David Neeleman’s New Airline, Moxy, is Not Going to Make Southwest Happy

Breeze, Southwest

By now you’ve likely heard about David Neeleman’s new airline, Moxy, which I hope is a temporary name. While full details are sparse, we can already see the outlines of how David would like this to come together. If any airline is going to be unhappy with these plans, it’s Southwest. This model strikes at the heart of Southwest’s bread-and-butter markets.

As reported, the general plan is this:

  1. Buy 60 CS300s
  2. Go with a low-cost but high-frill model
  3. Fly between a slew of secondary airports
  4. Get rich

If this sounds like some crazy plan to you, then you aren’t alone. Normally, I’d be tearing an idea like this to pieces as I do with most hare-brained start-ups. But I learned something important long ago…. Don’t ever bet against David Neeleman.

Time and time again David has found a way to churn out winning airlines. While there are similarities between some of the efforts he’s made, there are also stark differences. He just always seems to find a way to make things work in a way that no other person has. If anyone has one successful start-up airline in their lifetime, then they should be happy. David, meanwhile, is going to have to start using fingers on his other hand to keep track. Because of that, any idea he puts forward is worth further scrutiny. Let’s do it.

Secondary Airports
First, it’s important to note the biggest difference between this and JetBlue, the airline he started nearly 20 years ago. JetBlue was an instant success primarily because the airline swooped into JFK, scooped up a ton of slots, and created an instantly-defensible position with no chance for other new entrants to step in. Sure the product helped propel success, but it was really that cache of slots at JFK that was the gold mine. That does not exist in this new model.

This airline will apparently look to fly from uncrowded secondary airports, so anyone would be able to come in if they so chose. There are plenty of secondary airports around, but few of them are overly attractive on the surface. New York has Stewart, way up the Hudson River, or Islip out on Long Island. Boston has Providence and Manchester. LA has Burbank, Ontario, Orange County, and Long Beach. Orlando has Sanford. Tampa has St Pete. Charlotte has Concord. Phoenix has Mesa. Dallas/Ft Worth has Ft Worth’s Meacham (among others). Detroit has City Airport. San Diego has Carlsbad. You get the point.

Some of these airports, like Providence and Islip, saw big growth when Southwest came to town. But once Southwest realized the revenue at more congested primary airports was so much better, it muscled its way in and slashed and burned secondary airport service in its wake. Providence used to have enough Southwest service to appeal to Bostonians. Now it just has enough to make it appeal to the locals.

The last two on that lengthy list, however, are different, because Southwest and others can’t really serve those airports well today. Runway restrictions mean that your normal narrowbodies can’t go all that far from those fields. (In Carlsbad, they can’t operate at all.) But throw the C-Series CS300 in there, and suddenly you can serve those airports. The CS300 is a key weapon in this fight.

The C-Series as a Weapon
With 60 on order, this new airline will be major customer for the C-Series right off the bat. I have no doubt that these things were purchased at an incredible bargain. The C-Series is a great airplane, but other than with Delta, it has had trouble finding a home in the US. According to Airline Weekly, this airline will put in up to 4 classes of service with flat beds on longer flights. That means the configuration is going to be somewhere between 120 and 145. In other words, it’s fairly similar to a 737-700 but it’s far more comfortable (5 across instead of 6, quieter, big bins, huge windows, etc) and economically it’s an easy winner against the Boeing entry-level jet.

Is this an artificial barrier? To some extent. Sure, any airline can go buy the C-Series if it wants, but most airlines have stayed away. For some, it’s an issue of commonality. Airlines that already support the 737 family would heavily weight a 737-700 purchase (*cough* United *cough*) just for that reason. For others, like Delta, the interest in more in replacing shorter to mid-haul flying done by 717s with the smaller CS100. For an airline without any history, the CS100 and CS300 can be a nice family. But for airlines that already operate Boeings or Airbuses at the lower end of the range, it’s a tougher sell.

In particular, think about Southwest, that airline that should be most afraid of Moxy. This is an airline that continues to stick to its guns on operating only one aircraft type, the 737. It inherited a smaller fleet of 717s from AirTran but it quickly discarded them. In the meantime, Southwest has become more interested in adding 737-800s or MAX 8s. It wants bigger airplanes and it wants bigger airports.

