AirTran Airways launched (31-May-2011) a sale for travel to all of the carrier’s destinations. The special fares are available for purchase from 31-May-2011 through 02-Jun-2011, and are good for travel 10-Jun-2011 through 15-Nov-2011 system-wide; 20-Aug-2011 through 15-Nov-2011 to and from Aruba; and from 06-Sep-2011 through 15-Nov-2011, to and from Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco. [more]
AirTran launches national fare sale
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Alaska Air Group ups merger synergy targets as the margins for 2017 compress
Alaska Air Group has revised projected synergies from its merger with Virgin America upwards in both costs and revenue as it leverages the power of a larger network with a broader footprint in California, and uses the combined fleet to maximise profitability on transcontinental routes by placing higher gauge aircraft in those markets.
The existing Airbus narrowbodies operated by Virgin America will remain in the combined airline’s fleet for the foreseeable future. As a result, those aircraft are being reconfigured to offer standard interiors, including Alaska’s first class seat.
Similarly to Virgin America prior to the merger, Alaska has decided that a lie flat seat offering does not fit into its strategy in the contested US transcontinental market. In fact, choosing not to develop a lie flat product could put Alaska in a more favourable position when an (inevitable) economic down cycle occurs.
Despite the more favourable synergy estimates, Alaska will face some margin pressure due to Virgin America’s overall lower margin business. However, even though its margins are likely to drop in 2017, Alaska is stressing that its pretax margin performance will best the industry average.
Virgin America acquisition gives Alaska the arsenal to up the stakes against United in SFO
One of the main drivers in Alaska’s pursuit of, and eventual acquisition of, Virgin America was strategically to bolster its position on the US west coast. Alaska is now leveraging its newly strengthened position in San Francisco to broaden its combined reach from the city with Virgin America, adding 12 new destinations from the airport by YE2017.
Alaska is upping competition with San Francisco’s largest airline, United, through its expansion at the airport, breaking United’s monopoly in many of its new planned routes. The growth shows that combined, Alaska and Virgin America are in a much stronger position to challenge United than Virgin America on a stand alone basis.
The new routes offered by Alaska are a mix of small and medium sized markets utilising Alaska’s growing fleet of Embraer 175s and Virgin America’s Airbus A320 family aircraft. Alaska’s new route profile from the airport illustrates the combined airline’s ability to offer more network breadth from San Francisco – through a more diverse fleet that should generate a larger pool of revenue for the company.