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Update.......Little Rock National Airport.

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2 hours ago, TRB said:

The socio economic issue bit is very much overplayed. There's a difference in being too cheap to fly and not flying because you are getting fleeced. Memphians were fleeced for decades. Since the Delta Dehub, Memphis has seen average fare prices fall 13 quarters in a row. They are projected to pass the top annual mark for locals flying out of Memphis of any time during the hub years. Memphians are finally USING their airport. Southwest would have nurtured that a long long time ago. Right now, Southwest needs to add DEN to both aireports but especially MEM ago their westerner connecting times really suck and's holding them back bigly. They are trying to serve too many markets out of DAL and flight times are suffering from some markets. Maybe it's time they consider a secondary Metroplex airport like McKinney to shift shift some of all that interTexas traffic. They are doing this in Seattle with adding flight from Payne Field, North of Sea Tac.

Good points about local use impact of the hub...totally agree, and SWA would have (or could have) made an impact earlier.  But my point was that A) SWA could have entered the market at anytime before now (in spite of the Wright Amendment...that only affected flights to DAL), and B) I can't imagine that having a significant bearing on the growth or population of Memphis metro.  But who knows!  I know that increased use of MEM by locals as a true O/D airport has impacted LIT to some extent.  I believe a consultant was hired to evaluate this for LIT, and came up with an annual loss of over 100,000 enplanements.

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CVG just got WN a year ago after pulling out of Dayton, Delta had drawn down CVG into a shell hub. Allegiant went in and did gangbusters, they have like 9 destination ls in the summer from MEM.  The only thing missing in MEM is west coast LCC kinda like what Frontier is doing in Tulsa with San Diego and now San Jose. Now, MEM is about to completely redo B and when it is done will consolidation everythigh on B. It may hinder adding more flights. I point to the Air Canada flights out of Memphis tomToronto of how suppressed it was. It did so well they quickly added another daily  flight to better connect to Asia. If you had asked me two years ago that MEM would have two dailies to Toronto, i'd ask for some of what you were smoking.

 

 

 

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12 hours ago, TRB said:

CVG just got WN a year ago after pulling out of Dayton, Delta had drawn down CVG into a shell hub. Allegiant went in and did gangbusters, they have like 9 destination ls in the summer from MEM.  The only thing missing in MEM is west coast LCC kinda like what Frontier is doing in Tulsa with San Diego and now San Jose. Now, MEM is about to completely redo B and when it is done will consolidation everythigh on B. It may hinder adding more flights. I point to the Air Canada flights out of Memphis tomToronto of how suppressed it was. It did so well they quickly added another daily  flight to better connect to Asia. If you had asked me two years ago that MEM would have two dailies to Toronto, i'd ask for some of what you were smoking.

 

 

 

I'll admit, it is surprising how well O/D traffic is doing in Memphis for its size...I believe the numbers are significantly higher than OKC (a market of equivalent size), though on the other hand, Nashville just DWARFS MEM, much more than its population would seem to indicate.  I didn't know Air Canada served MEM.  Interesting.

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5 hours ago, Architect said:

I'll admit, it is surprising how well O/D traffic is doing in Memphis for its size...I believe the numbers are significantly higher than OKC (a market of equivalent size), though on the other hand, Nashville just DWARFS MEM, much more than its population would seem to indicate.  I didn't know Air Canada served MEM.  Interesting.

Niether city gained anything with the Southwest schedule extention today. Seems Little Rock changes come with those but Memphis add and subtracts come as standalone news events. 

Actually if you look at certain peer airports Memphis still has room to grow plus there's a tourism aspect to it. Memphis says it has over 2 million international tourists a year. Here's a tidbit from Wiki but it kinda gives you a better understanding:

The greater Mid-South area as a whole has a population of 2.4 million according to 2013 census estimates.[3] This area is covered by Memphis local news channels and includes the Missouri Bootheel, Northeast Arkansas, West Tennessee, and North Mississippi.[3]

That is places like Jackson TN, Tupelo MS, Jonesboro and Paragould AR.  You extend out to a 3  to 31/2 hr drive and you get into Little Rock and Jackson MS and it shoots to well past 3 million. I think thats why you see a comment from the CEO of Norwegian Air suggesting TATL service at MEM could be stimulated with low cost carrier fares. Here's a piece about top undeserved  TATL markets. 

