Wn Could Replace Us Experts Say

Light Years said:
There is service that the demands that LCCs refuse to provide or cannot without gaining the costs of a classic airline. I think RowUnderDCA is correct that its just a cycle. Just as USAir was once the unstoppable, nimble crackerjack of an airline, JetBlue and Southwest wil become the bloated airlines of tomorrow, and then someone will p*ss in thier pool and the public will support the upstart.

Well, US Airways "came into being" in 1979. If they were a "nimble crackerjack" at that time, then it has taken them only 25 years to reach the brink of their second bankruptcy.

Southwest has been around for over 30 years in which it has shown consistent growth and profits. Exactly when do you expect them to become bloated?

I'm not trying to bash US Airways--Southwest is just as much a thorn in AA's side-- but when you make statements that don't stand up to the facts, I'm just wondering where you are getting your information. Or, are you assuming that because it happened to US Airways, it has to happen to all other airlines?

And, I repeat. No one has a right to air service. If a profitable market is there, air service will get provided whether the legacy airlines exist or not. I hear this same argument about the poor left out smaller cities from AA people--usually from someone who wants the freedom to live in someplace like Pagosa Springs, CO, but also wants to commute on mainline from there.
US Airways has been in business a lot longer then 1979.

1939 All American Aviation brings the first airmail service to many small western Pennsylvania and Ohio Valley communities with introduction of a unique "flying post office" service.

1948 Piedmont Airlines begins operations.

1949 All American Aviation becomes All American Airways and makes the transition from airmail to passenger service with introduction of the DC-3 and an expansion of its service. Pacific Southwest Airlines begins operations with service in California.

1953 All American's route system grows and the name is changed to Allegheny Airlines, recognizing the mountains and river of the same name that lie in the heart of the airline's network.

1965 Allegheny Airlines begins the transition to turbine-powered aircraft with introduction of the first Convair 580, its workhorse for the next several years.

1966 The first jet, a DC9-10, makes its debut in Allegheny colors. It is replaced the following year by the first of what would eventually become a fleet of 62 larger DC9-30 jets.

1967 The first Allegheny Commuter service begins, between Hagerstown, Md. and Baltimore/Washington International Airport by Henson Aviation, forerunner of today's Piedmont Airlines. It was the beginning of today's network of 10 regional airlines that provide US Airways Express service to 172 cities throughout the nation.

1968 Allegheny merges with Indianapolis-based Lake Central Airlines, expanding the growing route network beyond Pittsburgh to the Midwest including Dayton, Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio; Indianapolis, Indiana; and St. Louis, Missouri.

1972 Allegheny acquires Mohawk Airlines, a Utica, N.Y., airline with service to most cities throughout New York and New England. With the merger, Allegheny acquired Mohawk's BAC-1-11 jets to complement its DC9s and becomes the sixth largest airline in the world as measured by passenger boardings.

1978 Deregulation comes to the U.S. airline industry. Airlines have new freedom to expand their route systems and more flexibility to develop new and innovative pricing structures, but lose the protection of the fare- and route-setting authorities exercised by the Civil Aeronautics Board, which closes down by 1984.

1979 Allegheny changes its name to USAir to reflect its expanding network, including post-deregulation entry into Arizona, Texas, Colorado, Florida and later, California.

1984 USAir introduces its Frequent Traveler program, which provides travel benefits to USAir's most loyal customers.

1986 Piedmont acquires Empire Airlines and its Syracuse, N.Y., hub.

1987 Large-scale airline consolidation, a partial product of deregulation, continues. Piedmont introduces European routes in its system. Competition for the lucrative California market intensifies as local carriers are bought and merged into larger partners. Pacific Southwest Airlines of San Diego becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of USAir Group in May. Piedmont Airlines, the dominant carrier throughout the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, also becomes a subsidiary of USAir Group in November 1987.

1988 PSA is merged into USAir.

1989 Piedmont is integrated into USAir, the largest merger in airline history. The merger brings with it Piedmont's international routes as well as its Charlotte, Baltimore, Dayton and Syracuse hubs. Baltimore and Charlotte remain hubs. The merger also brings USAir's first wide body jets, the Boeing 767-200ERs now used on its transatlantic and some transcontinental routes.

1990 USAir expands its international flying with service between Pittsburgh and Frankfurt, Germany, complementing existing Charlotte-London service begun in 1987 by Piedmont; and in 1991, international expansion continues with the introduction of new nonstops between Charlotte and Frankfurt.

1992 Philadelphia-Paris is added to USAir's transatlantic schedules in January. Daily nonstops between both Philadelphia and Baltimore/Washington International Airport and London Gatwick Airport are introduced in May. USAir and Trump Shuttle begin a marketing affiliation under which the service becomes the USAir Shuttle. The Shuttle provides hourly service between New York and Boston and between New York and Washington, D.C. USAir's new terminal at New York's LaGuardia Airport opens.

