If Not Loads Loads Will Not Exceed 60%
Today's post in response to this comment from VFR:
JetBlue's flight to JFK is a compliance flight to satisfy Massport. Connecting traffic is also not a major part of JetBlue's business model either; they built their empire on non-stop flights from BOS and JFK (and to a lesser extent FLL, MCO, and SJU). It might be time to stop talking about JetBlue and start talking about the legacy carriers who have in the past ten years been re-focused on growing the "high-yield connecting passenger" (when they realized their non-stop traffic from hubs was pretty saturated). AA to Philadelphia, UA to Chicago, DL to Detroit (or Atlanta, though I disagree with Bill and think you want the closest hub for domestic travelers), and possibly Southwest to BWI all have a ton more potential than attempting to fix a connecting flight for a low-cost, mostly point-to-point airline. The lack of a 50- or 76-seat aircraft for JetBlue is also a major issue, as is AA not putting an aircraft equipped with a Cat III ILS on the route.
We agree that JetBlue would not have the JFK flight out of Worcester, if we were not owned by Massport. We maybe would not even have the Fort Lauderdale or Orlando flight, if the airport was still owned by the City of Worcester.
VFR, connecting traffic is not part of JetBlue's business model??? In fact, we believe the whole reason the founder of JetBlue invested in the Embraer 190 was to connects cities to the hub for connections!
Lets look at the month of November to JFK from cities in the NorthEast:
1) Boston has 6 per day
2) Burlington has 3 per day
3) Buffalo has 6 per day
4) Portland has 3 per day
5) Rochester has 3 per day
6) Worcester has 1
Between these 6 cities, there are 22 flights and these passengers are not all flying to NYC. The majority are using this flight as a connection. Connecting flights are in fact are a part of JetBlue's business model.
As far as concentrating on legacy carriers, we agree but should we not be concentrating on what we have and making it successful first?? Look at all these cities and the minimum they have is 3 flights per day, while Worcester has 1??? We have not chance to succeed....
Now look at the times:
6:00 AM Worcester 7:00 AM NYC (JFK)
10:45 PM NYC (JFK) 11:45 PM Worcester
This a huge gap between flights!!! Meanwhile American's schedule:
5:43 AM Worcester 7:09 AM Philadelphia
2:06 PM Philadelphia 3.18 PM Worcester
4:41 PM Worcester 6:09 PM Philadelphia
9:30 PM Philadelphia 10:53 PM Worcester
We need to mirror the American Schedule and add a mid-day turn in order to make this route a success. Admittedly JetBlue does not have a 50 seat plane like American, but if we had another flight, we think we would be able to see 80+ loads on their 100 seat Embraer 190. As it stands, we will be hard pressed to ever get past 50% loads with the current schedule.
Add a 2nd flight to JFK and make this route a success, which will help us attract more carriers and flights???
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commented on 2018-11-04 17:26:14
Wow I'm amazed I got honored with my own blog post :). My main evidence that JetBlue is mainly focused on originating/departing (i.e. non-connecting) traffic is: (a) Their booking system prices an XXX-YYY-ZZZ connection as the price of XXX-YYY plus YYY-ZZZ, whereas a legacy carrier will price fares for each (XXX, ZZZ) city pair, since they have to compete with different connecting points. In JetBlue's approach, a connecting passenger has to pay to "take up" two non-stop seats. (b) Slide 15 of their 2 October investor event identifies them as reducing their intra-west and short-haul flying, noting that they prefer high-margin existing routes. Short-haul flying is necessary for connecting flights when you mostly have hubs on the east coast, but the E190s and A320s can be used in a more valuable way flying, for example, BOS to ORD for business travelers. Since business travelers care about frequency, the smaller E190s can fly more flights for the same number of seats. However, what I think might get lost is that we get to the same place: if you really want a ORH-JFK flight to succeed, you need to re-focus it around business travelers, which likely means three flights a day, ideally including a 6 AM flight down to JFK so that you can get to work in Manhattan by 9 and a 6 PM flight back up to ORH so that you can eat a late dinner with your family. Business travelers care about frequency, and it especially matters when there's a local high-frequency airport 2 hours away (and most of the interested population lives east of ORH). Which brings me back to my main point: a JFK flight is really hard to make work because the price-insensitive business travelers will choose BOS/PVD/MHT based on where they live, and most of the population density is close to Boston. Meanwhile, price-sensitive leisure travelers will fly at 11 pm to save $10 on the fare, but will compare the cost in their heads to driving directly to New York or driving to New Haven or Springfield and taking the train, so you can't charge enough to make flying the flight worthwhile. JetBlue is not incentivized to improve conditions for either group though, since this flight is a Massport compliance flight. JetBlue's Florida flights perform well. If we're going to focus on JetBlue, they should consider adding a flight to Tampa (TPA), for which they already have flights to similar airports like Hartford (BDL) and White Plains, NY (HPN). They are hurting profit-wise right now, so the only way they will correct the JFK schedule is with significant prodding from Massport; otherwise they'll be eaten alive by investors if seen flying to yet-to-be-profitable markets. I do believe that ORH can be very profitable for the airlines flying here, but they have to show an enthusiasm for it that JetBlue has not yet, and which AA (and UA and DL) may if they are able to sell connecting traffic through their hubs in a way JetBlue has also not been too enthusiastic about. Of course, part of that issue is discoverability for ORH. Whew, that was a lot. Hopefully the paragraph breaks stay in the comment this time.
