quickmover
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Airtran Looking For More BOS Gates

Thu Jan 26, 2006 1:21 am

AirTran pushing to expand at Logan
Low-fare carrier faces struggle to increase, consolidate its gates
By Peter J. Howe, Globe Staff | January 25, 2006

On the heels of JetBlue Airways Corp.'s rapid expansion of service at Logan International Airport in Boston, another low-fare carrier, AirTran Airways, is pushing for new and improved gate space at Logan, AirTran's president said yesterday.
Having already outgrown its three gates in the aging Terminal D, AirTran has in recent weeks had to send some passengers on a long walk upstairs to a fourth gate it is renting in Terminal C from United Airlines.

''We don't think it's the ideal location," AirTran president and chief operating officer Robert L. Fornaro said in an interview. ''We have had conversations with the [Massachusetts] Port Authority and other airlines. We just haven't found a solution yet that's workable."

One possibility would be for AirTran to take space in Delta Air Lines's $500 million Terminal A, which opened last March. Bankrupt Delta is flush with extra capacity at Terminal A, which has 18 gates to handle jets and seven tarmac parking spots for smaller regional jets. (AirTran operates only Boeing 717 and 737 jets, not regional jets.)

But under terms of the bond deal Massport issued for Delta to build the terminal, Delta has no legal obligation to make gates available to rivals before March 2010.

''Probably the most underused facility at the airport is the new Delta terminal," said Fornaro. ''It's a beautiful facility. It's also a very high-cost facility."

Industry officials say it's unlikely that Delta would help out a rival. AirTran has taken direct aim at Delta in Boston, aggressively challenging Delta's dominance of Boston-Atlanta and Boston-Florida routes. Delta counterattacked last month by launching new service from Boston to AirTran stronghold Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, challenging AirTran with six daily flights on that route.

Said Delta spokeswoman Chris Kelly: ''We continue to talk to carriers about potentially subleasing space at Terminal A, but we have nothing to announce at this time."

Finding four or five contiguous gates for AirTran in terminals B or C could require Massport, which runs Logan, to do some complex reshuffling of gate allocations. The agency may have to give rental discounts to a variety of carriers including American Airlines, US Airways, United, Alaska Airlines, Air Canada, Cape Air, and Midwest.

''We hope to accommodate AirTran as best we can," said Massport spokeswoman Danny Levy.

JetBlue headed off growing pains at Logan by moving into Delta's former space. The low-fare carrier has committed to take over 11 of the 25 gates Delta vacated in Terminal C by November 2008. Last week JetBlue took a lease on a seventh gate, eight months earlier than originally scheduled, to help accommodate newly launched service to Dulles International Airport just outside Washington and to Austin, Texas. JetBlue expects to grow to 50 daily nonstops from Logan by April, up from 40 now.

AirTran's Fornaro acknowledges getting more space won't be easy. And the need will grow as the airline expands. AirTran offers 27 daily nonstop flights, including to Atlanta, Chicago's Midway Airport, and Philadelphia. Fornaro said he expects AirTran to increase to more than 30 flights by summer.

''There are going to be some opportunities for us to make a change, but it's not going to be immediate," Fornaro said. ''It's hard to find four or five gates elsewhere that meet our criteria."

Several AirTran passengers interviewed yesterday said merging the airline's gate operations in a single, better-appointed space would be a good move.

Steve Borlace, an electrical engineer from Detroit who flew to Boston for a work project, said the unclear layout led him to walk upstairs into Terminal C after a rental car shuttle bus dropped him off, before he learned he had to take himself and his bags back downstairs to check in at AirTran's Terminal D counter.

''It was a little confusing up here," Borlace said. He also called the space ''old and worn out," pointing at a long, jagged crack in the floor of the AirTran check-in area.

Terminal D was once the ''new" international terminal Logan opened in September 1964, before replacing it with the John A. Volpe International Terminal E a decade later, and it has been only minimally revamped since.

