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VX321
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Question about PHX and AA

Wed Nov 02, 2016 5:59 pm

Recently a friend posted on fb an article about AA reshuffling a320 pilots away from PHX. He claimed it was the end of the line for PHX. I told him that he was being ridiculous. However, a friend of his who is part of airport ops at PHX claims that while online AA says PHX is a hub, internally it's not and that Doug Parker always hated PHX.
The quote from this PHX ops person: "Online and on the website yea. But internally in the company, we are not."
So my question is: is this guy's "intel" to be trusted?
 
DFW789ER
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Wed Nov 02, 2016 6:03 pm

Oh yaay. Another thread speculating the demise of PHX as a hub. My personal opinion is it's not needed, but I don't think AA would do a total drawdown.
 
DiscoverCSG
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Wed Nov 02, 2016 6:07 pm

Have you ever been to PHX? It's a AA hub, pure and simple; while routes/flights are added/subtracted/upgauged/downgauged/retimed all the time, the overall picture remains that of a banked connecting hub for American Airlines.

With the AA-US merger nearing completion, there's quite a bit of fleet-mixing going on. I've found myself on some LUS birds (320's and 321's) on LAA hub routes, and vice-versa. It's likely that some of the PHX-based A320 crew are being moved to other bases to support this, which is done to maximize efficiency of routing and also to match capacity to demand.
 
Maverick623
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Wed Nov 02, 2016 6:22 pm

VX321 wrote:
Recently a friend posted on fb an article about AA reshuffling a320 pilots away from PHX. He claimed it was the end of the line for PHX. I told him that he was being ridiculous. However, a friend of his who is part of airport ops at PHX claims that while online AA says PHX is a hub, internally it's not and that Doug Parker always hated PHX.
The quote from this PHX ops person: "Online and on the website yea. But internally in the company, we are not."
So my question is: is this guy's "intel" to be trusted?


Doug Parker always hated PHX? Must be why he spent almost 20 years here.

Also why would a guy who works for the city refer to the airline as "we"?

Your "source" is making stuff up. PHX is very much a hub, internally and externally.
"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
 
Vctony
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Wed Nov 02, 2016 6:25 pm

#1.) The Doug Parker has always hated PHX line is ridiculous. PHX was the largest hub for America West Airlines and Parker has always been able to figure out how to make PHX work. PHX was reshuffled somewhat during the US Airways era but there was never any serious discussion about the hub closure.

#2.) AA has been adding a number of secondary destinations to PHX. You generally don't expand the number of destinations of a hub that you wish to eliminate.

#3.) The PHX metro area has more O/D traffic than any other hub that was eliminated. In fact it has probably 2-3 times the O/D traffic of places like CVG, PIT, STL, etc. It already has more O/D traffic than CLT.

#4.) The PHX metro area's economy and population are growing. The economy around PHX is finally becoming diversified and with that it is generating higher yielding traffic.

#5.) The other large carrier at PHX, WN, has basically had little to no growth out of PHX over the last 10 years or so. The only WN growth has been up gauging of some flights to 737-800s. Not to mention WN's costs have increased so WN isn't the drag on fares and yields like it used to be.

That being said, there are a number of things that concern me about PHX.

#1.) Nobody has been able to explain how cutting the pilot base by 500 is a good thing for PHX. I happen to think that it will result in the loss of further mainline flights. Also, it limits future growth as new flight additions will have to come from pilots based elsewhere, which is inefficient.

#2.) All of the "growth" in destinations have been RJ flights with 1x daily frequency. Meanwhile, mainline destinations such as ANC and YYC have been cut. Not to mention that many routes have had frequency cuts including big upcoming cuts to HNL.

#3.) The rumors of a 737 pilot base have quieted down the closer we've gotten to the 3 year mark on the merger agreement. Interestingly, it also ended after they got the city of Phoenix to pony up the money to build a new 8 gate concourse on Terminal 4. I really hope that the city knows what they're doing because it seems like they've been fed AA talking points without really researching the issue.

#4.) It's been posted here before that the person who runs AA's operations at PHX has a lower title than the person who runs AA's other hub operations. If the other hubs are run by a President or Vice President (I'm using hypothetical titles) PHX has a Director or General Manager.
Last edited by Vctony on Wed Nov 02, 2016 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
777PHX
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Wed Nov 02, 2016 6:28 pm

He's referring to AA moving 500 pilots based at PHX on the A32x to other bases. This is to improve efficiency and support the ongoing establishment of PHX as a 737 base. This is in no way indicative of any sort of reduction of PHX.

Your friend is speculating and has no idea what he's talking about.
 
Vctony
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Wed Nov 02, 2016 6:37 pm

777PHX wrote:
He's referring to AA moving 500 pilots based at PHX on the A32x to other bases. This is to improve efficiency and support the ongoing establishment of PHX as a 737 base. This is in no way indicative of any sort of reduction of PHX.

Your friend is speculating and has no idea what he's talking about.


However, in the Phoenix Aviation thread it was also posted that PHX is NOT getting a 737 pilot base.
 
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enilria
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Wed Nov 02, 2016 7:12 pm

I think it's pretty well established PHX is the worst performing hub. Doubters can tell me which other hub they think is worse. I'm going to exclude LAX and NYC which are in their own category.

Having said that, these days the worst performing hub probably makes double digit margins and WN costs are going up which helps AA.

Bottom line, it would be the first hub to close, but I don't see them closing hubs unless a significant recession occurs.
 
commavia
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Wed Nov 02, 2016 7:50 pm

enilria wrote:
I think it's pretty well established PHX is the worst performing hub. Doubters can tell me which other hub they think is worse. I'm going to exclude LAX and NYC which are in their own category.


I think it may well depend on the definition of "worst performing," but in general I do agree that by virtually any measure PHX is certainly not the best performing.

enilria wrote:
Having said that, these days the worst performing hub probably makes double digit margins and WN costs are going up which helps AA.

Bottom line, it would be the first hub to close, but I don't see them closing hubs unless a significant recession occurs.


On this I generally agree as well. Absent a significant economic dislocation, AA is unlikely to wholesale "close" a hub the way that Delta has done with CVG and MEM and United with CLE. Partly that's because the industry is in a very different place in the macroeconomic cycle now compared to when Delta and United closed those hubs, and partly that's because both AA and USAirways did significant closures (STL/SJU, and PIT/LAS/LGA, respectively) pre-merger. I also agree that the long-term cost trends for Southwest certainly help AA - not only in PHX, but in DFW and more broadly (for the entire industry).

All that said, I do agree that PHX is likely the hub most "on the bubble," and if - if - a substantial economic dislocation occurred, it's likely the hub that would the easiest to close with the least negative impact to the competitiveness and viability of the overall network.
 
airzona11
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Wed Nov 02, 2016 8:06 pm

enilria wrote:
I think it's pretty well established PHX is the worst performing hub. Doubters can tell me which other hub they think is worse. I'm going to exclude LAX and NYC which are in their own category.

Having said that, these days the worst performing hub probably makes double digit margins and WN costs are going up which helps AA.

Bottom line, it would be the first hub to close, but I don't see them closing hubs unless a significant recession occurs.


What "well established" anything has PHX as the worst hub?

The 500 Pilots already aren't PHX based, so it is not really a net loss or even a net change. Doesn't have to be a good thing.

The airline industry of 5/10/20 years ago is nothing (ZERO) like it is today.

PHX has seen destinations added. Yes some have been on CRJs, they are large CRJs and PHX has the lowest % of Regionals of the AA Hubs.

To say bottom line it would be the first hub closed is pure nonsense. As is what the PHX Airport manager was saying. In a down turn, would you not turn down service at expensive hubs, what hub is lower cost than PHX?
 
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Polot
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Wed Nov 02, 2016 8:10 pm

airzona11 wrote:
To say bottom line it would be the first hub closed is pure nonsense. As is what the PHX Airport manager was saying. In a down turn, would you not turn down service at expensive hubs, what hub is lower cost than PHX?

In down turns you retrench to where you make the highest profit. That it is not necessarily the location with the lowest costs.
 
mpdpilot
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Wed Nov 02, 2016 8:12 pm

VX321 wrote:


enilria wrote:
I think it's pretty well established PHX is the worst performing hub.
Bottom line, it would be the first hub to close, but I don't see them closing hubs unless a significant recession occurs.


DFW789ER wrote:
Oh yaay. Another thread speculating the demise of PHX as a hub. My personal opinion is it's not needed, but I don't think AA would do a total drawdown.


While I can't speak to this guys intel, I would be very surprised if anything came of it. I agree that it is likely AA's worst performing hub and by that making the smallest profit, but still a profit.

