America West is going to begin offering non-stop transcon flights from New York’s JFK to Los Angeles and San Francisco and from Boston to Los Angeles and San Francisco.
I believe these will be the only flights that don’t originate or end at one of America West’s two hubs in Phoenix and Las Vegas.
These are currently high revenue routes not served directly by discounters. JetBlue flights JFK to Oakland and Long Beach but not LA and San Francisco. America West will offer similar fares as JetBlue but into these primary (and higher operating cost) airports.
This is bad news for the major carriers currently flying these routes, good news for consumers as the majors will likely be forced to match fares at least for flights at similar times, and an open question for America West’s bottom line.
America West is in many cases below the radar of the major airlines. They’re making a little bit of money now. This is a direct shot across the bow of United in particular but also American and Delta. Can America West survive a fare war (that they’re instigating) with the majors? Can they make money charging JetBlue-style fares with higher landing and gate costs than JetBlue faces (using different airports)?
These questions and more to be answered in the coming months…