Greetings from Airlineville, where every resident seemed to be on the same page this week. Oh sure, the Eskimo started cleaning up fall and the Animal went nuts with a flurry of September plans, but for most, it was time to do some housekeeping and clear out the cobwebs.
As Cirium data shows, the Globe has abandoned one of its newer hotspots while the Widget is starting to think about warming up this winter. Meanwhile, the Eagle is moving its little guys around. The Heart? Oh he’s busy dreaming about home down in Texas.
All this and more this week. Like sands through the hourglass, so are the skeds of air lines.
Alaska Pulls Back Further in LA
Alaska won’t fly from LA to Boston or Chicago through at least until March now. These markets, of course, continue to be flown by its good friend American. Seattle –
Winnipeg Edmonton is gone through winter too, and Portland (OR) – Omaha won’t operate until next May, if then. But the biggest cut of all… Portland (OR) – Eugene looks to be gone for good as traffic gets routed through Seattle instead.
Looking at the bigger picture, the airline has also brought down October and November schedules by 12.5 percent and 17.9 percent respectively in order to try to match reality. It’s a little early for certainty, but it’s a welcome effort.
American Brings September Down a Bit More
From September 8 through October 6, American is pulling down 30 to 35 flights a day, mostly regional jets in LA. LA sees cuts in Denver, Houston, Portland (OR), Sacramento, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco as those CRJ-700s move to DFW to replace ERJ-145s.
Delta Builds Up Boston
Delta is making a move in Boston with a whole bunch of new leisure flights starting this winter. Routes include Aruba, Montego Bay, Nassau, Punta Cana, St Thomas, and Turks and Caicos. Charleston (SC) also sees its second summer daily flight extended through the winter.
In other news, Raleigh/Durham – Cancun looks to be gone. Salt Lake gains an extra flight to Fresno, Ontario, and Tulsa. Seattle – Orange County loses 2 daily flights through year-end.
Frontier Goes Big in September
Frontier filed a massive increase of more than 17 percent in available seat miles for September with the big focus on Vegas. Frontier now has September looking more like August than October but with more Vegas and less Miami.
Southwest Bumps Up Austin
Southwest is building up Austin starting in November. El Paso gets an extra 2 – 3x daily. Lubbock goes from 1x weekly to daily, and Long Beach gets an extra daily. Kansas City gets more flying, and Oklahoma City joins the Austin network.
United Leaves Paine Field
United hasn’t flown Paine Field to San Francisco since before the pandemic, and now it’s out completely. Denver stops October 4. Houston – Akron/Canton won’t fly through the winter, and neither will Havana from Houston and Newark. San Francisco – Columbus (OH), Northwest Arkansas, and Oklahoma City won’t fly through year-end.
- Air Canada is going to start Vancouver – Orange County in October. On the other hand, it will not fly Montreal – San Salvador (Bahamas) this winter.
- Boutique appears to be leaving Nashville – Muscle Shoals, Las Vegas – Merced, and Portland (OR) – Bend.
- Cabo Verde Airlines is pulling out of the Boston – Praia market. That was its last US market.
- Kuwait Airways will return to the JFK market with 1x weekly from Kuwait starting in August.
- Seaborne will end flights from San Juan to St Kitts and Santiago (DR). Sister airline Silver looks to be remaining in both markets.
- Southern Air Express is now planning to fly rich people from Bridgeport (CT) to New York via seaplane through the fall. It’s also going to fly to New York from Boston by seaplane.
- Viva Air has reversed its increase in the Orlando – Medellín market from last week, so maybe it’s not the early sign of success that it appeared to be.
- WestJet is downgrading Vancouver – Comox and Nanaimo from Encore Q400s to WestJet Link Saab 340s. Comox, at least, gains an extra daily flight to offset the cut in seats.
That’s all for this week’s episode of Skeds of air Lines. If you can’t wait for next week, you can always subscribe to Cranky Network Weekly. This week, we cover:
- Alaska Reduces Overlap with American in LA
- Frontier Turbocharges September in Vegas
- LAX Loses in American’s Regional Shuffle
- Delta Builds Up Boston
- United Gives Up on Paine Field
AS has never flown to YWG, although I think it would be great add.