This topic keeps coming up and I don't get it. American (not with their regional carriers, mainline only) is the same size as Alaska is in Seattle. The only reason AA serves so many destinations in California is PHX. If AA shut down PHX, AS, DL, UA, WN would be so excited about the capacity they could add. There are like 6 airports where it is only AA and UA, I am sure UA would love the monopoly. A few more with AS, they would love to pick up the slack AA left. There are a whole bunch that don't have service on DL at all likely because AA serves them that would work great from SLC. There are a number of them where AA is second to WN, WN would be happy to loose their #1 competitor.

Hell, AA is larger in PHX than DL is in SLC (mainline only). There is no conceivable way that AA can capture the revenue lost should they close PHX, DFW is too far for a number of the airports and LAX doesn't have room to DOUBLE in size for AA. Closing hubs means closing operations that are redundant, I just don't see PHX as redundant for AA. Had US and UA merged, sure, had US and DL merged, sure, Not US and AA.
One mile of highway gets you one mile, one mile of runway gets you anywhere.
 
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NYCRuss
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Wed Nov 02, 2016 8:30 pm

mpdpilot wrote:
VX321 wrote:


enilria wrote:
I think it's pretty well established PHX is the worst performing hub.
Bottom line, it would be the first hub to close, but I don't see them closing hubs unless a significant recession occurs.


DFW789ER wrote:
Oh yaay. Another thread speculating the demise of PHX as a hub. My personal opinion is it's not needed, but I don't think AA would do a total drawdown.


While I can't speak to this guys intel, I would be very surprised if anything came of it. I agree that it is likely AA's worst performing hub and by that making the smallest profit, but still a profit.

This topic keeps coming up and I don't get it. American (not with their regional carriers, mainline only) is the same size as Alaska is in Seattle. The only reason AA serves so many destinations in California is PHX. If AA shut down PHX, AS, DL, UA, WN would be so excited about the capacity they could add. There are like 6 airports where it is only AA and UA, I am sure UA would love the monopoly. A few more with AS, they would love to pick up the slack AA left. There are a whole bunch that don't have service on DL at all likely because AA serves them that would work great from SLC. There are a number of them where AA is second to WN, WN would be happy to loose their #1 competitor.

Hell, AA is larger in PHX than DL is in SLC (mainline only). There is no conceivable way that AA can capture the revenue lost should they close PHX, DFW is too far for a number of the airports and LAX doesn't have room to DOUBLE in size for AA. Closing hubs means closing operations that are redundant, I just don't see PHX as redundant for AA. Had US and UA merged, sure, had US and DL merged, sure, Not US and AA.


Agreed. AA can't really close the PHX hub without somewhere else to put the capacity. Any alternative needs to be better than PHX, or it's not worth doing.
 
Flighty
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Wed Nov 02, 2016 8:56 pm

I always assumed ORD was worse, although strong adds there imply profitability. I know that LAX and JFK would both be worse, if you can call them hubs.
 
wenders825
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Wed Nov 02, 2016 9:06 pm

were there tons of senseless threads about SLC closing when DL/NW merged? or DEN closing when UA/CO merged? (okay, there are still tons of threads about IAD and LAX closing)

your friend's source knows nothing.
 
commavia
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Wed Nov 02, 2016 9:20 pm

NYCRuss wrote:
Agreed. AA can't really close the PHX hub without somewhere else to put the capacity. Any alternative needs to be better than PHX, or it's not worth doing.


Right. At this point, the only way I could see PHX truly being "closed" is an economic recession or substantial financial dislocation in the industry that necessitated significant net network capacity reduction. Absent that, I still believe that PHX is likely to see net capacity reduction going forward, but I don't think it will be outright "closed" as a hub.

Flighty wrote:
I always assumed ORD was worse, although strong adds there imply profitability. I know that LAX and JFK would both be worse, if you can call them hubs.


Some level of margin dilution at particular hubs is, in a way, an investment. AA has spoken about this regularly on earnings calls - most recently in the context of LAX. AA is knowingly accepting margins on LAX flying lower than the network writ large because it views an expanded operation at LAX as a strategic investment. It's similar to Delta's clearly margin-dilutive capacity additions in NYC and SEA that took, or are taking, years to develop into more profitable hubs but are viewed as strategically critical.

wenders825 wrote:
were there tons of senseless threads about SLC closing when DL/NW merged? or DEN closing when UA/CO merged? (okay, there are still tons of threads about IAD and LAX closing)


No, but in fairness, I don't think the value or network contributions of SLC or DEN were ever really in question with those mergers - both hubs were, and are, clearly valuable the those combined airlines' networks and thus were never in any jeopardy of closing. On the contrary, though, there certainly was plenty of conversation at the time of the Delta and United mergers about the long-term viability of those airlines' marginal, superfluous hubs - CVG/MEM and CLE, respectively - and that conversation turned out to be exactly right. Those hubs, in the context of those airlines' merged/combined networks, were duplicative and no longer needed, and have all been closed.
 
ScottB
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Wed Nov 02, 2016 9:57 pm

mpdpilot wrote:
This topic keeps coming up and I don't get it. American (not with their regional carriers, mainline only) is the same size as Alaska is in Seattle. The only reason AA serves so many destinations in California is PHX. If AA shut down PHX, AS, DL, UA, WN would be so excited about the capacity they could add. There are like 6 airports where it is only AA and UA, I am sure UA would love the monopoly. A few more with AS, they would love to pick up the slack AA left. There are a whole bunch that don't have service on DL at all likely because AA serves them that would work great from SLC. There are a number of them where AA is second to WN, WN would be happy to loose their #1 competitor.

Hell, AA is larger in PHX than DL is in SLC (mainline only). There is no conceivable way that AA can capture the revenue lost should they close PHX, DFW is too far for a number of the airports and LAX doesn't have room to DOUBLE in size for AA. Closing hubs means closing operations that are redundant, I just don't see PHX as redundant for AA. Had US and UA merged, sure, had US and DL merged, sure, Not US and AA.


The key issue with every single point that you make here is that PHX is WN's 5th-largest station and they carry over one third of the traffic at PHX. WN's share of PHX O&D is higher than that one-third (they are less reliant than AA on connecting passengers) and, in fact, they lead in market share in most of the head-to-head non-stop markets against AA (i.e. WN carries about 60% of PHX O&D traffic to/from LAX/SNA/BUR/ONT/LGB as compared to AA's 30%). Even though WN's costs have come up over the years, they still remain lower than AA's, so in head-to-head markets, AA has to cope with a lower-cost competitor which also enjoys the power to set the prevailing market price.

While WN is in both SEA & SLC, their presence at both of those airports is a fraction of the size (roughly a quarter in both cases) of their operation at PHX, so the hub carriers at SEA & SLC still have far greater pricing power. While AA's access to RJs gives them the ability to serve 25 or so non-stop markets from PHX which aren't exposed to competition from WN, the growth of G4 at AZA/IWA also has impacted AA's ability to charge high fares in the non-stop markets G4 has entered and/or enter markets where G4 is already present.

And it really shouldn't matter one bit to AA if they leave small markets like BFL as UA monopolies. Losing money just to keep your competitor from making money is bad for the enterprise unless there's some hope of making more in the end because the competitor exits the market. I don't think that's likely at all in the smaller markets where they compete with a more robust UA hub at SFO and/or DEN. We're already seeing AA cut small markets in the Northeast and leaving some as competitor monopolies even though they have a very well-located hub at PHL for serving those airports.

VX321 wrote:
Recently a friend posted on fb an article about AA reshuffling a320 pilots away from PHX. He claimed it was the end of the line for PHX.


To be fair, I think the shift of A320 pilots away from PHX is less about AA planning to close the hub and more about the PHX hub having long had a surplus of pilots going back to the merger between HP & US. The US East & West pilot groups were never integrated, and substantially all the post-merger growth happened on the East side; in fact, West side flying declined with the closure of the LAS hub so West pilots were doing a fair bit of flying into the East hubs. Now that the AA, US East, and US West pilots have been integrated, the PHX base can be right-sized to reflect the reduced level of flying at the hub which existed even pre-merger.

To illustrate, US had roughly 195 daily mainline departures from PHX and 115 from LAS in August, 2006 -- 310 departures in total with the vast majority crewed by West pilots. By August, 2011, US mainline departures were down to about 165 at PHX and 30 at LAS, or 195 in total. In August, 2015, mainline departures for AA stood at 175 at PHX and 45 at LAS -- but about 40 of that combined total of 220 was from the legacy AA side. Mainline AA at PHX has continued to shrink with only 160 daily departures in August of this year while LAS has stayed nearly constant at 45.

DiscoverCSG wrote:
Have you ever been to PHX? It's a AA hub, pure and simple; while routes/flights are added/subtracted/upgauged/downgauged/retimed all the time, the overall picture remains that of a banked connecting hub for American Airlines.


