txagkuwait
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Who's Really Top Dog In Chicagoland Area

Thu May 11, 2006 12:45 am

Recently there was an interesting thread going on about the relative strengths (or weaknesses) of carriers in Chicago...specifically two airlines that hub there - AA and UA.

I had a little trouble figuring out how to attach some charts to my post, and got delayed a bit. Hopefully this will work out.

A word of caution: I am using DOMESTIC traffic only. Specifically, I am looking at domestic markets that generate at least 183 psgrs per day.

United having a larger international presence might impact the final analysis; unfortunately, I do not have international numbers.

Markets smaller than 183 psgrs per day could also have an impact. However, a good analogy would be an election - once they have counted 75% of the votes, the media often declares a winner (and is correct) since the pattern is established and the chances of a significant enough change in each airline's percentage of the market to alter the final result is unlikely.

The bottom line up front:

For domestic traffic American is slightly larger than United in Chicago.

However - the domestic passenger traffic for each of the 3 largest carriers in Chicago is so close as to make it almost a dead heat.

In the markets used in this analysis (and remember, these are the markets big enough to make a dent in the overall passenger statistics)

American - had 2,398,560 passengers for the quarter. (This was 3rd Qtr, CY 05)

United - had 2,291,890 passengers.

And Southwest (which was a surprise) served 2,175,080 - and that was without competing in 5 of the top 10 markets in or out of Chicago (NYC, WAS, MSP, ATL, or DFW).

The data and market share statistics:

http://tinypic.com/xntapl

http://tinypic.com/xntb1l

http://tinypic.com/xntb9k


One final word: I know many will say that AA & UA carry a jillion more psgrs than is reflected. I would suggest to you that a passenger flying from Omaha to Chicago to Dulles on UA or from Tulsa to Chicago to LaGuardia on AA or from Pittsburgh to Midway to Omaha on WN may impact the size of the hub, but don't really have much impact on market penetration in Chicago.

Hubs where people change planes can be anyplace...it just so happens that UA and AA have hubs in Chicago.....which probably makes more sense than putting the hub in East St Louis or Carbondale, IL.

[Edited 2006-05-10 18:05:14]
 
scintx
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RE: Who's Really Top Dog In Chicagoland Area

Thu May 11, 2006 4:01 am

Wow excellent info here. If I had been asked this question I would have had a lower figure for WN, glad I wasn't betting money. I know WN is a major factor in the domestic market in Chicagoland but this is an eye opener for me. If we could only dream of non-stop DAL-MDW my life would be complete.
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cs03
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RE: Who's Really Top Dog In Chicagoland Area

Thu May 11, 2006 4:11 am

Quite fasinating numbers! Iteresting how UA and WN are almost even in the CHI/ALB market! For years, it was AA and UA with 4-5 round-trips per day using 727s.
 
PanAm747
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RE: Who's Really Top Dog In Chicagoland Area

Thu May 11, 2006 4:46 am

TxAgKuwait, very impressive work!!

What you did (and you probably know this!) was give us a breakdown of O&D numbers (originate and departure) for Chicago domestic passengers.

You are correct that it appears AA is slightly larger - I wonder if that number fluctuates.

I would love to see who connects more passengers through their ORD hub.

One question - the times I have flown to ORD, I have always connected through either DEN or LAX for the express purpose of flying a wide-body jet on UA. Does that make me a statistic for DEN or for SAN?  scratchchin 
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roseflyer
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RE: Who's Really Top Dog In Chicagoland Area

Thu May 11, 2006 11:33 am

Thanks for the numbers. They were quite interesting to look at. I think this shows that AA definitely has some high O/D numbers. United connects more people through Chicago than American does.

I also wonder if you compare the regional operations of the two airlines. Who has the bigger regional operation, as there are enough flights to small cities to make a huge impact.

