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LotsaRunway
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Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 5:05 pm

In an attempt to steer around having another EWR vs IAD thread, I'd like to have a discussion on the long term outlook for EWR being able to serve as UA's need for an east coast superhub.

DL has a fortress superhub at ATL that nobody would argue with. US had PHL, but as AA it is finding that while PHL has good O&D, operations and reliability are too restricted to make it their go-to AA east coast superhub. Instead, PHL shares the load with CLT (carries a lot of domestic connections) and MIA (opens the door for international southbound). So AA runs 3 strong flow hubs rather than what I would call a superhub doing both international and domestic. What is UA's answer? Is it EWR? EWR seems to be a mess on the connection front, especially from medium to small cities where delay and cancellation occur several times a week. I can't really figure out what IAD's role is for UA besides supporting Washington international and domestic O&D traffic with a limited connections. It doesn't seem destined to the a UA east coast superhub or anything more than what the DC area needs. There is no denying that NYC/EWR has the O&D needed to support a superhub, but EWR's 3-runway capacity is constrained and the airport has pretty much zero room for growth. UA seems to be trying to make EWR a large domestic connection point as well as an international superhub, but the airport just cannot seem to handle the volume unless the weather is nearly perfect.

Is UA playing a winning hand or will they lag other carriers in east coast and international connections into the future? Is there a way to expand UA operations so that it can have the frequency, capacity and connectivity that truly become a leader in connecting the country's most populated region?

If this has been covered before and I couldn't find it then, please delete.
 
Abeam79
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 5:31 pm

Let the united buying JetBlue rumors recommence
 
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adamblang
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 5:52 pm

In earnings calls, execs have talked up EWR being the only full-service New York hub, in that it handles local domestic O&D, local international O&D, domestic-to-domestic, domestic-to-international, and international-to-internaitonal connecting traffic, allowing UA to adjust the O&D vs. flow mix as market needs dictate. LGA's got some of those, JFK's got some of those, but only EWR has all of those. That's the New York-centric perspective. In terms of UA's route network, IAD behaves a lot like JFK – it's got the longhaul stuff but it's not much of a domestic O&D station and not as much of a connecting hub. So I'd say yeah, EWR is UA's long-term answer for an east coast super-hub?
 
blockski
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 5:58 pm

EWR has obvious constraints. I would think UA's plan there would be to continue to grow on the basis of strong O/D from New York, building off of their impressive network. But that obviously has limits.

IAD is the only other option they have. IAD has room to grow and a substantial amount of long haul demand as well. It faces local competition from both DCA and BWI for local passengers, but it still has the room to grow into a large connecting hub.

Long term, I think it makes sense for EWR to evolve into a more premium hub, tapping into the strong local demand while maintaining much of the existing connectivity. IAD becomes the focus for domestic east coast growth, shifting much of the excess connecting traffic away from EWR and through IAD instead. If IAD can control costs (and more traffic there will help - a virtuous cycle) then UA can grow there much like US Air grew in CLT. It's not quite as well located as CLT, but can still fill that role. The existing strong long haul demand should also open up international opportunities at IAD - Africa, South America, etc.

Big challenges are: IAD's short haul domestic competition at DCA and BWI, IAD's costs, and UA's overall rate of growth.
 
Newbiepilot
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 5:59 pm

EWR only has two full size runways. While I say this in jest a single cloud 15 miles away or a light breeze starts hour long flow control. The airport on time figures are terrible and there are already too many misconnects. The airport doesn't have the capacity to be a full hub. It doesn't have the runways to allow for departure banks timed for connections. It is set up as an O\D airport that supports some connections. It is not a major connecting hub. UA had tried to add capacity which is why such a high percentage of flights are 737-900ERs and ERJ145 flights have been upgauged to 170s.
 
stlgph
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:01 pm

Newbiepilot wrote:
EWR only has two full size runways. While I say this in jest a single cloud 15 miles away or a light breeze starts hour long flow control. The airport on time figures are terrible and there are already too many misconnects. The airport doesn't have the capacity to be a full hub. It doesn't have the runways to allow for departure banks timed for connections. It is set up as an O\D airport that supports some connections. It is not a major connecting hub. UA had tried to add capacity which is why such a high percentage of flights are 737-900ERs and ERJ145 flights have been upgauged to 170s.


Gosh man, you're so spot on, UA should just shut the whole damn thing down. And shame on British Airways for trying to run things out of Heathrow like that.
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Newbiepilot
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:06 pm

EWR should not be shut down. It serves a large market. It just doesn't have the capacity to be a super hub. It would need 4 runways to be a major connecting hub.
 
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N717TW
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:08 pm

EWR is a great hub and DL and AA would give their left arm/leg/whatever to trade their NYC operations for it. Unlike the split operations at JFK/LGA, it is a true omnidirectional hub. While it's not a "superhub" in the family of ATL or DFW, it is an enormous and powerful (and profitable) hub. The location just west of downtown NYC might make it a less than ideal domestic connecting facility, its not terrible to the northeast, is excellent for TATL, is okay for most of the northeast to Asia and Latin America. And then its located just west of downtown Manhattan and unlike JFK/LFA, UA has a lock on the 1/3 of the NY metro population in NJ and Rockland County.

