

[Edited 2005-06-10 02:05:18]
United's B747-400. "She's a a cruel lover."
 
Jamake1
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 8:54 am

Quoting SunValley (Reply 26):
WN was the major reason for their demise (in the intra California Market)

Exactly 100% correct. Flyboy doesn't have a CLUE what he's talking about.
United's B747-400. "She's a a cruel lover."
 
ouboy79
Posts: 4111
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 9:47 am

Perhaps some can read the history page on the PSA old timer's page...

http://www.cactuswings.com/psa/articles/hist.html

From what I recall, PSA was perfectly fine up until the merger. They kept LUV in check and only when US announced the dismantling (just after the fleet changes and fare hikes) did Southwest move in full steam.

I would probably also suggest talking with some of the ex-PSA types over on that other message board.
 
laca773
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 10:48 am

I for one flew PSA all the time between LAX/BUR-SJC/LAX/BUR & LAX/BUR-SFO-LAX/BUR. PSA was fine just the way they were. The problem I saw was that US tried to institue the East Coast model on the west coast on a no-frills simple airline [PSA] were everything was kept simple, friendly and next to no hassles. I believe it through everyone for a big loop when PSA transitoned over to US, and they added F cabins even on the horrendously noisy 146s, full hot breakfasts on these short 40-50 minutes trips, full snack boxes at other meal times and etc. It didn't work when they pushed this much especially when everyone just wanted a simple, no hassle, low fare carrier to fly on these short legs. US tried everything possible to retain passengers, like after two or three roundtrips you would be sent a US systemwide Y ticket with no mileage deduction and etc. They did this a lot and in the end it failed. Myself had 150,000 miles in their frequent flyer program and used my mileage on BA Club World, and the other on Swissair First Class. In my opinion by the time WN started their services on the same routes it was too late for US to make the drastic changes necessary to make it, so they basically shut everything down. It was obvious to many of us, and we'd talk in flight that they had a hard time accepting that the flying culture on these short segments versus what they offered in the North East Corridor were very different and people had different values. To this day, I still wish PSA was around. They were great. I still remember when you had to put these stickers with your frequent flyer account # on your paper ticket for credit.

Have a great evening everyone.
LACA773
 
Jamake1
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 11:18 am

LACA773:

Thank you. Very well-stated and historically correct posting. I could not have said it better myself...
United's B747-400. "She's a a cruel lover."
 
laca773
Posts: 2033
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 1:47 pm

Jamake1:
You're welcome. I apreciate your compliment. I really do wish PSA was still around.
Have a good evening everyone.
LACA773
 
laca773
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 1:56 pm

I forgot to mention in my lengthy post above that as a fore thought the merger with Air Cal & American was just as disasterous and they tried to do the same type of thing US did to PSA and it faliled horribly.

I feel you just can't go into a certain region and market and change everything to your liking and then expect everyone to like it and support you business wise. It clearly didn't work for them either. I maybe wrong, but as I remember AA shut down the west coast operation faster than US did but I might also be wrong about that. The same type of thing happend when AA took over QQ. In fact, I don't think their SJC-PDX & SEA-SJC trips last more than a year and a half, and it was gone. Now look at what is left? Some American Eagle stuff that just seems like it's a token so it's not forgotten. AA really screwed up SJC and it's sad for such a large city as it is.

LACA773
 
AeroWesty
Posts: 19551
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 2:06 pm

Quoting Jamake1 (Reply 29):
USAir finally threw in the towel in 1991 BECAUSE they were unable to compete with Southwest.

These two threads might interest you:
Question About PSA And USAir Merger (by Ei2ksea Nov 18 2004 in Civil Aviation)
What If US Kept Their Western Routes? (by 7E72004 Feb 1 2005 in Civil Aviation)

Especially see Tango-Bravo's excellent post in Reply 17:
SWA obviously was a big problem

I would say rather that WN filled a vacuum rather than being a problem.


None other than Herb Kelleher would presumably agree with the latter view. In one of his interviews with a business magazine Herb stated that California was an opportunity that was not taken away from US but rather made available to WN by the US decision to abandon the west coast/intra California routes inherited from PSA. Indeed WN had virtually no presence in these markets until after US announced its withdrawal from the ex-PSA network.