''It's been convenient flying in here, but it makes sense to consolidate from a business standpoint," said Derek Van Tichelt, an executive with a Chicago railroad equipment supplier who has been flying weekly on AirTran to Boston for a local project.
 
cloud4000
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RE: Airtran Looking For More BOS Gates

Thu Jan 26, 2006 1:30 am

How about leasing some gates in Terminal A, it is so underutilized.
Boston, USA
 
PHLBOS
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RE: Airtran Looking For More BOS Gates

Thu Jan 26, 2006 1:38 am

Quoting Quickmover (Thread starter):
JetBlue headed off growing pains at Logan by moving into Delta's former space. The low-fare carrier has committed to take over 11 of the 25 gates Delta vacated in Terminal C by November 2008

If I'm reading the above correctly; there seems to be 14 former-DL gates at C available. Is this true? Who else is occupying the remaining vacant gates? Couldn't FL just move everything over to some of those gates? Or is fore-mentioned 25 actually the total number of gates at C (as opposed to being just DL's gates); which would be more believable. Of all the terminals at BOS, C is the one I'm the least familiar with (besides the new A).

Edited to add:

Did a quick check on Massport's website regarding the total number of gates at C. It took some digging, but the total number is indeed 25 (gates 11-36); therefore, the above-sentence from the article is incorrect.

[Edited 2006-01-25 17:48:46]
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quickmover
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RE: Airtran Looking For More BOS Gates

Thu Jan 26, 2006 2:14 am

Quoting PHLBOS (Reply 2):
If I'm reading the above correctly; there seems to be 14 former-DL gates at C available. Is this true? Who else is occupying the remaining vacant gates? Couldn't FL just move everything over to some of those gates? Or is fore-mentioned 25 actually the total number of gates at C (as opposed to being just DL's gates); which would be more believable. Of all the terminals at BOS, C is the one I'm the least familiar with (besides the new A).

Since they built new space for Delta, are they demolishing any old facilities elsewhere in the airport?
 
jetbluefan1
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RE: Airtran Looking For More BOS Gates

Thu Jan 26, 2006 2:15 am

I'm not so sure I see FL's strategy. B6 has major plans for BOS and has already established itself there - do they really want to battle with another healthy LCC?

As far as gate space, I know LCC's have always been given lowest priority at BOS. Will Massport somehow come around and accommodate FL?

JetBluefan1
 
apodino
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RE: Airtran Looking For More BOS Gates

Thu Jan 26, 2006 2:26 am

Quoting Cloud4000 (Reply 1):
How about leasing some gates in Terminal A, it is so underutilized.

Problem is, under the terms of the Lease, Delta, who controls the gates in A, has no legal obligation to make them available to anyone before 2010. And its highly doubtful they would sublease them to their biggest rival in Atlanta.

Terminal B is unlikely either, since most of the gates are controlled by either AA or US. 1 2 and 3 were vacated when Delta Shuttle moved back to A, but this is less than what they have now. The only other gates available would be 37 and 38, but it too, is insufficient for their needs.

Terminal C would seem to be the best option. 40, 41, and 42 are together, these are the old delta connection gates, one of them is being used by Midwest. Perhaps Midwest and Airtran could work an agreement to share some gate space. I think this would still be insufficient.

What I think would have to happen would be for one of the Skyteam Airlines to move in and share the terminal with Delta. Northwest would be unlikely to give up E since they have customs and would like to keep the AMS route intact. Continental could move, but they have moved eight gazillion times over the years, and I think they would like to settle somewhere permantly. If massport, would ever allow Delta to have customs in A, then I could see NW moving, along with Alitalia, Air France, and Air Jamaica. But then AA would cry foul, since they would love an FIS in B.

In short, don't expect anything. That being said, they could end up taking the vacant DH gate in MHT, and add service there. BOS is getting bigger than it can handle, and I think its going to become really delay proned in future years.
 
