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Service to Knoxville

New Arrival

We are moving to Knoxville this summer and are disappointed to see that Southwest doesn't service the area. The closest option for flying SW is 3 hours away in Nashville. We'd be flying our parents out once a month if SW were at Tyson McGhee. SW cancellation policies can't be beat! 

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Re: Service to Knoxville

Active Member

Unfortunately, Knoxville is a small market and doesn't have the origin and destination ("O&D") traffic to justify frequent flights on 737 aircraft. This is why all of the "legacy" airlines at TYS operate with smaller regional jet aircraft. While Allegiant and Frontier operate Airbus narrowbodies to TYS, their service is infrequent.

On a related, but totally trivial note, my first ever flight was on a Delta DC-7 from Houston Municipal (now Hobby) to Knoxville in 1967.

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Re: Service to Knoxville

New Arrival

Thanks for your insight rtbarron! TYS is in the process of expanding its runways with the hope of attracting SW. Do you think that could make a difference or is it mostly about O&D? I have a suspicion that Knoxville is going to see massive growth in the next several years, similar to many other Southern cities that are going through downtown revitalizations. I hope it might be enough to get SW. The other airlines don't compare 🙂 

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Re: Service to Knoxville

Active Member

@mlawton425 wrote:

Thanks for your insight rtbarron! TYS is in the process of expanding its runways with the hope of attracting SW. Do you think that could make a difference or is it mostly about O&D? I have a suspicion that Knoxville is going to see massive growth in the next several years, similar to many other Southern cities that are going through downtown revitalizations. I hope it might be enough to get SW. The other airlines don't compare 🙂 



For the Southwest business model it's all about the the O&D. Since Southwest flies only 737s and doesn't have any "regional" partners (like United Express or American Eagle), they are unable to downgauge equipment to better match demand like the legacy carriers are. There has to be sufficient passenger potential to justify the high fixed costs of opening a new station.

That said, if Knoxville does see massive growth there's no doubt that it will catch Southwest's eye. It's a great college town set against the Tennessee hills and river. My father earned his Masters Degree at Tennessee and both my parents have told me that it's beautiful.

And you are correct when you say that the other airlines do not compare. I've flown Southwest since 1976 and have worked in the airline industry for 20+ years at other carriers. The Southwest People make the difference and set Southwest head and shoulders above the competition.

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Re: Service to Knoxville

New Arrival

Pitch, roll, and ya'll.

 

I echo the sentiment missing SW at TYS.  With UT here, how could you NOT have full planes?

 

SW: Give the airport authority another chance to pitch Knoxville.  Roll out your great service here.  Ya'll be real happy with that business decision!

 

 

 

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Re: Service to Knoxville

Top Contributor

@etna9726b wrote:

Pitch, roll, and ya'll.

 

I echo the sentiment missing SW at TYS.  With UT here, how could you NOT have full planes?

 

SW: Give the airport authority another chance to pitch Knoxville.  Roll out your great service here.  Ya'll be real happy with that business decision!

 

 

 


I lost my draft post somewhere, but currently wikipedia was showing 800,000 enplanements per year in Knoxville - compared to several other smaller Southwest airports that are 2,000,000 or so. Not all Southwest passengers, but one idea being to serve busier locations and take some existing business in addition to adding new passengers.

 

There are a few exceptions, i see Corpus Christie as a lower volume location, and new service at Paine Field would be below that figure.

 

But the idea would be one or two planes a day full is fine - many a day full is even better.

 

There could also be obstacles as far as accessing gates if the current carriers have the capacity tied up.

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.
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Re: Service to Knoxville

New Arrival

I read the wiki stats as well.  What I see is growth.  Agree with your assessment on other carriers defending gates or slots (if TYS is even slot controlled?).

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Re: Service to Knoxville

Active Member

@DancingDavidE wrote:

There are a few exceptions, i see Corpus Christie as a lower volume location, and new service at Paine Field would be below that figure.


But the idea would be one or two planes a day full is fine - many a day full is even better.

There could also be obstacles as far as accessing gates if the current carriers have the capacity tied up.


Corpus Christi is a low-volume exception as are Harlingen, Amarillo, Lubbock, and Midland-Odessa. The difference is, all of these are part of Southwest's orignal intra-Texas network from the 1970s and are well-established and predictable stations. I doubt that any of those cities would get Southwest service in today's market.

I'm intrigued by the Paine Field service not just by Southwest but by Alaska and United as well. What is the draw? Is it planned as a reliever airport for the northern suburbs of Seattle much like ONT, BUR, SNA, LGB are for LAX? Are they planning on attracting Canadian passengers from Vancouver with lower airfares? What's the Boeing connection (since all three carriers are exclusive Boeing customers right now)?

You're right about other carriers tying up capacity at airports. Most airports, however, keep open a number of "city" gates which are not leased to any airline and are charged on a per-flight basis for use. Usually airlines with low frequency (Allegiant, for example) or airlines with unexpected delays which tie up their leased gate, use the city gates. That said, if Southwest flew a 737 into Knoxville tomorrow morning, I have no doubt the airport authority would find a gate (and a red carpet) for them!

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Re: Service to Knoxville

New Arrival

I would certainly add my support and hopes for SWA service in and out of Knoxville in the near future, especially as the expansion at Tyson McGhee Airport continues. As a Sevier County resident, I frequently interact with tourists to our area. While hardly a scientific poll, it would be difficult for me to overstate how many times every day I incounter people that visit here and specifically mention how they wished SWA serviced Knoxville. I think the business community would respond favorably as much or more so than the tourism industry. Knoxville is located in such an incredible part of the country, in year-round beautiful and history-rich eastern Tennessee, the gateway to Smokey Mountain National Park. It is so easily accessed from all over the US, it really should be the poster child image for the phrase, “Wanna’ get away?”! So who else wants to join the “Bring Southwest to Knoxville” campaign?

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Re: Service to Knoxville

Top Contributor

@Bondseye007 wrote:

I would certainly add my support and hopes for SWA service in and out of Knoxville in the near future, especially as the expansion at Tyson McGhee Airport continues. As a Sevier County resident, I frequently interact with tourists to our area. While hardly a scientific poll, it would be difficult for me to overstate how many times every day I incounter people that visit here and specifically mention how they wished SWA serviced Knoxville. I think the business community would respond favorably as much or more so than the tourism industry. Knoxville is located in such an incredible part of the country, in year-round beautiful and history-rich eastern Tennessee, the gateway to Smokey Mountain National Park. It is so easily accessed from all over the US, it really should be the poster child image for the phrase, “Wanna’ get away?”! So who else wants to join the “Bring Southwest to Knoxville” campaign?


I hope you get service in the near future.

 

Unfortunately, Southwest does not have an unlimited suppy of planes and crew, so to keep it's owners (the stockholders) happy, Southwest adds flights that produce the most economic benefit to it's owners. It can't fly to every place it would like to serve.

 

 The airline does listen, so I hope that your "Bring Southwest to Knoxville" campaign is successful., and that Knoxville's time comes soon.