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Runway765
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Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 5:22 pm

It seems AA was a bit short sighted to close their BNA hub in the mid-90s. Yes, it may have been unprofitable, but this is, in part, likely due to the RDU hub operating at the same time. IMO, they should have focused on BNA solely as it could have served the all the functions both intended to serve.

I often feel the geography of BNA within the country is overlooked: it is in a really good location to be a hub. And with growing O&D, if it were around today, I’m sure the AA BNA hub would be profitable. Of course, AA made up for it with CLT, but this is an interesting what if. Hopefully, WN grows BNA into a bigger connecting point in the future.
 
ytib
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 5:27 pm

Here is a good starting point of discussion of the Nashville hub in the past.
viewtopic.php?t=606847

When Nashville was a hub things were quite different. Regional Jet's were not being used like they are today and also the population of the Nashville was quite different.
318, 319, 320, 321, 332, 333, 388, 707, 717, 722, 732, 733, 734, 73Q, 735, 73G, 738, 7M8, 739, 752, 753, 742, 74L, 744, 762, 763, 772, 77L, 77W, 789, 142, CN1, CR2, CR7, DC8, DH2, DH8, D8Q, D10, D95, EM2, ER3, ER4, E70, 100, J31, M11, M83, M88, M90, SF3
 
CIDFlyer
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 5:40 pm

I think if AA had kept BNA it would be a much larger hub than it was back then perhaps even the size of CLT. They should have focused on one hub instead of BNA and RDU at the same time however I guess it was not meant to be. UA which sorely lacks the presence in the SE that AA and DL have via CLT and ATL respectively should have took a shot at it and built up something there. It’s WN land now and will keep on growing as they add more routes and also Allegiant has been growing like crazy as well. Many of their first routes added as seasonal have become full fledged year round routes to cities not served by WN. So it appears the growth for BNA will be between WN and G4. Similar to LAS, large stations for both.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 6:51 pm

The same reasons it closed the SJC and RDU hubs: these late-80s hub efforts were all money-losers.

To think BNA could prosper as an AA hub (even without WN) alongside CLT is just fantasy. You don't put same-carrier hubs that close together - they compete for the same regional connections, diminishing frequency and gauge (increasing CASM) for both. DCA is close to PHL but it's largely an O&D op and survives with slot restrictions propping up fares.
 
ContinentalEWR
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 7:12 pm

All of AA's regional hubs developed and opened in the 1980s and early 1990s were a financial drag on the company, RDU, BNA, and SJC. RDU and BNA were actually competing with each other for traffic flows and neither at the time had sufficient O&D demand to support the size they grew to become. SJC was a product of the AirCal acquisition and subsequently, Reno Air. AirCal didn't have a SJC hub but its assets were redeployed by AA to develop SJC into a hub. SJC outlasted RDU and BNA and held on as a focus city beyond 9/11. For a brief time, AA served CDG and TPE from SJC, literally for a few months in 2001, and the NRT route lasted until I think 2003 or 2004. SJC simply wasn't designed for connections and O&D was at the time still a challenge.
 
Italianflyer
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 7:18 pm

The irony of the failed AA experiments is all three cities have much nicer, user friendly facilities than before the "hub" days. So in a way there is an AA legacy that other airlines enjoy.
 
Weatherwatcher1
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 7:20 pm

Runway765 wrote:
It seems AA was a bit short sighted to close their BNA hub in the mid-90s. Yes, it may have been unprofitable, but this is, in part, likely due to the RDU hub operating at the same time. IMO, they should have focused on BNA solely as it could have served the all the functions both intended to serve.

I often feel the geography of BNA within the country is overlooked: it is in a really good location to be a hub. And with growing O&D, if it were around today, I’m sure the AA BNA hub would be profitable. Of course, AA made up for it with CLT, but this is an interesting what if. Hopefully, WN grows BNA into a bigger connecting point in the future.


Fun fact. Chicago is closer to Nashville than Raleigh. Geographically, Nashville didnt help the AA network that much.
 
ContinentalEWR
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 7:26 pm

Italianflyer wrote:
The irony of the failed AA experiments is all three cities have much nicer, user friendly facilities than before the "hub" days. So in a way there is an AA legacy that other airlines enjoy.


That is very true in the case of RDU and BNA. RDU in particular was a spartan, relatively unpleasant place to connect when it was an AA hub. The newly built terminals are absolutely gorgeous.
 
Runway765
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 7:35 pm

Weatherwatcher1 wrote:
Runway765 wrote:
It seems AA was a bit short sighted to close their BNA hub in the mid-90s. Yes, it may have been unprofitable, but this is, in part, likely due to the RDU hub operating at the same time. IMO, they should have focused on BNA solely as it could have served the all the functions both intended to serve.

I often feel the geography of BNA within the country is overlooked: it is in a really good location to be a hub. And with growing O&D, if it were around today, I’m sure the AA BNA hub would be profitable. Of course, AA made up for it with CLT, but this is an interesting what if. Hopefully, WN grows BNA into a bigger connecting point in the future.


Fun fact. Chicago is closer to Nashville than Raleigh. Geographically, Nashville didnt help the AA network that much.


