Southwest 'casually' Looking At Smaller Jets

KCFlyer said:
Because people have shown that they are willing to forgo meals, movies, first class and assigned seating - most folks don't have a fear of missing these things (except for the pantywaists who think not having an assigned seat is more horrible than having your fingernails pulled out with pliers), yet they will still hold on to their irrational fear of anything with a propeller on it.
Exactly! By excluding meals, movies, and seat assignments, WN can operate more efficiently. They can do a 15-20 minute turn when an a/c comes in late...even with full flights. The exclusion of these saves time and that will make a passenger happy. Even without a seat assignment, most (obviously not all) passengers realize that WN is closing the door much more quickly than the other carriers and the passengers also know that a late arriving a/c does not mean that their departing flight will, in turn, be late.

Passengers (even though some are HORRIBLY inconvenienced by not having seat assignments) see value to WN's exclusion of certain ammenities. But they do NOT see the value of flying a 19-37 seater when every news network in America continues to show footage of AE turbos going down 15 years ago. Props going down makes news and passengers will never trust them. Why scare away WN passengers and fly to tiny markets when there is still plenty of space in the large markets (i.e. PHL).
 
Ch. 12 said:
Why scare away WN passengers and fly to tiny markets when there is still plenty of space in the large markets (i.e. PHL).
Or how about both?
 
Hey guys SWA "looks" at rj's every few years or so.. looks is the key word. We don't need them to stay profitable...JB on the other hand flys 162 seats everywhere so they might need fewer seats to be profitable...
 
Props can work for LCC's

Look at SkyEurope (www.skyeurope.com)

Granted, this company hasn't been around for 30+ years, but they're doing quite well (at least for now).
 
I just don't see props for a point-to-point carrier. True...WN has "hubs", but those have been created over the years from cities that have many local markets rather than as a connecting point as with the other majors. Commuter feed doesn't play into the WN plan. And most importantly...there is the perception problem. In the US, props = death to the passengers when selecting how to travel. In the shorter prop markets, people will either spill over to the carrier that provides jets or they will drive. After the defection of all of those passengers, the total market base is much less than one's estimates might be.

I also agree that WN "casually looks" at smaller jets quite often. That is because they keep their options open. But unless there is a major change in efficiency of the smaller jets (costs) or in the public's perception of smaller aircraft, WN will continue to dismiss small jets as an option.
 
Boy did the news take this one and run with it.

If you listened to the audio of this interview, (August 29, 2003) CEO Parker said that he wouldn't rule out ading RJs in the future IF it made financial sense. That he would consider ALL options that would benefit their balance sheets. As any good CEO would. Parker was just stating he is open to the idea down the road when and IF it becomes cost effective to add a second type to the fleet. For right now? Forget about it. For the near future he said that SWA is very happy with Boeing and their orders/options for the next 10+ years.

This page had the audio link, but who knows how long it will remain available:
http://quote.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=c...news&tkr=LUV:US
 
Having gotten a ride on the ERJ 170, it was very comfortable, but of course the demo plane had leather seats...170 is the same tube as the 190. Pitch of seat seemed normal, and width was close to 1st class or at least, business...windows were nice and big. And was very quiet. Only complaint was that while center aisle had plenty of height for the 6'3"-4" person, the overhead bins were the newer oversized ones and so only cleared my head by 5-6" when sitting in the seat. So I wouldn't call it fully a mainline plane experience, but far above the seats of an RJ. As for cost, Jetblue is saying 1 cent / ASM over their A320's, when they had 162 seats (now 158, they removed a row). So maybe 7.5 cents, to be a tad conservative...by comparison an RJ runs 18-22 cents an ASM, depending on the operator. So LUV could put a 100 seat 190 into a AMR operated RJ mkt say, and do its usual stimulation with low fares, and blow Eagle out of the air. As for 122 seaters, there aren't that many -500's in the fleet and all new 737's are 700's--and the 40+ -200's will be mostly retired in another 6-8 years I would guess. Still not sure mgmt can overcome the "1 fleet" mind-set after all these years...
 
Ch. 12 said:
In the shorter prop markets, people will either spill over to the carrier that provides jets or they will drive. After the defection of all of those passengers, the total market base is much less than one's estimates might be.
This is anecdotal, but I think is indicative of your thinking with one exception...

My sister and her husband live about 40 miles NE of BHM. When they go skiing in Colorado, they will often drive to ATL for a non-stop to DEN or SLC rather than take an RJ from BHM to ATL.

Exception to your thinking: This is not primarily a fear or dislike of RJs or prop planes. Delta will charge almost as much for the BHM-ATL leg as they do for the ATL-DEN leg which has competition. AND, if the last time is typical, driving to ATL is almost $400/pp cheaper than flying AA, BHM-DFW-DEN. This was not a last minute trip, either. She booked the flight over 6 months in advance.

As long as the majors continue to screw over the secondary markets on price, there will be openings for the LCCs, and people will drive to the nearest primary market airport.
 
More on the RJ/turboprop issue...

Whadayano is right, from what I understand. The new E170-190 is supposed to be light years ahead of the current crop of 50 seaters and the CRJ700 in terms of roominess, passenger comfort and economics. I am certain that the only reason JetBlue chose to go w/ this plane and start a second fleet-type is that the economics are so good that it will allow them to profitably do something no other LCC is able to do right now, that is to serve secondary markets with jets primarily on a point-to-point basis, though I am certain there will be some hubbing, just as there currently is at JFK.

On the other hand, there is supposed to be another great new plane out there with fantastic comfort, quietness and improved speed that noone seems to talk much about. It's the Bombardier Q400 - the replacement for the old Dash-8. This plane is supposed to be much, much quieter than the Dash-8, nearly as fast as an RJ, and still maintain the economics of a turboprop, which is much cheaper to operate. Having said that, almost no carriers in the US have opted to go with this aircraft (I believe Horizon is the only one - please correct me if I'm wrong).

I am sure a lot of this has to do with the perception that turboprops are not as safe as jets, but there are other factors that turn people off to these aircraft. Personally - as a passenger - I don't like to sit out on a turbo-prop for 20 minutes (sometimes more) with the door open at LGA while we're waiting for the last passenger(s) to arrive. It's cold, lousy and uncomfortable while sitting on the ground and the aircraft never seems to warm up after that. These aircraft also seem to have many more rattles - and with thinner, narrower seats you can't help but feel that they're just not as "solid" as a 737 or an A320.

The Q400 may have been designed to overcome all of these issues - I don't know, I have never flown on one, but these are the obstacles it faces (along with every other turbo). Again, it may be a great aircraft - just as capable of being a "category changer" as the E170-190 is made out to be, but it faces a tough climb - not only because of the news reports and "Scary Mary" but because of the cold weather, the bumpy rides, the un-nerving rattles and the apparent flimsiness that so many of us have encountered on these planes. Seems to me that it's going to take a heck of a marketing campaign for even the impressive Q400 to overcome all of this - while the new Embraers will be received with open arms. That's the difference - and it's why I doubt any US carrier will ever purchase a significant number of turboprops again for the forseeable future.
 
Whadayano said:
As for 122 seaters, there aren't that many -500's in the fleet and all new 737's are 700's--and the 40+ -200's will be mostly retired in another 6-8 years I would guess. Still not sure mgmt can overcome the "1 fleet" mind-set after all these years...
Slight correction here--
At the end of this year there will only be 21 active -200s left in WN's fleet, and the last of those 21 is currently scheduled to be retired by mid-2005.
The -500 fleet stands at 25, with none yet scheduled for retirement.
 

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