MKE November traffic up 38.0%

Old Dec 26, 09, 8:14 pm
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MKE November traffic up 38.0%

Stats at MKE for November 2009 have been posted.

Total MKE traffic
725,048, an increase of 38.0% from 2008 (525,565)

Change in passengers from 2008
AirTran
+101,075 (+125% over last year)
Southwest
+63,122 (new service)
Midwest/Frontier
+27,473 (+12.6% over last year)
All other carriers
+7,813 (+3.4% over last year)

Market Share
34.0% Midwest/Frontier
25.1% AirTran
17.5% Delta/Northwest
8.7% Southwest
4.1% USAirways
4.0% Continental
3.4% American
2.8% United
0.2% Air Canada
0.1% Great Lakes

Simple load factor (average seats per flight divided by average passengers per flight)

Midwest/Frontier
71.3% 319/E190/E170
67.2% CRJ
66.4% ER3

AirTran
68.9% 737/717

Southwest
65.1% 737

Loads only say so much, since we don't know fare levels and traffic composition. But it does give us an idea of how well they put butts into seats. So far the large growth in capacity is being matched by large growth reasonably comparable. These gross load factors are below average, but not laughably empty as a whole.

Last edited by knope2001; Dec 26, 09 at 8:47 pm
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Old Dec 27, 09, 11:03 am
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Thanks for posting this information, knope.

I'm actually somewhat surprised by Southwest's rather weak load numbers. Yes, it's only the first month of service but considering all of those very low introductory fares, heavy advertising, and Thanksgiving I was expecting loads to be in the mid 70% range or higher.

As you mentioned, these are only crude load numbers. It's very likely (based on load information I've seen elsewhere) that the leisure routes are doing o.k. but BWI and MCI are rather weak performers so far.

Of course, this says nothing about the most important benchmark of all...the profitability of the carriers serving MKE...or lack thereof.
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Old Dec 27, 09, 12:49 pm
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Originally Posted by BlueHorseShoe2000 View Post
As you mentioned, these are only crude load numbers. It's very likely (based on load information I've seen elsewhere) that the leisure routes are doing o.k. but BWI and MCI are rather weak performers so far.
I've heard similar, although I've heard Vegas was the heaviest leisure and Tampa the lightest. To get to a 65.1% overall crude load factor, here's one possible scenario:

84% LAS
81% MCO
78% PHX
73% TPA
53% BWI
47% MCI

Those are decent but not barn-burner loads in the leisure markets, with BWI and MCI only about half full.


If you adjust for BWI and MCI to be more respectable, then the loads on the leisure routes have to soften a lot. This is another combination to get to 65.1%, one which I think is overly generous to BWI and MCI since in this scenario the leisure routes would be about 70% full, which is quite a bit lighter than anecdotal reports suggest.

74% LAS
69% MCO
68% PHX
67% TPA
60% BWI
60% MCI

Now all of these are speculative, of course. But half of their 12 departures are either to MCI or BWI, and the other half are "leisure" routes. If the leisure routes did reasonably well, then MCI and BWI must necessarily have performed weakly to come out to 65.1%.

As Blue pointed out, the super-low introductary fares might have pushed stronger loads. In fact one would guess that the leisure markets might have had rather strong loads based on so many very cheap fares. If so, then MCI and BWI were even weaker.
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Old Dec 27, 09, 1:12 pm
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I suspect that the scenarios you outlined for Southwest also apply to AirTran as well. Based on what I hear, MKE-BOS/LGA/BWI/DCA/PIT/IND have been pretty empty this fall outside of some of the peak travel periods. If that's the case, it would seem to indicate that in general the West Coast, Vegas, and Florida flights had pretty decent loads (although you mentioned LAX being trimmed back some).

Since you watch the Midwest seat maps so closely, are there any particularly weak points in the Midwest E170/E190/A319 markets? I believe November was the month when many of the traditional 717 markets went E170 (due to the five E190s going to DEN).

Also of interest is the market share for some of the legacy airlines with token service to MKE. I can't believe American carried more passengers than United. It wasn't that long ago that United still had mainline service at MKE. Times certainly have changed.
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Old Dec 27, 09, 2:52 pm
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Originally Posted by BlueHorseShoe2000 View Post
I suspect that the scenarios you outlined for Southwest also apply to AirTran as well. Based on what I hear, MKE-BOS/LGA/BWI/DCA/PIT/IND have been pretty empty this fall outside of some of the peak travel periods. If that's the case, it would seem to indicate that in general the West Coast, Vegas, and Florida flights had pretty decent loads (although you mentioned LAX being trimmed back some).
I'd guess you're pretty much on for November, although perhaps not especially extreme. I think most of the business routes were in the 50's and 60's (IND and PIT likely lower) largely bolstered by connections. The leisure and long haul routes were probably a little softer than what we're used to for them.

