Spirit Gets Sloppy In Its Efforts to Extract Concessions From American and JetBlue

American, JetBlue, Spirit

No airline has been more vocal about the American and JetBlue Northeast Alliance than Spirit, and the fight has stepped up a notch again with American’s recent response in the Department of Transportation (DOT) docket surrounding the Northeast Alliance with JetBlue (NEA). There is nothing quite as fun as watching lawyers get cheeky, but it really bothers me when the arguments aren’t valid. And Spirit really doesn’t seem to have done its homework.

Spirit’s latest argument is summed up like this:

Through this deepening market consolidation, American can now raise prices, limit true competition by the subservice carriers (Alaska and JetBlue), and block new entry at New York, Boston, and Washington Reagan airports.

Spirit goes on to say that “there is not even a hint” that this was considered when DOT gave approval, and a public input process would have helped. Now Spirit is on a crusade to save the day by convincing the feds to implement a public input process, so it continues to file updates to its complaint showing all the harm that’s being done. American and JetBlue disagree.

Do I really think Spirit is in this for the good of the people? Of course not. Spirit wants to do what it can to score more slots and gates at congested airports. That’s also why Southwest has been vocal about this; it wants the same thing. The only other airline that has commented in the docket is United which seems to just want unredacted copies of the agreement, because… who doesn’t want that? Everyone is just in it for their own interests, as they should be, but DOT… hasn’t said a word since this was first filed in January other than to say it will review this in “due course.”

I’ve read through all the back and forth and you can do the same. One one side you have Spirit and friends saying this is a travesty of justice and there should have been a more thorough, public review. On the other side, you have American and JetBlue saying there was plenty of time for Spirit to comment when this was going on, and it opted not to do it until after the fact.

The docket had been quiet for a couple months when Spirit decided it would file an update to its complaint on May 11. That was followed by American’s response posted June 2 and JetBlue’s response on June 3. I’ll admit, I didn’t really look into Spirit’s filing until the responses caught my eye. It looked like Spirit had been really sloppy with this complaint. That’s when I decided to dig further.

I spoke to Bruce Wark, American’s VP and Deputy General Counsel, and I repeatedly asked Spirit for comment, even delaying the post from Tuesday to give them more time when they said they needed it. It sounds like they were too busy with all the Miami news, and ultimately they did not get me anything before this post went live, so I’m just going off what I read in the filing.

The point of Spirit’s filing appears to be a way for the airline to try to shine a spotlight on what has transpired since the NEA was put into place. The problem is, I don’t see this as evidence the way they do. Remember, in that summary above, Spirit said “…American can now raise prices, limit true competition by the subservice carriers (Alaska and JetBlue)….” So I was particularly interested in the pricing example the airline used.

Spirit says this:

In codeshare markets without a third airline American and JetBlue appear to charge identical fares. In
other markets, the strategy appears to be that JetBlue and Alaska maintain lower fares to match non-partnership competitors, while American raises its fares significantly higher for the same flight and ticket class.

The market Spirit chose to show how American priced at a premium over JetBlue when other competitors were also in the market was New York/JFK to Jacksonville. On May 11, Spirit looked at pricing on the morning flight from JFK to Jacksonville on July 6 as operated by JetBlue. It found JetBlue charging $120 while American was charging $165. According to Spirit, this is an outrage and it shows American trying to coordinate to raise fares. Presumably the idea is that JetBlue can be used in lieu of American having Basic Economy fares in a market. Then American can just jack its fares up and get a premium. But this makes no sense.

Spirit says, “Whether a passenger purchases the American flight for $165 or the JetBlue flight for $120, they will fly at the same time, on the same route, on the same plane, in the same ticket class (economy)….” But that’s not true. The JetBlue fare of $120 is in Blue Basic which is the airline’s Basic Economy. American’s $165 fare is the lowest regular coach fare and that happens to match JetBlue’s lowest regular coach fare. So these are different products being sold, and American does not have a Basic Economy fare in the market, as is the case in most domestic markets for American today.

