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SWA/AT traffic way off in ATL

DieselDragRacer

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Shopping for bargain flights this summer? Good luck with that.
Travelers can expect to see some of the highest fares in recent memory ? a byproduct in part of airline mergers that have reduced the number of competitors nationally and shrunk flight schedules from Atlanta in particular. Travelers at Hartsfield-Jackson

Fares in Atlanta have risen faster than in other parts of the country, and are forecast to be higher than last summer.

Prices for domestic flights from Atlanta are up 1.4 percent this year from last summer while Europe fares are up 6.1 percent, according to the Airlines Reporting Corp., which analyzes fares purchased from online travel agencies like Orbitz, Expedia and Travelocity, as well as from traditional travel agencies.

If you want to leave on the most popular days and the most convenient flights, you?re probably going to pay the most you have in history,? said Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare.

Travelers wait in the AirTran/Southwest check-in area

The average roundtrip ticket price from Atlanta to New York for summer travel this year is $311.63, up from $284.81 last year, according to the ARC data. For Atlanta to London roundtrips, the average fare is $1,896, up from $1,729 a year ago.

The airline industry says fares are still ?an unmatched bargain? on an inflation-adjusted basis. And people with flexible schedules and time to book well in advance can often find lower options through diligent online shopping.

Fares have been pushed up in recent years in part by fuel costs, one of the biggest expenses at any carrier. Airlines also emerged from a round of bankruptcies a decade ago determined to fly at a higher financial altitude, which experts say is ultimately better for both the industry and consumers.

Travelers use Delta?s self check in kiosks at Hartsfield-Jackson

But the increases also coincide with consolidation that has cut the number of major players.

In Atlanta, hometown giant Delta Air Lines bought Northwest Airlines in 2008, and more recently, Southwest Airlines acquired AirTran Airways and its Atlanta hub in 2011.

Southwest has cut AirTran schedules as it prepares to discontinue the AirTran name at the end of the year.

Southwest and AirTran combined carried 869,918 Atlanta passengers in November 2013. That?s down more than 20 percent from AirTran?s passenger count in November 2010, and down 30 percent from the more than 1.4 million passengers AirTran carried in November 2007.

Six years ago, AirTran had a 19 percent market share at Hartsfield-Jackson International. Now, Southwest and AirTran combined handle 11 to 12 percent of the traffic.

When it had a sizable presence in Atlanta, AirTran did put a damper on fares? in Atlanta, said George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog.com. ?They always forced Delta to lower fares, and that fact is no longer there.

Delta, meanwhile, now holds more than 82 percent of the market share, up from closer to 70 percent six years ago. That means Atlanta?s two largest carriers control 93 percent of the market.

What Atlanta needs is another low-cost carrier to get some base,Hobica said.

As Delta gains market share, spokesman Trebor Banstetter said: Atlanta is a very competitive market, and we feel like we have a unique product to offer to our customers.?

Seaney said the markets AirTran and Southwest no longer fly to such as Atlanta to Charlotte and to Tampa ? will likely see the biggest fare increases because of the reduced competition.

There?s the winners and losers, and certainly those routes that got dropped are going to be big losers in this,? Seaney said.

Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz said the decisions to leave a market are ?difficult.?

We realize it?s a difficult transition for the Atlanta travelers,? Mainz said. ?For us, it?s driven by demand,? and for Atlanta, that means local demand rather than connecting traffic that AirTran depended on for its hub.

Elsewhere, United has merged with Continental and American has merged with US Airways, leaving four large carriers that divvy up most national traffic.

Hartsfield-Jackson had the highest and second-highest average fare increase in the two most recent quarterly federal air fare reports. Atlanta fares rose 22.6 percent year-over-year in the third quarter of 2013, including the peak summer months of July and August, and 9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013.

But there are deals to be had in some markets, such as low fares last month for flights to the Caribbean, Hobica said.

There are still going to be fare wars between United, Delta, Southwest and American, but they?re just not the way they used to be when we had ten fairly large airlines,? Hobica said.

