US’ San Francisco Intenational Airport announced Dec-2010 was its busiest December ever, handling 3.2 million passengers, a 3.0% year-on-year increase. The airport stated the month capped off a strong year of growth, to 39.4 million passengers, up 5.2% year-on-year - its sixth consecutive year of passenger growth. SFO attributed the strong growth to increased services from airberlin, Swiss International, LAN Peru, and Virgin America and the continued expansion of United Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Virgin America, JetBlue and Southwest. The Asia/Middle East region saw the greatest growth of international services with a 10% year-on-year increase. SFO added it increased its overall share of Bay Area air traffic by 1.0% to 68.7%. In 2010, SFO handled 63.5% of all domestic passengers and 96.1% of all international passengers in the Bay Area.
Dec-2010 was SFO’s busiest December ever
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jetBlue’s Mint a great example of innovation; next phase now tests its premium model more widely
Nearly two years ago jetBlue debuted its Mint premium product, which was a bold move for a low cost, hybrid-like North American airline. The company is the only low cost airline in the Americas that offers a dedicated premium product, and the success of Mint has even surprised jetBlue’s senior management.
In an increasingly vanilla US marketplace, largely driven by Wall Street analysyt demands for short term profits, Mint’s success has beaten jetBlue’s own expectations, and now the airline is planning a massive expansion of Mint routes from its three largest bases – New York, Boston and Fort Lauderdale. jetBlue is undertaking the spread of Mint as Alaska and Virgin America work to gain approval for their merger, then to embark on a years-long integration process of the two. During that time jetBlue will leverage its strengths to inject a premium product into some of Alaska and Virgin America’s important transcontinental markets.
There is much for jetBlue to digest as it works to roll out Mint in several additional markets. But with Mint’s current track record, jetBlue is not surprisingly remaining open-minded about its scope.
US airlines and the Cuba route awards Part 1: The US DoT slices up many pieces of the Havana pie
US regulators have decided to spread Havana award rights among eight operators – a mix of global full service airlines, medium frills low cost carriers and ULCCs. Unsurprisingly, given the concentration of Cuban Americans residing in the region, South Florida features prominently in the tentative award approvals.
In theory, the DoT’s proposed route structure ensures that customers travelling to Havana have access to a wider range of fare prices and product offerings. In many respects the agency had little choice but to accommodate as many airlines as possible for service to Havana – in order to ensure that consumers had an array of service providers as scheduled air service resumes between the US and Cuba.
There may be some quibbles regarding the tentative route awards to Havana, but the route composition proposed by the DoT is not likely to change drastically. The agency’s route dispersal reflects certain expectations that the agency would institute a certain level of competitive diversity on new services to Havana.
(This is Part 1 in a series examining US-Cuba route awards. Part 2 will examine markets other than Havana)