commented on 2018-11-04 19:19:40
We agree that JetBlue focuses on direct flights that they can fill like Orlando and Fort Lauderdale and we have called for a direct Gulf Coast destination since these two flights started. You said the connecting was not part of the JetBlue business plan. That is completely wrong and what we pointed out.
commented on 2018-11-04 19:21:15
3 flights to JFK, too funny. We agree! But the way to get from 3 from 1 is to start with 2???
commented on 2018-11-04 19:26:57
VFR, lastly we disagree about the business traveler. I have friends that live on 495 that work for EMC, now Dell, they would fly out of Worcester for the convenience if we had, the flights.... And you are so wrong about the leisure travelers, they do not like laying over at JFK for 6 hours to save $10 to get in at 11PM. They want a mid-day return. Nothing you say makes sense.. We need a 2nd flight and you disagree with this by saying we need 3??
commented on 2018-11-04 20:32:47
VFR I agree with you here on a few parts. I do think with a second JFK flight it will solve a lot of problems and if JetBlue wanted to they could make it work. Since Barger left there has been minimal enthusiasm except for the embarrassing passenger celebrations every year where all the local politicians smell each other’s farts (smoke and mirrors!!!). We know the business side of it (what it will cost for a second flight) but it’s getting to the point where is it really worth it?? I do think that JetBlue should instead focus on the Florida markets while other carriers with smaller aircraft and will fly more than once a day fill the New York market because looking at the numbers at area airports it’s definitely there. It’s just not appealing to anyone right now especially if you’re on the other side traveling JFK-ORH. There I would imagine is literally no one who wants to leave at 11 pm and come back at 6. It is only convenient for a small market of travelers. This right now is a waste of everyone’s time no matter what Andy Davis says.
commented on 2018-11-05 10:09:40
I tend to ramble a bit. My main point though is that lobbying JetBlue, a cash-strapped low cost carrier operating a compliance flight, is unlikely to work. If we really want 2 or 3 flights a day, we need to write to Massport and, indirectly, the people managing the airport. However, I think our energy is better spent focusing on attracting full-service airlines, since they are much more focused on connecting traffic.
commented on 2018-11-05 10:33:57
That I can completely agree with. You would think that if Massport is going to make airlines fly to ORH they would atleast entice them to make a legitimate effort. Piedmont is the first real effort we can see. At all the other stations you mentioned (Providence, Bradley, White Plains) they all have very friendly schedules and options. Worcester still has crappy times, same Embraer 190 aircraft and of course the one a day make Massport happy JFK flight. How is that a recipe for long term success? We haven’t met anyone involved in aviation yet that believes ORH is set up for years of profitability in their current arrangement. It’s disappointing honestly.
commented on 2018-11-05 12:39:27
The E190 is my favorite aircraft. It’s a great aircraft for the once daily, longer distance flights, like to Florida. However, for the regional flights like JFK and PHL we want smaller aircraft operating more flights. I expect Delta mighty end up flying a 76-seater E175 or CR7/9 when they start service, which will also be good because it will attract the kind of business travelers who want upgrades to first class, and choose BOS over ORH because of that. They will also have cat III ILS.
commented on 2018-11-05 13:03:57
From the airport director himself they will be CRJ2s operated by SkyWest, presumably under the same schedule at Stewart where the Port of NYNJ (more successfully) also forces airlines to fly. That part I would disagree with. E190s are great for connector service, American still has a very strong E190 market with what they have left and JetBlue has had them for years, but it is a way too high passenger count for the current setup. Hopefully this winter we see some increase.
commented on 2018-11-05 13:15:27
That’s too bad, CR2s are not very comfortable. I heard delta was greatly reducing their 50-seater flying, but I guess Worcester was not spared.
commented on 2018-11-05 16:04:11
Unfortunately no, and flying to a destination with limited growth isn’t going to help much either. Way too early prediction but delta is going to be a carrier where five years from now we still have the same flights a la JetBlue with Florida.