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AA adds MKE-DCA ... Will Delta revive MKE service?

AA adds MKE-DCA ... Will Delta revive MKE service?

Old Jun 19, 2023, 12:29 pm
  #1  
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AA adds MKE-DCA ... Will Delta revive MKE service?

An interesting and unexpected piece of news that AA is adding DCA-MKE (2x daily) this fall.

AA is a low level player at MKE. DL used to have many more flights (and still has a nice Sky Club) at MKE but DL service has been declining and fares increasing.

If you live in the Chicago area -- specifically Lake Forest and north -- MKE is a quicker drive than ORD. Once you arrive figure 10-12 minutes from your car to the gate on a good day. DL at ORD is a chitstorm with the significantly inconvenient T5 and even without that flying out of MKE is like a nice massage vs. root canal without anesthesia at ORD.

WN did a tease and bleed at MKE, adding a lot of nonstops and then gutting the schedules and raising fares. DL/NW once had nonstop to DCA. This move by AA is curious in that MKE is pretty much a blip on the pax count. Wonder if DL will retaliate and add back service at MKE. For example, surprised that it did not revive MKE-SEA. And, of course, if AS ever decided to do midwest expansion, there's a lot of extra gate capacity at MKE.
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Old Jun 19, 2023, 12:32 pm
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DCA is a hub for AA. It hasn't been a hub for DL in over a decade. I don't see how AA adding a flight from MKE to one of AA's own hubs impacts DL.
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Old Jun 19, 2023, 1:48 pm
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Doubtful. With the slot restriction at DCA and the fact it's not a DL hub, I can't see any reason why DL would prioritize one of their few slots for MKE.

The better question is what government business is occurring in or near MKE that requires a direct flight. Most of the non-hub DCA route decisions are based on GSA traffic flows (or a particularly powerful politician voicing a desire for a direct flight)
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Old Jun 19, 2023, 1:59 pm
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Originally Posted by Duke787
Doubtful. With the slot restriction at DCA and the fact it's not a DL hub, I can't see any reason why DL would prioritize one of their few slots for MKE.

The better question is what government business is occurring in or near MKE that requires a direct flight. Most of the non-hub DCA route decisions are based on GSA traffic flows (or a particularly powerful politician voicing a desire for a direct flight)
Good points and question. DL already has a daily DCA-MSN. It does seem a bit odd that AA would jump in like this. DCA gate space is at a premium.

With its underutilization coupled with Chicago urban sprawl, MKE is well poised for more traffic.
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Old Jun 19, 2023, 7:11 pm
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Well WN already has twice daily between DCA and MKE, I believe. With the addition of AA, it will be a total of four flights/day. Surely it will be a great route running up to and during the RNC next year. I wonder if AA will try to get the GSA city pair contract for this route over WN.

Also, Milwaukee County now requires all of its employees on work travel to depart from MKE (no more ORD option). I am unsure how often county employees need to go to DC for work purposes...

Last edited by MHively; Jun 19, 2023 at 10:04 pm
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Old Jun 19, 2023, 9:53 pm
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This reminds me of the old Midwest Express airlines, who made this their flagship route, with standard class 2 x 2 seating on a DC-9 and hot chocolate chip cookies.

AA may have gotten the GSA "contract" for federal employees traveling between DCA and MKE.

This reminds me of a flight I once took, DCA-OMA, on a Delta connection RJ. It departed about 10 minutes before a WN 737 on the same route. My flight was 50% full at most and was an easy upgrade.

Another random thought; I see that AA is slowly beefing up CVG, and that BA is going to start LHR-CVG.

Finally, I don't think DCA has ever been a hub for Delta. When I started flying the Big D as my regular airline in 1984, it flew to ATL, BOS and MEM. It had not yet acquired the shuttle from PanAm, and in order to fly to DFW its planes had to land at MEM. DL may have had a non-stop to MSY. Delta did not start service to its CVG hub until the end of the 80s. Their first CrownRoom was in the "Interim Terminal", a hangar that was converted to a concourse (which actually was quite nice) and preceded the current north terminal which opened in 1997. The "Interim Terminal" went back to other uses, and then was taken down when MWAA constructed the new RJ concourse for AA to replace Gate 35X. Delta gained slots through its acquisition of the PanAm shuttle and some of PanAm's domestic system and its merger with Northwest. They gave up some slots to AA in a swap for slots at LGA.

