Interesting thread guys......sorry I'm a few days late on the party. I've been busy keeping up with all of the NW
discussions. But having spent a good 5-6 years in PA, I have some comments to add.
ScottB makes some interesting points as to how the downfall of PIT
can be traced to multiple sources.
1) Expansion of WN
into the Northeast & US strongholds BWI
and other outstations
2) The regional jet: allowing NW
, and UA
/AA from ORD
to fly into smaller markets in the Mid-Atlantic / Northeast that either could only be reached with props or were out of range of the props but too small for mainline
3) Collapse of the ultra-high fare business travelers - some of it mandated, some of it discressionary
4) US's loverall lack of westward connections and market presence from any of their hubs
5) US's poor Midwestern market strategy
Now I'm having a hard time remembering how US initially deployed their regional jets - prior to the downsizing of PIT
, circa 1999-2000, anyone remember how effect they were with this?
As for moving some of the Dash-8 markets from PHL
, generally the Dash-8's aren't the ones choking up PHL
as they can use 8/26 under most conditions. As we've discussed at length in other places, its the RJ
's that are causing the problems.
As for making a hub, its impossible to operate a connecting hub with anything less than 3 banks. You can't operate a 1 or 2 bank hub due to limited connections and aircraft scheduling. With 3 banks, you can keep aircraft based at a hub sufficiently utilized throughout the entire day doing out & back's (see MEM
As for an O&D hub, US really needs to take a page from AA
's playbook. Over the past few years, AA
has gradually shifted some of its connecting traffic away from ORD
over to DFW
. This was done for several reasons:
1) Due to slot constrants and the inability to add more ORD
wanted to free up more seats for the massive amount of local O&D, to compete with UA
, and also experience higher margins
2) Due to operational issues - massive ground delays, ATC constraints, connections are always being missed/broken/delayed
has beefed up the number for frequencies from many markets into DFW
to offer more connecting opportunites over ORD
, where they are less constrained (and basically own the joint). Some of this was done also by modifying the arrival & departure times too. Note when you do online searches, they offer more choices, and often cheaper to fly say for example DTW
, or DTW
The connections are still there, but they can make it easier to go to the more connecting-based hub, something that US may need to consider with PHL
and making it more adventous to use CLT
and to a lesser extent PIT
, when all other things are equal. Basically I would never want to go through PHL
unless I have to begin or end a trip there. Actually, I've given up on PHL
lately, and I use MDT
for my gateway into Southeastern PA.