simairlinenet
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Point-to-Point SkyWest Routes For United

Wed Mar 27, 2013 4:25 pm

Looking at United's domestic route map, there are a few non-hub routes that I thought would be interesting to learn about.
-MMH-SAN/SNA: makes sense, ski market to big metro areas
-SMF-ACV-CEC: political connection for Northern California?
-LAS-FAT/PSP: facilitate crew/maintenance bases?
-PDX-EUG/LMT/OTH/RDM/SEA: intra-NW connecting operation, from the schedules?
-Any others?

General questions:
-How long have these routes been around?
-What purpose do they serve? My guesses are above.
-I presume they are at-risk? I thought these flights are in United livery. Compare this to at-risk routes sold by Delta, all in SkyWest livery.
-What others have there been in the past?
-Some routes seem to be missing from these themes: PDX-MFR, SMF-SAN/SNA. Why aren't these flown?
 
flyingalex
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RE: Point-to-Point SkyWest Routes For United

Wed Mar 27, 2013 4:46 pm

Quoting simairlinenet (Thread starter):
SMF-SAN/SNA. Why aren't these flown?

Southwest flies both of those routes. UA might have a hard time competing against big-jet service with an RJ. I know which I would prefer to fly on!
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LAXintl
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RE: Point-to-Point SkyWest Routes For United

Wed Mar 27, 2013 4:52 pm

At the moment 25 of the 34 Brasilia's in the United system are under Skywest own pro-rate flying.

For the CRJ200 - 17 of the 78 are under Skywest own risk.
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OH-LGA
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RE: Point-to-Point SkyWest Routes For United

Wed Mar 27, 2013 5:17 pm

My knowledge is perhaps a year or so old, but should still hold true. With the exception of routes out of MMH, all of the routes you mention are operated at-risk by SkyWest utilizing UA flight numbers, for which OO pays UA a fee for handling passenger transactions (reservations, departure control, etc.), while taking the financial risk for operating the flights in question.

OO operates both EM2s and CRJ200s on at-risk routes, while CR7s are exclusively operated under fee-per-departure agreements with UA. EM2 & CR2 aircraft are used on fee-per-departure routes as well, but the number of EM2 frames under fee-per-departure are quite small (single digits, if I remember correctly?) EM2 aircraft are painted in UAX or in OO house colors. They're used interchangeably on UA-coded at-risk routes.

The routes have been around for varying lengths of time. I can only speak back to when I started working for OO back in 2001, but SMF-ACV/CEC, LAS-FAT/PSP and PDX-EUG/RDM/SEA have been operated for sure since then.

UAX/OO used to have a fairly substantial operation out of both PDX and SEA (SEA-PSC/GEG/YVR/MMH have all been flown at some point), but as RJs became more available and routes started to be operated from other UA hubs, the entire Pacific Northwest UAX operation became unnecessary. United was going to cut the Pac NW operation completely but OO decided to keep the operation running on an at-risk basis under the UA code.

SFO-OTH/LMT began in 2008, and PDX-OTH/LMT connections began a few months later. AS/QX pulled out of both cities in October 2008 as the Q200s were being phased out and the Q400s were too much airplane for those cities. PDX-OTH isn't operated any more (discontinued a little over a year ago) but service is provided currently by SeaPort Airlines. PDX-LMT sees a single daily flight. Both OTH and LMT service by OO has really always focused on SFO.

PDX-MFR was operated up until a couple years ago, and as the EM2 retirements continue that was one of the routes that was cut as a result (MFR also has service to both DEN and SFO under the UA code, so PDX flying wasn't really needed).

SFO-MMH began in late 2010, and SAN/SNA-MMH began a year later, so they are both relatively new. They do meet the ski market demographic, and linked to fairly high-spend areas as well. Decisions regarding MMH routes for UA are handled by UA as it's a fee-per-departure market.

SMF-ACV-CEC is indeed considered a political connection to the North Coast, and it's often a popular connecting point for passengers returning from the East Coast (connecting from DEN/ORD-SMF flights) to avoid the ATC delays, etc. that are common in SFO.

OO has to toe a fine balance between its at-risk operation and it's contract operations. Operating intra-California routes such as SMF-SNA/SAN would not only pit it again the juggernaut that is WN (operating with uncompetitive aircraft with high seat costs such as the CR2 would render the service loss-making immediately) but also steal traffic from UA that would connect over SFO (in the case of both SAN/SNA) or LAX (SAN only).
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futureualpilot
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RE: Point-to-Point SkyWest Routes For United

Wed Mar 27, 2013 5:32 pm

From what I hear the OO Bro at risk flying is the biggest money maker, or second biggest behind the -900 flying. Not surprising given the economics of the airplane.
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Yflyer
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RE: Point-to-Point SkyWest Routes For United

Wed Mar 27, 2013 6:20 pm

Quoting simairlinenet (Thread starter):
-SMF-ACV-CEC: political connection for Northern California?