Is this a way to raise prices and limit competition? It’s hard to see how that’s the case. American hasn’t flown JFK – Jacksonville this century, if ever. It last flew there from LaGuardia way back in mid-2017. So this is a market where American could have tried to compete on price before, but it was only offering connections to those who could have chosen between JetBlue and Delta to fly nonstop. Now, American is a third option, albeit on a codeshare, and it is choosing not to undercut the airline that is actually operating the flight, nor is it choosing to put Basic Economy there.

On the flip side, Spirit highlights Boston – Charlotte as a market where only American and JetBlue fly without other competition. When Spirit looked, the lowest fare was $194 and both airlines had the same price. The airline then suggests that “The ability to arbitrarily raise fares in this manner is cause for great concern and one of the many harms resulting….” But there’s nothing arbitrary about it.

American and JetBlue both fly this route on their own airplanes, and they do not codeshare on each other’s flights in this market. This is just two airlines competing on price as you’d expect. That’s very different than American deciding not to undercut JetBlue on a codeshare flight operated by JetBlue. It’s also not indicative of American trying to raise fares only in markets with third party competitors.

You don’t need to look very far to prove this. Take Boston – West Palm Beach, for example. That’s a market where there is no other airline flying besides JetBlue. American codeshares on it, and it prices its regular economy fare to match JetBlue’s regular economy fare while JetBlue has a lower Basic Economy fare, just as it did in the more “competitive” market of JFK – Jacksonville.

Really, it seems that American just doesn’t want to file Basic Economy fares on domestic partner codeshares and it doesn’t want to undercut those partners who are actually operating the flights. American generally doesn’t file Basic Economy fares in markets without ultra low cost competition, and even those that exist are few and far between. It would be odd to change its strategy to match JetBlue on every JetBlue-operated flight. But remember, these are routes that American doesn’t fly itself, so American is still adding value and not decreasing competition while raising fares. It seems like a strange argument to make.

The last part of that initial summary is about how the NEA blocks new entrants form getting into New York airports, Boston, and Washington/National. But how is that the case? If American and JetBlue did not have an alliance, does Spirit think they’d just walk away and let Spirit walk in and take all the slots? Of course not. American and JetBlue would continue to fly their flights the way they have before. I don’t see how the NEA specifically blocks new entrants. In fact, it opens up slots for new entrants at JFK and Washington/National by requiring admittedly minimal divestitures. Spirit wants more, and really what it probably wants is slots at LaGuardia.

Why didn’t DOT include LaGuardia slots? It’s probably because JetBlue only had 16 flights a day there pre-pandemic. While American was bigger, combined they were still more than 10 points smaller than Delta. DOT’s point in this agreement was to say, “hey, if you use your slots better and offer more seats, then we’re onboard.” That isn’t unreasonable, though it’s not what Spirit would like.

Spirit tries some tortured examples to show just how bad things are. For example, it scolds American for codesharing between JFK and Seattle when that was a market that was prohibited as part of the Alaska/Virgin America merger agreement in order to maintain the American partnership between those two airlines. American does not mince works in its reply:

Spirit also claims that American is placing its code on Alaska’s JFK-SEA service allegedly in violation of the consent decree’s prohibition on American “Market[ing] any Alaska Flight that originates or terminates at any Key American Airport” because “Key American Airport” includes JFK. Again, Spirit should have checked the facts – what Spirit misleadingly omits is that American places its code on Alaska’s JFK-SEA service only in the context of international connecting itineraries.

And yes, you won’t be surprised to hear that international connecting itineraries were not restricted by that consent decree.

It seems like Spirit might just be throwing things at the wall to see what sticks. It uses a claim that I can’t verify:

Out of the 26 overlapping American-JetBlue markets Spirit highlighted in its complaint, 17 of these markets have already lost competition due to the NEA, with more to follow.

