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BNAMealer
Topic Author
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The Future of WN at ATL

Mon Nov 04, 2019 12:08 pm

Walking through WN’s gates in C at ATL last night made me wonder what the future looks like for WN at ATL.

According to the ATL fact sheet on WN’s website, WN has 18 gates and 124 flights a day. This means they are not utilizing the gates as much as they could. I know post FL merger WN has shrunk at ATL, but this is still surprising.

With the intense competition from DL and with BNA potentially being set up as a base soon, what can we expect to see from WN in ATL? Maintain the status quo or further cuts?
 
MIflyer12
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Re: The Future of WN at ATL

Mon Nov 04, 2019 12:50 pm

ATL flyers aren't going to connect to WN in BNA vs. a DL non-stop to 200+ destinations ~1,000 flights a day, or to the dozens of destinations served by carriers other than DL or WN. ATL is far the larger O&D market.

Now, if WN wants to pull connecting traffic away from ATL and route it through BNA it's welcome to do that. That's just going to diminish routes and frequencies from the larger market since WN has nothing smaller than the 737-700s to which it can downgauge. Knowing how to balance proximate hubs is an essential skill for multi-hub carriers - even if they don't call these aggregations hubs.
 
dcaproducer
Posts: 308
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Re: The Future of WN at ATL

Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:42 pm

WN's relying on O&D traffic at ATL. No one is going to one-hop on WN to somewhere DL can take them nonstop.

WN also routes traffic through STL and DEN, and has more daily flights ATL-DEN/ATL-STL than ATL-BNA, but that doesn't mean ATL fliers will want to stop through DEN or STL to go out west.
Last edited by dcaproducer on Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
WN732
Posts: 817
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:49 am

Re: The Future of WN at ATL

Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:44 pm

WN is going to fly the routes that make the most money. The ones they currently have make money. They have a way different strategy than DL in ATL. There is an Anet obsession that they should be bigger than FL was in ATL. FL used ATL as their main connecting hub. They are not there to just run connecting traffic, which is a majority of DL & FL passengers in ATL. WN focuses on O&D and they will throw flights and resources at the routes that make money. 120+ flights a day is a decent operation for them; the #3 airline doesn't even come close to 120+ flights a day.
 
ZazuPIT
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Re: The Future of WN at ATL

Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:00 pm

Hasn't this horse been beaten enough already?
 
pmanni1
Posts: 251
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Re: The Future of WN at ATL

Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:08 pm

dcaproducer wrote:
WN's relying on O&D traffic at ATL. No one is going to one-hop on WN to somewhere DL can take them nonstop.

WN also routes traffic through STL and DEN, and has more daily flights ATL-DEN/ATL-STL than ATL-BNA, but that doesn't mean ATL fliers will want to stop through DEN or STL to go out west.

Making generalizations that nobody will do a one-hop on WN vs nonstop on DL is incorrect. Tomorrow a nonstop ATL-SFO on DL is a minimum of $648. A one stop on WN is $358. Price conscious travelers may not care about the stop but would be all over the $290 savings.
 
jplatts
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Re: The Future of WN at ATL

Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:12 pm

pmanni1 wrote:
dcaproducer wrote:
WN's relying on O&D traffic at ATL. No one is going to one-hop on WN to somewhere DL can take them nonstop.

WN also routes traffic through STL and DEN, and has more daily flights ATL-DEN/ATL-STL than ATL-BNA, but that doesn't mean ATL fliers will want to stop through DEN or STL to go out west.

Making generalizations that nobody will do a one-hop on WN vs nonstop on DL is incorrect. Tomorrow a nonstop ATL-SFO on DL is a minimum of $648. A one stop on WN is $358. Price conscious travelers may not care about the stop but would be all over the $290 savings.


WN also already serves ATL nonstop from OAK in the San Francisco Bay Area, and there are some travelers in the San Francisco Bay Area who would choose the WN OAK-ATL nonstop over connecting options.
 
e38
Posts: 730
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Re: The Future of WN at ATL

Mon Nov 04, 2019 5:25 pm

Quoting ZazuPIT, “Hasn’t this horse been beaten enough already?”

Of course it has! That’s what people on Airliners.net do.

e38
Last edited by e38 on Mon Nov 04, 2019 5:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
TrafficCop
Posts: 69
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Re: The Future of WN at ATL

Mon Nov 04, 2019 6:37 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
ATL flyers aren't going to connect to WN in BNA vs. a DL non-stop to 200+ destinations ~1,000 flights a day, or to the dozens of destinations served by carriers other than DL or WN. ATL is far the larger O&D market.

Now, if WN wants to pull connecting traffic away from ATL and route it through BNA it's welcome to do that. That's just going to diminish routes and frequencies from the larger market since WN has nothing smaller than the 737-700s to which it can downgauge. Knowing how to balance proximate hubs is an essential skill for multi-hub carriers - even if they don't call these aggregations hubs.



