nycdave
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US Abandoning The Northeast

Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:34 am

Barely a decade ago, US was a major player in the northeast. It had a ton of legacy routes and bases from its predecessors like Allegheny and Piedmont, as well as a hub at LGA, and at BOS.

Now, other than the DCA-LGA-BOS shuttle, and the PHL hub, it seems like US has more or less given up competing in the northeast. They gave up their position at LGA and BOS, and have slashed routes and frequencies from places like SYR, ALB, and the like. Just looking at historic route maps, you see a significant "thinning out" of US's northeast presence.

Why would they do that? It's not like it's an easy market to move back *into* if they change their mind down the road. Unless this was some long-view strategy anticipating an eventual merger with AA or UA, it doesn't make a lot of sense. Sure, it's highly competitive, but that's in part because the revenue potential is great due to the huge O/D flows, corporate contracts, and cargo.

Did the growth of B6 undermine the profitability of all those smaller markets they used to connect to LGA and BOS? Could US just not compete with its rivals? I'm really just curious as to why an airline would, so dramatically, move OUT of the northeast, when other airlines like DL invested so heavily in moving INTO it, or like AA and UA, invested in building their product to compete better, or lock down a fortress hub... As I said, it's not like it would be cheap (barring a merger) for US to move *back* into these airports...
 
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OzarkD9S
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:53 am

So many routes that made the old US are no longer viable. The old Mohawk/Empire/USEx spiderweb NE networks are dead in the water, all about hubs now. Local P2P all over the country is dying unless you have 200+ pax a day minimum. If you don't feed a hub or unless its a biz market, forget it.
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milemaster
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:56 am

US sacrificed LGA slots for DCA slots. They are committed to the northeast, but it's better to do it from DCA & PHL rather than competing against the ocean of NYC players with far more fleet and facility firepower than US could ever hope to deploy profitably.

[Edited 2012-12-17 19:25:49]
 
spiritair97
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:01 am

What do you mean the only major northeast market they still have is the LGA-DCA shuttle?

They do have the PHL hub, like you said.

They also still have a decent presence at LGA:

Hourly shuttle to BOS
(Almost) hourly shuttle to DCA
12-13x flights daily to PHL
12x flights daily to CLT
7x flights daily to PIT

~60-65 daily flights from LGA

At BOS, they have:

16-18x flights daily to PHL
9-10x flights daily to CLT
Hourly shuttle to LGA
Hourly shuttle to DCA
2-3x flights daily to PHX
3x flights daily to BUF
2x flights daily to RIC
2-3x flights daily to SYR
2x flights daily to MDT

~70 flights a day from BOS

Just between LGA and BOS, that's around 140 flights each day!! I'd hardly call that abandoning the northeast.

As for other Northeast airports,

PVD has:

5-6x daily flights to CLT
6-7x daily flights to PHL
4-5x daily flights to DCA

ALB has:

2-3x daily flights to CLT
5-6x daily flights to PHL
2-3x daily flights to DCA

BDL has:

6x daily flights to DCA
5x daily flights to CLT
7x daily flights to PHL

SYR has:

7x daily flights to PHL
2-3x daily flights to CLT
4x daily flights to DCA

Between these airports:

~60 flights each day, and that isn't even close to all their northeastern airports.

While I do see your point about how US Airways has scaled back quite a bit, I would never call it abandonment in it's current state.
 
PHX787
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:05 am

Here's what I am wondering, if AA and US don't merge, and they continue this potential trend, does anyone think they'll do some domestic expanding at CLT and PHX?

No PHX bias intended by the way  
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HPRamper
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:24 am

New England maybe. Not the Northeast.

The scaling back in the region consists almost completely of the closing of the BOS focus city and downsizing of LGA. Both remain very important stations for US. How many stations have been completely closed? That would be much more cause for concern but I don't recall very many.
 
usflyer msp
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:44 am

US has scaled back in NE. It is the result of higher fuel prices, new weight requirements on regional aircraft and security delays since 9/11 making shorthaul, intra-northeast flights both undesirable for pax and unprofitable for airlines. US had to change or die...
 
