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usxguy
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What if: Alaska had widebodies

Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:19 am

With the merger with Virgin America speeding along, who/what/where do you think a widebody would fit into the new Alaska network?

If Boeing restarts the 76 line, I can see the 767-300ER fitting in.

4+ flights a day
SEA/ANC

2+ a day
SEA/BOS
SEA/JFK
LAX/JFK
LAX/BOS
SEA/LAX

1 a day
SEA/MCO
SEA/TPA
SEA/FLL
SEA/HNL
SEA/OGG
ANC/ORD
ANC/LAX

New markets:
Seattle - London
Seattle - Seoul

Most of these routes are routinely always full & Alaska seems to get a decent yield compared to others. The Florida flights could use an upgauge on Mo/Fr/Sa/Su. While these routes are upgrade central, most are using Gold Guest Upgrades or MVP/Gold/75Ks who buy into a higher fare to get into F, which means higher yields. I just speak from experience as a Gold 75K that's had homes in both Alaska & Florida, with LOTS of flying back and forth. I also think some of the VX markets would do better with more capacity (going against the grain here) as a way to better compete with the larger airlines who are all using international configured planes or lie-flats and Alaska could have a product differential here that tries to offer a "premium" product without the massive premium price.

I could see the 767's a mix of Hawaiian/Delta's configuration. 24 in First, 35 in premium economy, and 196 in "main cabin". First would maintain the new Alaska F product with a slightly more roomy seat than the other guys, but still nothing super elegant.
xx
 
Varsity1
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Re: What if: Alaska had widebodies

Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:31 am

AS has a lower CASM across the board than Delta does going into SEA. If they could maintain that in the WB segment, they would have the best connecting hub to asia in the USA.
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cledaybuck
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Re: What if: Alaska had widebodies

Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:41 am

Varsity1 wrote:
If they could maintain that in the WB segment, they would have the best connecting hub to asia in the USA.
Ummmm, no.
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Overthecascades
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Re: What if: Alaska had widebodies

Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:57 am

Fun conversation and speculation but AS is in no rush to have WB
 
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Midwestindy
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Re: What if: Alaska had widebodies

Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:07 am

Varsity1 wrote:
If they could maintain that in the WB segment, they would have the best connecting hub to asia in the USA.


How so? and when you say "best" do you mean most comprehensive hub, most efficient hub, or a mixture of the two?
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jaybird
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Re: What if: Alaska had widebodies

Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:12 am

bad move .. Braniff expansion comes to mind ..
 
Varsity1
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Re: What if: Alaska had widebodies

Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:15 am

Midwestindy wrote:
Varsity1 wrote:
If they could maintain that in the WB segment, they would have the best connecting hub to asia in the USA.


How so? and when you say "best" do you mean most comprehensive hub, most efficient hub, or a mixture of the two?


International connecting hubs are built on low cost domestic feed and low CPE. PHL is a good example. AS has more and lower cost domestic feed than DL. SEA is naturally a winner (hence why DL is moving in) with huge global tech O&D anchor accounts (Amazon, Microsoft, outterwall, Boeing) and zero backtracking throughout the continental USA.

AS has alot to handle at the moment, but they are in a good spot to lead USA-Asia on the low end if they want to give it a shot. It would probably look like US Air's TATL Europe operation prior to merger with AA.
Last edited by Varsity1 on Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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N644US
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Re: What if: Alaska had widebodies

Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:17 am

Not sure if the 767 is really the best fit there. It's got a higher maintenance cost, is heavy (the -ER version may be too much plane for intra-US flights), and is quite large (a jump from 181 on the 737-900(ER) and 185 on the VX A321neo up to your proposed 255). While I understand that it's possible to integrate a widebody into a mostly-narrowbody fleet, it seems like the jump between one and the other seems to be a bit too large -- it'd require new scheduling with longer turnarounds, the equipment of new gates capable of handling a wide-body wingspan, the training of crews for an entirely new aircraft family, and would overall be a big gap to fill.