Whoops, it was Edmonton. Fixed.
Winnipeg? I think you meant Regina…those 3x daily flights on AS will be missed. ;-)
Sad to see Cabo Verde leave the BOS market.
There are a TON of Cabo Verde ex-pats in the Boston area (which supposedly has the highest number of Portuguese speakers outside of Brasil and Portugal), but I assume the COVID rates and travel restrictions at present are too much to allow for enough VFR traffic to make that flight profitable.
Regarding AS at LAX, they do not codeshare to BOS or ORD and I do not believe they can codeshare to BOS due to the terms of the NEA between AA and B6. Given AA’s cuts, DL for Sept is the largest airline again as it was for much of the pandemic
Also, while many have great hopes for domestic codeshare relationships, DOT data for the 4th quarter of 2019 shows that AS sold about 100 seats/day on AA operated flights systemwide – or a small fraction of a single percent of AS’ network.
As for DL’s leisure growth at BOS, much of that is reinstatement of pre-covid routes, sometimes w/ higher frequencies, compared to pre-pandemic. For Sept, though, DL/DCI will operate about 98% of the flights at B6 will operate at BOS. BOS is the city with the biggest reduction in capacity on B6’ network while EWR is seeing the largest increase in capacity. B6 desperately wants to grow EWR to a sustainable #2 position behind UA and is “donating” capacity from BOS, FLL and multiple other airline hubs in order to make it happen. DCA and JFK are also “capacity donors” but are slot restricted and airlines do not have to fly 100% of their slots right now. B6 will have to come up w/ capacity to fly its slots in a couple months but other airlines will be larger compared to their pre-pandemic sizes relative to B6 in a number of cities esp. DL in BOS and NK in FLL.
I don’t know that codeshares really matter from the point of view of AS sales. The AS web site doesn’t really differentiate between code shares and interline tickets. I would wager that the number if rickets sold by AS on AA operated and marketed flights is much higher than than those on AS marketed AA operated code shares.
Lol, now you got a new phrase. There is a difference between # of flights and capacity. JFK is definitely going to be up in capacity vs 2019 by August. BOS just lost a bunch of short haul E90 flights while the northeast business demand is way down. Most of those flights are supplemented by its partnership with AA. You want to take a look at those top business markets out of BOS and compare DL’s schedule vs AA/B6? When B6’s NYC buildup is closer to being finished, BOS will get plenty of attention. Until then, B6 is looking to get as many gates as it can in EWR and fully utilize those JFK/LGA slots. The fact that B6 restarted its ORH should tell you how committed they are to BOS.
For all your market share obsession, maybe you should take a look at the shrinking DL market share in NYC. You know, the supposedly most important market in America? You are not going to, because that will not fit your narrative of DL doing well.
Back in March/April, B6 had 50+% more flights than DL in BOS, but now its focused on NYC while DL brought back some BOS markets. These things move back and forth depending on when an airline decide to focus on a certain market. For example, the next move for DL to make is to actually restore its LGA & JFK flights to utilize those slots.
B6 has a healthy gate advantage at BOS. With the AA partnership, they got a huge lead over DL in # of gates, # of destinations, local market share and schedule in top business markets. DL lost monopolies in the few midwest markets that it was actually making money on. BOS was already a bottom 5 percentile market pre-COVID for DL. DL situation has worsened considerably due to COVID. There is no path forward to a profitable hub if it’s being realistic. But given DL’s stubbornness, I presume it has decided to keep BOS somewhere between a focus city and a hub. At least SEA has a rationale in their system as the TPAC hub and gateway to PNW and AK.
As for FLL, that’s a different situation. NK is actually growing like a mushroom and won’t slowdown. But NK is also gate constrained at FLL and forced to expand in MIA.
NK is a huge threat and competition to B6 in a lot of places that are not immediately constrained. DL is a competitor to B6 in 2 gate/slot constrained markets where B6 can keep/increase its market share as long as it holds on to its assets. Huge difference. B6 has an AA partnership now and international long haul demand is down for a few years. It has nothing to worry about from DL in the next few years.