NWADTWE16
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:05 am

Quoting usflyer msp (Reply 6):
US had to change or die...

and now they are a great carrier which makes this merger talk all the more horrible..please dont go US
=(
 
Squid
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:10 am

Don't forget that many of the small to mid-sized cities in the NE have stagnated over the last several decades with the shrinking of the steel industry, auto part manufacturing plants closing and moving abroad, other manufacturing cities losing their factories, and farmers farming more land pushing other farmers out of business and into the cities. Really the only reason many of the point to point flights lasted so long was because America's mid-sized cities were vibrant and CAB regulations forced airlines onto those routes. After deregulation, coupled with the dramatic shift in America's economy, it was only a matter of time before these flights were ended.
 
threeifbyair
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:13 am

BOS and BDL still have PIT service as well, athough not mainline.

BDL-PIT is E145s, BOS-PIT is a mix of CRJs and E170s.
 
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jfklganyc
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:39 am

They still have a NE presence.

They have basically given up on LGA and BOS.

You mention 65-70 flights each...but they are not well rounded. It is high frequency service to a handful of cities. I don't know about BOS, but they end up wasting the slots they do have in NY....because it doesn't work.

Unless you are flying to CLT or PHL (why would you fly to PHL from NY), you have no reason to fly them. Period.

The shuttle service used to supplement a large network for business travellers. Now DL has that and US doesn't. (Both Shuttles lose lots of money btw)

The remainder of those flights into LGA are filled with connectors in PHL, CLT and to a lesser extent DC. Then they are competing with DL in ATL, DL in MEM, UA in IAD, plus the nonstops from NYC on DL, AA, UA, and B6 to just about anywhere.

US is in a bad position in NYC and the merger with AA won't really change that. It will give the new airline a half-hearted hub at JFK and another 65 LGA slots that they won't know how to deploy profitably.
 
USAirALB
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:16 am

Up until September 11th, US operated a large point-to-point operation in the northeast. Basically, almost every medium/large city in the Northeast was well served by US. In one of my 2000 era timetables I counted 54 nonstops from ALB, 51 from SYR, 44 from BUF, 41 from PVD, and 38 from BDL. ALB/SYR and to a lesser extent of BUF and PVD acted as mini focus cities connecting pax in small towns to mainline US service. During this time ALB/SYR/BDL all had daily Florida service by Metrojet, and BUF had weekly Florida service through Mainline. PVD had weekly service to Florida through Metrojet. The reason ALB and SYR had more flights than other cities as they were US's "Gateway to Rural NY" as I call it. ALB had frequent flights to the Adirondack towns of SLK and PBG (in addition to BWI, BGM, BOS, BUF, BTV, CLT, ISP, LGA, EWR, MCO, PHL, PIT, PVD, ROC, SYR, IAD, and DCA). ALB is also more in the middle of the Northeast than the other cities above, enabling better connections. SYR had frequent flights to the Leatherstocking Region of NY (ELM/ITH/UCA). ELM and ITH had mainline service as well at this time.

What killed US on these P2P routes is when regional turboprop flying became expensive, and ultimately, when TSA and security killed short flights. That, and the advancement of LCCs. We have to remember that during this time, US operated a mismatched fleet (727s, 732s,733s, 734s, 752s, 762s, 319s, 320s, DC9s, MD80s, F100s) A321s were to be introduced in 2001, and I believe A333s were delivered in late 2000. Along with the mismatched fleet, US had high labor costs during this time. Flights longer than 1.5 hours during Breakfast and Lunch had a meal service in Coach. Combine all of these factors, and you have an expensive operation.
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N62NA
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:53 pm

Quoting Squid (Reply 8):
Don't forget that many of the small to mid-sized cities in the NE have stagnated over the last several decades

This is something that can't be underestimated, especially in upstate New York.
 
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jfklganyc
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:36 pm

Well the regional jet changed this too.

SYR/ROC/BUF/ALB are all connected to major hubs in the midwest and southeast with connections to the world.

All of those cities and small towns listed above are within a 1 to 2 hour drive of a nonstop flight to ATL, CLT, JFK, IAD, ORD, or DTW.

Good enough really.

The whole airline dynamic has changed
 
brilondon
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:53 pm

Quoting usflyer msp (Reply 6):

US has scaled back in NE. It is the result of higher fuel prices, new weight requirements on regional aircraft and security delays since 9/11 making shorthaul, intra-northeast flights both undesirable for pax and unprofitable for airlines. US had to change or die...