The new Pittsburgh Midfield Terminal opens, with 2.1 million square feet and 100 departure gates. The airport’s unique design and more than 100 shops and restaurants creates a world-class domestic and international gateway for US Airways customers.

1993 USAir and British Airways announce an investment/alliance plan, under which USAir gives up its London route authority.

1994 USAir makes its largest expansion ever of its 10-year-old Frequent Traveler Program by becoming the exclusive U.S. domestic airline partner of LatinPass, which has 14 Latin American airlines sharing program benefits.

1995 USAir posts is first profitable year since 1988, with earnings of $119.3 million on sales of $7.474 billion. USAir introduces Priority TravelWorksSM, allowing bookings from personal computers.

1996 Stephen M. Wolf is elected chairman effective January 22. Seth E. Schofield retires as chairman after 38 years' service to the company and three and a half years and chief executive. USAir continues its transatlantic expansion, winning the right to serve Munich, Rome and Madrid from Philadelphia beginning in 1996. USAir introduces ticketless travel.

USAir, in a dramatic two-week period, announces what might in time be the largest single order for airliners; then announces a new name, image, identity designed to carry the airline aggressively into the next century. The airline ordered up to 400 new Airbus A319, A320 and A321 narrowbody twin jets for delivery starting in 1998 and continuing through 2009; then within days announced its new identity as US Airways. The airline challenged its relationship with British Airways in court, seeking rights to London Heathrow Airport from four U.S. gateways and to require British Airways to dispose of its USAir stock. USAir notifies BA the code-share between the two will end in March, 1997, and in December, British Airways announces it will sell its shares in USAir and that its three directors will resign.

US Air initiated the popular E-Savers program.

1997 The name US Airways is put into use officially, Feb. 27. Signs, stationery, ticket stock, business cards, advertisements, marketing materials, ticket folders and counters etc., all start to sport the new US Airways blue, red, gray and white identity, and the first airplanes are painted in the new scheme as the changeover approaches. The US-BA code share expires in March.

1998 US Airways Inc., purchased Shuttle Inc., from a consortium of banks. The Shuttle has flown under the US Airways name since 1992, when US Airways became an investor in the Shuttle with a minority ownership stake. US Airways Shuttle flies 17 daily roundtrips between Boston and LaGuardia, and 16 daily roundtrips between LaGuardia and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

US Airways introduces Personal TravelWorks, an online travel reservation system.

MetroJet by US Airways starts service, providing the airline with a low-fare unit to compete in the Eastern United States. MetroJet's single-class, using Boeing 737-200 aircraft, proves highly popular. US Airways Express introduces regional jets to its system.

US Airways' fleet transformation begins with the introduction of the first of as many as 400 Airbus A320-family aircraft.

1999 US Airways’ first Airbus A320 aircraft enters service with scheduled daily flights between Philadelphia and Los Angeles. The new 142-seat A320 is part of US Airways’ plan to simplify and modernize the fleet by adding Airbus A319, A320 and A330-300 aircraft.

US Airways expands its international route network by adding nonstop service between its Charlotte, N.C., hub and London's Gatwick Airport. Charlotte becomes the third US Airways transatlantic gateway.

Colgan Air, Inc. joins the US Airways Express nine-carrier network, expanding service to destinations across the East Coast from Bar Harbor, Maine to Atlanta, Ga.

The Sabre system becomes the platform for the majority of US Airways' computer operations, giving the airline the most modern computer technologies available and Y2K readiness.

The fleet transformation continues with A320-family aircraft arriving at a rate of one per week in the second half of the year. The US Airways Shuttle begins its transformation to an all A320 fleet, retiring the venerable Boeing 727s.

2000 US Airways unveils its enhanced and redeveloped Web site, usairways.com, originally launched in 1996, offering customer-friendly features that include a streamlined process for checking fares, making reservations, purchasing tickets, checking flight status and accessing Dividend Miles account information. The site begins drawing more than 600,000 visitors a week.

US Airways begins service to its eighth European destination with the introduction of Philadelphia-Manchester, U.K. service. US Airways opens an international reservations center in Liverpool, U.K.

US Airways takes delivery of its first A330-300 widebody aircraft, making the next step in its fleet transformation. Six A330s will enter the fleet by the end of the year.

2001 US Airways becomes the first carrier to fly the 169-seat Airbus A321. In addition to a common cockpit, which vastly simplifies pilot training and scheduling, US Airways' A320-family aircraft also have common cabin fittings, such as seats, overhead bins, galleys and lavatories, simplifying cabin service and maintenance.