I'm sure the political connection is a big part of it, but for those who aren't familiar with the region I'm sure another factor is that there is really no good, direct route to drive between the two points. The drive from SMF to ACV requires a looong streatch of mountainous, winding, two lane highway. It's quite scenic if you're not in a hurry, but it is slow going.
 
SANFan
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RE: Point-to-Point SkyWest Routes For United

Wed Mar 27, 2013 6:54 pm

Quoting simairlinenet (Thread starter):
MMH-SAN/SNA: makes sense, ski market to big metro areas.

   This is the second winter for these Mammoth routes so they must have done okay last time.

Also, UA (Shuttle) used to fly SAN-SMF (and maybe SAN-OAK but I don't think so) several years ago. I think it might have lasted one or two years but that's it. Would LUV to see some competition in both markets but WN certainly would be tough to go up against even though they have reduced capacity in both markets over the last few years.

As I recall, SAN-IPL is about the only other local/express market that UA has flown in the past from Lindbergh.

bb
 
Goldenshield
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RE: Point-to-Point SkyWest Routes For United

Wed Mar 27, 2013 8:16 pm

PSP-LAS is one of the few remnants of SunAire (along with PSP-LAX). FAT-LAS is a remnant of WestAir.

Quoting OH-LGA (Reply 3):
EM2 & CR2 aircraft are used on fee-per-departure routes as well, but the number of EM2 frames under fee-per-departure are quite small (single digits, if I remember correctly?) EM2 aircraft are painted in UAX or in OO house colors.

Until the new new pilot contract comes into effect, OO has to abide with the provisions of the old UA pilot's contract, which allows a certain percentage of flying to be pro-rate.
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Wingtips56
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RE: Point-to-Point SkyWest Routes For United

Wed Mar 27, 2013 8:46 pm

The Northern California routes go way back to WestAir, taking over from previous bug-smashers in 1979 (which is when I began working for them in SMF). WestAir grew out of STOL Air at STS, which had acquired what was left of Golden Eagle and NorCal, with BN Islander and BN Trislander on the STS-SFO runs, and the predecessor C402s on the SFO-SMF/CIC/RDD runs. Then VB (later OE) added ACV and CEC in 1980, after the demise of Air Pacific. WestAir several years later became United Express, with Bandeirantes, Twin Otters, Shorts 360, Jetsteam 31 and Brasilias. (We used to call the Shorts 360 "the box the Twin Otters came in.   )

After Pacific Express was spun off, leaving a financial pinch, and WestAir started Atlantic Coast, Mesa's parent acquired WestAir. But when the western contract was up for renewal, United went with OO (which had started as SunAire in Southern California, merging with SkyWest of Utah [GQ???]) and so SkyWest ended up with the WestAir/Mesa Jetstreams and Brasilias. WestAir just packed up its tent and called it a day. And now here we are today with OO filling out California and Oregon routes.

Anyway, OO flies both CEC/ACV-SFO for the hub and the CEC-ACV-SMF route for State Capital business and non-ATC-impacted connections, and a lot of us ex-Sacramentans fled the heat for the Coast, generating VFR traffic. CEC is 350 road miles north of downtown San Francisco and around 400 twisty road miles to downtown Sacramento. I prefer to fly it.
Worked for WestAir, Apollo Airways, Desert Pacific, Western, AirCal and American Airlines
 
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kgaiflyer
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RE: Point-to-Point SkyWest Routes For United

Wed Mar 27, 2013 8:47 pm

Quoting simairlinenet (Thread starter):
MMH-SAN/SNA: makes sense, ski market to big metro areas

I flew MMH-SNA and MMH-SFO over the Christmas holidays. Who knew?

Btw, SFO was *packed.* SNA had a few seats open.



[Edited 2013-03-27 13:51:13]
 
LAXintl
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RE: Point-to-Point SkyWest Routes For United

Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:08 pm

The United MMH winter routes are funded by Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. Summer flying is also funded by the Town of Mammoth, Mono County, and Mammoth Lakes Tourism.

Same with the Horizon Air flying they subsidize.
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Goldenshield
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RE: Point-to-Point SkyWest Routes For United

Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:10 pm

Quoting Wingtips56 (Reply 8):
which had started as SunAire in Southern California, merging with SkyWest of Utah [GQ???]

Bought out, but you got the code right! SunAire was bought for $8M in 1983.

Quoting Wingtips56 (Reply 8):
so SkyWest ended up with the WestAir/Mesa Jetstreams and Brasilias

SkyWest never flew the Bandairante or Jetstream.

