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Discussion in 'American Airlines' started by Filter, Oct 31, 2016.
"This doesn't change the number of flights operating into and out of PHX, just where the trips are built from,' Stone said."
Seems like this has been something long in the making, as opposed to an imminent shrinking of the hub.
It's time to punch-out if not already reaching for the handle...
Finally,East meets West.
For the past month or so we have been seeing more what I would call Phoenix trips on the DFW flight attendant bid sheet. Routing such as DFW-SMF-PHX, layover (some of them really long like 24 hours or more), then PHX-MCI-DFW. Now, this makes sense that they are operating the same number of flights out of PHX, it's just that the trip does not originate nor terminate there.
Reducing the originating trips and hence the domicile is the first step in the process. For quite some time the West has been flying East trips because as Kirby and Parker have repeatedly stated, there is not a lot of "profitable flying directly from PHX." It was estimated that up to 25% of PHX flying was actually former East US Airways flying.
What will be the ultimate result of this process? It may look something like this. The same basic number of flights into and out of the hub but with a significantly different mix. Many more large RJ's may be in the future for PHX. The old America West system supported mainline non-stops from PHX to places like Omaha, Spokane, Bosie, Milwaukee, Fresno, etc. (I stand corrected if these are already regional routes). At least some of the daily flights to the smaller destinations out of PHX will become regional flights. Making PHX a larger regional connecting hub could help to unload LAX which needs more space and a relocation of flying. Make more regional connections in PHX instead of LAX.
This process will take time and with the pilot shortage and the regionals' having difficulty staffing it will not happen overnight. I don't think AA will abandon the PHX hub. It is too big a market. The company will however "rightsize" the operation and probably change the mix to make it more profitable.
This domicile reduction is just the first step.
"American, which accounted for half of the 44 million passengers who flew into and out of Phoenix last year, is shrinking at Sky Harbor, as merger critics feared...
The upshot: American's passenger count is down 6.5% this year, with the pace of the declines accelerating since July...
Through October, 1.2 million fewer passengers got on or off an American flight at Sky Harbor compared with a year ago...." (Down 13% over October 2015).
You said a mouthful.
Death by a thousand cuts is a good catchphrase.
I remember in PIT we used to say:
"It'll never happen here, we are (a hub) (too big) (too profitable)." Choose one.
"Too much talent here."
"This is a brand new airport built just for us. They'll never pull out."
Look at us now.
Now I know why you call yourself Jester.
What is not clear from the article is the proverbial chicken and the egg question...was the drop in passengers boarded the result of AA cutting capacity and therefore there were no seats on AA for those passengers, or was the AA cut in capacity the result of a drastic drop in passenger boardings? Flying empty airplanes into/out of an airport just because is not considered good business practice. I worked a 738 dinner flight from PHX to MCI that had 4 people in F/C and 17 in coach. I checked other dates to see if mine was just a fluke. A random search of dates showed similar loads.
The article mentioned that Sky Harbor's passenger traffic was down 6.5%, but traffic at PHX-Mesa Gateway was up 6.1%. I realize that there may not be a whole lot of correlation between those two percentages, but I'm sure Allegiant which operates out of PHX-Mesa is happy about the results. Maybe some of AA's passengers decided to go the low-cost route.
You're not the first to notice the lack of mention on the other Phoenix area airport. The reporter isn't by any means a rookie, yet somehow missed that, and I think it explains perfectly what's going on.
Chasing the cheap seats didn't work for US pre-merger. Maybe Parker and crew have learned something from the AA folks who survived the HDQ purge....
"American minimized the size of its planes, moved portions of its workforce out of Phoenix and stopped service to several destinations. And while the airlines did add new service, those flights were usually to smaller airports, which left American Airlines with a 9.3 percent drop in passengers at Sky Harbor in 2016, with 172,835 fewer passengers."
I would be curious to see the break down between regional vs mainline flying, as I suspect much of the new service were to "smaller airports" were smaller regional jets flying, and the real decline in mainline flying was actually higher than 9.3 percent. However, regardless of facts, AA spokeswoman asserts, "Phoenix remains an important hub for American Airlines," thus parroting Doug Parker's claim in town hall meetings.
I don't believe it's a concerted effort by AA to reduce capacity at PHX. My assumption is that when it was a US hub, it had to keep connecting fares low to fight for traffic that would otherwise fly direct from the LAX & DFW hubs. Now, as an AA hub...they're not going to cannibalize their LAX/DFW fares to get traffic to fly over PHX...as such, less traffic...less needed capacity.
You might have something there. With Kirby gone to UA, I believe it is a LAA person firmly in charge of the revenue management area.
Pretty much what most were saying... need another hub within 400 miles to the west with the DFW mega hub 850 miles to the east? I am seeing what I said before.... Express hub with maybe a focus on some larger cities and all of the hubs.