US Airways opens a 65,000 square foot, seven gate addition at Boston's Logan International Airport, giving US Airways Shuttle passengers a dedicated ticketing counter, concessions, and a special lower level arrivals area for deplaning Shuttle passengers. It features a club-like atmosphere, individual workstations equipped with power outlets and telephones with dataports.

US Airways launches service to Amsterdam, Netherlands. The airline also introduces four new Caribbean destinations: Antigua, Barbados, Grand Bahama Island, and St. Lucia.

2002 David N. Siegel takes over as US Airways president and CEO in March, naming other new members of the senior management team over the next several months and undertaking a proactive restructuring plan for the company. As part of the restructuring, US Airways enters Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on August 11, with the stated goal to emerge as a leaner, more competitive carrier in March 2003.

US Airways introduces service to six new Caribbean destinations, bringing the total to 35 destinations. With 21 mainline jet destinations, four US Airways Express Caribbean destinations and the additional nine islands served through the new GoCaribbean marketing relationship with Windward Island Airways and Caribbean Star Airlines in summer 2002, US Airways serves more Caribbean destinations than any other U.S. carrier.

US Airways implements expanded check-in options for customers, rolling out both flight check-in on usairways.com and nearly 250 Self-Service Check-In kiosks at 46 airports across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. As a result, customers can book tickets, check luggage and obtain boarding passes in as little as 30 seconds.

US Airways Express begins service out of a new 95,000-square-foot facility at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, having added approximately 64 percent more passenger seats at Charlotte since June 2000.

2003 US Airways begins implementation of a code-sharing agreement with United Airlines, introducing customers of both airlines to more than 3,000 code-share flight segments in the first half of the year, reciprocal airport club usage, and simplified ticketing and baggage procedures.

Midway Airlines joins the US Airways Express ten-carrier network, bringing expanded regional jet service to destinations such as Jacksonville, Fla., and Myrtle Beach, S.C.

US Airways launches service in May between Philadelphia and both Dublin and Shannon, Ireland, the airline's ninth and tenth European destinations.
jimntx said:
Well, US Airways "came into being" in 1979.

:huh: 1979?

The company now called US Airways began operating in PA in the 40's if not earlier. All American Airways became Allegheny Airlines, which decided to change its name to "USAir" in 1979, much as USAir changed its name to "US Airways" in 1996. That doesnt mean that US Airways is an eight year old company, its been around in other forms since at least the forties.

Not to mention Pacific Southwest and Piedmont who also began operating (with the same names) in the 1940's. Both airlines were about forty years old when they were acquired and merged into USAir Group in the biggest merger in airline history. At one time, USAir, USAir Shuttle and USAir Express had more flights a day than any airline in the world. That doesnt happen in ten years!

PSA was in business well before Southwest. Herb and company spent time in San Diego studying PSA's operation and culture before they launched thier own intrastate airline in Texas.

USAir, Piedmont and PSA were all great airlines back in the day. So were Pan Am, Braniff, and PeopleExpress or any other casualty you can think of, low cost or not. If you're arguing that Southwest is unstoppable because they are thirty, well then maybe we can pull out an Allegheny, PSA, or Piedmont report from the 1970s (when they were thirty) and see how well they were doing.
Light Years said:
Wouldnt it be better to come up with solutions instead of letting good companies go under every ten years? Low fares are dandy, but why do we live in a culture where we'll pay $7 for a cup of coffee, $25 for a tank of gas, $30 for a night at the movies but demand that an airline fly us wherever we please for $49?
I think the solution we have right now is working fine: when costs exceed revenues for too long because of the greed and short-sightedness of management and labor, the company dies, which is the best thing to happen to it. If a company is able to consistently have costs lower than revenues, the company thrives. What would be a better way?

Journalists and customers crow on about blue chips and low labor cost (which is BS- I've never made what some LCC employees make)
You are still confusing hourly wages with unit labor costs-- a misunderstanding that seems endemic here on the U board. Just repeating "Some LCCs make more per hour than we do" over and over and over doesn't make unit labor costs lower, no matter how many times you say it.

I'd just like to see peoples reactions if the only air service was LCC provided.
I am interested in seeing that too. And that day is coming.

Strictly the highest population markets, and only the airports the LCCs choose to serve.
Population isn't that relevant. Profitability is. If there is a profitable market all of the airlines are "choosing" not to serve, someone will come along and serve it. If there is a route that no one is choosing to serve, it is probably not profitable for anyone to do so, and the smart thing to do is to indeed NOT serve it.

And no international service, because then the fares will go up on the domestic flights, and they'll need more employees, different fleets.
The LCCs will figure out how to serve international markets profitably in short order. It is already slowly happening as others have pointed out. A few years ago the transcon markets were considered "safe" from the traditional short-haul LCC formula. Oops.

