doulasc
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Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 12:59 am

Skybus lasted only about 11 months. My brother flew them from CMH-SAN and was satisfied with their service.
Do you think it was a matter of serving non traditional airports like St.Augustine(instead of DAB or JAX) for example.
Lack of customer service like a ticket counter. Could have been timing due to the economy not being good and escalating oil prices. What I though was odd that passengers boarded through a gate not with a jetway(at the major airports like CMH or FLL) but up roll up stairs.
 
BMI727
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 1:03 am

Quoting doulasc (Thread starter):
Why Did Skybus Fail?

Because it was a dumb idea. Say what you will about the economy or oil prices, there is still the fact that there just aren't that many people who want to go to Columbus.
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Jonathanxxxx
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 1:10 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 1):

Exactly. They had no O&D draw. You can only do that kind of model if you sell connections, unless you're Ryanair or easyjet..
 
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enilria
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 1:51 am

Hub in Columbus and no connections allowed. It's that simple.
 
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 1:53 am

The small airport routes were fine...the flights out of Springfield Mass were well patronized. What killed them was the inability for passengers to make connections and routes that made no sense whatsoever. The idea is fine on popular point to point routes such as New England to Florida, but the whole idea of the Columbus re-check in, re-load bags just to fly between Columbus and some other backwoods town...it didn't fly. In addition, their fare structure gave them absolutely no profit margin whatsoever. The lowest level fares would go quickly, but by the time the last few seats were available, the fares were more expensive than the traditional airlines on nearby routes. The high fares went unsold. Perhaps if their fare structure was slightly lower than the airlines operating out of the big airports, people would have traveled due to the convenience of flying out of a local station. Skybus undercut themselves when they should not have been doing so.
 
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 1:55 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 1):
Because it was a dumb idea

It was actually a pretty solid plan--in fact it was pretty much identical to the plan NK was developing at the same time. The big difference was NK flew to places people wanted to go, whereas SX took the FR approach of flying to secondary airports to the absolute, farcical extent of literally flying to East Upchuck, from a hub (CMH) that could never provide the volume.
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 2:20 am

I feel like on here Skybus was treated as a joke. But the basic model works in Europe, why not in the US? I feel like allow people to connect would have helped tremendously though. Not many people want to fly to Columbus. But even if you were not going to offer connections offer more point to point flights, don't just make them all go to one hub. Plus a common belief in the US seems to be no matter what you pay for a ticket you deserve first class treatment which Skybus just did not offer. I would have flown them if they went where I needed to be.
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 6:01 am

Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 6):
But the basic model works in Europe, why not in the US?

I don't pretend to know for sure, but I suspect that "because the US is a lot bigger" is a good part of it. The rest of the answer is probably something like "because Columbus isn't a good substitute for Stansted". One has to wonder whether Skybus would have done better to center somewhere in New Jersey. (Except that there's no plausible airport in NJ to use other than EWR which is a recipe for disaster.)
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vegetables2001
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 6:48 am

One day all airlines will be like Skybus.

Apart from the Columbus bit of course.
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 7:00 am

Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 6):
But the basic model works in Europe, why not in the US?

Europe has much better ground transport links to its secondary airports than the US does. On Skybus the transfers into the city often cost more than the ticket.
 
jimbobjoe
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 8:48 am

A friend of mine got to attend a lecture by the founder of Skybus. So this is the founder's post-mortem analysis.

Almost everything was going to plan. Passenger numbers, fares paid, and ancillary fees paid were either meeting projections or exceeding them. (Columbus was not a problem (for the service offered), moreover, Skybus had started to serve other city pairs that didn't include Columbus.)

The first problem was oil prices.

Summer 08 oil prices hit nearly $150/barrel, and Skybus' business plan didn't foresee anything higher than $85-90 (I think.)

The second problem was the credit crunch.

Skybus started out with quite a lot of cash in the bank (I want to say $200 million) but those oil prices were just merciless and they lasted too long. Their reserves were drained too quickly.

They would have survived had they had had an extra $10-$15 million. Under normal circumstances that would have been easy to get, but the credit crunch made it extremely difficult. Credit lines were locked.

Interestingly Skybus paid back every creditor to the penny. In my mind that suggests that Skybus could have lasted longer without an extra cash injection. However, I suspect the founders want(ed) another crack at starting a Skybus like airline, so in order to keep a good reputation, they closed down early to pay everyone their debts.