Southwest Should Be Concerned
Even though Southwest’s growth has been focused on bigger airports, it continues to make serious money in its bread-and-butter markets, the mid-size cities around the country that have limited options outside of connecting through hubs on the big three. (These are the same markets that ultra low cost carriers are targeting, albeit with infrequent service.) Southwest knows it has the advantage, and it has jacked up fares over the years because it could. When Southwest has competition, it plays the low-fare game. But when it doesn’t, its fares aren’t so low.

Now, Moxy is showing an interest in these cities. Some are places that Southwest has scaled back. Remember how Providence used to be Southwest’s gateway to Boston? Well, now that Southwest has abandoned that strategy, Moxy wants to move in, or so the reports suggest. Moxy is going to try to beat Southwest at its own game by going into secondary markets and using that cost advantage to undercut the carriers at the big airports. It will also, if the plan holds, expand into secondary markets over time that have been largely forgotten by everyone except Southwest.

I’m if Southwest, I’m prepping my army of 737-700s to go fight this battle, but it’s going to be tough to do. Assuming Moxy has bag fees, multiple classes, a lower cost structure overall, and more efficient airplanes, it is going to be a formidable opponent. Southwest will look like the old network airline trying to defend its turf. Talk about the tables being turned….

If Southwest wants, it can outlast Moxy. It can fly some 737-700s around all day trying to compete, and it won’t care if it loses money. The rest of the operation can subsidize it. But Moxy will be a better onboard experience. While Southwest has stubbornly stuck to its guns on having one class of service, Moxy will give people options all the way up the ladder. The new airline will also be able to fly from airports that Southwest’s fleet can’t touch today. Southwest may like its operation in San Diego, bu suddenly Moxy can come into Carlsbad with the CS300. Oh, and Philly? Well, the CS300 can do transcons from Trenton. There are a lot of places like this around the US, some that will work better than others. But this is going to be a headache for Southwest.

Don’t get me wrong. I still worry about the viability of this plan, even though the details aren’t yet known. It’s going to require a ton of cash to survive the guaranteed Southwest response. But again, this is David Neeleman we’re talking about. It’s generally not a great idea to bet against him.

Get Cranky in Your Inbox!

The airline industry moves fast. Sign up and get every Cranky post in your inbox for free.

102 comments on “David Neeleman’s New Airline, Moxy, is Not Going to Make Southwest Happy

      1. Perhaps the name “MOXY” will be changed to something like “ALTAIR”? Marriott has already presented their new hotel development called “MOXY”! Perhaps this is a joint service concept or “MOXY-MIX”?!

    1. DN has not traditionally been friendly toward pilots, either. Anyone doing their homework is going to need more reassurance than otherwise taking a chance on another of his startups.

    2. It may be a risk, and the pay might not be more than what they’re getting, but the pilots flying for regional’s without mainline flow thru would probably be interested.

    3. There is already such a shortage of pilots, I’m not so sure many new hires will want to go to an airline that hasn’t been around for a while, not to sure about where they will be in the future of the airline if it lasts, it’s more of a gamble than going to the legacy airlines that probably aren’t going anywhere, or Southwest who have been going for a long time. I couldn’t see moxy as a largely popular airline, like the article is trying to say. I feel if it lasts at all, it will be in the class of spirit, allegiant, and frontier, those already aren’t very appealing to many pilots, and it wouldn’t help that they haven’t been around a while. I just can’t see moxy having a bright future

    4. Neeleman can hire all the pilots who are objecting to ALPA donating to a private political PAC co-founded by Rye Barcott David Gergen called WithHonor.org. The claim that it is bi-partisan is a collection of former Marines. The one candidate is Dan McCready,a Charlotte Democrat and business partner of Rye Barcott-Double Time Capital Llc.

  1. Interesting article. I haven’t read much about the CS300, but based on your description I’d love to try it as a pax.

    Not sure if the numbers entirely work out, but based on a few quick checks of minimum takeoff/landing distances for the CS300 I’d add MKC (Kansas City downtown airport) and LUK (Cincinnati Lunken airport, a few miles from downtown) to the list of potential airports for Moxy to serve.

    Near the moneyed northern ‘burbs of NYC, both Tweed New Haven and White Plains would appear to have potential (at least on the surface), though each already has some service.

