• This site moved from forums.flightinfo.com to flightinfo.com. Please update your bookmarks.

AirTran halts expansion at DFW

AAflyer

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
1,493
Total Time
9000+
AirTran halts expansion of D/FW schedule



08:46 PM CDT on Wednesday, October 19, 2005

By SUZANNE MARTA and ERIC TORBENSON / The Dallas Morning News

Officials at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport had high hopes when AirTran Airways Inc. agreed to expand its operations from one gate to four just two years ago.

Business travel was starting to show signs of strength, and airport officials hoped the Florida-based carrier would build a mini-hub to launch new low-fare service from North Texas with as many as 30 daily flights.

The carrier, which already flew between D/FW and its Atlanta hub, soon announced it would add flights to Orlando, Fla.; Baltimore; and Las Vegas.

But AirTran's plans at D/FW seem to have hit some bumps.

During the summer of 2004, AirTran launched two daily flights to Los Angeles and promised service later in the year to Fort Lauderdale and Tampa.

Service to the two Florida cities was never launched, and the carrier confirmed Wednesday that it would suspend service to Los Angeles in December.

Kevin Healy, AirTran's vice president for planning and marketing, said fuel was the primary reason for pulling the D/FW-Los Angeles flights.

AirTran officials hope to resume the service if jet fuel becomes more affordable, Mr. Healy said. "It was a difficult call to make" to D/FW officials to inform them of the decision. "But they're businessmen too, and they understand that you have to make a profit."

Still, even as AirTran is reducing service at D/FW, it's adding 7 flights from Chicago's Midway airport, a move Mr. Healy said wasn't a big factor in his D/FW decision.

Industry analysts said Wednesday that while fuel has staunched expansion plans for airlines around the country, fierce competition from American Airlines Inc. also played into AirTran's decision at D/FW.

"I think competition with American was overwhelming," said Ray Neidl, an analyst with Calyon Securities.

After AirTran announced its service starting at $99 each way to Los Angeles, Fort Worth-based American announced it would match the low fares on its 39 flights to the five airports it serves in the area.

At the time, Mr. Healy described American's move as overkill and said, "It's hard to imagine that our two flights are causing this much of a response."

The competition was a boon for D/FW, which saw its demand for Los Angeles service grow 68 percent, as customers jumped at the lower fares.

Research by Harrell Associates showed that similar fares that spring were closer to $150 each way.

But in just 12 months, fuel prices nearly doubled, presenting tough choices for all carriers.

Industry consultant Michael Roach of Roach and Sbarra Associates in San Francisco said fuel prices made it even more difficult for AirTran to take on the world's largest carrier at its biggest hub.

With 850 daily flights, American commands 84 percent of passenger traffic at D/FW.

Gerard Arpey, American's chairman and chief executive, said AirTran's move wasn't "a seminal schedule change."

"We are reducing capacity and consolidating traffic and so are a lot of other airlines," Mr. Arpey said. "I see that as more of a tactical decision."

Kevin Cox, D/FW's chief operating officer, said AirTran officials have assured him that they remain "very interested in growing and expanding in this market when there are less cost pressures."

But Mr. Cox said Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co. played a role in slowing AirTran's North Texas expansion – not American.

Ever since Southwest announced it would fight to repeal the Wright amendment restrictions on long-haul flying from Dallas Love Field, AirTran has held back on growth plans, Mr. Cox said.

"They planned to use four gates, and now they're only using three," he said. "This cloud of uncertainty [over the Wright amendment] has chilled the marketplace."

Beth Harbin, a Southwest spokeswoman, said AirTran's move had nothing to do with its stance on Wright. "The cost of jet fuel today is something none of us counted on," she said.

Mr. Cox said high jet fuel costs, combined with the renewed Wright debate, makes it unlikely D/FW will soon find tenants to fill its 22 gates left idle when Delta Airlines Inc. shut its hub in January.

Attracting more service from low-cost carriers has been a priority for D/FW.

"If you take one or more of these [factors] away, then maybe we'll see an AirTran or JetBlue competing very effectively at D/FW," Mr. Cox said.

It wasn't clear whether American would continue to keep its lower pricing to Los Angeles after AirTran departs in December, although low fares were available Wednesday on American's Web site into next year.

American spokesman Tim Wagner said it still faces competition on the route from US Airways Inc., Frontier Airlines Inc. United Airlines Inc., and other carriers that offer one-stop service.