What does that mean? There isn’t a definition in the filing, and I can’t replicate it. In the end, Spirit says “Much is still unknown about American’s Strategic Partnerships – the NEA conditions fail to address even the known concerns.”

The first part is true. This is a new kind of domestic alliance, and there is a lot of unknown. DOT was able to extract some concessions in the process, and now it’s time to see if this works. Should DOT review the results regularly and step in if it sees metrics going in the wrong direction? Heck yeah.

If this creates competition as American and JetBlue claim, then it should be allowed to continue. It hardly seems worthwhile to open up a whole long public input period just to put the NEA on hold for longer. We’re already seeing it develop, so let’s see how it plays out. DOT can always change its mind later if the numbers show American and JetBlue were lying. Otherwise, this may very well end up being a good thing, as DOT certainly hopes will be the case.

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33 comments on “Spirit Gets Sloppy In Its Efforts to Extract Concessions From American and JetBlue

  1. Slot controls are the last vestige of complete market access to US markets even if they are common globally. Legacy airlines have disproportionate access to slots at the three remaining federally slot-controlled airports, LGA, JFK and DCA.
    Remember that DL walked away from its joint venture application with WestJet rather than divest even 8 pairs of slots at LGA esp. since the proposed divestiture didn’t even require the slots to be used for flights to Canada.
    As we saw yesterday and have seen with Southwest’s expansion in legacy carrier hubs including MIA, IAH, ORD as well as Hawaii, there are strong economic incentives and large markets which low cost and ultra low cost carrier markets can enter and they are doing so.
    The NEA always looked like AA picking its successor in its NYC hub markets. NK is right to demand that slots that AA cannot economically use be made available for other carriers.
    Given that the Biden DOJ was already willing to reopen the NEA approvals, any “evidence” NK can provide – even if not even factually accurate – might work to prove its point combined with the explosion of multiple low cost carrier new service in American and United hubs.

    1. If there is any carrier that has too many slots in NYC area and forced to share, it should be DL. The reason AA/B6 weren’t forced to give up LGA slots is because B6 only has 16 slot pairs. None of which was obtained in a slot divestiture from AA. Barely enough to move the needle. There is also no historical precedence for slot divestiture in codeshares or transferring of slots to a carrier with fewer slots. The fact that DL and UA haven’t filed greater complaint should tell you they are worried about losing slots if they make too big of a deal here.

      There is a reason NK has been so vocal about this. It sees B6 as a major competitor and wants to move up the value chain. It’s upset that B6 now has major advantage over it. I wouldn’t be surprised if MIA move is part of its retaliation.

      1. NK isn’t complaining about AA/B6 codesharing. They are complaining about their ability to block competition via schedule coordination and slot swaps. Both of those techniques are inherently consumer unfriendly and no other two US carriers have that ability.
        United failed to fully use its slots at EWR to federal requirements and slot controls eventually were removed there. AA has failed to use its slots at JFK for years – the DOT noted that in the NEA order – and yet they have been allowed to combine forces with another carrier to try to remedy that lack of use.
        The DOT knows that eliminating slot controls at JFK and LGA won’t work because Delta just aggressively grew when slot controls at both airports were removed post 9/11. The feds cannot take slots from airlines or at least have not been willing to push that legal question and they cannot show preferentiality in awarding slots to any carrier based on their economic model. DL is using its LGA and JFK slots. AA is using its DCA slots. The feds tried to use the WestJet JV as a guise to take slots from DL but DL and WestJet walked away from the deal.
        NK might be forcing the issue via its expansion at MIA just as WN, which also wants more LGA and DCA access, is doing via its ORD, IAH, MIA, and Hawaii expansions. Low cost carriers can and will grow even in concentrated legacy carrier markets if those markets are open to new copmetition.

        1. You can stop using the DL-WS example, Tim. You know it doesn’t apply here. WS got their slots from a forced Delta divestiture so it hardly made sense to give them back to delta under the guise of a JV.
          You’re hardly one to use facts accurately, but even this example is a new low for you.