In fact the founder has a plan for putting together a Skybus-like airline, but from Dayton instead. I suspect he's looking at all that juicy Cincinnati fares and wanting a cut of that action.

At any rate, it came down to luck/timing, and my suspicion is that we'll see another Skybus at some point in the future.
 
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 8:55 am

Quoting usflyer msp (Reply 9):
the transfers into the city often cost more than the ticket.

In Europe, coach (or minibus) companies pretty quickly establish routes to the nearest big city (or various places). Depending upon the airport's throughput, such services may be timed for specific flights (so wait if they're delayed) or operate a normal, regular schedule.

It's interesting that this airport access seems such an issue in a country renowned for massive car ownership and use.

Quoting jimbobjoe (Reply 10):
A friend of mine got to attend a lecture by the founder of Skybus.

Not the founder, but I attended a lecture by SkyBus' former VP of Strategy. He insisted that SWF has considerable opportunity for such a concept.

[Edited 2012-05-21 01:57:40]
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 9:16 am

Quoting PITingres (Reply 7):
Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 6):
But the basic model works in Europe, why not in the US?

I don't pretend to know for sure, but I suspect that "because the US is a lot bigger" is a good part of it. The rest of the answer is probably something like "because Columbus isn't a good substitute for Stansted". One has to wonder whether Skybus would have done better to center somewhere in New Jersey. (Except that there's no plausible airport in NJ to use other than EWR which is a recipe for disaster.)

I wonder if it's also because the US aviation sector is far more mature than Europe i.e. the public is used to flying anywhere long distance whilst I have plenty of friends whose starting point for a holiday if where they can get cheaply on Ryanair. I think that in the US there's a lot more of what we'd call regular travel that's by plane and the inconveniences that the skybus model introduced meant it didn't do so well.

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Sinlock
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 1:08 pm

Quoting doulasc (Thread starter):
What I though was odd that passengers boarded through a gate not with a jetway(at the major airports like CMH or FLL) but up roll up stairs.

I can't speak for CMH but thats not how it was done at FLL. They had a roll up stair that was used for Aft boarding but I only saw it used a handful of times in the first few weeks of operations. But the jetway at E8 was always used same with E6 when there was two flights on the ground. Their ramp operation was odd in that it was very over-staffed, it was standard to have 7-9 agents working a flight.
 
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 2:26 pm

I flew Stansted to Wroclaw on Ryan air.

I took a train from central London right to the airport.

When I came back to Stansted, I took a coach to LHR for my flight to the US.

Truth be told, Europe is smaller, more densely packed and far better mass transit/ground transit options even from secondary or tertiary airports. Europe is akin to the northeastern US. If I land at any airport from DCA up to PWM, I can likely get to any major city in between. There is a rail infastructure in place as well as bus options. And no major city is more than 2 hours away.

The biggest weakness of the United States is our reliance on the car and the plane because most of the country does not have a good rail network in place.

So take the Skybus idea at SWF or even HPN.

Is there any reason why both of those airports are not connected to a rail link which gets you into the city?
The train is a mere few miles away from HPN in several directions, there is absolutely no ground transport to get you there nor is it advertised.


So if you are selling cutrate tickets to these secondary airports and there is no quick and cheap link to the city...people rather fly into the main airport.
 
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 2:52 pm

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 5):
It was actually a pretty solid plan--in fact it was pretty much identical to the plan NK was developing at the same time. The big difference was NK flew to places people wanted to go,

The last sentence seems like a glaring flaw, making what could have been "a pretty solid plan" into a huge joke.
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MaverickM11
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 3:28 pm

Quoting planespotting (Reply 15):

The last sentence seems like a glaring flaw, making what could have been "a pretty solid plan" into a huge joke.

Well yeah--NK is successful flying DFWORD for instance, whereas SX floundered flying CMH to Chico-freakin-pee.
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 4:51 pm

Because they were flying in the US. Americans are not willing to fly to cheaper secundary airports and to have very little customer service. Passengers in the US still believe in the 'customer is king' philosophy, that's why a company like Skybus will never work there, unlike in other parts of the world were you have airlines like Ryanair, Wizz Air, AirAsia, Tiger Airways etc... which are all very succesful.
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richierich
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 4:54 pm

Quoting Enilria (Reply 3):
Hub in Columbus and no connections allowed. It's that simple.