It won't be a super hub because of the capacity constraints due to lack of land to grown on and more significantly the limits on the NY airspace. (one should note that the largest connecting hubs in the country aren't located between BOS-DC) That in turn prevents true banking of flights at EWR and limits the ability of UA to run a true mega hub. NextGen ATC will help somewhat but really we won't see major expansion until new technology allows for even closer landings.
 
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cosyr
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:14 pm

I think EWR is the East Coast equivalent of SFO for UA. Premier Intl routes, plenty of domestic connections to support them, but never going to be the scale of ORD or IAH. Then again, why do they need a Superhub on the East Coast. From what you described, AA doesn't have one. Only DL has ATL, but that's just because they don't have a centrally located ORD/DFW equivalent. ATL is an impressive exception to all the rules. It is out of the way for most domestic connections and 2 hours longer for all Transatlantic flights.

Not only does EWR have runway problems and airspace problems, the terminal spaces could only be expanded so much. It clearly makes money, and serves a unique purpose for the NYC area, but I think it will always be what it is now, relative to other UA hubs. I'm not saying that EWR can't grow, but it will happen in equal proportion to growth overall at UA.
 
Bald1983
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:19 pm

All of the NYC airports are boxed in. EWR has been very successful for Continental and, I presume, UAL. One possibility, at least intermediate term would be to upgrade Teterboro and move regional and some mainline there. There would need to be a connection, so Teterboro and EWR and maybe LGA could act as one airport. However, that is a pipe dream and I have no doubts there are reasons why it would not work. My understanding is that the NYC area contributes to a lot of the on-time problems airlines have. That has nothing to do with the airspace situation.
 
nadavatar64
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:29 pm

EWR is very important to UA and it serves as a major O&D station. But as others have said, Its not going to be a mega hub. I think the only place that can serve as a mega hub is IAH but thats probably not going to happen, at least not in the scale of DFW or ATL.
 
MaverickM11
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:32 pm

LotsaRunway wrote:
Is UA playing a winning hand or will they lag other carriers in east coast and international connections into the future?

In terms of capacity (ASMs), EWR is the third largest hub in the country after ATL and DFW, and certainly the largest hub on the East Coast by a mile. Not sure what gives you the idea they are lagging on the East Coast...
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Matt6461
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:46 pm

Simple fix: Close the PANYNJ container terminal and move it to Staten Island, slap 2 runways on top of the vacated land, tear down the I-78 bridge and build a tunnel under Newark Bay, put I-95 in another tunnel across the expanded airport. $50bn should do it. No problem, Trump promised $1trillion for infrastructure.
 
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LotsaRunway
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:51 pm

MaverickM11 wrote:
LotsaRunway wrote:
Is UA playing a winning hand or will they lag other carriers in east coast and international connections into the future?

In terms of capacity (ASMs), EWR is the third largest hub in the country after ATL and DFW, and certainly the largest hub on the East Coast by a mile. Not sure what gives you the idea they are lagging on the East Coast...

O&D traffic is huge, but it's not so great at getting people from outside of NYC/DC to other places outside of NYC/DC. It's a connection nightmare in my opinion and I can't see how they can grow to compete against airlines that seem to have a plan for east coast flow. Just too many delays and cancellations causing misconnects at EWR. It lags in connecting the large eastern populations that lie outside of these two cities, thus why I referred to a hub.
 
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LotsaRunway
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:56 pm

N717TW wrote:
EWR is a great hub and DL and AA would give their left arm/leg/whatever to trade their NYC operations for it.

I agree that DL and AA would give their left arm for such a large operation in the NYC metro area, but I disagree that it's a great hub. But it is a seemingly profitable operation that serves the NYC area well.

N717TW wrote:
Unlike the split operations at JFK/LGA, it is a true omnidirectional hub.

Maybe it should try to be less omnidirectional? It might help traffic flow and space connections better. Just thinking out loud.
 
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STT757
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:59 pm

EWR can still grow, only having two runways has not stopped Heathrow airport from serving 75 million passengers per year. EWR just passed 40 million for 2016 and is growing at a nice rate, for example domestically EWR grew by 9.5% while JFK grew by 1.9% for the 12 months ending January.

The answer is up gauging, as mentioned UA has already started by replacing many if the Trans-Atlantic 757 flights with 763s. There's plenty more opportunity, I work in Lower Manhattan and drive by EWR everyday to / from work. I'm still seeing plenty of UAX props (DH-8-200s, DH-8 300s) and lots of ERJ-145s, not sure what the count is this Summer but last Summer UAX had 150 daily flights from EWR on aircraft with 50 seats or less (50 seat ERJs, 50 seat Q300s, 37 seat DH-8s). There's opportunity to make an impact in that area. UA adding an aircraft like the CS100 would go a long way to helping EWR, it would not only give them a 100 seat mainline aircraft capable of up gauging regional flying, it would also allow them to add 70 additional 75 seat ERJ-175s.