RL757PVD
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RE: Airtran Looking For More BOS Gates

Thu Jan 26, 2006 2:27 am

They can take one of AA's gates at PVD now...

Its a perfect way to solidify a passenger base in S.E. New England... There are many people who use BOS AND PVD and choose between the two often. (I.E. Someone near Cape Cod/ New Bedford may be less inclined to fly out of BOS during rush hour)

Keep the focus on BOS, but do PVD-ATL/PBI/MCO and establish a solid passenger base in the region.
Experience is what you get when what you thought would work out didn't!
 
apodino
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RE: Airtran Looking For More BOS Gates

Thu Jan 26, 2006 2:27 am

Quoting Quickmover (Reply 5):
Since they built new space for Delta, are they demolishing any old facilities elsewhere in the airport?

They demolished the old terminal A, which was built for Eastern Airlines in the 1960's, to make way for the new terminal A. Until that time, Delta had occupied the same space in terminal C that is now occupied by JetBlue.
 
PVD757
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RE: Airtran Looking For More BOS Gates

Thu Jan 26, 2006 3:18 am

B6 is grabbing most of the vacant C gates and FL wants 4 or 5 contiguous gates, which isn't available anywhere at BOS right now. The article is accurate in saying that it would take a major re-shuffle of some gates to pull this off for FL. I doubt Massport will do anything elaborite as they are saving the gleam in thier eye for B6...
 
PHLBOS
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RE: Airtran Looking For More BOS Gates

Thu Jan 26, 2006 5:04 am

Quoting Quickmover (Thread starter):
Delta counterattacked last month by launching new service from Boston to AirTran stronghold Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, challenging AirTran with six daily flights on that route.

All of which are Comair (Delta Connection) CRJ flights. Which means that FL not only is still the sole mainline carrier on the BOS-BWI route (since US dropped the route over 2 years ago); it still has the option of offering optional Business class seating while both of its competitors (Comair & American Eagle) do not.

[Edited 2006-01-25 21:05:05]
"TransEastern! You'll feel like you've never left the ground because we treat you like dirt!" SNL Parady ad circa 1981
 
jetsetsteve
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RE: Airtran Looking For More BOS Gates

Thu Jan 26, 2006 6:08 am

There are only two vacant gate in Terminal C 28 and 33. Both of which are being worked on and will be Jetblue's 7th and 8th gate... The other three in the wing of the Terminal are 1 for Midwest and 2 for CO one they use for The Prop planes the other for main line flights.

The food court will be opening up around the 14th of Feb. With Johnny Rockets, Wolfgang Puck Express, Starbucks and A Bar.

Jetblue has really made a name of itself here in Beantown...The place is always packed with travlers and so are the flights.
 
9KBOS
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RE: Airtran Looking For More BOS Gates

Thu Jan 26, 2006 7:15 am

Quoting Apodino (Reply 5):
Terminal C would seem to be the best option. 40, 41, and 42 are together, these are the old delta connection gates, one of them is being used by Midwest. Perhaps Midwest and Airtran could work an agreement to share some gate space. I think this would still be insufficient.


These gates are used by CO mainline....The only gate YX uses in Gate 26 on the main concourse (B6). CO also uses gate 25 for early morning mainline flights and express flights during the day. Some sat AC will move to Terminal B with their Star Allience parter US and that would open up Checkin space on the upper level and two additional gates...brining FL's gate total to 3 gates with the one they use of UA. But who really knows?
 
gift4tbone
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RE: Airtran Looking For More BOS Gates

Thu Jan 26, 2006 7:25 am

Everyone keeps mentioning C, what about B? Yea, AA and US run the things, but I remember reading in the announcement about the AA PVD mainline withdrawl, that AA was going to significantly reduce its BOS flights as well. Someone earlier posted i think 3 openings in B at the present time. HP will be using the US gates now, right? (or did they just add the gate to US' gates, for a growth?) Maybe move the shuttle flights? And when AA looses a gate or 2, maybe then FL could move into B.

