Topic of the Week: Alaska’s Move on San Diego

Alaska Airlines, SAN - San Diego

You might have missed this, but Alaska is really making its move on San Diego. It just started using Horizon props to fly from San Diego to Santa Rosa, Monterey, and Fresno last week. It also announced that it would begin flying from there to Orlando. The airline even painted a Horizon Q400 in San Diego State University colors to show its commitment. Will this work?

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14 comments on “Topic of the Week: Alaska’s Move on San Diego

  1. I think it makes sense, they are really not ramping up that much and they are finding small pockets that do not have competition. In addition to SEA and PDX, they already have flights to HNL, OGG and 2 destinations in Mexico.

    Therefore, their new service is just 4 daily Horizon flights (STS, FAT 2x, MRY) and 5 flights per week to MCO which IIRC is the busiest route from SAN w/o a nonstop (since US decided to do DCA with its outside perimeter exemption).

  2. Well San Diego is the second largest city in California with a large military population plus is just a hop skip and jump to Tijuana with a population of its own of almost 2 million people. With all the beaches, activities and pleasant year round weather it is a big O/D market.

    It could work very well for them if done right. Between Seattle at the top of the US west coast and San Diego at the bottom, they can cover a lot of ground in between.

    1. Well said. Also remember Southwest has a focus city in SAN, so this allows Alaska to fill gaps in the network where Southwest doesn’t currently fly.

  3. If they were proposing flying a 747 2x daily from SAN-MCO, I might be worried. But based on this rather modest proposal, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. It’s not like SAN (a decent sized market as David points out) is swimming in excess capacity, or that AS is flooding the market with a bunch of new capacity. AS also seems to have a pretty good track record with new routes, so I’m inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt that they know what they’re doing.

  4. Over 215+ people daily fly between SAN & MCO each direction. Many synergies between San Diego & Orlando in the biomedical & healthcare, defense, and leisure industries that will welcome and fly this new Alaska Airlines nonstop route.

  5. Alaska is banking on good O&D traffic plus good connections from MCO via SAN to HNL. They should get it, especially with their good service on long-hauls. Diversification of their network actually lowers risk, as we’ve seen with JetBlue’s expansion outside NYC.

  6. Seems like a smart, strategic move by Alaska. On a side note, living here in PDX Alaska is definitely a preferrred carrier (and my preferred carrier). On occassion you read rumors about Alaska being a takeover target, I hope it never happens but we all know there are no sure things in the airline industry.

    1. The issue with takeover rumors is that Alaska has built up a good bit of synergies with carriers all over the place to the point that those act as poison pills for any acquiring carrier.

      1. Also, because it’s profitable, it would be expensive to acquire (at least right now). It’s market capitalization is around $2.5 billion. That’s more than any US-based airline except for Delta, United, and Southwest. It’s promiscuous partnering with other airlines has worked well, and it’s a great frequent flyer program to bank all non-Star Alliance miles.

  7. As a local I like a lot of what Alaska brings to the table. Already have flown on their OGG flight and have another reservation booked to fly this route in the Summer. Most of the new intra-California routes have already been proven when flown by Express Jet, so the risk is minimal. I’m bummed though that their new service to MRY is timed primarily only for San Diego bound flyers.

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