Which, moving to the other coast, reminds me that it was much the same at BWI. WN moved into BWI in a big way only after US had announced that flights would be reduced at BWI (a hub US inherited from Piedmont) in a big way.
International Homo of Mystery
 
eastbay
Posts: 204
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 5:32 pm

Before US pulled out of most of their west-coast ops:

WN: Oakland to Burbank, Ontario, San Diego, then Los Angeles. 26 departures a day from Oakland, 22 of them intrastate (the remaining 4 Phoenix flights). Next came Reno then Los Angeles, 40 departures a day at that point (10 LAX and 4 RNO), then all of Terminal Two for Southwest. California labor issues didn't do in UAir's inherited west coast operations; a flawed business plan plus a very healthy and aggressive competitor ensured it.

Today Southwest operates between 120 and 130 flights a day from Oakland, in addition to their large presences in San Jose and Sacramento. Even without San Francisco, they more than make up for whatever USAir might have ever offered in California. Californians thought so little of USAir that most of them believed that it was Southwest who bought PSA, transferring their fond recollections of the Smile to another friendly airline instead of the east coast company which never understood the market to begin with.
 
b737700doctor
Posts: 74
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 7:41 pm

If Piedmont would have been the surviving airline I would still be there. USAir has destroyed everything that was good about all the airlines the buy or merge with
Boeings are the best built planes
 
laca773
Posts: 2033
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2004 7:10 am

RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 10:23 pm

Quoting B737700doctor (Reply 41):

I completely agree with you. It's so sad. Same thing goes for AA's mergers with AirCal & QQ [Reno Air] not to mention TWA. They destroyed them all with the biggest hits being Aircal & Reno Air. I have always wondered why they did this?

Quoting Eastbay (Reply 40):

Exactly. The flying public didn't know anything about them on the West Coast other than for those who traveled to PIT & PHL. They had no idea about the traveling culture here and that was the begining of the end for them here.

Have a good day everyone.
LACA773
 
Jamake1
Posts: 800
Joined: Mon May 17, 2004 2:30 pm

RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Fri Jun 10, 2005 11:35 pm

Aero Westy:

Southwest was already giving USAir a run for their money. I am looking at a Southwest Airlines flight schedule from October 29, 1989. In the OAK-SAN market, WN was operating 7 daily flights head-to-head against US. In the OAK-ONT market WN was operating 6 daily flights. If my memory serves me correctly, WN opened up OAK-BUR shortly thereafter.

My point is that WN was already firmly established in the California corridor by the time USAir decided to pack up and head back east. That occurred in the Spring of 1991. MRY, SCK, and CCR closed on March 1, 1991. OAK, SJC, ONT, BUR, SNA, FAT closed within a few months. According to the May 1, 1991 USAir system timetable, the only remaining US cities were LAX, SAN, SFO, and SMF in California. SMF, RNO, and ABQ, the last of the PSA cities still left on the US map, closed sometime later.

Southwest may have seized additional opportunities after US' demise in California, but I still stand by my original point that WN's presence in the California corridor, contributed significantly to US' decision to abandon its westcoast markets. I recall very vividly, attending company meetings with then-CEO Edwin Colodny (very nice guy, BTW) in SFO and Southwest was usually the topic of conversation because US was losing its shirt competing against them in the California corridor.
United's B747-400. "She's a a cruel lover."
 
PanAm747
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RE: US Airways And The Western Usa

Sat Jun 11, 2005 3:37 am

God forbid I say this, but I think everyone has a valid point!!

In the Go-go 1980's of airline mergers, little attention was paid to exactly how airlines were run. The motto was "merge now, details later". As a result, Republic's takeover of Hughes Air West was a disaster, USAir had no clue how to run a west coast operation, paving the road to their pull-out, and American the same with Air Cal.

AA was the only airline that didn't learn its lesson - one disastrous takeover (Air Cal) was followed by taking over Reno Air and the dismantling of its routes. Immediately afterwards, AA tried its usual Casper Milquetoast half-hearted attempts at a hub in SJC, with predictably bad results. I still have a bAAd tAAste in my mouth over that one.

Southwest, and later America West, have an almost Chinese-like patience and study-the-market philosophy. Neither came in with a huge splash, yet both of them have basically re-invented PSA and Air Cal (WN) and Hughes Air West (HP), with excellent results. I hope that HP's management has learned from history and focuses on what works rather than what's flashy in this merger.
Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!

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