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LAXintl
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Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:46 pm

Per DOT, on July 2nd, the FAA approved the sale of 4 Spirit Airlines inside-perimeter DCA slots to Southwest Airlines effective September 6th.

According to the DOT filling, SWA intends to utilize the slots to commence DCA-STL service - currently a monopoly market, with only regional jet service.


OST-2012-0109

[Edited 2012-07-03 10:46:52]
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avi8
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:49 pm

4 slots meaning 4 daily flights or 4 slots meaning 2 daily flights? I'm sorry, I just get confused. It seeks more logical to me for atwice daily flight to STL rather than 4.
avi8

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sdoyon
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:52 pm

Quoting avi8 (Reply 1):
4 slots meaning 4 daily flights or 4 slots meaning 2 daily flights? I'm sorry, I just get confused. It seeks more logical to me for atwice daily flight to STL rather than 4.

A slot denotes a takeoff OR landing; 4 slots is 2 flights.
 
dbo861
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Tue Jul 03, 2012 5:03 pm

I'm curious when we'll find out if WN will be awarded the slots for DCA-OKC. It's also a matter of time before DCA-MKE on FL gets transferred to MDW and operated by WN.
 
toxtethogrady
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Tue Jul 03, 2012 5:05 pm

That may explain NK dropping DCA-FLL. They're moving to BWI, it looks like.
 
BHMNONREV
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Tue Jul 03, 2012 5:19 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Thread starter):
According to the DOT filling, SWA intends to utilize the slots to commence DCA-STL service - currently a monopoly market, with only regional jet service.

This will give STL service on WN to BOS, EWR, LGA, PHL, BWI and DCA and have the entire eastern market covered. Very impressive WN..
 
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OzarkD9S
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Tue Jul 03, 2012 5:49 pm

Quoting BHMNONREV (Reply 5):


This will give STL service on WN to BOS, EWR, LGA, PHL, BWI and DCA and have the entire eastern market covered. Very impressive WN..

Good news for us in STL, how long before AA drops STL-DCA? One of the few non-cornerstone p2p's left.
Next up: STL-CVG-MKE-MSP-STL.
 
steex
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:22 pm

Definitely good news for STL. It appears WN would gain control of the slots 06 SEPT 12. WN is currently seeking approval to "slide" the slots, which are all for late evening, to commercially viable times. NK had previously received a slide for these slots, but the slide is not transferable. A brief summary of the current status can be found here: OST-2012-0109 - Exemption - DCA Slot Slides
 
GentFromAlaska
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:27 pm

STL also provides government travelers across the Mississippi River at Scott AFB in Illinois larger jet service to the nations capital. Scott of course is home to Headquarters U.S. Transportation Command and Air Mobility Command. These are the offices which coordinated most of the military charters and gray metal logistics around the globe. I liken these commands to FedEx on steroids.
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threeifbyair
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:31 pm

I would have guessed that US would fly DCA-STL but it doesn't. Does anyone have an estimate of the daily STL-WAS traffic? 2x daily on WN is a huge increase in available seats from the current service level on AE.
 
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LAXintl
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:33 pm

Looks like SWA is indeed quite serious about growing DCA. Wonder how much $$$ they parted with to NK.
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BHMNONREV
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:38 pm

Quoting OzarkD9S (Reply 6):
Quoting BHMNONREV (Reply 5):

This will give STL service on WN to BOS, EWR, LGA, PHL, BWI and DCA and have the entire eastern market covered. Very impressive WN..
Good news for us in STL, how long before AA drops STL-DCA? One of the few non-cornerstone p2p's left.

Probably in the works as we speak. One more nail in the AA coffin otherwise known as STL..  
 
steex
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:41 pm

Quoting threeifbyair (Reply 9):
I would have guessed that US would fly DCA-STL but it doesn't. Does anyone have an estimate of the daily STL-WAS traffic? 2x daily on WN is a huge increase in available seats from the current service level on AE.

