MCI: Worth more or worthless?

motnot

Advanced
Aug 20, 2002
185
0
U''s operations at MCI indicate to me everything that is wrong with the company''s route structure. Why is, ostensibly, a major airline offering B19 feeder service to what, all history aside, is not and will never be a hub?
If cities like OMA can''t support mainline service to U hubs, what''s the point of offering 2 OMA-MCI flights? That''s not much of an O/D route, and traveling OMA-MCI-PHL/CLT/PIT-XXX is not really attractive or efficient.
Is there any evidence to suggest that real potential exists for revenue high enough to support U service to more than just PHL/PIT/CLT? If I am way off on this, I''d like to learn.
 

ITRADE

Veteran
Aug 19, 2002
2,860
0
DCA/IAD US2
www.geocities.com
[P]My answers:[/P]
[P]1) Air Midwest receives EAS subsidies to fly to a number of the cities - ICT, GBD, HYS, etc. So, the aircraft are there.[/P]
[P]2) US is not the only feeder for Air Midwest. Midwest Express also code-shares with Airmidwest to ferry passengers from the Styx to MCI for a semi-hubbed departure point.[/P]
[P]3) Being geographically centered, MCI is a lot further west than CLT. So, folks flying from SAN to STL, would theoretically have a reason to fly US as opposed to flying SAN-CLT-STL.[/P]
 
OP
M

motnot

Advanced
Aug 20, 2002
185
0
1)  Air Midwest receives EAS subsidies to fly to a number of the cities - ICT, GBD, HYS, etc.  So, the aircraft are there.

I understand that means money for Mesa, but how does that help U's bottom line?

2)  US is not the only feeder for Air Midwest.  Midwest Express also code-shares with Airmidwest to ferry passengers from the Styx to MCI for a semi-hubbed departure point.

But MCI is not a hub for U. You've seen the current and soon-to-be-cutback schedule, right? On both, U mainline flies from MCI to three cities: PIT, PHL and CLT.

3)  Being geographically centered, MCI is a lot further west than CLT.  So, folks flying from SAN to STL, would theoretically have a reason to fly US as opposed to flying SAN-CLT-STL.

Theoretically, yes, but you can't get from SAN to STL through MCI on U. And I don't think you ever will be able to. U cannot build a hub at MCI against LUV, period.

So why shouldn't U just dismantle MCI, except as a spoke? I don't see why U has any need for B19 hub there. Does Hays, Kan., need outrageously priced one-stop service to CLT. Does U need that lucrative Salina-Manhattan service on its route map?

I understand your enthusiasm for U, but please, what am I missing that makes MCI a moneymaker for U and not simply Mesa?
 

mturpiz

Member
Aug 22, 2002
57
0
www.usaviation.com
US* at MCI is a legacy operation, if you will.

Air Midwest code-shared with Eastern when their MCI hub was in operation; then after EA pulled out they code-shared with Braniff II. After the Braniff II death, US was the closest thing to a hub operator at MCI for several years (other than, of course, Southwest.) At various times during that hayday, US had nonstops to SEA, SFO, LAX, SAN, LAS, ABQ, BOS, LGA, PIT, PHL, BWI, DCA, CLE, IND, STL, OMA, ICT, CLT, MCO and TPA. So Air MIdwest going US* made good sense.

In the time since then:

(1) Mesa bought Air Midwest
(2) US has pulled everything out of MCI except flights to PIT, CLT, PHL
(3) Mesa has expanded their Air Midwest unit to *also* do a significant amount of flying to *real* US hubs...not just the MCI stuff.

It's hard to imagine that US gets much of anything out of those MCI routes. CID-MCI, LIT-MCI, etc are probably almost nothing but local traffic. Too many far better options out of places like Cedar Rapids and Little Rock. And what passengers *do* fly out of the EAS cities like Great Bend and Dodge City are probably as or more likely to connect to Dallas or Chicago than fly someplace via PIT, CLT or PHL.

US probably gets almost nothing from the MCI* operation. But perhaps US gets a fee from Mesa for handling US* at MCI and/or allowing them to use their facillities. And since the MCI operations are part of the company which also flies several real routes for you (Air Midwest) and is a unit of your biggest non-owned code-share partner (Mesa) perhaps there are non-monetary reasons why US hasn't forced the MCI US* operation to go away.
 
OP
M

motnot

Advanced
Aug 20, 2002
185
0
Nice post, mturpiz.

MCI is indeed a legacy operation for U. That's my point. U needs to cut the cord, so to speak. This is a very sick company, and all focus should be on making money.

Let Mesa continue to fly all those routes if it wants to. But U doesn't need to be involved, ESPECIALLY if it's costing U money.
 

mturpiz

Member
Aug 22, 2002
57
0
www.usaviation.com
[blockquote]
----------------
On 9/13/2002 3:09:18 PM motnot wrote:

Nice post, mturpiz.

MCI is indeed a legacy operation for U. That's my point. U needs to cut the cord, so to speak. This is a very sick company, and all focus should be on making money.

Let Mesa continue to fly all those routes if it wants to. But U doesn't need to be involved, ESPECIALLY if it's costing U money.
----------------
[/blockquote]

Thanks Motnot!

It might be of interest to note that one of the very few larger airlines to shrink into profitability was Republic. They had more legacy routes than anything else. Only after they decided what they wanted to be and got oout of *everything* else did they make money (just in time to be bought by NW.)

Of course that's 16+ years ago, and quite a bit has changed. But there's some truth to the lesson. In these horrible times, airlines have to figure out what they really want to do and cut everything else. US needs this mindeset as much or more than anyone. That goes for where they have their code-share partners fly, too.

One a related, side note, at least US has the MCI code-share deal because of history and the Mesa relationship. What possible reason could CO have for code-sharing with Gulfstream in Florida??
 

Latest posts