Tango-Bravo
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Northwest MSP-LAX/SFO Startup Date(s)?

Sat Oct 15, 2011 3:34 pm

As part of the 1969 Pacific Route Case I read that Northwest was awarded LAX-HNL-TYO and SFO-HNL-TYO, v.v. Very early on, if not from the beginning, both of these routes originated from and ended at MSP. Were the MSP-LAX and MSP-SFO non-stop links gained with the 1969 Pacific Route Case or did they come with a subsequent route award from the then-almighty CAB? Either way, when did NW start their MSP-LAX/SFO non-stops? and...

...as a "bonus question"... since Western Airlines had enjoyed a brief monopoly on MSP-LAX/SFO non-stops (from October 1966), was the MSP-SEA non-stop route awarded to WA ~1970 (in competition with NW) as compensation for their loss of monopoly status on the lucrative (at least 'back then') MSP-LAX/SFO non-stops?
 
WA707atMSP
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RE: Northwest MSP-LAX/SFO Startup Date(s)?

Sun Oct 16, 2011 11:01 am

NW's MSP-California authority was part of a separate route case, that focused soley on MSP-LAX/SFO. Although both this route case and the Transpacific route case were being pursued by the CAB at the same time, there was no formal linkage between them.

According to NW's 1969 annual report, NW began MSP-LAX / SFO service on 4 Oct 1969, with 4x day MSP-LAX nonstops, and 3x day MSP-SFO nonstops.

MSP-SFO actually started after SFO-HNL-HND, which began on 1 Aug 1969. LAX-HNL-HND began on 6 Jan 1970.

Quoting Tango-Bravo (Thread starter):
since Western Airlines had enjoyed a brief monopoly on MSP-LAX/SFO non-stops (from October 1966), was the MSP-SEA non-stop route awarded to WA ~1970 (in competition with NW)

No. WA originally applied for SEA-MSP-MKE-New York City authority, with nonstop authority between SEA and NYC. The CAB declined to add a third nonstop carrier (in addition to NW and UA) to the Seattle-New York market, and gave Milwaukee-New York to North Central. WA was given SEA-MSP authority as a consolation prize. According to Robert Serling's excellent history of WA, "The Only Way to Fly", WA "did not particularly want" SEA-MSP, probably because WA had no feed on the MSP end of the route. WA dropped the route soon after deregulation.
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Western727
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RE: Northwest MSP-LAX/SFO Startup Date(s)?

Sun Oct 16, 2011 1:52 pm

What aircraft were used on the NW MSP-SEA/LAX/SFO routes back then? Same question for LAX/SFO-HND. Thanks in advance.
Jack @ AUS
 
WA707atMSP
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RE: Northwest MSP-LAX/SFO Startup Date(s)?

Mon Oct 17, 2011 12:05 am

Quoting Western727 (Reply 2):
Same question for LAX/SFO-HND.

LAX / SFO - HND would have been 707s, because NW had not taken delivery of their first 747 when the routes were inaugurated (for that matter, no airline had put the 747 into service when the routes were inaugurated).

I'm not sure about MSP - California; possibly a mix of 727-100s and 707s / 720s.
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Tango-Bravo
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RE: Northwest MSP-LAX/SFO Startup Date(s)?

Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:04 pm

Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 1):
According to Robert Serling's excellent history of WA, "The Only Way to Fly", WA "did not particularly want" SEA-MSP, probably because WA had no feed on the MSP end of the route.

Was it perhaps more an issue for WA of having very limited on-line feed at SEA?...coupled with none at MSP...inasmuch as LAX-MSP (especially) and SFO-MSP non-stops were among their best-performing routes?...even to the extent that LAX-MSP non-stops continued for several years after WA had succumbed to hub-mania?...in spite of no on-line feed at MSP. WA did, to be sure, have plenty of possibilities for on-line connections at LAX up until even their LAX-MSP non-stops fell victim to WA's everything-must-pass-through-SLC mentality that took over ~1984-85(?).

Also with regard to WA's SEA-MSP non-stops...not sure if it's fact or anecdote...or somewhere in-between...according to one WA staffer (back in the mid-'70s), one of the reasons given by WA management for dropping the route was that there was no potential for growth -- because the flights were always at or very near 100% load factors...so there was no opportunity to increase pax numbers   If true, it sounds to me much more like a lack of gate space and/or aircraft availability issue...or perhaps the then-almighty CAB refusing to allow WA a second frequency on SEA-MSP?
 
WA707atMSP
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RE: Northwest MSP-LAX/SFO Startup Date(s)?

Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:55 am

Quoting Tango-Bravo (Reply 4):
Also with regard to WA's SEA-MSP non-stops...not sure if it's fact or anecdote...or somewhere in-between...according to one WA staffer (back in the mid-'70s), one of the reasons given by WA management for dropping the route was that there was no potential for growth -- because the flights were always at or very near 100% load factors...so there was no opportunity to increase pax numbers If true, it sounds to me much more like a lack of gate space and/or aircraft availability issue...or perhaps the then-almighty CAB refusing to allow WA a second frequency on SEA-MSP?

That seems really strange. I've never heard of an airline dropping a route because it was always full!

If the flight was full, WA could always have upgraded it to a DC-10, which, as far as I know, WA never did. WA operated one DC-10 / day into MSP, on the MSP-LAX-HNL route.

In the 1970s, NW ran ads in MSP which touted the fact that they had 49 widebodies / day out of MSP, versus 1 on "all other airlines combined", with the one being WA's MSP-LAX DC-10.
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