But since you are not objective, you want to conflate the two.
First, AA does not have a joint venture or revenue sharing agreement with either AS or B6. They can codeshare and develop marketing related programs such as loyalty program, upgrade and lounge benefits but they still act as competitors and sell their own seats separately.
I totally get that people want to believe that AA’s codeshares with B6 and AS will help everyone but there is no history of significant benefit from domestic codesharing between US airlines and that is still true between AA and AS which has been in existence for years. For quite some time, there have been fewer passengers on AS metal that were booked on AA codes than the other way around.
Nobody is changing the definition of capacity whichis still measured by ASMs. The number of flights has been raised in some discussions which is why I am ADDING it. Either way, Delta at BOS is still flying a higher percentage compared to B6 than they have since DL started refocusing on BOS.
There is no indication that any US carrier will give up any slots at any airport. Of course, DL has to add flights but it has consistently been flying a percentage of flights as high as or higher than any other airline from NYC. Returning to full schedules based on their slots is easier for DL than for B6 based solely on the size of DL’s fleet and the difference in where they are compared to where they need to be.
DL has not given up any revenue share during the pandemic because it used a seat-blocking, high fare strategy that DOT data shows delivered as high as or higher revenue than its peers including in competitive markets.
Most people recognized that B6 did not have the capacity or incoming fleet to chase a bunch of strategic opportunities and they have clearly chosen EWR which makes long-term sense but it does come at the cost of other markets.
If we agree that DL will need to add back flights at NYC in the coming months and other places then those are obviously capacity that aren’t going to Boston. They appeared to have focused on Boston a little bit in the past few months as a retaliation for AA/B6 partnership. But they will need to refocus on NYC next and then Seattle and LAX. Guess what, there is still no mainline pilot base at Boston. What does that tell you?
There are good reasons why B6 has been taking its sweet time bringing stuff back at Boston. It has all of Boston markets covered really nicely with AA partnership. It’s no longer worried about legacy ff flocking to DL, since AA suddenly has a great network to offer to ff that prefer legacy carriers. It can fly just a few times a day to places like ORD/DCA/PHL and still get good coverage out of all the top short haul markets due to the AA codeshares. Outside of a couple of Florida markets, it’s completely insulated from ULCC competition. WN is not putting any effort in Boston. And most importantly, there is no sign or motivation that DL will try harder than it currently does out of Boston. As long as it maintains its healthy gate lead and AA partnership, it can focus in NYC for the next 12 months.
B6 right now has 1 in a 20 year opportunity to significantly increase its market share in NYC. It’s in a race to add as many flights as it can at EWR before PA stops allowing further adds. With AA’s PHL cuts, JFK will be the primary TATL hub for AA in the next year at least. B6 essentially has a 290 flight hub at JFK by the time it finishes making all the adds. B6’s JFK operation will become a lot more connection oriented than it is now. Even LGA is going to become a major E90 station.
If NK becomes a lot larger than them in FLL/MIA and MCO, then so big it. B6 was never going to be able to keep up with NK’s fleet growth.
If B6 does wisen up and follow in DL’s direction of buying used aircraft on the cheap, I would rather see them devote all of that capacity to finish building up NYC or open up a focus city in SFO than trying to beat NK. That’s not going to happen. NK/F9 will really re-shape domestic market in the next 5 years as they double their fleet size. Don’t believe me? Just check how much capacity NK has on DTW-FLL/MCO/TPA/RSW/MSY/LAS/CUN vs DL. Now, think about how these markets will look when NK plans to double their system wide capacity. There are only so many markets in the country where NK can expand in.
You could have stopped with B6 has a once in a lifetime opportunity to grow EWR because we all agree on that point. While not slot-restricted anymore, there really isn’t completely unlimited ability to expand at EWR because there is still schedule coordination and of course the pesky need to obtain terminal space – which B6 is aggressively fighting to gain. They are clearly taking the risk in reducing their size in established markets in order to grow elsewhere. B6 might regain its share in cities where it is giving up share in order to grow elsewhere but they also might lose it permanently. Delta is adding 2 more cities from BOS and they typically start w/ low frequency and small planes and build from there.