That doesn't really tell you that the hub is vibrant and not destined to be closed. MEM was a banked connecting hub up until the last day of hub operations there. CVG still has connecting banks as well.
 
ripcordd
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Thu Nov 03, 2016 1:24 am

PHX is being right sized serving low yield markets where they don't have room for at LAX until they are able to add 20-30 more gates at LAX PHX will remain an vital hub
 
77H
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Thu Nov 03, 2016 1:33 am

I don't see AA ever dismantling PHX as a hub. While on the map, PHX looks redundant sandwiched in between DFW and LAX but each of the hubs has a distinct role at the airline. Neither DFW nor LAX could replace PHX's role with any level of competitiveness. DFW is far too East to serve the Mountain West/West Coast regions. LAX is plagued by gate constraints leaving it in a poor position to replace the PHX flying. Also, if memory serves, AA has the largest passenger fleet of any airline in the world, if they closed PHX, where exactly are they redeploying all of those aircraft?

PHX affords AA the ability to focus on LAX as an O&D hub to larger, more prominent markets while funneling connection traffic headed east to secondary/tertiary markets over PHX. To me, PHX has a similar relationship to LAX as LGA has with JFK for DL only not in the same city, or state for that matter. Like LAX, LGA (the would be go-to airport) is hampered by perimeter rules and lack of facility space. JFK allows DL serve the coast to coast market and international destinations LGA could never do. Moreover, AA is the weakest of the US3 in the West, why would they do anything to further that?
 
globalcabotage
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Thu Nov 03, 2016 1:50 am

ORD has always been rumored the worst performing, worst margin hub - pre-merger.

Facts:
Chicago has significant business contracts.
Chicago has huge O&D.
Chicago is geographically located great for hubs:
East-West USA / Canada
Trans Atlantic
Asia
Chicago has intense competition;
WN's biggest non-hub at MDW
Frontier, Sprint, and Delta wanting to grow

AA will not cede ORD to UA and others. Sure, AA may not make as much money at ORD compared to other hubs, but if AA lost those contracts that need Chicago, other hubs could lose traffic. It's strategic positioning. Make $20 at ORD while $30 at CLT.
 
Vctony
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Thu Nov 03, 2016 2:05 pm

I guess I just don't understand why AA at PHX is doomed due to WN and G4 at AZA yet UA at DEN has a larger WN presence (with competition on more routes) as well as F9 is larger and at DEN than G4 is at AZA. Yet PHX is a significantly larger metropolitan area (the largest in the nation between Dallas-Ft. Worth and Los Angeles) and it can't support a legacy hub due to A.netters.

I also think that nobody here seems to understand the changes in the Phoenix economy over the last few years or so.

The economy has diversified as has the economic base. The population also continues to increase. It's not just a metro area full of snowbirds anymore.
 
ScottB
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Thu Nov 03, 2016 6:29 pm

Vctony wrote:
I guess I just don't understand why AA at PHX is doomed due to WN and G4 at AZA yet UA at DEN has a larger WN presence (with competition on more routes) as well as F9 is larger and at DEN than G4 is at AZA. Yet PHX is a significantly larger metropolitan area (the largest in the nation between Dallas-Ft. Worth and Los Angeles) and it can't support a legacy hub due to A.netters.


There has been chatter (but recently somewhat less as UA has added back service) that DEN could be problematic for UA for precisely those reasons. There's less pressure on the DEN hub than there was a few years ago as F9 has scaled back service there pretty significantly and the Colorado economy has been growing like gangbusters recently. But DEN is a different market in that it is far better located geographically to take advantage of connecting small markets in the Mountain West which have little or no LCC/ULCC competition. It's akin to why ATL is a MUCH better hub for the Southeast than MCO or TPA would be. Most of the geographically logical connecting markets for PHX either have LCC competition (primarily WN) or are challenging due to leakage to nearby, larger airports (i.e. SBA/BFL to LAX, PSP to ONT, SAF to ABQ, STS to SFO/OAK); the small markets in the Mountain West and northern Plains typically don't have low-fare alternates within a few hours' drive.

The issue with PHX is not the size of the market; it is that AA doesn't have enough pricing power over air traffic.

77H wrote:
PHX has a similar relationship to LAX as LGA has with JFK for DL only not in the same city, or state for that matter. Like LAX, LGA (the would be go-to airport) is hampered by perimeter rules and lack of facility space.


Well, no, the comparison between LAX & LGA isn't similar at all apart from the fact that both airports serve very large, wealthy markets. LGA does have the perimeter rule which LAX does not, and LGA is also restricted by slots while LAX is not. Moreover, AA does have the ability to augment its facilities at LAX and they indeed have done so recently by subletting gates from AA as well as gaining preferential access to TBIT gates. Not to mention that DL's move to T2/T3 will also free up conveniently-located gates in T5/T6 for AA's use. AA has little hope of meaningfully increasing its slot portfolio at LGA and the terminal replacement doesn't address that; their only hope to grow at LGA would be by increasing aircraft gauge.

77H wrote:
if memory serves, AA has the largest passenger fleet of any airline in the world, if they closed PHX, where exactly are they redeploying all of those aircraft?


AA has plenty of places to send those aircraft, and they need not all go to the same hub. Plus aircraft freed up by closing a hub would be well-suited to help backfill regional capacity drawn down by parking 50-seat RJs (as A319s replace CR9s/E175, which replace CR7s/E170s, which replace CR2s/E145s, which go to the desert).

77H wrote:
I don't see AA ever dismantling PHX as a hub. While on the map, PHX looks redundant sandwiched in between DFW and LAX but each of the hubs has a distinct role at the airline. Neither DFW nor LAX could replace PHX's role with any level of competitiveness. DFW is far too East to serve the Mountain West/West Coast regions.


What exactly is the large set of unique traffic flows which cannot be served reasonably well at DFW & LAX and is also high-yielding enough to necessitate keeping the hub? The hub doesn't make it based on being the optimal location for YUM-MAF or FLG-ROW. PHX is too far south to serve a big chunk of the Mountain West.
 
wntex
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Thu Nov 03, 2016 7:08 pm

Vctony wrote:
#2.) All of the "growth" in destinations have been RJ flights with 1x daily frequency. Meanwhile, mainline destinations such as ANC and YYC have been cut. Not to mention that many routes have had frequency cuts including big upcoming cuts to HNL.



What upcoming HNL cuts are you referring to btw?
"The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want now." -Zig Ziglar
 
Vctony
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Thu Nov 03, 2016 7:14 pm

wntex wrote:
Vctony wrote:
#2.) All of the "growth" in destinations have been RJ flights with 1x daily frequency. Meanwhile, mainline destinations such as ANC and YYC have been cut. Not to mention that many routes have had frequency cuts including big upcoming cuts to HNL.



What upcoming HNL cuts are you referring to btw?


One of the OAG threads had PHX-HNL down to 1x daily.

However, it appears that it is still at 2x daily for the foreseeable future.
 
Vctony
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Thu Nov 03, 2016 7:35 pm

The reality is that if AA draws down PHX capacity too much someone else will increase capacity. There is demand for another hub or focus city other than WN's operation (and not with a ULCC). The problem is that PHX is a much better fit to be a hub for an airline like HP was or like AS or B6 currently are than one of the US3.
 
77H
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Thu Nov 03, 2016 9:05 pm

ScottB wrote:
Vctony wrote:
I guess I just don't understand why AA at PHX is doomed due to WN and G4 at AZA yet UA at DEN has a larger WN presence (with competition on more routes) as well as F9 is larger and at DEN than G4 is at AZA. Yet PHX is a significantly larger metropolitan area (the largest in the nation between Dallas-Ft. Worth and Los Angeles) and it can't support a legacy hub due to A.netters.


There has been chatter (but recently somewhat less as UA has added back service) that DEN could be problematic for UA for precisely those reasons. There's less pressure on the DEN hub than there was a few years ago as F9 has scaled back service there pretty significantly and the Colorado economy has been growing like gangbusters recently. But DEN is a different market in that it is far better located geographically to take advantage of connecting small markets in the Mountain West which have little or no LCC/ULCC competition. It's akin to why ATL is a MUCH better hub for the Southeast than MCO or TPA would be. Most of the geographically logical connecting markets for PHX either have LCC competition (primarily WN) or are challenging due to leakage to nearby, larger airports (i.e. SBA/BFL to LAX, PSP to ONT, SAF to ABQ, STS to SFO/OAK); the small markets in the Mountain West and northern Plains typically don't have low-fare alternates within a few hours' drive.

The issue with PHX is not the size of the market; it is that AA doesn't have enough pricing power over air traffic.

77H wrote:
PHX has a similar relationship to LAX as LGA has with JFK for DL only not in the same city, or state for that matter. Like LAX, LGA (the would be go-to airport) is hampered by perimeter rules and lack of facility space.


Well, no, the comparison between LAX & LGA isn't similar at all apart from the fact that both airports serve very large, wealthy markets. LGA does have the perimeter rule which LAX does not, and LGA is also restricted by slots while LAX is not. Moreover, AA does have the ability to augment its facilities at LAX and they indeed have done so recently by subletting gates from AA as well as gaining preferential access to TBIT gates. Not to mention that DL's move to T2/T3 will also free up conveniently-located gates in T5/T6 for AA's use. AA has little hope of meaningfully increasing its slot portfolio at LGA and the terminal replacement doesn't address that; their only hope to grow at LGA would be by increasing aircraft gauge.