Also UA will be getting some new digs for some of their operation. Today Governor Christie and the Port Authority broke ground on the new Terminal A, the $2 Billion dollar terminal will be fully complete by 2022. UA is negotiating with the PA about how many gates they will occupy, right now they have regional flights operating out of the current Terminal A. Not sure if that will continue in the new Terminal or UA would move other operations to the new Terminal A.

http://www.panynj.gov/press-room/press-item.cfm?headLine_id=2725

Some info about the new EWR Terminal A:

http://www.panynj.gov/airports/ewr-redevelopment/
Last edited by STT757 on Tue Jun 13, 2017 7:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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commavia
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 7:05 pm

Yep, as said ... EWR is an exceptional hub that any U.S. global network carrier would kill to have. It is by far the strongest, and truly only, omni-directional, domestic/shorthaul-and-international/longhaul, all-throughout-the-day megahub in the northeastern U.S. EWR caters to the largest market - economically and demographically - in the U.S., and it's dominated by the hub airline with a (relatively) minimal level of lower-cost competition. All in all - check, check, check for a global network carrier.

It is a testament to the power of EWR as a hub that United's two global network rivals both need more than one hub - PHL, DCA and to an extent arguably even CLT if not ORD for AA, and JFK and LGA plus DTW for Delta - to serve much of the role that United itself fulfills largely with EWR. For its all of its operational and infrastructure shortcomings - which, frankly, are endemic to any major airport in the northeastern U.S. - EWR is an incredibly impressive hub.
 
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 7:19 pm

What's the status of PATH extension to EWR?
I've always thought there should be a shared LIRR/NJT shuttle(ish) service through Penn between Jamaica and EWR. That would open most of NYC and much of Jersey to JFK and EWR, potentially allowing upgauging and more efficient use of the two airfields. Of course there are huge administrative hurdles but if we're asking long term questions...
 
MIflyer12
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:07 pm

commavia wrote:
Yep, as said ... EWR is an exceptional hub that any U.S. global network carrier would kill to have. It is by far the strongest, and truly only, omni-directional, domestic/shorthaul-and-international/longhaul, all-throughout-the-day megahub in the northeastern U.S. EWR caters to the largest market - economically and demographically - in the U.S., and it's dominated by the hub airline with a (relatively) minimal level of lower-cost competition. All in all - check, check, check for a global network carrier.

It is a testament to the power of EWR as a hub that United's two global network rivals both need more than one hub - PHL, DCA and to an extent arguably even CLT if not ORD for AA, and JFK and LGA plus DTW for Delta - to serve much of the role that United itself fulfills largely with EWR. For its all of its operational and infrastructure shortcomings - which, frankly, are endemic to any major airport in the northeastern U.S. - EWR is an incredibly impressive hub.


You're a little too enthusiastic. Yes, UA gets economies (and more connectivity) from a single NYC hub that Delta loses over split ops at LGA and JFK. However, PANYNJ data show that United's passenger count over Delta across the metro airports is narrow, and narrowing: 30.6 million to 29.3 million for 12 months ending 1/17.

http://www.panynj.gov/airports/pdf-traf ... N_2017.pdf
 
commavia
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:13 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
You're a little too enthusiastic.


I don't think I am, not at all.

MIflyer12 wrote:
Yes, UA gets economies (and more connectivity) from a single NYC hub that Delta loses over split ops at LGA and JFK. However, PANYNJ data show that United's passenger count over Delta across the metro airports is narrow, and narrowing: 30.6 million to 29.3 million for 12 months ending 1/17.


Raw passenger totals only tell a (very incomplete) part of the story. Bigger-picture, strategically, in the context of a broader global network, United's single, unified, omni-directional, domestic/shorthaul-and-international/longhaul, all-throughout-the-day megahub in the largest market in the U.S. is extraordinarily valuable.
 
airzona11
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:33 pm

commavia wrote:
MIflyer12 wrote:
You're a little too enthusiastic.


I don't think I am, not at all.

MIflyer12 wrote:
Yes, UA gets economies (and more connectivity) from a single NYC hub that Delta loses over split ops at LGA and JFK. However, PANYNJ data show that United's passenger count over Delta across the metro airports is narrow, and narrowing: 30.6 million to 29.3 million for 12 months ending 1/17.


Raw passenger totals only tell a (very incomplete) part of the story. Bigger-picture, strategically, in the context of a broader global network, United's single, unified, omni-directional, domestic/shorthaul-and-international/longhaul, all-throughout-the-day megahub in the largest market in the U.S. is extraordinarily valuable.


Exactly. It is the only true MegaHub in one of the worlds largest metros. They have IAD/ORD/IAH/DEN to flow connections where EWR isn't ideally located, but the sheer O+D and International traffic makes it about as lucrative as a hub as possible.

No one carrier can capture the entire NYC market, as such the US3 all have large operations. As for weather delays, JFK+LGA aren't any better.
 
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:43 pm

LotsaRunway wrote:
Is UA playing a winning hand or will they lag other carriers in east coast and international connections into the future? Is there a way to expand UA operations so that it can have the frequency, capacity and connectivity that truly become a leader in connecting the country's most populated region?


In the end, unless all U.S. airlines were to consolidate into one, it is simply impossible to be (and pointless to try to be) all things to all people. EWR really is one of the crown jewels of the network thanks to strong O&D to/from NYC and New Jersey, and the connections help to support service to & from thinner markets.

IAD is a poor solution because DCA is the preferred domestic option for most high-value customers and the size of the market and geography don't cause a large proportion of the high-value traffic (within-perimeter, at least) to spill over to IAD. While there's plenty of room for handling connecting traffic, that is typically lower-yielding and there's nothing special about IAD (or UA's product, for that matter) to make it a more attractive connecting point than ATL, CLT, or BWI.
 