Delta and the big 3 simply have much more capacity spread over many more cities than any other airline besides WN so there is much less risk in trying new strategies such as AA is doing in AUS. If you look at DL’s hub structures now vs. pre-covid, they are operating fewer banks which allows them to cut a lot of capacity relative to point to point operations like in NYC or BOS for any carrier.
CF’s hypothesis that slot exemptions will be extended to the spring is worth considering. The NYC and DC markets aren’t ready for the additional capacity and some carriers like B6 clearly would like time to develop other strategies. OTOH, airlines like NK and WN want more access at LGA and you have to ask why they should be blocked when other carriers aren’t willing to expand now. Of course, that same argument can be made about Love Field.
AA and B6 just jointly announced some new B6-operated flights to the central US and from LGA. They both want to present the picture of operating as one. The factor that matters is whether customers believe that and buy tickets interchangeably. Domestic codeshares haven’t done much before but maybe AA/B6 will be different this time around. It is clear that AA/B6 as well as AA/AS want to swap routes between themselves like the legacy carriers do with their regional carriers and passengers accept those moves. Follow-up on the impact of the AA/B6 and AA/AS codeshares should take place but history says that codeshares are not near as effective as the relationship with regional carriers and true joint venture partners. Even at the peak of the AS/DL partnership, only a couple hundred passengers/day flew on AS ticketed by DL and vice versa.
Delta has consistently maintained its share of flights in NYC but they intentionally did not sell every seat, offsetting the loss of market share with higher fares. DOT data says they came out pretty close to where other carriers did by selling every seat.
The fact remains DL doesn’t have mainline pilot base out of BOS. That’s all you need to know about how they view BOS. it’s a space constrained airport where they have a clear limit on how much they can grow. It’s a market they started to grow with the justification of TATL traffic and business traffic. Both are down big time. The fact is DL simply has much reduced fleet size and pilot base than it did pre-COVID. That has real implication on how quickly it can recover to pre-COVID fleet size and block hours. DL’s PR message of hiring 1000 pilots in a year sounded like a lot until you factor in that they lost over 2000 pilots from early outs last year. DL is going to have to live with its cost cutting decisions for many years.
Even with what I think is conservative fleet planning on B6’s behalf, they are still going to be up 22 aircraft and probably around 500 pilots by the end of this year vs end of 2019. They have enough aircraft coming in to carry forward their NYC growth plan over the next year and come back to Boston the year after. it’s not a problem. They wouldn’t make this move if they were actually concerned about their long term position at Boston.
Take a look at the number of flights and capacity scheduled out of NYC this summer. B6 is up big time in NYC vs 2019. DL is down big time. Don’t give me this DL maintaining market share nonsense. They have lost market share for the very clear reason that business traffic is still down in the northeast.
NK is the biggest threat facing B6 for the next few years. If you cannot figure that out, that means you simply haven’t realized that things have changed since COVID hit.
Delta’s capacity share at LGA and JFK are unchanged. JetBlue’s is up because they have added tons of capacity at EWR. That is not a strategy that Delta thinks it needs to address; United itself has developed its own strategy with dealing with the growth of low cost carriers in their hubs – and I think it will work, even if it is costly. It isn’t Delta’s job to fight United’s battles or vice versa.
And Delta’s share in NYC is up relative to both American and United which are Delta’s two most direct competitors.
Where Delta has pilot bases has absolutely nothing to do with where they can or cannot grow. A pilot base simply makes their operations more efficient.
Delta has scores of aircraft on order but the point is not guessing what airlines might do but what they have done so far.
JetBlue has, in fact, given up capacity share at Boston relative to Delta in order to grow Newark. When revenue data becomes available, we can see whether B6′ strategy provided an opportunity for DL or not. We don’t need to guess the outcome now.
How do you grow your mainline operation without a pilot base? Every other “hub” in DL system has a mainline pilot base. BOS does not and that shows you all you need to know. Do you know why I think SEA is getting a lot of growth? It is getting a major bump in its pilots positions in their major pilot bid this year.