Travelers should start shopping for flights three months out for the best prices, consider flying on the cheapest days ? Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday ? and at the cheapest times ? 6 a.m., noon and 6 p.m., Seaney said.

Airlines are charging a significant premium for their most convenient nonstops, Seaney said. ?Plus, international flying is extremely expensive.

One strategy when flying to Europe is to fly to an alternate city and then take a low-cost carrier or train to your destination city, said Patrick Surry, chief data scientist for Hopper.com. Taking a flight within Europe can be cheaper than the premium paid for a flight to a high-demand city, he said.

In Europe, its a really competitive market, Surry said. Youve got all these different national and international carriers.
 

wood pecker

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You know you can't make money in ATL. Come on, we need to get out of that little po-dunk place and focus on more flights to HOU and DAL.
 

scarlet

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ATL holds more corporate bases than any other city in the US. Why I am not sure, but from the ones you know..

Delta, Coke, Bank of America, Porsche, Fokker, Home Depot, Suntrust, CDC

Giving up ATL is a huge mistake!!
 

$$$4nothin

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ATL holds more corporate bases than any other city in the US. Why I am not sure, but from the ones you know..

Delta, Coke, Bank of America, Porsche, Fokker, Home Depot, Suntrust, CDC

Giving up ATL is a huge mistake!!

Temperate wx, tax breaks, descent cost of living for emplyees, and 1 leg flights to almost anywhere. Just a few reasons I can think of off the top of my head.
 

scoreboardII

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Let me get this right, all the airlines are making money, fares spiked a whopping 1.4%, and all of a sudden SWA is giving up ATL? I think it's closer to accurate revenue management than a theory SWA is giving up. Once the end game occurs for AT, SWA will be better positioned to move. Face it, SWA can't pat their head and rub their tummy at the same time.
 

jonjuan

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Guys name is Trebor? Lol...people thought he had a lisp.
 

redflyer65

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I'd say things for SW were a little light over the holiday period but now, absolutely not.

I just non-revved in and out and it was full both ways. And definitely full getting out no matter which city I would have tried.

143+2 going, and 143+3 coming home. Can't get much more full than that. Atlanta customers are starting to really show up. Just taking time to get the word out.
 

Luv2BFlyin

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I'd say things for SW were a little light over the holiday period but now, absolutely not.

I just non-revved in and out and it was full both ways. And definitely full getting out no matter which city I would have tried.

143+2 going, and 143+3 coming home. Can't get much more full than that. Atlanta customers are starting to really show up. Just taking time to get the word out.

I hope you're right, I'm afraid that the "we don't do it that way" prevalence has mucked up ATL in a way that only a significant increase of in and out service can repair. We've given up so many direct flights that Delta has turned into the major benefactor in ATL of this merger.

It's ironic that in DAL, WN is arguing that they'll keep fares lower by not allowing competition and yet in ATL, they're reducing competition and allowing fares to go higher. I guess you argue whatever opinion supports your goal.
 

Mach 80

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You never know what super secret yet very subtle signals sent between Gary Kelly and Richard Anderson. SWA backs out of ATL some and DL leaves SWA alone somewhere else. Happens all the time between airlines without any actual talk between CEOs. Subtle enough to not trigger anti-trust action from the gov't. Goes on all the time.
 

General Lee

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LOL! You guys are getting your butts kicked, plain and simple. No wonder you didn't want DL at Love Field...... Many frequent fliers at AT liked their cheaper "first class" service and XM radio. SWA came in thinking everyone would like the cattle car service with fares that weren't always the cheapest. Ummmmm nope. Not everyone wants to fly for, or even fly in the back of a Corndog.



Bye Bye---General Lee
 
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General Lee

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Doubt they ever wanted to be "big" in ATL.

It worked then! Thanks. Btw, DL is hiring, a lot. Wanna stay in ATL? You got a good chance with DL.