77H wrote:
if memory serves, AA has the largest passenger fleet of any airline in the world, if they closed PHX, where exactly are they redeploying all of those aircraft?


AA has plenty of places to send those aircraft, and they need not all go to the same hub. Plus aircraft freed up by closing a hub would be well-suited to help backfill regional capacity drawn down by parking 50-seat RJs (as A319s replace CR9s/E175, which replace CR7s/E170s, which replace CR2s/E145s, which go to the desert).

77H wrote:
I don't see AA ever dismantling PHX as a hub. While on the map, PHX looks redundant sandwiched in between DFW and LAX but each of the hubs has a distinct role at the airline. Neither DFW nor LAX could replace PHX's role with any level of competitiveness. DFW is far too East to serve the Mountain West/West Coast regions.


What exactly is the large set of unique traffic flows which cannot be served reasonably well at DFW & LAX and is also high-yielding enough to necessitate keeping the hub? The hub doesn't make it based on being the optimal location for YUM-MAF or FLG-ROW. PHX is too far south to serve a big chunk of the Mountain West.


You're right, PHX's main purpose is not to serve backwater desert towns. As I mentioned, I think PHX's role is to supplement LAX due to it's constraints.However, on the subject of backwater desert towns, as others have posted, AA is often times the only game in town in many smaller towns which means that can sell seats at a premium.

Additionally, I understand that LGA and LAX are not exactly the same. The point I was making is that both have hindrances that make them unfit to replace routes and frequencies should the other station be drawn down. AA and LAWA can augment LAX until their blue in the face and their balance sheet is a deep red but when it comes down to it, is AA going to sacrifice a gate that could be used to handle a LAXJFK/ORD/BOS in order to fly LAX-YUM/FLG/ROW and other small mountain west cities? To your point, there aren't extremely large traffic flows but again, AA is already the weakest of the US3 in the west and dismantling the PHX hub opens all those little cities up to competition. LAX will never be able to keep up the frequency and route profile that PHX offers AA. LAX will never be a SFO to UA or an SLC to DL regardless of the TBIT, and T5.
 
phluser
Posts: 616
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Fri Nov 04, 2016 1:06 am

I figure PHX as a hub is somewhat necessary for AA's market share in the west coast. i.e. Without it as a hub, routes originating out of Bay Area airports, SAN, LAS, So. Cal-PHX (except LAX-PHX) presumably will be deleted, and AA would lose market share in the West where it is already weaker of the other legacy carriers and WN at least on domestic travel. Additional flights to LAX and DFW might not be feasible to back fill the loss (and loss of a nonstop destination).

In a secondary airport like OAK, AA just offers a meager 2x (in some days in February) to just 3x daily to PHX. I've wondered if OAK-LAX will be added to supplement OAK-PHX, but it hasn't. If it can't offer a good schedule with connection opportunities out of a rather busy airport (OAK), albeit secondary, and is defeated on O&D on the one route it flies there, what's the point. And also maybe problematic is AA doesn't have enough non-stops out of LAX, like LAX-BWI/EWR either. At least it could beef up LAX-PHX to frequency matching WN.
 
alasizon
Posts: 2610
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2007 8:57 pm

Re: Question about PHX and AA

Fri Nov 04, 2016 2:02 am

phluser wrote:
In a secondary airport like OAK, AA just offers a meager 2x (in some days in February) to just 3x daily to PHX. I've wondered if OAK-LAX will be added to supplement OAK-PHX, but it hasn't. If it can't offer a good schedule with connection opportunities out of a rather busy airport (OAK), albeit secondary, and is defeated on O&D on the one route it flies there, what's the point. And also maybe problematic is AA doesn't have enough non-stops out of LAX, like LAX-BWI/EWR either. At least it could beef up LAX-PHX to frequency matching WN.


1) OAK has 3x mainline flights a day for connections that connect into three outbound banks in PHX. The first outbound of the morning connects to the biggest eastbound bank in PHX, the second connects to the mid-afternoon flying allowing you to arrive same day on the east coast. The last one connects to regional flights as well as red-eyes. AA knows they would never capture the lion's share of the O&D given the Southwest presence on each side of the route. What connections isn't AA offering via their PHX route?
2) AA doesn't have enough room to add all the additional LAX flying that they would like to. I can't see AA adding EWR from LAX given their flagship trans-con flights to JFK and they seem to find the WAS market covered nicely by their DCA and IAD flights.
3) How many frequencies do you want on LAX-PHX? For example, on Monday, AA has 7 LAX-PHX flights (4x 321, 1x 752, 2x CR9) and WN has 8 LAX-PHX flights (All 73Gs). That adds up to 1076 seats vs 1144 seats. Lets compare Friday the 18th: AA has 8 LAX-PHX flights (5x 321, 1x 738, 1x 319, 1x CR9) and WN has 9 LAX-PHX flights (All 73Gs). That adds up to 1299 seats vs 1287 seats. WN may offer one additional frequency but AA certainly times their flights to connect with their banks and offer what they feel is the best options for their passengers. One extra frequency isn't going to make or break the route for most people and I'm sure if AA thought they could support another turn (an early morning PHX-LAX with an 8:00AM turn LAX-PHX), they would add it. And what do you know, for the December holidays, that exact flight is there.
Airport (noun) - A construction site which airplanes tend to frequent
 
grbauc
Posts: 1469
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Fri Nov 04, 2016 2:24 am

mpdpilot wrote:
VX321 wrote:


enilria wrote:
I think it's pretty well established PHX is the worst performing hub.
Bottom line, it would be the first hub to close, but I don't see them closing hubs unless a significant recession occurs.


DFW789ER wrote:
Oh yaay. Another thread speculating the demise of PHX as a hub. My personal opinion is it's not needed, but I don't think AA would do a total drawdown.


While I can't speak to this guys intel, I would be very surprised if anything came of it. I agree that it is likely AA's worst performing hub and by that making the smallest profit, but still a profit.

This topic keeps coming up and I don't get it. American (not with their regional carriers, mainline only) is the same size as Alaska is in Seattle. The only reason AA serves so many destinations in California is PHX. If AA shut down PHX, AS, DL, UA, WN would be so excited about the capacity they could add. There are like 6 airports where it is only AA and UA, I am sure UA would love the monopoly. A few more with AS, they would love to pick up the slack AA left. There are a whole bunch that don't have service on DL at all likely because AA serves them that would work great from SLC. There are a number of them where AA is second to WN, WN would be happy to loose their #1 competitor.

Hell, AA is larger in PHX than DL is in SLC (mainline only). There is no conceivable way that AA can capture the revenue lost should they close PHX, DFW is too far for a number of the airports and LAX doesn't have room to DOUBLE in size for AA. Closing hubs means closing operations that are redundant, I just don't see PHX as redundant for AA. Had US and UA merged, sure, had US and DL merged, sure, Not US and AA.


Thank you for bringing some sanity to this tread. PHX is far to important unless there is a huge economic turmoil or event that happens for PHX to be drawn down. Plain and simple it is Since AA has Only LAX in the western US PHX is needed badly. Its not perfect but along with LAX its the best to be had out in the Western part of the country.

I'm not sure why so many think and seem to want history to repeat its self. AA/US were weak out West due to there abandoning the region in a much different time in aviation. PHX AND LAX are copartners in the west coast and play to different strengths. They work well together and Has the new AA gets more and more of the new aircraft they have ordered there will be shifting and shuffling. A modern airline with today's computers and rout system should be more nimble and adaptive to the changing economy. Routs that were flown weekly can be adjusted on different days of the week that can follow the travel patterns of flyers. Similar to what's happened with US military were we have smart bombs that can strategically work vers the old carpet bombing days.
 
phluser
Posts: 616
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Fri Nov 04, 2016 12:50 pm

alasizon wrote:
phluser wrote:
In a secondary airport like OAK, AA just offers a meager 2x (in some days in February) to just 3x daily to PHX. I've wondered if OAK-LAX will be added to supplement OAK-PHX, but it hasn't. If it can't offer a good schedule with connection opportunities out of a rather busy airport (OAK), albeit secondary, and is defeated on O&D on the one route it flies there, what's the point. And also maybe problematic is AA doesn't have enough non-stops out of LAX, like LAX-BWI/EWR either. At least it could beef up LAX-PHX to frequency matching WN.