-Tony@PVD
Top 3 airports: PVD 23.9%(138 flights), PHL 14.7%(85 flights), PHX 10.2%(59 flights)
 
usairways85
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RE: Airtran Looking For More BOS Gates

Thu Jan 26, 2006 7:39 am

FL has been able to generate a nice route network out of BOS that by and large avoid routes B6 would compete on, but where else is FL going to expand that B6 won't. B6 already has the gates as well as the aircraft, if FL decides to fly to a B6 city that doesn't have BOS service I would think it is almost a certain that B6 will add the route and quite possibly run FL out of the market like they did with IAD
 
Tornado82
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RE: Airtran Looking For More BOS Gates

Thu Jan 26, 2006 7:44 am

As was predicted in a thread a couple weeks ago...

Also, look for this to be FL expanding BOS to bump up the heat on US some more, not just DL. PIT-BOS, anyone?
 
N1120A
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RE: Airtran Looking For More BOS Gates

Thu Jan 26, 2006 7:51 am

Quoting Quickmover (Thread starter):
AirTran has in recent weeks had to send some passengers on a long walk upstairs to a fourth gate it is renting in Terminal C from United Airlines.

A long walk? That is a joke. That gate is the first one once you are past security and is probably only a 5 minute walk from the FL ticket counters.
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SHUPirate1
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RE: Airtran Looking For More BOS Gates

Thu Jan 26, 2006 7:56 am

Quoting Gift4tbone (Reply 12):
AA was going to significantly reduce its BOS flights as well

I could be wrong, but I would assume that the flights that will be cut will be cut from the Eagle Satellite...can you fit (a reduced number of) 717's and/or 737's in that space?
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COERJ145
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RE: Airtran Looking For More BOS Gates

Thu Jan 26, 2006 7:57 am

If NW moved to A or they moved down to the other end of E, FL could use the NW gates(they have 4 I belive), and still utilize the D gates(by a walkway from E in the secured area)
 
CentPIT
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RE: Airtran Looking For More BOS Gates

Thu Jan 26, 2006 8:36 am

Quoting Tornado82 (Reply 14):
Also, look for this to be FL expanding BOS to bump up the heat on US some more, not just DL. PIT-BOS, anyone?

We can only hope. I think FL is a great airline and will hopefully take advantage of the markets out there.
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airportugal310
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RE: Airtran Looking For More BOS Gates

Thu Jan 26, 2006 9:04 am

Quoting N1120A (Reply 15):
A long walk? That is a joke. That gate is the first one once you are past security and is probably only a 5 minute walk from the FL ticket counters.

Seriously. Some people are beyond lazy.
I sell airplanes and airplane accessories
 
9KBOS
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RE: Airtran Looking For More BOS Gates

Thu Jan 26, 2006 9:33 am

Quoting COERJ145 (Reply 17):
If NW moved to A or they moved down to the other end of E, FL could use the NW gates(they have 4 I belive), and still utilize the D gates(by a walkway from E in the secured area)

NW won't move to Terminal A because right now, they have the KL codeshare to AMS which has a special waiver for the curfew....or so I am told. But it would make sense to group the SkyTeam together....If their was a customs facility in A.
 
apodino
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RE: Airtran Looking For More BOS Gates

Thu Jan 26, 2006 6:24 pm

Quoting COERJ145 (Reply 17):
If NW moved to A or they moved down to the other end of E,

Won't happen. The other end of E are all International Gates that feed the customs hall. If NW moved their domestic flights there to accomodate AirTran, the FIS in Boston, which already has a reputation has being a goatrope, would be unbearable. If NW does any moving, I would think they would move out of 1D and 1E or whatever the occupy and utilize 3A and 3B. 3A and 3B if I recall, are the only two gates in BOS that can be used for either domestic or international arrivals.