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DAL vs AirTran

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Well-known member
Jun 17, 2002
Is AirTran now "above the radar?" Does bid D have any plans to attack AirTran in ATL.

Just curious, because long-term, AirTran seems like a definite step up from the regional I'm flying for now and I am interested in working there.

What are it's long-term chances?

Delta has been going after AirTran for years, with no success. We've steadily been gaining market share. Their new "attack" on low fares is fueld by some consultant's advice on how to deal with us and those like us. It may have some impact, but I don't think they can do too much to us right now. Only time will tell.
Long term I don't see any problems with AirTran, but then again I need to be optimistic!

Delta cannot compete with Airtran's cost structure. When Delta decides to "come after us" on a given route they lose money. In the current climate that is not smart business. Remember Leo Mullin answers to the stock holders and Delta is losing money right now. Although Delta has lost some business to Airtran they have lost alot more to southwest.

My only slightly educated guess is that Delta's pontification regarding low cost units of capacity has more to do with the anticipated blood bath that will happen as US Air slowly dies with bankruptcy protection to defer paying creditors and government loans to fund ongoing operations. Right now US Air overlaps 34% of Delta's route structure. We can expect fire sale US Air fares, as well as new market entrants who cut prices to gain market share.

Every airline is trying to decide how to step into US Air's market. Delta is a natural choice for this service, but AA, LUV, and to some extent AAI are not going to let Delta have it without a fight. Heck with the code share agreement, perhaps even UAL will enter the fray, but UAL can not afford the losses and has an uncompetitive cost structure.

The larger CRJ 700 & 900, as well as the E170 & 190 would be perfect equipment to take over US Air's market and yes, Delta is cost competitive with the Connection carriers and ALPA may very well allow mainline to reach a cost structure on these airplanes that would allow Delta an advantage (pure speculation, based party on Duane Woerth's "50 seat natural dividing line statements to AW&ST)

My bet is on AAI to be a long term player. The stock is a good buy right now. Delta's labor difficulties, the expense of the RJ's and bureaucratic momentum give AAI the advantage in this shake out. Delta can not afford to run two carriers into bankruptcy right now and the DOT would not (I don't think) allow Delta to purchase AAI due to the anti competitive effect on consumers.
The almighty dollar is the ballot cast here. Just yesterday I had to book a flight from DC to Atlanta, and from Atlanta to Dayton for next month. I looked at Delta first, and for those two legs found combinations of pricing from $1,200-1,800. Then I went to the AirTran website and booked the same two flights for under $200! Major airlines deftly need to overhaul their route and pricing structures or they will die. As much as I would like to fly for Delta and make that kind of cash, if these dinosaurs don't wake up soon these jobs will also be a thing of the past.
If Delta really saw Air Tran as a serious threat, wouldn't they just buy it? Its market cap is less than 300 million. They could buy it for cash even today or do a stock swap in a heartbeat.

Seems like AirTran is not a real probem. It's the combination of SWA, JBLU, AAI, Spirit and ATA. Nobody can buy SWA, and all the others is too big a pill to swallow at once.
surplus1 said:
If Delta really saw Air Tran as a serious threat, wouldn't they just buy it? Its market cap is less than 300 million. They could buy it for cash even today or do a stock swap in a heartbeat
Because even with the current bunch of dolts in the DOT, the obvious violation of the intent of the Sherman Anti Trust Act would force the DOT to act to block, or break up, the resulting monopoly in ATL.
Delta has been trying to stomp out low fare competition in its "backyard" sense ValuJet in the early 90s. I believe there was a federal inquiry into anti-trust violations after this occured in 93 or thereabouts - since then Delta has been forced to compete with AirTran as much as it can afford to. If you're looking at the strength of the companies from an employment POV, then both are probably pretty good choices. There is a far greater upside/long term potential at Delta. However, right now, Air Tran is making money and Delta isn't.
True, Delta isn't making money, but neither is any other international airline. However, the part of Delta that could compete with AirTran, Connection, is profitable.
I would personally rather ride in the back of a 717 than an RJ any day. I used to fly RJs and have ridden in the back many times. Once the flight is over an hour it starts to get rather uncomfortable.

My .02

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