I completely agree. The reason they failed is CMH, CMH and CMH some more. Not offering connections was the icing on the cupcake.

As much as I hate to admit it, they were among the first to adapt to the pay-as-you-go model that has worked for Spirit and Allegiant. I won't go as far as to call them visionaries but they were ahead of their time when it came to the ULCC model. Perhaps being the ULCC trendsetter in this country, when most people were simply not used to it or ready for it, didn't help either. But more than anything their poor choice of routes (and "hub", as such) was what doomed them; those new Airbuses didn't pay for themselves!
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Pe@rson
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 4:55 pm

Quoting BasilFawlty (Reply 17):
Passengers in the US still believe in the 'customer is king' philosophy, that's why a company like Skybus will never work there,

Yet NK is financially doing well despite its limited customer service and much unbundling, although it does serve many primary - yet congested - airports.
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 5:01 pm

Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 6):
I feel like on here Skybus was treated as a joke. But the basic model works in Europe, why not in the US?

It's very simple: In Europe when you get to "East Upchuck" you can hop on a train/bus to take you to your final destination. In the US you can't. There's no concept of public transportation in this country outside of the largest metropolitan areas. There's a misconception in that FR flies to isolated airports in the middle of nowhere due to their less than honest advertising techinques but even FR doesn't fly to isolated airports like Skybus used to. SZG and OPO are anyting but small isolated airports and when you get there there's usually a bus or a train waiting for you, or at the very least a short taxi ride to a nearby bus/train station.
 
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 5:15 pm

The question to ask is not "why did skybus fail." The question you should be asking is "who's the ******** who thought skybus EVER had ANY chance of succeeding?"

Honestly, I mean, the airline didn't even allow through-checked luggage, thus making connecting practically impossible. At the same time, though, they didn't fly anywhere anyone would want to end up (Chicopee, Mass?!), thus making their O&D-only model insatiably ludicrously stupid and asinine. It was one of the worst conceived ideas in airline history and that it survived as long as it did is a miracle.
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richierich
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 5:27 pm

Quoting N766UA (Reply 21):
The question to ask is not "why did skybus fail." The question you should be asking is "who's the ******** who thought skybus EVER had ANY chance of succeeding?"

Honestly, I mean, the airline didn't even allow through-checked luggage, thus making connecting practically impossible. At the same time, though, they didn't fly anywhere anyone would want to end up (Chicopee, Mass?!), thus making their O&D-only model insatiably ludicrously stupid and asinine. It was one of the worst conceived ideas in airline history and that it survived as long as it did is a miracle.

Well.....please tell us how you REALLLLY feel!!
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Pe@rson
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 5:46 pm

Quoting N766UA (Reply 21):
I mean, the airline didn't even allow through-checked luggage

A lot of LCCs outside the USA/Canada don't offer connections.

Quoting N766UA (Reply 21):
anywhere anyone would want to end up (Chicopee, Mass?!), thus making their O&D-only model insatiably ludicrously stupid and asinine.

Many LCCs serve alternative airports for big (or fairly big) cities - some 70+ miles away - and it frequently works, with demand stimulated through highly well promoted LOW, LOW, LOW FARES! The airline will benefit, of course, through zero or exceedingly low passenger and aircraft charges and likely other financial traffic volume-based incentive; quicker taxi times; and no or minimal delays. Bus companies then serve these airports either by meeting specific flights (ordinarily if the number of flights/day is low) or regularly on a pay-for basis.

What you have described - no connections and alternative airports - is absolutely nothing new in various parts of the world. The entire point of doing such cost-saving things is to offer lower average fares and thereby stimulate demand which will, in turn, lower costs...

[Edited 2012-05-21 10:50:08]
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planespotting
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 5:53 pm

Quoting Pe@rson (Reply 23):
What you have described - no connections and alternative airports - is absolutely nothing new in various parts of the world.

But in parts of the world that are logistically very different from the U.S. (as has been mentioned already in this thread).

Here, if you fly to an airport and have no one to pick you up and few public transportation options (so, in the outskirt/suburbs of any major city), you're going to have to either rent a car (pricey) or call a taxi (also pricey), thus negating a lot of the fare savings you're likely to achieve by flying to a convenient airport with major public transportation options (subway, commuter rail, city bus, etc.).
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Pe@rson
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 5:58 pm

Quoting planespotting (Reply 24):
Here, if you fly to an airport and have no one to pick you up and few public transportation options (so, in the outskirt/suburbs of any major city), you're going to have to either rent a car (pricey) or call a taxi (also pricey), thus negating a lot of the fare savings you're likely to achieve by flying to a convenient airport with major public transportation options (subway, commuter rail, city bus, etc.).