Amtrak has eaten away at the business passenger market by allowing one to travel between Boston, New York and Washington without the hassles of flying. You can save time and the wonderful TSA harassment at the airport and be where business is in the core of these cities. Or if you need to get to a particular location, you still need to take a cab.
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boeing71234567
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:54 pm

BDL seems fine in terms with US. They have 6x flights to DCA, 5x to CLT, and 7x to PHL. They recently upgraded one of their flights to A319's from E170's. The route usually averages 75%+ load factors each flight depending on the aircraft. PHL has also upgraded to an A319 every day from BDL one one of their flights with 80%+ load factors on each flight. CLT seems to be full every flight. They have all mainline every day, and recently upgraded to an A321 on one of their flights. Each flight seems to be at least 85% to 90% full, usually more. There is also a rumor going around that service to PHX from BDL will be announced soon. It seems like BDL and BOS are major players for US in the New England market. I wouldn't say New England has been abandoned, but there have been noticeable drops.
 
apodino
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:59 pm

Abandonded the Northeast...last time I checked US served BGR, BTV, MHT, PVD, BDL, BOS, ELM, ITH, BGM, ALB, SYR, ROC, HVN, SBY, IPT, AVP, ABE, HPN, ISP, LGA, PHL, MDT, PIT, ERI, etc.

I don't think any other carrier serves more destinations in the Northeast than US...even in spite of the recent cuts to the big NE cities. So have they abandoned the Northeast? Hardly. Are they smarter in the way they serve the Northeast? Absolutely.
 
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ssteve
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:16 pm

Quoting N62NA (Reply 12):
Quoting Squid (Reply 8):
Don't forget that many of the small to mid-sized cities in the NE have stagnated over the last several decades

This is something that can't be underestimated, especially in upstate New York.

I think the rust belt thing can certainly be overstated when it comes to actually recent decades. Total passengers summed up along BUF/ROC/SYR/ALB might be interestingly tepid, but relative to everywhere else? eh.
 
RL757PVD
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:32 pm

Quoting boeing71234567 (Reply 15):
It seems like BDL and BOS are major players for US in the New England market

Yes, however, in the past 10-15 years US has dropped the following nonstop destinations from BDL:

BUF, ROC, SYR, BWI, MCO, FLL, TPA, LGA, PHX, LAS, PBI and IAD ...with PIT probably joining that list sooner or later.
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steeler83
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:03 pm

Quoting apodino (Reply 16):
Abandonded the Northeast...last time I checked US served BGR, BTV, MHT, PVD, BDL, BOS, ELM, ITH, BGM, ALB, SYR, ROC, HVN, SBY, IPT, AVP, ABE, HPN, ISP, LGA, PHL, MDT, PIT, ERI, etc.

I don't think any other carrier serves more destinations in the Northeast than US...even in spite of the recent cuts to the big NE cities. So have they abandoned the Northeast? Hardly. Are they smarter in the way they serve the Northeast? Absolutely.

  

Yeah, let's see. Way back in the day, didn't US have sizeable operations (60-plus daily departures) at SYR, BUF, ALB, BDL, BOS, LGA, BWI, PIT, PHL, LGA, DCA, just to name a few? I know PIT, PHL, and BWI as recent as 2001 were all hubs plus the large focus cities at LGA, BOS, and DCA. Now it's just PHL with a growing DCA hub.

If this NE "pull down" is due to speculation of a merger with AA, then they'd likely have a stronger hold on the NE. Some here seem to think that JFK could focus on high-yield OD, both domestically and internationally, while PHL could handle some lower yielding O&D plus connecting traffic. That was someone's post from the US/AA offical merger offer thread. I forget who posted it, but it's there...
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tommy767
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:43 pm

Crazy how US at one time had hubs at BWI, PHL, DCA, PIT, DAY, SYR, and IND all at the same time...

Didn't ALB have some 40ish flights a day and a club as recently as 2001?
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United_fan
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:21 pm

Quoting RL757PVD (Reply 18):
Yes, however, in the past 10-15 years US has dropped the following nonstop destinations from BDL:

BUF, ROC, SYR, BWI, MCO, FLL, TPA, LGA, PHX, LAS, PBI and IAD ...with PIT probably joining that list sooner or later.