Your assumption that passengers wont connect thru BNA is so flawed. Just because DL the Almighty serves many points non-stop doesn't mean passengers wont fly another carrier and connect. if it is cheaper many will. If not why would other carriers like AA,UA and others have large numbers of connecting pax off their respective flights from ATL thru their Hubs like DFW/IAH/ORD/CLT etc. This is just as true in these carriers hubs. Example at ORD UA of course serves many more destinations than DL but DL does just fine getting connecting customers from ORD thru ATL/DTW/MSP. The almightly dollar for most folks speaks volumes. Maybe not as much for the Business traveler who often prefer to stay loyal and build status.
 
dcaproducer
Posts: 308
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2016 5:26 pm

Re: The Future of WN at ATL

Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:04 pm

pmanni1 wrote:
dcaproducer wrote:
WN's relying on O&D traffic at ATL. No one is going to one-hop on WN to somewhere DL can take them nonstop.

WN also routes traffic through STL and DEN, and has more daily flights ATL-DEN/ATL-STL than ATL-BNA, but that doesn't mean ATL fliers will want to stop through DEN or STL to go out west.

Making generalizations that nobody will do a one-hop on WN vs nonstop on DL is incorrect. Tomorrow a nonstop ATL-SFO on DL is a minimum of $648. A one stop on WN is $358. Price conscious travelers may not care about the stop but would be all over the $290 savings.


I revise "no one" to many people. I have several ATL-based clients. None of them would ever look at a WN flight out of ATL. I'm not saying WN isn't going to be a better fare, it's just the stranglehold DL has on the market. With that said 120+ flights a day on WN is not a small operation and they're definitely filling those planes, but without pulling the hard numbers, I'd guess a majority of that is O&D.

Just glancing at ATL's stats, WN was about 8% of all passengers in June. They're at 8.8% for the year. (Most recent month available)
http://www.atl.com/wp-content/uploads/2 ... ne2019.pdf
Stats don't have O&D here.
 
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CarlosSi
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Re: The Future of WN at ATL

Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:07 pm

If it’s cheaper and aren’t in the “want to fly on this type” crowd, I’d take WN. Great value, always has been.

There’s more flyers than the price-sensitive crowd, especially in Atlanta.
 
jplatts
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Re: The Future of WN at ATL

Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:30 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
ATL flyers aren't going to connect to WN in BNA vs. a DL non-stop to 200+ destinations ~1,000 flights a day, or to the dozens of destinations served by carriers other than DL or WN. ATL is far the larger O&D market.

Now, if WN wants to pull connecting traffic away from ATL and route it through BNA it's welcome to do that. That's just going to diminish routes and frequencies from the larger market since WN has nothing smaller than the 737-700s to which it can downgauge. Knowing how to balance proximate hubs is an essential skill for multi-hub carriers - even if they don't call these aggregations hubs.


dcaproducer wrote:
WN's relying on O&D traffic at ATL. No one is going to one-hop on WN to somewhere DL can take them nonstop.


WN does still connect some passengers through ATL to and from some East Coast destinations such as RSW, GSP, JAX, LGA, PHL, RIC, DCA, and PBI.
 
Chemist
Posts: 761
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Re: The Future of WN at ATL

Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:49 pm

I would also preferentially fly WN. Free bags, no change fees, I don't care about seatback video, no blackout dates on FF program, I like not having carts in the aisles when I need to pee. And friendly service.
 
reltney
Posts: 660
Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2004 1:34 am

Re: The Future of WN at ATL

Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:24 am

I loved the ATA sign at midway aprport. “Fly to Las Vegas on ATA......without making 5 stops....”

Shoot, I’ll take Delta over SW any day.
Knives don't kill people. People with knives kill people.
OUTLAW KNIVES.

I am a pilot, therefore I envy no one...
 
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FLALEFTY
Posts: 803
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Re: The Future of WN at ATL

Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:45 am

DL and WN almost seem to have a non-aggression pact. WN effectively dismantled Air Tran's ATL hub, which was a thorn in DL's side. WN arranged for DL to lease Air Tran's entire former fleet of B717's, which DL has used extensively to feed their ATL (World) hub. While WN's 120+ daily flights are still substantial, they pose little threat to DL's operations and rarely spark fare battles.

As for WN's operations at BNA, it has been a focus city that long predates the Air Tran merger. BNA has proven to be a strong O&D market for WN, but it also gets some hub feed from smaller markets like ECP. However, the ATL hub ops are orders of magnitude more important for DL than BNA is to WN.
 
MIflyer12
Posts: 8287
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:58 pm

Re: The Future of WN at ATL

Tue Nov 05, 2019 12:52 am

TrafficCop wrote:
MIflyer12 wrote:
ATL flyers aren't going to connect to WN in BNA vs. a DL non-stop to 200+ destinations ~1,000 flights a day, or to the dozens of destinations served by carriers other than DL or WN. ATL is far the larger O&D market.

Now, if WN wants to pull connecting traffic away from ATL and route it through BNA it's welcome to do that. That's just going to diminish routes and frequencies from the larger market since WN has nothing smaller than the 737-700s to which it can downgauge. Knowing how to balance proximate hubs is an essential skill for multi-hub carriers - even if they don't call these aggregations hubs.