As far as Southwest goes, I am not surprised. People tend to forget about how many passengers they actually carry and that they are just as large as legacy carriers. Southwest has a huge chunk of the market in many of the biggest markets in the country like, LA Area, Bay Area, Chicagoland, Houston, Baltimore/Washington, Orlando, South Florida and others.
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SESGDL
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RE: Who's Really Top Dog In Chicagoland Area

Thu May 11, 2006 11:48 am

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 4):
As far as Southwest goes, I am not surprised. People tend to forget about how many passengers they actually carry and that they are just as large as legacy carriers. Southwest has a huge chunk of the market in many of the biggest markets in the country like, LA Area, Bay Area, Chicagoland, Houston, Baltimore/Washington, Orlando, South Florida and others.

WN is the country's largest domestic carrier by passengers carried, surpassing DL a few years ago.

The numbers are definitely interesting. UA is larger overall, but AA is the bigger O&D player, which can be indicated when looking at big business markets from ORD, like NYC, MIA/FLL, and LA, all where AA dominates. UA definitely connects more people through ORD. Regionals must be included in that total, as I don't recall AA or UA serving places like GSP with mainline equipment.

Jeremy
 
congaboy
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RE: Who's Really Top Dog In Chicagoland Area

Thu May 11, 2006 11:54 am

Interesting numbers to ponder over...is it any wonder why AA has the lead? With UA finally existing from bankruptcy, this tide may turn as they crank up the marketing machine in Chicago again. Also very revealing in terms of the lift WN enjoys out of MDW...and they will increase. Thanks for the stats.
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ordflier
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RE: Who's Really Top Dog In Chicagoland Area

Fri May 12, 2006 4:18 am

I think many of you are missing a very important piece... Note that in many markets... UA's average fare is higher than AA... If they can on the average command a premium price over AA then there is much more to this thread that should be talked about...
ORDflier
 
cch362
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RE: Who's Really Top Dog In Chicagoland Area

Fri May 12, 2006 12:03 pm

I mostly read the posts on a.net; this is my first posting in over 3 years!

Thanks TxAgKuwait for the thorough analysis! I presume your numbers are from the O&D Domestic Market Survey, which is based on a 10% sample of all the tickets lifted by airlines?

This topic has been particularly intriguing to me, so I ran a different set of numbers using DOT's monthly T-100 segment report, which are reported directly by the airlines. Because the nature of the data I used is different, I came up with a different conclusion, though not necessarily contradictory to TxAgKuwait's. For January 2006:

# Destinations:
AA (mainline) 52
Eagle 65
mainline+Eagle 105

UA (mainline) 61
UAX (all carriers) 77
mainline+express 112

# Seats:
AA (mainline) 1,812,000
Eagle 726,000
mainline+Eagle 2,537,000

UA (mainline) 2,248,000
UAX (all carriers) 890,000
mainline+express 3,138,000

# Passengers
AA (mainline) 1,322,000
Eagle 478,000
mainline+Eagle 1,800,000

UA (mainline) 1,717,000
UAX (all carriers) 615,000
mainline+express 2,332,000

# Scheduled flights (daily, in/out)
AA (mainline) 414
Eagle 478
mainline+Eagle 892

UA (mainline) 514
UAX (all carriers) 510
mainline+express 1,024

Since this information is based on segment (not market) data, it includes both OD and connecting traffic. At least for the month of Jan 2006, UA+UAX provided nearly 25% more seats and carried almost 30% more passengers than AA+Eagle in/out ORD.

Quoting ORDflier (Reply 7):
I think many of you are missing a very important piece... Note that in many markets... UA's average fare is higher than AA... If they can on the average command a premium price over AA then there is much more to this thread that should be talked about...

I agree with you ORDflier. I've always been told that UA's yields at ORD are significantly higher than AA's, and TxAgKuwait's information confirms that. However, AA's lower average fares may explain why it could possibly carry more O&D passengers: it gets a higher proportion of the leisure traffic, whereas UA has more business traffic through its corporate contracts.
 
Boeing7E7
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RE: Who's Really Top Dog In Chicagoland Area

Fri May 12, 2006 5:55 pm

International traffic at O'Hare is nearly equal to the domestic traffic, mostly through code share arrangements with both UA and AA. I really see no point to this thread other than an opportunity to slober over Southwest's ability to grab the leisure traffic in the highest O&D market in the US. What exactly is your point? You trying to claim Southwest is top dog in Chicago or even being remotely competitive to the global access offered by AA and UA vs. high density US only leisure markets? Please.