Bye Bye---General Lee
 

HowardBorden

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Different company = different business model. SWA is not a hub and spoke airline, meaning SWA does not operate near the number of flights out of ATL, then turning around and returning to ATL. SWA said from day one of the merger that ATL would shrink the number of flights operated by AirTran.

Kelly pointed out that it is phasing out AirTran's Boeing 717s, which have 117 seats, and replacing them with Boeing 737s with 143 seats.
"In other words the trip count won't equate to the seat count, and I'll just ask you to stay tuned on that," he said.
Added Kelly as he was answering an analyst's question about rebuilding Atlanta's flight numbers:
"Atlanta is very important to us. We've had a wonderful reception there. Atlanta was a challenge for AirTran, and we're seeing very meaningful improvements in the local market in particular."
"So we have a big step coming up next month to convert to the point-to-point route system. If 'radical' is the right word, it's a radical change for the operation. And the bookings so far look very solid. So I don't see a misstep there, and I'm anxious to see if we can build the business from here.
"At the same time, we are really hampered by the fact that it's not all one brand, and the majority of the flights are still AirTran. And I think we're all looking forward to the day where it's all Southwest. That'll really put us in a position where we can best answer your question, and that won't be until the end of next year.
"So we got a ways to go. We're very committed to the market. Regardless of the number of departures that we have, we are going to have a very large presence in Atlanta."
AirTran has been operating a connecting hub in Atlanta, but, as Kelly said, plans to change its schedule to emphasize point-to-point flying trips that start or end in Atlanta.


"That's right in line with what we would traditionally do," Romo said. Kelly then followed up on her point.
"Atlanta is one of the biggest cities that we operate in, period," Kelly said. "It's bigger than Dallas, bigger than Houston, two original cities. Bigger than LA, bigger than Oakland. The list goes on and on and on. It's a very large operation for Southwest Airlines."

http://aviationblog.dallasnews.com/2...hrinkage.html/
 
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General Lee

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Different company = different business model. SWA is not a hub and spoke airline, meaning SWA does not operate near the number of flights out of ATL, then turning around and returning to ATL. SWA said from day one of the merger that ATL would shrink the number of flights operated by AirTran.

Kelly pointed out that it is phasing out AirTran?s Boeing 717s, which have 117 seats, and replacing them with Boeing 737s with 143 seats.
?In other words the trip count won?t equate to the seat count, and I?ll just ask you to stay tuned on that,? he said.
Added Kelly as he was answering an analyst?s question about rebuilding Atlanta?s flight numbers:
?Atlanta is very important to us. We?ve had a wonderful reception there. Atlanta was a challenge for AirTran, and we?re seeing very meaningful improvements in the local market in particular.
?So we have a big step coming up next month to convert to the point-to-point route system. If ?radical? is the right word, it?s a radical change for the operation. And the bookings so far look very solid. So I don?t see a misstep there, and I?m anxious to see if we can build the business from here.
?At the same time, we are really hampered by the fact that it?s not all one brand, and the majority of the flights are still AirTran. And I think we?re all looking forward to the day where it?s all Southwest. That?ll really put us in a position where we can best answer your question, and that won?t be until the end of next year.
?So we got a ways to go. We?re very committed to the market. Regardless of the number of departures that we have, we are going to have a very large presence in Atlanta.?
AirTran has been operating a connecting hub in Atlanta, but, as Kelly said, plans to change its schedule to emphasize point-to-point flying ? trips that start or end in Atlanta.


?That?s right in line with what we would traditionally do,? Romo said. Kelly then followed up on her point.
?Atlanta is one of the biggest cities that we operate in, period,? Kelly said. ?It?s bigger than Dallas, bigger than Houston, two original cities. Bigger than LA, bigger than Oakland. The list goes on and on and on. It?s a very large operation for Southwest Airlines.?

http://aviationblog.dallasnews.com/2...hrinkage.html/


In other words, "we are getting our butts kicked..." True, the smaller 717s are getting replaced by larger 737s, but the larger planes are just one part of your overall problems. I don't think you can turn a full 737-800 in 25 mins. That may be why you fell so far down in the ontime rankings. Well, hopefully things go smoother in your upcoming negotiations. Stay strong, bro!