It would have served the function of CLT in the pre-merger AA network.
 
Italianflyer
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 7:35 pm

ContinentalEWR wrote:
Italianflyer wrote:
The irony of the failed AA experiments is all three cities have much nicer, user friendly facilities than before the "hub" days. So in a way there is an AA legacy that other airlines enjoy.


That is very true in the case of RDU and BNA. RDU in particular was a spartan, relatively unpleasant place to connect when it was an AA hub. The newly built terminals are absolutely gorgeous.


And SJC was like an interconnected network of construction site trailers without jetways. We had to board pax with limited mobility issues on lifts.
 
Runway765
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 7:37 pm

ContinentalEWR wrote:
Italianflyer wrote:
The irony of the failed AA experiments is all three cities have much nicer, user friendly facilities than before the "hub" days. So in a way there is an AA legacy that other airlines enjoy.


That is very true in the case of RDU and BNA. RDU in particular was a spartan, relatively unpleasant place to connect when it was an AA hub. The newly built terminals are absolutely gorgeous.


I thought RDU demolished and rebuilt the AA hub-era terminal?

BNA is being completely overhauled and removing a lot of the AA hub-era features.
 
freakyrat
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 7:40 pm

CIDFlyer wrote:
I think if AA had kept BNA it would be a much larger hub than it was back then perhaps even the size of CLT. They should have focused on one hub instead of BNA and RDU at the same time however I guess it was not meant to be. UA which sorely lacks the presence in the SE that AA and DL have via CLT and ATL respectively should have took a shot at it and built up something there. It’s WN land now and will keep on growing as they add more routes and also Allegiant has been growing like crazy as well. Many of their first routes added as seasonal have become full fledged year round routes to cities not served by WN. So it appears the growth for BNA will be between WN and G4. Similar to LAS, large stations for both.


An interesting little tidbit was about a week or so ago the South Bend International Airport put out a Facebook post that appeared to be guageing interest for a flight to BNA. SBN is a large G4 station with flights to numerous G4 cities. Did G4 ask them guage interest in seasonal service?

When AA had their BNA hub, SBN did have connecting flights from American Eagle turboprop's to BNA.
 
Antarius
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 9:21 pm

Runway765 wrote:
Weatherwatcher1 wrote:
Runway765 wrote:
It seems AA was a bit short sighted to close their BNA hub in the mid-90s. Yes, it may have been unprofitable, but this is, in part, likely due to the RDU hub operating at the same time. IMO, they should have focused on BNA solely as it could have served the all the functions both intended to serve.

I often feel the geography of BNA within the country is overlooked: it is in a really good location to be a hub. And with growing O&D, if it were around today, I’m sure the AA BNA hub would be profitable. Of course, AA made up for it with CLT, but this is an interesting what if. Hopefully, WN grows BNA into a bigger connecting point in the future.


Fun fact. Chicago is closer to Nashville than Raleigh. Geographically, Nashville didnt help the AA network that much.


It would have served the function of CLT in the pre-merger AA network.


Sub-optimally.

CLT being further east helps a lot for North-South traffic . There's a reason no one really has a hub in mid country midsize cities anymore. BNA, STL, CVG, MEM, CLE....
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ContinentalEWR
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 9:28 pm

Runway765 wrote:
ContinentalEWR wrote:
Italianflyer wrote:
The irony of the failed AA experiments is all three cities have much nicer, user friendly facilities than before the "hub" days. So in a way there is an AA legacy that other airlines enjoy.


That is very true in the case of RDU and BNA. RDU in particular was a spartan, relatively unpleasant place to connect when it was an AA hub. The newly built terminals are absolutely gorgeous.


I thought RDU demolished and rebuilt the AA hub-era terminal?

BNA is being completely overhauled and removing a lot of the AA hub-era features.


They did. Read the comment.
 
usflyer msp
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 9:34 pm

BNA lost money and they needed those assets to build up Miami, which was very profitable at the time.
 
Runway765
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 9:38 pm

ContinentalEWR wrote:
Runway765 wrote:
ContinentalEWR wrote:

That is very true in the case of RDU and BNA. RDU in particular was a spartan, relatively unpleasant place to connect when it was an AA hub. The newly built terminals are absolutely gorgeous.


I thought RDU demolished and rebuilt the AA hub-era terminal?

BNA is being completely overhauled and removing a lot of the AA hub-era features.


They did. Read the comment.


Ah, I totally misread your comment, I thought were referring to the newly built terminals AA built when they opened the hubs.
 
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LAX772LR
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 9:41 pm

Antarius wrote:
There's a reason no one really has a hub in mid country midsize cities anymore. BNA, STL, CVG, MEM, CLE....

Bingo.

In the days when 72Ss, S80s, and early 737s couldn't fly reliable transcons yearround, it made sense to have those kind of mid-country hubs.
In the days where 737s, A32X, and even A220s can cross oceans--- not so much.

Can toss MCI, MKE, and a few others in there too.
The only ones who really survived that era are DEN and SLC, and that's due in dual part to the strength of their local population + general isolation.
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
Runway765
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 9:54 pm

Antarius wrote:
Runway765 wrote:
Weatherwatcher1 wrote:

Fun fact. Chicago is closer to Nashville than Raleigh. Geographically, Nashville didnt help the AA network that much.