http://www.anna.aero/2017/09/13/kansas-city-becomes-the-largest-unserved-market-in-the-us-from-europe/

Since that was published, KC got one of the LCC Icelandic carriers that offer cheap European connects from Iceland. Still not true TATL nonstop service but it clears the mega hubs of the US.  It doesn't take in to account those that drive in from other airport markets. (Nashville, New Orleans). What it shows is that while Memphis isn't the next in line( but it is close) that market stimulation of local O&D and that from  tourism as seen in Austin shows that Memphis could support a 2x to 3x weekly TATL service.

 

Back to OKC, I see why, Tulsa to the northeast and Dallas to the South limits their catchment area, even Amarillo to the west with Southwest needs to be factored, compare this with what I past from Wiki about Memphis:

 

Seven counties make up the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area: Canadian, Cleveland, Grady, Lincoln, Logan, McClain, and Oklahoma. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the region had a population of 1,252,987.

The micro urban area of Shawnee (in Pottawatomie County) is included in Oklahoma City's Combined Statistical Area(CSA) which brings the area population to 1,430,327. The Oklahoma City – Shawnee CSA is also included as part of the I-35 Megalopolis.

counties make up the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area: Canadian, Cleveland, Grady, Lincoln, Logan, McClain, and Oklahoma. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the region had a population of 1,252,987.

 

 

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While I'm in a talky mood. I want to theorize a bit.

Theory #1:

Southwest should help McKinney efforts with commercial passenger service and offer it from there.

The why is because while the WA is pretty much toast the lack of gates at Love is constant. Love will never be allowed to add gates and just look at the ongoing fight with Delta over two gates with Southwest's leasing them from United and wanting to kick Delta out of them.  The easy solution to that is add 5 to 10 gates. Southwest doesn't want that because others may ask for them and they would gain very little if others moved in or asked for the hem they hem expand. Oh, say, like Alaska.  It was Alaska adding LAX frequencies after buying Virgin America that cost Memphis it's no plane change stop in DAL flight to LA that was mid afternoon. Southwest added more flights to LAX but at different schedules killing the ability of that particular routing. So, Southwest is hampered at Love with so many intra Texas Frequencies. Moving some of these to the  booming North Dallas area would free up more frequencies and better connecting times for markets outside of Texas like Memphis and Little Rock by shifting some of that to Mckinney. They could also serve some heavy O&D routes like Orlando and Vegas from there further freeing up some space at Love. Southwest could offer up financing it's own terminal as  a way to ward off others from following them. The city could then build a couple of 'for grabs' gates with the full intent of making and keeping them scarce but allowing others to offer service.

 

Theory #2:

We saw Glo come and go. There's not a doubt in my mind that routes like LIT and MSY can be served and be profitable by smaller planes. Glo was really an airline but in name only. Their pilots, planes and MX was contracted out. They flew old Saabs that broke down often and were expensive  to fix while offering no operating expense advantage. They had staffing issues because their contracted charter operator didn't always have the dudes.  Then I read where an established and dependable operator based in Florida that flew some intra state routes and island routes were dumping their old Saabs and buying  20 brand new ATR-42-600s. They even opted for the less dense 46 seat layout with 33 inch seat pitch. Instead of more seats with less room. Then shortly after that, I read where there were going to branch out of Florida. They mentioned routes like Huntsville AL to Orlando, even Branson (not Springfield but BKG just over the line) to Orlando. Those flights would even offer connections to Carribean destinations. These planes have a full load operating range of 700nm. They also mentioned setting up a base in New Orleans. My head went Ding, Ding, Ding.  New, spacious turboprops that are faster than the Saabs with better reliability and operation costs whIle keeping the 3 crew standard( pilot, Co pilot, flight atendant). They own their own planes, perform their own mx, have their own pilots, better know how in marketing and day to day operations. This is the airline that could make a route like MSY/LIT and  MSY/MEM  work. I'd go a step farther  andake them old school milk runs, the kind you saw Southwest fly into Dallas under the Wright Admendment with an intermediate stop between two primary destinations. They briefly flew Chicago- Branson-Dallas because Missouri had a waiver and stops fulfilled the WA requirements.  So, if it were me, a pure enthusiast only, I'd fly routes like what Glo did but add another stop beyond those. Just some examples, MSY-LIT- XNA,  MSY-SHV-TUL, MSY-MEM-STL.  

