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maps4ltd
Topic Author
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American at ORD--Upgauging and Expansion (or Lack Thereof)

Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:13 pm

Hi all,

Following the introduction of a successful thread on UA at ORD, I'm interested to hear your thoughts on AA's position. There was another thread ("What AA Needs to do at ORD" by CHI2DFW) that fizzled out around a year ago, so I want to rekindle the discussion following AA's recent route announcement packages (in August, October, and December).

-We have seen some upgauging at ORD from Envoy CR7s to 738s (such as ORD-IND, ORD-CMH, ORD-MLB, and ORD-ELP). Simultaneously, there has been downgauging in markets like ORD-BNA and ORD-BWI (which sees one daily 50-seater!). Do you think the trend (mostly upgauging) will continue?
-Do you think AA will eliminate ORD-Asia entirely?
-Despite ceding lots of TATL to UA, AA will upgauge some ORD-LHR nonstops from 788 to 789, and added ORD-ATH seasonal service. Do you think AA will make an effort to compete with UA on the TATL front, or will it drop most Europe markets?
-Do you think AA will keep service to smaller Midwest markets (like Dubuque, Sioux City, Waterloo, and Toledo)? UA has been the front-runner of the US3 in terms of EAS-market service, so do you think AA will cede those to UA or keep them up?
-Do you think AA'S ORD mainline service will continue to be mostly 738, or could we see some Airbusses pop in?
-AA has recently stepped up its game against UA on the seasonal front, adding service to Kalispell (FCA), Destin (VPS), Pensacola (PNS), Sarasota (SRQ), Quebec City (YQB), Durango (DRO), Panama City (ECP), and Key West (EYW), among others. Do you think we will continue to see AA compete against UA on seasonal Florida/ski destination service (as well as the Caribbean?)

I'm interested to hear your thoughts!
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Kronesian
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2016 8:03 pm

Re: American at ORD--Upgauging and Expansion (or Lack Thereof)

Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:29 pm

maps4ltd wrote:
Hi all,

Following the introduction of a successful thread on UA at ORD, I'm interested to hear your thoughts on AA's position. There was another thread ("What AA Needs to do at ORD" by CHI2DFW) that fizzled out around a year ago, so I want to rekindle the discussion following AA's recent route announcement packages (in August, October, and December).

-We have seen some upgauging at ORD from Envoy CR7s to 738s (such as ORD-IND, ORD-CMH, ORD-MLB, and ORD-ELP). Simultaneously, there has been downgauging in markets like ORD-BNA and ORD-BWI (which sees one daily 50-seater!). Do you think the trend (mostly upgauging) will continue?
-Do you think AA will eliminate ORD-Asia entirely?
-Despite ceding lots of TATL to UA, AA will upgauge some ORD-LHR nonstops from 788 to 789, and added ORD-ATH seasonal service. Do you think AA will make an effort to compete with UA on the TATL front, or will it drop most Europe markets?
-Do you think AA will keep service to smaller Midwest markets (like Dubuque, Sioux City, Waterloo, and Toledo)? UA has been the front-runner of the US3 in terms of EAS-market service, so do you think AA will cede those to UA or keep them up?
-Do you think AA'S ORD mainline service will continue to be mostly 738, or could we see some Airbusses pop in?
-AA has recently stepped up its game against UA on the seasonal front, adding service to Kalispell (FCA), Destin (VPS), Pensacola (PNS), Sarasota (SRQ), Quebec City (YQB), Durango (DRO), Panama City (ECP), and Key West (EYW), among others. Do you think we will continue to see AA compete against UA on seasonal Florida/ski destination service (as well as the Caribbean?)

I'm interested to hear your thoughts!


I am not sure where the ORD-MLB upgauging information is coming from, as MLB does not have any ORD direct service.
KMLB
 
drdisque
Posts: 1396
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 9:57 am

Re: American at ORD--Upgauging and Expansion (or Lack Thereof)

Mon Dec 17, 2018 9:39 pm

ALO is EAS, so they're contractually tied there. TOL, SUX, and DBQ are non-subsidized markets where they are the only carrier.

I think AA does well on their summer-seasonal TATL routes, at least right now. I don't see them dropping them any time soon. If there's an economic downturn, I see them not bringing them back and redeploying those aircraft to JFK, MIA, PHL, and CLT.

