Thursday, May 17, 2012

A slight delay

Just a brief interlude before I start my travels.  Two interesting points in today's SWA/UA write up in ChronBlog.  One from the story, one from the comments:

Vote on Hobby Expansion Could be May 30th. Chris Moran,

Although Southwest CEO Gary Kelly told council last week, “If we can reach an agreement with you, I’ll pay for the $100 million project,” he said, acknowledging later that it may be financed by passenger ticket surcharges, as suggested by Houston Airport System Director Mario Diaz.

So Kelly wasn't telling the whole truth. Not that he lied. (I'm sure SWA is willing to absorb some of the cost) but he omitted that Diaz seems willing to give it away to SWA.  One would guess Diaz is legacy hunting, he thinks he'll be seen as the HAS President who expanded the system to two international airports.

More likely, however, he'll be known for this:

yellowjournalism lives says:

Moving the hub is not an option for United. Reducing its size and moving a bunch of flights to a more profitable situation is. Reduce the number of flight out of IAH by 1/3 and you get way more negative impact than opening up Hobby Internationally so a few folk on the south side can fly easier. City council is selling out one of the largest employers in the area. Who wins? Those on the council that will no doubt profit on one way, shape, or form.

It seems inevitable that UA will at least shift some of their IAH burden to another hub should this move be approved. (Stephen Seagraves has presented a good case for Denver.) It also seems that the shifted load will be greater than the incoming load from SWA.  Houston also runs the risk of being seen as a city that doesn't honor it's commitments. (as suggested by another friend of mine) In this case Houston had, in the past, made a long-term commitment to IAH and it's growth into a large, International hub.  Now, because a bad mayor had a bad experience with United, all of that is gong to go away.

Given what I posted yesterday, there's a better than average chance SWA cost structure and industry trends don't result in lower fares at all.  And there's no way we're ever going to see the, now mythical, $188 one-way flight to Bogota.  It's just not going to happen.

A more likely scenario is that future flight traffic through the entire HAS is reduced, and Denver becomes the beneficiary of the current administration's short-sightedness.

OK, that's all....Wheels up again.

UPDATE: CultureMap provides Bethune's perspective. (Hint, he thinks Dallas and Atlanta would be the big winners)*

*This link provided due to obligation 47 Amendment B section D-4 in the part-time travel blogger code regarding requirements to link to good stories no matter how I feel about the originating outlet.

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