You would be offering the middle stop two, new unserved nonstop destinations while offering the end destination a nonstop and a direct, no plane change route while the middle stop. You could even vary the last destination a bit. Take MSY-LIT and then rotate XNA with BKG. They could keep XNA to MSY daily by then staggering MSY-MEM with XNA and STL, hitting XNA on the days the other route goes to BKG.  

I could see and airline having succeas doing this with routes like MEM-TYS-RDU. I think the PDEW for MEM /RDU is around 45 passengers. Add in a brief stop to service UT/Pigeon Forge traffic in between would still offer the best option. The TYS stop wouldn't even have ro be daily, it could be skipped or subbed with another like Chattanooga. 

AUS-LIT-BNA is another.

 

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All is takes is someone with the money and knowledge to make it happen and make it work.  15 years ago, who would have thought Uber or Lyft would disrupt the cab industry?   The airline industry needs to be shaken up.  The spoke and hub system has resulted in everyone having to fly into hubs that aren't the intended destination.  Why the need to fly from LIT to ATL, ORD or DFW to go to MCI?   More direct flights or "hop-stops" (LIT-XNA-MCI or the ones you listed above. MSY-LIT-XNA) seem so logical.  

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4 hours ago, Arkanzin said:

All is takes is someone with the money and knowledge to make it happen and make it work.  15 years ago, who would have thought Uber or Lyft would disrupt the cab industry?   The airline industry needs to be shaken up.  The spoke and hub system has resulted in everyone having to fly into hubs that aren't the intended destination.  Why the need to fly from LIT to ATL, ORD or DFW to go to MCI?   More direct flights or "hop-stops" (LIT-XNA-MCI or the ones you listed above. MSY-LIT-XNA) seem so logical.  

Southwest has it half right with their focus city approach with STL, MSY, and BNA to name a few. The problem is that  each new version of the 737 gets bigger and bigger so the ability to serve smaller markets  is less and less attractive because it gets harder to fill a plane point to point. The economics of the planes are better if you have full seats and the need to pay higher and higher labor costs. There's a pilot shortage thanks to knee jerk reactions over the Buffalo RJ crash and the Unions pushing  a higher min hrs requirement to add barriers to entry for the profession plus less pilots comimg out of the military.  There's some new, really efficient 100 seater out there or soon to be out there that harken back to the days that Frontier flew KC- Fayetteville-Dallas with a 100 seat 737-200. The C Series from Bombardier and the new E2's coming from Embraer are seeing significant resistance from the US unions thanks to scope clauses (too big for regionals to fly) and too small for the big 4 main line pilots. Really, it's a complete mess with all the contract nonsense. A foreign carrier isn't all low to set up shop and run domestic routes even if they hire all US employees.

If it were me, I'd go for really economical turboprops for the runs we are talking about and run longer routes with the new one hundressed seaters. Case in Point. MEM to SEA. Throw in an occasional stop  and go in a place like Jackson Hole on WED and SAT to offer some unique leasure travel that's usually insane via the Big 3 unless you are using miles/points.

Edited by TRB

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Frontier Airlines resumed service yesterday at LIT, and promptly announced an increase in frequency from daily flights 3 times a week to 4 times a week beginning next month (admittedly, I didn't realize it wasn't daily in the first place!).

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While driving north along US 67/167 (future I-57), I noticed a plane on final approach to LIT that was much larger than the usual regional jet or 737 that we see on a regular basis. Upon checking Flight Aware, it showed the plane as being a Delta 757-200 from ATL. Any insight as to whether this is a permanent upgrade? LIT has not serviced 757’s for quite sometime if this is true. I provided a screenshot from Flight Aware to document the encounter. Being a “plane nerd” myself, I was more than excited to discover this!