But, even if we assume that the 767 is a good fit, the business model doesn't entirely fit with the 767 over the 737. Looking at SEA-ANC, AS operates around 10 flights/day between the two cities. While I'm sure enough people want to fly between both places, I'm not sure that upgrading is all that great of an idea. America's frequency-over-capacity viewpoint means that having 10 flights spaced 1-2 hours apart would be better compared to 4 flights every 3 hours -- it maximizes choice for the consumer and overall makes capacity on a route much more manageable. If we look at where the Big 3 put their widebodies -- on large hub-to-hub flights -- it's clear that they use their widebodies for a different purpose, where there are so many people flying between large hubs, that having a 767 every two hours makes sense over a 737 every half-hour. This same philosophy applies to SEA-LAX.

The other routes you've mentioned (transcontinental/long flights) could use the range of the 767, the increased payload, and the potential for better seats. Although I'd agree that some routes could use more capacity, I'm not sure widebodies are the right choice here either. All of these routes can be doable with the 737/A320 family (although some would have payload restrictions), making it feasible to spend nothing on new maintenance and crew training to add new capacity onto these routes. And while I'd agree that cargo would be important (flights to HNL are always filled with cargo, and so are flights to major stations), there's no point in flying a wide-body aircraft on a route where it loses money on the main deck just to make a profit below the cabin.

This leaves the seats, which I'd argue are the biggest flaw with this plan. The 767 was built to be a longer-range, more-premium aircraft compared to the narrowbody A320 and 737. But your proposed configuration puts roughly the same type of seat as the narrow-body fleet onto the widebodies -- although this reduces CASM and increases capacity, it makes the 767 no more competitive than the 737 you seek to replace. People are unhappy with Delta's flatbed business class, which takes up, even more, space than what you propose (DL fits a maximum of 226 seats in the 767-300ER with a small business class cabin and no premium economy class). The whole point of putting a widebody on longer routes (or, in the case of SEA-JFK/BOS, LAX-JFK/BOS) is to have a premium offering that is better than the domestic offering -- this achieves none of that. Overall, your planned use of the 767 would be to make a larger version of the 737, and although that has a chance of working with the routes I just said were unviable because of frequency-versus-capacity (SEA-ANC, SEA-LAX), it has no chance of working on longer routes where other airlines are already offering lay-flats and special menus that Alaska falls behind on (not to mention the fact that no one in the right mind would fly SEA-ICN in a domestic first class seat, especially corporate travellers).

Overall, the 767 in my opinion doesn't seem like the right fit. It doesn't work with Alaska's high-frequency routes, is too expensive to justify offering on smaller routes like SEA-MCO, doesn't utilize well the added cargo capacity, can't offer anything special to make it a priority over other aircraft in the fleet or on transcontinental missions, and overall is an expensive plane to operate in both fuel costs and the costs of introducing a new type.
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NichCage
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Re: What if: Alaska had widebodies

Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:18 am

I think it would be unique if AS flew from ANC/FAI to FRA seasonally like DE for example. That would be pretty cool.
 
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EA CO AS
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Re: What if: Alaska had widebodies

Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:20 am

usxguy wrote:
If Boeing restarts the 76 line, I can see the 767-300ER fitting in....24 in First, 35 in premium economy, and 196 in "main cabin". First would maintain the new Alaska F product with a slightly more roomy seat than the other guys, but still nothing super elegant.


I could see new 763s if the price were right, but I think AS is eyeing the MoM/797 to see what Boeing comes up with. If Boeing offers a narrowbody with just under 753 capacity and 4500nm range, they'll be all over it.
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Varsity1
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Re: What if: Alaska had widebodies

Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:23 am

EA CO AS wrote:
usxguy wrote:
If Boeing restarts the 76 line, I can see the 767-300ER fitting in....24 in First, 35 in premium economy, and 196 in "main cabin". First would maintain the new Alaska F product with a slightly more roomy seat than the other guys, but still nothing super elegant.


I could see new 763s if the price were right, but I think AS is eyeing the MoM/797 to see what Boeing comes up with. If Boeing offers a narrowbody with just under 753 capacity and 4500nm range, they'll be all over it.


