January T100's (onboard loads)

Old Apr 15, 10, 4:19 pm
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January T100's (onboard loads)

Here are the onboard loads (T100’s) for Midwest and select MKE competitors for the month of January 2010. Remember, as always, that onboard loads are only half the picture when trying to estimate relative performance, because they don’t tell us much about fare or traffic composition.

As in recent months, the YX flights operated by the A319 are not included in the T100’s. So the only 319 stats we have are for MKE-DEN.

Midwest
Routes primarily served by E170 or larger
92.1% ….. MKE ….. MCO
87.6% ….. MKE ….. FLL
80.7% ….. MCI ….. RSW
79.3% ….. MKE ….. DEN
78.7% ….. MKE ….. LGA
74.3% ….. MKE ….. DFW
70.9% ….. MKE ….. ATL
69.5% ….. MCI ….. SEA
67.7% ….. OMA ….. MCO
67.2% ….. MKE ….. BOS
64.6% ….. MKE ….. DCA
63.1% ….. MCI ….. LAX
58.3% ….. OMA ….. DCA
56.3% ….. MCI ….. SFO
54.3% ….. MCI ….. DCA**
50.0% ….. MCI ….. LGA
49.4% ….. MKE ….. MCI
34.6% ….. OMA ….. TPA
25.9% ….. MCI ….. BOS

**MCI-DCA are all Republic flights, which includes both YX and US – cannot differentiate in these stats.

Routes primarily served by ER4/ER3

71.0% ….. MKE ….. MSN
70.8% ….. MKE ….. MSP
68.3% ….. MKE ….. GRR
64.0% ….. MKE ….. ATW
63.9% ….. MKE ….. IND
62.8% ….. MKE ….. EWR
61.8% ….. MKE ….. PHL
61.0% ….. MKE ….. PIT
59.4% ….. MKE ….. DSM
58.9% ….. MKE ….. GRB
53.0% ….. MKE ….. FNT
51.5% ….. MKE ….. BNA
50.4% ….. MKE ….. OMA
43.9% ….. MKE ….. DAY
42.2% ….. MKE ….. CMH
40.7% ….. MKE ….. CLE
27.2% ….. MKE ….. SDF

Select MKE competitors

AirTran
90.6% ….. RSW
87.5% ….. PHX (only first few days of month)
86.1% ….. FLL
85.2% ….. MCO
84.7% ….. TPA
84.6% ….. LAS
81.8% ….. SEA
78.1% ….. SFO
77.8% ….. LAX
72.0% ….. MSP
65.3% ….. ATL
62.9% ….. DEN
59.4% ….. LGA
56.3% ….. BWI
46.8% ….. BOS
44.9% ….. DCA
35.4% ….. IND (only first few days of month)

Skywest / FL*
68.0% ….. STL
47.2% ….. PIT
41.0% ….. IND
25.8% ….. CAK

Southwest
91.2% ….. PHX
76.8% ….. LAS
67.6% ….. TPA
66.3% ….. MCO
47.1% ….. MCI
38.4% ….. BWI

---------------------------------------------------------------

A few comments about the numbers

On the Midwest side, these are (generally) stronger than what January historically has seen. Some of the perceived strength is due to flying 76-seat E170’s on many MKE business routes, however even if you bring that down to actual onboard passengers, the numbers in many markets are well above historic averages for January. We don’t know the traffic breakdown (locals vs connections) nor yields, of course.

Kansas City numbers are largely on the lower side, and the represents both a continued sluggishness of the MCI market and the higher utilization of the E190 there. This is especially true on the E190 flights to BOS and LGA. Both Boston and LaGuardia had a very early westbound/late evening eastbound trip flown by the E190 which averaged only about 26% full for BOS and 31% full for LGA. It’s the largest plane at the weakest time of day. That E190 was on the only MCI-BOS trip, and the other two MCI-LGA trips flown by the E170 were nearly 60% full on average. January is the weakest month of the year, and those off-peak flights with larger aircraft flew lots of empty space. Those will pick up during heavier months.

