No Runny Eggs

The repository of one hard-boiled egg from the south suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and the occassional guest-blogger). The ramblings within may or may not offend, shock and awe you, but they are what I (or my guest-bloggers) think.

Say good-bye to AirTran (and “hub” status at Mitchell)

by @ 11:10 on September 27, 2010. Filed under Business.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Southwest will, pending regulatory approval, buy AirTran for $1.4 billion. While most people believe (well, hope) this means more flights out of Milwaukee, I have an alternate take.

AirTran currently has 47 daily departures out of its “second national hub” to, ultimately, only 3 “non-stop/first-stop” destinations not served by Southwest out of its Chicago Midway hub-in-all-but-name on a “non-stop/first-stop” basis in its roughly-210 daily departures – Atlanta (which is directly serviced by AirTran out of Mitchell 4 times daily and AirTran out of Midway 8 times daily), Washington-Reagan National (directly serviced by AirTran out of Mitchell 3 times daily – Southwest directly services “nearby” Baltimore/Washington International out of Mitchell 3 times daily out of 10 total departures from Mitchell, and out of Midway 7 times daily, and “nearby” Washington-Dulles out of Midway 6 times daily), Dallas/Fort Worth (directly serviced twice daily by AirTran; Southwest requires at least 1 stop between Midway and Dallas-Love Field). During the winter, AirTran does offer a daily non-stop flight to Sarasota from Mitchell.

Even though Midway is severely limited in the types of aircraft it can service because it is on a completely-landlocked one square mile plot of land, it is just large enough to service the Boeing 737s that make up Southwest’s fleet and just under half AirTran’s fleet and the Boeing 717s that make up the other part of AirTran’s fleet. Southwest already had the majority of gates at Midway; with the takeover of AirTran, the only non-Southwest service at Midway will be Delta service to their hubs in Atlanta, Minneapolis and Detroit (the latter 2 using contracted regional airlines), Frontier service to their hub in Denver, Porter Airline turboprop service to Toronto (their hub), and not-yet-launched service by Branson AirExpress to their hub in Branson, Missouri. Something tells me that, instead of a combined 57 departures, or even 47 that AirTran has now, the new Southwest/AirTran will have something far closer to the 10 departures the current Southwest has now.

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