My Best Guess On What Will Happen to American’s Hubs Post-Merger

It is a lot of fun to speculate on a variety of things when it comes to mergers, but the favorite pastime seems to be figuring out what will happen to the route network. Will every hub keep service? Will some go away? Everyone has a different opinion on this, and the reality is that none of us have any idea what will happen because we can’t see inside. But I decided to put out my vision for how things might shake out anyway. Take it for what it’s worth, but it’ll be fun to look back in five years to see how much I messed up.

American US Airways Route Map

Above you can see the combined domestic route map and it really says a lot about what a great combination this can be. In the East and in the West, US Airways brings a lot of new destinations to American. In the Midwest, it’s American that brings the new cities. When you bring all these cities together into the same network, you create more opportunity. My overarching view is that the hubs all remain important but in very different ways. The futures that seem the least clear to me are those of New York and LA. But let’s go through them all.

Miami
Miami is the best hub in the entire system as of this moment. How can I say that considering how absurdly expensive it’s become to serve the airport? Well that expense has actually made it an even better hub for American, somewhat to the detriment of people in South Florida. There are two things going on here.

First of all, Miami is the single best point to access Latin America because of the massive population going between the two regions. (Miami is better classified as Latin America itself.) And Latin America has been an absolute boom town for several years. These markets are simply awesome and there is a ton of money to be made. American’s position in Miami is an easy number one. You combine that with its partner LAN (soon to include TAM since I can’t imagine it going any other way) and you have an incredible operation.

But wait, there’s more. Yes, Miami has thrown away money over the years and is now absurdly expensive. But all that does is keep American’s competition out. If Miami were inexpensive, you would have more airlines trying to serve the place with lower fares, and consumers would be happy. Instead, many are up the road in Ft Lauderdale. Eventually, Latin will fall into recession and demand will sink. Capacity will have to be cut and the hub won’t look as great as it does today, but then it will recover again eventually. Miami will always be important.

Charlotte
I’ve heard many say that Miami’s presence along with higher costs at the combined airline mean Charlotte is sunk. No way. Miami is great for Latin but it is terrible for domestic. Charlotte is the only true competitor to Atlanta in the Southeast US, and that means it is going to remain. It’s true that Charlotte’s local traffic is not as large as in most hubs today, but there are a lot of nearby cities that act like local traffic (higher fares) that help make Charlotte work. And in these small cities, it’s either Delta or US Airways. American would be silly to not keep a strong presence here.

Might some flights become unprofitable with higher costs? Sure, and we will likely see some capacity changes. I’d think we’d see a lot of cuts to the Caribbean and Latin since more of that will flow over Miami, for example.

Washington/National
This is an easy one. It’s a big money-maker for US Airways and the airline dominates. Though it can’t grow and may even have to divest a few slots in this merger, it will still be the biggest airline at the airport and will continue to operate as many flights as it can.

Philadelphia
Philly is another one that people wrongly think will disappear simply because New York is up the road. In Philly, US Airways has built a great operation. There is a large and rich local population and US Airways provides great options to those people and the businesses they work for. I would think that Philly has the ability to grow when this is all said and done. It can remain a very strong jumping-off point for Europe with great access throughout the northeast.

New York
This is a tough one. I have little doubt that American will continue to serve the top business destinations. We’ll see London, Tokyo, Sao Paulo, LA, San Francisco…. You get it. And of course, the US Airways Shuttle will remain to DC and Boston. But beyond those and the hubs, is it worth serving much else?

In New York, American is a distant number three behind United and Delta. (And depending upon how you look at JetBlue, it could go even lower in some ways.) But do you need all these piddly RJs from JFK to places like Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis…? All those are solely there to feed the meager international network. Those should flow through Philly anyway. JFK should really just be there to serve the big long haul business destinations.

LaGuardia might be a bit different in that depending upon the needs of corporate partners, there could be some mid-tier destinations that make sense to continue serving, but it should only be considered if it’s actually profitable. But then again, American won’t shrink unless it could find someone interested in those valuable slots. Maybe JetBlue or Southwest would like some. They could put them to better use anyway.

