usflyer msp wrote:
I think you hit the nail on the head with this comment right here. The frequent traveler or frequent business traveler is likely to be loyal to one, maybe two airlines. That airline is picked based on whether or not they fly everywhere the traveler needs to go. I'm in the middle of starting up my own business and most of my travel takes me to the midwest, maybe sometimes to Florida, and potentially the west coast in the future (but not LAX). I'm based in New York. A traveler like myself who might need to be in Madison one week, Chicago three weeks later, Orlando a few weeks after that, and then Kansas City (where I might have a small office for purposes of my corporation) isn't going to choose an airline like B6. You'll see me on DL, AA, or (wow almost said US), UA. Considering my proximity to JFK and LGA, the winner here is DL.
B6 won't just not fly from LAX to many major cities, they won't be able to get west-coast pax to major cities like Chicago, Atlanta and Houston even with a connection. Alot of people are just drinking the blue kool-aid on the odds of this expansion being successful.
As for the OP's topic, this is a step in a very long process of B6 becoming a national airline instead of an East Coast + Caribbean airline. The parallel is AS a decade+ ago thinking that it needed to do more than Seattle and Anchorage, adding extensive West Coast - Hawaii services, then incrementally SEA-BOS/IAD/BWI/DTW, etc. B6 needs LAX, to be relevant to a lot of NYC, BOS and FLL traffic. It needs to offer meaningful levels of service (not just NYC/BOS) to the top ~20 markets to be a national carrier. Seventy flights is barely a ripple in a market the size of LAX (avg ~1,800 flights/day pre-COVID if my interpretation of LAWA data is right), but they need to start. Services to LGB never could have done what B6 needs done in the market.
There aren't too many city pairs/airport pairs in the U.S. that can handle six or seven (or eight!) carriers with frequent service and acceptable-to-carrier avg fares. The probability of ugly fare wars is high. Good for LAX consumers.
I'm just putting this side by side since Miflyer12 understands the point of this. Think 6 months ago, JetBlue's position in NYC was that of a strong leisure carrier, popular with New Yorkers, but had limited business schedule outside of transcon flights and Boston. Their position in Boston was a lot stronger, but there was a cap to their ability in attracting top level ff that travel for business. They simply had very little relevance outside of NorthEast and Florida. They didn't fly to many places in middle of the country. And more importantly to many big banking firms, they don't fly to Europe. While this is happening, they were slowly weakening in NY against DL and faced a lot of yield pressure in Boston and Florida
Now you skip 6 months to today. They face no pressure in JFK and BOS. Slots have suddenly become available in slot constrained European airports. That's why they are still scheduled to fly to Europe by next summer. By 2025, they will be flying to a lot of European airports from JFK/BOS. At JFK, they now will be able to claim enough slots to fly a complete schedule instead of only being able to grow by upgauging. With the recent adds of DFW, DTW and MSP, they are only missing CLT among the top 25 domestic markets out of NYC. And I'm sure CLT will be added soon. They will have enough slots on hand to also add places like STL, CLE, IND and MCI. At the same time, they have room to do a major expansion at EWR which allows them to also capture customers who may need to fly out of EWR and fly back to JFK/LGA. And more slots will probably be available at LGA which would allow them to enter the LGA-ORD or LGA-DCA market. There is a big difference in the type of network you can run with 230 flights a day (what they had pre-COVID across JFK/LGA/EWR/HPN) vs 350 flights a day(which is where I think they will be in a few years). The second allows you to compete for top customers with UA/DL. The former relegates you to a leisure carrier.
And finally, they need a larger presence in LAX and SFO to capture some of these larger firms in northeast that have big offices in California or vice versa. What they had with split operation in LAX/LGB doesn't allow for that. Now with more gates available at both LAX/SFO, they can build the former into a west coast mini-hub. They can build the latter into like a 30 to 40 flight operation.
As for flying into middle of the country, that's easy stuff. They can add flights to places like STL/IND/CMH from BOS at anytime. But to be able to have more slots at JFK, gates at EWR/SFO/LAX and more access to slot constrained European airport? That's only possible with these moves. Frankly, having a couple of flights to middle of the country doesn't really move to needle for larger finance and tech firms based in Northeast if you don't fly to London and Paris.
Important point here is that LAX expansion will really kick off in 2023 when they have enough A220s. It will follow their entrance into Europe and expansion at JFK/EWR and getting to 200 flights at BOS. The initial phase of this transformation to a legacy-lite carrier will be done by 2025. All of this will allow them to capture a much larger portion of the corporate pie.