76BF29C2-08E0-453B-AF01-DFE2761859DB.png

Edited by Walls99
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On 6/14/2018 at 9:37 AM, Walls99 said:

While driving north along US 67/167 (future I-57), I noticed a plane on final approach to LIT that was much larger than the usual regional jet or 737 that we see on a regular basis. Upon checking Flight Aware, it showed the plane as being a Delta 757-200 from ATL. Any insight as to whether this is a permanent upgrade? LIT has not serviced 757’s for quite sometime if this is true. I provided a screenshot from Flight Aware to document the encounter. Being a “plane nerd” myself, I was more than excited to discover this!

76BF29C2-08E0-453B-AF01-DFE2761859DB.png

There was a plane which was diverted to LIT due to smoke being detected by the crew.  It was a flight from ATL to LAX I think.  It had 198 passengers.  

Delta Flight Emergency Landing at LIT

 

 

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The Little Rock Airport Commission announced at their meeting today that American Airlines mainline service will resume to DFW beginning on July 5. 

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3 hours ago, Walls99 said:

The Little Rock Airport Commission announced at their meeting today that American Airlines mainline service will resume to DFW beginning on July 5. 

During the Commission meeting, the following was also announced:

  • Delta is increasing frequency to Atlanta to seven (7) daily - I believe all are mainline and one or two are 737s in addition to MD80's.
  • Load factors on the recently launched non-stop service on American Airlines to DCA (Washington Reagan) are VERY good, which bodes will for the route and future (expanded?) service.
  • Boardings were up over 6% in April and 4% in June, and about 2% for the year (to date).
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On 6/19/2018 at 1:46 PM, Architect said:

During the Commission meeting, the following was also announced:

  • Delta is increasing frequency to Atlanta to seven (7) daily - I believe all are mainline and one or two are 737s in addition to MD80's.
  • Load factors on the recently launched non-stop service on American Airlines to DCA (Washington Reagan) are VERY good, which bodes will for the route and future (expanded?) service.
  • Boardings were up over 6% in April and 4% in June, and about 2% for the year (to date).

Speaking of AA, up the road in MEM, they have gone 3x daily(M-F) on DCA all in a 76 seater. All kinds of sub $300 R/T fares for it. Plus they adding a second daily to PHL and MIA. Just waiting till they finally add LAX to MEM. It and JFK are the only AA hubs missing in the MEM roster. It has been quite expansion post Delta Hub. Aer Lingus entertained the MEM folks for possible service to Dublin when they get their A321LRs. Still a bit of a longshot but with over 100 indirect pdew from Europe to MEM during the summer. A seasonal flight on a smaller single aisle is possible at 2 to 3 times a week.

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Speaking of AA, up the road in MEM, they have gone 3x daily(M-F) on DCA all in a 76 seater. All kinds of sub $300 R/T fares for it. Plus they adding a second daily to PHL and MIA. Just waiting till they finally add LAX to MEM. It and JFK are the only AA hubs missing in the MEM roster. It has been quite expansion post Delta Hub. Aer Lingus entertained the MEM folks for possible service to Dublin when they get their A321LRs. Still a bit of a longshot but with over 100 indirect pdew from Europe to MEM during the summer. A seasonal flight on a smaller single aisle is possible at 2 to 3 times a week.

Honestly, all a bit of a surprise how well MEM is doing as an O&D airport. I guess pent up demand from its hub pressure from before. BNA is even more impressive. Daily to London on 787s. Nashville is on a whole other level.

 

 

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14 hours ago, Architect said:

Honestly, all a bit of a surprise how well MEM is doing as an O&D airport. I guess pent up demand from its hub pressure from before. BNA is even more impressive. Daily to London on 787s. Nashville is on a whole other level.

 

 

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Being from there, I'm not. The MEM CEO made a good point that while Delta operated around 300 flights a day from there, the vast majority were 50 seaters. If you look at seat counts and plane size today it's the equivalent of 125 flights in the Hub days. He expects the 6 gates that are open currently after B concourse consolidation to likely be filled  in the coming years. I don't know why they didn't go ahead and do all of B, there's about a dozen gates down the southwestern leg not getting to total redo. At the current rate of growth when MEM moves everything back into B in 2021, It will be near 6 million total passengers what they said was needed to do the rest of B.

I wonder if the new Allegiant flight to OAK has poached any LIT traffic. It's said to be leaving nearly full.

 

I was happy Air Canada entered the market never thought they'd add a second daily to Toronto.