DL is over 2000 mainline pilots down this year and have 200 fewer mainline aircraft. They claim they will hire 1000 addition mainline pilots over the next year. So they will need to go through all the training event for them + the 1700 displaced pilots (remember that?). How well is that going to go? Does DL have unlimited simulation equipment available? Have you seen DL’s operation when they tried to run a schedule without enough current pilots? Why do you think they are running less capacity now vs 2019 than every other major US carriers?
JetBlue is running 150 flights a day and DL is running a little over 160 at JFK. Pre-COVID, that ratio was 170 to 230 in summer time. But according you, DL has not lost any market share. And keep in mind, JetBlue is actually operating longer flights on larger aircraft (all the reductions are short haul stuff) whereas DL isn’t able to operate a lot of those widebody TATL flights. But feel free to keep up with your lies that DL hasn’t lost its NYC market share. Feel free to base your NYC arguments on Jan to March data but your BOS arguments on some schedule in Sep/Oct that’s not firmed up at this point.
Right now, DL is operating about 300 flights a day between JFK/LGA. That number was 500 a day in summer 2019. 60% of 2019 departures. How is that not a major reduction? If you look at the combined B6/AA numbers, they were at about 500 between all 3 NYC airports in 2019 and now they are at 345 between the 3. That’s definitely more than what DL has brought back.
I don’t see how revenue data will change anything. Do you think B6 will suddenly lose gates at BOS by flying less? It’s nonsense.
I think you have nailed it especially the AA/B6 NEA. When AA and B6 made this grand announcement many airlines like DL and UA were in trouble in the Northeast. What were are now seeing is Delta is restoring service to JFK and BOS at a much higher rate than B6 and AA at those airports. Over at EWR B6 has boxed themselves in because the FAA has restricted the number of flights airlines can operate per hour do to runway construction and United at EWR has also pulled away from B6 this summer with United now operating 245 daily flights that is the limit the FAA has set on United until October.
Last year while people were celebrating B6’s expansion I stated most of their expansion has come at the expense of both their BOS and JFK hubs. Needless to say my point of view wasn’t popular back then and probably isn’t popular now. However B6 has some tough decisions to make because their fleet isn’t as big as DL’s and UA’s if they are going to rebuild BOS and JFK they are going to need to pull those aircraft out of markets they added at the height of the pandemic. If they don’t Delta will continue to pull away at BOS and JFK, and United announced they will be adding at least 100 more daily flights at EWR this fall as runway construction winds down and the FAA increases EWR’s arrival rate.
B6 is operating about 90% of the flights it operated at JFK in 2019 for this summer. DL is probably closer to 75%. AA is probably at 70% right now. Your statement is just not accurate. At BOS, B6 is at about low 60% of its 2019 # of flights, although capacity is a lot more than that. DL is at about the same mark. AA is at probably over 70%. Your first point simply isn’t true.
B6 doesn’t need to rival UA’s size at EWR. EWR is part of its overall NYC strategy. The very existence of a large B6 presence at EWR is terrible news for UA.
B6 has enough fleet right now to complete its NYC buildup by 2023, build BOS to 200+ a day by 2024 and build FLL.MIA to 150 to 160 a day by 2025.
DL doesn’t have enough pilots or mainline aircraft to have the same number of block hours until probably 2024. And its regional fleet is also down quite a bit.
Are they the same threat to B6 as they were in Feb 2020? No.
UA on the other hand did make enough good decisions to grow beyond pre-COVID size before DL does. But they face other threats like non-existent TPAC demand, WN growth at major hubs and rampant ULCC growth in their major hubs. UA and B6 are not real foes.
The big threat facing B6 is NK. If you don’t see how a ULCC doubling fleet size by 2026 is a scary prospect, then you are not thinking hard enough.
“ DOT data for the 4th quarter of 2019 shows that AS sold about 100 seats/day on AA operated flights systemwide”
You utilize a lot of fake information and useless data to imply some great delta advantage on just about anything, but the line above might be the most useless stat you’ve ever provided. AS and AA didn’t even expand their partnership, much less AS joining oneworld, until early February, 2020, so trying to use 4q19 to predict any future codeshares is pretty useless and extremely irrelevant.
