Ultimately it comes down to "yield." How much is a given market like IND-DCA earning per seat and are there other markets where the aircraft used for IND-DCA could make more money. When I worked on the ramp at (unnamed luv-less airline), we always had a full load of transfer bags for Reno. So we were amazed when our airline dropped Reno as a destination. How can we drop a city when the flights there are always full??? I asked that question to the V.P. of Finance and his explanation was, "full flights don't always mean lots of revenue." He pointed out how despite the flights being full, the fares for Reno were some of the lowest of any market. "So why not raise the fares? The demand is obviously there since the flights are full." Wrong again. Whenever the fares to Reno were raised 10%, passenger bookings dropped by more than 10%. In other words, the majority of passengers traveling to Reno were very price sensitive and would only fly if the fare was low. It made more business sense to redeploy the aircraft to other markets which commanded higher airfares. I suspect that's the reason that Southwest stopped direct service between DCA-IND. And, given that DCA is a slot-restricted airport, Southwest has an incentive to make sure that their limited slots are used on only the most profitable markets to/from DCA.
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Please, Please, Please bring back the nonstop flights from IND to DCA!!!! I fly once a month and rely on these flights for time and cost! Life is about to get a lot worse when I have to fly American with their luggage fees and change fees!
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