I don't have the numbers off-hand, but this was a mainline AA route prior to DL entering with 4x CR7 (including after the closure of the STL hub). DL's entrance prompted AA to reduce to 3x CR7 (which DL matched), and AA has simply maintained that schedule since DL closed the route as they parted with DCA slots. So while adding 2x 737 is a huge increase compared to the current offering, it hasn't been that long since a lot more seats were in the market. Ultimately, there's a good chance we'll see AA quietly cut the route and leave a strong performer for WN.
 
nomadic
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:59 pm

Is there any information regarding the greatest number of DCA flights TWA operated at any one time prior to the AA takeover?
IIRC this was a major market for TWA yet AA seems a few AE flights can take care of business (like so many former TWA STL markets)
 
compensateme
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:14 pm

Quoting nomadic (Reply 13):
Is there any information regarding the greatest number of DCA flights TWA operated at any one time prior to the AA takeover?

TW's service to DCA peaked at 13x daily, in the mid-1990s (9xSTL & 4xJFK; later, 7xSTL, 4xJFK & 2xMCI).

In the late '90s, TW was operating 8xSTL & 2xJFK.

By 2000, service to JFK was dropped and STL reduced to 7x.

In 2001, service to STL continued at 7x, and a daily flight to LAX was awarded.

Quote:
IIRC this was a major market for TWA yet AA seems a few AE flights can take care of business (like so many former TWA STL markets)

STL was one of the largest transfer hubs in the USA, with roughly 600 mainline flights at its peak.
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steex
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:18 pm

Quoting nomadic (Reply 13):
IIRC this was a major market for TWA yet AA seems a few AE flights can take care of business (like so many former TWA STL markets)

There's really no point comparing what TWA did in STL 10+ years ago to what AA does there now. Aside from the 3x CR7 service to DCA, there is little to distinguish STL from any other spoke in terms of AA service.
 
FlyASAGuy2005
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:19 pm

Quoting nomadic (Reply 13):
IIRC this was a major market for TWA yet AA seems a few AE flights can take care of business (like so many former TWA STL markets)

As Comp. pointed out, STL was huge for TWA; then inherited by AA. AA slowly cut everything down to the point where it's no more than a spoke city.
What gets measured gets done.
 
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mke717spotter
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:23 pm

Quoting avi8 (Reply 1):
It's also a matter of time before DCA-MKE on FL gets transferred to MDW and operated by WN.

Well, people have been saying this ever since the merger was first announced (almost two years ago now) and it still hasn't happened. It wouldn't surprise me if they eventually move one or two of the flights, but I expect at least two MKE-DCA flights will remain.
Will you watch the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions on Sunday? Only if coach Eric Mangini resigned after a loss.
 
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usxguy
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Tue Jul 03, 2012 8:39 pm

I believe that USAirways flew DCA-STL 3 or 4 times a day using a mix of ERJ 145 and EMB 170 aircraft.... but for the life of me I can't seem to recall an end date.
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LambertMan
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:02 am

Quoting usxguy (Reply 18):
I believe that USAirways flew DCA-STL 3 or 4 times a day using a mix of ERJ 145 and EMB 170 aircraft.... but for the life of me I can't seem to recall an end date.

I'm from St. Louis and now live next to Reagan and I can assure you this hasn't happened in at least the past five years and never, to my knowledge.

Responding to an earlier poster, at one point in time DCA-STL had 800 seats a day in the market between DL and AA. DL was competing against AA's mainline product and over-pricing the market -- commonly offering r/t fares north of $600 over a month out. I was never quite sure of DL's strategy other than to pump up an S-Curve market, but either way it left the market worse off with Delta leaving and AA going to RJ's. I was actually anticipating AA placing S80's back on the route at some point, but I suppose this will squash that possibility. Given the remaining frequent flier base in St. Louis, I think AA can survive and even do well with something like 510 seats a day in the market.
 
ouboy79
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:24 am

Quoting dbo861 (Reply 3):

I'm curious when we'll find out if WN will be awarded the slots for DCA-OKC. It's also a matter of time before DCA-MKE on FL gets transferred to MDW and operated by WN.

