Who says there is no competition among airlines anymore?

United Airlines has announced routes into the fortress hubs of Delta just days after Delta announced flights into UA fortress hubs.  United is adding routes from both Los Angeles and San Francisco to Minneapolis / St. Paul and Atlanta.

Delta previous announced routes from Seattle (which is nearing “hub” status for Delta) to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

First, Los Angeles is actually no ones hub but it is a strong focus city for all.  Los Angeles serves as a major gateway city for airlines and just like New York City, everyone wants to be dominant there.  A few years ago, American Airlines spoke of Los Angeles being a part of its “corners” strategy.  More recently, Delta has been building its operations up there.

Los Angeles won’t be anyone’s hub because it isn’t suited to such operations.  It will, however act as a gateway city with significant focus city operations just as New York JFK and Newark airports serve the same role in that area.

There is a lot of first class and business class traffic in the Los Angeles area and everyone wants a larger piece of it.  Delta is ready to battle it out with United in that market and United is responding.

The two SuperLegacy airlines will trade more and more blows with each other but neither will gain advantage much over the other.  However, both will gain advantage over the smaller airlines in those markets such as American Airlines, US Airways and LCC carriers.

The one airline who can hold their own in those cities is Southwest Airlines.  They are the equal of UA and Delta from a domestic point of view.

These route announcements are just one more sign of the power the two largest airlines both have and which they will wield to gain advantage in the marketplace.

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