TomJoel
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Joined: Sat Jun 08, 2019 8:02 pm

Should Envoy/American Eagle Downsize?

Sat Jun 08, 2019 8:24 pm

I recently took a flight from DFW to ABI a couple weeks ago for work. Being a frequent flier, I've flown a lot on American Eagle and over the years I've seen the airline go through it's tough times and more recently its good times. This flight in particular was and probably will be the most interesting and awkward flights I have taken in my 28 years of flying. I arrive at the gate to find myself and 2 other people the only individuals waiting to board the aircraft. I never imagined being in an empty aircraft on a revenue flight but I can officially mark that box off. The return flight was not much better with a total of 6 people on it and that's including me. That got me to think why American Eagle/Envoy would serve this market with load factors like this? Why wouldn't they cut unprofitable routes such as DFW-ABI and focus on more profitable routes? Is this particular route subsidized?
 
MO11
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Re: Should Envoy/American Eagle Downsize?

Sat Jun 08, 2019 10:40 pm

The route is not subsidized. Abilene is Envoy's maintenance base.
 
TomJoel
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Re: Should Envoy/American Eagle Downsize?

Sat Jun 08, 2019 11:55 pm

So this flight is done because ABI is a maintenance base? Seems a waste to fly empty aircraft to an airport because it's the maintenance base. They should move the maintenance base in that case. Zero demand for air service at that airport.
 
HPAEAA
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Re: Should Envoy/American Eagle Downsize?

Sun Jun 09, 2019 1:09 am

As MO11 mentioned, MX plays a role in some of the flights, but I'd also ask if you happened to catch the loads of the return flight? A while back when I worked for MQ we had a 8 pm departure to Chicago from Cleveland which would on occasion see similar loads (personally flew non rev on one that had me and 2 passengers), the inbound however (and every inbound flight after that RONed) from Chicago had a load factor in the 90% range which drove the profitability for them.
1.4mm and counting...
 
TomJoel
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Re: Should Envoy/American Eagle Downsize?

Sun Jun 09, 2019 1:25 am

HPAEAA wrote:
As MO11 mentioned, MX plays a role in some of the flights, but I'd also ask if you happened to catch the loads of the return flight? A while back when I worked for MQ we had a 8 pm departure to Chicago from Cleveland which would on occasion see similar loads (personally flew non rev on one that had me and 2 passengers), the inbound however (and every inbound flight after that RONed) from Chicago had a load factor in the 90% range which drove the profitability for them.



I caught the first flight out on my return flight which was a RON aircraft. I believe we had a 5:15am departure but I honestly cannot remember. There was a total of 6 passengers on this flight including myself. According to FlightAware, there's x7 daily flights a day varying between E135 and E145 aircraft. I'm baffled as to why Envoy would even fly these flights given the lack of demand there. If MX is the reason then why don't they move MX base to an airport where there's more potential for revenue?
 
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AirKevin
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Re: Should Envoy/American Eagle Downsize?

Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:19 am

TomJoel wrote:
HPAEAA wrote:
As MO11 mentioned, MX plays a role in some of the flights, but I'd also ask if you happened to catch the loads of the return flight? A while back when I worked for MQ we had a 8 pm departure to Chicago from Cleveland which would on occasion see similar loads (personally flew non rev on one that had me and 2 passengers), the inbound however (and every inbound flight after that RONed) from Chicago had a load factor in the 90% range which drove the profitability for them.

I caught the first flight out on my return flight which was a RON aircraft. I believe we had a 5:15am departure but I honestly cannot remember. There was a total of 6 passengers on this flight including myself. According to FlightAware, there's x7 daily flights a day varying between E135 and E145 aircraft. I'm baffled as to why Envoy would even fly these flights given the lack of demand there. If MX is the reason then why don't they move MX base to an airport where there's more potential for revenue?

Could be the cost of having a maintenance base or the size of the maintenance base. British Airways, for instance, has a maintenance base in Cardiff rather than Heathrow because of space limitations at Heathrow.
Captain Kevin
 
TomJoel
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Re: Should Envoy/American Eagle Downsize?

Sun Jun 09, 2019 12:47 pm

[/quote]
Could be the cost of having a maintenance base or the size of the maintenance base. British Airways, for instance, has a maintenance base in Cardiff rather than Heathrow because of space limitations at Heathrow.[/quote]


That I do understand but x7 flights daily to this airport? Seems to me Envoy could consolidate MX bases at a larger airport such as KLIT. They already have the facilities and plenty of space.
 
eugdjinn
Posts: 163
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 5:58 pm

Re: Should Envoy/American Eagle Downsize?

Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:11 pm

There are several factors in where a maintenance base is located, and why. Folks above mentioned that while a flight one direction may not have that many people, the other direction may more than pay for it. It's been mentioned that hangar space at ABI may be far cheaper than that at LIT or DFW (I would bet on that being true.) Nobody has yet mentioned that overnight fees for an aircraft on the property may be much lower at ABI than at either of the other, and I'll be on that too. (In fact, having an aircraft overnight at DFW is expensive enough to be well worth sending most all away, despite a hangar here too.)

But a few of the more critical concerns are the people who work in your hangars and do your maintenance; and keeping both a steady supply of them and keeping them happy. I will lay odds that there are solid business reasons in that direction for that maintenance base to be right there. It may also be one local governments help support with incentives to keep the jobs in that base right there in ABI.

That is the one place Envoy does heavy checks, and the most extensive work can be done on the 140/145 fleet. It is also the base that does the induction work for every brand new 175 arriving from Embraer before it joins the line. Like AA's Tulsa maintenance base, that makes it the premier base, the one that gets the really involved work.

And yes, there are bases like XNA, which overbuilt hangars in anticipation of a big maintenance operation that never materialized and now are happy to have Envoy there as an employer and renter. I don't know the backstory for LIT. I do know that when something goes awry in ABI, the mechanics are right there to fix it, and get it done fast.

Which just reminded me of one other thing that may play into that 7 flights a day question... one of the tricks to keeping an entire fleet moving is not only having the parts, but being able to get them where you need. The sheer warehousing space required is expensive, as are the people to get their hands on a part needed elsewhere and get it packed and moving. But you also need to have a plane leaving to carry it. It's not unlikely that a piece of the puzzle lies in a willingness to take small losses in passenger revenue just to keep that steady flow of parts flowing out to other bases from a dry and accessible depot. Just a few thoughts on why what you are observing may actually make sense from another perspective.
 
cofannyc
Posts: 254
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Re: Should Envoy/American Eagle Downsize?

Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:39 am

Okay so...you've determined that there is no demand on DFW-ABI as a result of 2 empty flights that you were on. Then, from that very limited sample, you have also concluded that American Eagle doesn't know what it's doing and needs to shrink.

I hate to ruin this logic with numbers...but there are a lot of people on these flights. The T-100 data for the year ending February 2019 shows 151,775 passengers in on the route while American Eagle offered 187,642 seats, which is a load factor of 80.89%. I'd say there is plenty of demand for the services.
 
TomJoel
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Re: Should Envoy/American Eagle Downsize?

Mon Jun 10, 2019 9:11 pm

Okay so...you've determined that there is no demand on DFW-ABI as a result of 2 empty flights that you were on. Then, from that very limited sample, you have also concluded that American Eagle doesn't know what it's doing and needs to shrink.

I hate to ruin this logic with numbers...but there are a lot of people on these flights. The T-100 data for the year ending February 2019 shows 151,775 passengers in on the route while American Eagle offered 187,642 seats, which is a load factor of 80.89%. I'd say there is plenty of demand for the services.


A load factor of 80% baffles me on this route. I flew to SJT 2 weeks later which is similar to ABI and both flights were full. Also, while 80% is a respectable number, it’s not amazing neither. As a very frequent flier, I would like to see Envoy cut these smaller routes and focus on the growth areas such as KXNA and KLIT. I also think many markets in the northeast are underserved and with equipment making runs like DFW-ABI with sub par loads makes me wonder what Envoy is trying to do here. Yeah, I get they have an MX base at ABI but they can close it and send that work to a bigger airport that will benefit from it more. Send these aircraft to other markets who need them!
 
cofannyc
Posts: 254
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2007 10:22 am

Re: Should Envoy/American Eagle Downsize?

Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:55 pm

The load factors on DFW-ABI are well above the Envoy system average (both for all aircraft and for the ERJs specifically) so you can't possibly call them subpar loads. SJT does have a marginally higher year-round load factor at 82.23%, but with a lot more variability across the year compared to ABI. Please stop using your very small sample of flights as an indication that an airline has no idea what it's doing.

You point out XNA and LIT as markets that need the aircraft currently operating on ABI. However, ABI has higher load factors than XNA and LIT (no matter how you slice it). So it would appear, according to your logic, that AA needs to pull capacity out of LIT and XNA to put it into ABI.
 
BA777FO
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Re: Should Envoy/American Eagle Downsize?

Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:06 pm

The other thing to remember with the smaller stations is that they might provide some very high spending individuals access to the wider network from the hub.

