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Columbus Day 2014 will be an exciting day at Southwest Airlines. That Monday, 14 October, the Wright Amendment will be repealed and the carrier will be able to launch flights from its home base at Dallas Love Field airport to anywhere in the USA for the first time since 1974.
Where those flights will go is still up in the air.
"We have a vision of what routes we want to undertake [from Love Field] in 2014, but it doesn't make sense to lock that down," said Gary Kelly, chief executive of Southwest, recently. He said that the airline needs to gain a clearer idea of its fleet size and economic environment before it will make the final decision.
I took a look at US Department of Transportation data for the top markets from Dallas-Fort Worth International during the 12 months ending in June, and it offers some insight into where Southwest may go.
Flights to Atlanta (number 3), Chicago (2), Denver (4), Las Vegas (10), Los Angeles (1), New York (5, though not including John F. Kennedy or Newark airports) and Phoenix (9) are probably at the top of Southwest's list, considering how much traffic the markets already generate from the Dallas area and the airline's large existing operations in each of the cities except New York. I am not including Oakland or San Francisco because I think the airline may continue to route travellers to the Bay Area on one-stops through places like Las Vegas or Phoenix due to limited room to expand at Love Field.
Baltimore, Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando are also likely high priority markets for new flights from Love Field. Southwest has large operations at each of these airports, which provide significant connecting opportunities elsewhere in its network.
Source: Southwest Airlines
Chicago Midway, Las Vegas, Baltimore, Phoenix, Denver, Houston Hobby, Love Field, Los Angeles, Oakland and Orlando are Southwest's largest markets in terms of the number of flights.
Flights from Love Field are restricted by the Wright Amendment to Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas on any aircraft, or to anywhere in the USA on aircraft with up to 56 seats. Terminal capacity at the airport is capped at 20 gates once the restrictions are lifted.
Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport must really want JetBlue Airways.
A four-tier cake arrived at the low-cost carrier's New York headquarters from the Virginia airport decorated with JetBlue aircraft and New York icons, including the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty, a few days ago.
JetBlue says that it has no plans to launch service to Newport News. It announced new service between Charleston, South Carolina, and Boston and New York's John F. Kennedy airport earlier this month.
Newport News has been scrambling for new service since Southwest Airlines-subsidiary AirTran Airways, the airport's largest airline, ended service in March after 17 years. AirTran flew to Atlanta, Boston, New York's LaGuardia airport and Orlando at the time.
Following the announcement, Allegiant launched twice-weekly service between Newport News and Orlando Sanford.
Start-up People Express announced plans to launch service from Newport News with flights initially to Orlando and Pittsburgh on Boeing 737-400 classics earlier this year. However, the launch date has already been pushed to at least early 2013 from mid-2012 due to paperwork and certification delays.
Newport News likely wants to hedge its bets with JetBlue as People Express is far from a sure thing. The LCC could gain a foothold in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area, which also includes Norfolk and Virginia Beach, with flights to the airport much like AirTran did when it served the city.
JetBlue's strategy is its own for now but one thing is clear - it will take more than a (awesome) cake to woo the airline.
I've witnessed an interesting juxtaposition today between the UK's two leading airlines. One is working hard to shake off its old image as it moves up market while the other is proudly showing off its heritage with a revival of brandings from bygone eras.
This morning I was at the World Low Cost Airlines Congress where EasyJet CEO Carolyn McCall underlined EasyJet's ambition to be "Europe's preferred short-haul airline" (above). She talked about her push to grow revenue from business passengers and unveiled a new service guarantee which will provide free flights to compensate premimum passengers for delays (below). There was even the admission that an orange FFP could materialise "if it could be done in an EasyJet way".
For that read "cost-effective" or "thrifty" - but there's no denying the airline is shifting towards the middle ground as it matures through its teenage years. That said, Carolyn is adamant she's not abandoning the airline's low-cost roots where anything that adds to operational complexity is taboo.
Then this afternoon I was in the glamorous surroundings of BAFTA at its headquarters on Piccadilly. Here, British Airways CEO Keith Williams unveiled the launch of the airline's biggest marketing campaign for a decade, which it says "backs the £5 billion being spent on customer products and services over the next five years".
While not a rebranding per se, the high profile marketing campaign centres upon a re-enforcement of BA's heritage as a full-service, global and pioneering flag carrier, so it's no surprise that there is a return of the old coat of arms. This dates back to the early days of BA but was brought to the fore in the halcyon days of Lord King in the so-called "Landor scheme" era that began in the mid-1980s. And with the crest comes a revival of the slogan: "To Fly. To Serve."
The centrepiece of the campaign is a retro-style television advert, "Aviators", which incorporates elements from nine decades of history of the airline and its predecessors. The 90 second production includes iconic aircraft such as the Douglas DC-3, de Havilland Dragon Rapide (below), Vickers VC10 (bottom) and of course Concorde, as well as a DH51 pretending to be an AT&T DH9A from 1919. Heritage brands the like of BEA and BOAC are much in evidence, as is BA's now very fashionable original red-tail "Negus & Negus" scheme of the 1970s.
The new TV ad is a wonderful piece of cinematography - albeit with the odd historical anachronism (see if you can spot any!). BA tells me it was filmed at Heathrow, Duxford, Brooklands and the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden. Some of it was created using real metal and some by CGI.
The TV ad will run alongside a print campaign, and will debut at 11:00 on 21 September on Facebook and then on Channel 4 later that day. The coat of arms logo will be applied to the fuselages of all BA's aircraft but sadly the airline says that there are currently no plans for a repeat of retro style paint jobs like the one used last year to mark the end of Boeing 757 operations.
So while BA's mood goes all reflective, EasyJet is looking to its next evolution. Well let's face it, there's little chance at this juncture of the orange brigade reviving images of their original icon - Mr Haji-Ioannou - for a bit of nostalgic advertising!
If Singapore Airlines isn't naming some new airline company 'Scoot' then a lot of effort is going into throwing nosey hacks off the scent.
Not only is there apparently a Scoot-related website domain registration linked to SIA, but a trawl through the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore's trademark database turns up the following entry, listed on 20 June, under 'transport':
The application has been put forward on behalf of a company named 'New Aviation' but which gives an address which matches the location of Singapore Airlines' headquarters at Changi International Airport.