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2 hours ago, TRB said:

Being from there, I'm not. The MEM CEO made a good point that while Delta operated around 300 flights a day from there, the vast majority were 50 seaters. If you look at seat counts and plane size today it's the equivalent of 125 flights in the Hub days. He expects the 6 gates that are open currently after B concourse consolidation to likely be filled  in the coming years. I don't know why they didn't go ahead and do all of B, there's about a dozen gates down the southwestern leg not getting to total redo. At the current rate of growth when MEM moves everything back into B in 2021, It will be near 6 million total passengers what they said was needed to do the rest of B.

I wonder if the new Allegiant flight to OAK has poached any LIT traffic. It's said to be leaving nearly full.

 

I was happy Air Canada entered the market never thought they'd add a second daily to Toronto.

I assume when you say 6M total passengers, you mean both enplaned and deplaned, correct (or a little more than double LIT...which seems about right, given that the Memphis metro is about double the size of Little Rock metro)?  Airports aren't consistent sometimes when stating traffic.

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6 hours ago, Architect said:

I assume when you say 6M total passengers, you mean both enplaned and deplaned, correct (or a little more than double LIT...which seems about right, given that the Memphis metro is about double the size of Little Rock metro)?  Airports aren't consistent sometimes when stating traffic.

Yes, 6 million total.

My Brother called me to wish me a Happy Birthday from the Columbus Ohio airport. That is the size Memphis should mature to and be a peer of.

I think Southwest should add Nashville from LIT.

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Yes, 6 million total.
My Brother called me to wish me a Happy Birthday from the Columbus Ohio airport. That is the size Memphis should mature to and be a peer of.
I think Southwest should add Nashville from LIT.

Columbus is one of the most underrated metros...you just never hear about it, but it’s the second largest MSA in Ohio at more than 2 million! Both OKC and Memphis, notably smaller, have major professional teams, etc. and of course Memphis has so much brand equity and mindshare culturally, etc.


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2 hours ago, Architect said:


Columbus is one of the most underrated metros...you just never hear about it, but it’s the second largest MSA in Ohio at more than 2 million! Both OKC and Memphis, notably smaller, have major professional teams, etc. and of course Memphis has so much brand equity and mindshare culturally, etc.


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The reason I said Peer to Memphis is because of the size of the MEM catchment area outside if the immediate Memphis MSA. Columbus is big but it's reach is compact and the perimeter surrounded by large airports.

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The reason I said Peer to Memphis is because of the size of the MEM catchment area outside if the immediate Memphis MSA. Columbus is big but it's reach is compact and the perimeter surrounded by large airports.

True. I wasn’t questioning the comparison, but rather noting how no one ever thinks about Columbus. It’s sort of hiding out between Cincinnati and Cleveland.


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11 hours ago, Architect said:


True. I wasn’t questioning the comparison, but rather noting how no one ever thinks about Columbus. It’s sort of hiding out between Cincinnati and Cleveland.


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They do have MLS but the owner is determined to move to Austin.

 

I always thought Louisville would be a good  NBA market especially now with Yum, even more so than KC with Sprint.

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22 hours ago, TRB said:

I think Southwest should add Nashville from LIT.

I agree. I’m actually somewhat surprised this hasn’t happened by now. If I’m not mistaken, there were not even SW flights out of LIT to BNA even before the repeal of the Wright Amendment (odd considering LIT would have been a good stop between DAL and BNA). Oklahoma City is getting service to Nashville on Southwest beginning in October. 

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On 6/27/2018 at 4:47 PM, Walls99 said:

I agree. I’m actually somewhat surprised this hasn’t happened by now. If I’m not mistaken, there were not even SW flights out of LIT to BNA even before the repeal of the Wright Amendment (odd considering LIT would have been a good stop between DAL and BNA). Oklahoma City is getting service to Nashville on Southwest beginning in October. 

They need to add DEN as well but they are just starting MEM/DEN in October. 

 

They extended the schedule till the first of March. No changes  for LIT but MEM gets bumped up to 3x daily to DAL for the week and the weekends see 2x and 3x to DAL. It varies weekend to weekend.  While I like seeing more frequencies to DAL for the sake of better  connections. I would have loved to have seen LAS or PHX added where those really open up West Coast connecting options.  

Edited by TRB

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