Chicago
Chicago could be interesting. American is a solid number two in Chicago despite several missteps by United that could have shifted the balance of power. It’s just not going to be number one, and that normally is something that the US Airways guys walk away from. This is different.

American does have a strong presence in Chicago but it needs to make some changes. On short flights, American has built up a nice network of smaller cities in the upper Midwest, many of which aren’t served by United. Think about La Crosse (WI), Waterloo (IA), Champaign/Urbana (IL), and more. There are a lot of these cities around, but they’re served by more expensive regional jets. Just imagine bringing over some US Airways Express Dash-8s from the East Coast and putting them in Chicago. That could make those markets work a lot better.

Then you build on that with decent service to bigger destinations, though potentially less than what we see today. At the same time, medium-sized cities might see more service. Several cities between Chicago and the East Coast can take American today to go West but they can’t do much going East. Now with US Airways filling that hole, American becomes more relevant to people in those cities. And that could mean higher demand for Chicago and Eastern hubs at the expense of Delta and United. Make some changes putting more 70 to 76 seaters in the markets, and you might find yourself a profitable niche in Chicago as the number two airline.

Dallas/Ft Worth
This is another easy one. The DFW hub stays, but it could use a haircut. Cut out a little bit of capacity around the edges and you’ve got it where you want it. At least, that’s the case for now.

Yes, the Wright Amendment goes away next year allowing Southwest to fly all over the US from Love Field, but Southwest can’t add any gates. So it’s not going to be huge. And Love, while most convenient for people in Dallas, is much less convenient for the rest of the Metroplex. American will remain king of this town. It just might want a slightly smaller crown.

Phoenix
The last of the original America West hubs has also been rumored to be on the chopping block, but I don’t see that. Sure, higher costs will make some flights unprofitable, so capacity should shrink. But there is real opportunity in Phoenix as well.

Look at all the cities in the West that can be served by US Airways but not American. You have Long Beach, Burbank, Bakersfield, Oakland, etc. You also have some cities that are better served from Phoenix than LA. I think of places like Reno. With even more feed coming from the power of the combined airline, you have the chance to beef up service in these smaller cities and possibly add more. Places like Carlsbad may come back on the radar. And that can help with the rest of the operation. Sure, Southwest is good-sized, but its costs keep rising and this team knows how to compete with that airline. And Phoenix is the best option American will have to reach the smaller cities in the West.

I imagine Phoenix will initially contract, especially with frequencies in bigger markets, but I still see a good future.

Los Angeles
The last one on the list is also the toughest (well, it’s in a tie with New York) to predict. LA is a mess with a lot of different airlines trying to battle it out for supremacy. That kind of thing is generally not what the current US Airways management team wants to play with. But it knows that it needs a big presence especially since there is a supposedly-profitable relationship today with the high-paying entertainment and financial industries. But to how many places does American really need to fly?

Yes, you need New York and most likely Boston. Of course you go to all your hubs and San Francisco while you’re at it. And I’m sure Vegas is important to feed your international partners to Asia. Hawai’i probably keeps some flights. But how much else do you really need? You have joint venture partners to serve London and Tokyo (BA and JAL respectively). You may keep Shanghai. But look at all those regional jets going to Albuquerque, Tucson, Reno, and more. That may be there to feed international flights but is it really worth the expense? I’d be surprised. And all those intra-California cities? As mentioned, those are better off with service through Phoenix.

In the end, I think LA and New York shrink to the point where you can adequately serve your best customers but you don’t bother with much else. Of course, this again brings up the question of Asia, and what exactly to do about serving that area.

I’ll talk about that tomorrow, because it’s not nearly as bad as you might think.

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82 Comments on "My Best Guess On What Will Happen to American’s Hubs Post-Merger"

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Tim
Guest

Do you think they’ll add a destination from LGB, or remain PHX only?

ChuckMO
Guest

Probably the best analysis on the AA/US hub futures I’ve read so far. I’ve seen some far-fetched hypothesis especially regarding PHX (obliterated) and PHL cut down to focus city with JFK absorbing the loss (yeah, right). One “analyst” even had CLT on the chopping block due to it’s proximity to MIA which goes to show their total lack of geographical knowledge, but doom-and-gloom gets the readers, right?