TD……Aside from others’ comments, let’s focus on the currently unused LGA/JFK slots. Question: At what point do you think the authorities will step in and say “use them or lose them”? When do you think Delta (and any other carrier underutilizing its slots) will be forced to reinstate service or be required to relinquish the slot?
Mr. Snyder…..Same question for you: When do you think the Slot Gods will demand usage of currently “dormant” slots or risk slot loss?
As I noted above, I don’t think any US carrier will give up any slots at any of the 3 federally slot controlled airports – LGA, DCA and JFK.
As of December 2021, most carriers including DL at both LGA and JFK – are scheduling +/- 3% of what they flew in December 2019.
AA and B6 have both scheduled significantly more than they flew or slots are available which means those schedules are not likely to last.
Not sure we disagree?
Of course AA is using a different model of codesharing w/ other US domestic airlines that is not being used by other of the big 4 airlines.
I am simply noting that historical evidence as well as data from the AA/AS partnership shows that domestic codesharing is minuscule compared to every other form of cooperation, including joint venture partnerships. AA carried far more passengers – likely vastly more – for its joint venture partners within the US than it did for AS – and vice versa.
The bottom line related to today’s schedule change update is that AS is out of two more markets from LAX and they aren’t being replaced. You gotta wonder how much longer the rest of their non-SEA/PDX transcons will last since none are being flown at frequencies anywhere close to anyone else.
TD…..Thank you for your insights.
SawtheMasters – Well, I believe right now usage is waived through the summer schedule, so Oct 30. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it extended through the winter schedule to the end of March, but I’d be surprised to see it go beyond that.
CF…..Thank you got your insights.
If I remember correctly, there are codeshare restrictions in place between American and Alaska as a result of their most recent mergers. If Tim’s statistics are accurate, these restrictions apparently haven’t had a huge impact. Based on his usual comments, Tim apparently feels that any airline whose name isn’t Delta must refrain from competing in the marketplace. And any carrier that doesn’t exactly mirror Delta’s operation deserves to lose money. Newsflash: Airlines are different. They serve different cities. They’re strong in some geographies and weak in others. They have different levels of competition at their main airports.
And, heaven forbid, they have different business models. As an aside, and to illustrate my point, Southwest and the ULCCs have a rather limited presence in New York City and internationally when compared to the only perfect airline on the planet, but are among the most profitable carriers in the U.S. How can that possibly be? A final rhetorical question: When did not copying Delta in every operational aspect become a felony?
Sorta sad to see UAL give up on PAE so easily.
I’m sure Covid put a major pinch on things, but their fare structure compared to SEA-TAC didn’t help either in my humble opinion.
Canada just announced fully vaccinated Americans (both does of Modern, Pfizer or AstraZeneca, one does of Janssen/Johnson & Johnson) can resume “discretionary” travel to Canada on August 9th. International arrivals will be expanded to include Quebec City, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton, and Halifax. (Right now, only YYZ, YCG, YVR, and YUL can accept international arrivals.)
The US has not announced any lifting of restrictions on Canadians yet.
Not sure how fast schedule changes will come before the US changes its restrictions on Canadians, but I’d think we’d see something fairly soon.
In particular, what changes will this make to Porter’s restart plan? All their routes from the US at the border closure went to Billy Bishop Toronto City (a/k/a The Little Airport With The Long Name), but unless the Canadian government signals YTZ’s reopening is imminent maybe the Raccoon needs to consider adding routes to other US airports? EWR could be a start from Montreal or Ottawa to connect to B6?
Super interested to see how this works out also. . .
Canada announced it is reopening its border with the US August 9.
Should see some more skeds of airlines changes related to that soon, and maybe this Porter date will stick.
Good to see WN paying a bit more attention to AUS. With AA’s aggressive expansion, for May AA + AS + B6 actually eclipsed WN’s market share here. Pretty sure that’s the first time that’s happened, ever. Will be interesting to see if WN can chase AA off of at least some of point-to-point routes AA has added. Or maybe AA will leave after they find they can’t fill E75s on routes where people tend not to book them at the other end.