I remember reading that US' ROC-BDL flights were mostly there for Xerox. I rememner US having a club in ROC. They also used to have mainline flights to MCO and PHL. Now we only get one A319 to CLT on the mainline side..
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tharanga
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:27 pm

As others have said, yes, US had a huge point-to-point spiderweb of a network in the northeast. and yes, that's gone. but why should we be surprised by that?

now in 2012, does any other airline still operate such a regional spiderweb, connecting smaller cities like that?

it's a sign of what's commercially viable today, not any statement on US's commitment to the region.
 
USAirALB
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:36 pm

Quoting tommy767 (Reply 20):
Didn't ALB have some 40ish flights a day and a club as recently as 2001

Do people not read my posts?

Quoting USAirALB (Reply 11):
one of my 2000 era timetables I counted 54 nonstops from ALB
Quoting USAirALB (Reply 11):
ALB had frequent flights to the Adirondack towns of SLK and PBG (in addition to BWI, BGM, BOS, BUF, BTV, CLT, ISP, LGA, EWR, MCO, PHL, PIT, PVD, ROC, SYR, IAD, and DCA). ALB is also more in the middle of the Northeast than the other cities above, enabling better connections

As seen above, ALB had a 50 plus operation in both 2001 and 2000.

The club closed after 9/11. It is still intact, but the sign is gone and the wooden doors were replaced with the same doors found at the jetway.
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panam330
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:06 am

Quoting USAirALB (Reply 23):
The club closed after 9/11. It is still intact, but the sign is gone and the wooden doors were replaced with the same doors found at the jetway.

The SYR club is still intact as well - wooden doors and all.
 
USAirALB
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:08 pm

Quoting panam330 (Reply 24):

When did the club close?
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HVNandrew
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:17 pm

Quoting United_fan (Reply 21):
I remember reading that US' ROC-BDL flights were mostly there for Xerox.

I that that was the purpose of CO's old HPN-ROC flights. BDL is pretty out of the way from Stamford. HPN is right next door.

The BDL-ROC/SYR were holdouts of the old US point-to-point system. I think they only ended about a year ago.
 
doug_or
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:20 pm

Remember that a large number of these smaller p2p routes were not US routes (at least not for the last 5+ years). They were Colgan routes flown at risk by aircraft in USX colors.
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EricR
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:13 pm

Quoting apodino (Reply 16):
So have they abandoned the Northeast? Hardly. Are they smarter in the way they serve the Northeast? Absolutely.


  

The use of the word "abandoned" is not the proper term to describe what US did to their Northeast route structure. Remember that US announced a few years ago a restructuring of their entire network. I believe they said 95% of all flights would either begin or end in PHL, CLT, PHX, or DCA. The "un-winding" of their network was intended to add efficiencies into their overall operation. This impacted their entire P2P operation across the country, not just the Northeast. However, this should not be confused with abandoning the Northeast. Most, if not all, medium to large cities are still served today as they were several years ago.

Therefore, I think you can accurately describe this as US eliminating most P2P flying in the Northeast, but this is old news and impacts their overall network, not just the Northeast.
 
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:57 pm

Quoting usflyer msp (Reply 6):
US has scaled back in NE. It is the result of higher fuel prices, new weight requirements on regional aircraft and security delays since 9/11 making shorthaul, intra-northeast flights both undesirable for pax and unprofitable for airlines. US had to change or die...

Not to mention two Chapter 11 fillings w/in a 2-to-3 year period and a close brush w/Chapter 7 had HP not stepped in.

Keep in mind US' decisions have been made out of Tempe, AZ not Crystal City, VA for the last 7 years.

That said:

Quoting EricR (Reply 28):
The use of the word "abandoned" is not the proper term to describe what US did to their Northeast route structure. Remember that US announced a few years ago a restructuring of their entire network. I believe they said 95% of all flights would either begin or end in PHL, CLT, PHX, or DCA. The "un-winding" of their network was intended to add efficiencies into their overall operation. This impacted their entire P2P operation across the country, not just the Northeast. However, this should not be confused with abandoning the Northeast. Most, if not all, medium to large cities are still served today as they were several years ago.