The Air 21 slot award has seemed to be taking forever to finalize. Probably a lot of backroom politicking going on. The sad thing is, giving the slots to WN for OKC-DCA would be better than leaving with US. If JAN-DCA was truly viable, there is nothing stopping US from moving a couple of their existing slots over to cover from a route with excess capacity on it.

As far as MKE-DCA, like others have said I think some will remain. They are making a huge push to grab ex-F9 flyers as much as possible right now and it wouldn't be very wise to cut the business routes those pax want. Yes, reduce frequency and give them to MDW where they can be better used but keep something at MKE.
 
usafret
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:39 am

I too hope AA will return the DCA flights to mainline, but the CR7 isn't bad. I believe they dropped the STL-JFK direct as well on AE. Very sad. I'm looking to relocate someplace else with better air service on AA, but not Chicago or Dallas, so will keep thinking about where to go. I'm Ex Plat so in for a dime in for a dollar. Delta looks tempting at this point.
 
September11
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:50 am

Southwest in DCA?? Wow - I am so behind on airline news. Forgive me but I thought Southwest will never fly to DCA... Did previous Southwest management indicate new DCA destination not possible at all? Anyway, improved DCA-STL service sounds good!
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HPRamper
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:10 am

Quoting ouboy79 (Reply 20):
If JAN-DCA was truly viable, there is nothing stopping US from moving a couple of their existing slots over to cover from a route with excess capacity on it.

It can be viable without demanding a slot be given up for it. I don't think DCA really has many routes with "excess capacity" on them. In the end this will be a political decision, a state capital versus a larger market.
 
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knope2001
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:23 am

I gotta say, when I saw this thread I thought "this is how they keep DCA-MKE and start DCA-MDW too". But when I saw it was two slot pairs for St Louis service, it makes me even more convinced that some or all DCA-MKE slots will go to Midway. They could just have easily used these two new slot pairs to get MDW service, a market with no nonstop airines at all. They obvious reason they woudn't pledge these two slots to MDW is that they have other plans for DCA-MDW.

It may be that they trim both DCA-ATL and DCA-MKE to start 3-5 Midway flights, so it's not necessarily certain that all four DCA-MKE moves wholesale down to DCA-MDW. But it seems even more likely to me that something else for MDW is up..
 
F9Animal
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:51 am

Quoting CompensateMe (Reply 14):
STL was one of the largest transfer hubs in the USA, with roughly 600 mainline flights at its peak.

What? I don't want to go off topic, but.... 600 mainline flights a day? Or a week? What was TWAs biggest daily departures from STL?

Also, why would NK want to give up those DCA slots?
I Am A Different Animal!!
 
skycub
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Wed Jul 04, 2012 5:10 am

Quoting F9animal (Reply 25):
What? I don't want to go off topic, but.... 600 mainline flights a day? Or a week? What was TWAs biggest daily departures from STL?

TWA appears to have peaked at Saint Louis in the fourth quarter of 1997 with 537 daily flights, of which 367 were mainline flights (this was also the peak for mainline flights.)

http://www.departedflights.com/TWSTLhub.html
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ouboy79
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Wed Jul 04, 2012 5:21 am

Quoting HPRamper (Reply 23):
It can be viable without demanding a slot be given up for it. I don't think DCA really has many routes with "excess capacity" on them. In the end this will be a political decision, a state capital versus a larger market.

Umm...they are both state capitals? So that really means nothing in this. It will come down to which political lobby does a better job though.

However, what I'm saying US is sitting on a large chunk of DCA slots, WN is not. If JAN is a viable market, US should be able to serve with with any existing slots they already have should it actually be viable. OKC does bring a much larger market to the table though.
 
HPRamper
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Wed Jul 04, 2012 5:31 am

Quoting ouboy79 (Reply 27):
Umm...they are both state capitals? So that really means nothing in this. It will come down to which political lobby does a better job though.

