I have only been with HP
for a short time as I'm still in training. However we have had visits from Jeff McClelland (COO) and other management types who have been very frank and upfront to the challenges and advantages that we have here. Please remember I have had little exposure to the day-to-day operations here, but have seen quite a bit of what's going on around PHX
. To cover a few of the remarks from above:
ETOPS: The COO said that we are pursuing ETOPS certification on the 757's, not for any specific route to be announced, but so that we will be ready when the analysis people decide it would be profitable for us to do so. Without 'overwater' certification, we are limited to 50 miles from shore. The 'overwater' would give us 1 hour from shore, but is close to ETOPS in terms of complexity and cost. Therefore, we are pursuing ETOPS with an eye toward the future. With ETOPS, the "E" stands for extended which has all been discussed before. For now, with the 50 mile limit, it is just about impossible to get to the Caribbean. That is one of the places the ETOPS would help with.
New Planes: HP
has the recently announced order for 20+ A320's coming starting next year, and the word from the COO is that the 'big' order is still to come. After that, they will be analyzing their needs as far as longer routes and bigger planes. If the financial types decide it is to HP
's advantage to start flying further, then bigger (probably widebody) planes will be looked at. However according to him, the size gap between the A320 and A330 is so big that the chances are that the order *might* be for something inbetween such as the 767 family. Remember this isn't a near term rumor, just a company official musing on which way the far distant future may
New Routes: The COO also said we are constantly analyzing possible routes looking for ones that we can profitably fly. The only discussion for new mainline routes (not yet announced) that look promising are from PHX
down to Belize and Panama City.
Taking over old hubs (i.e. CLT
etc): In today's airline business the problem (other than fuel cost) is overcapacity. There are too many seats chasing too few butts. When HP
left Columbus, there were a few airlines that increased frequency, but that amounted to only about 50% of the capacity that HP
pulled out. That is about the norm for most hubs, since a lot of the traffic through them isn't originating from there, but just passing through. The same is true for TWA/AA out of STL
. The bottom line is this: Every airline has highly paid analysis people constantly looking for new good routes for their planes. If it would be profitable for someone to fly into a city, it is probably already being done. I feel sorry for those in places like PIT
where so much service has been lost, but if the need were really there, the chances are that someone would already be filling that need.
as low cost carrier: It most definitely is a LCC. The only
definition of low cost carrier that is accepted by the industry is just that - low cost. You have to look at an airlines CASM (Cost per Available Seat Mile), or to put it plainly, the overall cost for the airline to move one seat one mile. Recently HP
has had the second lowest cost behind Southwest, and in the last couple months has been better (lower) than ATA, Airtran, or Jetblue. The rest is just fluff - first class, lounges, food, amenities, paintjobs etc. Those actually have nothing to do with which airlines are LCC and which are not. In the final accounting, airlines are business just like any other. To call them LCC only comments on their financial ability to get the job done cheaper than others, not on what method they use to get there.
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.