Any speculation on new routes?

Old Aug 22, 05, 1:50 pm
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Any speculation on new routes?

Has there been any mention or speculation of possible added markets from PHX and/or LAS to current US Airways markets that are not currently served by nonstop service? I am thinking of strong US cities similar to BHM, CHS, GSO, RIC, etc.

Delta recently started adding flights from their SLC hub with the new EMB170 to destinations in the southeast. It would seem a logical step for the "new US" to do the same.
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Old Aug 22, 05, 4:05 pm
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No speculation here.
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Old Aug 22, 05, 7:39 pm
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Originally Posted by CALeeIII
Has there been any mention or speculation of possible added markets from PHX and/or LAS to current US Airways markets that are not currently served by nonstop service? I am thinking of strong US cities similar to BHM, CHS, GSO, RIC, etc.

Delta recently started adding flights from their SLC hub with the new EMB170 to destinations in the southeast. It would seem a logical step for the "new US" to do the same.
the fleet plan would not suggest they are planning an RJ-based expansion like DL's. granted, they could buy extra RJ carrier capacity pretty easily in the current market, but high-CASM RJ's are not all that compatible with the business model of "full service LCC".

any speculation about new service, in the end, has to be coupled with speculation about abandoned service. with HP adding 13 aircraft, and US junking 71 (the net combined fleet being 58 smaller than in early 2005), there's no other way to read it. one piece of slack is coming from abandonment of the transcons.

here's speculation... I suspect that once the deal closes, HP will get ruthless about gutting US's existing system, dumping plenty of routes and employee headcount before the final operations merger.
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Old Aug 22, 05, 8:46 pm
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Originally Posted by martin33
here's speculation... I suspect that once the deal closes, HP will get ruthless about gutting US's existing system, dumping plenty of routes and employee headcount before the final operations merger.
Yeah. That is a great idea. Its what US did with PSA and Piedmont.
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Old Aug 23, 05, 8:52 am
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Originally Posted by martin33
... the net combined fleet being 58 smaller than in early 2005 ...
58 can be recovered by maximizing the new hub airports for both carriers and by trimming out routes that don't produce regular full flights. I see something much different looming ... the significant scaling back of operations in a big hub and a pull out of a 2nd tier hub.
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Old Aug 23, 05, 9:37 am
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Originally Posted by Phobank
58 can be recovered by maximizing the new hub airports for both carriers and by trimming out routes that don't produce regular full flights. I see something much different looming ... the significant scaling back of operations in a big hub and a pull out of a 2nd tier hub.
Let's see:

1. The BIG Hubs are: Phoenix, Philly, and Charlotte
2. The 2nd Tier Hubs are: Pittsburgh and Las Vegas

I don't see Phoenix being pulled back. Charlotte seems to be strategically important, particularly if Delta files bankruptcy and significantly pulls down service to the Southeast. I could see Philly flights reduced and being used more as an East-West international connecting hub (like UA currently uses IAD or AA at JFK).

I could definitely see Pittsburgh totally disappearing off the radar screen, but if Philly is downsized, PIT may stay as a focus city for connecting traffic to smaller cities in the East. I guess that Las Vegas is marginally profitable, but HP may no longer need the "night" hub to maximize plane usage (although LAS provides much needed evening/nighttime service which seems to have virtually disappeared post-9/11).

So, Phobank, let us in on your thinking...
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Old Aug 23, 05, 2:27 pm
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I cant comment on the strategic value of each. I think formeraa is on the right track.

My line of thinking was this (domestic only):
AA has DFW, ORD as majors and arguably 2-3 others as minor hubs.
UA, NW and DL have 2 majors and 1-2 minors each.
With the new US being behind all 4 of these in pas load and total flights, is the demand there for 5 total?

It's the oldest rule in mergers. 1 + 1 = 1 1/2
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Old Aug 23, 05, 3:23 pm
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After thinking about this a little more, the new US Airways will probably focus on PHX, PHL, and CLT. I see PIT disappearing sooner rather than later. The continued usage of LAS most likely depends on the availability of aircraft at night for increased utilization.

Convention wisdom says that you need a hub in the middle of the country. However, we now have RJ's that can fly 3+ hours. Perhaps that middle hub is no longer needed. On the other hand, there's a whole terminal available at DFW...
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Old Aug 23, 05, 5:50 pm
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My 2 cents say FLL may also be a focus city for flight going to the Carribean. It was not long ago US tried to beef up FLL with Carribean routes, but US has scaled back its FLL Carribean operations recently because US can not make it profitable, plus with AA next door at MIA they cannot compete effectively. However, once HP starts running the show on a full scale. I am willing to bet they will get FLL back on track as a gateway city for its Carribean operation. The last couple of years HP has looked into Carribean routes and Hawaii routes (which will be starting service later this year). In reality, HP I could not see HP servicing Carribean markets from its primarily hubs in PHX/LAS it would not have been profitable.
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Old Aug 23, 05, 7:02 pm
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Originally Posted by formeraa
After thinking about this a little more, the new US Airways will probably focus on PHX, PHL, and CLT. I see PIT disappearing sooner rather than later. The continued usage of LAS most likely depends on the availability of aircraft at night for increased utilization.