Quoting kgaiflyer (Reply 9):
I flew MMH-SNA and MMH-SFO over the Christmas holidays. Who knew?

Amazingly, the weather around Christmas and New Years was VERY cooperative.
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simairlinenet
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RE: Point-to-Point SkyWest Routes For United

Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:28 pm

OH-LGA: really great information, thanks for sharing it.

Quoting LGA" class="quote" target="_blank">OH-LGA (Reply 3):
EM2 aircraft are painted in UAX or in OO house colors. They're used interchangeably on UA-coded at-risk routes.

Does anyone know why SkyWest doesn't have any EMBs in Delta livery?

Quoting LGA" class="quote" target="_blank">OH-LGA (Reply 3):
SEA-PSC/GEG/YVR/MMH have all been flown at some point

Victoria too, I think?

Quoting LGA" class="quote" target="_blank">OH-LGA (Reply 3):
Operating intra-California routes such as SMF-SNA/SAN would not only pit it again the juggernaut that is WN (operating with uncompetitive aircraft with high seat costs such as the CR2 would render the service loss-making immediately) but also steal traffic from UA that would connect over SFO (in the case of both SAN/SNA) or LAX (SAN only).

Fair, but I would counter that connecting traffic would be much lower yielding if willing to add a connection on such a short distance.

Quoting Wingtips56 (Reply 8):
WestAir grew out of STOL Air at STS

I wonder if United has thought about LAX-STS. It would draw traffic from SFO though.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 10):
The United MMH winter routes are funded by Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. Summer flying is also funded by the Town of Mammoth, Mono County, and Mammoth Lakes Tourism. Same with the Horizon Air flying they subsidize.

Sounds to me like these routes wouldn't be there without it--MMH came out of nowhere the last few years.
 
LAXintl
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RE: Point-to-Point SkyWest Routes For United

Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:37 pm

Quoting simairlinenet (Reply 12):
Does anyone know why SkyWest doesn't have any EMBs in Delta livery?

All the SLC EMB flying is at Skywest own risk, not contracted by DL.

Quoting simairlinenet (Reply 12):
I wonder if United has thought about LAX-STS. It would draw traffic from SFO though.

I don't think, UA thinks much about smaller intra-CA flying these days. Most of what exist is at OO own risk including the EAS flying they pursue.

For STS specifically, they do have a SCASD grant monies available, however its for eastward air service to a hub like DEN. Frontier at one time looked interested, but nothing came of it.
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Wingtips56
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RE: Point-to-Point SkyWest Routes For United

Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:49 pm

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 11):
SkyWest never flew the Bandairante or Jetstream.

OK. I had long since moved on to AirCal by then so I couldn't remember if the Jetstreams were still with WestAir at the time...it was close. . The others were all historical to WestAir. (Pity I never got to fly the Trislander.)

When I was working at LAS in Jan.-Apr. 1982 (AirCal SMF furlough #1), the original SkyWest/GQ was there with Piper Navajos, IIRC, while SunAire/OO was flying the Metroliners. Sunaire did briefly fly into SMF, with one of the former SwiftAire guys being their station manager, but I don't know at what point they became SkyWest...was that around the same time SkyWest morphed into the Western Express feed (with the bare metal/blue/red livery similar to some of the EMB-120's still flying)? That, of course is how they eventually became DL Connection. A friend of mine, former Apollo Airways/Pacific Coast station manager later became the OO station manager. Ah, history.....
Worked for WestAir, Apollo Airways, Desert Pacific, Western, AirCal and American Airlines
 
Goldenshield
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RE: Point-to-Point SkyWest Routes For United

Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:50 pm

Quoting simairlinenet (Reply 12):
Does anyone know why SkyWest doesn't have any EMBs in Delta livery?

SkyWest painted them originally to be similar to the DL livery, as did other DLC carriers as they came along. My thought is that DL figured that the CRJs were much closer to a mainline experience (i.e., not a prop) so they wanted them branded closer to the DL livery, although, there was still some variation until the early 2000's when DL started making the regional jets match their mainline counterparts with the rebranding.

This was from the first year of ops:


View Large View Medium
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Photo © Gary Chambers



Then the wavy-gravy repaint:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Mark Abbott

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OH-LGA
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RE: Point-to-Point SkyWest Routes For United

Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:07 am

Quoting simairlinenet (Reply 12):
Victoria too, I think?

To my memory, SEA-YYJ wasn't operated. SEA-YVR didn't even last that long (a few months, perhaps). And when I mentioned MMH in that list of SEA flights I actually meant MWH (Moses Lake, WA) - oh the perils of being off by a letter!

Quoting simairlinenet (Reply 12):
I wonder if United has thought about LAX-STS. It would draw traffic from SFO though.