[Edited 2006-05-12 10:57:48]
 
txagkuwait
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RE: Who's Really Top Dog In Chicagoland Area

Fri May 12, 2006 6:36 pm

I believe that I specified that my numbers dealt strictly with domestic O&D traffic.

As I recall, I said that the rank order for passenger traffic for domestic travel was #1 AA, #2 UA, #3 WN...although the three were fairly close. I have no recollection of saying that WN was larger than either of the big dogs.

Yes, I am aware that international travel is a big deal at Chicago. Some day it would be nice to look at international O&D numbers. Perhaps, instead of trying to find fault where there is none.....or spin a post you don't like to mean something other than what it plainly does....maybe you could go dig up some of those international numbers for us.

I've got a deal to offer you, 7E7.....just ignore my posts. Completely. Didn't your Mom ever tell you "if you cannot say something nice about someone, say nothing at all?"

To jump in here and try and attribute a meaning to what I assembled other than what I clearly stated adds nothing to the discussion.

Quote:
A word of caution: I am using DOMESTIC traffic only. Specifically, I am looking at domestic markets that generate at least 183 psgrs per day.

United having a larger international presence might impact the final analysis; unfortunately, I do not have international numbers.

Markets smaller than 183 psgrs per day could also have an impact. However, a good analogy would be an election - once they have counted 75% of the votes, the media often declares a winner (and is correct) since the pattern is established and the chances of a significant enough change in each airline's percentage of the market to alter the final result is unlikely.

The bottom line up front:

For domestic traffic American is slightly larger than United in Chicago.

However - the domestic passenger traffic for each of the 3 largest carriers in Chicago is so close as to make it almost a dead heat.

In the markets used in this analysis (and remember, these are the markets big enough to make a dent in the overall passenger statistics)

American - had 2,398,560 passengers for the quarter. (This was 3rd Qtr, CY 05)

United - had 2,291,890 passengers.

And Southwest (which was a surprise) served 2,175,080 - and that was without competing in 5 of the top 10 markets in or out of Chicago (NYC, WAS, MSP, ATL, or DFW).
 
roseflyer
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RE: Who's Really Top Dog In Chicagoland Area

Fri May 12, 2006 9:30 pm

Quoting Boeing7E7 (Reply 9):
International traffic at O'Hare is nearly equal to the domestic traffic, mostly through code share arrangements with both UA and AA.

What are you talking about? There are so many more domestic flights than international. The number of passengers travelling on domestic flights way outweighs the people travelling on international flights out of Chicago.

Quoting Boeing7E7 (Reply 9):
I really see no point to this thread other than an opportunity to slober over Southwest's ability to grab the leisure traffic in the highest O&D market in the US.

The Los Angeles Basin is the largest O/D market in the United States, not Chicagoland. Some people are interested in which airline is the biggest.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
PavlovsDog
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RE: Who's Really Top Dog In Chicagoland Area

Sat May 13, 2006 12:09 am

Thanks for the great info. One thing that struck me was that United seems to constantly have higher fares than their competitors and still can maintain market share. The ORD-SFO numbers in particular are staggering. United must make a ton of money on that route. They charge $63 more per ticket than American. Seattle and LAX must similarly be cash cows for them.
 
airwave
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RE: Who's Really Top Dog In Chicagoland Area

Sat May 13, 2006 1:38 am

Wow, fantastic post. My brain is so full of info I don't think I've got room for anything else right now, lol.

Quoting ORDflier (Reply 7):
I think many of you are missing a very important piece... Note that in many markets... UA's average fare is higher than AA... If they can on the average command a premium price over AA then there is much more to this thread that should be talked about...

This is very true; good point.

Airwave  eyebrow 
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Boeing7E7
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RE: Who's Really Top Dog In Chicagoland Area

Sat May 13, 2006 1:53 am

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 11):
What are you talking about? There are so many more domestic flights than international. The number of passengers travelling on domestic flights way outweighs the people travelling on international flights out of Chicago.

Nope. International O&D at O'hare is less that 2% points from domestic. Understand the term "almost". Furthermore, the average seating capacity is 280 vs. 107. Flight operations don't matter when you're refering to O&D pax. They aren't running RJ's to Europe.

