American Airlines overtakes Delta Air Lines and United Airlines to become #1 at Los Angeles

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Crash Pad DCA

Mar 6, 2011

“And the Oscar for the largest carrier goes to…”
American Airlines is the number one carrier out of LAX in S15, helped in part by its merger with US Airways, meaning that Delta Air Lines and United Airlines will have to perfect their ‘happy to just be nominated’ face after falling to second and third places respectively. This means that the top three carriers at LAX are also representing the top three airline alliances of oneworld, SkyTeam and Star Alliance. When looking at the carrier mix from an alliance point of view at LAX, Star is number one, with the alliance having a total of 15 airlines serving LAX, which when combined occupy 24% of seat capacity. SkyTeam is second with 11 carriers commanding 22% of seat capacity, while oneworld is third with just under 22% of capacity with seven airlines representing the alliance. 32% of the remaining capacity is made up of non-alliance member airlines, although Emirates has the well-known Skywards programme...

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I'm not sure what there is to debate about the graph or the article. It was a given that the merger would restructure the size of the big 3 at LAX and that is what has happened.

the only point of correction is that DL has given nothing up in size but has actually moved up. Even before the AA/US merger, DL was #3 but moved up to #2 ahead of UA both in terms of forward looking capacity and in terms of local revenue.

in fact, DL for the first quarter of 2015 was the largest carrier at LAX in terms of local boardings and share if AA/US were still considered separate companies - and they did report separately to the DOT in the first quarter. Were it not for the merger, the situation at LAX would be different.

and we still haven't seen AA publish its LAX-HND schedule, make a decision regarding LAX-NRT, and we also haven't seen increased capacity on LAX-PVG including by Skyteam airlines on both sides of the Pacific.

and LAX-MEX hasn't started by AA yet nor have we seen what DL will do in partnership with AM.

LAX is definitely changing.. .the merger helped AA blunt DL's growth and the LAX race is more between AA and DL with UA left on the sidelines; even with a decent share, UA is giving up position to AA and DL although the 3 are and will be more closely sized at LAX than in any other market in the US.
to confirm what has been discussed a dozen times before? the merger made AA the largest carrier at LAX but if it weren't for the merger, DL would have overtaken AA as the largest carrier in LOCAL traffic?

Or that the LAX race is realistically between AA and DL now? or that AA was already the largest carrier at LAX before the merger and had to hold onto that title or lose it?

it's all in the data.

and remember that a big part of the rationale that AA and US gave for the merger was to allow AA to keep up with DL and UA... that is exactly what has happened in a number of markets; LAX just happens to be one of the most discussed markets on here.
WorldTraveler said:
to confirm what has been discussed a dozen times before? the merger made AA the largest carrier at LAX but if it weren't for the merger, DL would have overtaken AA as the largest carrier in LOCAL traffic?

So there was a merger, deal with it.... DL became the airline it is because of a         merger.....
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I have never argued otherwise.

however, some of you need to deal with the fact that DL was never remotely close to overtaking AA in LAX on a standalone basis but it is ONLY because of the merger that DL is not the largest airline in LAX today.
And the same goes for your deity DL, they wouldn't be the size they are at LAX, if it wasn't for a merger.
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I know they are government statistics which you only use if they show your side of the argument but perhaps a few numbers will help.

in the LAX LOCAL market for the 4th quarter 2008, the last quarter that DL reported on its own before the NW merger was legally (but not operationally completed),
LAX LOCAL passenger market shares were:
WN 18.8%
AA 19.2
UA 16.7
DL 10.8
AS 6.6
CO 6.4
NW 5.7
CO 5.4
VX 4.2

for 1Q2015, it was
DL 18.5%
WN 18.4
AA 18.1
UA 17.9
VX 6.3
AS 6.2
US 5.5
B6 2.8

so, yes, on a standalone basis, were it not for the merger, AA would have fallen to 3rd place in the LAX local market.

and most notably, in both NYC (LGA, JFK, EWR) and LAX, AA/US share for the most recent quarter is less than it was on a combined basis in 2008, the last year before consolidation among the big 4. DL's share in both NYC and LAX has grown above what the merger gave it while AA's (including US) has shrunk.

and after all of the mergers, DL not only moved up in its rank in LAX overtaking UA but also is the largest airline from NYC in terms of passenger share.

Not surprisingly the size difference in ORD really didn't moved much even with the mergers. NYC, LAX, and ORD represent the 3 largest local markets in the US and the 7 years since DL's merger until AA's will be completed have produced very different results in each of those markets.

For those of you who go ape crazy at the thought of seeing DL in an AA thread, talking about being number 1 in a market means nothing because AA already was and still is.
The change in the size difference in other players and in AA's size in those markets absolutely is significant.

The title of the thread and article isn't even correct in the local market which is what matters. who cares if UA or any airline boards a bunch of connecting passengers to make it look like it is ,larger but doesn't show that same position in the local market.

In an airport like LAX where there is very little growth, UA at least figured out that moving a bunch of connections thru a space-constrained facility makes no sense while DL's growth has almost entirely been used to grow its share in the local market.

Talking about a meaningless statistic (we are #1) while failing to note the historical context or what has happened with other players or in other top markets accomplishes nothing except to stoke the egos of those who don't want to know the competitive environment but instead focus on a static measurement.
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