Ummmm no. There are just all number of reasons this simply won't work.
(1) Why on earth would American give up its rights to the TWA name so that a startup carrier could try to steal connecting traffic from ORD
? I'm sure that American would LOVE to have a new airline offering "[s]uper-low fares...to Chicago-area residents" -- NOT.
didn't pull out of DTW
(in spite of its awful old terminal) because DTW
has far, far stronger O&D traffic than STL
. In 2000, DTW
had 15 million domestic O&D passengers, compared to 10.6 million for STL
. Even more telling, NW
carried 8.3 million domestic O&D passengers (revenue of $1.5 billion) at DTW
, compared to 5.1 million (revenue of $1.0 billion) for TWA at STL
. Simply stated, DTW
is a much better market than STL
's Terminal C at EWR
beats the pants off any other airport terminal facility in New York and probably in the Northeast. It's immensely profitable, and CO
alone carries nearly as many O&D passengers at EWR
(10.5 million, with just over 50% market share) than STL
has total. Moreover, NYC is the largest air travel market in the U.S., and EWR
is the most convenient airport for much of the metro area's population. If you can tell me how to drive from JFK
in 20 minutes, I'd love to know!
The Northeast supports several large airports (IAD
) in relatively close proximity because O&D traffic numbers are so high and because chronic traffic problems can make driving an unpalatable alternative.
*does* have a great location. But it has poor facilities and a weak O&D travel market. Icahn's Karabu ticketing arrangement did NOT apply to fares to and from STL
, but rather only to connecting traffic. And while being forced to sell lots of cheap connecting tickets didn't help TWA, they weren't able to sell a lot of tickets to and from STL
either -- which is where the real profit would be. EWR
is great for CO
because so little of its traffic is connecting; the same is true for UA
. And while TWA did pay high interest rates, it also had some of the lowest labor costs in the industry after years of concessions.
(3) How exactly would you expect to get your costs anywhere near WN
's by offering all sorts of amenities like increased seat pitch, LED
mood lighting, IFE, food, etc.? And how do you fund a "massive" marketing campaign for a startup? How do you ensure a consistent product for your passengers if you're relying on second- and third-tier regionals like Trans States (still under contract with AA
) and Great Plains? Why would you throw tons of capacity into a route (STL
) which is already heavily served by WN
, and UA
at a relatively modest average fare?
FYI, an in-flight soda fountain as a very bad idea; you really don't want to have a pressurized CO2 tank in the cabin.