Also of note is the new OMA-MCO and OMA-TPA service, flown with the 99-seat E190. This just got going in January, and the southbound loads were notably stronger on both than northbound. That pretty much makes sense…the first several days there wouldn’t be so many people returning from Florida. The idea of doing MCO 5x and TPA 2x definitely made Tampa start out weaker. We’ll see how things look in February and March.

The RJ side posted historically strong numbers in many markets, some of which benefitted from the smaller ER3. However if you go back a few years when many of these routes were 32-seat FRJ’s, these are stronger results in many cases than the typical January. (Remember that January is historically a dog of a month in most markets.)

Poor Louisville really sticks out like a sore thumb. It was definitely a high-fare market, but clearly that kind of a load would need very high fares. Anecdotally, business fares to SDF seems to have softened in recent months. Time will tell if it hangs on or not. I don’t think they have much slack to play around with these days and some RJ markets these days (STL, CMH, IND) have peak-time flights which fill up quickly. So perhaps if SDF doesn’t last they will redeploy some lift to other RJ markets.

Regarding the competition, AirTran posted their normal strong numbers to sun markets, good numbers on the long hauls west, and soft numbers in the business markets. Connections and thru traffic appear a key part of the market. We don’t have a way to know about connections, but thru traffic shows up in these stats. SEA-ATL was about 29 thru passengers per day (accounting for about 20% of the load factor); LGA-MSP had 36 thru passengers on an average day (and that does not include connecting passengers, just ones who happened to be on a LGA-MKE-MSP thru flight on the same flight number.) As I mentioned before, January is a notoriously weak month, and the results in the eastern business markets seem to reflect this.

The Skywest numbers are not out of line which what I’ve been hearing. Akron was lighter than I expected, but I knew St Louis was doing reasonably well – a market where the CRJ’s replaced the 717’s. We’ll see how PIT, IND and the new additions of DSM and OMA look as the travel season progresses.

Southwest’s numbers were weaker than I expected, and it’s interesting that the two markets at the lowest end are *not* the markets they are trimming for late summer and fall. Worth noting in January’s comparison, though, is that Southwest continued to fly 3x/day nonstops, but AirTran has cut back from 3x to 2x. So Southwest actually carried more MKE-BWI passengers than AirTran in January, though we don’t know about traffic composition. Similarly, Southwest carried more MKE-LAS passengers than AirTran as well, by a small margin. That route was also one trimmed by AirTran, from 3x to 2x, shortly after Southwest started.

January, again is the weakest month of the year in general, and it’s interesting to see how the market at Milwaukee has grown so much overall – but definitely not caught up to capacity in every instance.

I’ll see if I can patch together some reasonable numbers on the YX A319 flights in Milwaukee and post them.
knope2001 is offline  
Old Apr 15, 10, 5:51 pm
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I believe OMA-MCO/TPA picked-up significantly. Some news article I saw mentioned loads in the high 80s/low 90s.

Frontier is keeping OMA-MCO flights through the summer (Saturday's only) so there must be some potential there.
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Old Apr 15, 10, 6:56 pm
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January is rough! It's obvious why Bob Fornaro once said that if he could shut his airline down for Sept. and January only, he would.

A few thoughts/questions:

Why is MKE-MCO on the list at all for YX? I thought it was completely A319. Were there a few random E190 flights?

WN's numbers are worse than I thought they would be, even for January. What are the chances WN drops to twice daily on BWI and/or MCI for next winter?

It's interesting that LGA always seems to perform better than BOS for YX yet BOS is seeing more flights and seats this summer. I can't imagine yield would be different between the two so it must just be a slot issue at LGA.

No way does SDF make it into Fall. It was worth the attempt though. All the Ohio flights aren't exactly stellar either. $90+ oil is going to kill all these longer CRJ/ERJ flights.
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Old Apr 15, 10, 7:03 pm
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Knope, I forgot to ask if you think the noon YX MKE-MSP flight is going to be dropped given that it does not fit in a bank and was seemingly used to feed DL's MSP hub? Without the DL agreement, the flight doesn't seem to make any sense.

