sad and somewhat surprising.
It was clear that they were in some trouble after their recent pull-out of MDW, but it wasn’t clear the trouble was THIS bad.
I hope my other predictions don’t follow!
But my question is, who could be next?
Wazz! You don’t like United very much! Why you no like that airline?
They’ve been my carrier for the last few trips I’ve taken. Aside from the fact that they cancelled one of my flights (things happen), I’ve found them to be acceptable.
My ATA question:
What’s gonna happen to their L-1011?
The few that were left were due to be removed from service later this year. They had been replaced by DC-10’s from Northwest.
What surprised me is that they lost the military contracts. That was the backbone of their income.
Actually, I don’t like United, American and Delta.
And other one bites the dust…thats 2 in a short period of time Aloha and now Ata.
I was employed by ATA, in the form of Chicago Express for 4 years. Chico was the best operation I’ve been apart of. The whole ATA system was a great operation.
What killed mainline was the expansion. But it wasn’t the cities it served, it was the fact that when Mickelson (CEO) gave up power for semi retirement, those in power opted to go w/ aircraft that had too much capacity (738 and 753).
Who knows what may have happened had those 800’s been 300s or 717s.
To argue that though at the time it looked right, and this was pre- 9-11 , so who was to know that the model of air transportation would change.
Despite Southwest’s stubborn opinion on turboprops, Chico was an operation who had great load factors and many loyal customers. The beauty was that we brought a LCC to cities that could not support mainline aircraft, or to cities that otherwise could only support a 1 or 2 a day flight.
In a city like SPI (Springfield IL) this made the legacies like UA AA/TW and NW battle for fares. The decade before (and again now) many from Springfield either drove to STL, or BMI (Bloomington) as they feel these are better options, however drive time, parking (STL) costs, and fuel costs to get there, go unseen by the defectors. However, when ATA/ Chi EX was operating here, we saw unprecedented load factors. We had a large regular passenger base which oddly included a lot of buisiness travel. The beauty of it was to check ID’s and see so many Bloomington and St.Louis people driving to SPI for a change. The legacies were matching us to comparable city pairs and everyone (UA AA/TW) did well because of us. In today’s high fuel costs, god only knows what the effect would be, but thanks to WN’s buddy’ing up with big TZ, we’ll never have to worry about it.
Operationally we had great crews, and great aircraft. We rarely took MX delays or cancellations, and the beauty of flying into MDW allowed us to get around most of the CHI delays. We knew our upper management and even our president. Any time we were at MDW for training or something, you’d see Gary and he’d know you. Same goes for the rest of management. In fact when we were told we were closing, Gary flew to the outstations effected and told us himself!
I remember back in the days of high fuel costs, when ATA was sweating the 50$ a barrel fuel prices, and the bankruptcy it caused, the rumors were flying. It was either WN, FL, or HP. HP was Chico’s only chance. Air Tran was a possiblity but there were rumors that with the failed experiment with Air Wisconsin, and their strong route structure, they wouldn’t need another regional partner. Southwest, well we were just blown away that they decided to CODESHARE! let alone keep a regional partner who had…cough, turboprops. America West had an extensive turbo prop operation so we knew they weren’t afraid of them. Obviously the Southwest possibility was the one that won out.
Now recently we’ve seen the scheduled service die off into NW painted DC-10’s with ATA decals going to Bogata. What a shame from was once a great operation, and a major player in that great operation was it’s regional partner wholly owned by ATA, Chicago Express!