SFO-STS was 2x daily and LAX-STS was 4x daily up until October 2001, when the station was closed. As a small aside, I initially applied for a position with OO at the STS station, and the day I was to mail it off they announced the station closure. I refilled the application for SFO   The station was closed as a result of EM2 aircraft being repositioned to DEN (which given the hot and high conditions in DEN didn't work out all that well), and then with the EM2s being retired STS service never restarted.
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Beardown91737
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RE: Point-to-Point SkyWest Routes For United

Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:35 am

Quoting SANFan (Reply 6):
Also, UA (Shuttle) used to fly SAN-SMF (and maybe SAN-OAK but I don't think so) several years ago. I think it might have lasted one or two years but that's it. Would LUV to see some competition in both markets but WN certainly would be tough to go up against even though they have reduced capacity in both markets over the last few years.


UA made a move for West Coast traffic in the late 80s and early 90s. They used to fly ONT-OAK, ONT-SMF, BUR-OAK, SAN-PDX and other point to point routes with 735 and 733s. Some of the routes were even in competition with PSA. Eventually, WN and HP won out, but UA and AA continued with service to their hubs of the day, and AS to PDX and SEA.
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RWA380
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RE: Point-to-Point SkyWest Routes For United

Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:51 am

Quoting OH-LGA (Reply 3):
CR7s are exclusively operated under fee-per-departure agreements with UA

All OO flying for AS is operated by CR7's, so not exclusively.

Quoting futureualpilot (Reply 4):
From what I hear the OO Bro at risk flying is the biggest money maker

When I was regularly paying upwards of $400 r/t to fly SFO-RDM-SFO even ten years ago, when I lived down there and the family is living in Redmond. Planes were always packed, only 30 seats on the EMB-120's.

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 11):
SkyWest never flew the Bandairante or Jetstream.

The carriers that were flying J31's and EMB-120's up in the Northwest during the 80's into the 90's was NPA or Westair.

Quoting Beardown91737 (Reply 18):
UA made a move for West Coast traffic in the late 80s and early 90s. They used to fly ONT-OAK, ONT-SMF, BUR-OAK, SAN-PDX and other point to point routes with 735 and 733s.

In the early 80's PDX-PDT-BOI/SLC, PDX-EUG-MFR-SFO, PDX-SLE-MFR-SFO were run on 732's
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FlyASAGuy2005
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RE: Point-to-Point SkyWest Routes For United

Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:16 pm

Quoting RWA380 (Reply 19):

I'm pretty sure he was being UA specific. Meaning all CR7s under the UA contract are fee per departure.
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mtnwest1979
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RE: Point-to-Point SkyWest Routes For United

Thu Mar 28, 2013 7:33 pm

Quoting Wingtips56 (Reply 14):
SkyWest/GQ

SkyWest's code was QG. Big Sky of Montana had the GQ code.
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FATFlyer
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RE: Point-to-Point SkyWest Routes For United

Thu Mar 28, 2013 7:47 pm

Quoting OH-LGA (Reply 3):
I can only speak back to when I started working for OO back in 2001, but SMF-ACV/CEC, LAS-FAT/PSP

LAS-FAT dates back much further than that. It was flown by SkyWest as a DL route before it moved to a UAX flight, it might even have been part of the SunAire routes when OO bought them.

I'd have to do some digging around in my storage to get exact dates. But I believe SkyWest began operating LAS-FAT in the late 1980s or early 1990s. There was at least one interruption of SkyWest service in the late 1990s on LAS-FAT but it was later resumed.
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Wingtips56
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RE: Point-to-Point SkyWest Routes For United

Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:04 pm

Quoting mtnwest1979 (Reply 24):

Quoting Wingtips56 (Reply 14):
SkyWest/GQ

SkyWest's code was QG. Big Sky of Montana had the GQ code.

Thanks. It was 31 years ago, so the memory fades. Do I get points for at least getting the right two letters?

---
Back to UA pre-United Express, SkyWest, etc.: Before airlines shifted focus to core Hub activities, UA flew lots of western p2p routes. UA did venture early into codesharing in the Pacific Northwest. UA used to fly SMF-PDX/SEA but first ceded the SMF-PDX route to Cascade Airways (CZ), operating BAC-1-11 on behalf of UA. When CZ folded, Horizon was brought in to serve the market (with ex-AL/US F28). Eventually QX and UA separated on the agreement. I could of course be wrong, but I have a faint recollection of HP briefly handling the QX flights, before QX opened their own staffed station in SMF, eventually expanding to handle the AS mainline flights, and the rest is history.
Worked for WestAir, Apollo Airways, Desert Pacific, Western, AirCal and American Airlines

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