I think the 787-10 with 350 seats is what AS needs.

SEA-NRT/PVG/PEK/ICN/TPE/HKG.

Being able to pull people out of places like Wichita Kansas and put them in Asia at such a low structural/CASM cost with no backtracking would be nuts.
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Boeing778X
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Re: What if: Alaska had widebodies

Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:24 am

EA CO AS wrote:
usxguy wrote:
If Boeing restarts the 76 line, I can see the 767-300ER fitting in....24 in First, 35 in premium economy, and 196 in "main cabin". First would maintain the new Alaska F product with a slightly more roomy seat than the other guys, but still nothing super elegant.


I could see new 763s if the price were right, but I think AS is eyeing the MoM/797 to see what Boeing comes up with. If Boeing offers a narrowbody with just under 753 capacity and 4500nm range, they'll be all over it.


I'm going to agree to this.

I think what's you're going to see happen with the Airbuses, particularly with the A321neo, are new markets to enter, perhaps Transcon to some Int'l.

When the 797/MoM/NSA becomes available, those aircraft can be used to build upon the emerging markets.
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QXAS
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Re: What if: Alaska had widebodies

Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:25 am

Midwestindy wrote:
Varsity1 wrote:
If they could maintain that in the WB segment, they would have the best connecting hub to asia in the USA.


How so? and when you say "best" do you mean most comprehensive hub, most efficient hub, or a mixture of the two?

Probably that they fly to most major cities across the US. They would provide TPAC connections at a point that is closer to much of East Asia than SFO and LAX. So there would be great connectivity from east Asia to US and shorter TPAC flight times which means lower costs. Plus AS has the “Home Team” factor which could help them be more successful than DL. Won’t happen anytime soon, but one can dream.
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ShinyAndChrome
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Re: What if: Alaska had widebodies

Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:28 am

AS management has been on record stating that they aren’t interested in getting equipment to duke it out with 757s/A321Ts for the most premium transcon traffic. VX’s real estate will make them a stronger competitor than before but they aren’t aiming for VX’s exact product strategy. There’s nothing wrong with that of course: prudent business means knowing which battles not to fight.

As for intercontinental, this is something that people have speculated about for years. I really don’t see it happening while AS is busy digesting VX. Even beyond that, wouldn’t maintaining AS large portfolio of international codeshare partners be difficult once AS starts competing with them? Using your examples, I’ll grant that the KE codeshare might be jeopardy, but I have a hard time seeing AS maintaining its BA partnership if they start competing with them head-to-head on SEA-London.
 
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Midwestindy
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Re: What if: Alaska had widebodies

Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:32 am

Varsity1 wrote:
Midwestindy wrote:
Varsity1 wrote:
If they could maintain that in the WB segment, they would have the best connecting hub to asia in the USA.


How so? and when you say "best" do you mean most comprehensive hub, most efficient hub, or a mixture of the two?


International connecting hubs are built on low cost domestic feed and low CPE. PHL is a good example. AS has more and lower cost domestic feed than DL. SEA is naturally a winner (hence why DL is moving in) with huge global tech O&D anchor accounts (Amazon, Microsoft, outterwall, Boeing) and zero backtracking throughout the continental USA.

AS has alot to handle at the moment, but they are in a good spot to lead USA-Asia on the low end if they want to give it a shot. It would probably look like US Air's TATL Europe operation prior to merger with AA.


UA's hub in SFO (bay area) has a better case than SEA does, +Higher Asian population, +Silicon Valley, +Zero Backtracking, +SFO doesn't have a competing TPAC hub, +UA's more robust domestic network

I don't see an AS TPAC hub, becoming the prominent US TPAC hub
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usxguy
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Re: What if: Alaska had widebodies

Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:57 am

Gate space in SEA is already super tight. Regarding ANC/SEA, there seems to be flights regularly at 11pm, 1155pm, 1230a, 1a, 130a, 150a, 200a, and 230a. 10 flights a day is on the low end and 20+ in the summer.

Some of the other markets are already pushing 100% average load factors, so there is room to grow.