I mean that JAN is basically a capital and not much else. Small market, nothing close to the passenger base that OKC would have.

As far as I'm concerned neither market is "better" for a DCA route. Yes WN would have a larger plane and bring more pax into DCA. But OKC already has a lot more (and probably a lot cheaper) air service overall than does JAN. JAN only sees service to 9 nonstop destinations.
 
Bobloblaw
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:42 pm

STL-DCA was TWA highest margin route in the 1990s along with LGA. TW got a 20% higher yield on the route than AA got on ORD-DCA despite being 100 miles longer.
 
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kgaiflyer
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:22 pm

Quoting CompensateMe (Reply 14):
TW's service to DCA peaked at 13x daily, in the mid-1990s

It wasn't just that. The most interesting people bought walk-up tickets and wound up sitting in the back -- sometimes squeezed into a middle seat. You could have a congressional staffer, a Pentagon insider, or a congressman as a seatmate.

The front seemed filled with rude, obnoxious salesmen on expense accounts -- all of whom seemed to know each other.
 
dadoftyler
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:50 pm

Bobloblaw--in DC I think those "salesmen" are called "lobbyists."  
 
gizmonc
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:02 pm

Does anyone have any idea on how much WN paid NK for those slots. It sure was a short auction NK made their desire to put those 4 slots up for bid on June 21 and it was completed July 3rd.
 
Cubsrule
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:07 pm

Quoting kgaiflyer (Reply 30):
The most interesting people bought walk-up tickets and wound up sitting in the back -- sometimes squeezed into a middle seat. You could have a congressional staffer, a Pentagon insider, or a congressman as a seatmate.

Interestingly, I've found in many of the places I lived in the east coast, it was much more common to find this sort of "interesting" last minute walkup passengers on UA's IAD flights. I've met some interesting characters in the back of UA 737s BDL-IAD, for instance.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
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kgaiflyer
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:12 pm

Quoting dadoftyler (Reply 31):
in DC I think those "salesmen" are called "lobbyists."

Yes -- no doubt.   
 
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kgaiflyer
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:16 pm

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 33):
I've met some interesting characters in the back of UA 737s BDL-IAD, for instance.

But, of course.

There is no UA DCA-BDL service.
 
Cubsrule
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:13 pm

Quoting kgaiflyer (Reply 35):
There is no UA DCA-BDL service.

But US flies it several times a day. There's no UA DCA-STL service, either.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
F9Animal
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:32 am

Quoting skycub (Reply 26):
TWA appears to have peaked at Saint Louis in the fourth quarter of 1997 with 537 daily flights, of which 367 were mainline flights (this was also the peak for mainline flights.)

http://www.departedflights.com/TWSTL....html

Wow! That was double what I thought TWA had!
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lhcvg
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:11 pm

Quoting toxtethogrady (Reply 4):
That may explain NK dropping DCA-FLL. They're moving to BWI, it looks like.

Is there excess LCC demand from BWI? It seems like WN and FL, now WN, has a nice little (big) hub up there, but I wonder how NK is going to fare if they consolidate there instead of DCA. Or are they just going to undercut WN?
 
threeifbyair
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:09 pm

Quoting F9animal (Reply 25):
Also, why would NK want to give up those DCA slots?

DCA is a premium airport - NK is a hard-discounting carrier. Also, I don't know if NK was capturing much (if any) of the Federal Government GSA air travel contract, which is very important to generate volume ex-DCA.
 
OB1504
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:00 pm

Quoting threeifbyair (Reply 39):
DCA is a premium airport - NK is a hard-discounting carrier. Also, I don't know if NK was capturing much (if any) of the Federal Government GSA air travel contract, which is very important to generate volume ex-DCA.

   The DCA service dates back to the pre-ULCC days. If they can make some money off of the slot sale and continue to serve the same area via a different airport, it makes sense for them to move.

