3 Links I Love: Grounding Southwest Planes, Delta Nabs Silver, Ontario at 3

Delta, Links I Love, ONT - Ontario, Southwest

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This week’s featured link:

FAA threatened to ground 38 Southwest Airlines planes over maintenance concernsCNBC
At best, this is just sloppy. It’s not a good look for the airline’s maintenance operation, that’s for sure. Ultimately it’ll get resolved, but it just raises more questions about paperwork and practices.

Image of the Week: In IAG’s Capital Markets presentation, it highlighted how it wouldn’t lose any density by converting from the current Club World seats to the new suites, at least on some airplanes. That’s a pretty strange way to describe it. In fact, there is a massive loss of density up front. Despite shrinking the galley size and cutting the First class cabin down, BA still gets 8 percent (5, actual) fewer premium cabin seats onboard. How does it address that? Well, it just goes massively dense in the back with an extra seat in each coach row and 11 percent more in the same space as before.

Silver Airways and Delta Air Lines Announce Codeshare PartnershipSilver Airways Press Room
Well, well. I imagine Silver would have liked to partner with Delta in addition to its existing partnership with United long ago, but Delta wouldn’t give it the time of day. Fast forward and now Delta is going to need to build up in Florida to better feed LATAM. I imagine it has high hopes that Silver’s little airplanes will help put more people into the connecting system.

After 3 years of local control, Ontario airport has more passengers but transit options remain iffy Daily Bulletin
Here’s a good, lengthy look at Ontario Airport’s changes over the last three years since it was brought back under local control. It’s been a heck of a ride.

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20 comments on “3 Links I Love: Grounding Southwest Planes, Delta Nabs Silver, Ontario at 3

  1. Silver is a pretty small player and doesn’t fly to Miami, IIRC, but they do provide a little more visibility to Delta and vice versa as Delta focuses on Florida.

    A lot of people underestimate that DL/Latam is as much about building a larger footprint in Florida as a whole rather than just in feeding Latam at MIA. DL is already the largest legacy carrier in Florida outside of Miami but AA is right behind – so this is just about building some flow heading south from Florida rather than just north to Delta’s other hubs. There is a lot of Latin and Caribbean potential across Florida that Delta largely misses except for Central Florida to S. America which DL does capture some of via Atlanta.

    Silver is not going to change anything in Florida for Delta but they are a nice little addition at minimal cost – and 3M will certainly benefit from being partnered with DL.

    1. So what would Silver be feeding with their FLL flights? Is DL planning significant expansion in FLL for themselves? I could wrap my head around this announcement if Silver was a bigger player in MIA.

      1. Silver’s network today doesn’t have to be Silver’s plan for tomorrow. Yes, MIA is a very expensive airport so it’s not easy to make money on an ATR-42 or the old Saab fleet. But keep in mind that Silver has big growth on order and it has its first ATR-72 in the fleet. With more seats, MIA could make sense. But it doesn’t have to just be about MIA. Hmm, this might be worth a bigger post… back to the salt mines. ;)

        1. that is very fair, CF.
          As I noted, the Latam deal appears to be part of a larger push by Delta into Florida, so even if 3M does not expand into MIA, having a partner to help feed DL’s network heading south. Delta is still the largest legacy carrier at FLL, MCO and TPA so they have plenty of options for how to deploy those new aircraft – which may well be to help feed MIA from Florida and the SE but also could add frequency in some leisure-oriented markets.

          As I have also previously noted, even if this is really about MIA as you suggest, this is yet another piece in DL assembling a strategy to become a very credible competitor in MIA to AA.

          btw, DL pilots are abuzz on their chat forums about potential new pilot bases in Florida as well as Boston. Delta has flight attendant bases in S. Florida and Orlando and has frequently tied adding pilot bases to a significant increase in international flying. If a S. Florida pilot base is added, it speaks strongly to a Delta longhaul buildout at MIA.

          1. Is there any business case for DL focusing on growing FLL vs MIA? Latam has the S.America flying pretty well handled from there, and DL already has a decent setup in FLL. Could DL focus more on connecting traffic and leisure in FLL vs VFR MIA O&D? Add a 2nd (3rd?) prong to the B6 punishment?

            1. Since Silver already has flights from FLL, I am not sure Delta would ask them to dismantle anything but rather, if Silver starts MIA, it will be new flights. I am not sure Delta is interested in trying to build up both FLL and MIA to the same destinations. I would guess that the primary use of MIA would be to connect cities in Florida and the SE that are competitive in a turboprop to MIA to help feed both Latam and DL’s current and new international flights. And, yes, I do believe that DL will be adding some of its international flights from MIA, esp. to Central America which Latam does not serve from the US.
              Silver also serves Central Florida and there could be benefit to Delta’s network there.
              I presume there will be some terminal moves involved in all of this.

  2. Cranky – how do scope clauses at the legacies interact with codeshares like this? Silver flies the ATR 72 configured with 70 seats – does this not count against the 70 seat cap at DL?

    If it doesn’t count, wouldn’t this be a loophole in the scope clauses – the airlines count spin out some of their regional operations and run them as a codeshare instead, with no cap on large regional jets.

    1. Not sure of specifics to DL, but some legacy scope clauses only apply to turbojet aircraft which means these ATRs wouldn’t be restricted in a fee-for-departure setup or a codeshare.

      1. If that’s the case, why isn’t UA interested in having United Express operate the ATR 72 or Dash 8 Q400? Is passenger preference for jets really strong enough that it’s not worth the CASM advantage?

        1. Alex – That’s a good question for United. They used to have the Q400 in the fleet and it had a premium cabin, but they removed it. I don’t know exactly why, but it wasn’t a good fit, apparently.

        2. I’ve wondered that many times, not just for UAL but for all US carriers. From a PAX experience, the Q400 (and the ATR 72 for that matter) offer exceptional rides, especially on short hops. The rest of the world has embraced them but for some reason, here in the US, they haven’t been widely deployed which I find odd. In terms of turboprops, though, I’m super excited to check out Cape Air’s new fleet.

  3. 10-across in coach in a 777 does not make for a fun time, especially on trips of more than a few hours, where I personally value hip room more than leg room. Hope the flight attendants have some winches and lubricating oils to help get passengers out of those seats after a long flight.

    I look forward to avoiding BA 777s in the future.

    1. I need both. My knees need legroom, and I don’t like rubbing shoulders with strangers for 10+ hours. And no, I am not built like a football player (and not overweight). So my options increasingly are only premium economy when paying cash or business class when flying on miles (though not BA due to cash surcharges).

        1. 10-across economy on the A380 isn’t quite as bad. It’s 17.5″ wide, which is slightly wider than a typical 737 seat. 10-across economy on a 777 is 17.1″ wide or less, which is noticeably narrower and more cramped, depending on how wide your shoulders are.

    2. BA’s move just validates how unique Delta is in keeping its 777s in a 9 abreast coach configuration while nearly every other major carrier has chosen 10 abreast for its 777-300ERs and is converting or has converted its 777-200s.
      While BA is increasing the amount of space for premium customers, Delta is one of the few global airlines that believes that offering a more spacious coach cabin.
      but then Delta’s network is much more competitive than LHR.

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