Ah, our monthly installment of ‘DL ORD expansion.’
Chicago is a stagnant LOCAL air market (do not confuse this with the mostly long-haul adds that have been added to take advantage of the incumbent hubs); most of its growth in recent years has been at the LCC level. Reality is, if DL wants to expand at ORD, it’s going to have to ‘steal’ market share from AA, UA and WN.
And given these carriers (a) dominate the Chicago POS contracts that matter, (b) have vested millions into their loyalty programs, (c) can offer frequency that DL will never be able to match, (d) can operate larger, lower CASM aircraft and (e) have the advantage of large hubs... that’s not going to be an easy task.
DL May add flights and capacity to its hubs, and link ORD to markets where it’s trying to build focus cities (LAX, RDU, etc.)... but that’s it. Anybody holding out for a large scale DL expansion is going to be sorely disappointed.
Put simply, there’s too many other markets where it could receive a better return for its investment.
Agreed. I think DL sees the move to T5 in terms of the following strategic enhancements in the following order - and nothing else:
1. Better concourse, restaurant, gate seating, bathroom facilities access for business travelers on corporate contracts mostly from ATL region, MSP region, NYC, SEA, and BOS point of sale. Right now ORD is one of the weakest concourse experiences system wide, and this will fix that.
2. New Skyclub that will be on par with the new DCA, PHX, AUS, and MSY clubs to appeal to the above named customers.
3. Gate space to add frequency on BOS if that market matures well.
4. Gate space to add LAX for LAX point of sale. Likely a small offering for minimum acceptable to LAX corporate contracts similar to SEA.
5. Gate space for frequency increase or/and upgauging for other current markets.