In the country with some of the highest car usage in the world?! If, say, PSM-CMH operated again, people from the Manchester/Boston/wherever areas could easily drive to PSM and undoubtedly pay very little, compared to BOS, for car parking. Naturally, this should be promoted - likewise the time and hassle-free benefits from such a small airport. Or from CEF or wherever.

Equally, it'd be simple to negotiate with a bus operator to operate a pay-for bus service to coincide with flight arrivals or departures. And SkyBus, or whoever, could promote it and sell tickets and earn a commission.

[Edited 2012-05-21 11:01:10]
"Everyone writing for the Telegraph knows that the way to grab eyeballs is with Ryanair and/or sex."
 
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b727fa
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 7:14 pm

Quoting usflyer msp (Reply 9):
Europe has much better ground transport links to its secondary airports than the US does. On Skybus the transfers into the city often cost more than the ticket.

And we have a winner.

At least nobody has proffered the insane logic that labor was too high for once.
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airlinespotter
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 7:35 pm

Quoting doulasc (Thread starter):
Why Did Skybus Fail?  

$20.00 one-way tickets?
 
BMI727
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 7:35 pm

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 5):
The big difference was NK flew to places people wanted to go, whereas SX took the FR approach of flying to secondary airports to the absolute, farcical extent of literally flying to East Upchuck, from a hub (CMH) that could never provide the volume.

...which by definition would make it not such a solid plan.

Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 6):
But the basic model works in Europe, why not in the US?

It does, look at Spirit.

Quoting usflyer msp (Reply 9):
Europe has much better ground transport links to its secondary airports than the US does.

I don't really buy that. Since the US has so much urban sprawl, these out of the way secondary airports come with their own markets as well more than European ones. I think that part of it could be that many American cities have primary airports that are not as choked or expensive as their European counterparts. Americans don't necessarily have to make the tradeoff between cost/delays and convenience when choosing airports and fewer airports here are crippled with curfews. For example, PHX is neither particularly expensive nor crowded, hence why only Allegiant and Spirit use AZA while Southwest stuck with PHX.

Quoting BasilFawlty (Reply 17):
Americans are not willing to fly to cheaper secundary airports and to have very little customer service.

   Southwest grew by flying to airports like ONT, ISP, MHT and avoiding a lot of really popular airports for a really long time. And Americans are always the people accused of leading the race to the bottom on service. We like service, but we want it optional.

Quoting BasilFawlty (Reply 17):
that's why a company like Skybus will never work there,

One already does. Quite a few do depending on how you score it.

Quoting airbazar (Reply 20):
It's very simple: In Europe when you get to "East Upchuck" you can hop on a train/bus to take you to your final destination. In the US you can't.

But in the US there's a really good chance that many people live closer to East Upchuck than they do to the primary airport. So no, it's not that simple.

Quoting N766UA (Reply 21):
The question you should be asking is "who's the ******** who thought skybus EVER had ANY chance of succeeding?"

   Same here.

Quoting Pe@rson (Reply 23):
A lot of LCCs outside the USA/Canada don't offer connections.

...and there's a reason for that. The US and Canada are so large that you cannot have a practical low cost airline without offering connection, with the exception of Allegiant. Either you have to offer connections or you make a lot of long nonstop flights. The segment length grows, per mile revenue drops, and you are much more at the mercy of oil prices. You can do it with low cost, but probably not ultra low cost.
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planespotting
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 7:43 pm

Quoting Pe@rson (Reply 25):
In the country with some of the highest car usage in the world?! If, say, PSM-CMH operated again, people from the Manchester/Boston/wherever areas could easily drive to PSM and undoubtedly pay very little, compared to BOS, for car parking.
Quoting BMI727 (Reply 28):
I don't really buy that. Since the US has so much urban sprawl, these out of the way secondary airports come with their own markets as well more than European ones.

I'm not talking about getting people to their origin airport. If you live somewhere (and obviously, have a car where you live), it's easy to get anywhere in that locality. However, owning a car in one city won't do you any good when you fly to a different city where you don't have a car and there is not suitable/convenient public transportation.