          1. Exactly, the DL/WS example is really not applicable here. If B6 got its 16 slot pairs as a divestiture from AA/US merger, then it would make sense to have divestiture here. More importantly, DL is the largest slot holder at LGA. You typically force divestiture from the largest slot holder when they are getting even larger.

            That’s why slot divestiture were required at JFK and DCA, but not LGA.

          2. It doesn’t matter where the DL/WS slots came from because DL and WS are using their slots in the manner in which they were awarded.
            When UA failed to fully use its EWR slots, slot controls were removed.
            When DL tried to do a JV that involved LGA, the DOJ required that DL divest slots in order to gain approval. DL backed out of the plan and both DL and WS are keeping their slots.

            NK has a very legitimate argument that when AA didn’t use its slots as they were required to do, the government gave its blessing on a plan that allows them to cooperate and even shift slots between the two, something no other two airlines have ever been able to do without a merger.

            Also, why DL is now the largest slot holder at NYC airports now, it has and always has had a lower percentage of slots than UA had at EWR and AA still has at DCA. Undoing current slow ownership and usage rules will impact AA at DCA far more than any other airline.

            and the most recent announcement of yet another AA expansion at AUS proves that AA is locked in a battle with low cost and ultra low cost carriers and vice versa. WN has been dominant in AUS for years and they aren’t going to blow off AA’s latest moves.
            While some are preoccupied with what will be left for DL in these markets, the low cost carriers are in a much stronger position financially than AA and combined can and will have a very large impact.

            DL’s best strategy is clearly to sit tight and defend its own markets and let AA and UA and the LCCs all engage in massive market share battles.

            And this all involves B6 as well which is being overshadowed by everyone else’s growth in MIA and has fallen from its position at FLL. B6 cannot fight all of the market share battles that it has chosen to take on and AA is doing the same thing.

            NK might accomplish more by “piling on” with other LCC and ULCCs in AA markets than any action of the feds.

            1. The reason DL/WS was asked to divest 8 slot pairs is because they originally came from a DL divestiture that WS won. Allowing DL/WS JV to hold onto those slot pairs defeats the purpose of the original DOj request. I don’t see why DL having a lower % of slots at LGA than AA does at DCA really matters here. If we want to be fair and more competitive, than AA at DCA, AA/DL at LGA and B6/DL at JFK should all be making some slots available for competition at those airports. Your other points really have nothing to do with topic.

              I don’t see why B6’s market share at FLL really matter? They don’t seem concerned right now when they got bigger fish to fry. Why are you? It seems like you and DL are the only one concerned about losing market share in your hubs rather than pursuing strategic targets.

    2. Tim Dunn opineth:

      “any “evidence” NK can provide – even if not even factually accurate – might work to prove its point”

      Fine example of pretzel logic. Such contortions would make Orwell proud!

  2. I agree that NK’s arguments are very weak. If anything, the back and forth and retaliation between AA/B6 with DL shows that this is good for competition. This is all about LGA slots. The appeal for DCA slots does not even make sense, since NK has given up flying out of DCA a long time ago. NK has been very desperate for LGA slots. That desperation has only grown because it’s currently operating a whole bunch of temporary LGA slots that will go away once the LGA slot constraints are re-instated.

    1. Being so familiar with low cost products you’d think they’d know better than to hire low cost lawyers.

    2. NK has been operating virtually the same number of slots at LGA for 10 years…. around 10 flights/day. They just want to grow and are targeting systems that they believe prevents them from growing and the airlines that are benefitting from those systems.
      They haven’t added any more flights in LGA at least as of June and July schedules than they have been operating for years… perhaps you can help us see what you see?