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:51 pm

The fact of the matter is that both IAD and EWR are located further from the city centre than airports like LGA, JFK, and DCA. However, both are located in relatively wealthy areas with a strong business demand in Tyson's Corner, Reston for IAD; Newark and Jersey City for EWR. So O/D crowd will be similar for both airports.

I think IAD should be placed as a transfer point to connect regional flights across the northeast to flights connecting to Southeast, lower Midwest, and a couple Latin American destinations. EWR should be more about connecting USA points to transatlantic points by funneling through EWR. I don't think either hub should overpower the other.

Some of the regional flights connecting New England with EWR could certainly move to IAD. This opens up room to start flights from EWR to secondary European destinations on the B757.
 
Flighty
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:55 pm

EWR is a unique and profitable asset for United. There are a few larger more impressive hubs out there, but almost none more profitable, because of EWR's unique advantages (both NYC and NJ markets, each strong, plus connect). It's a shame about the traffic problems, but that is the government we have.

With larger capacity, EWR might indeed become a super-hub.
 
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:57 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
commavia wrote:
Yep, as said ... EWR is an exceptional hub that any U.S. global network carrier would kill to have. It is by far the strongest, and truly only, omni-directional, domestic/shorthaul-and-international/longhaul, all-throughout-the-day megahub in the northeastern U.S. EWR caters to the largest market - economically and demographically - in the U.S., and it's dominated by the hub airline with a (relatively) minimal level of lower-cost competition. All in all - check, check, check for a global network carrier.

It is a testament to the power of EWR as a hub that United's two global network rivals both need more than one hub - PHL, DCA and to an extent arguably even CLT if not ORD for AA, and JFK and LGA plus DTW for Delta - to serve much of the role that United itself fulfills largely with EWR. For its all of its operational and infrastructure shortcomings - which, frankly, are endemic to any major airport in the northeastern U.S. - EWR is an incredibly impressive hub.


You're a little too enthusiastic. Yes, UA gets economies (and more connectivity) from a single NYC hub that Delta loses over split ops at LGA and JFK. However, PANYNJ data show that United's passenger count over Delta across the metro airports is narrow, and narrowing: 30.6 million to 29.3 million for 12 months ending 1/17.

http://www.panynj.gov/airports/pdf-traf ... N_2017.pdf


Over the next few years I would expect to see UA pull away from DL more in the NYC market in overall terms, not that raw passenger numbers are particularly relevant.

Scott Kirby has said that he wants UA to get back to their "natural" New York marketshare (which he defined as CO+UA at the time of the merger), and while they have closed JFK since then there is plenty of opportunity to grow by upgauging. At the time of the merger EWR was virtually an ERJ145 and 757 operation for CO. By adding 767s across the Atlantic and larger 76 seaters and A319s domestic they can increase passenger numbers without adding flights. The biggest issue is gate space, with more wide bodies in C and EMB-175s on A2 they have had to reline and lost a few gates in the process.
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tphuang
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 9:26 pm

Newark is great hub for sure and far more profitable than delta New York hubs according to Kirby.

A lot of people live in jersey complain about united service and prices, but still end up flying united due to lack of options. I don't know how much better it gets for an airline than that.

I wonder if a new terminal will bring increased competition and less profitable for united. I am sure southwest, JetBlue and spirit would love to add more flights if they have more gate space.
 
dmstorm22
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 10:16 pm

tphuang wrote:
Newark is great hub for sure and far more profitable than delta New York hubs according to Kirby.

A lot of people live in jersey complain about united service and prices, but still end up flying united due to lack of options. I don't know how much better it gets for an airline than that.

I wonder if a new terminal will bring increased competition and less profitable for united. I am sure southwest, JetBlue and spirit would love to add more flights if they have more gate space.


Given that UAX would likely enjoy in the luxuries of a new terminal may not be too significant. Also just having the new terminal doesn't really increase capacity that much. They've eased the slot restrictions and we haven't seen a huge uptick in frequencies for non UA carriers - bits and pieces here and there but nothing huge. I think it shows that competing at EWR as a non-UA carrier is just really tough. If anything, foreign carriers have done a better job in recent years as the number of non-UA international services have increased quite a bit and not only on *A. It isn't yet back to where it was in the early-00's in terms of international carriers, certainly not to Europe, but we;ve seen increase in those routes that are more O&D supported.
 
FSDan
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 10:45 pm

RyanairGuru wrote:
MIflyer12 wrote:
commavia wrote:
Yep, as said ... EWR is an exceptional hub that any U.S. global network carrier would kill to have. It is by far the strongest, and truly only, omni-directional, domestic/shorthaul-and-international/longhaul, all-throughout-the-day megahub in the northeastern U.S. EWR caters to the largest market - economically and demographically - in the U.S., and it's dominated by the hub airline with a (relatively) minimal level of lower-cost competition. All in all - check, check, check for a global network carrier.

It is a testament to the power of EWR as a hub that United's two global network rivals both need more than one hub - PHL, DCA and to an extent arguably even CLT if not ORD for AA, and JFK and LGA plus DTW for Delta - to serve much of the role that United itself fulfills largely with EWR. For its all of its operational and infrastructure shortcomings - which, frankly, are endemic to any major airport in the northeastern U.S. - EWR is an incredibly impressive hub.


