American Airlines confirmed (01-Aug-2013) the commencement of 76-seat Embraer E175 operations on 01-Aug-2013. The aircraft will be operated by Republic Airlines under the American Eagle Airlines brand as part of a 12-year capacity purchase agreement, and will initially be based at Chicago O'Hare. The carrier expects two to three E175 aircraft to enter service per month, reaching the maximum of 47 in 1Q2015. The aircraft are configured with 12 first class, 20 'Main Cabin Extra' and 44 economy seats. American Airlines VP network planning Chuck Schubert said: "For the first time in American Airlines history we are offering large regional jet flying as an option. In addition to strengthening our longstanding partnership with Republic Airways, this is a strong step forward in the diversification of our fleet and an important enhancement from one of our key hubs. It’s also great news for our customers, who will now have even more flight choices and opportunities to travel in the first class cabin." [more - original PR American Airlines] [more - original PR New Orleans Airport]
American Airlines confirms launch of E175 oeprations
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Southwest Airlines plans to create additional pressure on Alaska Air Group during 2014 as Delta continues its raid on Alaska’s Seattle hub. Just as Delta invades some of Alaska’s top markets from Seattle, Southwest is upping competition with Alaska from San Diego – an airport from which Alaska has been steadily expanding during the past couple of years to support its network diversification strategy. Southwest apparently believes an opportunity exists to leverage its leading position at the airport to add both transcontinental flights and service along the US west coast during 2014. It intends to add three new markets – Orlando, Portland and Seattle – and re-launch service to New Orleans after discontinuing flights in 2005.
At the same time the carrier has also outlined plans for the additional LaGuardia slots it secured as a result of the American-US Airways merger. It plans to bolster service from the closest airport to Manhattan to its strongholds of Chicago Midway and Houston Hobby as well as Nashville and Akron-Canton.
The small market casualties resulting from Southwest’s acquisition of and merger with AirTran Airways are also continuing as service from Branson, Missouri, Jackson, Mississippi and Key West, Florida is being eliminated. Other cuts include flights from Atlanta to Dayton, Norfolk and Louisville. It seems capacity in those markets is shifting to other points from Atlanta where Southwest can possibly target more local traffic.
Spirit Airlines sees no constraints to its growth and performance targets: a model of a modern ULCC
Spirit Airlines concludes there is lot of road to cover on its growth trajectory as it still only accounts for roughly 1% to 2% of the US domestic space. While its ambitious growth targets for the next couple of years have raised some eyebrows, for the moment Spirit can be given the benefit of the doubt given its recent strong margin performance while posting double-digit capacity expansion of 22% in 2013.
The carrier’s network strategy in 2014 mirrors its blueprint for 2013 – connecting the large US markets it has rapidly added during the past few years with new cities rather than adding an outsized number of brand-new markets.
By anchoring new routes to existing markets, Spirit has a decent chance to spool those routes up quickly, which is key in the carrier achieving its targeted operating margins of 16% to 18% for 2014.