Like I said - you need to have someone at the airport pick you up, or rent a car/call a taxi on your own. The last two options can add up very quickly.
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enilria
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 8:11 pm

Quoting richierich (Reply 18):
Quoting Enilria (Reply 3):
Hub in Columbus and no connections allowed. It's that simple.

I completely agree. The reason they failed is CMH, CMH and CMH some more. Not offering connections was the icing on the cupcake.

The only reason to put the thing in CMH would be to have it be a connecting hub which they did not allow.

To have enough local traffic it needed to be near a major city or destination. Lakeland or RFD/GYY come to mind. The problem is that the money for SkyBus all came from CMH, so they were stuck with it.
 
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 8:45 pm

Quoting jimbobjoe (Reply 10):
In fact the founder has a plan for putting together a Skybus-like airline, but from Dayton instead. I suspect he's looking at all that juicy Cincinnati fares and wanting a cut of that action.

Considering his first post-Skybus airline never even took to the air (JetAmerica), I don't give any future start-ups much hope. In today's climate, it's going to be tougher for any start-up to take to the air.

Spirit has made the transition to a business model similar to Skybus, but one of the major differences is that they allow connections, which had Skybus offered them, they might have succeeded. Just as people have been known to drive to a Southwest market in order to get a cheaper fare, had their business model been slightly modified for the US market, they might have gotten folks to make the drive to a Skybus markets.

Quoting richierich (Reply 18):
I completely agree. The reason they failed is CMH, CMH and CMH some more. Not offering connections was the icing on the cupcake.

CMH could have worked as a hub if they offered service to more cities passengers wanted to go to (as opposed to alternative airports) as well as offered connections. As mentioned in the thread, the transportation costs from some of these alternative airports to the cities Skybus marketed as having service too didn't make those fares that much of a bargain. Some of these alternative airports have had a history of sporadic service from a multiple of charter and startup carriers offering service to leisure destinations.

Quoting airlinespotter (Reply 27):
$20.00 one-way tickets?

Spirit seems to do pretty good with their $9 Fare Club......

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 28):
  Southwest grew by flying to airports like ONT, ISP, MHT and avoiding a lot of really popular airports for a really long time. And Americans are always the people accused of leading the race to the bottom on service. We like service, but we want it optional.

Folks used to drive right past (or close to) ATL on the way to BHM in order to fly on WN. Even I have been tempted by WN fares out of BHM but figured the driving time, gas and wear and tear on the car would significantly cut into the $100 savings as opposed to flying to the same city out of ATL.
 
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BasilFawlty
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 9:46 pm

Quoting airlinespotter (Reply 27):
$20.00 one-way tickets?

Done by lots of other airlines in the world without going bankrupt.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 28):
It does, look at Spirit.

You can't compare Spirit with Skybus, Spirit flies to the major airports, offers connections, etc etc etc.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 28):
Southwest grew by flying to airports like ONT, ISP, MHT and avoiding a lot of really popular airports for a really long time. And Americans are always the people accused of leading the race to the bottom on service.

And you can't compare Southwest with Skybus either. In many ways Southwest these days is just a legacy airline but with slightly lower fares. The only airline that is close enough to compare is Allegiant, but a large part of their business comes from package deals, so still not the same as an LCC like Skybus.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 28):
We like service, but we want it optional.

Well, look at this topic for example. Skybus offered rock bottom fares and people here are still wondering why didn't have connections, through-checked luggage, ticket counters, etc. etc etc. Those are things you shouldn't expect from a LCC. You buy a cheap ticket, you show up at the airport on time (if you're late it's your own problem, buy a new ticket), you fly ONLY from A to B (from B to C is your own problem, at your own risk) and you fly preferably WITHOUT luggage, only with some handluggage. As I said, that works perfectly well in many parts of the world, but not in the US because people there are still expecting a lot of service, even if there paid fare is close to nothing.  
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BMI727
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 9:55 pm

Quoting BasilFawlty (Reply 32):
And you can't compare Southwest with Skybus either.

You said Americans are unwilling to use cheaper secondary airports while Southwest and others have disproved that.

Quoting BasilFawlty (Reply 32):
Skybus offered rock bottom fares and people here are still wondering why didn't have connections, through-checked luggage, ticket counters, etc. etc etc.