Sean S.
Guest

Its not a matter of geographical knowledge. Its a matter of with the inevitable cuts to Latin American flights and other transcons in CLT, will there be the demand domestically to buoy CLT in the SE region? CLT is not comparable to ATL in scope and size, and its not hard to imagine many flights from smaller airports re-routed to other hubs for other connecting flights.

Andrew
Guest

Even if you cut the transcons and LA flights out of CLT, what are you going to do with the other 600 flights per day? There’s still plenty of feed besides transcon/caribbean. And that’s assuming transcons get cut, but is that even a valid assumption? You’d have to start flights from DFW or ORD to every market in the SE that is served from CLT right now, and I just don’t see that happening.

Sanjeev M
Guest

Totally agree with dash 8 and E175 making Chicago work. i’m less sure about phx, but it will remain in smaller form, and NRT PHX will be added.

MeanMeosh
Guest
Cranky – would like to pick your brain a little deeper on DFW. When you say “cut around the edges”, what are you thinking there, at least in your ideal scenario? And where would that traffic be serviced from instead? I guess what immediately pops to mind is moving some RJ flights around that are in better proximity to PHX or CLT, but curious what you had in mind. Some very early scare tactics predicted the apocalypse and had the new USAA de-hubbing DFW, which I think is silly, but I just hope this doesn’t mean downgrades to connecting service… Read more »
Tory
Member
United trimmed IAH a bit after the merger, given that they now had Denver, LAX, and SFO (went from as high as ~750 flights/day towards 600, but high fuel costs and RJs played a part in that too). I would expect AA to do the same thing with DFW given PHX and CLT. ~800 flights/day seems high given all the other hubs. Maybe closer to 700? Especially with SWA opening up at Love? I’d be curious to hear some thoughts on how they will split the Latin America feeds (including Mexico) among PHX, DFW, and MIA. United puts it all… Read more »
MeanMeosh
Guest
The big thing at DFW in relation to Latin American traffic is that there is a ton of O/D traffic between DFW and Mexico (trade between Texas and Mexico alone dwarfs the GDP of many third world countries), whereas not so much to South America. So, I’m not sure how much dilution you could realistically do there, except maybe kill off the few nonstops remaining to places like GIG, SCL, EZE, etc. and route all that traffic through MIA, or maybe PHX or LAX for those living out west. Also, IMHO, the effect of WN opening up at DAL is… Read more »
noahkimmel
Member
Its a rosy picture, Cranky! But your logic makes sense. Chicago is a winnable market if capacity/frequency can be right sized with larger RJs and smaller mainline (70-110 seat aircraft). May not be #1, but a profitable duopoly could exist Charlotte/Miami are golden eggs, and while capacity may shift around and destinations may shuffle, the carrier is big enough to sustain both for awhile (if DL can keep MSP/DTW or the somewhat anemic ATL/MEM, there is no reason for MIA/CLT to be massively up or down gauged) Agree on PHX, DFW Curious about LAX. This will be the point where… Read more »
Nick Barnard
Member

Re: LAX I think Parker is very much on being profitable, but not prestigious instead of being prestigious and unprofitable.

That being said, I’m sure they’ll put effort into understanding how prestige feeds into profit in a unique market like LAX

Pilotaaron1
Guest

Concerning Asia, I think PHX has the ability to do that. It would be a great connecting point for a lot of the us to Asia. I think they have the population to make it work.

Matthew Zhang
Guest

Population isn’t the issue, the issue is that Phoenix just doesn’t have the Asian population to make Asia work, if they did, airlines like US Airways would have considered it a long time ago

Courtney
Guest
CLT won’t blow up, but it will become quite redundant. Yes, there is quite a bit of Southeast regional traffic to be fed through CLT, but it’s limited to the Carolinas and Georgia (which is only really Atlanta anyway). A lot of CLTs movements now go Northeast into Latin America, which is now entirely redundant. Europe feed is not only redundant, it’s detrimental to filling the PHL and JFK hubs. I’d guess you’d keep an LHR and that’s it. You’ll start to see CLT slowly shrink as American’s network planning department naturally sees the light. I think airport to look… Read more »
Tory
Member

In addition to some geographic redundancy, would it be fair to say that US used its lower cost advantage to drive connecting traffic through the CLT hub, and that that cost advantage will erode and possibly even disappear in the merger?