1) OAK has 3x mainline flights a day for connections that connect into three outbound banks in PHX. The first outbound of the morning connects to the biggest eastbound bank in PHX, the second connects to the mid-afternoon flying allowing you to arrive same day on the east coast. The last one connects to regional flights as well as red-eyes. AA knows they would never capture the lion's share of the O&D given the Southwest presence on each side of the route. What connections isn't AA offering via their PHX route?
2) AA doesn't have enough room to add all the additional LAX flying that they would like to. I can't see AA adding EWR from LAX given their flagship trans-con flights to JFK and they seem to find the WAS market covered nicely by their DCA and IAD flights.
3) How many frequencies do you want on LAX-PHX? For example, on Monday, AA has 7 LAX-PHX flights (4x 321, 1x 752, 2x CR9) and WN has 8 LAX-PHX flights (All 73Gs). That adds up to 1076 seats vs 1144 seats. Lets compare Friday the 18th: AA has 8 LAX-PHX flights (5x 321, 1x 738, 1x 319, 1x CR9) and WN has 9 LAX-PHX flights (All 73Gs). That adds up to 1299 seats vs 1287 seats. WN may offer one additional frequency but AA certainly times their flights to connect with their banks and offer what they feel is the best options for their passengers. One extra frequency isn't going to make or break the route for most people and I'm sure if AA thought they could support another turn (an early morning PHX-LAX with an 8:00AM turn LAX-PHX), they would add it. And what do you know, for the December holidays, that exact flight is there.


On certain dates next year, AA is running only 2x daily OAK-PHX, which won't connect to the PHX-BWI flight. And certain dates, I admit early in the year, it's running LAX-PHX at just 5x while WN is close to 10x. It might be one reason O&D uses WN.

On LAX: BWI services Baltimore MSA, unlike DCA/IAD (for domestic), and EWR serves North & Central NJ, unlike LGA/JFK (for domestic). If AA were to decide on LAX at the expense of PHX, it'd need coverage to those markets out of LAX.

If it were to beef up PHX as a hub, it could look into weaknesses in the top O&D markets and increase frequency (against WN) on atleast LA and Bay Area airport service, the top two O&D markets. I also find it strange that AA can't make not too long routes, like RDU-PHX, CVG-PHX and CLE-PHX, with stability.
 
ScottB
Posts: 7074
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2000 1:25 am

Re: Question about PHX and AA

Fri Nov 04, 2016 5:19 pm

77H wrote:
The point I was making is that both have hindrances that make them unfit to replace routes and frequencies should the other station be drawn down. AA and LAWA can augment LAX until their blue in the face and their balance sheet is a deep red but when it comes down to it, is AA going to sacrifice a gate that could be used to handle a LAXJFK/ORD/BOS in order to fly LAX-YUM/FLG/ROW and other small mountain west cities? To your point, there aren't extremely large traffic flows but again, AA is already the weakest of the US3 in the west and dismantling the PHX hub opens all those little cities up to competition. LAX will never be able to keep up the frequency and route profile that PHX offers AA. LAX will never be a SFO to UA or an SLC to DL regardless of the TBIT, and T5.


But LAX doesn't need to replace PHX frequency-for-frequency or route-for-route in order for AA to optimize its network. And, in fact, there are already quite a few markets where LAX already offers comparable or better frequency when compared to PHX (i.e. BOS, NYC, MIA, SEA, DEN) or which are offered from LAX but not PHX (i.e. BNA, RDU, MSY). Some of the capacity can be shifted to LAX and/or simply by increasing aircraft gauge (and that would be where some of the PHX mainline aircraft would go) and some of the capacity simply shouldn't be replaced. In the HP and later US network, PHX operated as a low-cost hub to siphon off traffic from other legacy carriers through opportunistic pricing, but that's not the business AA wants to be in these days. If they're selling you a cheap LAX-PHX-ORD ticket to fill seats at PHX, there's a good chance that they're stealing that traffic from themselves.

It doesn't matter if AA is relatively weak out West because all the airlines have their own weak regions. DL is weak in the South Central U.S. while UA is practically non-existent in the Southeast. Plus the West is the region most exposed to competition in the domestic market. It doesn't matter if AA leaves markets like SBA/RDM/STS to other carriers if they make more money for their shareholders by doing so.

phluser wrote:
I figure PHX as a hub is somewhat necessary for AA's market share in the west coast. i.e. Without it as a hub, routes originating out of Bay Area airports, SAN, LAS, So. Cal-PHX (except LAX-PHX) presumably will be deleted, and AA would lose market share in the West where it is already weaker of the other legacy carriers and WN at least on domestic travel.


Honestly I don't understand the obsession with market share. Market share doesn't necessarily mean profit. Samsung has MUCH larger market share in mobile phones than Apple but their profits are tiny in comparison to Apple's. Plus in most major markets west of the Mississippi, WN controls domestic pricing so there are greater challenges in using "capacity discipline" to jack up fares.

phluser wrote:
On certain dates next year, AA is running only 2x daily OAK-PHX, which won't connect to the PHX-BWI flight. And certain dates, I admit early in the year, it's running LAX-PHX at just 5x while WN is close to 10x. It might be one reason O&D uses WN.


Schedule is one reason, but policies like no change fees are also a key reason why the O&D traffic ends up on WN. Amenities like first class and seat assignments aren't as valuable on a 60- or 90-minute flight, and WN frequent flyers are likely to get a good seat thanks to low boarding numbers.
 
Vctony
Posts: 677
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 1999 10:51 am

Re: Question about PHX and AA

Fri Nov 04, 2016 6:26 pm

ScottB wrote:
77H wrote:
The point I was making is that both have hindrances that make them unfit to replace routes and frequencies should the other station be drawn down. AA and LAWA can augment LAX until their blue in the face and their balance sheet is a deep red but when it comes down to it, is AA going to sacrifice a gate that could be used to handle a LAXJFK/ORD/BOS in order to fly LAX-YUM/FLG/ROW and other small mountain west cities? To your point, there aren't extremely large traffic flows but again, AA is already the weakest of the US3 in the west and dismantling the PHX hub opens all those little cities up to competition. LAX will never be able to keep up the frequency and route profile that PHX offers AA. LAX will never be a SFO to UA or an SLC to DL regardless of the TBIT, and T5.


But LAX doesn't need to replace PHX frequency-for-frequency or route-for-route in order for AA to optimize its network. And, in fact, there are already quite a few markets where LAX already offers comparable or better frequency when compared to PHX (i.e. BOS, NYC, MIA, SEA, DEN) or which are offered from LAX but not PHX (i.e. BNA, RDU, MSY). Some of the capacity can be shifted to LAX and/or simply by increasing aircraft gauge (and that would be where some of the PHX mainline aircraft would go) and some of the capacity simply shouldn't be replaced. In the HP and later US network, PHX operated as a low-cost hub to siphon off traffic from other legacy carriers through opportunistic pricing, but that's not the business AA wants to be in these days. If they're selling you a cheap LAX-PHX-ORD ticket to fill seats at PHX, there's a good chance that they're stealing that traffic from themselves.

It doesn't matter if AA is relatively weak out West because all the airlines have their own weak regions. DL is weak in the South Central U.S. while UA is practically non-existent in the Southeast. Plus the West is the region most exposed to competition in the domestic market. It doesn't matter if AA leaves markets like SBA/RDM/STS to other carriers if they make more money for their shareholders by doing so.

phluser wrote:
I figure PHX as a hub is somewhat necessary for AA's market share in the west coast. i.e. Without it as a hub, routes originating out of Bay Area airports, SAN, LAS, So. Cal-PHX (except LAX-PHX) presumably will be deleted, and AA would lose market share in the West where it is already weaker of the other legacy carriers and WN at least on domestic travel.


Honestly I don't understand the obsession with market share. Market share doesn't necessarily mean profit. Samsung has MUCH larger market share in mobile phones than Apple but their profits are tiny in comparison to Apple's. Plus in most major markets west of the Mississippi, WN controls domestic pricing so there are greater challenges in using "capacity discipline" to jack up fares.

phluser wrote:
On certain dates next year, AA is running only 2x daily OAK-PHX, which won't connect to the PHX-BWI flight. And certain dates, I admit early in the year, it's running LAX-PHX at just 5x while WN is close to 10x. It might be one reason O&D uses WN.


Schedule is one reason, but policies like no change fees are also a key reason why the O&D traffic ends up on WN. Amenities like first class and seat assignments aren't as valuable on a 60- or 90-minute flight, and WN frequent flyers are likely to get a good seat thanks to low boarding numbers.


I just don't see how a major airline could completely de-hub an airport with a catchment area of 6 million (the largest catchment area between Dallas Ft. Worth and Los Angeles). As I've posted before, Phoenix would be by far the largest market in the country without a non WN hub or focus city and I just can't see that happening. The airport authority will do anything to keep the AA hub. In addition, it appears that AA may have committed to an 8 gate concourse expansion (which wouldn't be happening if they were planning to leave, although some of the new gates may be making up for WN gaining access to international gates).

WN does dominate the Phoenix originating VFR traffic. However, there's not a ton of growth in this traffic. AA dominates the Phoenix originating business traffic and this is where the growth in the Phoenix air market is coming from.

