Airlines abandon small cities

C

chipmunn

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[A href=http://www.usatoday.com/travel/news/2002/2002-10-23-small-cities.htm]http://www.usatoday.com/travel/news/2002/2002-10-23-small-cities.htm[/A]
 

diogenes

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Ah, the interesting policy paradox comes home to roost.
Public policy, and billions of public dollars (runways, terminals, navaids, etc.) have been directed towards the notion that all communities share in the 20th century. Air transportation was deemed essential.

Now WN, Jet Blue and others, have taken advantage of deregulation and mostly bypassed small communities with their business model. Nothing illegal or unethical; just a smart read of the business environment. The only efficient way to serve Smallville, USA is with a hub-and -spoke network, but the associated costs compared to the WN model are prohibitive.

And while a lot of politicians applaud the WN way, and say bad U,AA,UA etc., the pols without large metro areas in their districts would sh*t a brick if the WN way were applied to them.

So now what? I can't see penalizing WN; but the status quo cannot hold.And keep in mind the Smallvilles have spent a pile of treasure over the years putting those facilities in place - it's not nice to bait and switch. Either we all WN, or we have some reregulation. Which pol has the guts to lead that charge? Either way, I bet on WN to lead the pack.
 

sfb

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More of a dilemma than a paradox, but it certainly is a question of public policy -- should we allow the markets to determine the level of service and acceptable price of service to small communities? Ought we (as a nation or communities) be subsidizing inefficient air service when perhaps buses or the private automobile are more effective alternatives.

It's certainly easy to see that the premium that can be charged for service to small communities is limited by proximity to larger markets with lower fares and more choices. After all, if you charge too much, most people simply get in their cars and drive. But this can be seen even in far larger markets -- people driving to LIT from Memphis, to RDU from the Triad and (even!) Charlotte, to CLE from Pittsburgh, to PVD/MHT from Boston, to BWI from Philadelphia. Again, though, it seems that the premium charged for service to and from small airports often outpaces the actual cost (based on ASM costs) of the service; even assuming CASM of 20 cents, a 200-mile trip to a small-town airport ought to add between $40 and $60 each way to the cost of a ticket.
 

Farley

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Aug 21, 2002
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What do WN and B6 have to do with this? They are low fare, short, medium, and occasionally long haul point to point carriers. There are still plenty of carriers with the right sized equipment to service the smaller communities. Just because United pulls a 737 out of Jacksonville, and ACA puts an RJ in you want reregulation? I would argue that WN has improved airline service at many communities which were largely ignored by the majors.
 

ITRADE

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[P][BR]My bet is that the issue comes down to yield and subsidization.[BR][BR]For years and years, profitable routes have subsidized unprofitable routes or marginally profitable routes - allowing carreirs to serve cities that they would not otherwise serve.[BR][BR]The high revenues from DCA-LGA service helps DL servce ALT-AGS.[BR][BR]However, with the influx of discount carriers who drive down average fares, many highly profitable routes are now only marginal routes. The marginal revenue can no longer cover for the losses incurred on the ATL-AGS type routes.[BR][BR]Since B6 and WN never enter many of these markets and feed only upon markets with large population bases, they do not really ever have to worry about covering for money losing routes.[/P]
[P] [/P]
[P]There is also a separate issue - that is the fact that airlines cannot profitably operate 19 seat aircraft anymore. I think one of the FAA regs changed the classification of 19 seat flights to Part 121 service which entailed additional costs that did not exist before. [/P]
 

ITRADE

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[P]Outside of Texas, the smallest metro area that Southwest serves is BOI at about 407,000 (just a tad bit lower than Spokane at 409,000).[/P]
[P]There is no service to Grand Junction (pop. 115,000), no service to Bangor (pop. 95,000), no service to Parkersburg (pop. 149,000), and no service to San Luis Obispo (pop. 235,000).[/P]
[P]As to WN not serving large cities in the past, I think that LAX, PHX, LAS, FLL, BWI, and MDW constitute large cities.[/P]
 

KCFlyer

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Golly... a couple of years ago, the slam against Southwest was that they didnt' serve major cities. Today it's that they only serve bigger cities. Gotta wonder...who's flying them anyhoo.
 

