New Type For Airtran?

Tue Nov 14, 2000 4:26 am

Its becoming plainly obvious that Airtran needs to supplement is large and growing fleet of 717s with a longer, larger craft. Why?

1) To add flights to western destinations such as LAS, DEN, and SLC

2) To add flights to the Carribean such as SJU, MBJ

3) To increase lift on high demand flights like ATL-LGA, ATL-MCO, ATl-MIA, and ATL-FLL

In my opinion the best choice for new aircraft would be the MD-90. It has superior range to the 717, larger capacity, and while relatively cheap, is becoming widely available.

1) AA is returning to Boeing 5 exQQ (Reno Air) MD-90s that do not fit with its Super80 fleet. Perhaps FL could pick up some of those at favorale rates.

2) Air Aruba recently ceased all operations. Air Aruba had 3 (I think) MD-90s. Where will they go? Perhaps FL could get some of those at fire-sale prices.

3) FL's neighbor DL is a large MD-90 operator, but is gradually decreasing their usage. Perhaps FL could get some of those as DL replaces its 90s with 737s.
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RE: New Type For Airtran?

Tue Nov 14, 2000 4:32 am

You mean they should be the launch customer for B 717-300?
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RE: New Type For Airtran?

Tue Nov 14, 2000 4:51 am

I can assure you this is also a hot topic of conversation among the pilots of AirTran. Alot is going on now like new cities and pilot contract talks, just wait and see, I'm sure it's gonna happen. My guess, 737-800's but what do I know, I'm just a lowly line pilot.

TWAneedsNOhelp, I hope I didn't hurt your feelings  .
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RE: New Type For Airtran?

Tue Nov 14, 2000 5:02 am

Your suggestion sounds excellent to me, Russ. AirTran could easily fill MD-90s on the routes you mention, and better utilize their departures at congested ATL. Are there also European carriers shedding MD-90s right now?

KUGN--A 150-seater would be the 717-400, I think. The -200 seats a little over 100; a -300 model would be the 125-seater, comparable to the old DC-9-50.

"Me"--738's at AirTran? Way cool--but wouldn't Russ's suggestion be more economical, both in acquisition and maintenance? Care to share anything you know that we might not? :+)

Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)
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RE: New Type For Airtran?

Tue Nov 14, 2000 5:28 am

The MD90 would be a great fit for Airtran. Any possiblities of seeing AirTran inagurating a ABQ-ATL flight to compete with Delta???? Or maybe MCO to compete with Southwest. I would love too see some 717's here.


RE: New Type For Airtran?

Tue Nov 14, 2000 5:39 am

If I were FL, I'd stick with the B717 for a while longer. They're already expanding too far too fast (see my Trip Report, will be up shortly), and had better stick with their current plans for a while. If anything, buy some more B717s and put them on existing routes.

RE: New Type For Airtran?

Tue Nov 14, 2000 6:18 am

I don't think that FL would acquire any MD-90s, as they are maintenance-intensive. They will probably go for the 738s, b/c they aren't buying used aircraft, which it looks like they don't want to do anymore. They may order 738s, but lease some used M80/90s until the 738s come online. But who knows, as this is all speculation, and for all we know, they could launch the 711/713/714 and stay in one family. I wonder if they would launch a 717ER...
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Wed Nov 15, 2000 4:15 am

They tell us NOTHING. If I had any info, I'd sing like a bird. The 738's are expensive but they would open up the whole country fron ATL. I'm mostly concerned with the upcoming pilot contract talks as it has a greater impact on my life than new aircraft. I spoke with Steve Kolski back in August. He said that they would like to go west but a majority of the US population lives east of the Mississippi the cities are closer and more $$ can be made concentrating on the east.
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RE: New Type For Airtran?

Wed Nov 15, 2000 12:31 pm


Didn't inflight have a memo from Mr. Kolski about possible new routes +aircraft I saw the one page with the proposed routes (none of which have proven true yet) and it said something like see page 23 for "larger aircraft"
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Thu Nov 16, 2000 3:52 am

Not that I ever saw.

RE: Steve Kolski

Thu Nov 16, 2000 6:42 am

I have heard he's the main man w/ info about FL. Give us all a holler Me and Wilcharl should there be any interesting informantion!

FL is a great company. Hope you all are doing great!
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RE: Steve Kolski

Thu Nov 16, 2000 7:06 am

Profitability in an airline such as AirTran (with one of the lowest profitability margins in the industry), depends on uniformity of equipment. We often hear of AirTran "on track to becoming the next Southwest". Hopefully, we have learned that SWA's key to success is that they operate an all 737 fleet. This is vital to low cost/low profit airlines, in that it reduces the total costs associated with operation by decreasing the necessary capital required to remain competitive. To restate that in English, its cheaper for Airtran to fly aircraft where all the pilots share a universal type rating, maintenance is as uniform as possible, and where they can bulk order materials.