You're a little too enthusiastic. Yes, UA gets economies (and more connectivity) from a single NYC hub that Delta loses over split ops at LGA and JFK. However, PANYNJ data show that United's passenger count over Delta across the metro airports is narrow, and narrowing: 30.6 million to 29.3 million for 12 months ending 1/17.

http://www.panynj.gov/airports/pdf-traf ... N_2017.pdf


Over the next few years I would expect to see UA pull away from DL more in the NYC market in overall terms, not that raw passenger numbers are particularly relevant.


UA may or may not be able to pull away. DL's not going to roll over. They're continually upgauging as well (JFK+LGA+EWR combined now have fewer than 40 daily 50-seater ops on DL, and DL's operating more daily widebody flights from JFK than ever before), and this summer they'll offer 4,500+ seats per day more than UA from NYC's three major airports (not sure if that's happened before). UA certainly has the single strongest hub in the NYC area by a landslide, but when looking at NYC O&D-grabbing potential I'm not sure how important that is since LGA is so convenient to Midtown. The options for Manhattan business travelers are 1) fly UA and consistently travel all the way out to EWR to get wherever you are going, or 2) fly DL and hop to LGA for shorter flights while schlepping out to JFK for transcons and international flights.
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commavia
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Tue Jun 13, 2017 11:08 pm

FSDan wrote:
The options for Manhattan business travelers are 1) fly UA and consistently travel all the way out to EWR to get wherever you are going, or 2) fly DL and hop to LGA for shorter flights while schlepping out to JFK for transcons and international flights.


Just to note ... and not that I'm trying to stir up all the ridiculous "New York City proper" arguments of A.net yore ... but "Manhattan," to say nothing of NYC-area "business travelers" is hardly monolithic when it comes to convenience. There are plenty of places in the NYC metro populated with lots of business travelers - including plenty in Manhattan alone - where EWR is more of the "hop" and it's "all the way," relatively speaking, "out to" LGA. Both airports are extremely convenient for parts of the City (and by "City" I'm referring to Manhattan).
 
77H
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:16 am

Matt6461 wrote:
Simple fix: Close the PANYNJ container terminal and move it to Staten Island, slap 2 runways on top of the vacated land, tear down the I-78 bridge and build a tunnel under Newark Bay, put I-95 in another tunnel across the expanded airport. $50bn should do it. No problem, Trump promised $1trillion for infrastructure.


You win the thread. EWR works fine for UA as is. Beyond your brilliant plan, if the EWR situation ever got worse for some reason, UA could always re-purpose EWR to focus more on O&D and domestic to international connections and shift more domestic to domestic connections to IAD. EWR and IAD are nearly in a straight line from one another in terms of Northeast-Southeast flow in that a customer traveling BOS-MIA on UA wouldn't notice a dramatic increase in flight time connecting in IAD over EWR. As a matter of fact, I'm hard pressed to think of a domestic-domestic routing that makes more sense connecting in EWR than IAD.

77H
 
MaverickM11
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:24 am

LotsaRunway wrote:
MaverickM11 wrote:
LotsaRunway wrote:
Is UA playing a winning hand or will they lag other carriers in east coast and international connections into the future?

In terms of capacity (ASMs), EWR is the third largest hub in the country after ATL and DFW, and certainly the largest hub on the East Coast by a mile. Not sure what gives you the idea they are lagging on the East Coast...

O&D traffic is huge, but it's not so great at getting people from outside of NYC/DC to other places outside of NYC/DC. It's a connection nightmare in my opinion and I can't see how they can grow to compete against airlines that seem to have a plan for east coast flow. Just too many delays and cancellations causing misconnects at EWR. It lags in connecting the large eastern populations that lie outside of these two cities, thus why I referred to a hub.

You're talking about traffic that isn't valuable by comparison. PHL relies primarily on connectivity and it has been shrinking and losing destinations. DL struggles to manage enough of a connecting complex at JFK when the domestic/regional traffic overwhelmingly prefers LGA. EWR has 8 daily Asian departures on UA alone, when AA/DL can't manage a single one off the East Coast, outside of TLV for DL.
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Matt6461
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Wed Jun 14, 2017 9:33 am

FSDan wrote:
RyanairGuru wrote:
MIflyer12 wrote:

You're a little too enthusiastic. Yes, UA gets economies (and more connectivity) from a single NYC hub that Delta loses over split ops at LGA and JFK. However, PANYNJ data show that United's passenger count over Delta across the metro airports is narrow, and narrowing: 30.6 million to 29.3 million for 12 months ending 1/17.

http://www.panynj.gov/airports/pdf-traf ... N_2017.pdf


Over the next few years I would expect to see UA pull away from DL more in the NYC market in overall terms, not that raw passenger numbers are particularly relevant.


UA may or may not be able to pull away. DL's not going to roll over. They're continually upgauging as well (JFK+LGA+EWR combined now have fewer than 40 daily 50-seater ops on DL, and DL's operating more daily widebody flights from JFK than ever before), and this summer they'll offer 4,500+ seats per day more than UA from NYC's three major airports (not sure if that's happened before). UA certainly has the single strongest hub in the NYC area by a landslide, but when looking at NYC O&D-grabbing potential I'm not sure how important that is since LGA is so convenient to Midtown. The options for Manhattan business travelers are 1) fly UA and consistently travel all the way out to EWR to get wherever you are going, or 2) fly DL and hop to LGA for shorter flights while schlepping out to JFK for transcons and international flights.