It would have served the function of CLT in the pre-merger AA network.


Sub-optimally.

CLT being further east helps a lot for North-South traffic . There's a reason no one really has a hub in mid country midsize cities anymore. BNA, STL, CVG, MEM, CLE....


The whole N/S traffic advantage CLT has compared to BNA is not extremely large.

The reason the legacies don't have a hub in mid-sized cities anymore is they consolidated around the big cities via the mergers. If things had gone differently, there would probably still be mid-sized city hubs outside of CLT and SLC. For example, I have no doubt in my mind CVG would still exist as a hub if DL had not merged with NW and merged with someone else.
 
Runway765
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 9:57 pm

LAX772LR wrote:
Can toss MCI, MKE, and a few others in there too.
The only ones who really survived that era are DEN and SLC, and that's due in dual part to the strength of their local population + general isolation.


When was MCI a hub and for whom?

CLT also survived, but that is because of geographical position.
 
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jfklganyc
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 10:01 pm

Some thoughts: RDU and BNA were real small and have seen explosive growth.


The other mid country hubs not so much.

DEN always served the rockies due to geography.

SLC was almost cut in the DL bk. It was that or DFW.
 
Antarius
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 10:04 pm

Runway765 wrote:
LAX772LR wrote:
Can toss MCI, MKE, and a few others in there too.
The only ones who really survived that era are DEN and SLC, and that's due in dual part to the strength of their local population + general isolation.


When was MCI a hub and for whom?

CLT also survived, but that is because of geographical position.


MCI was a hub for F9
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Antarius
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 10:07 pm

Runway765 wrote:
Antarius wrote:
Runway765 wrote:

It would have served the function of CLT in the pre-merger AA network.


Sub-optimally.

CLT being further east helps a lot for North-South traffic . There's a reason no one really has a hub in mid country midsize cities anymore. BNA, STL, CVG, MEM, CLE....


The whole N/S traffic advantage CLT has compared to BNA is not extremely large.

The reason the legacies don't have a hub in mid-sized cities anymore is they consolidated around the big cities via the mergers. If things had gone differently, there would probably still be mid-sized city hubs outside of CLT and SLC. For example, I have no doubt in my mind CVG would still exist as a hub if DL had not merged with NW and merged with someone else.


And yet CLT is here and huge while BNA is not. It is a combination of factors, but somehow it worked out in CLT's favor quite strongly. Heck, you said "CLT Survived because of geographical position" a few posts up.

The legacies don't have hubs in midsize cities as they aren't needed. Aircraft can easily overfly these midway hubs. Instead, consolidating around a large city with O&D makes a lot more sense.
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superjeff
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 10:13 pm

Runway765 wrote:
LAX772LR wrote:
Can toss MCI, MKE, and a few others in there too.
The only ones who really survived that era are DEN and SLC, and that's due in dual part to the strength of their local population + general isolation.


When was MCI a hub and for whom?

CLT also survived, but that is because of geographical position.



The original Braniff had a hub at MCI (Terminal A, now demolished) from its opening in 1973 til Braniff's failure in 1982, then again, Braniff 2 had a hub there from 1984 when the restarted service and it lasted til they failed in 1989. Afterward, Eastern maintained a hub there after Braniff's failure (co-hubbing there for a while with Braniff 2) taking over Braniff's space in Terminal A, with Braniff 2 moving to Terminal B. When Frank Lorenzo's Texas Air bought Eastern, that hub was not needed, as Continental had their biggest hub at Houston IAH, so they closed that hub. At that time, US Air took over the space and maintained a hub there as well, for several years. They weren't able to make it profitable and eventually wound it down.

MCI is located in a geographical location for a mid continent hub (It's just about the exact center of the continental United States - I think Wichita is actually there), but the terminal layout at MCI makes for very difficult connections, with the security at each of the gates. The current airport was designed before security needs of today and originally was designed like DFW (which it beat into operation by a year) with the intention of less than 150 feet from car to plane.
 
trueblew
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 10:15 pm

Runway765 wrote:
LAX772LR wrote:
Can toss MCI, MKE, and a few others in there too.
The only ones who really survived that era are DEN and SLC, and that's due in dual part to the strength of their local population + general isolation.


When was MCI a hub and for whom?

CLT also survived, but that is because of geographical position.


MCI was a hub for TWA. At least in the 70s but I'm not certain for how long.
 
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LAX772LR
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 10:16 pm

jfklganyc wrote:
SLC was almost cut in the DL bk. It was that or DFW.

There is no "almost cut."

In ops review (which airlines always do), DL needed to downsize, an effect more efficiently accomplished due to bankruptcy, and the cuts were made at CVG and especially DFW.
SLC was grown (from before that point and) onward.
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
freakyrat
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 10:26 pm

Throw in another Midwest Hub, the Piedmont Hub in DAY which was gone with the USAir Merger.
Last edited by freakyrat on Sat Mar 20, 2021 10:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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LAX772LR
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 10:26 pm

Runway765 wrote:
LAX772LR wrote:
Can toss MCI, MKE, and a few others in there too.