SEA has a lot of O/D but Alaska also has a LOT of network/feed potential.
xx
 
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Re: What if: Alaska had widebodies

Wed Dec 20, 2017 3:05 am

ShinyAndChrome wrote:
AS management has been on record stating that they aren’t interested in getting equipment to duke it out with 757s/A321Ts for the most premium transcon traffic.


"Premium transcon traffic" being the key words here; TPAC/TATL haven't been entirely ruled out, especially if the right equipment for the job comes along.

ShinyAndChrome wrote:
wouldn’t maintaining AS large portfolio of international codeshare partners be difficult once AS starts competing with them? Using your examples, I’ll grant that the KE codeshare might be jeopardy, but I have a hard time seeing AS maintaining its BA partnership if they start competing with them head-to-head on SEA-London.


Absolutely, but then again, who says those partnerships would involve flying directly head-to-head?
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Varsity1
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Re: What if: Alaska had widebodies

Wed Dec 20, 2017 3:14 am

Midwestindy wrote:
Varsity1 wrote:
Midwestindy wrote:

How so? and when you say "best" do you mean most comprehensive hub, most efficient hub, or a mixture of the two?


International connecting hubs are built on low cost domestic feed and low CPE. PHL is a good example. AS has more and lower cost domestic feed than DL. SEA is naturally a winner (hence why DL is moving in) with huge global tech O&D anchor accounts (Amazon, Microsoft, outterwall, Boeing) and zero backtracking throughout the continental USA.

AS has alot to handle at the moment, but they are in a good spot to lead USA-Asia on the low end if they want to give it a shot. It would probably look like US Air's TATL Europe operation prior to merger with AA.


UA's hub in SFO (bay area) has a better case than SEA does, +Higher Asian population, +Silicon Valley, +Zero Backtracking, +SFO doesn't have a competing TPAC hub, +UA's more robust domestic network

I don't see an AS TPAC hub, becoming the prominent US TPAC hub


AS's domestic casm is $.0791 while UA's is $.1104 . Head to head UA would get waxed by AS to Asia. Lower trip times, lower CPE at SEA vs. SFO (plus SFO is a capacity constricted mess) and larger domestic leg trip percentage (lower cost) connecting through SEA.

AS could win it big to Asia, but I don't know if they have that risk tolerance. Plus TPAC revenue is in a slump right now.
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Varsity1
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Re: What if: Alaska had widebodies

Wed Dec 20, 2017 3:17 am

It should be noted that AS already puts 16 million passengers a year through SEA without an international network. UA put the same 16 million through SFO with a huge pacific network to feed.
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767333ER
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Re: What if: Alaska had widebodies

Wed Dec 20, 2017 6:54 am

Varsity1 wrote:
It should be noted that AS already puts 16 million passengers a year through SEA without an international network. UA put the same 16 million through SFO with a huge pacific network to feed.

It’s definelty an interesting figure, but it’s not much of a comparison considering UA also has DEN, IAH, ORD, EWR, and IAD some of which also serve some TPAC destinations as well as some other airports that do as well such as LAX. You’re comparing one airline’s by far largest hub to another airlines hub that fits into a network of many other large hubs.
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Re: What if: Alaska had widebodies

Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:02 pm

usxguy wrote:
What if: Alaska hadwidebodies

They would be out of business
/thread.
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Varsity1
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Re: What if: Alaska had widebodies

Wed Dec 20, 2017 3:56 pm

767333ER wrote:
Varsity1 wrote:
It should be noted that AS already puts 16 million passengers a year through SEA without an international network. UA put the same 16 million through SFO with a huge pacific network to feed.

It’s definelty an interesting figure, but it’s not much of a comparison considering UA also has DEN, IAH, ORD, EWR, and IAD some of which also serve some TPAC destinations as well as some other airports that do as well such as LAX. You’re comparing one airline’s by far largest hub to another airlines hub that fits into a network of many other large hubs.


Well no duh. Next are you going to tell me United is a larger airline than Alaska?

:roll:
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