Courtney
Guest

Very good point. US has been able to leverage it’s cost advantage to pull more passengers out of their way from a circuity standpoint. I was looking for a way to describe that, but you were much better at it than I.

Andrew
Guest
I just don’t see CLT’s geographic redundancy, as you state. It’s geography is one of its strongest assets. The main redundancy is for Caribbean flying, but that’s a small part of the traffic that goes through CLT. There’s a reason AA tried for years for a SE hub, at both BNA and RDU. Those failed because of the combination of ATL and CLT, but there’s definitely room for two hubs in the SE. I don’t ultimately disagree that CLT could end up as a domestic hub, a bit smaller than it’s current form. Something like MSP for DL, perhaps.
Bill from DC
Guest
I agree, USAA will have a LOT of cities that will have flights to CLT that will not have access to PHL, JFK or MIA. That feed should keep most of the x-atlantic and even carribbean connections alive. Of course there will be (and should be) some paring down due to schedules redundancy but not nearly as much as those who think the world revolves around the northeast and west coast are otherwise inclined to think. Fortunately for CLT, Parker is not one of those people. I am not sure how much effect US’ cost advantage had in saturating this… Read more »
aerojunkie
Guest

CF — spot-on analysis and prognostication. Can’t wait to see what Parker & team do. As I was reading it, I kept thinking of the thankfully discarded “Cornerstone” strategy. What a disaster that would’ve been.

yo
Guest
I see redundancies at CLT, and some shrinkage there. PHX will also depend on the economy, PHX is a bellweather city and has been doing well, economy wise and it can maintain it’s present level (with some more service to JFK and MIA). LAX is a mess, keep the big cities, keep asia, dump the rest. PHL vs JFK? That is tough, cost vs power I guess. DFW and ORD I can see some domestic cuts in DFW and smaller planes in ORD. But, Southwest is no longer the giant beater,now is the time to leverage some pressure against Southwest… Read more »
kozmaterry
Member

Too much of AA hype in your analysis. Look for some ORD slippage. 3 carriers are too many for one connecting point

Evan
Guest
Great analysis, Brett. For me, the big question is how fast Doug will dismantle AA’s “Cornerstone” approach. All you say above makes sense — except for 1 problem: NYC and LAX have been a big part of the investor story in AA. They’ve reiterated their plan ad nauseum for the last 2-years in bankruptcy, which summarizes to: We have big presences in the largest US cities. Period. Opposite of US, which has dominant presences in 2nd rate US cities. So how do you reconcile the two? Your description above reeks of Doug Parker, rightly so given he’s the new CEO.… Read more »
noahkimmel
Member

I completely agree! Its possible that Parker is that good of an airline manager that he can adapt to the airline he runs. AA is not US and the combined carrier has to decide how to position itself. There is no shame in big fish in smaller ponds (PHX, PHL, etc.) but it is not what people think of as American Airlines. The investor call seemed to suggest that DP wants to be the pre-eminent, US Airline and match the best of American with the discipline of US. Time will tell!

DesertGhost
Guest
US Airways had a “cornerstone” approach, just as AMR did. The big difference is that US is strong in all of its cornerstones (even if they’re in “2nd rate” cities like my hometown, Phoenix, which isn’t second rate at all, but my bias is showing). American was weak in 60% of its cornerstones. Maybe it’s better to be strong in second rate cities than to be uncompetitive in large ones? The merger changes that a bit. The strong “2nd rate” markets can add enough heft (both traffic wise and financially) to improve the airline’s competitive position in the “1st rate”… Read more »
Shane
Guest

One word why JFK won’t grow: slots. Where slot restrictions are an advantage at DCA an LGA, American does not have enough slots to grow connecting international traffic without cutting the RJ feeds. Brett has the right solution: focus on frequency to the important domestic business centers and intl traffic to OneWorld cities, business centers and mid-size cities with stron o&d. Many of the current RJ cities are better served from LGA.