"We will price competitively," Mr. Wagner said.

E-mail smarta@dallasnews.com and etorbenson@dallasnews.com
__________________
 

AA717driver

A simpler time...
Joined
Mar 27, 2003
Posts
4,911
Total Time
+/-13k
So, AA is just supposed to let someone waltz in and take revenue without a fight? What would AirTran do if AA started up a small operation in ATL to cities other than it's current hubs? TC
 

FlyBoeingJets

YES, that's NICE
Joined
Mar 20, 2003
Posts
1,802
Total Time
>5000
AAflyer said:
AirTran halts expansion of D/FW schedule



"We are reducing capacity and consolidating traffic and so are a lot of other airlines," Mr. Arpey said. "I see that as more of a tactical decision."

Kevin Cox, D/FW's chief operating officer, said AirTran officials have assured him that they remain "very interested in growing and expanding in this market when there are less cost pressures."

But Mr. Cox said Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co. played a role in slowing AirTran's North Texas expansion – not American.

Ever since Southwest announced it would fight to repeal the Wright amendment restrictions on long-haul flying from Dallas Love Field, AirTran has held back on growth plans, Mr. Cox said.

"They planned to use four gates, and now they're only using three," he said. "This cloud of uncertainty [over the Wright amendment] has chilled the marketplace."

Mr. Cox said high jet fuel costs, combined with the renewed Wright debate, makes it unlikely D/FW will soon find tenants to fill its 22 gates left idle when Delta Airlines Inc. shut its hub in January.

Attracting more service from low-cost carriers has been a priority for D/FW.

"If you take one or more of these [factors] away, then maybe we'll see an AirTran or JetBlue competing very effectively at D/FW," Mr. Cox said.

It wasn't clear whether American would continue to keep its lower pricing to Los Angeles after AirTran departs in December, although low fares were available Wednesday on American's Web site into next year.

American spokesman Tim Wagner said it still faces competition on the route from US Airways Inc., Frontier Airlines Inc. United Airlines Inc., and other carriers that offer one-stop service.

"We will price competitively," Mr. Wagner said.
ATTENTION LADIES and GENTLEMEN---Spin master Kevin Cox talks out of both sides of his mouth. Watch with awe and wonder.

Is it fuel price and competition or Wright Amendment fear and terrible uncertainty that affects Airtran's fare setting and current gate usage?

I think the answer is in bold. Thanks Mr. Wagner for giving us the info Kevin Cox has no interest in offering. Probably, and I'm going out on a limb here, its due to competition from one or more airlines. You be the judge.
 
Last edited:

BlackCoffee

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 27, 2003
Posts
114
Total Time
a lie
I wonder if Delta will try to attack Airtran in Atl now that they will be more competitive?
 

AAflyer

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
1,493
Total Time
9000+
I live in MSP, had heard on the news AIrTran was pulling out. Anybody at AirTran heard something FACTUAL about this.

AA
 

OffHot

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 16, 2004
Posts
122
Total Time
8000+
I believe Mr Cox wakes up in the morning, trips over his dog and blames SWA..That man just doesn't like us, yet he wants us at DFW. He just doesn't get it. AA717driver has it right, AA should not role over and let Air Tran eat their lunch, AirTran tried, they failed, they will try again. AA is not Delta, which is why SWA wants no part of DFW. AA at Love, we can handle. Isn't this a fun business.
 

FLB717

Pilot=proof of Gods humor
Joined
Apr 10, 2003
Posts
627
Total Time
16:00Z
We are NOT pulling ot of MSP, infact you can now go MSP to MDW. Yes we still do ATL and MCO from MSP.
 

AFcitrus

Well-known member
Joined
May 16, 2003
Posts
237
Total Time
10,000
The real loosers here are the people of DFW who used to get low fares to LAX.
 

General Lee

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 24, 2002
Posts
20,442
Total Time
A lot
AFcitrus said:
The real loosers here are the people of DFW who used to get low fares to LAX.

Oh come on now. Why don't you fly for free so they can even have lower fares? (if you care so much about the "people.")