Last edited by FL787; Apr 15, 10 at 8:03 pm
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Old Apr 16, 10, 10:04 am
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Originally Posted by FL787 View Post
Why is MKE-MCO on the list at all for YX? I thought it was completely A319. Were there a few random E190 flights?
Yes, there were some supplemental E190 flights in addition to the A319’s. The only 319 flights in those stats were MKE-DEN…all other 319 flights are excluded. So any mixed markets (other than DEN) show only the E170/E190 numbers.


Originally Posted by FL787 View Post
WN's numbers are worse than I thought they would be, even for January. What are the chances WN drops to twice daily on BWI and/or MCI for next winter?
Possible, but there’s a good chunk of time between now and then. Southwest isn’t generally one to pull back quickly, but we’ve seen them trip fall flights to TPA and MCO already. MKE-BWI at 38.4% was the emptiest route in the Southwest system, though they did have a few city pairs in the low 40’s (BWI-JAN, PHL-PVD, CLE-STL). As with all these stats, it’s important to remember that this is January…the weakest month of the year. Especially in markets where you’re going for at least a fair amount of business travel, it’s best to keep a reasonably consistent year-round schedule and then view the results on the route from a full-year perspective. Still, it wouldn’t be a massive shock if they reduced either of these to 2x.

Originally Posted by FL787 View Post
It's interesting that LGA always seems to perform better than BOS for YX yet BOS is seeing more flights and seats this summer. I can't imagine yield would be different between the two so it must just be a slot issue at LGA.
One thing which leads to Boston’s higher capacity is that Kansas City sends so much traffic through Milwaukee going to Boston. That’s especially true during summer. Even when there are nonstops MCI-BOS, a lot of that traffic ends up going through MKE because of desire for specific flight times. MCI-BOS has a strong seasonal swing and also is departure-time-sensitive.

The slot issue holds MKE-LGA back – instead of flying 5x LGA-MKE but only 2x LGA-DEN, they are going to 4x LGA-MKE so they can increase to 3x LGA-DEN. What I don’t understand is why they are not increasing capacity more on the remaining 4x MKE-LGA. Through aircraft upgrades, they’re going from 380 total seats to 410 total weekday seats each way, even though they are losing a frequency, but that’s still historically a little lighter than it has been.


Originally Posted by FL787 View Post
No way does SDF make it into Fall. It was worth the attempt though. All the Ohio flights aren't exactly stellar either. $90+ oil is going to kill all these longer CRJ/ERJ flights.
Obviously this doesn’t look good for Louisville, but remember that the RJ routes, especially ones which are mostly local traffic, sometimes have rather high yields. The other week we had a last-minute trip to SE Michigan, and we paid $290 each way between MKE and FNT. (Expensive, Delta wanted closer to $500 for DTW). There were five of us. On the leg home we were pretty empty. But the five of us paying $290 each way brought in $1,450 in revenue. Let’s say instead that the plane was full – 37 passengers – but everyone was flying FNT-MKE-DFW on a $220 round trip ticket. That’s $110 each way. If the fare allocation was 35% to FNT-MKE and 65% to MKE-DFW, that means each FNT-MKE passenger brought in $38.50. That full plane would bring in $1424.50 – less revenue than five of us actually brought in on that much emptier FNT-MKE flight the other week.

That is not to say that SDF-MKE is necessarily all high-fare passengers. But a market like this can be significantly better than it appears…or not, if the high-fare local passengers are few and far between. In theory this could be true of any market, but in practice it’s largely the shorter RJ business markets where the high local fares can mean a better financial outcome than the loads suggest.

Louisville could definitely be in trouble. But kind of like I mentioned about BWI on Southwest, it probably makes sense to see how it does over a longer period. It filled seats far better last fall. But the yield here can make a huge difference.

Originally Posted by FL787 View Post
Knope, I forgot to ask if you think the noon YX MKE-MSP flight is going to be dropped given that it does not fit in a bank and was seemingly used to feed DL's MSP hub? Without the DL agreement, the flight doesn't seem to make any sense.
Might be, however it does a couple of other things. (a) it offers connections from the shorter range business markets which arrive MKE around 10-11 o’clock like DAY, PIT and CLE. (b) it takes pressure off of the 1:20pm flight which can use more than 50 seats and (c) it returns to MKE to feed the 4:00pm outbound bank. The 1:20pm MKE-MSP returns too late for most connections east and south.