When was MCI a hub and for whom?

Was a hub for TW, until the '80s, and a large focus for them for quite some time thereafter, despite proximity to STL.

Several regional airlines had foci there through that time frame as well.



Antarius wrote:
MCI was a hub for F9

Slight correction:
MCI was never a hub for F9 (the extant Frontier), but for FL (the Frontier of the '50s through '80s)
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
Runway765
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 10:50 pm

Antarius wrote:
And yet CLT is here and huge while BNA is not. It is a combination of factors, but somehow it worked out in CLT's favor quite strongly. Heck, you said "CLT Survived because of geographical position" a few posts up.


Yes, but my broader point is the geographic differences between CLT and BNA are not huge. BNA could handle the flows CLT handles, it's not significantly that further west to make a difference. Heck, WN uses BNA to some extent for Northeast/Midwest > Florida traffic.

Antarius wrote:
The legacies don't have hubs in midsize cities as they aren't needed. Aircraft can easily overfly these midway hubs. Instead, consolidating around a large city with O&D makes a lot more sense.


They don't because of the way the mergers went down. Certain cities (CVG for instance) may have very well survived had the mergers gone differently. BTW, the Charlotte metro area is not significantly bigger population and O&D wise than most of the cities that were dehubbed, it survived purely for geographical reasons.

Heck, I wonder if AA would have considered re-opening their BNA hub had UA merged with US instead and inherited CLT. AA still held the lease on a lot of the gates at BNA until 5 years ago IIRC.
 
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piedmontf284000
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 11:02 pm

LAX772LR wrote:
Runway765 wrote:
LAX772LR wrote:
Can toss MCI, MKE, and a few others in there too.

When was MCI a hub and for whom?

Was a hub for TW, until the '80s, and a large focus for them for quite some time thereafter, despite proximity to STL.

Several regional airlines had foci there through that time frame as well.



Antarius wrote:
MCI was a hub for F9

Slight correction:
MCI was never a hub for F9 (the extant Frontier), but for FL (the Frontier of the '50s through '80s)


Don't forget abut the 80's resurrection of Braniff

Image
 
N649DL
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 11:04 pm

I'd love to know more of the motive for AA's BNA hub (ditto RDU) but the the first factor I can think of is that AA probably had a lot of corporate contracts in both markets and spun them off into connecting hubs. For BNA that would've been the Entertainment Industry (Country Music) and for RDU it's always been about Tech and Pharma.

Also, I'm not sure if RDU was so much unprofitable as it was just simply replaced by MIA as a hub. AA used RDU for North / South connections and that got somewhat swallowed up when AA grew MIA by the mid-1990s. Even to this day, MIA doesn't serve nearly all the smaller markets which AA did out of RDU on Mainline.

Even at both BNA and RDU's Hub Peak, they weren't very large hubs. For example, outside of the Domestic US, RDU only saw a few routes to the Caribbean plus ORY and LGW. I still find it crazy that AA flew to London from Nashville back in the day.

ContinentalEWR wrote:
Italianflyer wrote:
The irony of the failed AA experiments is all three cities have much nicer, user friendly facilities than before the "hub" days. So in a way there is an AA legacy that other airlines enjoy.


That is very true in the case of RDU and BNA. RDU in particular was a spartan, relatively unpleasant place to connect when it was an AA hub. The newly built terminals are absolutely gorgeous.


I think that was the whole point of the AA Terminal at RDU: just a quickly built, unexciting, & functional place for people to quickly connect. Much like many Elementary schools built in the 1950s to keep up with all the Baby Boomers.
Last edited by N649DL on Sat Mar 20, 2021 11:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
TTailedTiger
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 11:09 pm

Such an un-customer friendly move. BNA and RDU are far nicer airports than CLT. Aside from the international concourse, CLT is just dark and cramped corridors of gates.
 
Antarius
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 11:34 pm

Runway765 wrote:
Antarius wrote:
And yet CLT is here and huge while BNA is not. It is a combination of factors, but somehow it worked out in CLT's favor quite strongly. Heck, you said "CLT Survived because of geographical position" a few posts up.


Yes, but my broader point is the geographic differences between CLT and BNA are not huge. BNA could handle the flows CLT handles, it's not significantly that further west to make a difference. Heck, WN uses BNA to some extent for Northeast/Midwest > Florida traffic.

Antarius wrote:
The legacies don't have hubs in midsize cities as they aren't needed. Aircraft can easily overfly these midway hubs. Instead, consolidating around a large city with O&D makes a lot more sense.


They don't because of the way the mergers went down. Certain cities (CVG for instance) may have very well survived had the mergers gone differently. BTW, the Charlotte metro area is not significantly bigger population and O&D wise than most of the cities that were dehubbed, it survived purely for geographical reasons.

Heck, I wonder if AA would have considered re-opening their BNA hub had UA merged with US instead and inherited CLT. AA still held the lease on a lot of the gates at BNA until 5 years ago IIRC.


You're simultaneously arguing that CLT is geographically advantaged and not advantaged. AA would not have reopened BNA because they have DFW and ORD.