Bye Bye--General Lee
 
Last edited:
C

Chuck Yogourt

AFcitrus said:
The real loosers here are the people of DFW who used to get low fares to LAX.
American's fares were matched to that of Air Tran. Given the choice, I would choose not to fly on either one of you. Air Tran reminds me of Greyhound and American service employees (i.e. Flight attendants and gate agents) are the nastiest in the airline world. Just my opinion.
 

pilotman121

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 15, 2005
Posts
76
Total Time
000000
American Airlines

That is one airline that could go away and alot of people would be very happy.
 

JetMonkey

It's ok, I speak Jive
Joined
May 20, 2004
Posts
582
Total Time
9000+
High fuel prices my A$$, American is legendary for doing this. They take it very personal when someone comes in to their turf and tries to take buisness away. One time on a commute flight home, I sat next to a marketing exec. who use to work for AA and he explained how one time when Continental tried to start a direct flight from DFW to somewhere (I can't remember where) they not only matched the fares from Dallas, they started a direct flight from IAH to the same place. They don't just go after you, they go after your family too! They will fight to the bitter end at all cost if nessesary and everyone knows this, why do you think nobody has moved in the place of Delta.
 

flyinglow

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 12, 2004
Posts
87
Total Time
enough
JetMonkey said:
High fuel prices my A$$, American is legendary for doing this. They take it very personal when someone comes in to their turf and tries to take buisness away. One time on a commute flight home, I sat next to a marketing exec. who use to work for AA and he explained how one time when Continental tried to start a direct flight from DFW to somewhere (I can't remember where) they not only matched the fares from Dallas, they started a direct flight from IAH to the same place. They don't just go after you, they go after your family too! They will fight to the bitter end at all cost if nessesary and everyone knows this, why do you think nobody has moved in the place of Delta.
Isn't that just business and the nature of a competitive marketplace. At least they aren't crying to lawmakers to change laws.
 

Master Shake

Number 1 in the hood!
Joined
May 18, 2005
Posts
377
Total Time
+6000
JetMonkey is right. Anyone remember Legend? Those guys tried to stay off the rAAdar by using DAL. No matter..target aquired...missle lock...target destroyed. Another bullseye for AA.
 

AAflyer

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
1,493
Total Time
9000+
Delta, NWA, everyone has done it. Heck, if SWA doesn't like the rules they try to change it. ie DFW, and SEA. Why is it when AA is shrewd they are evil, whenever anyone else does it, it is just business.

Whatever:confused:

AA
 

Otto77

Snacko
Joined
Aug 21, 2005
Posts
361
Total Time
some
problem with DFW that is now hurting them was letting AA create such a monster force at DFW..i doubt anyone will ever play a significant competitor to AA there...
 

SWA/FO

5 Star Senior Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
3,520
Total Time
>12000
Everybody does it...but some companies are better at hiding it..
 
C

Chuck Yogourt

AAflyer said:
Delta, NWA, everyone has done it. Heck, if SWA doesn't like the rules they try to change it. ie DFW, and SEA. Why is it when AA is shrewd they are evil, whenever anyone else does it, it is just business.

Whatever:confused:

AA
The problem is American is viewed by the general public and other airlines for that matter as being pompous arrogant a$$holes. You claim to have a great product but when I for one fly on you, your services is lousy. Your agents yell at the customers for asking simple questions, your flight attendants are rude and uncaring. Then, you have the people of north Texas and the surrounding states by the gonads and charge them out the ying yang to go out of state. That's why you are considered evil.
 

AAflyer

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
1,493
Total Time
9000+
Actually I have had great service on AA before I was hired. I have some bad experiences while being employed here, however for you to tell me every flight is horrible, well, we have 2400+ a day. I am guessing there must be a few that had good service otherwise if it was as lousy as you claim we wouldn't be in business. On many of the flights I work people walk off with very nice comments, they had a good experience on AA.

I did see an agent last week yell at a passenger, the passenger over slept and missed the flight, and was yelling all types of words at her. It was AAs fault he over slept. Ya, she finally let him have it, still accomodatied him on another flight.

I have had rude experiences on many airlines, including AirTran and JetBlue. AirTran was a paid for ticket. Do I think the entire airline stinks, no. It is usually a small percentage at each airline, AA happens to be rather large and has more of that type.

I have many friends at other airlines, you and small handful of others are the only ones that I have heard call AA evil. Does that extend to the Pilots, rampers, managers, fuelers? I take it everyone is evil? Considering we have hired people from many other airlines.

Anyway, I asked for a response and I got one, thanks for the taking the time to write.

AA
 
Top