27 February 2008

Gunfight in the West

The West Coast Market Heats Up.

It has been a bit sleepy on the West Coast of late. Sure we have seen a lot of service that went to hubs but not a lot that went North to South. But that is about to change.

Despite an interesting but short lived incursion from Skybus, there has been very little brand new service.

The new services started in 3rd quarter 2007 with a little heralded but very useful new service from Delta’s new partner ExpressJet. Flying Embraer 145s this is not going to set the world alight. Virgin America’s new service though between the major Southern California cities – particularly into San Francisco did spark a reaction. Southwest and Jetblue moved across the Bay and added service from SFO in addition to their OAK service. But this year the Northwest’s airline (Alaska Air based in Seattle) wanted to ensure that no one stepped into their market and offered a very strong schedule of hourly service from LA to Seattle. Beefing up also San Franscico and more flights from PDX sees AS becoming the largest individual airline between the Pacific Northwest and California.

Not to be outdone Virgin announced new service from LAX and SFO to SEA. Then JetBlue started to connect the dots similarly announcing service between LAX and SEA as well as from LGB.

So for one who lives in the Seattle metro area – thanks guys. I appreciate you picking on this market to have a battle. With new service to Germany (LH, FRA-SEA), UK (NW LHR-SEA) and already beefed up service from BA and last year’s addition of flights from CDG to SEA, the place is a hopping. We are looking forward to Air China coming this year.



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