      1. Tim – The data does not tell you everything. I will point you to this from March when Spirit announced new LGA service: https://crankyflier.com/2021/03/12/3-links-i-love-spirit-in-lga-frontier-going-public-the-first-twin-engine-transatlantic/ https://ir.spirit.com/news-releases/news-details/2021/Spirit-Airlines-Adds-Three-New-Popular-Destinations-from-LaGuardia-Announces-Operations-Out-of-a-Second-Terminal/default.aspx

        Through Oct 2019, Spirit was pretty consistent at 11 daily flights — 4 to Fort Lauderdale, 2 to Chicago, Denver, and Myrtle, and 1 to DFW. From Nov 2019, it moved one Chicago and one Myrtle to Orlando and Tampa, but it was still at 11 daily. Now as of that press release, it is planning to be up to 16 daily now that it has gates in Terminal A for expansion. It just needs more slots on a permanent basis to keep that going. Of course, it hasn’t ramped up to that as quickly yet, because it continues to suspend some flying. It is showing the ramp up to begin in Sept now.

        1. thanks. the statement was that NK was “currently operating” above its slot holdings.
          I don’t think anyone is disagreeing that they are trying to get more slots.
          The issue that they are using is that the AA/B6 alliance was given the ability to transfer slot assets that had never been given to any other two airlines short of a merger. Factually, they are right.

          As for the statement from Ghost below, DL and WN had the two highest operating margins in 2019 before covid. NYC doesn’t make or break an airline. NYC is still the largest market in the US and low cost carriers are arguing that they aren’t getting enough access to LGA and JFK which are slot-controlled.

          1. Tim – Semantics. Spirit has specifically told me it has acquired temporary slots that it will use. Whether someone says “currently” or not isn’t relevant to the broader discussion. You just want to be technically right, so you’re torturing the point. I can echo what others have said… your participation would be far better received if you didn’t feel the need to challenge every comment on here. Feel free to leave a comment with your slots, but then let it be.

            1. CF,
              when I look at CURRENT schedules and see the same number of flights +/- one flight that they have operated for years, then the VERB “is currently operating” is NOT CORRECT.

              If it had been written “has scheduled” then he would be right and I would have done the research to validate what was suggested IN THE FUTURE.

              I am not nitpicking or arguing semantics. I don’t memorize every schedule change that has been announced. I read what is written in the present.

              None of which changes the fact that NK is persisting with their campaign and the Justice Dept. IS considering reopening the NEA case. If you were in NK’s shoes you would be doing the very same thing.

            2. I’m struck how this post so clearly demonstrators the difference between reporting facts — “spirit told me” — and stating (sometimes endlessly) opinions.

              Just because people have confidently stated opinions doesn’t mean they have any actual inside information.

  3. Win or lose, there is no question that Spirit on its own and the ULCC carriers as a group are making real inroads in the industry. At what point in terms of combined revenues, fleet sizes, markets served, ASMs offerered, market-share gained, and/or yields lowered do they become the de-facto industry business model??? Certainly, there will always be compelling reasons to fly on the Big 3 (FF status, fortress hubs, international networks, …), but has the pandemic made nearly everyone a fare-conscious leisure traveler? Is there a tipping point where the ULCCs become large enough as a group to literally drive the industry? At that point, do the Big 3 become “boutique” carriers, with JetBlue and Southwest under pressure from below on price and from above by service?

  4. Lets not forget nothing stopped Spirit to raise questions on the open forum when this was under review over 7 months. Also, what ever stopped Spirit to enter on a Codeshare themselves? They fell behind having the temerity that B6/AA have to talk, and they now want to get what they want by kicking and screaming? Comon, what a joke.

  5. What seems a little sloppy is this article. How did you completely ignore one of the most critical aspects of Spirit noted American is doing: connecting the two partnerships to create a three-way alliance! No mention of the multiple routes including JFK-LAS-SEA, JFK-AUS-SNA, etc. where American doesn’t fly a single plane but JetBlue and Alaska profit from each other.

