Those are safe bets. But the caribbean is where alot of airlines are turning to. MCO-SJU is definetly a WN market. If this happens AA will really have to protect its market there. AA flys close to half the total pax to the caribbean. Look at how USAirways has expanded this year to the caribbean. USA Today had an article the other day on how the leisure traveler wants to stay close to home now. The islands are a safe bet for many.
My friends at SWA hear rumors of exotic carribean destinations, Mexico, and Hawaii, but they also point out that the key to SWA is their quick turnarounds. Their planes are always in the air. It's hard to turn a plane around in Mexico when customs comes on and has to do their security check, flip every seat up, etc. etc. etc. Then when the plane comes back to the states, crews have limited access until the plane is cleared.
I agree with most that the initial goal would be to save fuel on flights from AUS, SAT, HOU, PHX, MSY, etc. over the Gulf to MCO, TPA, FLL, PBI; and from ISP, BDL, PVD, MHT, etc. to Florida as well; it also lets them take overwater routes in case of bad weather along the Eastern Seaboard.
SJU would be a good first (and perhaps only) step if they were to eventually fly to the Caribbean; it's part of the U.S., so there are no Customs/Immigration worries, and it's a well-traveled market. And they'd certainly be able to grab a lot of AA's traffic by operating FLL-SJU, MCO-SJU, etc. I don't see Southwest operating to the other islands until far, far down the road simply because there's not enough traffic to support the frequent service they like to operate. I'd go out on a limb and say that HAV would work for WN if Castro ever went away...
On 2/5/2003 11:09:23 AM sfb wrote:
And they'd certainly be able to grab a lot of AA's traffic by operating FLL-SJU, MCO-SJU, etc.
And it's not just the Florida-SJU markets that Southwest would potentially be entering. Remember that they usually start service to a city with about a dozen daily flights, so we could also see Southwest enter some or all of the BWI/ISP/BDL/PVD/MHT/MDW/STL-SJU markets, among others. This would have a dramatic impact on American's SJU market share as well.
I don't think they're interested in going to the Caribbean; at least, not for the next several years. But SJU has one significant advantage over any Mexican market: it's part of the USA, so the hassles of dealing with Customs & Immigration, foreign currencies, etc. don't exist. Additionally, MEX is probably the only Mexican market which could generate enough traffic to work for WN; MTY and GDL might be workable, though I doubt it. I also imagine that Southwest might have had difficulty obtaining permission from the Mexican government until recent liberalization of the market, given the government's interest in protecting Aeromexico and Mexicana.
The only reasons I think HAV would be a good market POST-Castro are the size of the Cuban population in the U.S. and its proximity.
But I'll restate that I don't believe WN will be flying outside the Continental U.S. for several more years; they simply have too many other profitable opportunities to take advantage of first.
Caribbean won't work for WN for the same reasons that B6 can't fill their planes from JFK. It's more ethnic travel than leisure, you need to open ethnic (spanish speaking) res offices, local sales, etc. There's very little internet presence on the islands, which drives costs even higher for these guys who rely so heavily on it. Not to mention that all the big markets - NYC, MIA, MCO, CHI, etc - are already saturated with LCC operations.
Hawaii would make more sense for WN to start with - utilization wouldn't fall that much if they did overnights eastbound, and it'd make their frequent flier program a heckuva lot more valuable.
I was talking about SJU as well. But I guess your clouded vision can't figure out little things that aren't in Jetwire-speak.
WN hasn't gone for AA's throat before in places like SAT-MEX, LAX-GDL, ELP-MEX, which would be a lot more profitable and consistent with the WN product. Mexico is also a lot more conducive to adding short-haul frequencies to other dots with other WN non-hubs like LAS, PHX, ABQ, and HOU.
So, what makes you think that they'd jump into something like FLL-SJU or TPA-SJU? What other dots can they connect?
And, for the record, I haven't worn a suit to work for over 10 years.