It didn't matter how cheap they offered tickets, they were selling something people didn't want to buy. Had they offered connections, that would have been far less of a problem.

Quoting BasilFawlty (Reply 32):
you fly ONLY from A to B (from B to C is your own problem, at your own risk)

A to C is usually too far away to really go nonstop on an LCC. In Europe getting anywhere nonstop isn't so much of an issue. That's a geographical thing, not a customer thing.

You said:

Quoting BasilFawlty (Reply 17):
Americans are not willing to fly to cheaper secundary airports and to have very little customer service.

And that has empirically been proven to be false.

Quoting planespotting (Reply 29):
I'm not talking about getting people to their origin airport. If you live somewhere (and obviously, have a car where you live), it's easy to get anywhere in that locality. However, owning a car in one city won't do you any good when you fly to a different city where you don't have a car and there is not suitable/convenient public transportation.

That only holds water if you assume virtually everyone is heading downtown. But as a practical matter, given the structure of American cities, you are as likely as not to be heading to some outlying area that may be far more convenient to the "secondary" airport anyway.
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 9:57 pm

Quoting richierich (Reply 22):
Well.....please tell us how you REALLLLY feel!!

Haha sorry, I have a short fuse for companies with lousy business plans. Independence Air was another one. They get all their employees psyched up and happy then they just carpet bomb them. It's sad.

Quoting Pe@rson (Reply 23):
What you have described - no connections and alternative airports - is absolutely nothing new in various parts of the world.

Right, but "various parts of the world" are very, very different from the US. There's a very good reason airlines don't serve Portsmouth, NH, Chicopee, MA, or Bellingham, WA. Alternative airports are fine, but PSM, for example, is not a real alternative to Boston.

Airlines like Skybus are, IMHO, a novelty that do far more to hurt the industry than to help it. Too many of them pop up and go away just as fast, and it does nothing to help the communities they serve or the employees they hire.
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 10:00 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 28):
It does, look at Spirit.

Spirit is enormously niche, though, I think. They cater to those who really, really don't care who they fly on. If you want "a ticket," you fly Spirit. If you want self-respect, service, legroom, anything beyond "a ticket," you fly someone else. (I will acknowledge that the majors aren't much better anymore, however.)

There are, however, enough people who just want "a ticket" to sustain Spirit's model. There's really only room for one airline like that, though. You couldn't have 2 Spirits flying around the US.
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 10:25 pm

Quoting N766UA (Reply 35):
You couldn't have 2 Spirits flying around the US.

But you can have both Spirit and Allegiant?
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 10:52 pm

Spirit and Allegiant are nothing like Skybus. Every route Skybus flew was via CMH or GSO, which, while I am sure are nice places (never been to either) it is nothing like Vegas, or Orlando, or really any other major US city that NK flies to.

Have you looked at the route map of Skybus at the end? Who is going to fly BUR-GSO? Even at $20 a seat? That is the ultimate long, thin route!
 
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 10:58 pm

Quoting UALWN (Reply 36):
But you can have both Spirit and Allegiant?

Allegiant and Spirit are not the same kind of airline. Allegiant serves a limited numbers of leisure desinations from underserved markets (not "secondary" airports.) Spirit serves trunk routes, business and leisure, from major markets, like Boston, Detroit, and Fort Lauderdale. While Allegiant caters to vacationers almost exclusively, Spirit caters to those solely worried about $$$.

Did I mention Allegiant also has human being-sized seat pitch?
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 11:06 pm

Quoting Enilria (Reply 3):
Hub in Columbus and no connections allowed.

IMHO, *some* connections should have been allowed. Perhaps not all, but at least do a more WN like model where the plane would hop a few airports to pull in feed.

Quoting jimbobjoe (Reply 10):
The second problem was the credit crunch.

I'm sure that hastened the demise. I'm not sure about Skybus debugging their full model.

Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 6):
But the basic model works in Europe, why not in the US?

But Skybus wasn't applying the FR model fully. In particular:

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 14):
The biggest weakness of the United States is our reliance on the car and the plane because most of the country does not have a good rail network in place.

That is problem #1. With TSA delays, why not drive? Problem #2 is getting form the airport.

Quoting usflyer msp (Reply 9):
Europe has much better ground transport links to its secondary airports than the US does. On Skybus the transfers into the city often cost more than the ticket.

That is a big killer. The European airports have far larger 'catchment areas' with high density population thanks to their mass transit systems. This opens more markets of opportunity.

