14 Responses

  1. James K.
    James K. at |

    “Phoenix is in the wrong location and wrong climate to be a great base for intercontinental service so that’s not likely to go so well.”

    I’m honestly curious, not contentious here: why wrong climate? Isn’t the climate in Phoenix far better suited to running a smooth operation than, say, Chicago’s?

  2. Nic
    Nic at |

    and the analysis?

  3. dan
    dan at |

    @james – From what I understand, the airport is at 1K+ feet of elevation and is of course fairly hot since it is in Phoenix. The wiki article on “hot and high” explains the problem this can cause with diminished performance.

    Also, perhaps I am wrong but I am guessing Seth meant to write intracontinental (instead of intercontinental) when he said PHX has the wrong location and wrong climate service as this would make a lot more sense. It is true Phoenix doesn’t make sense in that role as it is too far south and west to be an appealing connection spot.

  4. Chase
    Chase at |

    AA is in a bind with PHX. Like you say, the yields are probably trash due to it being mostly connections, but what other option is there? LAX? Definitely not, they just don’t have the physical space and I believe it’s the number of flights or gates is capped, so little opportunity to connect smaller dots around the country. With no PHX there would be a massive hole from LAX to DFW, emphasizing the smaller destinations in the west.

  5. dan
    dan at |

    After seeing Seth’s response I retract my last statement but not that even now as a hub SkyHarbor has a single intercontinental flight. So there is pretty much no question that it is not going to be an intercontinental hub.

  6. Points With a Crew
    Points With a Crew at |

    Living in CVG and being originally from CLE, I’m quite familiar with the de-hubbing of airports after mergers. I agree with you that I can definitely foresee major drops in service at PHX at some point in the near future

  7. Michael
    Michael at |

    I think you are spot on, but there is the one bonus of a direct BA to London flight from PHX, which then works well as a hub to that, and the other points about LAX not having lots of space (and what a pain with Alaska connections–try it sometime–you can’t walk it w/o leaving security and the shuttles vary in frequency). It might survive. I see more one of CLT or PHL or DCA taking the cut. Then again, larger airline, they might all survive.

    1. oleg
      oleg at |

      BA flies lots of places (e.g. SAN or LAS). That alone doesn’t create a need for a hub – if anything, BA with just a single-hub is able to effectively capitalize on whatever O/D demand there is for a given city and the rest of Europe/et al.

  8. Ryan Radia
    Ryan Radia at |

    AA will continue to fully utilize DCA for a long time. It’s one of three slot-restricted airports in the US (along with EWR and LGA0, and it’s one of the closest airports to the downtown business district of a top-10 metro area. When AA was acquired by US, it had to divest DCA slots, thus losing some valuable routes, just to avoid litigation with the DOJ.

    CLT and PHL will probably experience some cuts, but I doubt either will be de-hubbed. CLT is too valuable as the only southeastern hub that can compete with ATL – MIA (AA) is too far south, IAD (UA) is too far north. PHL

  9. Adam P
    Adam P at |

    Just because no one anticipates PHX becoming an int’l gateway hub for AA, it doesn’t follow that PHX goes into decline. There are very few similarities to CLE, MEM, or CVG, the other domestic hubs that closed post-merger.

    The talk about poor yields is not backed up with any facts. If DL can profitably run hubs at MSP and DTW, which are roughly 50% closer than PHX and DFW, I don’t see why AA can’t at PHX and DFW. (AA does not run LAX as a domestic connecting hub and lacks the capacity to do so in the future.)

    Also, let’s not forget that this is Kirby and Parker’s sentimental home. AA/US just renewed leases on a lot of their space in Tempe. It is not relocating all the HQ jobs like DL did from NW’s hub in MSP.

    Finally, US has a history of pulling out of competitive markets they could not make money in, LAS most notably. PHX is a very competitive market with heavy WN competition. If it was not a profitable hub it would have been shrinking, not growing as it had.

    What would do PHX in, if AA had sufficient alternate capacity, was if it lacked high-yield O/D traffic. That to me is the wild card.

    But let’s not put much stock in trying to read tea leaves in a piece of internal corporate pr. Because that’s what it is.