Convention wisdom says that you need a hub in the middle of the country. However, we now have RJ's that can fly 3+ hours. Perhaps that middle hub is no longer needed. On the other hand, there's a whole terminal available at DFW...
3+ hr RJ flights are, mostly, not in the HP business plan. their most recent RJ-related action was to scale that fleet down a bit, not up. RJ's are not a magic bullet. They are a very high-cost source (15-20cents per asm) which can only work in specific circumstances--- where they stand to be attracting significant connecting traffic into the network at high yields.

they might as well keep the starlight hub at LAS, provided its marginal costs are being covered; it's not as if the planes are doing anything else at that hour. PIT is ripe for further downsizing, surely. a careful trimming of frequencies at CLT and PHL doesn't seem enough to kill 70-odd US planes-- that's about 25% of their mainline fleet, after all.
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Old Aug 24, 05, 7:06 am
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As long as the leisure yields hold out, LAS is still on the screen. There is non-stop demand from nearly every good size city in the USA for a non-stop flight to Las Vegas. With that said, because of the demand and the non-stop flights to everywhere, you will still see it as a connection point.

PHX is not going anywhere, it is the key to America West's west coast service. PHL is the biggest metro area of all the hubs, and the key international gateway in the east. It isn't going anywhere. Don't forget DCA, where now America West is a dominant player. In addition to the west coast flights, its got a lot of slots on east coast flights. This city generally commands higher than average fares, so its a keeper, maybe not a hub, per se, but a big destination.

PIT is done in the long term. CLT is on the bubble. Its close proximity to PHL hurts it. There isn't as much local traffic in CLT as in the other hubs. For now it is a keeper, but for now it is a keeper.....as long as the yields stay high, service will stay....but in the long term?! Who knows.
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Old Aug 24, 05, 11:14 am
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Originally Posted by martin33
3+ hr RJ flights are, mostly, not in the HP business plan. their most recent RJ-related action was to scale that fleet down a bit, not up. RJ's are not a magic bullet. They are a very high-cost source (15-20cents per asm) which can only work in specific circumstances--- where they stand to be attracting significant connecting traffic into the network at high yields.

they might as well keep the starlight hub at LAS, provided its marginal costs are being covered; it's not as if the planes are doing anything else at that hour. PIT is ripe for further downsizing, surely. a careful trimming of frequencies at CLT and PHL doesn't seem enough to kill 70-odd US planes-- that's about 25% of their mainline fleet, after all.
My comment about longer RJ flights was just in relation to conventional wisdom around a mid-continent hub. It's going to be difficult to connect some of the smaller markets into PHX without usage of some RJ's -- or HP could go for a mid-continent focus city/hub. That was the extent of my comments. (I understand and agree that RJ's are astronomically expensive in terms of CASM -- not really sure why the airlines are using them so much).
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Old Aug 24, 05, 11:21 am
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Originally Posted by WebTraveler
As long as the leisure yields hold out, LAS is still on the screen. There is non-stop demand from nearly every good size city in the USA for a non-stop flight to Las Vegas. With that said, because of the demand and the non-stop flights to everywhere, you will still see it as a connection point.

PHX is not going anywhere, it is the key to America West's west coast service. PHL is the biggest metro area of all the hubs, and the key international gateway in the east. It isn't going anywhere. Don't forget DCA, where now America West is a dominant player. In addition to the west coast flights, its got a lot of slots on east coast flights. This city generally commands higher than average fares, so its a keeper, maybe not a hub, per se, but a big destination.

PIT is done in the long term. CLT is on the bubble. Its close proximity to PHL hurts it. There isn't as much local traffic in CLT as in the other hubs. For now it is a keeper, but for now it is a keeper.....as long as the yields stay high, service will stay....but in the long term?! Who knows.
I agree with your assessment. CLT definitely depends on what happens at DL. If DL files bankruptcy (which looks increasingly likely), then they may have to seriously pare back on flights in the Southeast. The new US Airways could be in the "right place at the right time" in CLT to step in and provide service. This may be a good usage for some of the RJ's to some of the smaller communities having higher than average fares.
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Old Aug 25, 05, 9:20 am
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They have told us at work no major changes will happen right after the merger. However a huge chunk of YV's CR9 fleet is scheduled to leave PHX and head east to replace some of the routes that will need planes due to the loss of jets being returned. We have no idea what that means for RJ flights in the west....last time they confirmed about 18 out of 36 or so CR9's will be sent east...that means a lot of our current routes will have to be either dropped or replaced with mainline. Fortunately most of the RJ's do extra flights in between normal banks so it might not have much of an impact. But then who knows....I"m sure they will let us know pretty quick what the plan is.
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Old Aug 25, 05, 5:54 pm
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Less Frequency on RJ Routes & PIT/CLT

My guess is that we'll see decreased frequency on a lot of RJ routes, rather than a contraction of destinations.

My home airport is Santa Barbara (SBA) and there's 6 departures a day right now (4 PHX and 2 LAS). Most of these are on CRJ900s and they're seldom full. Back when there were 2 less departures a day and the planes were mostly CRJ200s, it was serious sardine time on every flight.

All of that said, RJs make a lot of sense at SBA (and other similar airports like BFL, SBP, MRY) for a couple of reasons:
  • They're too far (more than 100 miles) from "big" airports to make driving to one a viable option based on cost or time.
  • Their isolation decreases competition and thus makes both companies and individuals willing to pay more than might otherwise.

Frankly, on the PIT issue, I think we might see PIT or CLT reborn as a night hub, like LAS. It makes less sense, but it allows them to serve a range of destinations at, with better fleet utilization, lower prices thus appealing to a less schedule driven leisure traveler.
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