State of the Airlines

Friday, January 14, 2005

NEWS: Southwest goes on the Codeshare offensive

The impact of the Southwest Airlines- ATA partnership reverberated today with further info on their codesharing agreement. This codesharing means that Southwest will have access to 11 cities via flights on ATA. Yeah, I know, codesharing is nothing new and 11 cities isn't much to write home about. What is interesting is that one of the cities is Minneapolis/St. Paul (ok, that's two cities). Southwest has avoided the Twin Cities for quite some time as it doesn't fit their profile for expansion. The Twins Cities airport is not underserved and there is no viable secondary airport for Southwest to operate out of. But ATA already had a presence in the Twin Cities so now Southwest can taste the fruit before they buy it. Ostensibly this means that NWA should have a little more low fare competition on a few of their routes. Anyone who has observed Northwest knows how fiercely they defend their turf and they have certainly taken some shots at running ATA out of town. But a Southwest backed ATA could put some pressure on Northwest to compete. As I said, the Twins Cities market is not underserved when it comes to flight availability. What IS underserved is the amount low fare competition available.