So for certain travelers NYC's airports are "a hop, skip, and a schlepp"
 
EWRandMDW
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Wed Jun 14, 2017 12:49 pm

Some time ago I wondered whether scheduling long distance (intercontinental, transcontinental, etc.) departures between, say 1:30 and 3:00 AM might be feasible. A flight to London leaving at 2:30 AM would arrive at about 2:30 PM local time. A flight to San Francisco leaving at 3:00 AM would arrive there at about 6:00 AM. I think there would be demand for such flights. The first one would permit the traveller to check into a hotel or arrive at their final destination in time for dinner and a night's sleep permitting a full day of work or sightseeing the next day. The SF flight would allow one to work a full-day in that city and take a red-eye back. Or they can drop off their bags at their hotel and have a whole day to play tourist. I think that can help EWR grow its capacity without many infrastructure changes.
 
izbtmnhd
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Wed Jun 14, 2017 1:12 pm

This is the problem for UA:

EWR is an O&D cash machine but is severely constrained for the foreseeable future.

IAD's margins aren't great but it does have plenty of capacity. Yet despite the promise of growth many people proclaim on here it's expansion has largely stalled since 2000.

Almost feels like UA needs another East Coast hub!
 
FSDan
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Wed Jun 14, 2017 1:14 pm

commavia wrote:
FSDan wrote:
The options for Manhattan business travelers are 1) fly UA and consistently travel all the way out to EWR to get wherever you are going, or 2) fly DL and hop to LGA for shorter flights while schlepping out to JFK for transcons and international flights.


Just to note ... and not that I'm trying to stir up all the ridiculous "New York City proper" arguments of A.net yore ... but "Manhattan," to say nothing of NYC-area "business travelers" is hardly monolithic when it comes to convenience. There are plenty of places in the NYC metro populated with lots of business travelers - including plenty in Manhattan alone - where EWR is more of the "hop" and it's "all the way," relatively speaking, "out to" LGA. Both airports are extremely convenient for parts of the City (and by "City" I'm referring to Manhattan).


Fair.
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slcdeltarumd11
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:53 pm

EWR will never be ATL. Delta has the space, the geographical location, and ATL only has one airport. United can never replicate that at EWR too many reasons.
 
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N62NA
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:54 pm

MaverickM11 wrote:
EWR has 8 daily Asian departures on UA alone, when AA/DL can't manage a single one off the East Coast, outside of TLV for DL.


Well... that's because the Asian carriers largely bypass EWR or have a token presence at EWR. DL and AA rely on their alliance partners to handle JFK-Asia.
 
DCA-ROCguy
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Wed Jun 14, 2017 3:12 pm

Everybody got what they got from their choice of consolidation partners. UA acquired CO. So they got CO's hubs.

CLE was easily handled through ORD, so once settlement with the Ohio AG played out, bye bye CLE. IAH continues to be IAH.

EWR is what it is, and does that very well. EWR is an old landlocked airport with insufficient and badly-laid-out runways, congested airspace, delays whenever the weather so much as sneezes, obsolete terminals not suited to their role and which would be hugely disruptive and expensive to replace while maintaining operations (and isn't the inter-terminal train outside security?)....

.....but EWR sits in the middle of a massive high-yield domestic *and* international O & D region. So EWR earns UA big cash even if it's a terrible airport for passengers.

IAD has great international O & D and weak domestic O & D. The comparison to JFK above was very good, I hadn't thought of that. So IAD does that well.

Does UA wish they had an East Coast connecting hub with strong high-yield domestic and international O & D, good runway design with lots of well-spaced parallel runways, all-weather relatively undelayed operations, a good purpose-designed terminal, and uncongested airspace? Very likely. But they don't, and the options are all taken.

So EWR and IAD will likely keep doing what they do well. UA passengers who want a huge uncongested East Coast hub with lots of high-frequency domestic connections and some international connections can forego their FF miles and choose DL at ATL, or AA at CLT. Their choice.

Jim
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izbtmnhd
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Wed Jun 14, 2017 3:25 pm

DCA-ROCguy wrote:


IAD has great international O & D and weak domestic O & D. The comparison to JFK above was very good, I hadn't thought of that. So IAD does that well.



Yeah it's a great comparison if you ignore the fact the NYC metro is about 3x the population of DC metro and that's if you include Baltimore. Remove Baltimore and the NYC metro is about 4x the size of DC. JFK despite it's issues and constraints still has way more domestic potential than IAD has even with the latter's room to grow. Certainly moreso than IAD's international potential.

For example: JetBlue built and maintains a largely domestic hub at JFK. Yet when JetBlue took over some of Independence Air's failed routes a decade ago at IAD the routes lasted for just a few years. B6 then steadily receded back to handful of flights.

UA wanted this mess. Good luck solving it.
 
commavia
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Wed Jun 14, 2017 3:32 pm

DCA-ROCguy wrote:
EWR is an old landlocked airport with insufficient and badly-laid-out runways, congested airspace, delays whenever the weather so much as sneezes, obsolete terminals not suited to their role and which would be hugely disruptive and expensive to replace while maintaining operations (and isn't the inter-terminal train outside security?)....


... just like every other airport in the NYC metro, and for the most part, in the northeastern U.S. :)

izbtmnhd wrote:
UA wanted this mess. Good luck solving it.


