I get a whiff of feeling that Scott Kirby has something personal invested in showing up AAL on behalf of UAL and their great history at LAX. But I do not believe U has the ability to beat a committed AA at LAX. Is this another ORD situation? IMO United will not have the backbone to achieve even that. Nor should they. Fares are going to be low at LAX for the next 7-8 years while this works itself out.
AA needs LAX as an Asian hub while it is not essential for UA. AA can afford to achieve it no matter what United has to say about it. However many billions they mutually put into a fare war the result is going to be the same. Anyway, when titans clash, the consumer wins!
I generally agree. Though nobody personally involved would ever admit it out loud, I do believe there could be some personal investment here by Scott Kirby given his last job, and in particular given his purported close involvement with AA's plans at LAX before he left.
All the more reason for UA to try to hit back at AA. While UA's dominance over the Pacific is not contested by AA's recent buildup at LAX, this is United's chance to stop any further growth for AA.
I think the point being made above, though, was that this isn't really a chance for United to "stop any further growth for AA." This won't do that. United adding a few gates at a hypothetical T9 5-10 years from now is hardly going to stop AA from further longhaul growth out of LAX if it so chooses. Indeed, my personal expectation is that AA does, indeed, still have some additional longhaul growth left out of LAX - but that it would likely be done, anyway, by the time United built a new terminal. I continue to believe that the only additional longhaul markets that are likely plausible and of sufficient strategic and network value for AA out of LAX at this point are ICN and possibly TPE and/or one additional route to Australia. And if some or all of those even actually end up coming to fruition for AA at LAX, I strongly suspect it will happen within five years. As such, I agree with the poster you quoted that if AA is going to grow it's LAX longhaul operation further, it's going to happen regardless of United or Scott Kirby.
LAX is AA's only shot at a West Coast TPAC hub, while both DL and UA have two (albeit of smaller scale for both DL and UA at LAX compared to SEA and SFO, respectively). If AA fails with its LAX efforts, AA will be forced to accept being a bit player in the market. Though seemingly successful from the outside, AA is very likely losing money at LAX over the Pacific. One needs to only look at the hyper-competitive market and rock bottom fares; although from a network perspective it's simply too important for AA to give up. UA has much less to lose given its overwhelming dominance as a result of its stellar hub network and the SFO TPAC superhub. UA refocusing on LAX could really make things difficult for AA.
I'm not sure sure about the relative economic performance of AA's longhaul flights out of LAX. While I have no doubt that on a standalone basis, some if not much of AA's transpacific network out of LAX is probably losing money or only marginally profitable at the moment, I think that has to be viewed more holistically, and in context. From a network perspective, in terms of the broader contribution to corporate accounts and global market access, AA almost certainly views the LAX longhaul network as a worthwhile long-term "investment," and investments typically take time to pay off. And to that end also, it must be remembered that most of AA's transpacific network out of LAX is, in airline terms, basically brand new. It obviously takes time to digest that kind of capacity, and get it to a point where it's more stable and profitable.
All that said, I understand and respect the broader argument being made, but I think the tone and characterization misses the larger point. AA doesn't have a "shot" at a West Coast transpacific hub - it already has
a West Coast transpacific hub. Indeed, in the span of basically two years, AA has built the second largest transpacific hub on the West Coast with what by this year will be a total of seven daily widebodies nonstop across the Pacific, not to mention three additional daily widebodies to Europe and South America. That's already done, and "in the bag." Could AA still "fail" in the sense that it discontinues some or all of that flying and returns LAX to essentially a huge domestic operation plus a token longhaul presence? Sure, that's theoretically possible. But I think that's highly implausible at this point. Realistically, barring something really dramatic happening, I don't think there's any going back for AA at LAX - and, again, I think that's the case regardless of what United or Scott Kirby do or, for that matter, regardless of what Delta does at LAX or SEA. So given that, I think both United and Delta have to think about their counter-moves to AA in terms of how to have the biggest competitive impact at the lowest cost. United refocusing on providing a stronger overall schedule out of LAX seems logical, but doing so simply to dump capacity for the sole purpose of hurting AA is likely to be just as destructive, if not more so, to United as it would be to AA - which is why I doubt that's what United will do.