[Speculation] SFO-MSP On the chopping block!?

Old Feb 9, 18, 7:28 am
  #16  
 
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
That's an interesting observation.

At some point AS is going to need to ignore yields on a specific route in the strategic pursuit of being an adequately filled-out alternative to UA at SFO.
That's true, but it's never easy going into DL fortress hubs or into UA/AA hub to hub routes. AS also doesn't operate business type of schedule out of LAX and SFO. It's pretty much a leisure airline. Even if it flies to everywhere, having only once a day vs 4 to 5 a day on a legacy makes them not really an option for corporate travellers. And you can see that from their yield.

AS can still position itself as the leisure carrier of choice in bay area if it doesn't fly to MSP or SLC. ORD is a different story.

Also not everyone have great hubs like DL that can sustain market share battles in other carrier's backyard.
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Old Feb 9, 18, 7:40 am
  #17  
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Sorry, but if AS isn't going to try to sustain competitive networks out of SFO and LAX there's was no reason to buy VX. Spending $2.6 Billion - roughly a third of the market cap - to block B6 can't be justified. AS could have added a few ex-California leisure routes organically.
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Old Feb 9, 18, 7:51 am
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Originally Posted by LBJ View Post
The fare is not an "error", they've simply zero'd out all the fare buckets below M. You generally don't see accidental zeroing out of fare buckets, and in pretty much every case I have seen this is a preparation for dropping a route.
We just had a whole thread about this a few weeks ago Alaska flight fares from SFO>LAS/LAX explode

Fares shot up to full fare on a bunch of routes. It was just temporary (an "error") and went back to normal shortly thereafter without any dropped routes.
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Old Feb 9, 18, 9:13 am
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Originally Posted by ucdtim17 View Post
Not all of these routes are going to pan out on a long term basis.
#mostwestcoast
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Old Feb 9, 18, 12:47 pm
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Originally Posted by mrapollinax View Post
AS and SY are the only other non-stop options for the route and both only offer 1 flight in either direction and both are not ideal for business travel.
UA offers similar service as AS; I think the flight times are about the same as is the ERJ-170. Over the winter holidays it was cheaper to fly SFO-MSP on UA, and MSP-SFO on AS. Even paid to be in F on AS because it was cheaper than UA Y. Although I love the ERJ Y product on both airlines, the F product was just ok.
I'll also echo that for AS to compete at SFO that means non-stops to major markets, even other airlines fortress hubs.

One other thing: we have to remember that we're all travel nerds. The general public might not yet be aware that AS and VX are one airline operating a hub at SFO. Until we have just Alaska planes on the tarmac, and an Alaska Club, many people won't realize it is a hub. Still will have less than half of UA's market share. It will be interesting to see the stats next quarter that reflect both airlines operating under one certificate. I'd be surprised if AS+VX together don't have more market share than Delta.
source: https://www.transtats.bts.gov/airports.asp?pn=1
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Old Feb 9, 18, 1:16 pm
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Originally Posted by sfozrhfco View Post
Given that they have already dropped SFO-ORD down to 1 flight a day, it seems it is only a matter of time before MSP is gone. SFO-ORD is obviously a much bigger market and a schedule with only one flight a day is not all that useful--especially when the connecting option through LAX just adds more time leaving earlier and arriving later. MSP already dropped from 2 to 1 before even giving it a chance. Flights between major cities operated once a day have a very difficult time succeeding. It would be different if it were some random small town with no other non-stop options but UA is big in SFO and DL obviously has a hub in MSP. How does AS expect to operate a terrible schedule with few connections on either end and think they are a viable competitor?

It is really difficult to see how AS is really going to make the VX network from SFO work. DEN/ORD/MSP are all weak--just to name three middle of the country cities with AS/VX service from SFO.
AS has begun almost all their longer flights as one per day. One flight per day is useful to fewer people, but it is not any less useful for the people that the times work for. I have flown a lot, but I never have needed to fly a route more than once in a day.
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Old Feb 9, 18, 1:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Aliquot View Post
AS has begun almost all their longer flights as one per day. One flight per day is useful to fewer people, but it is not any less useful for the people that the times work for. I have flown a lot, but I never have needed to fly a route more than once in a day.
Except that this route started just a few months ago with 2 flights a day. VX had multiple flights per day to ORD. DEN has also been reduced and the fares on that route are still in the toilet even with reduced service. This may be a good strategy in PDX/SEA where there are much more limited competitive options. This is not the case at all in SFO/LAX where multiple carriers offer more robust service to everywhere East of Denver as compared to AS. This is not even considering the fact that their competitors also have hubs in the center of the country which offer more convenient connections as well.

