Airtran coming to CLT

 
Old Feb 16, 05, 3:16 pm
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Airtran coming to CLT

Sources: AirTran coming to Charlotte

TIM WHITMIRE

Associated Press


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Discount carrier AirTran will begin flying from Charlotte-Douglas International Airport to Atlanta and Baltimore later this year, sources said Wednesday.

The move brings a second discount carrier to an airport long dominated by US Airways and plagued by some of the highest fares in the country.

Officials at Orlando, Fla.-based AirTran could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday. The airline has hubs in Atlanta and Orlando and offers service to 46 airports.

Airport officials scheduled a news conference for Thursday afternoon at which they said they would make a "major announcement" about service. Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory and AirTran president Robert L. Fornaro were expected to attend.

Officials declined to speak publicly about the scheduled announcement.

But a source said AirTran is expected to provide three or four flights per day to both Baltimore and Atlanta, where the carrier has its primary hub.

Service could begin within two to three months, assuming a normal schedule for starting operations.

AirTran flies a fleet of nearly 90 Boeing 717-200s and 737-700s on more than 500 daily flights to over 40 destinations.

For years, Charlotte has had a love-hate relationship with US Airways. When then-US Air took over Piedmont Air in 1989, the merger made Charlotte the combined airline's busiest hub and gave the growing city more nonstop national and international flights than any comparably sized city.

The strength of Charlotte's airport has helped transform the city into a business powerhouse and the nation's No. 2 banking center. But Charlotte fliers consistently have faced some of the highest fares in the country.

US Airways is currently in bankruptcy for the second time in recent years and some have worried that if it ever goes out of business, Charlotte could be left with limited service.

Mike Boyd, a Colorado-based aviation analyst, said he believes AirTran's move into Charlotte is aimed at outflanking competitor Southwest Airlines, which recently announced service to Pittsburgh, a former US Airways hub.

Southwest is speculated to be eyeing a move into Charlotte.

"(AirTran) knows Southwest would move into Charlotte fairly soon, and they wanted to send a message not to do it," Boyd said Wednesday.

US Airways' bankruptcy reorganization has been aimed at remaking the airline as a low-cost, low-fare carrier that can compete with the likes of Southwest and AirTran.

AirTran's entrance into the Charlotte market would give the city two discount carriers. Discounter Independence Air began flights from Charlotte to Washington D.C.'s Dulles International Airport in October.

A second discounter, ATA, is in bankruptcy and recently halted service between Charlotte and its hub at Chicago-Midway.
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Old Feb 16, 05, 5:50 pm
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From CLT to ATL, that's a distance of about 225 miles (straight). Pretty short...with US Airways having nonstops to most destinations on the east coast from CLT (and many international ones as well), I don't see why someone would justify going through ATL (and adding two hours) on FL (which is also mainly an east coast player) unless the fare were a LOT cheaper. Plus the 30" pitch on FL is smaller than US mainline and even less than some US Express carriers! But I guess seeing a different airline at CLT is good for diversity and will bring down some fares.
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Old Feb 16, 05, 6:27 pm
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Originally Posted by bursa
From CLT to ATL, that's a distance of about 225 miles (straight). Pretty short...with US Airways having nonstops to most destinations on the east coast from CLT (and many international ones as well), I don't see why someone would justify going through ATL (and adding two hours) on FL (which is also mainly an east coast player) unless the fare were a LOT cheaper. Plus the 30" pitch on FL is smaller than US mainline and even less than some US Express carriers! But I guess seeing a different airline at CLT is good for diversity and will bring down some fares.
I think that Air Tran has more growth on the other side of the country. They will probably need more frequencies to ATL then 4. (Not sure, but I bet DL and US run at least every 1-1 1/2 hours daily) BWI also surprises me. I would have guessed Florida
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Old Feb 16, 05, 8:51 pm
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Originally Posted by bursa
... I don't see why someone would justify going through ATL (and adding two hours) on FL (which is also mainly an east coast player) unless the fare were a LOT cheaper. .... But I guess seeing a different airline at CLT is good for diversity and will bring down some fares.
...AirTran is a price leader in almost every market it enters. For travel next week on Wednesday morning, AirTran is selling a one-way ticket Raleigh/Durham -- LAX with the connection in Atlanta for $139.

USAir is $1003 one way in coach CLT -- LAX.

If you don't like the legroom in coach on AirTran, fly one way in Business Class for $309 and stay at the Beverley Hills Hilton with the savings.
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Old Feb 16, 05, 9:33 pm
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Of course n/s is going to be pricier for the convenience...but if a stop was desired there's a couple of $392 (roundtrip) US Air booking through DCA/PIT or PHL.
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Old Feb 17, 05, 6:50 am
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Originally Posted by bursa
Of course n/s is going to be pricier for the convenience....
"of course" really only applies to legacy carriers. LCCs rarely price their nonstops at a premium over a much smoother, more transparent network fare structure.
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Old Feb 17, 05, 9:21 am
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AirTran heads west from CLT

I definetly think that they are intending the flights from CLT to ATL to get more passengers on their western bound flight out of ATL.