Originally Posted by BlueHorseShoe2000 View Post
Since you watch the Midwest seat maps so closely, are there any particularly weak points in the Midwest E170/E190/A319 markets?
The 319 leisure routes seemed to start off relatively slowly, especially Florida and LAX. Florida booking window was stunted by how late the expanded schedules were loaded. It was late September before the 319 schedules were loaded, and with that schedule load came some new flights which were not previously offered for sale (like the 3:10pm MKE-TPA and the 4:35pm MKE-MCO). These late-comers, including MKE-RSW, had slow starts in part because a lot of fall leisure travel had already been booked when these flights came up for sale.

Also, the BOS trip which the A319 covers (east at 4:30pm, return to MKE by 9:30pm) is definitely overserved with the 319. It goes to E190 in a handful of weeks.
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Old Dec 27, 09, 4:51 pm
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Originally Posted by knope2001 View Post
Florida booking window was stunted by how late the expanded schedules were loaded.
This is especially true. By the time they returned to FLL, I had already booked with AirTran.

I am normally firming up my winter leisure plans in August.
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Old Dec 27, 09, 5:21 pm
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Rumor on Airliners.net is that US Air will drop MKE - PHX. Other people are saying that US Air is just pulling out their ground crew at MKE. It wouldn't surprise me to see US Air make MKE - PHX seasonal or just drop it all together. We'll just have to wait and see.
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Old Dec 27, 09, 5:57 pm
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Originally Posted by flyYX View Post
Rumor on Airliners.net is that US Air will drop MKE - PHX. Other people are saying that US Air is just pulling out their ground crew at MKE. It wouldn't surprise me to see US Air make MKE - PHX seasonal or just drop it all together. We'll just have to wait and see.
That sounds pretty logical. PHX has far too much capacity with Midwest, Southwest, and US.

Something has to give.
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Old Dec 28, 09, 7:24 am
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Originally Posted by flyYX View Post
Rumor on Airliners.net is that US Air will drop MKE - PHX. Other people are saying that US Air is just pulling out their ground crew at MKE. It wouldn't surprise me to see US Air make MKE - PHX seasonal or just drop it all together. We'll just have to wait and see.
It will be interesting to see if this actually happens.

U.S. Airways (previously America West) has dominated the MKE-PHX route for years.

This winter the route will have too much excess capacity and yields (which are already low) will suffer. Even AirTran is pulling MKE-PHX during some of the slower travel periods this winter.

Also of some interest is that after the winter peak passes Midwest currently has only one daily flight scheduled (and it's an afternoon departure from MKE). Obviously a lot can change between now and next spring. However, if Republic plans on keeping the schedule as is they will be at a tremendous disadvantage if the other players offer morning departures.
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Old Dec 30, 09, 12:55 pm
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From BizTimes.com

With 48 large markets across the nation, Mitchell International has moved up to 28th among U.S. airports in number of markets served nonstop, according to new data published by the Brookings Institute. Mitchell’s rank in a similar 2004 study was 34th.
The new ranking means that more nonstop markets are served out of Milwaukee than out of many other Midwestern cities, such as Nashville; Pittsburgh; Indianapolis and Columbus, and out of medium-sized cities elsewhere in the United States, including Portland, OR; Austin; New Orleans; San Diego; Raleigh/Durham; Albuquerque; San Antonio and Hartford.
The average airfare out of Milwaukee was lower than the average at 75 other U.S. airports, according to the latest U.S. Department of Transportation statistics. Mitchell’s average fare was about $44 less than O’Hare’s and $28 less than the nation’s average fare.
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Old Dec 31, 09, 10:00 am
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I think no one will disagree that traffic at MKE is significantly increased by people coming there from Northern Chicago suburbs. This is a benefit to the airport and allows more flights to occur at MKE.

It is interesting to speculate whether anyone in 1926 had the foresight to think of this in locating the airport site South of the city, or whether it is lucky happenstance.
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Old Jan 6, 10, 10:55 am
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Originally Posted by RSVP View Post
That sounds pretty logical. PHX has far too much capacity with Midwest, Southwest, and US.

Something has to give.
I just don't see US dropping that route, unless they dehub PHX. I would like to see the O&D vs connecting numbers on MKE-PHX, because I would bet there's a fair amount of connecting traffic there on US.
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