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Charlotte-Douglas Airport (CLT) Expansion

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Last night the Charlotte City Council approved a $9M contract for a 6 gate expansion of Concourse E. For those that don't know Concourse E is the commuter plane concourse. This will releive some of the current gate congestion in E while at the same time not going full bore on the planned 24 gate expansion of E at a time when the regional jet which Concourse E was designed for has an uncertain future in domestic airline operations.

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US Airways wants Pittsburgh, Charlotte and Phoenix to compete for a new $25 million flight operations center employing 400 to 600 people -- a project that would supplant operations currently spread between Pittsburgh and Phoenix.

The Tempe, Ariz.-based airline sent letters to officials in all three cities yesterday, asking that any proposals be submitted by Oct. 15. A decision is expected by February, but the actual move would not occur until late 2008 or early 2009.

Full story here.

Edited by Miesian Corners

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New reports have United looking for a merger partner. Continental and Delta have been named as likely suspects, with USAirways as a possible third candidate.

Can anyone offer additional insight on these scenarios and how they would have CLT?

My thought are that Continental would make sense, with little hub overlap. Delta may make sense from an operations point of view, but is either of them financially strong enough to pull this off?

USAirways obvsiouly seemed logical before their merger with with AWA, is this still the case?

Would Charlotte be a winner or loser in the marger in regards to number of flights? Would CLT likely see an increase in international flights? Are Denver/Phoenix and Dulles/Philly too close together?

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It is very early in United's merger dance...but I would say the most likely carrier would be Continental at this point. I am not sure what effects that merger would have on USAirways/Charlotte but I would not think anything too drastic positive or negative.

In the short term US Airways will be adding about 25 flights this fall to Charlotte...and late this year/ early next year they will be adding new non-stop destinations such as Austin, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City.

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The US/UA merger didn't work due to too much overlap (anti trust concerns). I'm not sure how this would work out unless they would divest themselves of certain assests (i.e. routes, hubs, etc.). Charlotte was to win with UA. The plan was to put build it up as an alternative to ATL for South and Latin America.

Anyway, at work we still hear rumors of NWA and Alaska as our possible merger partners. Of late there has also been talk of a chunk of DL (South America routes and several B767s to fly them) for US.

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What destination in South America are likely candidates? Would this be all of Delta's routes from Atlanta? Would Charlotte be the likely choice to get these routes? It is really key in my mind for CLT to get as many international destinations as possible, as this will have the biggest impact on business investment.

Austin is great news. I also heard White Plains. Any rumors of Portland?

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USAirways is the only major airline in the USA without flights to Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and really does not have much relative presence in Europe. And it doesn't fly to any destination on the southern hemisphere of the planet. Flights to these cities require a ride on a code sharing airline and most of these are on United.

If United is taken over by another competitor this is going to put USAir at a big disadvantage because no doubt the new owner may not be as willing to code share flights with USAir if there is a competative advantage not to do so.

I do think the 6 major carriers in this country, United, Continental, Northwest, Delta, American and USAir are going to become the 3 major carriers within the next 10 years. It's my guess that USAir will be one of the ones that get swallowed and mainly because of its coverage in the SE and Carribean.

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I don't know what you consider a big European presence. We fly to 17 European cities. London, Manchester, Glasgow, Shannon, Dublin, Munich, Frankfurt, Milan, Rome, Venice, Amsterdam, Paris, Stockholm, Madrid, Barcelona and Lisbon. Next spring we begin service to Copenhagen, Nice, Birmingham (UK), and Zurich. United and Northwest, by contrast, only serve a very few European cities. Northwest doesn't even offer service to London in the winter from Minneaoplis/St Paul. They rely on their code share partners KLM, Continental and Delta for Europe. Same for United. It uses its relationship with Lufthansa and US Airways (you'd be amazed at how many United customers connect to Europe via Philadelphia) to connect passengers to European desinations.

US Airways is the second largest US carrier to the Carribbean/Latin America (Charlotte has more Carribbean/Latin American service than any (US) city other than Miami). The only US carriers that fly to South America are Delta, Continental and United. Currently, US Airways uses United and Varig to get customers to SA. We rely on Singapore, United, Air New Zealand, ANA, and Thai to connect customers to Asia.

