At this week’s employee Crew News forum, an American Airlines captain asked the carrier’s CEO Doug Parker what he thinks about United’s growth strategy which is at double the rate of American’s.
Parker first notes that his airline’s 2% capacity growth is half the 4% – 5% growth target that United has set, “It’s not enormous growth, but it’s growth in excess of GDP where we have the airline.”
And then explains United’s rationale, “they’ve inherited an airline where their hubs aren’t fully utilized. They have markets for example in Chicago that American flies and United doesn’t fly.”
American Airlines Chicago O’Hare
Parker channeled his inner Kirby explaining that United had shrunk their airline’s domestic capacity and needs to catch up.
They have that opportunity and I think they’re filling out that opportunity, so they were just in a different place than we were. It’s not about they see a different level of demand or anything like that. They had let themselves get to a point where they weren’t fully utilizing the ability of their hubs and they’re catching up.
Comparing United’s position in Chicago to American’s at DFW, he offered this perspective his airline’s strategy:
We would never allow that in Dallas Fort-Worth. Somebody starts flying a flight from Dallas to anywhere and American either is already there or we’re gonna be there.
Because we’re not going to let customers have another option other than American in and out of here.