KCFlyer

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[P]
[BLOCKQUOTE][BR]----------------[BR]On 10/30/2002 3:55:34 PM ITRADE wrote:
[P][BR]Outside of Texas, the smallest metro area that Southwest serves is BOI at about 407,000 (just a tad bit lower than Spokane at 409,000).[BR][BR]There is no service to Grand Junction (pop. 115,000), no service to Bangor (pop. 95,000), no service to Parkersburg (pop. 149,000), and no service to San Luis Obispo (pop. 235,000).[BR][BR]As to WN not serving large cities in the past, I think that LAX, PHX, LAS, FLL, BWI, and MDW constitute large cities.[/P]----------------[/BLOCKQUOTE]
[P]Hell, NOBODY serves Topeka, Kansas (pop. 125,000). For large cities, I was referring to the Providence and Manchester are not Boston, Islip is not New York, Baltimore is not the District of Columbia, and Fort Lauderdale isn't Miami arguments that were given in the past. Thus, Southwest served no major cities. [/P]
 

KCFlyer

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Okay let me ask you this.... Does SWA serve DC? Do they serve NYC? Do they serve Boston? Do they serve Miami. I say, yes indeed they do. Most seem to disagree with me. Yet PVD,MHT,ISP, and BWI are among the most profitable stations in Southwests stable. Are the population bases of these secondary cities big enough to accomplish that, or are there really some folks who find it worth the hassle to drive in from the nearby metropolis to fly them?
 

ITRADE

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[P]I would argue the following:[/P]
[P]ISP - ISP is part of the metropolitan New York area. Does Southwest serve New York City proper? Not really. But, does Southwest serve the metropolitan area in general? Here, I would answer in the affirmative.[/P]
[P]PVD - PVD is far enough removed (43 miles from BOS) from the BOS metro area to really be considered part of the area, so no. However...[/P]
[P]MHT - MHT is part of the metropolitan Boston area. Again, does Southwet serve Boston proper? No. But, does Southwest serve the metropolitan area in general. Here, again, the answer is yes.[/P]
[P]FLL - FLL is part of the metropolitan Miami area. Does Southwest serve Miami proper. This one is debatable as the airport is only 18.3 miles north of the Miami airport and is often considered interchangeable with MIA.[/P]
[P][/P]
 

KCFlyer

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[P]PVD is only 43 miles away?....I wish my local airport were as close. MCI is 50 miles one way from where I live. My point being - anytime anyone even suggests PVD or MHT as an alternative to BOS, it's usually met with all kinds of buts about how it's just not Boston. Same with ISP. Just strikes me as odd that in the good times, SWA doesn't serve the major cities (they seem to forget metropolitan areas). When times are bad, Southwest doesn't serve the smaller cities. [/P]
[P]To that I say - neither do the others. Oh...they've got little RJ's or Beech 1900's painted up in a major airlines colors, but the bottom line is - when those aircraft call the tower, it's Comair, Skywest, Eagle, etc. that they use. [/P]
 

ITRADE

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[P]
[BLOCKQUOTE][BR]----------------[BR]On 10/31/2002 10:47:53 AM KCFlyer wrote:
[P][BR]PVD is only 43 miles away?....I wish my local airport were as close.  MCI is 50 miles one way from where I live.  My point being - anytime anyone even suggests PVD or MHT as an alternative to BOS, it's usually met with all kinds of buts about how it's just not Boston.  Same with ISP.  Just strikes me as odd that in the good times, SWA doesn't serve the major cities (they seem to forget metropolitan areas).  When times are bad, Southwest doesn't serve the smaller cities.  [BR][BR]To that I say - neither do the others.  Oh...they've got little RJ's or Beech 1900's painted up in a major airlines colors, but the bottom line is - when those aircraft call the tower, it's Comair, Skywest, Eagle, etc. that they use.  [/P]----------------[/BLOCKQUOTE]
[P]Depends on the person asked. For somebody who is VERY cost conscious, MHT may work fine for Boston trips; BWI may work fine for Washington, D.C. trips. For an attorney working on K Street or on Capitol Hill, its DCA - plain and simple.[/P]
 

ngneer

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[P]
[BLOCKQUOTE][BR]----------------[BR]On 10/31/2002 9:40:50 AM KCFlyer wrote:
[P]...PVD,MHT,ISP, and BWI are among the most profitable stations in Southwests stable.----------------[/P]
[P]KCFlyer: How do you know how profitable these stations are? Please post any figures you might have. Thanks.[/P][/BLOCKQUOTE]
[P][/P]
 

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