It is doubtful (at this point) that we (US Airways) will be acquired any time soon. Delta is on the verge of being dismantled due to financial issues (hence the rumors of selling off its South American routes). Northwest is having huge labor troubles and is actively looking to get into some sort of "relationship" with another carrier. Continental doesn't have any cash. The only big hub and spoke carriers with any leverage and money currently are United and US Airways.

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I don't know what you consider a big European presence. We fly to 17 European cities. London, Manchester, Glasgow, Shannon, Dublin, Munich, Frankfurt, Milan, Rome, Venice, Amsterdam, Paris, Stockholm, Madrid, Barcelona and Lisbon.

By my count that is the British Isles, Germany, Italy, France, Sweden and Spain. There are 25 countries in the EU and a number more in Europe not in the EU.

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I don't know what you consider a big European presence. We fly to 17 European cities. London, Manchester, Glasgow, Shannon, Dublin, Munich, Frankfurt, Milan, Rome, Venice, Amsterdam, Paris, Stockholm, Madrid, Barcelona and Lisbon. Next spring we begin service to Copenhagen, Nice, Birmingham (UK), and Zurich. United and Northwest, by contrast, only serve a very few European cities. Northwest doesn't even offer service to London in the winter from Minneaoplis/St Paul. They rely on their code share partners KLM, Continental and Delta for Europe. Same for United. It uses its relationship with Lufthansa and US Airways (you'd be amazed at how many United customers connect to Europe via Philadelphia) to connect passengers to European desinations.

US Airways is the second largest US carrier to the Carribbean/Latin America (Charlotte has more Carribbean/Latin American service than any (US) city other than Miami). The only US carriers that fly to South America are Delta, Continental and United. Currently, US Airways uses United and Varig to get customers to SA. We rely on Singapore, United, Air New Zealand, ANA, and Thai to connect customers to Asia.

It is doubtful (at this point) that we (US Airways) will be acquired any time soon. Delta is on the verge of being dismantled due to financial issues (hence the rumors of selling off its South American routes). Northwest is having huge labor troubles and is actively looking to get into some sort of "relationship" with another carrier. Continental doesn't have any cash. The only big hub and spoke carriers with any leverage and money currently are United and US Airways.

great stuff - i would love to see usair expand their international presence here in charlotte. however i dont see us (charlotte) as having the one way traffice to get us to south america. 90 percent of the passengers would be connecting meaning the routes would probably be unsustainable.

also, AA has flights to south america (santiago, buenos aires, quito, lima, guayaquil, rio, sao paulo, all through colombia, etc. . . in fact, aa has the best route coverage in south america of any us airline.

with a united merger, i think we would lose charlotte hub to dulles due to proximity. continental would be okay from a route standpoint.

kinda exciting the potential growth from charlotte!!!! (now if we could only get those direct fares down)

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By my count that is the British Isles, Germany, Italy, France, Sweden and Spain. There are 25 countries in the EU and a number more in Europe not in the EU.

Agreed, although those are arguably the most prominent countries in the EU. I don't see us having a need to fly to Luxembourg, Slovakia, Estonia, or Bulgaria. The only need that may not be met yet is for flights to Poland, Austria, Greece, Portugal, and maybe Denmark, Finland, and Norway.

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.... I don't see us having a need to fly to Luxembourg, Slovakia, Estonia, or Bulgaria. The only need that may not be met yet is for flights to Poland, Austria, Greece, Portugal, and maybe Denmark, Finland, and Norway.

Who is "us".

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USAirways does fly to Portugal already (Lisbon), and will be flying to Denmark.

I agree that Warsaw, Athens, and Oslo could be good routes, but I don't know enough to predict if they would be profitable.

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The point that I was making which was in response to the original question asked about United, is that beyond 6-7 countries in Western Europe, USAir has almost no international presence outside North America. It depends upon the other airlines for that in code sharing arrangements and since this is mostly United, a merger of United with Continental might put USAir in a bind.