I’m curious to see what the end of the DL relationship does to MKE-MSP.
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Old Apr 16, 10, 1:40 pm
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Originally Posted by knope2001 View Post
Yes, there were some supplemental E190 flights in addition to the A319’s. The only 319 flights in those stats were MKE-DEN…all other 319 flights are excluded. So any mixed markets (other than DEN) show only the E170/E190 numbers.
So we're only talking about a few flights which is what I was getting at.

Possible, but there’s a good chunk of time between now and then. Southwest isn’t generally one to pull back quickly, but we’ve seen them trip fall flights to TPA and MCO already. MKE-BWI at 38.4% was the emptiest route in the Southwest system, though they did have a few city pairs in the low 40’s (BWI-JAN, PHL-PVD, CLE-STL). As with all these stats, it’s important to remember that this is January…the weakest month of the year. Especially in markets where you’re going for at least a fair amount of business travel, it’s best to keep a reasonably consistent year-round schedule and then view the results on the route from a full-year perspective. Still, it wouldn’t be a massive shock if they reduced either of these to 2x.
I guess I'm just surprised because I've never seen a WN route do so poorly. They should have good feed into BWI. I didn't really expect WN to take a ton of MKE originating traffic though.

One thing which leads to Boston’s higher capacity is that Kansas City sends so much traffic through Milwaukee going to Boston. That’s especially true during summer. Even when there are nonstops MCI-BOS, a lot of that traffic ends up going through MKE because of desire for specific flight times. MCI-BOS has a strong seasonal swing and also is departure-time-sensitive.

The slot issue holds MKE-LGA back – instead of flying 5x LGA-MKE but only 2x LGA-DEN, they are going to 4x LGA-MKE so they can increase to 3x LGA-DEN. What I don’t understand is why they are not increasing capacity more on the remaining 4x MKE-LGA. Through aircraft upgrades, they’re going from 380 total seats to 410 total weekday seats each way, even though they are losing a frequency, but that’s still historically a little lighter than it has been.
I only see 387 seats for the summer schedule so basically flat. Maybe the summer schedule isn't finalized though. I still can't believe FL is going to offer 645 seats this summer. I don't know what the thought process behind that is.

Has YX ever tried 3 daily MCI-BOS to make it as attractive as MCI-LGA?


Might be, however it does a couple of other things. (a) it offers connections from the shorter range business markets which arrive MKE around 10-11 o’clock like DAY, PIT and CLE. (b) it takes pressure off of the 1:20pm flight which can use more than 50 seats and (c) it returns to MKE to feed the 4:00pm outbound bank. The 1:20pm MKE-MSP returns too late for most connections east and south.

I’m curious to see what the end of the DL relationship does to MKE-MSP.
I should have checked the schedule on the way back. It has more network value than I thought.
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Old Apr 16, 10, 6:44 pm
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Originally Posted by FL787 View Post
So we're only talking about a few flights which is what I was getting at.
Yup, that's correct...should have made that clearer.


Originally Posted by FL787 View Post
I guess I'm just surprised because I've never seen a WN route do so poorly. They should have good feed into BWI. I didn't really expect WN to take a ton of MKE originating traffic though.
Both airlines fly a notable amount of traffic MKE-BWI-Florida, including thru flights sometimes.

Originally Posted by FL787 View Post
I only see 387 seats for the summer schedule so basically flat. Maybe the summer schedule isn't finalized though. I still can't believe FL is going to offer 645 seats this summer. I don't know what the thought process behind that is.
On that's right -- the 1:45pm MKE-LGA drops from E190 to E170 in June. Hence 23 fewer seats. It's E190 until then.


Originally Posted by FL787 View Post
Has YX ever tried 3 daily MCI-BOS to make it as attractive as MCI-LGA?
Yup, they did in the summer of 2007 IIRC. Did okay in summer, but not spectacularly.
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