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ARCHIVE: Routes (Flights) and Hubs (Speculation, News and Discussion)

ARCHIVE: Routes (Flights) and Hubs (Speculation, News and Discussion)

 

Old Dec 10, 13, 10:45 am
  #31  
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Originally Posted by LINDEGR View Post
Yeah, AA walks away from the 4 or 5th largest metro area in the USA. Sure...
Well, that '4 or 5th largest metro area' ranks 15th in terms of domestic passenger counts and that says something about the strength of the airport, regional competition, and the US operation.

Walk away? No - but it's one of several hubs where 50 flights could be pared to good effect.

Let's check destinations/flights/seat counts today, and again four years from today.
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Old Dec 10, 13, 11:11 am
  #32  
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I'm curious about what DCA will end up looking like in the post-merger world. They'll have to give up some frequencies as part of the settlement, but DCA makes a pretty interesting focus city. There's a lot of CR2 nonsense, but there is also a fair amount of E170/175 traffic (Hartford, Manchester, Jacksonville, Nashville, Greensboro, and Minneapolis from just a quick scan).

My immediate selfish hope is that the CR7s on ORD-DCA get replaced by 175s.

Eagle flies 22x/day to their legacy ex-hubs (BNA, RDU, STL) and JFK. USX flies BNA/RDU, so those are obvious cuts. STL? I guess it depends on load factor in the sub-14-day fare classes, they may go to USX 170s. JFK, I'd assume that they'd still run enough to feed the London flights, but might cut some other frequencies out in exchange for feeding CLT.
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Old Dec 10, 13, 11:21 am
  #33  
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Originally Posted by santarosaflyer View Post
Microwave, there is a quarterly chart posted on airliners.net that list operating margins by regions. My understanding that it does not include joint ventures. US has had the best margins on transatlantic for the last several quarters that I have seen of the four major US carriers. I don't have easy recall of the exact name of the link or I would share.
The facts are that US has attracted the lowest average fares (yield) across the Atlantic since at least 1995. US DoT Forms 41 clearly show these facts. Swelbar's MIT Airline Data Project summarizes this data quite well.

Since US has had the lowest pilot and FA wages and costs since the second US bankruptcy, it's little wonder that US shows the best margins.

That "best margin" advantage evaporated yesterday, as the US pilots received huge raises, retroactive to Valentine's Day. The US FAs finally ratified large raises prior to the merger, and they got even more raises yesterday.

At the new AA payscale, the pitiful TATL yields from CLT and PHL are likely no longer profitable.

Originally Posted by santarosaflyer View Post
I am not saying MIA has trouble getting passengers. I saying I suspect trying to move all of CLT passengers' there just ain't going to happen.
MIA is the major reason that AA recently reported a yield to Latin America of 18 cents per mile, 50% higher than its TPAC yields. MIA is the #1 O&D market for quite a few Central and South America cities.

As an example, many of the US GIG and GRU passengers connect at CLT to MCO. That's a very inefficient way of flying passengers to MCO compared to Brazil-MIA-MCO. For how long does anyone expect US to continue to fill those flights with MCO-bound Brazilians and bargain-hunting Americans willing to connect from LGA at CLT?
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Old Dec 10, 13, 11:35 am
  #34  
 
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Here's to hoping for PWM-ORD service. UA already does it on a CRJ700. I'd love to have a midwest connection when headed to the west coast instead of going south to PHL/CLT.
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Old Dec 10, 13, 11:40 am
  #35  
 
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Originally Posted by Microwave View Post
While I agree that CLT is not in trouble in the near or medium term, I find that there are some factual inaccuracies in santarosaflyer's statement above. AA have no problem getting passengers into MIA (last year MIA saw 50% more traffic than CLT, and it is not slot controlled); JFK is somewhat more limited due to peak hour slot restrictions, I'll grant that. I also beg to see any source that shows AA's operating margins across the Atlantic are worse than US's (talking about post-restructuring, not comparing oranges and hammers by looking at pre-bankruptcy costs and yields which are no longer relevant).

With all of that said, and getting back to my original point, I personally believe CLT to be the best positioned of the US hubs going forward, so would also be bullish about its prospects.
Not sure where you're getting that MIA had 50% more traffic than CLT. From each airport's respective website, I'm coming up with MIA having 39.47 million pax in 2012 (~20 million domestic and ~19 million int'l), and CLT having 41.23 million (~38 million domestic and ~3 million int'l).