  
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jfklganyc
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:04 pm

Quoting PHLBOS (Reply 29):
Not to mention two Chapter 11 fillings w/in a 2-to-3 year period and a close brush w/Chapter 7 had HP not stepped in.

It's true, but rarely mentioned on here.

US was weeks if not days away from total insolvency in the winter of 2005 I believe.

A lot changed...for the better
 
HPRamper
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:20 pm

Quoting EricR (Reply 28):
The use of the word "abandoned" is not the proper term to describe what US did to their Northeast route structure. Remember that US announced a few years ago a restructuring of their entire network. I believe they said 95% of all flights would either begin or end in PHL, CLT, PHX, or DCA.

While the Northeast may get a lot more attention, it is in the Western half of the country where US has really downsized post-merger.
 
nycdave
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:13 am

Oy vey. First of all, I said ABANDONING not "abandoned". Don't know how that entered into things, other than people wanting a straw man for some inexplicable reason. I'm well aware that they still have a notable presence -- but my point was that it's been a steady downhill trend, with BOS and LGA losing focus city status well after 9/11, the bankruptcies, the HP merger, etc. My question was to ask whether this implies a definite strategy of walking away from competition in the northeast, and if so, is that a wise strategy?

When US had such a large presence at BOS and LGA in particular, was it smart to cut those down rather than making an effort to become the (or a) dominant player in those high-profit markets?

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 10):
Then they are competing with DL in ATL, DL in MEM, UA in IAD, plus the nonstops from NYC on DL, AA, UA, and B6 to just about anywhere.

Exactly -- when you live in a city with other airlines offering hub and focus city operations, why on earth would you fly an airline that treats you as a spoke in their hub network? Especially from a corporate contract standpoint, much more appealing to go with more non-stops.

If you're in one of those *smaller* cities like SYR or ROC that have been downsized significantly (and sensibly so in the post-9/11 environment), you also have to ask whether there is enough connecting business to still make sense, and whether your connecting hubs are competitively places for where people there want to go. B6 particularly has just destroyed US in the northeast and upstate NY -- by not only providing direct service to NYC that US gave up at LGA, but also providing a more convenient hub for intra-northeast travel, and international connections.


I definitely think building up DCA is a smart move -- it's incredibly lucrative O/D.

My larger concern was whether it was wise to back out of some other incredibly lucrative markets instead of making a play for them, when they controlled so many slots and real estate that they'll almost definitely be unable to get back!
 
HPRamper
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:01 pm

Quoting nycdave (Reply 32):
My question was to ask whether this implies a definite strategy of walking away from competition in the northeast, and if so, is that a wise strategy?

US clearly cares more about profitability than market share and it has worked out well for them so far. The old pre-merger US had the opposite strategy and it nearly pushed them into insolvency.

Quoting nycdave (Reply 32):
When US had such a large presence at BOS and LGA in particular, was it smart to cut those down rather than making an effort to become the (or a) dominant player in those high-profit markets?

The old US was getting killed at BOS by the expansion of B6. They just couldn't compete with their cost structure. It was absolutely the right decision to simply walk away. With LGA it was more of a value decision, either continue to compete with every other major legacy in a saturated, overcrowded market or take even more market share and basically seal the deal on a more lucrative fortress hub. US was spread too thin and was suffering as a result of it. They learned the hard way that you can't be everything to everyone.

Quoting nycdave (Reply 32):
Exactly -- when you live in a city with other airlines offering hub and focus city operations, why on earth would you fly an airline that treats you as a spoke in their hub network? Especially from a corporate contract standpoint, much more appealing to go with more non-stops.

As we see with the very high frequency flights from LGA to PHL and DCA, US has decided that those O&D numbers are the only ones they really care much about. They have voluntarily made themselves a bit player in the NYC market. And there is nothing wrong with that in itself, they probably had been losing corporate contracts in NYC anyway after the other big mergers and a fortress hub at DCA doubtless more than balanced out the financials.
 
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Revelation
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:19 pm

Interesting topic, since I will be flying US for the first time in quite a while.

My holiday itenerary is MHT-PHL-TPA, TPA-DCA-MHT.