I had to take the last flight of the night between LAX - PHX a month or so ago. Neither AA nor WN operated a competitive schedule. UA actually operates the latest LAX - PHX flight.

As far as secondary markets like BNA, MSY, and RDU that AA doesn't fly from PHX (but does fly from LAX), I would have to guess that the answer is WN. WN flies all 3 nonstop and probably captures most of the O/D traffic (and it's mostly leisure / VFR traffic). There's not point in overflying DFW for scraps in these markets. Unlike LAX where there are more business connections plus the need to feed higher yielding Asian flights.
 
phxsanslcpdx
Posts: 84
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2016 4:36 pm

Re: Question about PHX and AA

Fri Nov 04, 2016 6:53 pm

With its current and on-order fleet size, I don't think AA has any plans to shrink in order to boost margins. And relocating a bunch of PHX flying to other hubs would just dilute margins at those other hubs. About the only possibility I see for AA de-hubbing Phoenix is if they decide that they'd make more money in the long-term by making very aggressive moves in DC, building up IAD and BWI to drive competitors away. But even if AA were to adopt such a strategy (which I don't think likely), I'd think they'd try to do it in addition, while still keeping a PHX hub as well.

Maverick623 wrote:
mainline destinations such as ANC and YYC have been cut.


While I agree that these cuts weren't good news for Phoenix, they seem like clear post-merger rationalization moves. US sent all their traffic to both cities through PHX. Post-merger, AA had other options (and continues to serve both cities through other options) as well as lower-cost codeshare partners (Alaska and WestJet) serving the nonstop PHX-ANC and PHX-YYC markets. They're relatively thin routes that use up a lot of plane, and have plenty of coverage through one-stops and codeshare nonstops.

VX321 wrote:
Doug Parker always hated PHX.


Even if that were true, Parker strikes me as someone genuinely focused on running a huge profit-maximizing airline, not as someone willing to sacrifice his and his shareholders' interests to satisfy some sort of vendetta against a city. Not that de-hubbing would necessarily hurt Phoenix all that badly anyway--as others have pointed out, it's an even better fit as a hub for Alaska or JetBlue, and the biggest thing limiting both airlines' growth is lack of great markets for hub operations. I think either (or maybe both) would be quick to jump in if AA left. If hatred for Phoenix is really a driving motivation for Parker, he'd be better off using his buckets of money to become some sort of anti-Phoenix supervillain in his spare time :)
 
ScottB
Posts: 7074
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2000 1:25 am

Re: Question about PHX and AA

Sat Nov 05, 2016 6:53 am

Vctony wrote:
WN does dominate the Phoenix originating VFR traffic. However, there's not a ton of growth in this traffic. AA dominates the Phoenix originating business traffic and this is where the growth in the Phoenix air market is coming from.

I had to take the last flight of the night between LAX - PHX a month or so ago. Neither AA nor WN operated a competitive schedule. UA actually operates the latest LAX - PHX flight.

As far as secondary markets like BNA, MSY, and RDU that AA doesn't fly from PHX (but does fly from LAX), I would have to guess that the answer is WN. WN flies all 3 nonstop and probably captures most of the O/D traffic (and it's mostly leisure / VFR traffic). There's not point in overflying DFW for scraps in these markets. Unlike LAX where there are more business connections plus the need to feed higher yielding Asian flights.


Do you have any proof that "AA dominates the Phoenix originating business traffic" apart from "ewwww WN is icky because they don't have assigned seats or first class and the flight attendants might crack jokes over the PA?" Because frankly the data simply doesn't support that assertion. In many of the head-to-head O&D markets where WN leads in market share, they also achieve a revenue premium over AA. That's not because leisure passengers are stupid and assume WN always has the lowest fare. AA is forced to underprice WN in order to fill their planes. And, in fact, in the quintessential "leisure" market, PHX-MCO, AA is actually the market share leader as well as the lowest-priced carrier.

I looked at the UA schedule for LAX-PHX and the last flight departs LAX at 2226 and arrives PHX at 2345 (until daylight saving time ends, at which point it will arrive PHX at 0045). Trust me when I tell you that most domestic flights at that hour are extremely unpopular with business passengers. Almost no one wants to have to check into their hotel or arrive home at 2 AM with the expectation of showing up to work at 8 or 9 the next morning.

WN isn't flying PHX-BNA/RDU/MSY non-stop for the benefit of leisure passengers. Leisure passengers will accept connections for a lower fare. And if there's no point in overflying DFW to those markets, in the end, why would they overfly DFW in favor of PHX, period?

Vctony wrote:
I just don't see how a major airline could completely de-hub an airport with a catchment area of 6 million (the largest catchment area between Dallas Ft. Worth and Los Angeles). As I've posted before, Phoenix would be by far the largest market in the country without a non WN hub or focus city and I just can't see that happening.


Just because the market is sizable doesn't mean it makes sense for AA as a hub. Market share & size don't necessarily equate with profit. PHX is unusual in that it is one of only a few airports shared between a legacy hub and a large (100+-daily-flight) WN station -- and unfortunately for AA, the number of viable domestic markets at PHX which aren't exposed to WN competition is a LOT smaller than at DEN or ATL. LAX has vast international traffic flows which aren't impacted by WN. Plus PHX underpunches for its catchment population because so many inhabitants are retirees.

phxsanslcpdx wrote:
While I agree that these cuts weren't good news for Phoenix, they seem like clear post-merger rationalization moves. US sent all their traffic to both cities through PHX. Post-merger, AA had other options (and continues to serve both cities through other options) as well as lower-cost codeshare partners (Alaska and WestJet) serving the nonstop PHX-ANC and PHX-YYC markets. They're relatively thin routes that use up a lot of plane, and have plenty of coverage through one-stops and codeshare nonstops.


Honestly, if it makes more sense to send passengers to ANC & YYC through hubs other than PHX, why doesn't that make sense for most markets currently served from PHX?
 
hz747300
Posts: 2417
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:38 pm

Re: Question about PHX and AA

Sat Nov 05, 2016 7:57 am

Certainly from the outside looking in, it does not look good for PHX, but it's a good point. Where else would the planes go?

Personally, I think if it dropped too much, then someone would come in and fill the void. AS makes some sense in that role, as I don't think the majors believe PHX is 'the place to be'. PHX was good for Parker, and he must like it there; for an airline like HP it was great. For US to buy HP, it filled a void in their network. For AA, it is less necessary. And it'll be less necessary for DL and UA. Let's see what happens. I read that the 500 pilots did not really live in PHX anyways, but add the flight center closure, and only regional adds. Who knows.

The experience that represents it best for me was returning from Cancun, we were 2 hours late. The FA said of the 200 of you, 125 of you have PHX as your final destination. If PHX is your final destination, please let the other 75 exit so they can make their connections first. So this route with A321 or B757 can easily be served an A319/20. I'm fine with right-sizing.
Keep on truckin'...
 
Vctony
Posts: 677
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 1999 10:51 am

Re: Question about PHX and AA

Sat Nov 05, 2016 8:16 am

Honestly, from an airport perspective, if the AA hub completely closed, I don't expect PHX to lose a catastrophic amount of traffic.

For one thing, AA would still fly from PHX-CLT/DCA/DFW/JFK/LAX/MIA/ORD/PHL. So, of the currently 260 or so departures, there's probably still at least 55 or so just to the other hubs.

There is enough O/D to Mexico for someone to operate PHX - CUN/PVR/SJD and I'm sure WN would likely add these destinations plus maybe a domestic city or two that it doesn't currently serve from PHX.

B6 would add a frequency to BOS as well as potentially MCO or FLL

Assuming AS and VX end up merging, the combined carrier would likely add PHX - LAX/SFO to its route map. It also wouldn't be out of the question to see AS take on some of the regional routes out of PHX as well as a few transcons.

NK and/or F9 would likely add (or go daily) to most of their other stations that currently see AA service from PHX. Also, G4 would move (and likely expand) its AZA operation to PHX.

The biggest loser in the deal would be some of the smaller regional stations that can only operate with a full fledged hub but overall PHX would likely only be down about 50 - 60 daily airliner departures even with the loss of the hub. It's just that the departures will be spread out among multiple carriers instead of concentrated in a hub operation.
 
WA707atMSP
Posts: 1913
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2006 8:16 pm

Re: Question about PHX and AA

Sat Nov 05, 2016 8:52 am

ScottB wrote:

77H wrote:
if memory serves, AA has the largest passenger fleet of any airline in the world, if they closed PHX, where exactly are they redeploying all of those aircraft?


AA has plenty of places to send those aircraft, and they need not all go to the same hub. Plus aircraft freed up by closing a hub would be well-suited to help backfill regional capacity drawn down by parking 50-seat RJs (as A319s replace CR9s/E175, which replace CR7s/E170s, which replace CR2s/E145s, which go to the desert).