Now heres where it gets interesting. I personally don't think that Airtran is realistic about entering west or Caribbean markets anytime soon. The current 717s which make the backbone of the fleet are limited by range from entering the ATL-west or ATL-Caribbean markets. So using the above economic model, I think that TRS will either a) not enter any new longer range markets, b) wait until an aircraft (such as the rumored 717-300 and -400) is introduced, which features common type ratings and increased range or c) lease (they would never buy) an aircraft like the MD-90/88 under fairly short term. I think that TRS will not being flying 737NG aircraft for quite a long time, due to the many differences from the rest of their fleet.
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RE: New Type For Airtran?

Thu Nov 16, 2000 7:47 am

The 717LR can almost access the entire Caribbean from Atlanta. 1875 nm range, I believe.
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Me & Air Tran: Good Job Guys

Thu Nov 16, 2000 7:51 am

Just wanted to ditto FirstClass's comments about AirTran being a great company. What a blessing for all of its markets. You all help make airline deregulation a reality for the non-wealthy in the U.S.

I just hope that y'all decide to come back to my hometown, Rochester, New York, sometime soon. Rochester was one of the Old-AirTran cities that lost out when the carrier became New Valujet, closed the Orlando hub, and left many Old-AirTran markets.

Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)
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RE: Mcomess

Sat Nov 18, 2000 3:53 am

FYI: The DC-9 and 717 are the same type rating, it does require additional training though.
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RE: New Type For Airtran?

Sat Nov 18, 2000 4:08 am

Joe Leonard mentioned a few weeks back about a desire for larger aircraft to serve heavy short haul routes as well as west coast markets. An idea was tossed around the web site about a National/Air Tran linkup. If FL decides to go at it on its own, Airbus would probably give them favorable financing on A-320's. They may even opt to to shoulder some of the debt burdon that Boeing recently helped AirTran finance.
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RE: New Type For Airtran?

Sat Nov 18, 2000 4:22 am

If I only had a crystal ball. I'd love to see where we'll be in 2-3 years. I forgot to mention, Joe Leonard projects 20% growth per year for the next few years. He announced it at a pep rally/employee meeting in Atlanta last month.
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RE: New Type For Airtran?

Sat Nov 18, 2000 4:40 am

sounds good, however I bet AirTran will wait for a
Matt D
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RE: New Type For Airtran?

Sat Nov 18, 2000 9:44 am

Don't hold your breath too long. If another round of airline takeovers gets sparked, AirTran will be one of, if not the first airlines to get targeted for takeover due to their medium size, relatively weak balance sheet, and strategic location.
Even if that doesn't happen, don't look to see them at PHX/LAX/LAS anytime soon. Not until they have gone all 717 and are in a position to branch away from the Southeast. I don't imagine seeing that before 2005. Either they need to acquire a new fleet type, or open a second hub, neither of which they can really afford to do at this point.
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RE: New Type For Airtran?

Sat Nov 18, 2000 11:48 am

I doubt it considering all the shiny new 717's they have on the order books. Seeing as how they are not yet a mianstream airline but a low fare carrier who is based in the region of the southern U.S. It is almost like the airlines of the 70's and 80's who orderd the 747 and couldn't keep them filled except on a smaller scale with Air Tran. Your not looking at a larger type for quite awhile.
The Ohio Player

RE: New Type For Airtran?

Sat Nov 18, 2000 1:40 pm

I'm curious if Airtran will get bought by a larger carrier. Airtran makes money on its routes. However, a large reason is because it has low costs, it pays employees less, it's maintanence and ground handling are non unionized, and various other advantages. However, if BigAirlineCompany buys out FL, it will have to pay these new employees its standard wage scale, which may tip the tide of whether the flights indeed are still profitable.
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RE: New Type For Airtran?

Sat Nov 18, 2000 3:36 pm

Uh, TWAneedsNOhelp, Airtran aircraft maintenance does indeed have a union. In fact, they just got a new contract that brings up their pay close to what the majors are paying.
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RE: TWAneedsNOhelp?

Tue Nov 21, 2000 2:06 am

At AirTran the Pilots, Flight Attendants and Mechanics are all unionized. The gate agents voted down a proposal to unoinize a few months ago. The mechanics just negociated a good contract and the pilot group will begin negociations soon. Look for similar gains for the pilots as well.
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RE: New Type For Airtran?

Tue Nov 21, 2000 2:32 am

Soku39: AirTran can easily fill larger aircraft. Our loads are heavy on most routes (non-rev passengers have a hard time getting on). I'm not one to stir up rumors but AirTran can convert some of those 717 orders for 737's or 757's. Just a possibility.
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RE: New Type For Airtran?

Tue Nov 21, 2000 3:28 am

Yeah, they very well could, but that would complicate things. They are better off keeping a single fleet and maybe just adding frequencies while getting their 717's for the heavy routes. What are FL's heaviest travelled routes?

The 737NG would make a good fit, but there's the added expense of buying a new plane and crew/mx training on a new type, and all the parts you'd have to buy, etc. Leasing used MD-80's/'90's is a good idea since there would be more familiarity with this type since FL is flying mostly DC-9's/717's, so that would lessen the costs of incorporating new aircraft.


RE: New Type For Airtran?

Tue Nov 21, 2000 6:08 am

Heaviest routes?


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