By my count, DL only has about 49 daily departures out of DCA, not enough to claim "hub" status:

ATL--11x
BOS--8x
LGA--7x
DTW--5x
MSP--5x
CVG--3x
JFK--3x
RDU--3x
LAX-1x
MSN-1x
OMA-1x
SLC-1x

I didn't see any non-stops on routes like MEM, DSM and GRR.
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Old Jun 19, 2023, 10:09 pm
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Originally Posted by ND76
AA may have gotten the GSA "contract" for federal employees traveling between DCA and MKE.
FY24 GSA City Pair contracts havent been released, at least publicly, yet but this could be a factor. Wonder too if with the Presidential Election cycle getting ready to ramp into gear and with WI being a top battleground state now and home to the Republican National Convention was also a factor. The DCA-MKE city pair could see significant traffic by government employees supporting a campaign event and the RNC particularly since so many people travel in advance of any campaign event and the convention (as opposed to traveling with the candidate and their immediate entourage), as well as other non-government personnel who will be traveling to WI for the campaign events.
**Just an observation- not trying to drive this thread to OMNI/PR Territory
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Old Jun 20, 2023, 7:02 am
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Originally Posted by ND76


By my count, DL only has about 49 daily departures out of DCA, not enough to claim "hub" status:

ATL--11x
BOS--8x
LGA--7x
DTW--5x
MSP--5x
CVG--3x
JFK--3x
RDU--3x
LAX-1x
MSN-1x
OMA-1x
SLC-1x

I didn't see any non-stops on routes like MEM, DSM and GRR.
You missed LEX at 1x daily. NW had a mini-hub at DCA in early 90's after getting gates/slots from Eastern, but ended up abandoning it and leasing out a number of it's slots to other airlines.
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Old Jun 20, 2023, 11:17 am
  #9  
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Originally Posted by Dick Ginkowski
An interesting and unexpected piece of news that AA is adding DCA-MKE (2x daily) this fall.

AA is a low level player at MKE. DL used to have many more flights (and still has a nice Sky Club) at MKE but DL service has been declining and fares increasing.

If you live in the Chicago area -- specifically Lake Forest and north -- MKE is a quicker drive than ORD. Once you arrive figure 10-12 minutes from your car to the gate on a good day. DL at ORD is a chitstorm with the significantly inconvenient T5 and even without that flying out of MKE is like a nice massage vs. root canal without anesthesia at ORD.

WN did a tease and bleed at MKE, adding a lot of nonstops and then gutting the schedules and raising fares. DL/NW once had nonstop to DCA. This move by AA is curious in that MKE is pretty much a blip on the pax count. Wonder if DL will retaliate and add back service at MKE. For example, surprised that it did not revive MKE-SEA. And, of course, if AS ever decided to do midwest expansion, there's a lot of extra gate capacity at MKE.
Midwest and its MKE hub are still missed by me. It was my main squeeze for DCA-MKE/Wisconsin when it was around.

Was told that AA is also going to add additional ORD service — frequency — to one or more WI airport, at least one of which had DL cut back and UA pull out.
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Old Jun 20, 2023, 1:19 pm
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Originally Posted by ND76
This reminds me of the old Midwest Express airlines, who made this their flagship route, with standard class 2 x 2 seating on a DC-9 and hot chocolate chip cookies.

AA may have gotten the GSA "contract" for federal employees traveling between DCA and MKE.

This reminds me of a flight I once took, DCA-OMA, on a Delta connection RJ. It departed about 10 minutes before a WN 737 on the same route. My flight was 50% full at most and was an easy upgrade.