ORD-Asia I think they will be opportunistic. The tricky part is that the routes that they are most likely to want back (PEK and PVG) are bilaterally restricted so they can't just add them back if conditions improve. That leaves less attractive options like ICN or TPE.

I can see them adding more opportunistic capacity to Latin America out of ORD by identifying markets with strong flow from ORD over DFW and MIA.
 
FSDan
Posts: 3348
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:27 pm

Re: American at ORD--Upgauging and Expansion (or Lack Thereof)

Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:11 pm

maps4ltd wrote:
-We have seen some upgauging at ORD from Envoy CR7s to 738s (such as ORD-IND, ORD-CMH, ORD-MLB, and ORD-ELP). Simultaneously, there has been downgauging in markets like ORD-BNA and ORD-BWI (which sees one daily 50-seater!). Do you think the trend (mostly upgauging) will continue?


I expect the upgauging to continue. Even the routes you mentioned as downgauged aren't actually down over a few years ago - both markets only recently started seeing mainline from ORD, and both have seen an increase in 2-class RJs compared to a few years ago, when both routes saw many ER4s.

maps4ltd wrote:
-Do you think AA will eliminate ORD-Asia entirely?


On their own metal, maybe (3x weekly flights on ORD-NRT seems hardly worth it...). But JV partner JL will continue serving ORD-NRT 1x-2x daily, and could start up ORD-HND if/when more HND-U.S. rights become available to JL. So AA will maintain some level of presence in the ORD-Asia market even if it's just through partners for the foreseeable future.

maps4ltd wrote:
-Despite ceding lots of TATL to UA, AA will upgauge some ORD-LHR nonstops from 788 to 789, and added ORD-ATH seasonal service. Do you think AA will make an effort to compete with UA on the TATL front, or will it drop most Europe markets?


I don't see why AA would drop any of their current ORD-Europe routes. They (+BA) still handily win the most important market in ORD-LHR, and outside of that they seem to have found success in summer-heavy leisure markets. I don't think you'll see AA trying to bring back the likes of ORD-BRU and ORD-FRA - they don't even fly those routes from their premier TATL gateway in PHL. Perhaps ORD-DUB could go year round on AA if they develop deeper ties with EI, and hopefully ORD-CDG can become a year round route again. Beyond those, I wouldn't expect too much more from AA besides maybe one or two more summer leisure routes (ORD-PRG?). But since UA really isn't competing much for those markets, I don't see why AA would reverse course and drop them short of a drop-off in leisure demand to Europe.

maps4ltd wrote:
-Do you think AA will keep service to smaller Midwest markets (like Dubuque, Sioux City, Waterloo, and Toledo)? UA has been the front-runner of the US3 in terms of EAS-market service, so do you think AA will cede those to UA or keep them up?


Yes. Those are some of the only markets from ORD that AA flies with no competition, and UA so far hasn't demonstrated an ability to successfully come in and take that traffic away from AA - see ORD-CMI which UA dropped after just a short run.

maps4ltd wrote:
-Do you think AA'S ORD mainline service will continue to be mostly 738, or could we see some Airbusses pop in?


Yep. There are already a decent handful of A319/A321s (just under 50 daily departures), but the 738 is the mainstay of AA's mainline flying at ORD, and I don't see that changing in the near future. Perhaps there could be a few more 319s sent to ORD with some 738s traded to CLT or PHL to facilitate growth in those hubs while providing some added flexibility in aircraft size at ORD. But even with that type of swap I would expect the 738s to be king at ORD for many many years.

maps4ltd wrote:
-AA has recently stepped up its game against UA on the seasonal front, adding service to Kalispell (FCA), Destin (VPS), Pensacola (PNS), Sarasota (SRQ), Quebec City (YQB), Durango (DRO), Panama City (ECP), and Key West (EYW), among others. Do you think we will continue to see AA compete against UA on seasonal Florida/ski destination service (as well as the Caribbean?)


If the markets they're entering now prove successful, certainly.