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 11):
The Los Angeles Basin is the largest O/D market in the United States, not Chicagoland. Some people are interested in which airline is the biggest.

Wrong again. New York and Chitown go back and forth every year. Your definition of "market" is off. There are multiple markets in the LA basin. You're assumption of this is equivalent of including Milwaukee and Rockford in Chicago O&D.

[Edited 2006-05-12 18:54:07]
 
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EA CO AS
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RE: Who's Really Top Dog In Chicagoland Area

Sat May 13, 2006 2:22 am

Quoting TxAgKuwait (Thread starter):
A word of caution: I am using DOMESTIC traffic only. Specifically, I am looking at domestic markets that generate at least 183 psgrs per day.

Translation? Bear in mind, I'm using only those statistics that will bolster the case of my beloved Southwest Airlines and make them look good.  Wink
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
txagkuwait
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RE: Who's Really Top Dog In Chicagoland Area

Sat May 13, 2006 2:53 am

Quote:
Translation? Bear in mind, I'm using only those statistics that will bolster the case of my beloved Southwest Airlines and make them look good

Unlike some people, I can be impartial.

The numbers I selected were the numbers published by the DOT/BTS.

In the little bitty markets (Chicago to Harlingen, for example) the DOT does not break out which carriers haul which percentage of the traffic.

So - I didn't choose the statistics I used...I used the statistics available.

If I had the international numbers, I'd lump them in there too. They would make my "beloved" WN look paltry by comparison, but that's okay. If my goal was to make WN look good, I would have figured out a way to use statistics to lie.

That wasn't the goal.

I was looking at market penetration by major carriers in what is arguably a huge domestic market for airline transportation.

AA came in 1st, UA 2nd, WN 3rd. All of those airlines carry a lot of passengers in and out of Chicago.

I do not recall making any value judgment as to the relative merits of any of those carriers. Those can be inferred by the reader.

People connecting in Chicago due to its hub status tell us nothing about Chicago market penetration.

But since you are so smart, and so quick to find fault with the numbers I have presented....you may be my guest to dig up and analyze and package whatever Chicago (or any other city as you desire) passenger traffic figures you wish.

In the meantime, have a nice day.
 
Georgetown
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RE: Who's Really Top Dog In Chicagoland Area

Sat May 13, 2006 2:57 am

Top Dog in Chicago?



Mayor Daley.
Let's go Hoyas!
 
SESGDL
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RE: Who's Really Top Dog In Chicagoland Area

Sat May 13, 2006 5:39 am

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 11):
The Los Angeles Basin is the largest O/D market in the United States, not Chicagoland. Some people are interested in which airline is the biggest.

No it is not, the New York Metropolitan area is by far the largest US O&D market, and second in the world after London with over 90,000,000 O&D passengers annually.

Quoting Boeing7E7 (Reply 14):
Wrong again. New York and Chitown go back and forth every year. Your definition of "market" is off. There are multiple markets in the LA basin. You're assumption of this is equivalent of including Milwaukee and Rockford in Chicago O&D.

The Los Angeles market is one market, regardless of how many airports there are. MKE is not considered a part of the Chicago market. You are wrong, especially when stating that Chicago switches. Chicago is a distant 3rd after NYC and LA in terms of O&D, and doesn't have even half as much yearly as New York.

Quoting Boeing7E7 (Reply 14):
Nope. International O&D at O'hare is less that 2% points from domestic. Understand the term "almost". Furthermore, the average seating capacity is 280 vs. 107. Flight operations don't matter when you're refering to O&D pax. They aren't running RJ's to Europe.

Show me this statistic. According to what I've seen over 60,000,000 passengers in the Chicago area yearly are domestic. The Chicago area had nearly 95,000,000 passengers last year, but there's no WAY that half of that was international. MIA is the country's largest international market, and not even 32,000,000+ flew out of MIA last year, and some 10-15 million of those passengers were flying domesically.

Jeremy
 
ripcordd
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RE: Who's Really Top Dog In Chicagoland Area

Sat May 13, 2006 5:53 am

Well if you run this by Dick Portillo he will say that he's the Top Dog and even has the license plates to prove it.

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