Is Macon Getting A Northwest Hub?

The Telegraph has an update on the plans to upgrade the Macon Airport. In the article is this little bit:

ASA only shuttles passengers back and forth to Atlanta — in the morning and at night — but the city spent more than $6 million to renovate Middle Georgia Regional and now is trying to lure another carrier. The city is in negotiations to bring in another feeder airline to travel to Washington-Dulles International Airport; Biloxi, Miss.; Detroit and Cincinnati.

Of those, the most interesting is Biloxi, and from Biloxi we can generally deduce which airline it is.

“It would be kind of fitting. Macon has one of the worst mayors in the nation and Northwest is just about the worst airline in the nation.”

Using Sherlock, a very handy feature for the Mac, we find this list of flights into and out of Biloxi (Airport Code: GPT for Gulfport, MS):

We can assume that it will not be Delta. Alitalia is a Delta and Continental Partner and does not actually fly there. We can strike it. KLM is a Nortwest Partner, we can strike it.

That leaves us with AirTran, ASA, Continental, and Northwest.

Based on everything we know, the airport is negotiating with another carrier to add to Macon’s flight base. So, we can strike ASA.

That leaves us with AirTran, Continental, and Northwest. The paper says that Cincinnati is one location the new airline will fly to. AirTran does not fly to Cincinnati (Akron and Dayton, but not Cincinnati). Also, I find it hard to believe that AirTran would open a hub to compete with its Atlanta regional hub only an hour from Atlanta.

That leaves us with Continental and Northwest. Of those two, where are their headquarters? Continental is headquartered in Houston and Northwest is headquartered in Detroit. Continental, using the hub system, likes to fly into and out of Houston as the main hub. If Continental were coming, the odds are Houston would be on the list.

That leaves us with Northwest Airlines, which flies to every location listed by the Telegraph. It would be kind of fitting. Macon has one of the worst mayors in the nation and Northwest is just about the worst airline in the nation.

Welcome to Macon.

All that said, Continental would be a close follow up. Continental also has a hub in Detroit and connects in all of the other airports listed. I’d prefer Continental, which has been, like Northwest, trying to expand its commuter hub into the Southeast to compete with Delta. Remember, Continental and Delta nearly merged and have had a friendly relationship. It is still possible, but Northwest, trying to break into the southeast, seems more likely.

Can I also say that I wish it was Southwest. Both Southwest Airlines and Macon would mutually benefit. Georgia is one of the largest states without a Southwest hub. Currently, you have to travel to Birmingham, Alabama to catch a Southwest flight — something not very practical to the south or east of metro Atlanta.

Perhaps, however, Southwest would be attracted to Macon if other airlines could prove viability.

Right now, my assumption will remain with Northwest.

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Erick Erickson

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