As I said earlier I believe there is going to be a further consolidation of airlines, and the fact that USAir doesn't have many international flights and control of valuable gates in other countries, especially Asian ones, as the only place it can make money is on competitive domestic routes. Once the other airlines get their problems fixed by using the bankrupcy courts to bust their unions like USAir did, then its back to square one again, and USAirs isn't sitting in a good position. It's not a low cost carrier like Southwest, and it isn't a full fledge mainline airline because it has almost no international flights. Yet it is forced to compete against carriers in all these markets.

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USairways orders:

A-320 ~5

A-321 ~28 {Similiar to the 757}

A-330 ~10

A-350-800 stretch super wide body ~20

ERJ 190 {NOT regional, has first class} 57

Write Now US has 9 A-330's. US has some things up there sleeves and new destination but these orders are to come in 2009.This Puts US in a very good position to benfit majorly from another Merger.

USIARWAYS HUBS:

Charlotte Douglas International Airport

Philadelphia International Airport

Sky Harbor International Airport

McCarran International Airport

Focus cities / secondary hubs Pittsburgh International Airport

Pittsburgh

LaGuardia Airport

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

Logan International Airport

UNITEDS HUBS:

O'Hare International Airport

Denver International Airport

San Francisco Int'l Airport

Washington Dulles Int'l Airport

Los Angeles Int'l Airport

Focus cities / secondary hubs

Narita International Airport

There is really no Hub Overlap probs. , Excpet Ronald reagan , And Dulles. There both part of Star Alliance.

A Strong East Coast Domination & A Good carribean Presence & a good european presence & Good Asian presence & Good West Coast presence. that would be a good Merger in my viewpoint.

How it would benefit charlotte? Probably...nothing.

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Metro, US Airways makes a fortune on its European routes. Not exactly sure how you can say US is not an "international" airline? We fly to the UK, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden, Italy (and soon Switzerland and Denmark). We fly to Honduras, Costa Rica, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and a host of Caribbean nations that are too numerous to mention. What do you consider "many international flights"? We have double daily flights from PHL to FRA, LGW and CDG. How much lift is enough to qualify? London and Frankfurt can go out empty from Charlotte and make a profit on cargo alone. BTW, No airlines (except those who are headquartered in their respective countries) "own" gates in Europe. Lufthansa actually owns part of FRA and runs it. It also runs MUC.

As I said before, United and Northwest count on other carriers for service to Europe. How is that different from US Airways counting on Star Alliance carriers for connections to Asia? Part of the beauty of Star is this very thing. US Airways feeds Lufthansa in Charlotte, Lufthansa feeds US Airways in Frankfurt. Northwest has four daily nonstops from MSP to AMS. KLM sends those customers from AMS throughout its system in Europe, central Asia and Africa. It is no different. LOT Polish Airlines will more than likely begin service to PHL to connect to US Airways flights there. Charlotte has been mentioned as the alternative to ATL for South African since it joined Star. It has cancelled its code share with Delta (DL is part of SkyTeam) and needs domestic (USA) feed for the flight to be cost effective.

Code shares offer the best of both worlds. You get service, but don't have to buy equipment to operate that service. The Star Alliance HQ in FRA is currently working on centralized buying for all alliance carriers. They ultimately could negotiate single contracts for all member airlines for everything from pillows and blankets at TAP Air Portugal to tires for an A380 at Singapore.

As for costs and bankrupcy evening the playing field, Delta doesn't have unions to bust. They did bust ALPA there, but the rest of the company is non-union. It has no cash on hand. Northwest already has low costs as far employees are concerned, but it has the oldest fleet in the nation. They currently fly 35 year old DC-9s domestically. It has no cash on hand.

US just placed an order for 17 A321s and a new fleet of widebody A350s (although those might be cancelled for the B787 in order to get the planes sooner). The airline still holds route authority to two Japanese cities from PHX and LAS. It simply needs the equipment to fly the routes.

