jfrworld
Posts: 367
Joined: Thu Aug 19, 2004 8:21 am

CO And Its Denver Hub

Sat Jul 09, 2005 3:08 am

I'm not sure if this topic has been discussed in detail before (I tried looking), but why did CO shut down its DEN hub in the early 90's.

IIRC, CO and UA were basically neck and neck at Stapleton, which UA having a bit of a larger presence ( just like UA and AA at ORD). My understanding is that CO has built up DEN through the its own presence and the acquisition of the old Frontier. The DEN hub really opened up CO to the west coast and the rocky mountain region, but in the mid 90's CO pulled back and basically became a southern and eastern carrier with hubs at Houston, Newark, Cleveland, and Greensboro.

I know that CO made an investment in the new DIA, but never made it over there. Did they pull back because of the high costs of operating at the new airport or did they really just refocus themselves outside of the west (regardless of the costs of DIA)?

Any help would be appreicated!
 veryhappy 

[Edited 2005-07-08 20:13:23]
 
gigneil
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sat Jul 09, 2005 3:11 am

They weren't TOO neck and neck. The terminal CO specified at DIA was much much smaller than the one UA had built.

There's a lot of very long stories. They were being plagued by horrifying problems at Stapleton. Mayor Webb had a better relationship with UA. The costs were higher. They were going bankrupt again. Etc.

N
 
dutchjet
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sat Jul 09, 2005 4:12 am

CO was having big financial problems when it closed its Denver hub....dont forget that CO has really turned itself around, CO has also made two visits to the bankruptcy court over the years. It took years for CO to recover and find its way after the first merger (Texas International + CO) and the second merger (intergration of NY Air into CO + People Express which itself had only recently taken over Denver based Frontier One)......its a long story, but at the time CO had a mismatched fleet of older aircraft (731/732/733/72S/747/D9S/M80/D10/A300) and a reputation for rather lousy service.

CO was a distant second to UA at Denver (even with the ex-Frontier routes) and CO claimed that is was losing money with the Denver hub. When the new DIA opened up, CO strongly objected to the very high operating costs at the new airport which were much higher than those at Stapelton.....since CO was already losing money at Denver, the high costs associated with the new airport would only make the situation worse, something that CO could not afford. Thus, CO did not make the big move to DIA and began winding down its Denver operation during the last year or so at Stapelton - by the time DIA opened up, CO only had limited operations out of Denver to its other hub cities.

As you said, CO refocused its route system around the Houston, Newark and Cleveland (plus Guam) hubs and then began the ill-fated Continental Lite venture which did not work out. CO hit bottom and then began its turnaround under new management (read, Gordon) and began its massive fleet replacement program, and you probably know the rest of the story.

At one time, Denver was a hub (focus city) for UA, CO, Frontier One, and Western. Western downsized its Denver operation earlier on when it created and built its SLC hub which is still part of the Delta system today.
 
jfrworld
Posts: 367
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sat Jul 09, 2005 4:38 am

Thanks Dutchjet for your explaination... it was very thorough and much appreciated.

 bouncy 
 
ord
Posts: 1355
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sat Jul 09, 2005 4:53 am

IIRC Continental was larger than United at Denver for a few years after their big merger in 1987 with PeoplExpress and Frontier. I believe at the time Continental had about 250 departures to United's roughly 230.
 
pzurita1
Posts: 1187
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sat Jul 09, 2005 5:03 am

Slightly off topic.

Quoting ORD (Reply 4):
IIRC Continental was larger than U

I see this IIRC all over the place, in every single thread.
What does that mean?
Next flight: IAH-DBX-MRU-ANT
 
Cory6188
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sat Jul 09, 2005 5:08 am

If I recall correctly
 
luv2fly
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sat Jul 09, 2005 5:09 am

IIRC = If I remember correctly!
You can cut the irony with a knife
 
flashmeister
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sat Jul 09, 2005 5:20 am

Continental was very bullish on DIA's construction, at least initially. As I recall, they committed to DIA's construction long before UA did, hence their sweet concourse position (concourse A, the only one connected directly to the terminal).