    1. LUK is a non-starter for scheduled service in Cincinnati. The local government has no intention of ever allowing it again. G4 was the last to inquire and they’re doing just fine at CVG. Frankly with the growth of freight business there, landing fees are pretty competitive these days.

      Is Moxy going after secondary markets like Cincinnati or secondary airports in larger markets?

      1. Jason – The answer appears to be “yes.” It’s looking at both secondary markets and secondary airports in primary markets. But again, we aren’t going on a lot of information here.

      2. Eh, I know it’s not technically the same thing, but Ultimate Air Shuttle’s scheduled charter services out of LUK seem to be doing pretty well.

    2. Rather than Cincinnati my guess is that they will go in to Dayton. WN gave up DAY and CAK and moved to CVG and CLE respectively. DAY and CAK were old Airtran stations that WN felt were too small. In the past, there were a lot of people from the northern suburbs of Cincy that would make the hour drive to DAY for flights when CVG costs were outrageous because of the Delta monopoly. My guess is that they will also go in to SDF to pick up the southern suburbs of Cincy /northern Kentucky and southern Indiana.

      1. I could see DAY being a better option than CVG. Not sure if it’s changed, but when I lived in the area five years ago the break-even point between DAY and CVG (in terms of “door-to-gate” travel time) was roughly 10-15 minutes north of downtown Cincinnati, and the northern Cincy burbs are where a lot of money is… I even did this for business trips a lot.

        CVG is a pain to get in and out of for an airport of its current size, and Dayton, Indy, Louisville, Lexington, and Columbus are all around the 1-2 hour drive mark depending on where you are in the Cincinnati metro area.

        The one thing I loved about CVG when I lived in the area in 2011-2013 was the company that the airport had running the official airport long-term parking. They had people at the entrance gate to the long term parking handing you the time-stamped entrance ticket and then telling you where to park. Those people would radio ahead to the shuttle bus, so that the bus would usually follow you to the parking spot or be there by the time you got your bags out of the car, with no wait. Absolutely phenomenal execution for self-parking at an off-airport location, and still what I compare all other parking operators to.

  2. Also, what are the possibilities of the CS300 doing trans-Atlantic service from the Northeast down the road (presumably with other operators, not Moxy) perhaps with a fuel stop westbound? Might take a beefier variant of the plane, but could be interesting.

      1. Interesting. Just based on the range, ETOPS-certified CS300s could open up some thin routes for connections in (say) Iceland or the Azores as well if the economics are right.

        1. Kilroy, FYI – The CS300 is not ETOPS certified as the EASA continues to put off a decision due to nagging engine troubles.

  3. “By now you’ve likely heard about David Neeleman’s new airline, Moxy, which I hope is a temporary name”

    Ditto. And I thought “Joon” was bad.

    Echoing Roger above, I’d be curious to see how he plans on recruiting pilots (and AMTs for that matter). In the 90s and 00s, startups could count on a relative glut of trained personnel amid a fragmented market with weaker incumbents but the calculus has changed in pretty much every respect since then.

    1. Itami- I don’t really see any airline coming up and going far these days, maybe when the industry was thriving and pilots and crew needed these jobs, but now there’s a shortage and not many people coming up, he’s going to have trouble on this one

      1. For most maintenance im guessing he is going to farm that out to Delta Techops cause they are going to be sharing a type and not competing so delta will likely be doing most of the work/farming it out their own subs, for pilots steal from the regionals same as the LCC guys i guess.

    2. For most maintenance im guessing he is going to farm that out to Delta Techops cause they are going to be sharing a type and not competing so delta will likely be doing most of the work/farming it out their own subs, for pilots steal from the regionals same as the LCC guys i guess.

  4. You incorrectly speculate that Southwest might “fly some 737-700s around all day trying to compete, and it won’t care if it loses money. The rest of the operation can subsidize it.” Businesses always care if they lose money. Just because they have the financial means to subsidize losses doesn’t mean they want to do so.

    There are cases where businesses will intentionally lose money in the short term, for long term gain. But it is hard to see where Southwest’s long-term gain would come from. The Boeing 737-700 is much less fuel efficient than the Bombardier CS300. (Soon to be the Airbus A230). As such, it is not cost effective for Southwest to try to complete for routes in smaller markets. If Southwest were ordering smaller planes in the future, it might want to preserve its market share at a loss, to ensure success of its future business. But Southwest deferred almost all of their orders of the Boeing 737-Max 7. The consensus is that it will take very few of them and convert the rest of its order to the Boeing 737-Max 8. There are many markets that will support a CS300 but cannot support a Max 8.