If a passenger flies Midland/Odessa to DFW and then onto AMS/LHR and beyond for oil reasons in First class, that one connection alone may have paid for the entire DFW-Midland leg to be worth it.

An 80% load factor should still be profitable though on most routes.
 
TomJoel
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Re: Should Envoy/American Eagle Downsize?

Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:17 pm

cofannyc wrote:
The load factors on DFW-ABI are well above the Envoy system average (both for all aircraft and for the ERJs specifically) so you can't possibly call them subpar loads. SJT does have a marginally higher year-round load factor at 82.23%, but with a lot more variability across the year compared to ABI. Please stop using your very small sample of flights as an indication that an airline has no idea what it's doing.

You point out XNA and LIT as markets that need the aircraft currently operating on ABI. However, ABI has higher load factors than XNA and LIT (no matter how you slice it). So it would appear, according to your logic, that AA needs to pull capacity out of LIT and XNA to put it into ABI.



I'm not saying Envoy doesn't know what it's doing...Obviously they do since its a successful regional airline. I'm pointing out that Envoy could in theory pull these flights such as DFW-ABI, DFW-SPS and DFW-SJT and move these aircraft to markets that are definitely hurting for them. You've pointed out that money is being made off these flights and I agree with you but 2 of these cities are less than 200 miles from DFW and SJT is just over 200 miles away. All three are within driving distance and I'm sure many residents would prefer to do that considering the ticket prices. Envoy wants every market they serve to grow and become bigger but I'm just not seeing any growth in these markets, especially ABI. The ABI area is very economically depressed and just seemed stagnant and appears that Envoy is wasting its time flying back and forth 7 times a day. I'm just not seeing the long term benefit of serving these markets when there's no real growth potential on these routes.
 
Longhornmaniac
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Re: Should Envoy/American Eagle Downsize?

Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:00 am

TomJoel wrote:
cofannyc wrote:
The load factors on DFW-ABI are well above the Envoy system average (both for all aircraft and for the ERJs specifically) so you can't possibly call them subpar loads. SJT does have a marginally higher year-round load factor at 82.23%, but with a lot more variability across the year compared to ABI. Please stop using your very small sample of flights as an indication that an airline has no idea what it's doing.

You point out XNA and LIT as markets that need the aircraft currently operating on ABI. However, ABI has higher load factors than XNA and LIT (no matter how you slice it). So it would appear, according to your logic, that AA needs to pull capacity out of LIT and XNA to put it into ABI.



I'm not saying Envoy doesn't know what it's doing...Obviously they do since its a successful regional airline. I'm pointing out that Envoy could in theory pull these flights such as DFW-ABI, DFW-SPS and DFW-SJT and move these aircraft to markets that are definitely hurting for them. You've pointed out that money is being made off these flights and I agree with you but 2 of these cities are less than 200 miles from DFW and SJT is just over 200 miles away. All three are within driving distance and I'm sure many residents would prefer to do that considering the ticket prices. Envoy wants every market they serve to grow and become bigger but I'm just not seeing any growth in these markets, especially ABI. The ABI area is very economically depressed and just seemed stagnant and appears that Envoy is wasting its time flying back and forth 7 times a day. I'm just not seeing the long term benefit of serving these markets when there's no real growth potential on these routes.


You're making a lot of assumptions based on only your gut feelings with no actual evidence to back it up. You assume that AA hasn't evaluated the demand within their system and already made the determination this is the best use for their aircraft. In fact, that's exactly what's happened. The truth is, if there were routes that were "definitely hurting for [additional flights]" vis-a-vis other routes, they would've already made that change.

Airlines don't just fly routes for the sake of flying them, and routes that don't make money get cut, regardless of how ubiquitous they are. Case in point: JFK-SJU was axed due to low yields despite having been flown for years and being seen as a staple of AA's JFK operation.

All three of those cities (ABI, SPS, and SJT) have an active AFB and likely enough steady demand to fill the planes up at profitable yields. In fact, your comment on the high ticket prices combined with the high load factors mentioned would seem to be a winning combination as far as AA is concerned. People may want lower ticket prices, but the fact they're 80+% full would seem to indicate they will pay for it, if not begrudgingly.
Cheers,
Cameron
 
VolvoBus
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Re: Should Envoy/American Eagle Downsize?

Sat Jun 15, 2019 4:40 pm

I would think that the reason Envoy fly there 'unprofitable' flights is because Big Daddy at DFW says so. If these flights are loss-making for Envoy, then somebody has probably got their costings wrong.

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