Continental Connection expansion into hub cities?


Aug 20, 2002
There is a report circulating on Yahoo that Continental is considering having connection fly routes to and from a hub city. Expressjet has been in discussion with the pilots union about this possibility. Discussion is about connection flying prop flights, while expressjest flies the RJ''s. Here is the Union report from their newsletter:
ExpressJet management informed CALEX pilot representatives last week that Continental Airlines is exploring the idea of flying in and out of our hubs with small turboprops flown by another carrier(s). The other carrier(s) were not identified and ExpressJet management was uncertain whether this idea would be pursued further or what the timeframe was for a decision.
The scope agreement regarding flights into or out of hub cities says:
B) Continental Hub Flights. Subject to Section 9.05©, Continental agrees that, without Contractor''s prior written consent, Continental shall not fly or contract with a third party to fly on Continental''s behalf any regional jets in or out of any Existing Hub Airports until the earlier of any Termination Date and December 31, 2005; provided that the foregoing provisions shall not apply with respect to up to ten flights per day operated by Continental''s codeshare partners in or out of each Existing Hub Airport, which flights carry Continental''s two-letter designator code CO or CO* as a secondary code;...
Note it specifically says regional jets. Heres my thought:
CLE''s new runway is expected to open Dec 14, allowing for added capacity. The back of the D concourse is still empty and set up for prop flights. Connection starts flying beeches from CLE to cities like TOL, ERI, CAK, FTW, and other cities they dropped as the Beeches left CLE. Connection would also begin to serve some of the small cities U serves in NY, PA, and WV. If U is forced in Chapter 7 or has to cut more service, CAL already has their foot inside the door to getting traffic from these small communities. I doubt COEX will ever serve some of these cities with RJ''s, it just doesnt make sense. But serving them with Beeches might make sense, adding passengers into CLE, allowing for greater feed for express, mainline, and international. I know the Union doesnt like it, but if the two sides could work out an agreement, this could be a reality.
Any thoughts?
Service from EWR to various points in upstate NY and New England might also be a possibility. CO already has a lot of service in those markets, but BE1's might be a better fit than ERJ's in some cases. Just a thought.
Commutair and Gulfstream, down in Florida are the two CO Connection carriers I believe. I don't think there's a third at this point. This sounds like a win-win for everyone. I don't think the Beech's are competition for the ERJ's and certainly not the mainline jets, with only 19 seats. The only opposition from the mainline might be that these Beech's may push Express Jet out of several markets, thus freeing up planes to move into more CO mainline markets. One would think the obvious would be that mainline might then move into new markets but not necessarily so in this economy. It does seem as though there's a possibility for decreased mainline flying as this happens. Any thoughts?
Oh great.... 737 replaced by a Jungle Jet in CLE, only to be further replaced by BE19's! New markets, or return to markets they withdrew from? If they follow the RJ pattern, we should be Enhanced to props to ORD, LGA, and ATL real soon! I know the director at CAK, and he doesn't expect CO to ever come back, unless it's from EWR.
[P]Wow, that is one heck of a step down. At least Commutair is coming back from the brink of death that it was not too long ago. Nonetheless, from 737 to ERJ to B1900, ouch.[/P]
[P] [/P]
[P]I thought folks didn't like turboprops. Perhaps US or NW will step into the breach and start up RJ service.[/P]