FR did a very interesting model. I think that model will come to the US. At this point, a new entrant is going to have to go head to head to Allergiant and Spirit.

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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 11:06 pm

Quoting N766UA (Reply 35):
Spirit is enormously niche, though, I think.

No it's not Spirit, Allegient and Ryanair are the future.

Quoting N766UA (Reply 35):
They cater to those who really, really don't care who they fly on.

That's whether you like it or not that's about 95% of those who buy their own tickets.

Quoting N766UA (Reply 35):
If you want self-respect, service, legroom,

I admit I haven't flown Spirt, however I can imagine they are similar to Ryanair, I personally find it difficult to tell the difference between the service on LCCs and and legacy carriers (maybe apart from the far-east). However, Ryanair is vastly superior when it comes to on-time performance and they have never lost my suitcases.
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Mon May 21, 2012 11:17 pm

Quoting N766UA (Reply 38):
Allegiant serves a limited numbers of leisure desinations from underserved markets (not "secondary" airports.)

That is not true. BLI pulls mostly from YVR, which has plenty of service to LAS, LAX, PHX, etc etc. Not sure if there is currently a YVR-PSP route (there has been in the past)

BLI is in fact a "secondary airport," that is full of mostly BC-plated cars in the parking lot.
 
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Tue May 22, 2012 12:18 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 1):
Because it was a dumb idea. Say what you will about the economy or oil prices, there is still the fact that there just aren't that many people who want to go to Columbus.

I have to respectfully disagree. Please don't take offense, because I value your opinion! I think it was a great idea. I just think the execution of it was poor.

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 5):
It was actually a pretty solid plan--in fact it was pretty much identical to the plan NK was developing at the same time. The big difference was NK flew to places people wanted to go, whereas SX took the FR approach of flying to secondary airports to the absolute, farcical extent of literally flying to East Upchuck, from a hub (CMH) that could never provide the volume.

I agree. It was a genius idea. However, I think CMH was just not a good place to base out of. I also think expansion was too aggressive when oil was such a pain. Had they maintained a handful of routes until oil came down, we might have witnessed success. I also question why they didn't allow connections, especially with CMH. I wish they would have started in a better market. Even STL or OKC would have been interesting to start.

I am not going to armchair CEO here, but I sure wish we could have gotten a better show from Skybus. I really liked the idea, and it could have worked. I think the timing of the launch, aggressive growth, fuel prices, and operating hub were just all too much for a new airline. Imagine what Skybus could have been in the mid 1990s? Sometimes I wish we could go back in time!1
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Tue May 22, 2012 12:21 am

Quoting vegetables2001 (Reply 40):
No it's not Spirit, Allegient and Ryanair are the future.

God I hope you're wrong.

Quoting vegetables2001 (Reply 40):
I admit I haven't flown Spirt, however I can imagine they are similar to Ryanair, I personally find it difficult to tell the difference between the service on LCCs and and legacy carriers (maybe apart from the far-east). However, Ryanair is vastly superior when it comes to on-time performance and they have never lost my suitcases.

I've flown Ryanair and, while I never flew spirit, I worked with their airplanes/crews more than a few times when I was a ramp agent. Ryanair was simple, friendly, and, while cramped, exactly what I expected. I liked Ryanair for what it was.

Spirit crews are amongst the grumpiest, most hateful people I've ever come across in aviation.

Quoting clickhappy (Reply 41):
That is not true. BLI pulls mostly from YVR, which has plenty of service to LAS, LAX, PHX, etc etc. Not sure if there is currently a YVR-PSP route (there has been in the past)

Okay, well then I'll raise you Youngstown, Fort Collins, and Santa Maria. They really don't draw much from nearby cities so much as they generate O&D traffic from locals who otherwise wouldn't be flying.
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Tue May 22, 2012 12:39 am

Quoting N766UA (Reply 43):
O&D traffic from locals who otherwise wouldn't be flying.

We can agree to disagree. Most people taking a vacation are willing to drive to get to an airport, unless they can save money flying from elsewhere.

The ability to cut time and save a few bucks will stimulate a few people, but I doubt that most people are planning on taking a trip to Vegas or Disneyworld as a spontaneous action, especially in his economy. The majority of flyers are choosing Allegiant because it is the cheaper option (or at least it sometimes appears to be cheaper). Airfare is just one part of an overall trips cost, after all.