Southwest and jetBlue are in for a rude awakening. Southwest more than jetBlue. Southwest has the highest paid employees in the industry. They are also the most unionized carrier in the United States. How do they make money? Easy. They hedged their fuel four years ago. They are paying pennies for jet fuel while the rest of the American carriers are paying a fortune. Their hedge runs out in 2007. Then they have to pay what everyone else does. Watch their costs SOAR when that happens. jetBlue now faces paying for airplanes that it has used for free since its inception. That was part of its agreement with Airbus. Well, the bill is now due.

And US competes directly with Southwest already. PHL, LAS, and PHX are big cities for both. Both make money at all three. Both have full airplanes in all three.

Granted, the next couple of years will be very interesting in aviation, but I assure you, US Airways will be one of the airlines that acquires, not the other way around. It has no debt, lots of cash on hand, and investors who are happy to give it a hand if a good opportunity comes around.

Edited by Miesian Corners

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On another note: parking.

1. Why is CLT spending so much money on expanding parking decks while not pushing for a mass transit alternative to uptown instead to handle the traffic?

2. Why is paying for parking at CLT so, so, so outdated? At LGA, EWR and other airports, there are parking machines inside the airport and there are machines at various places around the parking lots, so paying for parking is a breeze. At CLT, the process at the parking attendant booths is tedious, slow and backs up traffic at peak periods. Great first impression of Charlotte!

To add to the above discussion: I also see US Airways as merging again in the near future. Hopefully with United but I have no idea whether or not that would work.

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On another note: parking.

1. Why is CLT spending so much money on expanding parking decks while not pushing for a mass transit alternative to uptown instead to handle the traffic?

2. Why is paying for parking at CLT so, so, so outdated? At LGA, EWR and other airports, there are parking machines inside the airport and there are machines at various places around the parking lots, so paying for parking is a breeze. At CLT, the process at the parking attendant booths is tedious, slow and backs up traffic at peak periods. Great first impression of Charlotte!

To add to the above discussion: I also see US Airways as merging again in the near future. Hopefully with United but I have no idea whether or not that would work.

Mass transit is out of the question because of the Feds. They won't help pay for a transit line because it would carry too few people. Sucks, I know.

You are right on the money on your second point. It is mind-boggling to me how technologically inept the Charlotte airport is in terms of local operations. Why one can't simply put the parking ticket into a machine, pay for it by credit card, then leave is beyond me? In FRA, you simply insert your credit card when you enter the garage, then use the same card when you leave.

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Mass transit is out of the question because of the Feds. They won't help pay for a transit line because it would carry too few people. Sucks, I know.

You are right on the money on your second point. It is mind-boggling to me how technologically inept the Charlotte airport is in terms of local operations. Why one can't simply put the parking ticket into a machine, pay for it by credit card, then leave is beyond me? In FRA, you simply insert your credit card when you enter the garage, then use the same card when you leave.

Even RDU has a nice system. It's called Exit Express or something like that. Pay for your ticket in the terminal. Insert your reciept to get out.

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I don't think the parking at CLT is bad. I actually like it because it is cheap compared to most airports, more advancements probably will mean more expensive. They usually have attendants that direct you to the nearest empty spot when you arrive in satellite parking, and there isn't much of a wait to exit every time I go. Well one day there was a big back up and I guess the parking attendant didn't want to deal with it so he lifted up the gate and let us all out for free. Now that was a great welcome home present after being gone a week.

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its really shocking how inexpensive parking is at clt - that is a major reason right there why if living uptown i would not take a light rail/brt. honestly though, parking is a major source of untapped revenue for the airport and they could easily increase rate 30% without seeing demand fall. with that extra 30% they could spruce up the terminals

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2. Why is paying for parking at CLT so, so, so outdated? At LGA, EWR and other airports, there are parking machines inside the airport and there are machines at various places around the parking lots, so paying for parking is a breeze. At CLT, the process at the parking attendant booths is tedious, slow and backs up traffic at peak periods. Great first impression of Charlotte!

Do these people, who are flying into Charlotte and returning to the cars they parked, have amnesia? :P

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Do these people, who are flying into Charlotte and returning to the cars they parked, have amnesia? :P

?? it's not bad driving into the parking decks and lots, or am I missing something?

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