    1. Yakker, Neeleman wont make the mistake of going up against just one airline’s business as that would expose him to predatory pricing. Like Southwest and most of the LCCs that followed, routes were selected so that no one competitor could put them out of business.

      Neeleman purportedly has $100 million from investors, no flight certificate, and is leveraging to buy planes with a sticker price in excess of $5 billion, no immediate slots to go to major cities like New York or Boston or DC in a big way, and a potential delivery schedule still years out. For sure that kind of exposure puts him and the sellers of the plane at big risk. The reincarnation of Peoplexpress failed miserably. Neeleman still has his investments, so losing here wont make a difference to him personally, but could tangle the industry for years with unsuccessful low cost competition. The ALPA has successfully tied up the industry so that there are very few non-union pilots, meaning that Neeleman is likely to have to pay “big airline” pilot salaries from the start.

      Boeing did a major update of the specs of the max 7 earlier this year and reports are that Southwest is on board to buy more and that the performance gap to the CSeries has been substantially closed, with the max 7 having a range about 20% longer, and a ETOPS certified engines, it can get to and beyond the far off places suggested in this thread.

      If Neeleman finds a few “jewel” routes, the big airlines are guaranteed to swarm in against him.

      I dont want to sound like a naysayer, but IMO, Neeleman has to come up with more than a duplicate of a strongly branded Southwest Airlines. Even Spirit is likely to move in against him with low cost alternatives.

      I keep thinking about Skybus when I think about this new airline. Great numbers, then poof!

    1. Not a chance! PAE will only have two gates, and Alaska, Southwest, and United have already announced intentions to operate more flights than the terminal is being built to handle. Plus the locals are forcing yet another environmental study that is further delaying the project of building the new terminal facility. There will be negative room for another airline there.

  5. What startups? We haven’t had any real startups to note in over a decade. I’m not talking about the likes of specialty carriers like JetSuiteX, but actual new starts in the more traditional sense. Like Reno Air or Virgin America. Or this.

    Forget about the viability (or lack thereof) of this plan. I’d pay more attention to the vetting and startup process. Texans are infamous for their shady “Good Ole Boy” backdoor politics and no doubt have connections at the DOT, FAA, etc. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Moxy fails to launch not because of funding, but because the permits and paperwork just “can’t seem to be approved”.

    -If you get my drift.

    1. Indeed, it would be audacious to try to start an airline now, with the industry dominated by just a handful of incumbents, each of them ready to smother a newcomer in its crib…

    2. I didn’t know that Neeleman had any Texas connections, other than the fact that he was part of the management of the former Morris Air (based in Salt Lake City) that he and the prior management sold to Southwest

    3. Southwest airlines will not do to Moxie what American, Braniff, Delta and others did to them. There is real character behind that airline. The big guys did everything to kill their company. Hard work, great managment, and Texas spirit built the company.
      Whatever happens, Southwest will be fair. It is said that David cried when they fired him. This guy took a travel agency and helped build and did build Jet Blue. Money men stole that airline…won’t fly them

      1. well, SWA chases airlines out of places and raises prices once there gone just like the legacy airlines. Look at intra ca for examples.

  6. I’d like to volunteer IAD and BWI. Neither are secondary airports but each has gate available and access to a very large, wealthy catchment area.

    Wasn’t Neeleman involved with B6 when they decided they were going to have a major focus city at IAD? Of course this was when the morons at Atlantic Coast decided to destroy their entire airline over a pissing contest with United by creating Independence Air which chased off B6’s operation to BOS (while incinerating a few hundred jobs and a few hundred million in shareholder value along the way).

    Maybe David wants another crack at IAD? It would give him a toehold in a major metropolitan area at one of the weakest hub airports in the country. I’d rather take on UA at Dulles than WN at BWI!

    1. The problem with IAD is it’s an expensive airport to operate out of. If even UA complains about the fees (and that airport needs to raise additional funds for facility upgrades), it won’t be the most hospitable place for an LCC entrant. Expect any hypothetical incentives for Moxy to be thoroughly contested by UA as well a la LH/FR in FRA.