I still see no answer as to how an LCC only nation of air service would work, only answers to what would happen in US Airways was gone. Big deal. What if they were ALL gone?
They aren't all going anywhere. The Us and UAs and AAs and DLs will either become LCCs themselves, or they will disappear and JBs and WNs will become the major legacy carriers of tomorrow. People will still be able to fly from NY to LA safely and affordably (until we run out of petroleum, that is!). They don't really care what color the outside of the plane is, or that airline employees are paid next to nothing.
nycbusdriver said:
jimntx is obviously an expert in the field of aviation history and his opinions should thereby be given the repect they deserve.

Since yo are all insisting on being hyper-literal. Let's get literal.

Light Years specifically said that US Air used to be known as the "nimble, crackerjack". The name US Air or US Airways did not come into being until 1979 according to the US Airways website. Light Years did not say Allegheny or Piedmont or Mohawk.

I read the same airline history posted above by 700UW. He even included such statements as "1995 US Airways shows first profit since 1988." I don't think you will find any such statements in a Southwest Airlines history.
nycbusdriver said:
SWA will never replace USAirways at PHL. SWA only serves medium to large cities by skimming cream off the heavily travelled routes. They are good at what they do, but PHL would lose 80% of its international service and SWA would NOT replcae that. It's just NOT what they do. PHL would also lose hundreds of flights to smaller cities in the northeast now served by USAirways Express, and, conversely, many of those cities would lose vital air service altogether never to get it back.

I don't think I'd call adding five daily flights to PHL's 43rd-largest market, BDL, "skimming cream off the heavily travelled routes." PVD and MHT are #49 and #53, respectively, and while some may argue that they are simply surrogates for BOS, AirTran already offers low-fare service to BOS from PHL.

Southwest's business model uses low fares to stimulate traffic in otherwise overpriced and underserved markets. This is precisely why they went into PHL; there were (and still are) dozens of markets where traffic has been suppressed by exorbitant fare levels. It is ridiculous that US wants to charge a minimum of $300+ for a round-trip itinerary between ALB and PHL while offering itineraries between ALB and MCO with connections in PHL for $98 round-trip! Wouldn't it make more sense to charge people $98 between ALB and PHL and just let WN or DL have the low-yield MCO passengers? And with the insane fare levels to most smaller markets in the Northeast, the loss of US Airways Express service between PHL and these markets would be, for the most part, irrelevant to the vast majority of PHL or small-market travellers. Most of those small markets (i.e. ABE, BGM, ELM, MDT, ITH, ISP, ACK, HVN, SWF, SBY, SCE, AVP, IPT) don't even muster ten O&D passengers to PHL per day.

As has been said before, if US Airways had rationalized fares at PHL a year ago, it's unlikely that Southwest would have chosen to enter the market. If US were to rationalize fares at PIT, they'd probably see O&D traffic double (which would lower per-passenger costs at the airport).

Fortunately for US Airways, Southwest's expansion at PHL will be limited in the near term by a lack of gates (unless they figure out some way to get more capacity, for example by using PHL's mobile lounges). Clearly there's enough demand at the new, lower fare levels, since the load factors in "GoFares" markets are above the mainline average, even with total capacity more than doubled in several markets.

But as to whether WN (and other network carriers) could replace US at PHL; currently at BWI, WN offers 163 daily mainline departures to 35 cities. US has 174 daily domestic departures from PHL to 42 cities. A Southwest operation at PHL comparable to their BWI operation, coupled with service additions by network carriers to their hubs, would match what US currently offers domestically. And while US now offers a broad array of transatlantic and Caribblean/Latin America service from PHL, that wasn't true five years ago.
Light Years said:
OK, but what if all of the network carries failed?
I highly doubt that all of them will. I suspect that two will succeed long-term. I just don't know which two.
Do we rely on foriegn airlines only for international travel, with no agreements with our "simple, low cost" US airlines?
This is one reason that I doubt that will happen, though a minor reason. After all, it's not that hard for WN to serve international destinations. It's just not a cost worth taking on when there's so much money to be made domestically. Once the lower 48 are saturated, it's time to look to our neighbors to the north and south, and then eventually to the east and west.

What about service to smaller cities? Are you undeserving of air travel from your city if its not sufficient O&D for point to point flights to other big cities?
In a word, yes. It's the same reason that the smaller cities don't get local broadcast television stations, or professional sports stadiums. The market is too small to support them. Why on earth should airline service be any different? If the government deems the service to be necessary (as it has for telephone and postal services), then they simply need to subsidize the service. I'm sure WN wouldn't mind flying to a wide place in the road in western Kansas if they could make the same amount of money as they do flying to BWI.

I'm still waiting for an answer from all of these armchair analysts as to how the network carriers are supposed to have the same costs as LCCs and still offer needed service.
They're not. Those suggesting that they are perpetuate two fallacies:
1) Travel is a commodity.
2) The only survivors must look like WN.