Bye Bye---General Lee
 

HowardBorden

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In other words, "we are getting our butts kicked..." True, the smaller 717s are getting replaced by larger 737s, but the larger planes are just one part of your overall problems. I don't think you can turn a full 737-800 in 25 mins. That may be why you fell so far down in the ontime rankings. Well, hopefully things go smoother in your upcoming negotiations. Stay strong, bro!


Bye Bye---General Lee
In other words we are upgauging 88 airframes. 88 717's leaving with 117 seats equals 10,296 seats.

Replaced with 54 -800's and 34 -700's equals 14,414 seats.
A net gain of 4,418 revenue generating seats available for sale.

If we are indeed getting our butts kicked, our record first quarter profit certainly does not reflect it.
 

General Lee

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In other words we are upgauging 88 airframes. 88 717's leaving with 117 seats equals 10,296 seats.

Replaced with 54 -800's and 34 -700's equals 14,414 seats.
A net gain of 4,418 revenue generating seats available for sale.

If we are indeed getting our butts kicked, our record first quarter profit certainly does not reflect it.

What about parking 737-300s and 737-500s? I thought it was more seats but fewer airframes? (738s vs 733/735s). Regardless, I'm glad you had record profits, even though you are getting your azz kicked in ATL. It's probably because of your tight reign on DAL Love and your new INTL terminal in HOU. Well done! Make sure you bring those points up in negotiations.



Bye Bye---General Lee
 
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HowardBorden

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What about parking 737-300s and 737-500s? I thought it was more seats but fewer airframes? (738s vs 733/735s).

That's just it, you know not of what you speak.

Classics leaving the fleet in '14: 1 -300, 3 -500's.

NG's added to the fleet in '14: 33 -800's, 20 -700's.

(The 20 extra -700's are in addition to the AT 700's making the transition in '14)
 
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Flycatcher99

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In other words, "we are getting our butts kicked..." True, the smaller 717s are getting replaced by larger 737s, but the larger planes are just one part of your overall problems. I don't think you can turn a full 737-800 in 25 mins. That may be why you fell so far down in the ontime rankings. Well, hopefully things go smoother in your upcoming negotiations. Stay strong, bro!


Bye Bye---General Lee


In other words, "I'm a doofus who sucks at reading comprehension."

Kelly is saying that a more fair comparison can be made once the integration is complete and the networks are completely unified. He said SWA will have a strong presence in ATL, and I don't see a reason why that won't be the case. SWA moved into DEN and pushed both United and Frontier around. Delta is obviously stronger than United, but the fare structure would appear to support SWA growing in ATL and forcing Delta to play along on fares.

One more note: it's interesting that Air Tran's market share in ATL went down substantially from '07 to '10, which suggests that if SWA hadn't stepped in and bought AT, the trend might have continued with difficulties for AT.
 

Luv2BFlyin

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One more note: it's interesting that Air Tran's market share in ATL went down substantially from '07 to '10, which suggests that if SWA hadn't stepped in and bought AT, the trend might have continued with difficulties for AT.




ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: AAI), today reported December and full-year 2010 traffic. The low-cost leader recorded all-time annual records for available seat miles, load factor and enplaned passengers.

Yeah, there was a definite trend by the end of 2010.

From the same article:
In addition to these traffic milestones, AirTran Airways also posted its best operational performance in the airline's history in 2010. This stellar accomplishment includes an industry leading on-time arrival mark of 82.7 percent. Despite the impact of severe winter storms occurring on the two busiest days of the month, AirTran finished December with a 98.6 percent completion percentage (the percentage of flights completed), ending the year with a completion percentage of 98.9 percent. The airline also continued its industry leading and new record low mishandled baggage rates of less than two bags per 1,000 passengers.

Those are numbers another airline could only dream of.
 
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