One interesting thing with AUS is we have a *lot* of E75 traffic for our market size, and that % will only increase as AA’s “we swear AUS isn’t a focus city” operation continues to add routes. May saw nearly as many E75s as A321s (11.2% vs. 12.6%), though between AA, WN, UA, and half the AS flights one out of every two passenger flights from AUS are still on a 737. Note that I don’t mention DL in here because, to my knowledge, DL intentionally keeps Boeing aircraft (e.g. 737-900ERs) away from AUS so they can keep a hard product advantage, and thus maybe a fare premium. Except for the lone CR7 to CVG (RDU is now mainline, thanks to AA hopping on that route I suppose).
First, WN knows that AA, AS and B6 are all competitors to each other. As much as you want to add their capacity, they do not have joint ventures or share revenue.
Second, they can buy seats on each other where they codeshare – but that amounts to just 12 markets in the fall and half of those are AA coding on AS operated flights – all to the west – and all of the codeshares between the 3 are to their “hub” airports.
Third, markets like AUS-LAX are perfect examples of why the 3 way arrangement will ultimately fail. AA, AS and B6 all serve the market but AS and B6 are smaller than DL and WN in the market. It is more likely that the increased capacity between the 3 will depress fares and hurt the smaller carriers in the market more than the big players.
Fourth, AA is nearly at parity with WN in AUS flights and ASMs by December. The AUS battle is between AA and WN and that has been clear by the markets which the two have added. I get that AA is ticked to see WN on AUS to MIA and ORD but WN will always be a lower cost operator regardless of what type of aircraft or regional carrier AA uses.
Fifth, AA might pull some traffic over in markets where it competes against DL (such as BOS, CVG, RDU or JFK, in some cases duplicating B6 service) but the chances are that DL has contracts that it will be able to retain. Follow-up data will show.
Finally, DL has grown to the #3 position in AUS – and it is doubtful that they ever thought anything else would be realistic. They are using their most efficient mainline aircraft which is the best way to serve competitive markets, as WN knows well. The A321 just holds more pax which is likely the factor.
Enjoying the chat.
You’re right that aa, as, and b6 are competitors in Austin, but that doesn’t change that it’s a very large advantage for an AA corporate sales team vs any competitor to have the ability to sell: aa, AS, b6, and BA out of Austin all on offer to a company that values nonstop flights. It also sets that bar that much higher for Delta to win corporate contracts in Austin without a heavy investment to get close to AA’s breadth and reach out of Austin.
If you’re a local traveler that values redeeming miles and generally trying to stick with one loyalty program to build up status or miles, of course it matters that they can accrue miles on aa, as, and b6 with AAdvantage out of Austin to use worldwide on oneworld vs generally domestically or short haul with WN.
If the pandemic taught airline nerds anything, it’s that mileage programs matter, a lot. The ability to earn and generally redeem all three carriers to AAdvantage matters a great deal.
Acting as though the corporate sales strength and the added benefit to AAdvantage members of aa, as, and b6 in austin doesn’t matter is a bit disingenuous.
I have never assumed that Delta would waltz into AUS or any other city and simply take over as the dominant airline. Very few people considered it possible that they could build a hub at BOS or SEA and yet they have not only done so but sustained their positions – smaller than AS and B6 in those cities – throughout the pandemic and the capacity going forward indicates DL’s position in those cities will remain just as strong and might strengthen.
AA thought they saw an opportunity to grow in AUS and I don’t slight them for going after it; AA and WN are sparring throughout their networks and AUS is just a part of that. AA is trying to grow in DL AUS strength markets and they may or may not succeed. Over the past decade and across their networks, DL has gained more in AA strength markets than the other way around.
I’m not predicting where things will go whether in BOS or AUS or anywhere else. I am saying what current DOT data shows for revenue and flown share performance as well as reasonably trustworthy capacity in any market.
None of us will know how mileage earn/burn really happens in AA’s partnerships with AS or B6. It is just as possible – and people are saying it online – that they may decide to get mileage on AS or B6 rather than AA.
DL’s gains in LAX and BOS have far larger revenue significance than AUS but DL’s share and capacity in AUS is still growing.