      1. But UA isn’t going to put planes on routes from Dulles to secondary airports and markets like St Augustine Florida, Orlando/Sanford, Colorado Springs, etc.

    2. BWI, although having experienced tremendous growth, does have room for more. Spirit is now 2nd in traffic behind WN. I believe it is a focus city for them. The appeal for BWI is what Bill mentions and since it is a WN hub, they are not a lot of regional flights to smaller cities. Perhaps that could be part of the strategy.

  7. The problem as I see it in America with secondary airports outside of the Northeast is that they make secondary (and even tertiary airports) in Europe appear conveniently located. The lack of transit overall in America, transfer services, etc., means that when one chooses to go to a secondary airport you are not merely just choosing something out in suburbia, but something where there may be little to no connectivity with the places you want to be. This is isn’t like choosing to go to Stansted or Luton for the vast majority of these.

      1. To me, New Haven-Tweed is interesting less because of the NYC connection (the train to NYC is a long haul, especially if you’re going to somewhere other than Manhattan) and more because most of the population of CT is within a 60-75-minute drive (depending on traffic, which can admittedly be BAD for those coming from the Greenwich area). I could see flights from HVN drawing off a fair number of pax from BDL (Hartford-Springfield, near the CT/Mass line), HPN (White Plains, on the CT/NY line by Greenwich), and PVD (Providence).

        1. Is there anything restricting them from a significant ramp up at HPN? Seems like it would be a big winner unless there are technical or political restrictions?

            1. That’s one passenger cap that almost makes sense.

              HPN is convenient for those in the area, but the terminal is TINY (the secured area is perhaps half the size of a CVS or Walgreens, yet supports several handfuls of RJ gates), and flights to HPN are often among the first to be canceled in the event that inclement weather causes hiccups in the greater NYC airspace. Also, HPN literally borders Greenwich and is spitting distance from some 7/8-figure estates. $30/day parking doesn’t help either.

      2. Personally, I think Sikorsky (in Bridgeport) has more potential.

        Bridgeport is a bigger city than New Haven (by some measures, third largest in New England) and seems to have a good amount of NYC back office space. Both Tweed and Sikorsky have NIMBY issues, but New Haven does not have the same population draw (also, it’s somewhat within PVD’s catchment.) As for whether either airport it would substantially impact BDL, I doubt it: most of Connecticut, plus all of far western Mass and a good chunk of Westchester County, are closer to it than HVN or BDR. But an airport serving southwestern Connecticut could nonetheless command substantial market share, especially as delays at the big three to the south get worse, not better.

        1. Bridgeports runway is 900 feet shorter than Tweeds and also has no room for FAA mandated overruns and at times the runway is covered with water during a heavy rain. Bridgeport will never have major airline service again. The service they had in the past were small 19-34 seat prop planes and those have been gone for years.
          Quote, “most of Connecticut, plus all of far western Mass and a good chunk of Westchester County, are closer to it than HVN or BDR.” Have you looked at a state map and seen how far BDL is from much of the state? Westchester closer to BDL than HVN, no way, besides Fairfield county and Westchester county are very close to HPN, Westchester county airport. Your projections are way off in distance wise and market size.

    1. St. Petersburg-Clearwater is 14 miles from TPA by car, and closer than TPA for the Pinellas County market (although it takes about the same travel time as you have to drop down to surface streets at the end.)

      Another possibility for the Tampa/Orlando area would be Lakeland Linder – a little further to the Kissimmee/Disney area than MCO but still an alternative, and easy access to the eastern part of Hillsborough County.

      1. For the right price (and maybe some packaged vacations?) I could see the Lakeland airport being interesting.

        St. Pete isn’t really that “secondary” in the minds of many, as least in terms of additional travel distance. It’s basically the LCC airport in the market, and it’s close enough to TPA that many people already chose St. Pete if flights from there offer the fares/schedules that they prefer.

        1. True, but except for casino charters to MIssissippi and Sunwing in the winter, PIE only has Allegiant. A new airline with daily service would be attractive, and if “Moxy” offers more than LTD service and could even see some business travelers.

          1. Totally agreed. TPA is one of my favorite airports, but a new airline at St Pete, especially a non-ULCC one and/or one that serves destinations more than a few times a week, would offer some attractive options to many, and would have a good chance at stealing pax from TPA.