On top of that, CLT is roughly 90% US Airways, whereas I'm willing to bet while high, MIA isn't quite that concentrated for American, just based on the number of foreign carriers that fly there.

So I guess what I'm saying is, there's a lot of domestic traffic that's currently going through CLT right now that would need to be shifted if CLT was de-emphasized, and I'm just not sure where it would go. I'm sure a bit of it can shift to MIA, but I think there are lots of routes where that wouldn't make sense...who wants to fly HVL-MIA-RIC instead of HVL-CLT-RIC? Or CHS-MIA-BNA instead of CHS-CLT-BNA? I think there are a lot of examples like that where CLT just works well.

Sources for the passenger info:

Miami info: http://www.miami-airport.com/2012_traffic_report.asp

Charlotte info: http://charmeck.org/city/charlotte/A...sIncrease.aspx
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Old Dec 10, 13, 12:09 pm
  #36  
 
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My 2 cents on the hubs:

DFW - no significant changes. Some connecting traffic may shift to PHX and CLT, but it could also gain traffic from those airports.

MIA - may grow. It is arguably the crown jewel in AA's network. MIA is an excellent gateway to Latin America and Caribbean - it should focus on that plus any O/D traffic. MIA can't adequately serve the southeast due to its location - CLT is better positioned for that role. I'd like to see AUS-MIA nonstop flight.

CLT - safe. It has low operating costs, excellent location in the southeast, is home to a growing metro area, has the financial industry, and US owns it. Some trans-Atlantic flights to *Alliance hubs may be at risk and some Latin America and Caribbean flights could move to MIA but I don't see CLT being dehubbed. CLT could be used for southeast connections.

PHL - also safe. It is home to a top 5 metro area and US dominates that hub. If PHL shrinks where would that traffic go? Not slot restricted, congested, competitive JFK. Maybe CLT, but if it made sense to move some traffic from PHL to CLT US would have already done so. PHL could work for connecting traffic within the northeast and to/from trans-Atlantic flights.

DCA - will lose some flights as US/AA divests slots. They could maintain capacity by running larger aircraft. DCA should remain important in the airline's network.

JFK/LGA - should focus on O/D traffic; leave the connecting traffic to PHL. AA is losing ground at NYC, so expect significant shrinkage at NYC as the airline "right sizes".

ORD - remains a hub but will be smaller than today. AA has been shrinking its presence and UA remains strong at ORD. It is US/AA's only midwest hub so I could see ORD becoming a regional hub for handling midwest traffic. Connecting traffic to/from Europe would be better handled at PHL or CLT.

PHX - handle domestic connections in the southwest plus O/D. Some connections over PHX make more sense at DFW, but on the other hand some connections over DFW make more sense at PHX. LAX cannot absorb all of PHX's traffic, so dropping PHX would mean ceding the southwest traffic.

LAX - focus on O/D and international traffic. AA routes some domestic connections through LAX - that traffic should flow through PHX instead. LAX could see cuts as it becomes a focus city.

Last edited by austin_res; Dec 10, 13 at 12:17 pm
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Old Dec 10, 13, 12:13 pm
  #37  
 
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Originally Posted by santarosaflyer View Post
Silly ducks, CLT is not going anywhere but UP! It's profitable, the lowest operating cost of any major airport and that old saying LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. US has a much better operating margin on TATL than AA, serves more cities than AA, etc. CLT has FANTASTIC feeder traffic. The new AA can't feed that many people into JFK or MIA.

Those who connect SE to SE aren't going to the edges for flights. They would move to DL at Atlanta or perhaps UA at IAD.

Parker knows that a successful airline is about making profit and CLT is a goldmine. NC, VA, and other states in that region are growing financially. This is old Piedmont country and it took a while for them to get used to the old US after that merger.

CLT has a great airport with a great infra-structure. It can be expanded. With DL pulling out of MEM, this should help CLT to a degree. Much more manageable than ATL. The commuter terminal has a great setup if you are flying Express to Express.
I absolutely agree that CLT is not going anywhere. CLT, MIA, and DFW are extremely valuable fortress hubs.