Ha. Which "mess" would that be? The "mess" of having the only true, unified megahub in what is by far the largest, wealthiest and most important population center in North America, or the "mess" of utterly dominating longhaul traffic in and out of the nation's capital which, itself, also happens to be among the largest, wealthiest and most important population centers in North America?

United's coverage of the northeast seems quite impressive to me - as does the coverage of AA and Delta, just in different ways based on slightly different hub structures/strategies. All three of these competitors now have pretty compelling offerings in the eastern U.S. in my view.
 
bkflyguy
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Wed Jun 14, 2017 3:46 pm

Matt6461 wrote:
What's the status of PATH extension to EWR?
I've always thought there should be a shared LIRR/NJT shuttle(ish) service through Penn between Jamaica and EWR. That would open most of NYC and much of Jersey to JFK and EWR, potentially allowing upgauging and more efficient use of the two airfields. Of course, there are huge administrative hurdles but if we're asking long term questions...


I've always thought the best solution (in obvious absence of cost considerations) is to build another rail station at the WTC/Fulton subway complex and bring both the LIRR and NJT into that station and allow the LIRR to go to EWR and NJT to Jamaica thereby better integrating the systems and allowing for more efficient travel (while addressing needed trans-Hudson rail capacity. But I will be dead and buried before any such thing is even seriously considered.
 
izbtmnhd
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Wed Jun 14, 2017 4:00 pm

commavia wrote:
DCA-ROCguy wrote:
EWR is an old landlocked airport with insufficient and badly-laid-out runways, congested airspace, delays whenever the weather so much as sneezes, obsolete terminals not suited to their role and which would be hugely disruptive and expensive to replace while maintaining operations (and isn't the inter-terminal train outside security?)....


... just like every other airport in the NYC metro, and for the most part, in the northeastern U.S. :)

izbtmnhd wrote:
UA wanted this mess. Good luck solving it.


Ha. Which "mess" would that be? The "mess" of having the only true, unified megahub in what is by far the largest, wealthiest and most important population center in North America, or the "mess" of utterly dominating longhaul traffic in and out of the nation's capital which, itself, also happens to be among the largest, wealthiest and most important population centers in North America?

United's coverage of the northeast seems quite impressive to me - as does the coverage of AA and Delta, just in different ways based on slightly different hub structures/strategies. All three of these competitors now have pretty compelling offerings in the eastern U.S. in my view.


So let's not dance around the IAD issue. It's such a weak domestic hub it struggles to maintain to decent service to large places like South Florida, this despite having no real presence in the Southeast! Even international growth has slowed down this decade despite many new carriers serving it. It's great you think DC is so important but I'm a numbers guy and I do wonder if IAD is a profitable hub. It's definitely on the lower end of UA's expansion radar right now. Then I wonder even if IAD is profitable, EWR still has to blow the doors off of IAD. Why would UA invest in IAD expansion at all with untapped potential at EWR. To be honest DC will just never be as important as NYC. It does create a real issue for UA.
 
MaverickM11
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:03 pm

N62NA wrote:
MaverickM11 wrote:
EWR has 8 daily Asian departures on UA alone, when AA/DL can't manage a single one off the East Coast, outside of TLV for DL.


Well... that's because the Asian carriers largely bypass EWR or have a token presence at EWR. DL and AA rely on their alliance partners to handle JFK-Asia.

Nope. Which partner is flying NYCTYO for DL? Airlines don't hand profitable flying over to partners. If DL/AA saw opportunity to Asia, they'd have added it long ago.
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dmstorm22
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:17 pm

N62NA wrote:
MaverickM11 wrote:
EWR has 8 daily Asian departures on UA alone, when AA/DL can't manage a single one off the East Coast, outside of TLV for DL.


Well... that's because the Asian carriers largely bypass EWR or have a token presence at EWR. DL and AA rely on their alliance partners to handle JFK-Asia.


UA flies to the following Asia destinations from EWR: TLV, BOM, DEL, HKG, NRT, PEK, PVG

DL has TLV direct, but DL/AA's Alliance partners handle only the following at JFK

DL: PVG (MU)
AA: HKG (CX), NRT (JL)

That's it. Even outside of their metal through their alliances they can't cover all those Asia destinations that UA is offering on their own metal.
 
FlyPNS1
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:45 pm

commavia wrote:
Ha. Which "mess" would that be? The "mess" of having the only true, unified megahub in what is by far the largest, wealthiest and most important population center in North America, or the "mess" of utterly dominating longhaul traffic in and out of the nation's capital which, itself, also happens to be among the largest, wealthiest and most important population centers in North America?


Not sure I would say UA dominates long-haul out of the Nation's capital. UA certainly has a strong presence, but not dominant if you consider the three airports that serve the DC area. For example, while UA has IAD-SEA 3x daily, AS has IAD-SEA (1x daily), BWI-SEA (1x daily) and DCA-SEA (2x daily). Not to mention WN and NK's presence on BWI-SEA.

commavia wrote:
United's coverage of the northeast seems quite impressive to me - as does the coverage of AA and Delta, just in different ways based on slightly different hub structures/strategies. All three of these competitors now have pretty compelling offerings in the eastern U.S. in my view.


