Where did you get $100 million? I've been pondering where to get that kind of money for some time. Not for myself, but for my airline plan. Originally Trans Pacific Airlines, now Pacific World Airways, I'll be based out of both HNL and SFO with A340-500s and A330-200s.
If you want a fast-growing city to base out of, and a good, growing market to get into, here is my suggestion:
Base yourself out of either San Diego or Tampa, FL. If out of Tampa, it might actually be a better idea to operate out of St Petersburg/Clearwater Intl. This way you are still close to urban area, but avoid competition with the majors at Tampa Int'l. But, Tampa Int'l has better facilities. So it's a choice of do you want to compete, but offer better services, or do you want to avoid the majors, have a better chance of getting slots, and have to advertise more for people to get to you at Clearwater. You choice.
Now, if you operate out of SAN, it's a new ball game. SAN is THE fastest growing city in America, according to TIME magazine. Telecommunications and computers, plus big banking are coming in rapidly. The result? Bigger overseas and transcon market.
So there is your most opportunity, Tampa or SAN, in my opinion.
Here's a plan for you for Tampa, you be the judge-
Operate flights out of TPA or Clearwater to SAN, IAH, and the notheast sector. This connects the growing western markets with the burgeoning market of TPA, as well a connections to key eastern cities. Don't even try to go to New York, BOS, etc, or other real big northeastern cities. Competition is too fierce, and if you are not a big airline, you are digging your grave. If you must, however, fly into Providence. It is right between BOS and Hartofrod. Or you could do Hartford, which would put you between BOS and NYC. Therefore, you avoid the lion's den by a few miles, and can easily partner with a bus line to transport people to BOS or NYC. I see alot of potential there.
Another focus city for you out of TPA could be Houston. Try to get into Hobby, it's closer to downtown and you can get more biz pax on you plane. If you must, then go ahead an fly to IAH, but watch the majors, they'll undercut you. Your main problem at Hobby will be SWA and CO. Finally connect Houston with Hartford or Providence. In effect, you have yourself a triangle of growth. TPA, Hartford/Providence, and Houston. Offer tour packages as well. People will be wanting to see NASA Space Center in Houston, the bay in Tampa (also offer a bus to Cape Canveral), and of course the northeast is self-explanitory.
Now, offer flights to SAN from TPA. This'll connect you with a growing western city with alot of potential. Don't offer alot of flights, use a large plane once of twice dail to cut congestion down, and you'll be more likely to get a slot that way too.
Trust me, you'll go far with this idea, and you don't have too terribly much competition. If you stay on your toe and be cut above the rest, I think you can pull it off.
Now, a more reliable plan would be base out of SAN, and offer services to TPA, Chicago MIDWAY, and Houston. Off course you could also try MDW-PVD, but theres alot fo competion from ORD there.
This puts you in a good market. Like I said, SAN is growing fast in big business. To offer connections with Houston (Hobby) and Chicago (Midway) would be great. So why am I saying Midway? Well it's simple, you die in ten minutes at ORD, and Meigs is unfeasible, so Midway is you best bet. Also, DEFINITELY offer services from Idway to Houston. That is a guaranteed money maker. Now you could also do the same but use Dallas instead, but do you REALLY want to compete with AA there? And you can't use Love Field, because you can only fly to neighboring states from Love. You'd have to stop in Little Rock and then continue to Love, if you were flying MDW-Hobby. (This is why SWA does that too).
So, you establish yourself a business triangle from SAN-MDW-Hobby-SAN. You face little competition from the majors SAN-MDW, but alot from SAN to ORD. Be a step aheas, and offer great services. Now, connect to TPA from both SAN and MDW. You'll have vacationers and tourists from Chicago wanting Florida sun in winter, and also they'll want to see Cape Canaveral. Again, partner with a bus line.
No matter what, these two plans are your best bet.
Personally, I'd base out of SAN, just to eliminate that tangle in the East. But hey, it's your call.
Also, try and use bigger aircraft, instead of smaller ones. Reduce frequencies and increas you chances of getting slots!!!
Also, BUY AIRBUS. Even if you are a Boeing fan, BUY AIRBUS. Why? Well let me put it simply....how does a 40% discount on your aircraft purchase sound? That's right, AI will knock off 40% of the original aircraft price if you are a start-up. This is how jetBlue started up so big. But, use the money you save to make your in-flight service and paint scheme excellent, you'll never fail!!!!
So trust me, I've been planning tactics for my real airline Pacific World Airways for about four years, I know what I'm saying here. PWA will start up in the mid-2010s, when I have the funds and education to do so. If you have the opportunity now, follow my advise above, you won't loose. Also listen to other people's suggestions on this suggestion.
Watch out for the majors, they'll jump at any chance they get to kill your airline. Be a step ahead, when they lower fares, lower yours, but limit yourself. If they know their price down to $20 below yours, but your breaking even on you flights for your current price, ggo no lower. Eventually, they'll raise their price back up. Stay in the market, and you won't loose anything but a few pax for a while. They'll come back to you when the majors give up.
Also, rely on repeat customers. Leave a good first impression. You won't go wrong!!!!
So, take my advise, and best of luck to you!!!!
Fly to new horizons