A
Guest

Going off other recent mergers we saw Memphis, Cincy and Cleveland get “de-hubbed” so based on that I’d expect Charlotte to get axed just due to it being the smallest market and relatively close to other hubs in DC/Philly and Miami.

SEAN
Guest
Dehubbing CLT? Absolutely not! Charlotte not only feeds the southeast, but as a business hub is the second largest finantial center in the US & is the home of Bank of America. So constant feeds from other corporate cities will be nessessary. That’s not to say that there won’t be some shrinkage, but not as much as some might think. Some compared this to MEM, but Memphis is not the corporate town that Charlotte is. CVG is also a corporate town being home to Macy’s Inc & a few others, but doesn’t have the location or population that can support… Read more »
Someome
Guest

SEAN – We need to end this myth that Charlotte is the 2nd largest financial center in the US. It’s not even close.

Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Miami – in that order follow after NYC. Charlotte is not even 20% of Chicago in terms of financial industry volume/activity.

SEAN
Guest
Regardless if what you say is true, Charlotte is still a sizeable corporate town with BOA & Wells Fargo all be it smaller than what it was a few years ago. There’s still a need for flights for business travelers & connecting through Clt is far better than say going through ATL & the horror show that is MIA. One thing on MIA… that hub was developed for Eastern & American moved in when they baught there assetsout of liquidation in 1991 after the first gulf war. Also United had a small hub there as well, but dismantled it giving… Read more »
Andrew
Guest

CLT isn’t at all “relatively close to other hubs in DC/Philly and Miami.” There would be a giant hole in the AA map without a SE hub (just like there currently is, which is why AA is so weak on the East Coast).

Bill from DC
Guest

Seriously. Much of the value US brings to this table is strength in the SE part of the country with CLT at the heart of all of that.

SEAN
Guest

Exactly. Clt was US’s largest hub & now AA can move flights into a more favorable southeast location as MIA’s strength is really long hall international vs CLT’s domestic service.

Eric A.
Member
Honestly, I doubt that have any idea what the combined network will look like….but I think Brett is on the right path. One of the key variables will be how they rationalize the patchwork mess known as Express. This PSA,PI,Mesa, Republic (2 certs), AirWis,TSA menagerie is unsustainable as is….throw Eagle into the bowl (with some Skywest contract flying) and it gets mind boggling. Sure…moving prop lift to help ORD makes allot of sense…but what happens to the small mid Atlantic markets that feed PHL? The CLT & PHL elephant in the living room is that over 50% of the lift… Read more »
Kyle
Guest

I doubt they would agree to complete a merger without having any idea what the combined network would look like. Also, US has over a 3rd of its regional aircraft operated by wholly owned carriers, while AA was moving more towards contract flying in bankruptcy (including wanting to spin off Eagle). I think the network makes sense with largely connecting traffic through CLT and PHX, a mix through DFW, ORD, MIA and PHL, and largely O&D through JFK and LAX

Andrew
Guest

Why would the small mid-Atlantic markets that feed PHL change at all? There is zero room for growth at LGA or JFK, so that capacity isn’t going to shift there…so if it’s not going through PHL, where exactly is it going to shift? Are you suddenly going to start feeding traffic from New England, upstate NY, small markets in PA, etc through ORD? Doesn’t make any sense. I don’t see how PHL is hurt by this in any way.

SEAN
Guest

Andrew they wouldn’t. Infact you could see AA routing some if not most regional flights through PHL as there’s a new terminal F designed for US’s smaller jets. As a result, those JFK or LGA slots could be upgaged for more profitable flights for business travelers. Also flights from say PVD to JFK just seme to be a waist of slots as there are better ways to travel throughout the northeast.

