As much as anything, all of this feels like a strategic shot fired at DL. All three were markets were being emphasized by DL prior to the pandemic, even though "DL focus city" had yet to mean anything at AUS and BNA. WN is obviously a target here as well, but it just feels like this is meant for DL as much as anyone.
This will be fun to watch.
Good point. DL may have said that, but I think AA still has more traditional stronghold in AUS (AA is undeniably more of a Texas airline), and BNA (former AA hub) than DL, right? That leaves RDU, which is more of a DL stronghold, despite AA running RDU-LHR on 777 for many years.
Anyway, it is not so simple to say which airline moved first.
I would argue that RDU is just as much of an AA stronghold as DL, if not perhaps more.
Keep in mind AA has a huge number of FFs in the Triangle due to their former hub there. Even after the hub closed, AA operated a number of P2P RJ routes (BDL/DCA/JAX/SDF/EWR/BOS/STL/AUS/CMH/MCI) up until 2008.
US also had a large amount of FFs in the region due to their historic presence in the Carolinas, and historically had robust service to all of their hubs. Even today AA has 9 departures on CLT-RDU alone, with multiple A321/738 frequencies.
RJ85, F70, E135, E140, E145, E70, E75, E90, CR2, CR7, CR9, 717, 732, 733, 734, 735, 73G, 738, 739, 744ER, 752, 753, 762, 763ER, 772, 77E, 77W, 789, 319, 320, 321, 332, 333, 343, 359, 388