Flighty wrote:Why is linking a small city to the capital important if linking Los Angeles with more people per flight to it is not important? That is really is a mystery to me...
But yes, l learned the eastern US has a wealth of middle-sized cities like Knoxville (nice airport by the way). Cities like this explain not only the slot system, but kind of the whole hub & spoke industry model. The top 100 cities in the USA are mostly in the East and they are all important and valuable - together, they form the largest global airline market, and largest regional economy, and concentration of wealth, in the world, AFAIK.
Thanks for the nice comments about TYS. I agree that the people of L.A. or any large western city are no less important than any person in a small/medium eastern city. However if you could guarantee that the resultant 10 flights a day between LAX-DCA, if the slots are lifted, will be priced similarly to the current TYS-DCA and have better yields than I would agree with you those routes would make more sense. Currently I did a random sampling of flights in June. TYS-DCA were in the $400-500 range and LAX-DCA were around $500. Now granted one is on a 50 seat RJ and the other is a 737-800. I don't have access to the RASM for the flights but obviously for the consumer the LAX flight is priced better which is going to result in better LFs and potentially more flights (if DCA wasn't slot constrained).
However, one thing I would certainly agree with you on is limiting the number of connections through DCA from the smaller airports. If these cities cannot sustain service to DCA without connections than I feel an argument that they should not have service at all to DCA could be made. A couple of years ago I flew Tys-DCA-Bos as it was the cheapest flight and it was my first flight on E190. The Outbound TYS flight was overbooked and the DCA - Bos flight was pretty full. However there were numerous people on the TYS-DCA connecting on to DCA-BOS. Same story for the return flight. Not really sure why it was the cheapest itinerary. It makes more sense to run these connections through PHL and CLT.