DesertGhost
Guest
I agree with your overall analysis, Brett. One important point to remember is that the combined carrier will have a sizeable presence in 5 of the six largest cities in the U.S. (in order, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia and Phoenix; Dallas is 9th, Fort Worth is 16th, combined, they?re fourth). The new carrier will have a fortress hub or enjoy the largest market share at four more airports (i.e., 6 out of nine airports – 66.7% – instead of two out of five – 40%), so it can leverage its strength in those areas to support its… Read more »
qmwolfe
Member

Nice post, really good observations

jboekhoud
Member
A few thoughts/questions: 1. Why is it necessary to have a southeast hub at CLT when there are 6 other hubs surrounding it? 2. Both JFK and LAX have a lot of service from oneworld and other partner airlines. I assume at least some of that traffic is passengers connecting onwards with AA. Doesn’t that imply a need to keep a substantial domestic schedule from both airports? I doubt QF would want to shift service to PHX or BA to PHL. 3. Slightly OT, why don’t any of the big carriers have a northwest hub? Surely SEA or PDX would… Read more »
chinger
Guest

In concerns to number 2, BA already serves PHL. In this respect, BA is going to get a big boost in that market with all the potential feeder.

Nick Barnard
Member

One of the issues you get into with a Northwest hub is the same problem that Miami has – its in a bad location to be a hub. Your two options are SEA and PDX, both of which are currently dominated by AS. AS had a good regional feed with QX and large metro areas to support the hubs, however they suck to connect unless you’re going intra-regionally.

The PNW can be served from SLC, DEN, and even PDX reliably.

Ron
Guest
I’m unclear on the concept of a double transatlantic gateway in Philadelphia and New York. The model of O&D from New York and O&D plus connections from Philly can work to the major European cities and OneWorld hubs. But what about smaller destinations? Take my favorite, Tel Aviv: There’s definitely some demand from Philly, but the current nonstop flight depends heavily on connections. New York would get more top dollar traffic, but wouldn’t survive on O&D alone (even El Al relies on domestic code sharing, presently with American and Jet Blue). Developing a major international gateway in New York would… Read more »
SEAN
Guest

As I said above, you can reroute some connecting flights through PHL & avoid the congestion that is NYC airspace.

There are as many as a half dozen flights to TLV from JFK & EWR depending on the day of the week, so moving the flight out of PHL to JFK isn’t nessessary. plus the US flight goes to a different airport TEL instead of TLV.

Interestingly several flights to TLV originate out of LAX with only one El Al nonstop, the rest connect through PHL, EWR or JFK.

LAFlyer
Guest

One minor point–There’s only one major international airport in Israel, and that’s TLV. TEL does not exist.

Bill from DC
Guest

Actually, a TEL exists but it is in Malaysia!

Ron
Guest
Tel Aviv has two airports: Ben Gurion (TLV) and Sde Dov (SDV). TLV is the main international airport; SDV is technically also international in the sense that it has immigration and customs facilities, but those only serve private and government aircraft and perhaps an occasional charter. The only commercial service at SDV is domestic; all commercial international traffic goes to TLV. Presently, US Airways flights 796/797 are the only ones marketed as a through service between Los Angeles and Tel Aviv (with a change of aircraft in Philadelphia). Delta used to market such a flight with a change of aircraft… Read more »
SEAN
Guest

Thanks Ron, I stand corrected. When I flew Contenental to Los Angeles in 2005, my return flight was 90. Found it interesting that this flight continued to tel Aviv.

I’m just wondering how do you know so much regarding Tel Aviv flights?

Thanks.

David SF eastbay
Member
A lot of thoughts here, and I always wonder when that happens if the AA/US people who are reading this and reporting back to higher up are laughing at some of the ideas or thing ‘wow that person nailed what we are going to do’. Need to remember at JFK and LAX AA is not just feeding their flights, but their international partners who must count on that feed a great deal. So unless all their international partners want to move operations to PHL and PHX, JFK and LAX are still going to play a big role for the combined… Read more »
Bill from DC
Guest

Good points but that assumes THEY know what they are going to do!

stan
Guest

ditch philly and rebuild PIT!!!

no, really, do that!

sigh…….

SEAN
Guest

Why? Let’s here your reasoning.

stan
Guest

(calm down, i was joking)

Phil
Guest

What happens at PIT is actually an interesting sidebar to this discussion. US has a brand new operations center and primary maintenance facility at PIT. What if anything happens to these facilities?

