intotheair wrote:I think UA pursuing point to point would be a bad idea. All of the recent success has centered around building up the existing hubs, and it appears to be working really well.
One big problem I see with point to point for UA is that most of the midsize cities are accounted for. Delta has established sizable operations in a lot of mid market cities in the east and Midwest, and Southwest has gobbled up the rest. The only city that might be left is CLE, and UA doesn’t appear to think there’s any value in having a bigger operation there.
Plus, all of UA’s hubs are major population centers with huge amounts of O&D. There’s a good chance that many fliers in those secondary places are looking to travel to New York, DC, Chicago, San Francisco, et al anyway.
Not to turn this into a UA v DL thread I still think UA is a few years behind DL in terms of progress. UA is making the right moves in building up our hubs, DL went through this process some years ago, UA still has some work to do in our hubs but more point to point flying will come in my opinion. I think hubs like IAH, DEN and IAD is where our future growth should be focused. SFO is tapped out even on days when there isn't an ATC program in effect UA's ontime performance at SFO is abysmal because of gate constraints at both the domestic and international terminals. Unless UA can get their hands on more gates at SFO adding any more flights is counter productive because we can't get the flights we already have out on-time as it is. At ORD UA still has room to grow but that growth would need to be during off peak hours like 5:30am - 7:30AM or 8:30pm - 11pm. From 7:30am - 8:30pm terminal 1 and 2 are just about maxed out especially from mid spring through early fall. LAX like ORD is restrained during peak travel times because of gate space. With hindsight being 20/20 Scott Kirby was happy to lease 4 gates from UA in 2014, fast forward to today and Kirby has stated on many occasions he wants to grow LAX and was happy to take UA's gates in 2014 but now wishes UA had those 4 gates back. Our hub at EWR is in the most congested airspace in the U.S. and again is gate restrained really from 6am - 10pm.
At IAH I think UA needs to really get in and fight for more intra-Texas traffic. I think the CRJ550 or E170/75 would be a perfect aircraft for intra-Texas routes to those small cities not currently served by UA. Also IAH needs more South and Southeast traffic from mid size cities in states like AK, LA, MS, AL, and FL and Southwest states like OK, NM, and AZ. IAD should relieve the pressure on EWR. Even though EWR has many international destinations that can only be reached from there, IAD should serve as a major connector hub for UA's entire eastern seaboard operations from FL to ME. Last but not least DEN for years UA has allowed this gem of a hub go under utilize and it wasn't until Kirby came in that we now see UA starting to build up DEN. I think UA still has 2-4 years of work ahead of them in building up these hubs before we can look at point to point.