That said, I disagree about its infrastructure. I book a lot of people into and out of the southeast, typically connecting between regional and mainline, and for that, CLT is by far the LEAST favorite airport. At least with big airports like DFW, you have a tram that can rapidly get you from one side of the airport to the other.




Anyway, having talked with a lot of people in the industry (including a former exec, although this was before the DCA divertisure announcements), here are my thoughts on hubs.

Safe:

DFW/CLT/MIA - These hubs are absolutely safe, and will likely see growth. They may lose some routes to other hubs as rationalization happens, but they'll remain the crown jewels.

ORD - This is the only real midwest hub, and again, may lose some routes, but will remain a hub.

LAX - Unfortunately, this is a hard one to grow, but it's such a valuable premium market and so much INTL connecting traffic is done here. All those partners will not move to PHX, so this operation will remain.

Goodbye:

PHX - Sandwiched between DFW and LAX which aren't going anywhere? Will become a small focus city, at best.

Too close to call:

DCA/LGA/JFK/PHL - One of the NY hubs will absolutely remain for INTL connecting traffic, but at least one hub is going to close here.

Last edited by nall; Dec 10, 13 at 12:24 pm
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Old Dec 10, 13, 12:23 pm
  #38  
 
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Originally Posted by nall View Post
I absolutely agree that CLT is not going anywhere. CLT, MIA, and DFW are extremely valuable fortress hubs.

That said, I disagree about its infrastructure. I book a lot of people into and out of the southeast, typically connecting between regional and mainline, and for that, CLT is by far the LEAST favorite airport. At least with big airports like DFW, you have a tram that can rapidly get you from one side of the airport to the other.
The airports that I connect through are EWR, ORD, IAH, IAD, and CLT. CLT is a piece of cake in comparison. It is a bit of a hike between mainline to regional. I was at IAD last night, it takes forever to walk to the train to get to mainline. ORD still uses buses if you are going from Express to Terminal C, otherwise a much longer walk than CLT. And EWR forget it. CLT feels a lot less crazy.
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Old Dec 10, 13, 12:23 pm
  #39  
 
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Frequently it is stated as fact that JFK doesn't have the room to grow.

Can we get some hard numbers on the the availability for potential aircraft movements across a 24hr cycle?

I suspect that this JFK constraint is actually a myth that just gets perpetuated on here. Outside of some very busy times, I think JFK actually has a good amount of slack. Not every flight or every geography needs to be flown or can be flown in the 6pm to 8pm hours. (example: asia)
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Old Dec 10, 13, 12:29 pm
  #40  
 
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AA Needs to Bring Back Some of their Non-Stop Routes

AA has discontinued their non-stop flights from NYC to either Aruba (AUA) or St Kitts (SKB). Former flights from 8:30 or 10:00 AM are now at 5:40 AM with stops in Miami or San Juan. Way to go AA! I have switched over to Delta twice and United once to get non-stops.
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Old Dec 10, 13, 12:42 pm
  #41  
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Originally Posted by WhatsInYourBackpack View Post
Frequently it is stated as fact that JFK doesn't have the room to grow.

Can we get some hard numbers on the the availability for potential aircraft movements across a 24hr cycle?

I suspect that this JFK constraint is actually a myth that just gets perpetuated on here. Outside of some very busy times, I think JFK actually has a good amount of slack. Not every flight or every geography needs to be flown or can be flown in the 6pm to 8pm hours. (example: asia)
JFK is slot constrained all day long, and slots between about 3pm and 9pm are tight. Slots outside that busy window are available for the asking, as there are quite a few hours where there are fewer movements than permitted by the slot system.

That said, what many frequently overlook are the approximately two dozen AA domestic departures in that 3pm to 9pm timeframe to cities other than SEA, SFO, LAS, LAX and SAN - in other words, cities within the LGA perimeter. AA has been sitting on the slots it received in the slot swap with jetBlue, using them for flights to BWI and RDU. Why? The plan was to bring down costs and then begin new long-haul flights from JFK. Well, that time is now, as the AA bankruptcy is complete and AA is more efficient.

IMO, new AA needs to begin flights to China from JFK while there is still a surplus of available China frequencies. I was of the opinion that new AA needed to re-start the JFK-NRT flight but JAL announced the other day that it would begin double-daily service with a new 787-8. As you point out, most flights to Asia from JFK don't depart during the prime-time European departures bank of about 3pm to 9pm.