In recessions, airlines accelerate the retirement of their oldest aircraft, especially if the recession is accompanied by a sharp increase in fuel prices. We've been focused on ANet about AA's MD-80 and 757 fleets, but AA also has a large fleet of elderly A320s that they've been gradually drawing down. If there is a major recession that causes AA to shrink PHX, I think it's likely that they will retire the A320s as part of the PHX draw down, rather than try to redeploy them.
 
alasizon
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Sat Nov 05, 2016 6:16 pm

hz747300 wrote:
Personally, I think if it dropped too much, then someone would come in and fill the void. AS makes some sense in that role, as I don't think the majors believe PHX is 'the place to be'. PHX was good for Parker, and he must like it there; for an airline like HP it was great. For US to buy HP, it filled a void in their network. For AA, it is less necessary. And it'll be less necessary for DL and UA. Let's see what happens. I read that the 500 pilots did not really live in PHX anyways, but add the flight center closure, and only regional adds. Who knows.

The experience that represents it best for me was returning from Cancun, we were 2 hours late. The FA said of the 200 of you, 125 of you have PHX as your final destination. If PHX is your final destination, please let the other 75 exit so they can make their connections first. So this route with A321 or B757 can easily be served an A319/20. I'm fine with right-sizing.


The majority of adds left in PHX sans RDU/BNA/CLE are pretty much all regional to start followed by mainline down the road if the market can support it. The only market that has seen an upgrade to Mainline that was recently launched is PHX-MEM. PHX-JAC being launched on Mainline for the peak summer season is a good sign and my personal hypothesis is that it will be a regional flight in the off-season.

CUN is probably not a market that should be used as a reference as it is very different when compared with all other Mexico markets, but I can assure you that on most Mexico markets, probably about 65-70% are connecting (or upwards of 100% in certain markets during certain times of the year).

I certainly believe AA views PHX as needed in at least the medium term (10-12 years out) because AA certainly wouldn't spend 15+ million dollars restriping gates and moving jetways to acommodate more 738s & 321s, 20+ million on redoing gate areas and facility improvements and signing a new contract with Skywest for 30 CRJ-700s of which about 50% are targeted for PHX to start. Will PHX see right-sizing and cross-fleeting? Yes. Will PHX close as a hub? I highly doubt that. Regional is supposed to grow pretty heavily and Mainline is supposed to remain flattish (there are seasonal ups and down and 738s/321s require additional employees when compared with the 319s/320s that are being replaced).
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Vctony
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Sat Nov 05, 2016 6:40 pm

alasizon wrote:
hz747300 wrote:
Personally, I think if it dropped too much, then someone would come in and fill the void. AS makes some sense in that role, as I don't think the majors believe PHX is 'the place to be'. PHX was good for Parker, and he must like it there; for an airline like HP it was great. For US to buy HP, it filled a void in their network. For AA, it is less necessary. And it'll be less necessary for DL and UA. Let's see what happens. I read that the 500 pilots did not really live in PHX anyways, but add the flight center closure, and only regional adds. Who knows.

The experience that represents it best for me was returning from Cancun, we were 2 hours late. The FA said of the 200 of you, 125 of you have PHX as your final destination. If PHX is your final destination, please let the other 75 exit so they can make their connections first. So this route with A321 or B757 can easily be served an A319/20. I'm fine with right-sizing.


The majority of adds left in PHX sans RDU/BNA/CLE are pretty much all regional to start followed by mainline down the road if the market can support it. The only market that has seen an upgrade to Mainline that was recently launched is PHX-MEM. PHX-JAC being launched on Mainline for the peak summer season is a good sign and my personal hypothesis is that it will be a regional flight in the off-season.

CUN is probably not a market that should be used as a reference as it is very different when compared with all other Mexico markets, but I can assure you that on most Mexico markets, probably about 65-70% are connecting (or upwards of 100% in certain markets during certain times of the year).

I certainly believe AA views PHX as needed in at least the medium term (10-12 years out) because AA certainly wouldn't spend 15+ million dollars restriping gates and moving jetways to acommodate more 738s & 321s, 20+ million on redoing gate areas and facility improvements and signing a new contract with Skywest for 30 CRJ-700s of which about 50% are targeted for PHX to start. Will PHX see right-sizing and cross-fleeting? Yes. Will PHX close as a hub? I highly doubt that. Regional is supposed to grow pretty heavily and Mainline is supposed to remain flattish (there are seasonal ups and down and 738s/321s require additional employees when compared with the 319s/320s that are being replaced).


Didn't AA try PHX-CLE last winter?

It seems that F9 picked up this route after it failed with AA.

BNA and RDU simply make too much sense due to AA's historic and current presence in both markets, although even WN has made PHX - RDU "seasonal".
 
alasizon
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Sat Nov 05, 2016 7:09 pm

Vctony wrote:
Didn't AA try PHX-CLE last winter?

It seems that F9 picked up this route after it failed with AA.

BNA and RDU simply make too much sense due to AA's historic and current presence in both markets, although even WN has made PHX - RDU "seasonal".


AA/US has tried PHX-CLE multiple times. Last time it ran it was running 2x daily as I recall and both flights were full but we struggled yield wise when compared with the aircraft utilization. I think the market could easily come back if the PHX yield continues to improve (which all indications are that it has been about a 5% improvement over the last year which is a good sign). Likewise, if DFW-CLE shifted a frequency or two to a 319 (from the current MD or 737), it would help with utilization as CLE is just far enough away from PHX where the timings require longer sits on the ground in CLE to match the bank structure.

BNA and RDU both are difficult for AA to justify due to the overflight of DFW for both and CLT for RDU. I have no doubt there is a market for them (and the O&D numbers back that up) but there simply isn't the openings in aircraft utilization right now for that without launching both markets as 737s with sub-par timing. I believe once AA has retired the last MD-80, a lot of new markets will be able to be opened since right now we aren't growing fleet wise and the MX contract still has to be worked out to integrate the MX workgroups which is a limiting factor right now.
Airport (noun) - A construction site which airplanes tend to frequent
 
777PHX
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Sat Nov 05, 2016 7:24 pm

ScottB wrote:
While AA's access to RJs gives them the ability to serve 25 or so non-stop markets from PHX which aren't exposed to competition from WN, the growth of G4 at AZA/IWA also has impacted AA's ability to charge high fares in the non-stop markets G4 has entered and/or enter markets where G4 is already present.


I agree with 95% of what you said, but this one is making me scratch my head. AZA is in the far south eastern corner of the valley, so it's not a realistic alternative for anyone outside of Gilbert, Chandler, Tempe and parts of Mesa. Additionally, what routes does G4 complete directly with the AA on? LAS, which is served less than daily? I guess you could maybe make a case for RFD, even though that's a far western suburb of the Chicago area and not a realistic alternative to ORD/MDW either. Other than that, G4 serves a much of smaller destinations that serve mostly tourism traffic. I'm skeptical AA is feeling any sort of pressure from G4 here.

PHX isn't going anywhere. I take these threads with a grain of salt, especially when I see people start in with, "OMG, PHX is the worst performing hub. They're going to burn it to the ground as soon as they can!".

Yet, there's nothing that even remotely supports this assertion other than hearsay from someone else on the internet that is as equally as ignorant on the topic.
 
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1337Delta764
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Sat Nov 05, 2016 8:35 pm

777PHX wrote:
Tempe


No portion of Tempe is closer to AZA than it is to PHX; PHX practically borders Tempe. Even parts of western Mesa and western Chandler are closer to PHX than they are to AZA. AZA is closer to Gilbert, Queen Creek, central/eastern Mesa, and central/eastern Chandler.
 
777PHX
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Sun Nov 06, 2016 12:06 am

1337Delta764 wrote:
777PHX wrote:
Tempe


No portion of Tempe is closer to AZA than it is to PHX; PHX practically borders Tempe. Even parts of western Mesa and western Chandler are closer to PHX than they are to AZA. AZA is closer to Gilbert, Queen Creek, central/eastern Mesa, and central/eastern Chandler.


I didn't say any area was closer to PHX or AZA, I said those are the only larger suburbs that make sense to use AZA.

I'm well familiar with the geography of the area since I work in south Tempe, fly out of Mesa, and live in Gilbert.
 
apodino
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Sun Nov 06, 2016 1:49 am

One thing I will say that hasn't been mentioned with the airbus drawdown. A lot of Airbus flying in PHX has been replaced by 737s. I think the company would like to open a 737 domicile in PHX, but there are some short term issues with this. One is that the Flight Attendants are not yet integrated, so LUS Flight Attendants are not yet allowed to work LAA metal and vice versa, even though the pilots now can. So in order for a 737 pilot domicile to work, you would have to maintain two separate flight attendant domiciles in PHX, or keep flying in FAs from other LAA domiciles. Until they can get the FAs integrated, and I am not sure of all the issues behind the scenes why this isn't yet happening, I don't see a 737 domicile in PHX and most of the PHX flying will be managed from other domiciles. When they get this issue resolved, I would anticipate a 737 domicile opening in PHX.