The lack of midsize hubs in the middle of the country is for a reason. If BNA is a gold mine, why has no one else opened up?
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Runway765
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 11:53 pm

Antarius wrote:
Runway765 wrote:
Antarius wrote:
And yet CLT is here and huge while BNA is not. It is a combination of factors, but somehow it worked out in CLT's favor quite strongly. Heck, you said "CLT Survived because of geographical position" a few posts up.


Yes, but my broader point is the geographic differences between CLT and BNA are not huge. BNA could handle the flows CLT handles, it's not significantly that further west to make a difference. Heck, WN uses BNA to some extent for Northeast/Midwest > Florida traffic.

Antarius wrote:
The legacies don't have hubs in midsize cities as they aren't needed. Aircraft can easily overfly these midway hubs. Instead, consolidating around a large city with O&D makes a lot more sense.


They don't because of the way the mergers went down. Certain cities (CVG for instance) may have very well survived had the mergers gone differently. BTW, the Charlotte metro area is not significantly bigger population and O&D wise than most of the cities that were dehubbed, it survived purely for geographical reasons.

Heck, I wonder if AA would have considered re-opening their BNA hub had UA merged with US instead and inherited CLT. AA still held the lease on a lot of the gates at BNA until 5 years ago IIRC.


You're simultaneously arguing that CLT is geographically advantaged and not advantaged. AA would not have reopened BNA because they have DFW and ORD.

The lack of midsize hubs in the middle of the country is for a reason. If BNA is a gold mine, why has no one else opened up?


1. Where am I "simultaneously arguing that CLT is geographically advantaged and not advantaged"? I never said CLT is at a geographical disadvantage, all I am saying is the differences between it and BNA are negligible.

2. I believe Bob Crandall once lamented the lack of a true SE hub for AA prior to the merger with US. Had AA not inherited CLT, I guarantee you they would have considered reopening BNA. ORD and DFW would not have had an effect on it. If that were the case, CLT would have been closed by now.

3. You keep saying the lack of midsized hubs in the middle of the country is for a reason, but keep ignoring my comments about if the mergers had gone differently, certain ones would have survived. Do you think CVG would still have been dehubbed if DL had merged with, say, CO instead of NW?

4. WN is turning BNA into a fairly large station and BNA plans to build more gates in the coming years. BNA is big enough to support one hub, but not two. I never said BNA was the end all be all, but it IS in a good geographical position for an airline hub of some sorts.
 
Runway765
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sat Mar 20, 2021 11:58 pm

TTailedTiger wrote:
Such an un-customer friendly move. BNA and RDU are far nicer airports than CLT. Aside from the international concourse, CLT is just dark and cramped corridors of gates.


To be fair, both would have been the same had AA kept their hubs.
 
Antarius
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sun Mar 21, 2021 12:06 am

Runway765 wrote:
Antarius wrote:
Runway765 wrote:

Yes, but my broader point is the geographic differences between CLT and BNA are not huge. BNA could handle the flows CLT handles, it's not significantly that further west to make a difference. Heck, WN uses BNA to some extent for Northeast/Midwest > Florida traffic.



They don't because of the way the mergers went down. Certain cities (CVG for instance) may have very well survived had the mergers gone differently. BTW, the Charlotte metro area is not significantly bigger population and O&D wise than most of the cities that were dehubbed, it survived purely for geographical reasons.

Heck, I wonder if AA would have considered re-opening their BNA hub had UA merged with US instead and inherited CLT. AA still held the lease on a lot of the gates at BNA until 5 years ago IIRC.


You're simultaneously arguing that CLT is geographically advantaged and not advantaged. AA would not have reopened BNA because they have DFW and ORD.

The lack of midsize hubs in the middle of the country is for a reason. If BNA is a gold mine, why has no one else opened up?


1. Where am I "simultaneously arguing that CLT is geographically advantaged and not advantaged"? I never said CLT is at a geographical disadvantage, all I am saying is the differences between it and BNA are negligible.

2. I believe Bob Crandall once lamented the lack of a true SE hub for AA prior to the merger with US. Had AA not inherited CLT, I guarantee you they would have considered reopening BNA. ORD and DFW would not have had an effect on it. If that were the case, CLT would have been closed by now.

3. You keep saying the lack of midsized hubs in the middle of the country is for a reason, but keep ignoring my comments about if the mergers had gone differently, certain ones would have survived. Do you think CVG would still have been dehubbed if DL had merged with, say, CO instead of NW?

4. WN is turning BNA into a fairly large station and BNA plans to build more gates in the coming years. BNA is big enough to support one hub, but not two. I never said BNA was the end all be all, but it IS in a good geographical position for an airline hub of some sorts.


Bob Crandall hasn't been in charge of AA in years. And considering all these years after AA has shown no inclination to need a hub or open one there. WN is building a small focus point there like they have in many other spots - it works for them as they aren't as hub/spoke as the others.

I think you're looking at this with hope and rose tinted glasses.