I've flown Allegiant now three times. Once out of curiosity, and twice because they were the cheapest option. Allegiant's fares are not cheap enough to warrant spontaneous flying, unless driving is a real option (FAT, STK, etc).

Having experienced a multi-hour delay once I asked many fellow passengers, all of who chose G4 because they were the cheapest option.

Out of curiosity, what has your experience(s) been like flying G4?
 
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Tue May 22, 2012 1:49 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 28):
...which by definition would make it not such a solid plan.

Perhaps, but airplanes are mobile assets, and the business plan behind them was probably one of the best of recent start-ups since B6. If they just moved those assets to places people have at least heard of, say Chicago GYY - Houston EFD it would have done better, and even better if it did what NK is doing now such as ORDDFW.

Quoting clickhappy (Reply 44):
The majority of flyers are choosing Allegiant because it is the cheaper option (or at least it sometimes appears to be cheaper).

I think most people choose G4 because they're the only game in town.

Quoting clickhappy (Reply 41):
BLI pulls mostly from YVR, which has plenty of service to LAS, LAX, PHX, etc etc. Not sure if there is currently a YVR-PSP route (there has been in the past)

It also costs around $80-100 in taxes just to cross the border roundtrip by air, before a cent is paid in airfare.

Quoting vegetables2001 (Reply 40):

No it's not Spirit, Allegient and Ryanair are the future.

They may be, but their model is much more limited than a hub and spoke carrier.
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Tue May 22, 2012 1:52 am

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 45):
the business plan behind them was probably one of the best of recent start-ups since B6.

That's a tallest midget award.

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 45):
If they just moved those assets to places people have at least heard of, say Chicago GYY - Houston EFD it would have done better,

That would be a different, and much better, business plan.
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Tue May 22, 2012 3:40 am

Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 6):
But the basic model works in Europe, why not in the US?

The US is much bigger than Europe. Much much much bigger. I think Europeans sometimes forget that it's not just bigger, it's a *lot* bigger. Crossing all of Western Europe is about 1800 miles, covering dozens of countries and an absolutely huge number of major cities. Crossing the US is about 3000 miles and, depending on the route, hits 7-10 major cities.

This screws up the economics of any business plan that doesn't offer point-to-point or easy connections because "secondary" airports in the US can be much farther from their "hub" than the Europe equivalent and the catchment area is far less populated. The vast majority of the US is empty space.

Quoting usflyer msp (Reply 9):
Europe has much better ground transport links to its secondary airports than the US does.

Not only are the links better, they're far shorter.

Quoting BasilFawlty (Reply 17):
Americans are not willing to fly to cheaper secundary airports and to have very little customer service.

This is flat out untrue. Secondary markets do just fine in the US if they're connected intelligently, and if customer service was an issue the US legacy carriers would have gone out of business long ago (technically, they have, but bankruptcy keeps saving them).

Quoting BasilFawlty (Reply 17):
Passengers in the US still believe in the 'customer is king' philosophy

That died in US air travel about 15-20 years ago.

Quoting Pe@rson (Reply 25):
In the country with some of the highest car usage in the world?! If, say, PSM-CMH operated again, people from the Manchester/Boston/wherever areas could easily drive to PSM and undoubtedly pay very little, compared to BOS, for car parking.

Yes, they could...but they'd be screwed at the other end. Unless you've experienced it, it's difficult to describe how difficult the US (and Canada) are to deal with without a car at both ends.

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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Tue May 22, 2012 3:46 am

Quoting F9animal (Reply 42):
Even STL or OKC would have been interesting to start.

Surely, OKC didn't have enough gates to support that kind of operation. Currently, they have 4 or so empty. I guess the new concourses weren't done when SkyBus was flying.

STL probably?
 
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RE: Why Did Skybus Fail?

Tue May 22, 2012 4:55 am

If you look at the FR model, the largest hubs (bases) are located near cities with high demand, like STN and HHN for London and Frankfurt. For Skybus to work, it would need to have its bases near the cities with the highest O&D. ORH (Worcester, MA) would've been a perfect base- an hour from Boston, Hartford, Providence, Manchester, and Springfield connected by bus to a train station that will eventually be on Amtrak's Boston-New York line (they want to route trains through Springfield) as well as a Greyhound Terminal. PSM did very well for similar reasons, although it isn't as central as Worcester.
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