They continued to flirt with the DEN market, though, at one point having a close FF and ground relationship with Frontier Two. Before that, even after they closed their major hub operation, they operated DEN-LGW for a while.
 
FlyHoss
Posts: 534
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sat Jul 09, 2005 12:11 pm

There was no DEN Continental hub, it's just wishful thinking. Like the Lost City of Atlantis, it's just a fantasy. Despite all the talk (still) at CO and all the alleged "memories" there is no "Lost Hub of Denver." People believe just because it sounds good or they want to.

 Wink
A little bit louder now, a lil bit louder now...
 
zotan
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sat Jul 09, 2005 12:27 pm

Hasnt CO said they will pounce on DEN if UA falls?
 
DLKAPA
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sat Jul 09, 2005 12:36 pm

Quoting ZOTAN (Reply 12):
Hasnt CO said they will pounce on DEN if UA falls?

Some say yes, though the tops at CO deny it.
And all at once the crowd begins to sing: Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same
 
Tango-Bravo
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sat Jul 09, 2005 1:57 pm

Quoting FlyHoss (Reply 11):
There was no DEN Continental hub, it's just wishful thinking. Like the Lost City of Atlantis, it's just a fantasy. Despite all the talk (still) at CO and all the alleged "memories" there is no "Lost Hub of Denver." People believe just because it sounds good or they want to.

If Continental's DEN hub is so much mythology as asserted, then the F9 DEN hub of today is every bit as much or more a case of "our minds playing tricks on us." For now, I am separated from my timetables, so I'm not able to give specific numbers of cities served, etc, when the CO DEN hub was at its zenith -- from the time of absorbing the original Frontier/PeopleExpress conglomerate (fiasco would be a more fitting choice of words) under the Continental brand on Feb. 1, 1987, until CO began to draw down their scale of operations at DEN in the 1991-92 period, ultimately de-hubbing DEN by 1995 to consolidate their hubs at IAH and EWR. Interestingly, EWR evolved into a CO hub only after their acquision of PeopleExpress; unlike DEN, EWR remained "a keeper" for CO.

When comparing CO's hub at DEN to UA's during the same time periods when CO had their DEN hub, CO was always #2 at DEN, much like AA at ORD today -- but nonetheless a major player and very much a hub airline and a serious competitor to "numero uno." Much like DL ultimately conceded DFW to AA as a hub city after years of flight reductions, CO conceded DEN to UA although the process of CO's ultimate de-hubbing of DEN took place over a shorter time period. In fact, it was CO's pullout from hubbing at DEN that gave impetus to the formation of F9 Frontier Airlines.
 
FlyHoss
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sat Jul 09, 2005 2:26 pm

Quoting Tango-Bravo (Reply 14):
In fact, it was CO's pullout from hubbing at DEN that gave impetus to the formation of F9 Frontier Airlines.

To be more precise, the new Frontier started before CO pulled down the DEN hub. F9 began with services to cities that CO had abandoned from DEN, but the real opportunity came a (short) bit later when CO "de-hubbed" DEN entirely.
A little bit louder now, a lil bit louder now...
 
COSPN
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sat Jul 09, 2005 10:12 pm

Too bad UA didnt pick up SYD-HNL-DEN-LGW CO 15
 
Tango-Bravo
Posts: 2887
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sat Jul 09, 2005 10:35 pm

Quoting COSPN (Reply 14):
Too bad UA didnt pick up SYD-HNL-DEN-LGW CO 15

For whatever reason(s), except for occasional 1-2 days per week seasonal schedules, United has historically shunned non-stop DEN-Hawaii service, although one-stop same-plane service by way of LAX and/or SFO has appeared more or less regularly in their timetable.

Anyone know why DEN-Hawaii non-stop has not been a daily or year-around service offered by United?
 
FlewGSW
Posts: 148
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sat Jul 09, 2005 10:55 pm

Here is a bit a history.

Name the first expansion hub announced for American Airlines.

