So I reviewed the flight scedules from Knoxville, TN. Both American and United have dropped fights to Chicago, which means American offers only three flights to Chicago and United offers four. At some point, people will refuse paying more than twice as much as they would if they flew from Nashville that they choose to just drive the nine hours. With fares so high, Southwest could offer flights between Chicago and Knoxville and with so few current flights per competitor it could easily snatch up a significant percentage of the market.
On the other hand, United is adding a second flight between Knoxville and Denver in a year when overall airline capacity is expected to shrink. Evidently Knoxville can support long-haul flights.
Yeah, Allegiant Air will be a pain in the butt if you began service to Knoxville, but hopefully they'd get intimidated with you there that they'd leave like they did with Oklahoma City. But on the other hand, Allegiant Air does demonstrate how well a low-fare airline does at the town with the nation's fifth-most expensive average airfares. In Allegiant's first year at Knoxville, its service quintupled there, even though it offered four--not sixty-four destinations. Futhermore, Allegiant never expected to fly daily on any route, but demand for its Orlando flight was so tremendous that Allegiant found itself offering a flight everyday to Orlando. That's impressive. Allegiant's planes have thirteen more seats on them than Southwest's do, and pax flying from Knoxville to Orlando didn't connect to Fort Myers/Naples or Fort Lauderdale/Miami--like they would have done if Southwest offered the flight. On top of that, Allegiant had to compete with Delta's two daily flights between Knoxville and Orlando.
So come on, add service to Knoxville! It will serve as a cusion against a rough 2008!
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Wow! It's been a full year since I last traveled on Southwest Airlines.
Begin service to Knoxville, TN. During the second quarter of 2007 (the latest for which data is available according to the United States Department of Transportation), Knoxville had the fourth highest average fare ($442.09 one-way) of the 100 largest airports in the nation (behind Cincinnati, Anchorage, and Greenville/Spartanburg). That's more than $100 more one-way than the average fare in the United States!
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