    1. Scott – I don’t see how that is anti-competitive. American is selling the flights and sure, the operating airlines will benefit by getting paid, but they have no input in what’s being sold. This is a very normal feature of codeshares all over the place. I can fly American from LA to London by taking Air Tahiti Nui to Paris and connecting to British Airways. I can fly from Anchorage to Tokyo by flying Alaska to Seattle and connecting to JAL, all on a single code. I saw that part of the filing but found it completely uninspiring as an argument, so I didn’t even bother addressing it.

      1. Each of the examples you just noted are for international codeshares which is an entirely different competition analysis. And none of those involve literally the only slot-restricted airports in the country. Do you have any examples of three airline domestic codesharing?

        The domestic market share (and Level 3 slots) that AA, AS, and B6 hold together is the same as if UA and DL were to enter a joint venture. Do you think that would be okay under your competition analysis?

        1. Scott – I suppose maybe there’s something with a Hawaiian codeshare connecting within Hawai’i to Alaska marketed by American? Not sure if that exists, but it probably doesn’t. I don’t know what that proves. You assume that having the ability to have those codeshares is anti-competitive, but I don’t see it. Alaska and JetBlue can benefit, but they have no say in what gets flown. At least, Alaska has no say in what gets flown. In theory, American could work with JetBlue to schedule flights so it can connect people on to an Alaska codeshare. That seems like a very bad plan since JetBlue barely tolerates domestic connections on its own network. I can’t imagine JetBlue deciding to fly something domestically so that it could tap into that sweet, sweet Alaska connecting traffic that only American can sell. It just isn’t really plausible. Now, this is something that will be easy to watch as data gets released. I just don’t think we’re going to see it.

      2. Each of the examples you just noted are for international codeshares which is an entirely different competition analysis. And none of those involve literally the only slot-restricted airports in the country. Do you have any examples of three airline domestic codesharing?

        The domestic market share (and Level 3 slots) that AA, AS, and B6 hold together is the same as if UA and DL were to enter a joint venture. Do you think that would be okay under your competition analysis?

    2. I don’t see how that reduces competition. Domestic airlines routinely interline with each other. How is that different here?

  6. From what I’ve read, Spirit, Frontier, Allegiant, and Southwest are among the most profitable U.S. airlines on a percentage basis. Yet none of them have an extensive presence in the New York area. There are some whom I read on airline blogs who seem to imply that a strong presence in New York is a prerequisite for profitability. If that’s the case, then how does one explain the consistent profits of the above airlines, and especially Southwest, all of which have a limited presence in New York compared to Delta, United, and the newly formed NEA? It wasn’t all that long ago that Southwest only served Islip, yet it was consistently profitable during a time when airlines with a considerable presence in New York, including Delta which some commentators tout as the model airline, were consistently filing for bankruptcy protection. Go figure!

    Smaller carriers have whined about the lack of access to New York for decades. I remember America West bidding for the Eastern Shuttle in an attempt to secure slots at LaGuardia and Reagan National.

    I agree that this is probably a ploy to get additional slots at LaGuardia. But why? As I mentioned above, if one looks at history (which isn’t always predictive of the future, but is useful in avoiding the mistakes of others), some of the most profitable airlines in U.S history have had a very limited presence in New York (including Southwest for a long, long time). It’s a relatively fragmented market, which usually means lower margins. But it’s also an important market, so a presence there is usually a good idea. The question is how much. Size and market share don’t automatically guarantee profitability, and the profit margins of the ULCCs are evidence of that. Not to mention that a number of the largest carriers of the past are only distant memories nowadays.

  7. “American is choosing not to undercut the airline that is actually operating the flight”

    Isn’t this kind of to Spirit’s point? That seems to be almost the exact definition of anticompetitive. Especially on routes only served by two airlines,American and JetBlue, before the NEA

    1. James – There are a couple things here. First, Spirit’s argument is bad in that it is saying this is only occurring in markets where there IS another competitor, not ones where there isn’t. That’s not right, and it’s a weird argument to make.