The answer is Denver. Yes! Once the new airport was announced, and with DEN still having three hub airlines (United, Continental, Frontier) AA wanted to be the fourth. This was before AA purchased TWA LHR routes and Eastern's Central/South America routes. It was before BNA and RDU hubs were considered. It was before AirCal too.

As you can see, a DEN hub never got off the ground.
 
skymileman
Posts: 577
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sun Jul 10, 2005 1:28 am

FlyHoss,
I believe what you say, but I read on F9's web-site that they did start the new Frontier because of the void left by Continental when they pulled their Denver hub.

-Lane
 
RogerThat
Posts: 505
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sun Jul 10, 2005 1:28 am

Quoting FlewGSW (Reply 16):
Name the first expansion hub announced for American Airlines.

The answer is Denver.

I too remember this tidbit of AA history. Soon after Bob Crandall got AA's unions to go along with the innovative "Market Rate" pay scales, AA announced the biggest aircraft order of all time: 65 firm orders and 100 options for the new Super 80. There was much speculation about where they would fly all these aircraft. I seem to remember hearing Las Vegas as the rumored 3rd hub. Alas, Denver was announced, never built up and never mentioned again.
 
stirling
Posts: 3897
Joined: Sat Jun 12, 2004 2:00 am

RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sun Jul 10, 2005 2:12 am

Quoting FlewGSW (Reply 16):
Name the first expansion hub announced for American Airlines.

The answer is Denver.

I had forgotten all about that....

Quoting FlyHoss (Reply 9):
There was no DEN Continental hub, it's just wishful thinking. Like the Lost City of Atlantis, it's just a fantasy. Despite all the talk (still) at CO and all the alleged "memories" there is no "Lost Hub of Denver." People believe just because it sounds good or they want to.

What do you call it then? Or are you not being serious?
That's it....you are joking! Right?

1982. Continental Timetable Shows, and describes TWO hubs.
Houston and Denver.
107 Daily flights to 36 Airports.

Not a Hub? 2nd busiest city on the system?

What would you call it sir?
1985. 142 Daily Flights to 35 Airports.
Plus 25 Daily Regional commuter flights.

Not a Hub?

1987. 273 Daily Flights to 75 Airports.

ABQ-6
AMA-2
ATL-2
AUS-2
BFL-1
BWI-3
BIL-3
BIS-3
BOI-3
BOS-4/1 WIDE
BZN-2
BUF-1
BUR-5
CPR-3
CID-2
ORD-10/3 WIDE
CVG-3
CLE-4
COS-10
CMH-2
DFW-5
DSM-3
DTW-4
ELP-2
EUG-2
FAR-1
FAT-2
GJT-5
BDL-2
HNL-1/1 WIDE
HOU-3
IAH-10
IND-2
MCI-6
LAS-6
LNK-2
LGW-1/1 WIDE
LAX-9/4 WIDE
MIA-2
MKE-3
MSP-5
MSY-2
LGA-6
EWR-6/2 WIDE
OAK-5
OKC-4
OMA-5
ONT-5
SNA-5
MCO-2
PSP-2
PHL-3
PHX-7
PIT-3
PDX-5
RAP-3
RNO-4
SMF-4
STL-3
SLC-6
SAT-1
SAN-6
SFO-7
SJC-4
SBA-1
SEA-4/2 WIDE
FSD-2
GEG-3
SGF-2
TPA-1
TUS-4
TUL-4
IAD-5
ICT-5

I will say it again 273 Daily Flights. Not A HUB?
Delete this User
 
stirling
Posts: 3897
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sun Jul 10, 2005 2:21 am

And here are the commuter flights from Denver in 1987.
An additional 63 Daily Flights.

Alamosa/3
Aspen/11
Casper/4
Cheyenne/5
Colorado Springs/2
Durango/4
Gunnison/2
Jackson Hole/2
Montrose/2
North Platte/1
Pueblo/4
Rapid City/4
Riverton/1
Rock Springs/3
Steamboat Springs/6
Telluride/3
Eagle/6
Delete this User
 
Trvlr
Posts: 4251
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sun Jul 10, 2005 2:41 am

Quoting ZOTAN (Reply 10):

Gordon Bethune stated several years ago that "We would love to go back to Denver".

