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Will American Airlines return to Nashville as a Hub?


MagicPotato

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No way American would do that with Charlotte already a huge hub.  

BNA is exceptionally well-covered by Southwest Airlines which operates nonstop flights to pretty much every major US city (except Portland OR, Hartford and Indianapolis).  BNA is a focus city for Southwest and they use Nashville as a connection point due to so many flights here.

I recall reading that Southwest alone will operate 111 daily flights at BNA this summer when they add 5X daily nonstops to Atlanta, ending Delta’s monopoly on that route. 

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Not enough corporate O&D travel at the time. Plus, they set up a second SE hub in Raleigh at the same time, which resulted in overlap. They had intended to have RDU as predominantly an E-W hub and BNA as a N-W hub, both as gateways. 

AA made several big-time curious decisions like the SE hubs during Robert Crandall's tenure as CEO. It was a time of a much "turbulence" in the airline industry.  As a dominant player even then, they must have had the luxury of doing some chess moves vis-a-vis the competition.

What's for sure is without AA agreeing to make BNA a hub, MNAA wouldn't have been able to build such a nice (big, at the time) new airport for a market the size of Nashville. Over nearly a decade (and even lingering today) AA bumped up BNA's profile greatly. 

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They won’t return, they have hubs in Charlotte, Dallas, and Miami so they have the South very well covered. Any chance of returning hub status to Nashville ended when they received the Charlotte hub when they merged with US Airways. I could see them instituting a small-scale focus city operation, though, with oneworld partner British Airways starting flights in May, and fellow oneworld partner JAL rumored to be looking into adding flights. Like @urbanplanet17 said, United makes the most sense geographically, but they also have a pretty weak position at BNA and don’t have a Florida hub so I could see them going that route too...

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3 hours ago, MLBrumby said:

Not enough corporate O&D travel at the time. Plus, they set up a second SE hub in Raleigh at the same time, which resulted in overlap. They had intended to have RDU as predominantly an E-W hub and BNA as a N-W hub, both as gateways. 

AA made several big-time curious decisions like the SE hubs during Robert Crandall's tenure as CEO. It was a time of a much "turbulence" in the airline industry.  As a dominant player even then, they must have had the luxury of doing some chess moves vis-a-vis the competition.

What's for sure is without AA agreeing to make BNA a hub, MNAA wouldn't have been able to build such a nice (big, at the time) new airport for a market the size of Nashville. Over nearly a decade (and even lingering today) AA bumped up BNA's profile greatly. 

I was working for Delta in SLC at the time but had interviewed for a job with AA.  I really wanted to work at AA's "hubette" at BNA.  You're right that if it weren't for AA, we likely would not have gotten such a snazzy new terminal.  Anyone who remembers the old terminal, where the FedEx shipping center is now, was duly dazzled when the new terminal opened.  Really the only thing I miss from the old terminal is the outdoor observation patio located right on the tarmac.

Anyway, as everyone has already said, there's no way AA will make BNA a hub again.  I don't think United would, either.  And I'm totally fine with that.  I'd much rather have an airport that's not a fortress hub, especially a hub like CLT (high fares, madhouse of a terminal) for one of the legacy airlines.  The only one of Nashville's peers whose airport I covet would be SLC.  It's a hub for DL so it's got some nice international flights (Amsterdam, London, Mexico City, Paris).  But it's also a major player in SW's network and even JetBlue's network (JetBlue's founder is from SLC).

Otherwise, I like the direction BNA is headed.  We've got a great collection of airlines offering flights to every corner of the country, and at pretty low fares.  And I don't think it'll be long before we'll see more trans Atlantic flights.

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Ideally I’d love to have BNA be like Orlando: a heavy rotation focus city for several low cost airlines of varying fares and amenities (MCO is a focus city for Southwest, JetBlue, Frontier, and I believe Spirit), along with tons of service by legacy airlines and foreign airlines. Offers plenty of options for all types of travelers with low prices from competition. 

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Southwest Airlines doesn’t  officially have “hub” cities.  They refer to them as “focus cities” and BNA already has that status with well over 100+ flights daily.  Even with the new terminal additions there are not enough gates to support a true hub operation.  

I expect at least one of the ultra-low cost carriers (Spirit, Allegiant) to start some flights here, but most airlines don’t want to go up against Southwest and its dominance at BNA.   With its record passenger growth BNA is already very well served. 

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8 minutes ago, dxfret said:

Southwest Airlines doesn’t  officially have “hub” cities.  They refer to them as “focus cities” and BNA already has that status with well over 100+ flights daily.  Even with the new terminal additions there are not enough gates to support a true hub operation.  

I expect at least one of the ultra-low cost carriers (Spirit, Allegiant) to start some flights here, but most airlines don’t want to go up against Southwest and its dominance at BNA.   With its record passenger growth BNA is already very well served. 

I would be shocked if Spirit didn’t lease at least one of the new gates. They’ll add at the minimum a Fort Lauderdale flight eventually, where they offer connections to their sizable Caribbean and Central American route network. I could also see them adding Detroit and Las Vegas, maybe Dallas. 

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