Mark my words…
The year 2012 could spell the end for KCI to be known as one of the three low-cost ticket airports in the U.S. The other two being Orlando and Las Vegas.
What’s always given us clout – and unusually low pricing – is that we’ve had the luxury of having three discount carriers flying out of here. Those three—Southwest, AirTran and Frontier—have kept the legacy carriers in check.
Something many other markets would kill to get.
So why I am predicting future pricing doom for K.C.? Let’s look at the three discounters individually.
Southwest has cut its ‘lift’ out of KCI dramatically during the past several months. And when they unsuccessfully bid for bankrupt Frontier back in 2009, the peanut carrier bought AirTran instead. AirTran will be fully merged into Southwest sometime later this year reducing competition by one discounter altogether.
As for Frontier, they were purchased by Republic Airways in 2009. But profits haven’t been rosy in that marriage. In fact there haven’t been any – just losses. And Republic is ready to divest itself of the Denver-based airline in the near future.
What new owners would do with the airline is anyone’s guess.
In the meantime Frontier is taking drastic measures. Come mid-April they’ll be dumping at least five non-stop routes out of Kansas City— to Milwaukee, Houston, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The Bottom line: Fewer competing discount carriers, lift and seats out of KCI will likely make for pricing upticks by the big boys to markets previously super served by the no-frills airlines.
Progress isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.