However, this was several years ago, and Bethune isn't really calling the shots at CO anymore.

Aaron G.
 
sccutler
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sun Jul 10, 2005 2:47 am

Quoting Dutchjet (Reply 2):
by the time DIA opened up, CO only had limited operations out of Denver to its other hub cities

Timing is a little off here- recall that the very last aircraft to depart Stapleton was a CO DC-10 bound for London.

See: http://www.geocities.com/~aeromoe/stapleton.html for a narrative and a couple of pictures.

[Edited 2005-07-09 19:51:27]
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
Tango-Bravo
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sun Jul 10, 2005 5:01 am

Quoting FlyHoss (Reply 13):
To be more precise, the new Frontier started before CO pulled down the DEN hub. F9 began with services to cities that CO had abandoned from DEN,

Good point, the truth of which was reflected by F9's original "network" of four cities from DEN. Although I am not sure of which four cities, FAR was probably the largest city (remotely located area of about 100,000 population) served by their all-737-200 fleet. Seems I remember the other cities being something like BIS, RAP and a city in Montana (BIL or MSO?). On their early timetables they announced that their chosen mission was to provide convenient, reasonably-priced service to smaller communities that had come to be overlooked by the major airlines.

F9 reinvented itself, after a year or two, to what they are today, quickly dropping cities like FAR in favor of primary (rather than secondary) markets.
 
kkfla737
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sun Jul 10, 2005 6:51 am

Both TWA and Braniff attempted Denver hubs also shortly after deregulation. At the time I believe CO may have actually been larger than UA from DEN.
 
deltaffindfw
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sun Jul 10, 2005 6:59 am

Is Continental's name still on the walls of Concourse A? I remember getting off the train and seeing their name and wondering why it was there if they had such a small presence.
 
gigneil
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sun Jul 10, 2005 8:28 am

Quoting Tango-Bravo (Reply 15):
Anyone know why DEN-Hawaii non-stop has not been a daily or year-around service offered by United?

Hmm? United has offered daily nonstop service DEN-HNL for awhile now, haven't they?

N
 
stlgph
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sun Jul 10, 2005 10:28 am

my first flight was on Continental from Indianapolis through Denver to Phoenix, and return. what was neat was this was back in the day when you'd get full meal service...and i remember it being quite good! breakfast & lunch on the way out, snack & dinner on the back back.

i dont remember much about Stapleton Airport, unfortunately.  Sad

one thing i did notice in picking up the flight guide for the airport was Continental's & United's flights often departed to and from Denver at the same time as other airline flights to their hubs.

for example...
our flight from Indianapolis left at 9:25a. same time as an adjoining United flight. i remember both were continuing on to Albuquerque.

a flight from Denver to Minneapolis on Northwest and Continental both left at the same time. United wasn't too far behind.

flights from Denver to Atlanta on United, Continental, and Delta all left within 10 minutes of one another.
if assumptions could fly, airliners.net would be the world's busiest airport
 
newkai
Posts: 329
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sun Jul 10, 2005 10:54 am

Gordon Bethune doesn't talk much about the DEN hub in his Worst to First book. I guess that's because it was already being closed the year he took office He does mention a lot of the DEN employees were moved to GSO, only to be kicked out of there shortly afterwards.

My best assumption was that money had to be saved, a hub had to go, and at the others there was no hub competition.
 
toxtethogrady
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sun Jul 10, 2005 11:05 am

"I'm not sure if this topic has been discussed in detail before (I tried looking), but why did CO shut down its DEN hub in the early 90's."

Because it was losing money and Continental was bankrupt.

United's got a good hub in Denver, and between Ted and Frontier, there's no room for Continental to squeeze in.

Houston's far enough west to provide the transcontinental hub that Continental needs. Denver would be nice, but I'm not sure Continental would be able to make it work now.
 
An-225
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sun Jul 10, 2005 11:54 am

Quoting Tango-Bravo (Reply 15):
For whatever reason(s), except for occasional 1-2 days per week seasonal schedules, United has historically shunned non-stop DEN-Hawaii service, although one-stop same-plane service by way of LAX and/or SFO has appeared more or less regularly in their timetable.