Another random thought; I see that AA is slowly beefing up CVG, and that BA is going to start LHR-CVG.

Finally, I don't think DCA has ever been a hub for Delta. When I started flying the Big D as my regular airline in 1984, it flew to ATL, BOS and MEM. It had not yet acquired the shuttle from PanAm, and in order to fly to DFW its planes had to land at MEM. DL may have had a non-stop to MSY. Delta did not start service to its CVG hub until the end of the 80s. Their first CrownRoom was in the "Interim Terminal", a hangar that was converted to a concourse (which actually was quite nice) and preceded the current north terminal which opened in 1997. The "Interim Terminal" went back to other uses, and then was taken down when MWAA constructed the new RJ concourse for AA to replace Gate 35X. Delta gained slots through its acquisition of the PanAm shuttle and some of PanAm's domestic system and its merger with Northwest. They gave up some slots to AA in a swap for slots at LGA.

By my count, DL only has about 49 daily departures out of DCA, not enough to claim "hub" status:

ATL--11x
BOS--8x
LGA--7x
DTW--5x
MSP--5x
CVG--3x
JFK--3x
RDU--3x
LAX-1x
MSN-1x
OMA-1x
SLC-1x

I didn't see any non-stops on routes like MEM, DSM and GRR.
DCA-MKE makes no sense for DL. There is no strategic advantage for DL to offer a point-to-point on this route. DL would be smarter to add DCA-MIA to feed its partnership with LATAM or concentrate on enhanced westward connectivity through DTW and MSP.
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Old Jun 20, 2023, 1:25 pm
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Way back in the day before Covid, there was daily service between CVG-MKE. Let's just say i miss it. I have no expectations it will be revived since there are a TON of CVG directs that have not returned(PHL, DFW, BWI, PHX, SFO to name a few) but it would be nice.
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Old Jun 20, 2023, 1:49 pm
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Originally Posted by SOBE ER DOC
DCA-MKE makes no sense for DL. There is no strategic advantage for DL to offer a point-to-point on this route. DL would be smarter to add DCA-MIA to feed its partnership with LATAM or concentrate on enhanced westward connectivity through DTW and MSP.
You may be right. I suspect if that is the case that DL might simply respond by undercutting fares between the city pairs. Connections in DTW and MSP are not onerous and there are Sky Clubs. AA just has gates at MKE (though the local airport food is a cut above many other places).

The market at MKE as well as the airport can easily support more flights and, at one time, once did. NW tried to bury YX by duplicating its flight schedule. YX was doomed by other factors but leather seats and chocolate chip cookies retained YX customers and just gave other folks more options.
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Old Jun 20, 2023, 1:51 pm
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Originally Posted by GUWonder
Midwest and its MKE hub are still missed by me. It was my main squeeze for DCA-MKE/Wisconsin when it was around.

Was told that AA is also going to add additional ORD service frequency to one or more WI airport, at least one of which had DL cut back and UA pull out.
I used to be able to fly right into LSE and now DL cut off service so I have to fly into MSP and drive.
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Old Jun 20, 2023, 1:51 pm
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Originally Posted by Ryno1234
Way back in the day before Covid, there was daily service between CVG-MKE. Let's just say i miss it. I have no expectations it will be revived since there are a TON of CVG directs that have not returned(PHL, DFW, BWI, PHX, SFO to name a few) but it would be nice.
well, if we're gonna go "way back in the day" ... I *think* ~1991 it was possible to take Northwest DCA-MKE-SEA
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Old Jun 20, 2023, 6:53 pm
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Originally Posted by SOBE ER DOC
DCA-MKE makes no sense for DL.
If DCA-MKE makes no sense for DL, then on what basis does it make sense for AA? That years after DCA was initially made a US hub DCA is now an AA mini-hub?

I would be surprised if AA is doing this merely in response to DL@ORD.

AA and DL both still have DCA-MSN service.

DCA-MKE should sometimes pull from both ORD and MSN; and ORD and MSN sometimes pull from MKE.
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