AA has a huge new terminal that is underutilized at JFK and has been squatting on quite a few prime-time slots. The expanded SFO/LAX frequencies will use three or four of them, last time I counted. NYC is home to most of the O&D to many of the second-tier European destinations flown by US from PHL and CLT. From JFK, you don't need hundreds of CRJs to fill a flight to VCE or LIS. You fill it mostly with local traffic in NYC and you fill the remaining seats with SEA, SFO, LAS, LAX and SAN connecting traffic (cities that already have AA JFK flights and always will as they're outside the LGA perimeter).
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Old Dec 10, 13, 1:03 pm
  #42  
 
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Originally Posted by FWAAA View Post
JFK is slot constrained all day long, and slots between about 3pm and 9pm are tight. Slots outside that busy window are available for the asking, as there are quite a few hours where there are fewer movements than permitted by the slot system.

That said, what many frequently overlook are the approximately two dozen AA domestic departures in that 3pm to 9pm timeframe to cities other than SEA, SFO, LAS, LAX and SAN - in other words, cities within the LGA perimeter. AA has been sitting on the slots it received in the slot swap with jetBlue, using them for flights to BWI and RDU. Why? The plan was to bring down costs and then begin new long-haul flights from JFK. Well, that time is now, as the AA bankruptcy is complete and AA is more efficient.

IMO, new AA needs to begin flights to China from JFK while there is still a surplus of available China frequencies. I was of the opinion that new AA needed to re-start the JFK-NRT flight but JAL announced the other day that it would begin double-daily service with a new 787-8. As you point out, most flights to Asia from JFK don't depart during the prime-time European departures bank of about 3pm to 9pm.

AA has a huge new terminal that is underutilized at JFK and has been squatting on quite a few prime-time slots. The expanded SFO/LAX frequencies will use three or four of them, last time I counted. NYC is home to most of the O&D to many of the second-tier European destinations flown by US from PHL and CLT. From JFK, you don't need hundreds of CRJs to fill a flight to VCE or LIS. You fill it mostly with local traffic in NYC and you fill the remaining seats with SEA, SFO, LAS, LAX and SAN connecting traffic (cities that already have AA JFK flights and always will as they're outside the LGA perimeter).
Sorry should have added the slot squatting part as a consideration.

Is there a way to pull the actual numbers on an hour by hour block basis of available capacity? Even in that 3 to 5ish block you included, I'm pretty sure are pockets.
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Old Dec 10, 13, 1:08 pm
  #43  
 
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CLT: I predict it will remain a strong hub, but mostly for domestic travel.... similar to DEN for UA or MSP for DL. Those hard-fought international routes will probably be moved to ORD, MIA, or JFK where O&D traffic is significantly greater.

ORD: I think the hub will benefit from international routes pillaged from PHL and CLT. ORD is strategically located closest to the center of domestic US population and is the country's 3rd largest metro. ORD is actually closer by mileage to most Western European markets than CLT. (hard to tell on a Mercator may, but true).

JFK: May grow internationally but only see growth in domestic for flights that help connect to those international ones.

DFW: Continue to grow slowly into a ATL style behemoth. Dominating the metro.

Last edited by trvlr70; Dec 10, 13 at 1:15 pm
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Old Dec 10, 13, 1:09 pm
  #44  
 
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Originally Posted by Microwave View Post
While I agree that CLT is not in trouble in the near or medium term, I find that there are some factual inaccuracies in santarosaflyer's statement above. AA have no problem getting passengers into MIA (last year MIA saw 50% more traffic than CLT, and it is not slot controlled)
50% more traffic by what metric? Just curious. I know the daily departure count at MIA is much lower than CLT, but it's not a very good yardstick.

I think, though, that AA is just not using MIA with US and DL for a lot of the traffic US is flying through CLT. MIA has plenty of traffic, but it's not the same traffic.
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Old Dec 10, 13, 1:10 pm
  #45  
 
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Originally Posted by DCdeacon View Post
I see CLT eventually filling the role of a large domestic hub with a limited international presence. I picture it akin to the role MSP serves for Delta in the post NW/DL merger world.
I can see that. I actively avoid CLT for international travel because they don't handle it as well as PHL or MIA.. and both of those cities already make good eastern US hubs for international travel.
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