That being said, I much prefer DCA to BWI.
 
flyiguy
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:31 pm

Quoting gizmonc (Reply 32):
Does anyone have any idea on how much WN paid NK for those slots. It sure was a short auction NK made their desire to put those 4 slots up for bid on June 21 and it was completed July 3rd.

I do, and lets just say it was a whole lot less than what Jet blue paid per slot for theirs at the DL/US auction  

FLY
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jfklganyc
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:39 pm

"I'm looking to relocate someplace else with better air service on AA, but not Chicago or Dallas, so will keep thinking about where to go. I'm Ex Plat so in for a dime in for a dollar. Delta looks tempting at this point."

You would relocate just to fly an airline? I'm impressed at your dedication!
 
Beechtobus
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:57 pm

So is Spirit completely pulling out of DCA? I wonder because they currently have 6 slots, yet there is only mention of them selling 4 slots and I haven't seen anything that says they are definitely pulling out. Might they be keeping one daily arrival and departure?

I think a move to BWI will be good for them. Other than being being established in DCA for many years, I don't think DCA's location necessarily gives thier ULCC product the advantage that other airlines get from the premium real estate. Now they can expand in the DC area from a non-slot controlled airport, and cover the broader Wasington and Baltimore area. I wouldn't be surprised to see some eventual additions out of BWI, maybe MCO, ORD, LAS, who knows.

Southwest and Spirit offer quite different products, Soutwest's being inclusive, Spirit's being completely unbundled. I think they do, in general, attract a different clientele, and customers with different travelling needs. The fact that NK expanded quite a bit in LAS, a Southwest stronghold, over the past few years shows that they probably have no qualms about doing the same in BWI.
 
OB1504
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:15 am

Quoting beechtobus (Reply 43):
So is Spirit completely pulling out of DCA? I wonder because they currently have 6 slots, yet there is only mention of them selling 4 slots and I haven't seen anything that says they are definitely pulling out. Might they be keeping one daily arrival and departure?

When trying to book a flight to/from DCA after September 5th, the website advises that all services to the Baltimore/Washington area will be moved to BWI. Maybe they haven't found a buyer for the last pair yet?
 
FlyPNS1
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:27 pm

Quoting beechtobus (Reply 43):
I wonder because they currently have 6 slots, yet there is only mention of them selling 4 slots and I haven't seen anything that says they are definitely pulling out. Might they be keeping one daily arrival and departure?

I believe the last pair of slots are special Air21 slots that cannot be sold. They are airline and city pair specific. If NK leaves DCA, the last pair will go back to the DOT. The DOT will then solicit bids for a carrier to take them.
 
sdoyon
Posts: 276
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:25 pm

RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:30 pm

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 45):
I believe the last pair of slots are special Air21 slots that cannot be sold. They are airline and city pair specific. If NK leaves DCA, the last pair will go back to the DOT. The DOT will then solicit bids for a carrier to take them.

If this does happen, I think both WN and US will be very happy...
 
FlyPNS1
Posts: 5287
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:11 pm

Quoting sdoyon (Reply 46):
If this does happen, I think both WN and US will be very happy...

Probably make WN more happy. Most of the Air21 slots were targeted at limited incumbent carriers which US most certainly is not. If the slot does get rebid, the odds of US getting it would be pretty slim.
 
steex
Posts: 1337
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2007 8:45 am

RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:54 pm

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 47):
Probably make WN more happy. Most of the Air21 slots were targeted at limited incumbent carriers which US most certainly is not. If the slot does get rebid, the odds of US getting it would be pretty slim.

Unless the reason they haven't announced a selection between US/JAN and WN/OKC is that DOT plans to allow both routes by utilizing the additional Air21 slots vacated by NK.
 
ouboy79
Posts: 4114
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RE: Southwest Buys Spirit DCA Slots

Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:27 pm

Interesting thought. Hopefully that is what is going on.

http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=DOT-OST-2000-7182-1909

Docket filed by NK stating they are returning the AIR 21 slots back for DOT to reassign.

[Edited 2012-07-06 08:30:15]

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