I usually use WN, but US was cheaper and was bookable via my credit card's bonus rewards site.

So at least for me US's business practices are working in my favor.

It'll be interesting to see how their customer service is these days, especially in the stressful holiday rush.

Quoting steeler83 (Reply 19):
Yeah, let's see. Way back in the day, didn't US have sizeable operations (60-plus daily departures) at SYR, BUF, ALB, BDL, BOS, LGA, BWI, PIT, PHL, LGA, DCA, just to name a few? I know PIT, PHL, and BWI as recent as 2001 were all hubs plus the large focus cities at LGA, BOS, and DCA. Now it's just PHL with a growing DCA hub.

If this NE "pull down" is due to speculation of a merger with AA, then they'd likely have a stronger hold on the NE.

2001 is ancient history in the airline business.

Quoting HPRamper (Reply 33):
a fortress hub at DCA doubtless more than balanced out the financials

And makes US a more interesting merger partner.
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EricR
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Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2010 4:15 pm

RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:29 pm

Quoting nycdave (Reply 32):
My question was to ask whether this implies a definite strategy of walking away from competition in the northeast, and if so, is that a wise strategy?



The answer to the first part of your question is below.

Quoting EricR (Reply 28):
Remember that US announced a few years ago a restructuring of their entire network. I believe they said 95% of all flights would either begin or end in PHL, CLT, PHX, or DCA.



The answer to your second question is yes. The airline's financial performance has been very positive since the strategy was implemented. People are too focused with an airline flying N/S to every conceivable destination out of every city. The name of the game is profitability, not who has the most hubs, nor most focus cities, nor most N/S flights from every city.
 
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ssteve
Posts: 1174
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:11 pm

Quoting nycdave (Reply 32):
B6 particularly has just destroyed US in the northeast and upstate NY -- by not only providing direct service to NYC that US gave up at LGA, but also providing a more convenient hub for intra-northeast travel, and international connections.

Where WN didn't get to first. I know there's now some overlap, but it was always interesting to see WN and B6 avoiding competition at places like ROC, SYR, ALB, BTV, MHT. Finally the battle's on in other places.

I lived in BTV from 2003-2008, and the choice to NYC was B6, which seemed happy to have you, and US, which seemed to over those years be doing everything in its power to scare customers away.** First in bag fees, stale pretzels, and finally I remember arriving early for a US Dash-8 flight to LGA in order to beat some inclement weather, and having the CSA demand I pay money to standby on an earlier flight. That was it. Those years created a lot of damage US will spend a few more years trying to undo. You can't build a brand reputation as the premier tightwad legacy and then hope to quickly ameliorate it.

** I guess there was a third choice with CA to EWR, on regional jets rather than DH8's. Also nicer than US at that point. The only thing US had going for it was LGA's location.
 
IADCA
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RE: US Abandoning The Northeast

Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:35 pm

Quoting nycdave (Reply 32):
When US had such a large presence at BOS and LGA in particular, was it smart to cut those down rather than making an effort to become the (or a) dominant player in those high-profit markets?
Quoting HPRamper (Reply 33):
The old US was getting killed at BOS by the expansion of B6. They just couldn't compete with their cost structure. It was absolutely the right decision to simply walk away. With LGA it was more of a value decision, either continue to compete with every other major legacy in a saturated, overcrowded market or take even more market share and basically seal the deal on a more lucrative fortress hub. US was spread too thin and was suffering as a result of it. They learned the hard way that you can't be everything to everyone.

This is a good summary. Also, nycdave - this is mentioned by HPRamper, but I wanted to make it even more clear - remember that US didn't give away LGA for free. They essentially traded a competitive position there for the finishing touches on a fortress at DCA via the slot swap. This was a no-brainer.

As for BOS, remember that AA was much bigger there when the pulldown began, although also getting hammered by B6. BOS, though high-yield, has the major disadvantage of being poorly positioned for connections on domestic flights. That makes it more or less a point-to-point airport, and on a straight P2P basis, B6 is a clear winner over US. Note that if AA had pulled down its BOS operation earlier, that might have changed things, as US might have been tempted to add international flying from there (although liquidity concerns could have impacted the ability to add the required metal for this). Would have been interesting.