They still fail to come up with any viable strategy to compete in California.
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Old Feb 9, 18, 2:41 pm
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Originally Posted by milypan View Post


And IAH is non-existent. I understand they prefer to stick to routes with weaker competition, but come on, this is just getting silly. Donít even make the pretense of having a network (except out of SEA).
AS has never seemed to have more than a bare-bones interest in Houston, and Iíve never understood why. Itís the fourth largest city in the country and a global business and energy center, and has strong business and tourist ties to both the west coast and especially Alaska. Seems they could find a decent niche, but have kept it at the usual out-and-back daytime service supplemented with a less-than-daily seasonal red eye turn from SEA only. Doesnít make much sense to me.
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Old Feb 9, 18, 2:54 pm
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Originally Posted by Chugach View Post
AS has never seemed to have more than a bare-bones interest in Houston, and I’ve never understood why. It’s the fourth largest city in the country and a global business and energy center, and has strong business and tourist ties to both the west coast and especially Alaska. Seems they could find a decent niche, but have kept it at the usual out-and-back daytime service supplemented with a less-than-daily seasonal red eye turn from SEA only. Doesn’t make much sense to me.
That's a good point – I didn't even think of the obvious Alaska-Houston energy link. I'd even be willing to fly via SEA in some cases, but the returns aren't viable (either 6 am from IAH...which is already an hour away from the other side of the Houston area, or an evening flight that fails to make any connections in SEA).
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Old Feb 9, 18, 2:58 pm
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Originally Posted by milypan View Post
That's a good point Ė I didn't even think of the obvious Alaska-Houston energy link. I'd even be willing to fly via SEA in some cases, but the returns aren't viable (either 6 am from IAH...which is already an hour away from the other side of the Houston area, or an evening flight that fails to make any connections in SEA).
I think a lot of it has to do with Houston being dominated by UA and WN at either end of the city. But if theyíre serious about being the west coast airline of choice, itís one of those markets they will need to step up in (unless their leisure enthusiast focus is deterring them).
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Old Feb 9, 18, 3:08 pm
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Originally Posted by Chugach View Post
I think a lot of it has to do with Houston being dominated by UA and WN at either end of the city. But if theyíre serious about being the west coast airline of choice, itís one of those markets they will need to step up in (unless their leisure enthusiast focus is deterring them).
Yeah. Funny thing is that they've got 3x daily to DAL from SFO, plus multiple connecting flights via LAX, PDX, and SEA to DAL/DFW, and Dallas is similarly dominated by AA and WN at either end (AA is 68% at DFW and WN is 92% at DAL; UA is 53% at IAH and WN is 93% at HOU). My only guess is that they want to squat on the DAL slots while still serving DFW as well to connect with their "partner" AA.
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Old Feb 9, 18, 3:08 pm
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Chugach View Post


I think a lot of it has to do with Houston being dominated by UA and WN at either end of the city. But if theyíre serious about being the west coast airline of choice, itís one of those markets they will need to step up in (unless their leisure enthusiast focus is deterring them).
Basically this. Note how AS has more service to AUS than to IAH, despite that metro Austin has maybe a third of the number of residents of metro Houston. AUS has year-round 2x 737 to/from SEA and 1x year-round 737 to PDX. IAH only has one year-round 737 to SEA and one extra seasonal.
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Old Feb 9, 18, 3:36 pm
  #28  
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Originally Posted by milypan View Post
they've got 3x daily to DAL from SFO, plus multiple connecting flights via LAX, PDX, and SEA to DAL/DFW, and Dallas is similarly dominated by AA and WN at either end (AA is 68% at DFW and WN is 92% at DAL; UA is 53% at IAH and WN is 93% at HOU). My only guess is that they want to squat on the DAL slots while still serving DFW as well to connect with their "partner" AA.
My experience is the loads to SFO, LAX and LGA are pretty good. Yields may be a different story. AS is committed to trying to make DAL viable. WN and DL hope they are not successful.
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Old Feb 9, 18, 3:38 pm
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Originally Posted by Chugach View Post
But if they’re serious about being the west coast airline of choice, it’s one of those markets they will need to step up in (unless their leisure enthusiast focus is deterring them).
It's a tricky balance. They could throw more capacity on these more competitive (/"essential" for business travelers) routes, removing capacity from existing more profitable routes, and lose a lot more money in the near-medium term. There isn't a lot of existing low-hanging fruit out of SFO/LAX.
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Old Feb 9, 18, 5:06 pm
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Originally Posted by ucdtim17 View Post
It's a tricky balance. They could throw more capacity on these more competitive (/"essential" for business travelers) routes, removing capacity from existing more profitable routes, and lose a lot more money in the near-medium term. There isn't a lot of existing low-hanging fruit out of SFO/LAX.
Sure. But to be clear, "more capacity" in this case would simply be capacity > 0.
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