And to your third point - CO and DL weren't going to merge. Hub position and markets matter. It isn't like these mergers happened by chance.
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Weatherwatcher1
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sun Mar 21, 2021 12:14 am

Runway765 wrote:
Antarius wrote:
And yet CLT is here and huge while BNA is not. It is a combination of factors, but somehow it worked out in CLT's favor quite strongly. Heck, you said "CLT Survived because of geographical position" a few posts up.


Yes, but my broader point is the geographic differences between CLT and BNA are not huge. BNA could handle the flows CLT handles, it's not significantly that further west to make a difference. Heck, WN uses BNA to some extent for Northeast/Midwest > Florida traffic.


You can’t just look at geography. Charlotte metro area ranks 21 in GDP in the US compared to Nashville at 34. GDP is more influential for air travel demand than population. Having O/D helps the hub.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of ... eas_by_GDP
 
ContinentalEWR
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sun Mar 21, 2021 12:18 am

N649DL wrote:
I'd love to know more of the motive for AA's BNA hub (ditto RDU) but the the first factor I can think of is that AA probably had a lot of corporate contracts in both markets and spun them off into connecting hubs. For BNA that would've been the Entertainment Industry (Country Music) and for RDU it's always been about Tech and Pharma.

Also, I'm not sure if RDU was so much unprofitable as it was just simply replaced by MIA as a hub. AA used RDU for North / South connections and that got somewhat swallowed up when AA grew MIA by the mid-1990s. Even to this day, MIA doesn't serve nearly all the smaller markets which AA did out of RDU on Mainline.

Even at both BNA and RDU's Hub Peak, they weren't very large hubs. For example, outside of the Domestic US, RDU only saw a few routes to the Caribbean plus ORY and LGW. I still find it crazy that AA flew to London from Nashville back in the day.

ContinentalEWR wrote:
Italianflyer wrote:
The irony of the failed AA experiments is all three cities have much nicer, user friendly facilities than before the "hub" days. So in a way there is an AA legacy that other airlines enjoy.


That is very true in the case of RDU and BNA. RDU in particular was a spartan, relatively unpleasant place to connect when it was an AA hub. The newly built terminals are absolutely gorgeous.


I think that was the whole point of the AA Terminal at RDU: just a quickly built, unexciting, & functional place for people to quickly connect. Much like many Elementary schools built in the 1950s to keep up with all the Baby Boomers.


That's true and it was torn down and replaced with a much better structure, both in terms of aesthetics and function. The old AA terminal structure was designed for connections and de-emphasized check in areas, baggage claim, and what was security checkpoints of that time, and it was really not functional for O&D traffic.
 
Runway765
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sun Mar 21, 2021 12:36 am

Antarius wrote:
Runway765 wrote:
Antarius wrote:

You're simultaneously arguing that CLT is geographically advantaged and not advantaged. AA would not have reopened BNA because they have DFW and ORD.

The lack of midsize hubs in the middle of the country is for a reason. If BNA is a gold mine, why has no one else opened up?


1. Where am I "simultaneously arguing that CLT is geographically advantaged and not advantaged"? I never said CLT is at a geographical disadvantage, all I am saying is the differences between it and BNA are negligible.

2. I believe Bob Crandall once lamented the lack of a true SE hub for AA prior to the merger with US. Had AA not inherited CLT, I guarantee you they would have considered reopening BNA. ORD and DFW would not have had an effect on it. If that were the case, CLT would have been closed by now.

3. You keep saying the lack of midsized hubs in the middle of the country is for a reason, but keep ignoring my comments about if the mergers had gone differently, certain ones would have survived. Do you think CVG would still have been dehubbed if DL had merged with, say, CO instead of NW?

4. WN is turning BNA into a fairly large station and BNA plans to build more gates in the coming years. BNA is big enough to support one hub, but not two. I never said BNA was the end all be all, but it IS in a good geographical position for an airline hub of some sorts.


Bob Crandall hasn't been in charge of AA in years. And considering all these years after AA has shown no inclination to need a hub or open one there. WN is building a small focus point there like they have in many other spots - it works for them as they aren't as hub/spoke as the others.

I think you're looking at this with hope and rose tinted glasses.

And to your third point - CO and DL weren't going to merge. Hub position and markets matter. It isn't like these mergers happened by chance.


I think you are missing my point. Of course AA won't reopen the BNA hub, there is no need for them to do so now that they have CLT. My point is it COULD be a hub of some sorts given its decent geographical location. My original point was AA made a mistake IMO when closing BNA, but they have made up for it in CLT. BNA will never be a legacy hub again, but it is WN's largest non-base station and if the airport expansion plans are any indication, they will be getting much bigger in the coming years. I don't think that's just a "small focus point".

The mergers could have happened differently. UA and US were in serious talks at several points. Had that happened, we could be having a whole different conversation.
 
Runway765
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sun Mar 21, 2021 12:44 am

Weatherwatcher1 wrote:
Runway765 wrote:
Antarius wrote:
And yet CLT is here and huge while BNA is not. It is a combination of factors, but somehow it worked out in CLT's favor quite strongly. Heck, you said "CLT Survived because of geographical position" a few posts up.