I think that another good one to watch will be the price on trips from CLT to LAS. I looked and it's somewhere between $500 and $1,000 right now for a round-trip. Once DH starts their connecting service through IAD (I know, you're going the wrong way to get to LAS from CLT if you go through IAD) in March and AirTran starts their connecting service through ATL whenever that is.

Did anyone get a clue of when they would start service?

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Old Feb 17, 05, 12:12 pm
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In anticipation of US

Originally Posted by bursa
From CLT to ATL, that's a distance of about 225 miles (straight). Pretty short...with US Airways having nonstops to most destinations on the east coast from CLT (and many international ones as well), I don't see why someone would justify going through ATL (and adding two hours) on FL (which is also mainly an east coast player) unless the fare were a LOT cheaper. Plus the 30" pitch on FL is smaller than US mainline and even less than some US Express carriers! But I guess seeing a different airline at CLT is good for diversity and will bring down some fares.
I can't believe FL is launching BWI-CLT. They must think US is done. That is like announcing they are going to do ORD-DFW, MSP-DTW, or IAH-CLE. A pretty bold move! AA just announced new service out of CLT (CLT - LGA), too, so maybe everybody is anticipating US finally dying.

Last edited by ScottTexas; Feb 17, 05 at 12:15 pm
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Old Feb 17, 05, 1:10 pm
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Hot off of the Presses

AirTran Airways Races Into the Queen City
February 17, 2005 2:00:00 PM ET


Airline Will Be Only Low-Fare Carrier Serving Charlotte Starting May 4, 2005

ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings, Inc. AAI, today announced the airline will commence new daily nonstop service from Charlotte-Douglas International Airport to its hub at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Baltimore/Washington International Airport with one-stop service to Boston's Logan International Airport beginning May 4, 2005. These routes will be served by the airline's popular all new Boeing 717 aircraft which feature 12 Business Class and 105 coach seats.

"Charlotte represents a great opportunity for AirTran Airways' future growth plan, and we are pleased to bring our high quality, low-fare service to travelers throughout the region," said Robert L. Fornaro, AirTran Airways' president and chief operating officer. "Charlotte has been plagued by the highest fares in the country for a number of years. That changes on May 4th."

"Charlotte is pleased to welcome AirTran Airways to our community. AirTran Airways is a quality low fare carrier and will be a great option for Charlotte travelers," said Charlotte Mayor Patrick McCrory.

AirTran Airways will offer the following new daily nonstop flight options to/from Charlotte starting May 4, 2005:

Nonstop Service from Charlotte

To Departs Arrives Frequency
Atlanta 6:10 a.m. 7:20 a.m. Daily (starts May 5)
Baltimore/Washington 7:10 a.m. 8:30 a.m. Daily
Atlanta 11:20 a.m. 12:30 p.m. Daily
Atlanta 1:35 p.m. 2:45 p.m. Daily
Baltimore/Washington 5:15 p.m. 6:35 p.m. Daily
Atlanta 7:00 p.m. 8:10 p.m. Daily

Nonstop Service to Charlotte
From Departs Arrives Frequency
Baltimore/Washington 9:10 a.m. 10:30 a.m. Daily
Atlanta 12:05 p.m. 1:05 p.m. Daily
Atlanta 3:40 p.m. 4:40 p.m. Daily
Atlanta 5:25 p.m. 6:25 p.m. Daily
Baltimore/Washington 6:40 p.m. 8:00 p.m. Daily
Atlanta 10:45 p.m. 11:45 p.m. Daily
Listed below are sample one-way fares (fares are valid in either direction) to/from Charlotte:

Destination Introductory Lowest Business
Fare Walk-up Class
Atlanta $59 $189 $224
Baltimore/Washington $59 $157 $199
Boston $89 $194 $234
Dallas/Ft. Worth $99 $214 $274
Minneapolis $89 $214 $244
Orlando $79 $189 $219
Los Angeles $129 $299 $384
AirTran Airways A+ Rewards members can earn double credits for qualifying travel to or from Baltimore/Washington booked at http://www.airtran.com through March 31, 2005.

AirTran Airways, one of America's largest low-fare airlines with 6,000 friendly, professional Crew Members, operates over 500 daily flights to more than 40 destinations. The airline's hub is in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where it is the second largest carrier. AirTran Airways, the world's largest operator of the Boeing 717, recently added the fuel-efficient Boeing 737-700 aircraft to create America's youngest all-Boeing fleet. The airline is also the first carrier to install XM Satellite Radio on a commercial aircraft. For reservations or more information, visit http://www.airtran.com (America Online Keyword: AirTran).

Rules and Restrictions: All fares are one-way. All fares are non-refundable, and a $50 fee per person applies to any change made after purchase plus any applicable increase in airfare. Service to Charlotte begins on May 4, 2005. Introductory fares must be purchased by March 31, 2005, and travel must be completed by June 15, 2005. Seats are limited, subject to availability, and may not be available on all flights. Fares, routes, and schedules are subject to change without notice. Fares do not include per-segment tax of $3.20. A segment is defined as one takeoff and one landing. The September 11th security fee of up to $10 is not included. Airport Passenger Facility Charges of up to $18 are not included.

Media Contacts:
Tad Hutcheson
[email protected]
678.254.7442
Judy Graham-Weaver
[email protected]
678.254.7448
2005 PRNewswire
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