I miss the days of connecting at PIT. Great terminal and airspace is wide open unlike PHL being smashed in-between NYC and DC. If I had a nickel for every time I have been 15+ in line for takeoff at PHL I would have a lot of nickels.

Jim
Guest

Well, if we’re going this direction, ditch ORD and rebuild STL!

Nick Barnard
Member

If we’re going back that far we should ditch ORD and build up DAY from the Piedmont days!

marshall
Member
Nice analysis Cranky. I’m always a bit mystified in the popularity of the idea that CLT somehow goes away in this merger. Frankly, I sometimes wonder if some of these “experts” have ever been to Charlotte. I do expect there will be some reductions in Caribbean and Latin America flying, and Europe flying from Charlotte will probably come down to just the big 3 of LHR, FRA, and CDG. I could be wrong. Lufthansa manages to fill an A340 to MUC, but the loss of Star Alliance connectivity will negatively impact that. The area within a 60 mile radius of… Read more »
ghlewis
Member
I would love to see someone compete with SWA on the West Coast. I travel almost every week on SWA – no choice. I am a bit troubled with “American” trying again on the West Coast after the Reno Air and AirCal debacles, and PSA going away. Give me a decent flight up and down the coast [other than Alaska] WITH a seat assignment, and take me out of “line-ups” and 24-hour prior check-in’s and I’d be a happy guy. Delta flies out of OAK 4 times a day to LAX, but not to SNA, BUR, or ONT. Flight from… Read more »
Brandon
Guest

I think PHX will be just fine – look at is as USAA’s Southwest US version of DL’s SLC hub. Perhaps the right sizing of PHX and DFW will happen since they will both be competing for some of the same cross country fliers who need to connect through a hub.

ptahcha
Guest

I see LA being shrunk before JFK having cuts. JFK will continue to focus on the long-haul/international routes, while LGA will be serving the high profit, mid-con routes within its perimeter. Speaking of which, where is AA/US going to house its operations in LGA after the merger? In the main terminal where AA just finished its refurbishment is my guess, while the shuttle operations will migrate to Marine Terminals after its swap with Delta.

Oliver
Guest

The one key question I have: On the map, what’s that lone red (=AA) city up in northern California, way north of San Francisco? It looks like Arcata/Eureka or perhaps Croissant City, but I don’t think AA offers service up there.

Bob
Guest

I don’t see why there is a need for 3 northeast hubs. I could see DC surviving but why NYC and Philly. I believe the new American should keep CLT and MIA at current levels or even increase flights.

kc and the sunshine band
Guest
CF, I like your analysis; it is much more balanced than most I have seen (which either are reprints of merger-related press releases or slash and burn predictions). A couple of observations: (1) UA+CO is bigger than AA+US in Chicago based on total traffic, but if you look at the shares of O&D traffic, they are close. United carries a lot more connecting traffic, which may or may not be a good thing. (If you look at just domestic O&D traffic UA+CO, AA+US, and WN+FL have very similar shares.) (2) While I have seen the various CLT vs. MIA scenarios,… Read more »
mharris127
Guest
I would hate to see the old PSA network dismantled as Brent suggests may happen. I know I would not want to have to connect in Phoenix just to fly from LAX to SFO or OAK. For those unaware PSA was the old inter-California airline during the pre-deregulation days. PSA was bought up by US Air in about 1986-1987. I can see eliminating Fresno as that is within driving distance of both LA and SF but other than that what is left of the PSA network serves a distinct purpose as long as it is cheaper than driving (figure driving… Read more »
SAL
Guest
Good analysis on the AA/US hubs. Best one I have read. Doug Parker focuses on profit over prestige, and prefers to dominate a small market instead of competing in a bigger market. Most likely, the new AA will resemble the current US, but on a larger scale. As for the hubs, I agree with your analysis on each of them. Additional thoughts: MIA vs CLT – CLT is better for domestic connections within the southeast as well as north-south flows along the east coast. MIA is a better gateway to Central and South America and Carribean. JFK vs PHL –… Read more »
Socalduck
Guest

Agreed, LAX and JFK remain focus cities, but not hubs. The ATC situation in the NY area is so bad, I would do anything possible to avoid having to connect through there.

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