Citrus heads West

Good for them! I live in Chicago, so I don't really use Airtran, but last month I misconnected onto the last DL from ATL-MDW. After some arm twisting from DL, I was able to be reaccomodated on Airtran to MDW (where my car was parked) instead of ORD on DL.

Flew the 717, nice flight, nice product. I think they can really give DL a run for the money. The only thing I recommend is a face lift to the C concourse at ATL, although it was nostalgic to experience the retro EA look of the building.

Midway 7
I don't think COS is all that great. They been trying to get LUV in there for years. DAL has only 2 flights a day into COS out of ATL. Not a great choice if you ask me. But I do agree it may get a little competetive between DEN and ATL. Airtran seems to do fine with LUV out BWI. They both compete with service to MCO, TPA, and FLL. Prices will go down for now, but I think DAL and UAL are going to loose more than F9 and FL.
First AirTran move in a long time that I thought was a poor choice! I think DEN has the potential to become very competitive in the short term. A BK UA will likely lower fares to get people on planes, and Frontier's advantage will disipate. Frontier will also need to lower fares in order to maintain their advantage and market share. Not to mention that DEN has a few low-fare options to the east already - ATA and Spirit.

I think COS would have been a better choice. COS has no low fare service to the east, and minimal to the west. COS might be a good jumping point to the west coast for AirTran, since 717's won't make it there from ATL. COS could have focus city written all over it (As long as you don't go WestPac crazy). Then again, maybe COS is AirTran - West Plan, Step 2.

I think that Airtran can give DL and UA a run for their money. Maybe even have a "Southwest Effect" in the market and have ridership increase so there will be enough for everyone. Airtran keeps getting closer to me and I can't wait to try them out!
I think there is plenty to go around between DEN and ATL. I think in long run DAL and UAL will loose alot just because of the rock bottom fares. DEN and ATL have alot of business travelers. The only thing I don't like is the fact they are launching this in May. I wish they do it now!
On 1/8/2003 6:38:59 PM funguy2 wrote:

Everybody already knows that COS is on LUV's list, since it is the largest city west of the Mississippi that they do not serve (I read that somewhere). ----------------

Not sure where you read that but it isn't correct. COS is the 5th largest metro area west of the Mississippi without Southwest. The list looks more like this:
1. Denver 2,581,506 people
2. Fresno 922,516 people
3. Bakersfield 661,645
4. Stockton 563,598
5. Colorado Springs 516,929

While I don't know what the rankings might be, I do know that Fresno (FAT) is probably on Southwest's top 5 list. Fresno is one of the few potential cities that Southwest has met with in Dallas since 9/11.
They been trying to get LUV in there for years.

150 cities have been trying to get LUV for years. That doesn't mean anything.

Right now, COS is #4 on Southwest's list of future cities. They WILL be coming to COS, they've clearly mentioned that. But Southwest has other things in mind before. They asked COS to do some airport improvements such as finish building the connector bridge to the 5 new gates that were built for Western Pacific.

And COS got that job done in December 2001. Southwest will come, but they have other cities in mind at first. You'll probably see Southwest in COS in 2005, MAYBE 2004, but that's kind of pushing it since they add 2-3 cities per year usually and in 2003 they won't be adding any as announced.

As for Air Tran to COS. I've heard that Air Tran does intend to serve COS. In 1999, they visited COS to check out the facilities and they were interested. Now the expansion to the west has begun. Eventually I think you'll see COS and other cities.

COS is a good market, one that is underserved as well.

America West Express (operated by Mesa) hasn't been able to keep up with the demand on PHX-COS and they had 6 CRJ flights. So 2 of the flights were upgraded to 733s last month.

COS is not small, it has slightly over half a million people. It's close proximity to Denver has been the biggest reason why it has had difficulty attracting new airlines.

However, Vanguard Airlines flew 2 flights from MCI to COS before they went kaput.

Both flights were originally operated on 737-200s and both were upgraded to MD-80s soon after. Not to mention that they were planning on adding a 3rd flight because of the loads they were experiencing.

There has been talks lately about Alaska Airlines serving COS, possibly late this year, or sometime next year.


Good luck Air Tran and welcome to the Mile High City


I agree... If I were running AirTran, I would make sure I am established at COS before LUV is. Everybody already knows that COS is on LUV's list, since it is the largest city west of the Mississippi that they do not serve (I read that somewhere). The view has been that the other eastern opportunities are more lucrative or that COS will still be there when the East Coast may not be (if USAir emerges as a low fare player for example). So LUV has chosen to develop ISP, RDU, BUF, ALB, ORF, etc, and skipped COS for the time being.

In fact, I would probably try to purposefully load up at COS, similar to the build up at BWI. By moving into BWI quickly and methodically when USAir announced the pull out, they prevented other low-fare carriers from even trying (i.e. Spirit, ATA, not Southwest, since they obviously already had a big presence at BWI).

While COS is more risky, I think you move in quickly and decisively, similar to BWI. This way you corner the market on being the low-fare carrier, the way Southwest has in so many places. The sooner you move into COS, the more established you are when COS is at the top of LUV's list. In fact, If Air Tran moves into COS, LUV may pursue other better opportunities. (Presumably COS becomes less attractive to Southwest if already served by a substantial low-fare presence.)

By announcing DEN first, I think you show the competition the trick up your sleeve. I am sure DEN will do alright, even if a Frontier/United slugfest errupts. But, DEN is strategically the wrong move, because now you are showing Southwest (and maybe others) why COS should be higher on their priority list, thus taking time away from AirTran to develop it.

That's just my opinion.
I wouldn't count Stockton as it is close to San Francisco and Southwest serves all 3 Bay Area airports.

Bakersfield is not served by many airlines at the moment either. Southwest not serving it is not a huge surprise.

The reason why COS is so significant is because it would fill in a big gap on Southwest's route map. As the only city it serves in the state of Colorado.

I hope COS will one day see better days. The fact that it has NO low-fare air service is hurting it and luring travelers to Denver.

I'll agree with you about COS filling a hole but FAT also fills a hole along the Pacific Coast. Besides the cities on the list (which I agree will probably not see WN) going south from Fresno you have the Visalia Metro (40 miles away) area at 368,021. Going north from FAT, first at about 50 miles away is Merced with 210,554 followed another 40 miles north by Modesto with 446,997. So within 90 miles of FAT is a potential market approaching 2 million.

We don't know how Southwest weights different factors including the status of the competition. But as I said FAT has had 2 meetings with Southwest in the last 18 months. You have to be on the short list to get that type of attention.

Like COS, Fresno had several things in the past that WN wanted taken care of in the airport infrastructure. Additional parking and more gates with jetways were the major items that now have been resolved. Now its just a matter of wait and see what decisions Southwest makes in the next couple of years.

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