They chose KJAN, KEYW, and KBKG. I think KRIC barely escaped this list. Your take?
Surprised? yes, and no (I just squawked about this as well).
Prices are going to skyrocket at KJAN, as SWA only flies to 3 cities from there (KMDW, KMCO, KHOU). Everything else is served by UAL, DAL, and AAL, making it at least a 2 - 3 hour drive to pick up SWA in KMEM or KMSY.
KBKG didn’t make sense, even for TRS making that run on their own.
KEYW is a tough one. That could have been a good launchpad for runs to Havana, should sanctions be lifted, plus would provide an alternative run for the MMUN flights they inherited from TRS. Now, they are back to puddlehoppers (though the flight with the MOCHa HAGoTDIs would be fun!) or seasonal runs on the legacies. Otherwise, it’s a long drive back up to Miami.
Branson is meh… Key West could have worked, but losing Jackson will hurt.
Allegiant will probably come to JAN and WN’s departure may make it attractive to Frontier as well. WN’s equipment was simply too big for the JAN market to fill multiple times a day every day of the week at fares that WN could make money on.
Branson is extremely seasonal - WN doesn’t like extremely seasonal markets. I think they were hoping on capturing some of the local market, but it’s a very difficult drive to BKG from northern Arkansas and I think a lot of people in the SGF area stayed with G4 and the network carriers there. Analysis on another site indicates that on every MDW-BKG-DAL flight (and the reverse), there were about 70 passengers headed to BKG, about 40 through passengers, and 30 empty seats. It’s not worth WN having a station in BKG just for those 70 pax.
EYW is very operationally challenged. They have to take weight restrictions on departure and have to fly to close-in cities like MCO or TPA that don’t have huge local demand. I think that DL will keep mainline service to EYW. If WN could fly MDW-EYW or BWI-EYW with an economical payload, I think it would stand a chance, but they can’t, so it doesn’t.
Havana flights aren’t coming any time soon and when they do, TPA, FLL, and MIA are much more attractive markets to serve it from. EYW does not have a FIS so it can’t do commercial international flights. Also, all DL, US, and AA EYW flights are currently regional jets or mainline jets. I wouldn’t call either “puddle jumpers”. The only scheduled prop service at EYW is Silver Airways.
Other WN/FL destinations that have very low load factors and are very seasonal that I think are in trouble: BDA and SJD
Another station that has abysmal load factors but that I think they’ll keep for awhile since it’s so hard to get in and should do better once they can fly it from HOU and do seamless connections from WN metal: MEX
THIS is why I like drdisque’s posts… Dude knows his chit!
WN has already announced that they are out of BDA for good as of Sept of 13.