nine4nine
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ULCC (NK/F9) Lack of West Coast Presence

Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:46 pm

Hi all! Curious as to the lack of west coast presence by ULCC carriers, specifically NK and FL. You’d think with areas of the West Coast, especially Southern California being high leisure O&D markets why such a lackluster presence by these carriers especially. With Hollywood, Six Flags, Knotts, Disneyland, Universal Studios, and all the beach destinations that we’d see more of these carriers bringing people from the Midwest and east coast out here who want those cheap fares and vacation bundles. With airports like ONT/LGB/BUR which have lower landing/facility fees than LAX I’m surprised that isn’t a draw to the business model of these airlines as well.

F9- Small Ops at LAX,SAN,PSP, ONT, and SNA
No LGB/BUR

NK- Moderate Ops at LAX,SAN
No ONT/SNA/LGB/BUR
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Polot
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Re: ULCC (NK/F9) Lack of West Coast Presence

Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:51 pm

There are fewer people in the western US, hence the smaller presence. Long flights with low fares is not a great recipe for success so the ULCC minimize the amount they fly. Spirit hits many of the major eastern US cities from LAX. Also it is not like the eastern US is lacking in theme parks and beach destinations.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: ULCC (NK/F9) Lack of West Coast Presence

Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:58 pm

I would rather attribute it to the long dominance of Southwest in the LCC space in California.
 
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psa1011
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Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:37 pm

Re: ULCC (NK/F9) Lack of West Coast Presence

Wed Sep 12, 2018 5:00 pm

Interestingly I don't think Southwest is as cheap as it used to be.
 
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flymco753
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Re: ULCC (NK/F9) Lack of West Coast Presence

Wed Sep 12, 2018 5:03 pm

Spirit isn't going to deal with the hassle of SNA slots. It's not worth it. On the other hand, I think there's a lot of potential for NK to get into SMF next. If that happens, NK would have a decently diverse map of CA cities.
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PatrickZ80
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Re: ULCC (NK/F9) Lack of West Coast Presence

Wed Sep 12, 2018 5:04 pm

I think you're overestimating their presence elsewhere. Their presence in California is about the same as anywhere else, maybe even a little more. It's not like they're lacking this area on purpose.

However you also got to take into consideration that one of the things that makes the ULCC business model work is a low frequency. On a higher frequency you'd be competing against yourself and you want to fill your planes to the maximum. The more flights you offer, the more difficult it becomes to fill your planes. If you offer five flights a day they'll pick the cheapest, if you offer one flight a day they pick that one. This way you can charge higher fares for that one flight because they'll book it anyway.

Taking that into consideration, they got enough presence. Maybe not in number of planes, but in number of passengers, definately. Remember, they got next to 100 percent load factors on every flight.
 
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Polot
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Re: ULCC (NK/F9) Lack of West Coast Presence

Wed Sep 12, 2018 5:08 pm

psa1011 wrote:
Interestingly I don't think Southwest is as cheap as it used to be.

It’s not but they are still fairly in expensive for most trans cons and near transcon.

People in the East coast/Midwest primarily go to Southern California for the “SoCal” experience- ie Venice beach, Santa Monica Pier, Rodeo drive, the star walk, Hollywood studio tours, chance of seeing a celebrity etc. They don’t go for primarily for places like Knott’s berry farm or Six flags Magic mountain as there are many theme parks closer to home that are frankly superior or offer a similar experience. That appeals more to the local and regional population. As I said the long flights necessary to get from the Midwest/east coast to California go against the ULCC’s business model, which prefer shorter intraregional flights.
 
phxsanslcpdx
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Re: ULCC (NK/F9) Lack of West Coast Presence

Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:06 pm

Agree with these comments. Southwest dominates, but AA's Phoenix hub was built to a large extent on connecting people from across the country to California; DL through Salt Lake and UA through Denver do the same, to some extent. Alaska's been building up nonstop service in the region. Even Sun Country's in on the midwest-to-California market. So there's already a lot of service. Chopping up the midwest-to-California market pie into so many pieces means there's not much left for the likes of NK and F9.
 
cledaybuck
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Re: ULCC (NK/F9) Lack of West Coast Presence

Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:54 pm

psa1011 wrote:
Interestingly I don't think Southwest is as cheap as it used to be.
Maybe not, but their prices in California are pretty good. It is not hard to find $50-60 o/w fares LAX-SFO. That is with two free bags and at primary airports. That is hard to compete with $30 bags and (possibly) secondary airports.
As we celebrate mediocrity, all the boys upstairs want to see, how much you'll pay for what you used to get for free.
 
sw733
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Re: ULCC (NK/F9) Lack of West Coast Presence

Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:13 pm

cledaybuck wrote:
psa1011 wrote:
Interestingly I don't think Southwest is as cheap as it used to be.
Maybe not, but their prices in California are pretty good. It is not hard to find $50-60 o/w fares LAX-SFO. That is with two free bags and at primary airports. That is hard to compete with $30 bags and (possibly) secondary airports.

Yes, I think this is a very important factor. Even SEA-California and PDX-California flights can be fairly affordable on Southwest, and again - major airports, no checked bag fees, no seat fees. Hard to beat, and Southwest has California pretty well covered. I can't picture too many, if any, markets that wouldn't put the ULCC airline right up against Southwest.
 
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litz
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Re: ULCC (NK/F9) Lack of West Coast Presence

Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:24 pm

I think it boils down to a question of can you be profitable essentially shuttling people up and down the west coast ... there apparently is sufficient profitability moving people around the midwest/east cost. Lots more people too.

(and as others have pointed out above, SWA basically has that market locked down)
 
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compensateme
Posts: 3279
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:17 am

Re: ULCC (NK/F9) Lack of West Coast Presence

Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:27 pm

This topic seems to come up fairly often. LAX is hardly underserved, nor is it an expensive place to fly to — you can travel nonstop from most medium-sized cities and, from many places in the East, the lowest fares are often cheaper than those to LAS.

Few people are going to fly into Southern California for its beaches — the weather (and water temperature) gets uncomfortably cool along the coast outside the summer months, and there’s few hotels along the cost - mostly the 1950s/1960s motor lodge style - thus they sell at a premium. You could travel to Cancun for far less...

Most beach traffic travels to SAN, which is seeing attention from ULCC, but you’re probably not going to fill a plane up from most medium sized cities, except for a few weeks during the summer.
We don’t care what your next flight is.
 
nine4nine
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Re: ULCC (NK/F9) Lack of West Coast Presence

Wed Sep 12, 2018 10:55 pm

You would think that NK could set up a nice little operation from ONT with plenty of gate space and FIS. Thy could essentially have they’re own dedicated terminal. Could easily run not only some domestic but could add Mexico and Central America and really do well in my opinion.
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compensateme
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Re: ULCC (NK/F9) Lack of West Coast Presence

Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:17 pm

nine4nine wrote:
You would think that NK could set up a nice little operation from ONT with plenty of gate space and FIS. Thy could essentially have they’re own dedicated terminal. Could easily run not only some domestic but could add Mexico and Central America and really do well in my opinion.


Where ever NK wants to operate to, they can do so from LAX.

There’s literally an infinite number of threads on the struggles/failures of ONT. Even F9’s recent push appears to be a bust — I regularly get alerts of $19 (Den Deals) fares to AUS and MCO, even the day of departure.
We don’t care what your next flight is.

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