One thing about LAX since its relevant to the discussion. AA leadership has admitted they have tried to grow LAX too much too fast, and the performance of the station has not been good as a result. They are going to keep LAX at a more reasonable level until the available infrastructure in LAX becomes sufficient to warrant additional flying.
 
phluser
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Sun Nov 06, 2016 2:12 am

Vctony wrote:
Honestly, from an airport perspective, if the AA hub completely closed, I don't expect PHX to lose a catastrophic amount of traffic.

For one thing, AA would still fly from PHX-CLT/DCA/DFW/JFK/LAX/MIA/ORD/PHL. So, of the currently 260 or so departures, there's probably still at least 55 or so just to the other hubs.

There is enough O/D to Mexico for someone to operate PHX - CUN/PVR/SJD and I'm sure WN would likely add these destinations plus maybe a domestic city or two that it doesn't currently serve from PHX.

B6 would add a frequency to BOS as well as potentially MCO or FLL


It's interesting that AA runs 6x daily PHL-PHX in February while WN has 1x daily flight. While AA has a hub on the PHL side as well, the frequency difference is quite vast on that route. AA has PHX-DCA at 3x daily and it's restricted (and unfair) that WN can't even convert an under-performing DCA flight to DCA-PHX.

Along with the flights to hubs, I think it's likely AA would keep PHX- BOS, maybe BWI and EWR as well, targeting the big airports between BOS and DC. For that flight length, it favors AA's product over WN's. Hopefully AA would keep the international destinations it already has out of PHX, Hawaii and Alaska cities as well, smaller market destinations without WN where AA to PHX will work, and likely PHX-LAS (which I can't see WN having exclusive). At this point, PHX is still a hub or maybe a good sized focus city.

The top 2 O&D markets are to So Cal and Bay Area. WN dominates, but where AA might be able to still keep coverage, and maybe SAN as well.

My guess is AA PHX would have little interest long term in fly over country where WN is big or where PHX O&D demand is too small, and/or the flight overflies DFW, and flights to DL hubs (ATL DTW MSP where likely DL dominates while WN will be #2).

I could also see the ULCCs picking up MCO-PHX, SEA/PDX-PHX and B6 maybe adding MCO/FLL/LGB. If AA were to delete STL-PHX, I don't think WN would have exclusivity too long. F9 might add it as a daily, since Phoenix remains a warm sun destination.
 
ScottB
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Sun Nov 06, 2016 7:44 am

777PHX wrote:
ScottB wrote:
While AA's access to RJs gives them the ability to serve 25 or so non-stop markets from PHX which aren't exposed to competition from WN, the growth of G4 at AZA/IWA also has impacted AA's ability to charge high fares in the non-stop markets G4 has entered and/or enter markets where G4 is already present.


I agree with 95% of what you said, but this one is making me scratch my head. AZA is in the far south eastern corner of the valley, so it's not a realistic alternative for anyone outside of Gilbert, Chandler, Tempe and parts of Mesa. Additionally, what routes does G4 complete directly with the AA on? LAS, which is served less than daily? I guess you could maybe make a case for RFD, even though that's a far western suburb of the Chicago area and not a realistic alternative to ORD/MDW either. Other than that, G4 serves a much of smaller destinations that serve mostly tourism traffic. I'm skeptical AA is feeling any sort of pressure from G4 here.


There are several markets served from both PHX (on AA) and AZA (on G4): OAK, DSM, FAT, MEM, and LAS. But my point is also that there are several markets in which G4's presence at AZA may dilute O&D traffic/yields to the point where it's uneconomical for AA to try to serve them from PHX on regional equipment. I'm talking about airports like ICT, CID, RAP, COS, CVG, BZN, etc. -- places AA doesn't serve currently from PHX but which are served from other AA hubs.

While AZA isn't convenient for most of the Valley of the Sun, it's a realistic alternative for price-sensitive customers. Even some business customers can be price-sensitive if the choice on AA is a $1,000 walk-up fare. The issue is that AA loses monopoly pricing power in markets G4 serves from AZA because some fraction of customers will choose G4 if AA's fares are too high. AA has to price PHX-DSM below markets of comparable distance like PHX-MCI or PHX-IAH because they're competing against G4's AZA-DSM.

Vctony wrote:
Honestly, from an airport perspective, if the AA hub completely closed, I don't expect PHX to lose a catastrophic amount of traffic.


Even more importantly, PHX wouldn't lose many key non-stop markets. DSM might be the largest if WN didn't end up adding its own flight. I don't think G4 ends up moving over to PHX simply because AZA will still be a cheaper airport from which to operate.
 
commavia
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Sun Nov 06, 2016 2:45 pm

alasizon wrote:
I certainly believe AA views PHX as needed in at least the medium term (10-12 years out) because AA certainly wouldn't spend 15+ million dollars restriping gates and moving jetways to acommodate more 738s & 321s, 20+ million on redoing gate areas and facility improvements and signing a new contract with Skywest for 30 CRJ-700s of which about 50% are targeted for PHX to start. Will PHX see right-sizing and cross-fleeting? Yes. Will PHX close as a hub? I highly doubt that. Regional is supposed to grow pretty heavily and Mainline is supposed to remain flattish (there are seasonal ups and down and 738s/321s require additional employees when compared with the 319s/320s that are being replaced).


I generally agree with all of that. In hindsight, my expectations at the time of the merger about PHX's future seem too bearish, but I do still believe that long-term PHX is going to end up being a smaller hub for AA than it was for USAirways or America West. That said, PHX does serve a role in the combined airline's network and I do think it can play to its strengths (short stage lengths to California, penetration into smaller California and Rocky Mountain markets where Southwest isn't viable). Ultimately, I agree that PHX's future is likely to be comprised of less flights and less seats (more A319s, 737s and 2-class RJs, less A321s) overall, but still a large hub.
 
alasizon
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Sun Nov 06, 2016 7:58 pm

commavia wrote:
I generally agree with all of that. In hindsight, my expectations at the time of the merger about PHX's future seem too bearish, but I do still believe that long-term PHX is going to end up being a smaller hub for AA than it was for USAirways or America West. That said, PHX does serve a role in the combined airline's network and I do think it can play to its strengths (short stage lengths to California, penetration into smaller California and Rocky Mountain markets where Southwest isn't viable). Ultimately, I agree that PHX's future is likely to be comprised of less flights and less seats (more A319s, 737s and 2-class RJs, less A321s) overall, but still a large hub.


I agree with everything except the less flights/less seats. The departures are growing and the seats are as well at a slightly slower rate. Yes, PHX is down from the peak US utilization during flex but it is going up with the planned growth. Likewise, 319s are on the way out so most of the markets will go to a 320/738/RJ combo down the line. The A321 shrinkage is complete in my opinion.
Airport (noun) - A construction site which airplanes tend to frequent
 
phxsanslcpdx
Posts: 84
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Wed Nov 09, 2016 10:46 pm

ScottB wrote:

phxsanslcpdx wrote:
While I agree that these cuts weren't good news for Phoenix, they seem like clear post-merger rationalization moves. US sent all their traffic to both cities through PHX. Post-merger, AA had other options (and continues to serve both cities through other options) as well as lower-cost codeshare partners (Alaska and WestJet) serving the nonstop PHX-ANC and PHX-YYC markets. They're relatively thin routes that use up a lot of plane, and have plenty of coverage through one-stops and codeshare nonstops.


Honestly, if it makes more sense to send passengers to ANC & YYC through hubs other than PHX, why doesn't that make sense for most markets currently served from PHX?


I don't think it makes sense for AA to keep PHX hubbed just on the basis of serving connecting passengers. I believe the only mainline destinations with only PHX service are Long Beach and Spokane, and either could be served from other hubs or just cut from the network without much hurt. If AA decides they don't want PHX O&D traffic, eliminating the hub absolutely makes sense. As long as AA wants significant PHX O&D traffic, PHX makes plenty of sense as a connecting point for lots of routes.

I think AA will keep the PHX hub on the basis of current traffic, future growth, and lack of better opportunities for its planes. However, if AA decides these aren't good enough reasons to keep the hub, they should de-hub, not keep it just for the sake of any particular spokes.
 
alasizon
Posts: 2610
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Re: Question about PHX and AA

Thu Nov 10, 2016 12:27 am

phxsanslcpdx wrote:
I believe the only mainline destinations with only PHX service are Long Beach and Spokane, and either could be served from other hubs or just cut from the network without much hurt.


LGB is an all Express station, GEG and OAK are the only mainline stations with just PHX service.

In addition to LGB; BUR, MRY, SBP, MRY, BFL, YUM, HMO, YEG, SGU and FLG are the stations with service just from PHX and no other connections to the AA network. STS and IFP will join this club in February
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