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Old 09-08-2003, 05:23 PM   #1
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AirTran to establish mini-hub in Dallas

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[ The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: 9/6/03 ]

AirTran to establish mini-hub in Dallas

By RUSSELL GRANTHAM
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


AirTran Airways is expected to quadruple its flights out of Dallas-Fort Worth airport next year, a move that will turn the Texas airport into a mini-hub for the discount airline.

AirTran said the airport this week approved its request for three more gates starting in January. At present, the airline has one gate at DFW and operates six daily flights to its main hub in Atlanta.

Under the new deal, AirTran will have to operate at least 24 flights daily. That will make DFW one of AirTran's "focus cities," along with Atlanta, Baltimore and Orlando.

The expansion at DFW will create a dogfight with American and Delta airlines, which dominate the airport, said one analyst.

"It is a high-fare market" because of that dominance, but Delta and American will have to match AirTran's lower fares in its new markets, said Blaylock & Partners analyst Ray Neidl. He expects AirTran to fly to six to eight cities out of DFW.

American has its largest hub at DFW and handles about 70 percent of the airport's passengers. Delta has one of its smaller hubs there, and about a 20 percent market share. Earlier this year, Delta shifted some DFW flights to smaller regional jets.

AirTran and other low-fare carriers now carry about 4 percent of DFW's passengers, although Southwest Airlines, the largest discounter, is based at nearby Dallas Love Field.

Some of the new flights out of DFW will likely be to AirTran's new Western markets, said Neidl. AirTran started flights between Atlanta and Denver, Los Angeles and Las Vegas this summer, and begins flying to San Francisco Nov. 12.

AirTran also plans new flights between DFW and Orlando and Baltimore starting in October and November.
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Old 09-08-2003, 05:42 PM   #2
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OUCH!!!

AirTran has somewhat avoided going head-to-head with Southwest in the past, looks like that policy is out the window now. A measley 24 flights (minimum) a day out of DFW isn't exactly "head-to-head" with Southwest over at Love Field, but adding this 4th mini-hub opens up the west coast for AirTran like Atlanta did for the east coast. I wouldn't be surprised if the flights eventually exceed the minimum 24-a-day and end up being more in line with 40+ (4 flights daily to 10 cities). Just an educated guess looking at the Orlanda and Baltimore mini-hubs.
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