I made an observation a while back that 2-stop routes between hubs would be a good way to increase loads and provide more service to smaller markets and was roundly poo-poohed. Costs, extra segments make them non-viable etc...
Now I see something like this and have to gloat just a tad...even though this type of routing has yet to prove itself, with the US3 now having more robust hubs geographically I wonder if we wont see more of these types of routes going forward.
Actually, what was old is new again. Delta used to operate multi-stop routes between hubs like ATL-MLU-SHV-DFW, DFW-MLU-JAN-ATL, ATL-MGM-JAN-DFW, and ATL-BTR-SHV-DFW with 727s and DC-9s back in the 1980s. It worked reasonably well given that those small markets were relatively uncompetitive and the milk runs allowed Delta to offer much greater frequency to two hubs with mainline equipment, as opposed to the props on most competitors/commuter carriers.
The development of the regional jet made the milk runs unnecessary and also less competitive; i.e. a one-stop flight from SHV to ATL becomes less attractive if NW offers a non-stop on a regional jet to MEM or AA to DFW.
The multi-stop runs to EAS markets can work as long as several conditions are met:
* The service must be reliable (i.e. < 2-3% controllable cancellation rate)
* The service must save appreciable time versus driving to a larger airport.
* Enough frequency must be offered to keep schedule-sensitive passengers from driving to another airport with more service.
* The fares must be reasonable enough to prevent substantial traffic leakage to other airports (i.e. passengers driving from HYS to DEN or MCI to save $500).
In this, and countless other threads I've read, when there is new service to the Bay area, you can count on comments about the flight being fueled by the tech industry.
And there's something of a grain of truth to that, although in the case of MSN, there is the connection between Epic and several major customers, as well as some traffic between the universities at both ends. From Chicago, O&D traffic to Los Angeles is nearly 40% higher than to San Francisco; from DFW/DAL the QLA market is nearly double the side of QSF. From MSN, traffic is nearly identical to QLA and QSF (the lead flips from quarter to quarter). Tech isn't the ONLY reason for new service to the Bay Area, but it's almost always a significant part of WHY that service is happening.
Some cities on EAS had good service well into the mid 1980s with Ozark and Republic flying DC9s. It wasnt until about 1984-85 that those cities began losing their sevice and then they still had SWMs and SF3s to hubs. So how did a city like DEC end up on EAS?
Well, keep in mind that into the 1980s non-code share interline tickets were pretty common and aggressive yield management really hadn't yet come into practice. One could fly into or out of those markets on a ticket involving two or more carriers without paying an arm and a leg -- and frequent flyer programs also didn't really drive customer behavior like they do today, either. Plus surface roads other than Interstate highways were rarely wider than two lanes outside of major metro areas (and many went through every city & town on the way) and the national speed limit was 55 mph.