  8. As someone that lives in PVD I love the idea. Those on the south end of BOS might spend less time going to PVD than in the tunnel to BOS. The pilots will have to be paid a lot of money to join a startup in conditions like this.

    1. Tory – Thanks to Delta’s powerful lobby, no. Paulding was just officially shot down and there is nothing else.

      1. That sucks. You’d think one of the northern counties not under Delta’s sway would be all over it for economic development. Peachtree DeKalb would be great – are the limitations technical (like runway length) or political? And why not Dobbins?

        1. A couple of things, A no one wants to split the airports connecting power which is largely built on everyone and everything in the southeast going through the airport, and while delta does not have much in the way of direct infastructure north of town a lot of pilots and office staff live there. Besides in Metro Atlanta, their are a couple of core companies you do not touch the biggest two being delta and coke, so if delta doesn’t want it to happen it won’t, and besides heartsfield jackson still has enough room to put in 1-2 more runaways and a few more terminals. FYI dobbins is like 2 hours from the northern suburbs with limited traffic and has essentially no connections

  9. “Boston has Providence and Manchester.” And Worcester! Don’t sleep on Worcester. Neeleman brought jetBlue there. Since then, jetBlue has expanded service, American has followed, and Delta is not far behind.

    1. Massport gorilla in action. They have been trying to turn airlines to ORH since they took it over. Service in Worcester is courtesy of Massport, otherwise they would not be there.

    2. Worcester has a ceiling imposed on it by its topography, which creates weather issues (admittedly able to be mitigated with navigation technology,) and the fact that it’s only convenient to Worcester and the immediate suburbs to the west. Providence, Logan, and Bradley are all a fairly easy drive away from Central and Western Massachusetts.

    3. AA has cut back to one daily ORH-PHL flight and DL will only offer one daily ORH-DTW flight, a pretty anemic schedule. AA at HVN offers 3 daily flights to PHL on E-175’s and Saturday HVN-CLT flight on an E-175. ORH in the past was faulted for not having easy road access to the terminal.

  10. A few more for the list…

    St Louis/Midamerica
    Wilmington, DE

    Besides that we should really just look up anywhere Frontier or Allegiant flies to or used to fly to.

    1. You could add MKE as a Chicago replacement.
      LGB and SNA are slot restricted, not sure about BUR, but ONT is wide open.

      1. When I flew ORD-MKE years ago, the captain described the flight as the “shortest [mainline?] flight in the airline’s network”. Not sure if that was on American or United, but still.

        There is a TON of development going on in the SE corner of Wisconsin, with lots of warehouses going up, such as for Amazon (less regulation, more business friendly, cheaper and less unionized labor, etc etc; basically the same reason that there are lots of warehouses in NE Pennsylvania that serve the NYC metro area). I wonder if that market is being all that well served these days, given how long it takes to get from there to ORD with traffic.

        1. MKE has put ads around Chicago (on public transit, billboards, etc) promoting it as an O’Hare alternative, but I really think it’s more of a MDW alternative: If you’re in a north/northwest suburb, MKE is an easier drive, and depending on time of day, may actually be quicker, and both airports have a reasonable amount of leisure-oriented destinations on WN. You essentially never leave the suburbs driving from downtown Chicago to downtown Milwaukee, so there’s a lot of feeder traffic along the way.

          Rockford doesn’t really have that benefit; even the most northwestern ‘burbs are way closer to O’Hare than they are to Rockford, and then there’s a fair amount of country before getting to the Rockford area.

          Chicago/Gary MIGHT be a decent option but it’s had problems keeping service in the past. It’s a cool airport to fly out of (I have, but not on a commercial plane), and actually has transit service from Chicago on the South Shore line, but there’s an uphill battle convincing people in Chicago that it’s a safe area to get in/out of, plus MDW is a pretty convenient option from the south/southwest sides of the city.

          1. Living/working in Lake County (north of Chicago), I can tell you that MKE is quicker to get to than MDW from nearly all of this county – and is MUCH quicker for most. MDW is a horrible place to get to from most suburbs, but it gets plaudits because it’s easy from downtown. I’d happily use MKE over MDW if only WN (or someone) had more nonstops from MKE. At the moment, MDW makes it worth the pain and suffering of 6 miles from hell on the Stevenson Expy in order to get a WN nonstop to a secondary city.