Maybe, though it's worth noting that UA's marketshare in almost every northeast market (outside of IAD/EWR) generally puts UA around 4th or even 5th place. I've always hypothesized that much of UA's financial under performance (vs DL/AA/WN) is because of this weakness in the secondary markets despite having a strong set of primary market hubs (EWR/IAH/ORD/SFO/DEN).
 
commavia
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:59 pm

FlyPNS1 wrote:
Not sure I would say UA dominates long-haul out of the Nation's capital. UA certainly has a strong presence, but not dominant if you consider the three airports that serve the DC area. For example, while UA has IAD-SEA 3x daily, AS has IAD-SEA (1x daily), BWI-SEA (1x daily) and DCA-SEA (2x daily). Not to mention WN and NK's presence on BWI-SEA.


Transcontinental, to me, is not longhaul. Longhaul means intercontinental. And yes, in terms of longhaul intercontinental, United handily dominates WAS metro longhaul. I would actually say that United dominates WAS metro longhaul to a greater extent that possibly any other U.S. network carrier at a major longhaul gateway with the possible exception of AA in MIA/South Florida.

FlyPNS1 wrote:
Maybe, though it's worth noting that UA's marketshare in almost every northeast market (outside of IAD/EWR) generally puts UA around 4th or even 5th place. I've always hypothesized that much of UA's financial under performance (vs DL/AA/WN) is because of this weakness in the secondary markets despite having a strong set of primary market hubs (EWR/IAH/ORD/SFO/DEN).


I tend to agree - United's relative size compared to AA, Delta and other competitors in major northeast non-hub markets has less to do with EWR or IAD and more to do with United's general domestic malaise from the Smisek era. More generally, I think that malaise is clearly coming to an end.
 
DCA-ROCguy
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Wed Jun 14, 2017 6:03 pm

commavia wrote:
... just like every other airport in the NYC metro, and for the most part, in the northeastern U.S. :)


"East Coast" and "Northeast" are of course not the same thing. The OP asked about the East Coast, which covers much more than just the Northeast. UA does not have a massive East Coast hub at an airport that is not undersized and congested. AA has CLT. DL has ATL. CLT and ATL both have multiple widely-spaced parallel runways that allow for all-weather relatively-undelayed travel. Both have physical growth potential, as well.

UA has: --EWR, which has massive hub traffic but is undersized, horribly congested, and cannot physically grow. Upgauging will have limits, too.
--IAD, which is neither undersized nor congested, but is highly unlikely to ever be a massive domestic hub.

Jim
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Newbiepilot
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Wed Jun 14, 2017 6:10 pm

Chicago is geographically only 200 miles west of Atlanta. While Georgia may be on the east coast, I don't think it is really geographically related to EWR.
 
commavia
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Wed Jun 14, 2017 6:21 pm

DCA-ROCguy wrote:
"East Coast" and "Northeast" are of course not the same thing. The OP asked about the East Coast, which covers much more than just the Northeast. UA does not have a massive East Coast hub at an airport that is not undersized and congested. AA has CLT. DL has ATL. CLT and ATL both have multiple widely-spaced parallel runways that allow for all-weather relatively-undelayed travel. Both have physical growth potential, as well.

UA has: --EWR, which has massive hub traffic but is undersized, horribly congested, and cannot physically grow. Upgauging will have limits, too.
--IAD, which is neither undersized nor congested, but is highly unlikely to ever be a massive domestic hub.


Very true - I won't dispute that point. United certainly has less comprehensive coverage up and down the east coast than either AA or Delta. United's presence on the East Coast is certainly concentrated most heavily in the Northeast with EWR, and perhaps arguably also the Mid-Atlantic with IAD. But get much south of Virginia, and that's very heavily AA/Delta territory - no question about it. But that said, as has been discussed at length numerous times before in countless A.net threads, no airline can win everywhere, and all three airlines have areas of (relative) geographical weakness. United has by far the smallest and weakest presence in the Southeast, just as AA has by far the smallest and weakest presence in the Rocky Mountain region and Pacific Northwest, and Delta has by far the smallest and weakest presence in the South-Central U.S. and Texas. It is what it is.
 
FlyPNS1
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Re: Is EWR UA's Long-Term Answer for an East Coast Super-hub?

Wed Jun 14, 2017 9:20 pm

commavia wrote:
Transcontinental, to me, is not longhaul. Longhaul means intercontinental. And yes, in terms of longhaul intercontinental, United handily dominates WAS metro longhaul. I would actually say that United dominates WAS metro longhaul to a greater extent that possibly any other U.S. network carrier at a major longhaul gateway with the possible exception of AA in MIA/South Florida.


First, I'd say DL dominates the long-haul market from ATL (which is a major long-haul gateway) far more than UA does at WAS. I'd also argue AA at DFW has a similar level of long-haul dominance.

Second, I'm not sure UA is quite as dominant as you think if you look at the foreign carrier market. UA has no presence in the Middle East/India/Africa from IAD handing the entire market over to foreign carriers. Foreign carriers also dominant the IAD-Latin America market....the only exception being IAD-GRU. And UA faces stiff competition in markets like IAD-LHR, IAD-CDG and IAD-AMS. UA's dominance is almost entirely centered on markets like FRA/MUC/ZRH/NRT which have close Star Alliance partners to feed. Beyond that, the only other routes for UA are a few seasonal leisure routes (MAD/BCN/FCO/LIS).

Yes, UA has a strong portfolio of international routes at IAD, but it's far from utter dominance with an abundance of foreign competition.

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