Your assumption that passengers wont connect thru BNA is so flawed. Just because DL the Almighty serves many points non-stop doesn't mean passengers wont fly another carrier and connect. if it is cheaper many will. If not why would other carriers like AA,UA and others have large numbers of connecting pax off their respective flights from ATL thru their Hubs like DFW/IAH/ORD/CLT etc. This is just as true in these carriers hubs. Example at ORD UA of course serves many more destinations than DL but DL does just fine getting connecting customers from ORD thru ATL/DTW/MSP. The almightly dollar for most folks speaks volumes. Maybe not as much for the Business traveler who often prefer to stay loyal and build status.


AA and UA aren't trying to fill 120 mainline planes a day from ATL. To what cities does WN fly non-stop from ATL that Delta does not? To what cities does WN fly non-stop from BNA that DL does not fly non-stop from ATL? Selling connections into non-stop markets increases costs while decreasing yields. Sure, you can rationalize that as filling a few empty seats but it's not a great way to make money. WN has continued pruning the network in search of more $ - dropping EWR entirely, and ATL-DTW, for example.

Sure, some people are cheap and show no value for their time. There's a word for that.
 
KFTG
Posts: 864
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Re: The Future of WN at ATL

Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:45 am

The WN/FL merger was never meant to grow ATL per se. It was to acquire the AirTran 737-700s and the various facilities (namely ATL itself) that were deemed of value to WN.
 
usflyer msp
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Re: The Future of WN at ATL

Tue Nov 05, 2019 1:59 am

KFTG wrote:
The WN/FL merger was never meant to grow ATL per se. It was to acquire the AirTran 737-700s and the various facilities (namely ATL itself) that were deemed of value to WN.


No, it was to eliminate a competitor that had lower costs than and significant overlap with WN
 
DeltaConnection
Posts: 70
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Re: The Future of WN at ATL

Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:43 am

usflyer msp wrote:
KFTG wrote:
The WN/FL merger was never meant to grow ATL per se. It was to acquire the AirTran 737-700s and the various facilities (namely ATL itself) that were deemed of value to WN.


No, it was to eliminate a competitor that had lower costs than and significant overlap with WN


This. WN eliminated a competitor that flew into/had focus cities in key airports/markets (such as BWI, MCO, and RSW) while also gaining a bunch of -700's. The other stuff such as remaining at ATL (with a bunch of routes there making them money) and leasing out 717's to Delta was just the cherry on top.
 
cledaybuck
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Re: The Future of WN at ATL

Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:46 am

reltney wrote:
I loved the ATA sign at midway aprport. “Fly to Las Vegas on ATA......without making 5 stops....”

Shoot, I’ll take Delta over SW any day.

How did that work out for ATA?
As we celebrate mediocrity, all the boys upstairs want to see, how much you'll pay for what you used to get for free.
 
phluser
Posts: 616
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 2:49 pm

Re: The Future of WN at ATL

Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:29 am

BNAMealer wrote:
Walking through WN’s gates in C at ATL last night made me wonder what the future looks like for WN at ATL.

According to the ATL fact sheet on WN’s website, WN has 18 gates and 124 flights a day. This means they are not utilizing the gates as much as they could. I know post FL merger WN has shrunk at ATL, but this is still surprising.

With the intense competition from DL and with BNA potentially being set up as a base soon, what can we expect to see from WN in ATL? Maintain the status quo or further cuts?


I'd say more or less status quo. I think it has found a good place at 120 or so flights and can compete. The ATL market is large enough and growing for a second large carrier and Southwest can fly to ATL from all its other hubs/large stations. And from markets smaller where it choose to offer ATL flights (e.g. PHL, PIT, CLE), it's about a 2 hr flight and increases connection opportunities out of those markets. Unlike what some are suggesting that WN dismantled the ATL hub, it runs a hub with ATL's central location.

Read knope2001's analysis here:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1434225&p=21769089&hilit=mke#p21769089
"The big difference with ATL is that it's a defacto Southwest hub with a fair level of flight banking. ATL has been relatively stable in the past couple of years -- what cuts there have been are largely to the northeast"
 
Gulfstream500
Posts: 478
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:30 am

Re: The Future of WN at ATL

Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:41 am

CarlosSi wrote:
If it’s cheaper and aren’t in the “want to fly on this type” crowd, I’d take WN. Great value, always has been.

There’s more flyers than the price-sensitive crowd, especially in Atlanta.


It's less about the people who actually live in ATL, more about the people flying into ATL.

I still agree, though.
So... when will the Northwest DC-9s be retired?
 
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DeltaMD90
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Re: The Future of WN at ATL

Tue Nov 05, 2019 5:05 am

MIflyer12 wrote:
Sure, some people are cheap and show no value for their time. There's a word for that.

What on Earth are you going on about? Are you implying people who choose a few bucks and connect are stingy and ridiculous? It's connecting at an airport (getting off a plane and going on another, adding like an hour and a half) not the Oregon Trail

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