      Your argument would make more sense, so let’s follow that through and use Boston to West Palm Beach as an example.

      Before this, JetBlue flew it nonstop and that was it. I’m looking at September 16 because the afternoon flight has full availability that day.
      Let’s go back to, oh, I don’t know, January 10 of this year before the codeshare started. If you like a different day, we can switch.

      JetBlue was pricing at $131.40 in basic or $171.40 in regular economy.
      There was no nonstop competition. American had connections available for $105.70 at the lowest fare which was regular economy. Now, flash forward to today. JetBlue is at $118.40 in basic or $197.25 in regular economy.
      Meanwhile, American is selling that at $173.40 in regular economy which actually does undercut JetBlue today. That’s odd, and I wonder if there was a fare increase that American will end up following tomorrow. (That kind of fare matching occurs between all airlines normally.) But if you want to connect on American, you can still go and buy that for $115.70 over Charlotte in regular economy. Sure fares have fluctuated, but the only thing this strategy does it give American travelers the ability to book the JetBlue nonstop as an American flight. If they want to pay more to do it, ok, they can go right ahead. I don’t see how that is anti-competitive.

  8. SAVE believes it has been limited in its ability to compete in key markets like MIA and NYC because of rules that protect legacy carriers, esp. AA.
    In MIA, the airport structured fees so that domestic carriers paid part of AA’s massive international facilities but that has now changed and low cost carriers are flooding into MIA. Given that DL has been the 2nd largest domestic carrier at MIA, they have received higher fares than AA in the same markets where the two compete, and comparable fares from FLL are lower than MIA because of LCCs, AA will see a flood of new capacity at lower fares.
    In NYC, AA came up w/ a plan which the feds (or part of them) blessed giving them the ability to avoid the consequences of not losing slots even though they haven’t used them per the rules for years. EWR lost slot controls when UA underused its slots; DL has used its slots by the rules. There is no current risk of DL or WS losing their slots if they don’t have a JV. NK argues that slot rules inhibit competition and I agree. The AA/B6 deal allows AA to pick w/ whom it will compete which is fundamentally anti-competitive and limits the ability of NK and WN to grow.
    Both WN and NK have decided that they are going to go where they can effectively compete against AA and that is why there is a massive increase in capacity in AA strength markets. Just like in Dallas, WN’s hands are tied but that doesn’t and won’t change their plans to grow where they can which appears to next include a run into northern S. America and ethnic Latin markets which are not as heavily dependent on US tourists.
    Meanwhile, AA has used the covid era to try to gain marketshare from carriers all over the US which is a very risky strategy given that AA has and will continue to have the highest unit costs in the industry. I get that a lot of loyalists – including on here – don’t want to hear that this won’t turn out well for AA but it likely won’t. The best strategy is to revisit this all with data 9 months from now and beyond.

    1. “ I get that a lot of loyalists – including on here – don’t want to hear that this won’t turn out well for AA but it likely won’t.”

      Tim Dunn saying AA has a bad strategy that won’t work while Delta is awesome… what else is new?

      You really should go reread your posts from a year ago on here then come back and realize how you’ve never predicted or said much of anything that was true or turned out to be true.

      Your points are so endlessly wrong and flawed with misleading information it’s not even worth talking about.

  9. Tim Dunn wrote:
    Jun 11, 2021 at 9:15 am

    “In MIA, the airport structured fees so that domestic carriers paid part of AA’s massive international facilities but that has now changed and low cost carriers are flooding into MIA.”

    Tim Dunn wrote:
    Jun 9, 2021 at 1:11 pm

    ” … (A)irports cannot negotiate terms with one airline that they wouldn’t offer to others, …”


    Which is it?

    1. there isn’t a conflict.
      MIA changed their fee structure to separate international and domestic finances for ALL carriers that add growth. They did ‘t and can’t negotiate a specific deal with Spirit that other carriers can’t get.

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