Yes, but my broader point is the geographic differences between CLT and BNA are not huge. BNA could handle the flows CLT handles, it's not significantly that further west to make a difference. Heck, WN uses BNA to some extent for Northeast/Midwest > Florida traffic.


You can’t just look at geography. Charlotte metro area ranks 21 in GDP in the US compared to Nashville at 34. GDP is more influential for air travel demand than population. Having O/D helps the hub.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of ... eas_by_GDP


That is true, but O&D helps as well. CLT does not have a ton of O&D, actually, BNA slightly outperforms CLT in O&D with much fewer enplanements.

https://www.orlandoairports.net/site/uploads/O-and-D-Airport-Ranking.pdf

I'm not suggesting CLT doesn't deserve to be a hub, but geography has a lot to do with the reason it is. And I'll bet the reason for the higher GDP is the bigger corporate presence due to the hub.

I think people are misunderstanding my point. This isn't about BNA vs CLT, it's about AA making a mistake closing BNA years ago and how it could theoretically be a legacy hub if there was a need for one (which there isn't) and there was a void at the airport.
 
FlyingElvii
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sun Mar 21, 2021 12:46 am

Runway765 wrote:
LAX772LR wrote:
Can toss MCI, MKE, and a few others in there too.
The only ones who really survived that era are DEN and SLC, and that's due in dual part to the strength of their local population + general isolation.


When was MCI a hub and for whom?

CLT also survived, but that is because of geographical position.

MCI was a hub for Midwest, Vanguard, Branniff, Branniff II, ( not sure about III) over the years, and was a TWA focus city. Various regionals fed those hubs as well (Vanguard had no regional)
 
Alias1024
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sun Mar 21, 2021 12:46 am

The short answer is that AA saw better opportunities to deploy their limited resources. For example strengthening MIA and DFW. It was a money loser and AA closed it to stem the losses.

Would BNA have been profitable without RDU? It’s a hypothetical that nobody truly knows the answer to, but I can’t imagine AA wouldn’t have modeled that possibility.

RDU’s main traffic flow was north/south along the east coast. While not a horrible detour, BNA is a few hundred miles west and is suboptimal for this traffic. So the connecting traffic it would have taken over from RDU would have been a little more expensive for AA to serve due to extra distance, and likely a little lower yielding due to the out of the way routing. That doesn’t really sound like a strategy to turn a money losing hub profitable, though increased scale might have improved the overall cost structure of the BNA hub somewhat.
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N649DL
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sun Mar 21, 2021 1:06 am

FlyingElvii wrote:
Runway765 wrote:
LAX772LR wrote:
Can toss MCI, MKE, and a few others in there too.
The only ones who really survived that era are DEN and SLC, and that's due in dual part to the strength of their local population + general isolation.


When was MCI a hub and for whom?

CLT also survived, but that is because of geographical position.

MCI was a hub for Midwest, Vanguard, Branniff, Branniff II, ( not sure about III) over the years, and was a TWA focus city. Various regionals fed those hubs as well (Vanguard had no regional)


Eastern had a hub in MCI as well. I just found a 1987 Timetable which reflected it's connecting operation at Kansas City as a map.
 
Antarius
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sun Mar 21, 2021 1:15 am

Runway765 wrote:
Weatherwatcher1 wrote:
Runway765 wrote:

Yes, but my broader point is the geographic differences between CLT and BNA are not huge. BNA could handle the flows CLT handles, it's not significantly that further west to make a difference. Heck, WN uses BNA to some extent for Northeast/Midwest > Florida traffic.


You can’t just look at geography. Charlotte metro area ranks 21 in GDP in the US compared to Nashville at 34. GDP is more influential for air travel demand than population. Having O/D helps the hub.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of ... eas_by_GDP


That is true, but O&D helps as well. CLT does not have a ton of O&D, actually, BNA slightly outperforms CLT in O&D with much fewer enplanements.

https://www.orlandoairports.net/site/uploads/O-and-D-Airport-Ranking.pdf

I'm not suggesting CLT doesn't deserve to be a hub, but geography has a lot to do with the reason it is. And I'll bet the reason for the higher GDP is the bigger corporate presence due to the hub.

I think people are misunderstanding my point. This isn't about BNA vs CLT, it's about AA making a mistake closing BNA years ago and how it could theoretically be a legacy hub if there was a need for one (which there isn't) and there was a void at the airport.


CLT is the exception. That's the point that you're missing. And CLT is quite unique in their desire to keep AA (then US) top dog vs bringing in a bunch of new carriers like most airports do.

AA only got CLT relatively recently. They've had plenty of chances to open a hub in BNA or elsewhere and have done no such thing
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Cubsrule
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sun Mar 21, 2021 2:35 am

Weatherwatcher1 wrote:
Runway765 wrote:
Antarius wrote:
And yet CLT is here and huge while BNA is not. It is a combination of factors, but somehow it worked out in CLT's favor quite strongly. Heck, you said "CLT Survived because of geographical position" a few posts up.


Yes, but my broader point is the geographic differences between CLT and BNA are not huge. BNA could handle the flows CLT handles, it's not significantly that further west to make a difference. Heck, WN uses BNA to some extent for Northeast/Midwest > Florida traffic.