Overall thoughts on AA at ORD:
AA's ORD hub is routinely trashed on this site, but it's still one of the biggest and most connected hubs in the country. On the domestic side, AA has a compelling offering to most of the biggest business destinations (LGA, LAX, DFW, DCA, MIA, PHL, BOS, etc.), and often offers comparable frequency and sometimes larger aircraft gauge than UA does in many small to medium sized markets. AA has also used the merger with US to improve their position in markets where US was strong - see ORD-PIT, ORD-PVD, ORD-MHT, etc. where AA has taken market share away from UA. UA continues to fly more 50-seaters from ORD than any airline does from any other hub in the country, while AA has upgauged a lot of frequencies from ERJs to CR7s and E75s. UA will hopefully focus on reducing the number of 50-seaters at ORD over the next few years, but for now that's a small advantage to AA in some markets. On the international side, AA has certainly had their share of struggles, and I don't see them matching UA there anytime soon. But thanks to having the strongest offering in the single most important market (ORD-LHR), there are likely to be many OneWorld loyalists in Chicagoland for the foreseeable future.

UA is likely always going to be the bigger airline at ORD given their gate holdings, etc., but AA should be able to continue holding their own.
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osupoke07
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Re: American at ORD--Upgauging and Expansion (or Lack Thereof)

Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:24 pm

RE ORD-BWI, this is probably just an O&D route only for AA, and for those passengers, they're competing with WN (two of their biggest stations on each end), UA, and NK. Almost all connecting traffic out of BWI can be routed through their DFW and CLT mega hubs.
MD82, MD83, MD88, B717, B732, B733, B735, B737, B738, B739, B752, B763, B77W, CR2, CR7, CR9, A320, A321
 
kbmiflyer
Posts: 299
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2004 11:47 pm

Re: American at ORD--Upgauging and Expansion (or Lack Thereof)

Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:54 pm

maps4ltd wrote:
-We have seen some upgauging at ORD from Envoy CR7s to 738s (such as ORD-IND, ORD-CMH, ORD-MLB, and ORD-ELP). Simultaneously, there has been downgauging in markets like ORD-BNA and ORD-BWI (which sees one daily 50-seater!). Do you think the trend (mostly upgauging) will continue?


ORD-BWI gets four flights a day most days, with a mix of 50 seaters, larger regional jets, and mainline aircraft.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: American at ORD--Upgauging and Expansion (or Lack Thereof)

Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:44 pm

I thought it was FSDan who had prepared departures by hub/carrier/aircraft type. Working with data beats random recollections of types by route.

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1396837
 
DFWandOMA
Posts: 63
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2016 2:41 am

Re: American at ORD--Upgauging and Expansion (or Lack Thereof)

Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:48 am

One city I hope AA starts is DLH. UA just upgraded one of its flights to mainline.
 
wn676
Posts: 1748
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 5:33 am

Re: American at ORD--Upgauging and Expansion (or Lack Thereof)

Tue Dec 18, 2018 12:59 am

DFWandOMA wrote:
One city I hope AA starts is DLH. UA just upgraded one of its flights to mainline.


UA is mostly doing that because they have an MRO vendor there and they’re also a bit squeezed for RON space at O’Hare.
Tiny, unreadable text leaves ample room for interpretation.
 
burnsie28
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Re: American at ORD--Upgauging and Expansion (or Lack Thereof)

Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:32 am

wn676 wrote:
DFWandOMA wrote:
One city I hope AA starts is DLH. UA just upgraded one of its flights to mainline.


UA is mostly doing that because they have an MRO vendor there and they’re also a bit squeezed for RON space at O’Hare.


Interesting given that hangar used to be the NW Airbus heavy maintenance base which is why NW flew so much mainline up to DLH.
 
Detroit313
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Re: American at ORD--Upgauging and Expansion (or Lack Thereof)

Tue Dec 18, 2018 1:50 am

ORD - ATH is doing very well. That was a very good addition.
 
Swadian
Posts: 562
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Re: American at ORD--Upgauging and Expansion (or Lack Thereof)

Tue Dec 18, 2018 3:00 am

AA could come close to matching UA if they replace all of the ER4 and CR2 with CR7 and E75, and upgauge more 738 to A321.
 
notconcerned
Posts: 189
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2016 3:39 pm

Re: American at ORD--Upgauging and Expansion (or Lack Thereof)

Tue Dec 18, 2018 6:24 am

Detroit313 wrote:
ORD - ATH is doing very well. That was a very good addition.


ORD-ATH doesn't even start until 3MAY19, not sure how its performance can be assessed at this point in time.
 
TheKennady2
Posts: 140
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Re: American at ORD--Upgauging and Expansion (or Lack Thereof)

Tue Dec 18, 2018 6:29 am

ORD-HNL restarts tomorrow for AA on A 787

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