AUS is worth watching but there are far larger markets where the competitive environment is equally if not more intense including MIA.
it is good to chat w/ you.
Any airline with gates and aircraft can add a bunch of flights and call it a hub. BOS and SEA were major disasters in performance pre-COVID. As long as DL is doing great elsewhere, nobody will question these moves. Their position hasn’t changed since they started. They are never going to have the most gates in these markets unless B6 or AS collapse. As long as they have fewer gates, they will be constrained in their growth and the limited in their ability to grab local revenue. With their high cost, these will always end up being poor performers in their system.
If they can grab enough gates at AUS, they can build a 50+ flight station as long as they are willing to tolerate low performance. It’s not any different than BOS and SEA.
I would love to see whatever data you are using to come to the conclusion that DL’s BOS and SEA hubs have been failures – and so would a lot of other people. There has been a chorus on the internet that has been trying to say for years that Delta can’t be profitable in NYC, BOS, SEA or LAX and subsidize those hubs by the profits they make at their core 4 hubs. Please do share the data you use.
Delta never said that it intends to be the largest at BOS or SEA. It is a global carrier with a substantial revenue premium in a number of markets and is competitive on average fares in leisure markets.
Delta is simply not large enough to subsidize as many money-losing hubs as you and others think they do.
You and I and others recently discussed widebody operating costs and Air Insight just published an article showing the operating costs of all widebody aircraft types operated by US airlines. Three of Delta’s fleet types – the A330-300, A330-900, and A350 – all have below average operating costs per seat and all are lower than every other type in AAL and UAL’s fleets except for the 787-10. The 777-200/ER is higher than every other type except the A330-200. The A350-900 is lower cost/seat than the B787-9. The 777-300ER is higher than any new generation aircraft. Since this is all US carrier fleets, AA’s cost/seat for the 77W is higher than UA’s. UA’s 787-10 fleet is not large enough to offset its less efficient other fleets while DL’s A330-200 fleet is not large enough (10 aircraft, I think) to bring down its advantage via its other fleets.
I’d love to see your data on hub performance. Air Insights has data on aircraft and it is coming from someone besides me but says exactly what I said even before their article was published.
“ Note that I don’t mention DL in here because, to my knowledge, DL intentionally keeps Boeing aircraft (e.g. 737-900ERs) away from AUS so they can keep a hard product advantage”
Putting aside whether
1. the lower legroom in first vs AA and UA (a321/a319 are 35-37”; the a320 is 35-36”; a220 at 37” vs oasis 37”
2. the “same as oasis 30” legroom”(delta is 30-31” with 30-32” on a221 and 31-32” on a223) in the back vs oasis at 30”
3. and two cramped space flex bathrooms + galley all in the back wall on every Delta Airbus a320 series plane
is any product advantage vs even aa oasis or United (ife, sure).
Delta’s 8p daily aus-lax is on a 738; the non refurbished ones I’ve been on don’t get much worse in delta’s fleet. The IFE barely even works. I could be wrong, but I don’t think they’re redoing those planes either.
Cranky, I can’t tell for sure, but it looks like Keflavik-Portland on Icelandair is also gone for the year. They were marketing the return of this route a few months ago, but it doesn’t look like flights are available to buy any longer.
Cranky, I stand corrected. KEF-PDX on Icelandair seems to be coming up for me now. Sorry
I know that there are a lot of “long(ish) and thin” routes that work well, some surprisingly so for people like me who study the industry from our armchairs, but PDX-KEF is not a route I had ever imagined an airline attempting
I guess it was worth a shot to see if there would be enough leisure demand among the outdoors crowd in the Pac Northwest for the route, but nonetheless, bit of a headturner for me.
Preview for next week: Breeze appears to be taking a knife to its schedule. At first glance it doesn’t look like they’re leaving any markets, but they’re cancelling several days’ flights on some Norfolk routes and then cutting frequencies in more markets, particularly Norfolk and Charleston. OTOH the only reduction in Tampa is to Norfolk and Huntsville.
Looking forward to more details in the next episode of “Skeds”.