You can’t just look at geography. Charlotte metro area ranks 21 in GDP in the US compared to Nashville at 34. GDP is more influential for air travel demand than population. Having O/D helps the hub.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of ... eas_by_GDP


This is a bit of a sillily academic discussion, but when looking at MSA numbers for BNA, remember that the Clarksville and Bowling Green MSAs use BNA essentially exclusively. There’s not really anything comparable in Charlotte.
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jfklganyc
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sun Mar 21, 2021 2:38 am

LAX772LR wrote:
jfklganyc wrote:
SLC was almost cut in the DL bk. It was that or DFW.

There is no "almost cut."

In ops review (which airlines always do), DL needed to downsize, an effect more efficiently accomplished due to bankruptcy, and the cuts were made at CVG and especially DFW.
SLC was grown (from before that point and) onward.



Sure there is an almost cut.

SLC was almost cut. DFW was cut instead. SLC was kept. As the airline grew, all the hubs grew including SLC
 
CIDFlyer
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sun Mar 21, 2021 3:07 am

TTailedTiger wrote:
Such an un-customer friendly move. BNA and RDU are far nicer airports than CLT. Aside from the international concourse, CLT is just dark and cramped corridors of gates.


Before the renovation of concourses A, B and C I would have agreed but those concourse are much nicer now that the carpet was replaced with terrazzo floors, brighter lighting and lighted signage at the gates. Concourse E definitely needs a facelift and that will be coming in due time to match the look of A B and C. A north is beautiful and I’ve always loved the atrium overlooking the airfield
 
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LAX772LR
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sun Mar 21, 2021 5:36 am

jfklganyc wrote:
LAX772LR wrote:
jfklganyc wrote:
SLC was almost cut in the DL bk. It was that or DFW.

There is no "almost cut."

In ops review (which airlines always do), DL needed to downsize, an effect more efficiently accomplished due to bankruptcy, and the cuts were made at CVG and especially DFW.
SLC was grown (from before that point and) onward.

Sure there is an almost cut.

SLC was almost cut. DFW was cut instead. SLC was kept. As the airline grew, all the hubs grew including SLC

Just so ya know: repeating it isn't going to make it less any inaccurate than the first time you claimed it.

Yes DL made it clear they planned to downsize one if not two hubs in their bankruptcy; but you're confusing AvGeek+media speculation, with actual company strategy. They ran the numbers, and DFW was the clear loser, followed by CVG. People here and in media assumed that SLC would next be in highest danger of large cuts-- but again, that was external supposition, based on its size at the time relative to other foci.
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dstblj52
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sun Mar 21, 2021 6:01 am

LAX772LR wrote:
Antarius wrote:
There's a reason no one really has a hub in mid country midsize cities anymore. BNA, STL, CVG, MEM, CLE....

Bingo.

In the days when 72Ss, S80s, and early 737s couldn't fly reliable transcons yearround, it made sense to have those kind of mid-country hubs.
In the days where 737s, A32X, and even A220s can cross oceans--- not so much.

Can toss MCI, MKE, and a few others in there too.
The only ones who really survived that era are DEN and SLC, and that's due in dual part to the strength of their local population + general isolation.

The small hubs that survive did so because their are no better alternatives, in general most regions have an gold, and silver hub, if its particularly lucrative their might be two silver hubs, those or mega cities where multiple airlines can hub, are all that survive these days
 
dstblj52
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sun Mar 21, 2021 6:05 am

Runway765 wrote:
Antarius wrote:
And yet CLT is here and huge while BNA is not. It is a combination of factors, but somehow it worked out in CLT's favor quite strongly. Heck, you said "CLT Survived because of geographical position" a few posts up.


Yes, but my broader point is the geographic differences between CLT and BNA are not huge. BNA could handle the flows CLT handles, it's not significantly that further west to make a difference. Heck, WN uses BNA to some extent for Northeast/Midwest > Florida traffic.

Antarius wrote:
The legacies don't have hubs in midsize cities as they aren't needed. Aircraft can easily overfly these midway hubs. Instead, consolidating around a large city with O&D makes a lot more sense.


They don't because of the way the mergers went down. Certain cities (CVG for instance) may have very well survived had the mergers gone differently. BTW, the Charlotte metro area is not significantly bigger population and O&D wise than most of the cities that were dehubbed, it survived purely for geographical reasons.

Heck, I wonder if AA would have considered re-opening their BNA hub had UA merged with US instead and inherited CLT. AA still held the lease on a lot of the gates at BNA until 5 years ago IIRC.

No if that happened US and DL would have consolidated on Atlanta and Memphis would have survived as the secondary hub in the region for continental northwest.
 
PSA727
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Re: Why did AA close their BNA hub?

Sun Mar 21, 2021 6:46 am

BNA was, and still would be, a money-loser as a hub for AA. It is too far west to be an effective north-south connecting point. And as an east-west connection point, it isn't that much more beneficial to AA than DFW and/or ORD would be in that regard. It's why AA de-hubbed STL. In fact, how much further east is BNA from STL? Not much.

The only airline that could possibly benefit by starting a new hub at BNA would be B6. And even that is questionable.
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