            1. If you want to fly from Milwaukee to Boston there are NO DIRECT flights. American flights to Boston, passengers have fly to Charlotte and then passengers have to make connection to Boston, but many miss flight because the gates are filled-up so the American Eagles wings are not convenient. Any passenger on Milwaukee flight are sometimes forced by flight attendants to place their roller boards in cargo, and it’s a guarantee to missing connection to Boston, since reconnecting flight is a concourse and a wing lost!

            2. You should probably check your facts. Not one, but two airlines offer year-round nonstop service between Milwaukee and Boston–Delta and Southwest.

    2. I mean really, look at all the cities de-hubbed by mergers too – CVG, MEM, STL, SLC, CLE, PIT – all lost a ton of non-stop flights and forced to fly to major hubs for connections.

  11. Great insights with two omissions. The power of the incumbents frequent flyer programs, and corp agreements, the golden handcuffs that are the powerful marketing tool of the existing brands.

  12. In regards to Southwest, since it already in line for 30 737-7 and 30 more options, they will have an aircraft that can better compete with the CS300. Short field performance, tons more range, better on gas, likely 33 inches of pitch in a snazzy new cabin. And as an A-lister I wouldnt mind seeing Southwest have to lower their fares in certain markets, you are correct that they are making $ hand over fist at my expense.

    I read recently that Southwest sees their future fleet at near 50/50 with Max 7 and 8. The only other jet on their radar for the next decade is possibly the Max 10.

    1. You are never going to see 33″ of pitch on a SWA aircraft again. The 737 MAX 7 is slightly longer than the -700, but it’s being outfitted with 150 seats rather than the current 143 of the -700 at 31″. And there’s nothing they can do about the fuselage diameter of the 737, so they are still stuck with relatively narrow seats, even with the newly slimmed armrests. The 737 is not capable of accommodating 18.5-19″ seat widths at 6 abreast. So the CS300 will have every advantage in terms of passenger comfort, and I expect its fuel economy will prove better than the MAX 7 since downsized versions of larger aircraft tend not to perform as well as upsized versions of smaller aircraft.

  13. While Allegiant is more of a regional airline than a national airline, I would imagine they would be competing with some Allegiant routes as well? If they came to the Salt Lake area, the secondary airport that makes the most sense would be Provo Municipal, where Allegiant is currently the only airline to fly out of there.

  14. I would love to see Southwest have some true competition. I love them for what they are, but they are no longer a low cost carrier. I’m sick to death of their low fare ads for PHX because they do NOT exist. And I won’t fly Allegiant. Give me a better option out of Mesa Gateway, and I’d love to give it a try.

  15. A few folks mentioned Allegiant in the comments — this is my question too.

    Is this just Allegiant with a more flexible aircraft opening up *some* different airports? What’s different about Moxy?

    1. LRK – It’s hard to know from the info that’s out there, but this is likely to provide more frequency than Allegiant, so it will be more useful for business travelers as well. That’s the theory.

  16. Brett, I would love to know your thoughts on the potential of GYY as a Chicago airport for this venture. I’ve always thought it “could” become Chicago’s 3rd airport, discounting MKE for the Northern ‘burbs. And now with the extended runway and the potential for terminal expansion….?

    1. ChuckMO – According to the slides I saw, Gary could feature prominently here. But there are a lot of hurdles to overcome to make Gary work, I think. Still, it could bleed off some demand from the southern suburbs.

      1. Most higher income areas around Chicago exist in the north and west suburbs and in parts of the city itself. ORD is probably in the best location to serve those areas, but it’s congested and expensive. That said, GYY is in a rather poor area that is quite far for most who will fly with any frequency. This is probably why it has never panned out as a third Chicago area airport – bad location. Even the south/southwest suburbs with a little money are not close to it at all. Check out Tinley Park to Gary – not a nice drive.

  17. Southwest is no longer a low fare airline. Fares are awful. I’d love you to write about why their fares are so high. Have they lost their way? (Without Southwest’s corporate speak interrupting)

    1. Jason – Well, the thing is that Southwest’s costs have risen. At the same time, they’ve refused to go to a more a la carte product, so every ticket you buy has to include 2 bags, subsidize the lack of change fees, etc.

