Old Apr 15, 10, 9:08 pm
Join Date: Jun 2009
Programs: UA Premier
Posts: 192
Originally Posted by BlueHorseShoe2000 View Post
It wasn't a lack of resources that prevented AirTran from going full force into MKE earlier.

If you recall, AirTran set-up the east-west hub in Milwaukee during the summer of 2008. In addition to routes already in place, AirTran added BOS, LGA, DCA, SEA, SFO, LAX, and SAN. Loads were generally good to heavy. Yet, by their own admission AirTran lost millions on this flying and had planned to scale back significantly in the fall (going from 22 flights per to 9).

The landscape in MKE changed dramatically when Midwest slashed service and re-focused its operations on business markets. This left a large amount of traffic on the table and AirTran stepped in to start filling the void.

As for Midwest, the expansions in OMA and IND failed for different reasons, but lack of lift was not one of them.

Midwest began OMA operations in May 1994 with a great deal of fan fare. Despite all of the positive publicity, the party quickly ended when Southwest came to town and depressed yields. This limited the amount of expansion Midwest could undertake. They did add LAS, SAN, MCI, and MCO at various points but all of those routes were short lived. The LAX flights had on-going profitability problems and was the first route pulled after 9/11.

The train wreck in IND was more complicated. Midwest's entire strategy revolved around establishing service to BOS, LGA, DCA, and building from there. In order to drum up support for slots, they pledged to run direct flights from DSM and SkyWay feeder flights from several smaller communities.

So what went wrong? First, Midwest announced several routes (BOS and LGA) months in advance. This gave the competition plenty of time to respond. Second, Midwest received slots at DCA to serve DSM and not IND. A critical link was missing. Third, 2000 was when the slot restrictions were lifted at LGA. This created massive congestion and unbearable delays. Instead of making a good first impression, customers were experiencing delays as long as 6 hours at a time. Finally, the regional jets were starting to come onto the aviation scene that year and were successfully used against Midwest. Normally, Midwest would challenge a competitor flying a much larger aircraft (they did this in MKE and MCI). They had a lot less seats to fill and therefore didn't have to trash yields to fill them. In IND, Midwest found itself with the bigger planes and a need to fill seats. Plus, the competition could offer more frequent flights using smaller aircraft. Any competitive advantage Midwest had disappeared.

As time went on, Midwest moved more and more planes to MCI to increase operations there.
Lift isn't one of RAH's challenges. The rest of your post, however, describes some of the same types of challenges I expect RAH to face, biggest of which will be labor. Now that they're mainline, employees will want mainline wages. Watch out, or Bedford will "pull a Bedford" on his current employee group.
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