Anyone know why DEN-Hawaii non-stop has not been a daily or year-around service offered by United?

And UA43 DEN-HNL is an imaginary 777???

There's also a Saturday-only service to Kona. Check your info.

Alex.
Money does not bring you happiness. But it's better to cry in your own private limo than on a cold bus stop.
 
FlyHoss
Posts: 534
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RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sun Jul 10, 2005 12:08 pm

Yes, yes, I was joking in reply 9. If you read reply 13, you'll see that I admitted that CO had a DEN hub (or how would they be able to "pull down" the DEN hub?).

Bob Ferguson made the decision to de-hub DEN and reshuffle the assets into a new hand called Continental Lite. Instead of losing $50 million a year at DIA (as forecast), CO Lite reportedly lost $440 million in the first 9 months. Some improvement, no? For that, he received a "golden parachute" of $3 million.

I'm a Denver native and I still miss DEN. I was based there and I'm still in the employ of CO, but it's been months since I've passed through DEN. That's why I refer to it as "mythical lost hub of DEN."
A little bit louder now, a lil bit louder now...
 
stirling
Posts: 3897
Joined: Sat Jun 12, 2004 2:00 am

RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Sun Jul 10, 2005 12:16 pm

Quoting FlyHoss (Reply 31):
Yes, yes, I was joking in reply 9

Damn. All that work for nothing.
Delete this User
 
ord
Posts: 1355
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 1999 10:34 pm

RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Tue Jul 12, 2005 1:01 am

Quoting Tango-Bravo (Reply 12):
When comparing CO's hub at DEN to UA's during the same time periods when CO had their DEN hub, CO was always #2 at DEN

This is not true. Continental, in the late 1980s after its merger with Frontier/PeoplExpress, had more departures out of DEN than United.
 
ord
Posts: 1355
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 1999 10:34 pm

RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Tue Jul 12, 2005 1:06 am

Quoting Kkfla737 (Reply 24):
Both TWA and Braniff attempted Denver hubs also shortly after deregulation.

I don't recall a buildup of TWA service at DEN after deregulation. If anything, TWA was one of the few carriers not to make major changes to its route system after deregulation, maintaining a point-to-point network. When TWA did adopt a hub-and-spoke route system it focused on St. Louis and to a lesser extent JFK.

Braniff never attempted a DEN hub after deregulation. You are probably confusing DEN with MCI. Braniff built up Kansas City in the late 1970s to about 50-60 departures and classified this as a hub.
 
CBERFlyer
Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2005 3:27 am

RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Tue Jul 12, 2005 1:31 am

Quoting DeltaFFinDFW (Reply 25):
Is Continental's name still on the walls of Concourse A? I remember getting off the train and seeing their name and wondering why it was there if they had such a small presence.

Yes, it is still there... on both the east and west sides of the upper walls in the atrium in Concourse A. In a way, I'm surprised it hasn't been painted over with F9's name/logo, since they're now the largest occupant of Concourse A.
 
jmy007
Posts: 540
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2004 2:18 am

RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Tue Jul 12, 2005 1:41 am

Quoting CBERFlyer (Reply 35):
Yes, it is still there... on both the east and west sides of the upper walls in the atrium in Concourse A. In a way, I'm surprised it hasn't been painted over with F9's name/logo, since they're now the largest occupant of Concourse A.

Are you sure? When I was last in A (ia month or so ago) I did not see them on the wall.
Can anyone confirm this?
Cookies are the Gateway pastry. They lead to Éclairs and Bear Claws.
 
flashmeister
Posts: 2671
Joined: Fri Apr 28, 2000 4:32 am

RE: CO And Its Denver Hub

Tue Jul 12, 2005 2:12 am

When I was at DEN in December, I didn't see the Continental logo in the Concourse A atrium, as it had been since the airport opened. The logo is there since CO originally was to occupy all of Concourse A, and they had a club in the upper level (which is now used by BA, I think).

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