      1. Have you ever had an adequate explanation why they have no same-day-change [SDC] option [I don’t consider buy-up to full Y an option]? Operationally it makes no sense to not allow someone to fly earlier/later if you have a full flight and could re-sell the seat if they could be voluntarily displaced, never mind for a fee. Clearly they have programmed the possibility/benefit, allowing a truncated version of standby [not confirmed] for Alist/preferred. I’ve heard the argument that if they allowed it then people would buy the cheapest ticket flight and then just change to more preferred times, draining revenue from high $ biz travelers. I don’t know of many who would risk such a thing as a biz traveler, so why not make some $ as well as further promoting the idea they’re more consumer-friendly than others?

        1. ptsbeyond – I don’t have any insight into that. There are pros and cons to allowing it, but for now, the airline seems content letting A Listers standby and that’s it.

        2. For a long time it was a technical limitation. The replacement of their PSS has opened up this possibility, and my understanding is that it’s on the to-do list for the future. As far as where on that long list it is, I can only guess, but their execs have said that it’s coming.

  18. ACY and/or ILG for PHL?
    TOL for DTW? (DTT has serious issues from what I’ve read.)

  19. SWA is no longer a low cost carrier. Its growth at the expense of legacy airlines will have come full circle as its work force and costs continue to mature. I always wondered when SWA would face its own Karma. —Round 1… Fight!

  20. They ones who should be concerned are G4, F9 & NK. Concerned but not terrified.
    Like WN their cost structures are creeping up so secondary airports don’t produce the kind of revenue needed to finance operations AND produce a net ROI.
    That’s why you have G4 doing stuff like CVG-EWR.

    If the ULCC-3 can’t make Weebleville to Vegas/Florida work more than 1-2X a week then how is Moxy going to fill seats from Weebleville to TTN, AZA, GYY & PIE five times a week? Then there is the pilot problem that others have mentioned. Some studies suggest that even with a recessionary contraction of 7 to 10% of capacity the number of retirements will overshadow qualified pilot candidates appox. 1.5 to 1. Not many folks willing to sit in the right seat for $35 pBh with FARs being their only duty rigs.

    No doubt Neeleman has the magic touch and this won’t be a hair-brained revival of PanAm XXVII. Im just saying that the info being leaked is probably not the model in planning.

    1. He can steal from the regionals same as the other LCC guys, but that pool is only so deep, so i would suspect we will start seeing direct ATP to LCC programs fairly soon.

  21. KPMD (Palmdale, CA) would be a great option for this. United failed here a few years ago (almost deliberately I think) but timing now would be perfect due to:
    -increasing traffic into Palmdale from Northrop Grumman (NG) and its many suppliers due to new bomber work that will go on a long time. I did that work and travel for a few years and having to go to LAX to support that is no fun and risky due to 405 traffic. Having flights that land here at KPMD would be a dream. Hell NG would probably chip in to help get them started for KPMD to Melbourne, FL direct runs daily.
    -Lockheed Martin also on hiring binge due to increasing workload and seeing increased business travelers in and out of Palmdale area
    -Terminal here old and dated. Local governments would incentive if not pay for entirely needed upgrades to bring a real serious airline in here.
    -Moxy would never get slots it needs in Burbank but it could outright *own* KPMD and get all the traffic referenced above plus locals plus steal people from Santa Clarita who would normally be fighting traffic to go to Burbank or (worse) LAX.

    1. Palmdale Regional Airport – Wikipedia
      It has three runways with concrete surfaces: 4/22 is 12,001 by 150 feet (3,658 x 46 m); 7/25 is 12,002 by 200 feet (3,658 x 61 m); 72/252 is 6,000 by 75 feet (1,829 x 23 m).
      I think we can do it…

  22. You can rule out carlsbad-palomar its single runway is sealevel 4897 feet whereas the C300 requires 6200 feet takeoff distance at full load the cs100 cannot do it either. No chance serious runway extension possible. There is however a new airplane coming that can handle this runway.

  23. A new airline could start it’s own religion with all of the answered prayers for restored routes between

    New Orleans – Birmingham and/or
    Jacksonville – Birmingham.

    Southwest acquiring AirTran’s gates at ATL left Birmingham’s 1.25 million peeps in a hole. Please, send help in the form of A220’s with that new plane smell.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Cranky Flier