Analysis: Potential OneJet Focus City & Routes

Recently OneJet stated their expansions through 2016 which revealed that they will be adding a new route / destination every month and will announce a new focus city in September, 2015. The objective of this post is to analyze the cities OneJet currently serves and which one could be the new focus city. Keep in mind OneJet is targeting unserved markets for business travelers. Currently, OneJet serves Indianapolis (already a focus city), Memphis, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, and Nashville (recently announced). With that being said we can rule out Indianapolis and Nashville as the new focus city and set our attention towards the other three cities. Both Memphis and Milwaukee have released news articles stating that they are in the running to be the next OneJet focus city.

To assist with the analysis I used compiled DOT data and my current OneJet route map. From there I created the following visualization in Tableau Public with a couple of different parameters using the CEO of OneJet, Matthew McGuire’s comments from press releases to identify requirements. First, he has stated that routes ideally sit at 30 passengers daily each way (PDEW), but that hasn’t stopped them from starting new routes with less than that (based on DOT data at least such as BNA). Second,  he has stated a couple of different max distances for OneJet routes from 600 miles all the way to 1000 miles which is well within the range of the Hawker 400s they currently use. Third, all of OneJet’s focus cities would have nonstop flights to the majority of the destinations already served by the carrier. This means a couple things, for one it means the new city will see service to the currently served cities and that both focus cities should have very similar future routes.

Based on these requirements I setup parameters to eliminate the many possible pairs of cities. All market pairs that meet these requirements are shown in the visualization.

  1. No carrier currently serves the market (the most important)
  2. PDEW greater than 10
  3. Max range at 700 nautical miles
  4. Based on above parameters 2 cities must be able to serve that destination (with Indianapolis being more important)

 

Indianapolis

First, let’s analyze the current focus city to see how the parameters stack up and what potential other cities have. The first thing that sticks out is that IND-BNA does not fulfill the requirement for a PDEW greater than 10. This will be an issue going forward as their will be some “hidden” cities. For example, another “hidden” city for Indianapolis would be Columbus, Ohio (CMH) that does not hit that threshold of 10 but could work as route because of business ties. In the current US domestic airline environment it does not make any sense to take a connecting flight from Indianapolis to Columbus through Chicago as example. The amount of time spent connecting ruins any time advantage of flying. Now if OneJet were to fly this route with a nonstop flight it could be feasible for a businessman to justify the flight in terms of time and money.

MSA Population – 1,971,274

Current OneJet routes

  • IND-BNA – 6 PDEW
  • IND-MKE – 13 PDEW
  • IND-PIT – 16 PDEW
  • IND-MEM – 25 PDEW

Using all the parameters from the analysis there are 26 potential markets from Indianapolis

Memphis

On to the first potential focus city, Memphis which is a city that used to see unprecedented amount of nonstops for the market size thanks to Delta / Northwests previous hub there. Delta put the final axe back in the hub back in 2014 with nearly all non hub flying now gone. Thanks in part to this dehubbing Memphis does present OneJet an interesting opportunity to replace the nonstop flights that business used to rely on. Another thing working for Memphis is Fedex’s “SuperHub” which led to the Indianapolis to Memphis flights from OneJet.

MSA Population – 1,343,230

Current routes

  • IND-MEM – 25 PDEW

Current OneJet cities not served

  • MEM-PIT – 45 PDEW
  • MEM-MKE – 17 PDEW

Using all the parameters from the analysis there are 11 potential markets from Memphis, 8 shared with Indianapolis

Milwaukee

While Milwaukee was never a huge hub for any of the US4 it was a hub for Midwest Airlines which later became part of Frontier Airlines. Overtime Frontier eventually cut services and now only sees limited service from them as they continue on their transformation into an ultra low cost carrier. Milwaukee suffers one problem that the other cities do not have and that is being within a 1-2 hour drive from a major hub… Chicago O’Hare (ORD). This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker as a majority of the Milwaukee metro area is north of the airport and thus further away from ORD. Also for the passengers OneJet is targeting being able to have nonstops from a smaller airport to the destination and is more convenient really helps.

MSA Population – 1,572,245

Current OneJet routes

  • IND-MKE – 13 PDEW
  • MKE-PIT – 39 PDEW

Current OneJet cities not served

  • MKE-MEM – 17 PDEW
  • MKE-BNA – 49 PDEW

Using all the parameters from the analysis there are 16 potential markets from Milwaukee, 12 shared with Indianapolis

Pittsburgh

The final city is Pittsburgh which has largest population of all cities analyzed which helps but in no way actually indicates that there are more passengers or businesses. I added the MSA population to give an idea of the type of cities OneJet is targeting which is the 1 – 2.5 million population cities. Pittsburgh was once an US Airways hub which was dehubbed over time but still sees point to point routes such as PIT-RDU. But just recently it appears that some of the other point to point routes are being discontinued because of pilot shortages on regional jets. These include PIT-BDL and PIT-STL which both could be targets for OneJet (not included in visual or data) as American Airlines could come back and continue the routes.

MSA Population – 2,355,968

Current OneJet routes

  • PIT-IND – 16 PDEW
  • MKE-PIT – 39 PDEW

Current OneJet cities not served

  • PIT-MKE – 39 PDEW
  • PIT-MEM – 45 PDEW

Using all the parameters from the analysis there are 21 potential markets from Pittsburgh, 11 shared with Indianapolis

Most Common Cities

Further analyzing the data to see the most common markets gives us the table below. These are the most common markets between Indianapolis, Memphis, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh based on the parameters outlined. The top 6 cities standout with at least 3 potential OneJet cities being served including Indianapolis but just note that Charleston (CHS) may be too leisure oriented for OneJet unless there are significant business ties. While this table doesn’t necessarily help with determining the next focus city it gives an idea on what common expansion cities could be on the radar, Richmond (RIC) and Omaha (OMA) being the ones that standout out the most to me for business travelers.

Airport Count of Potential Routes Potential IND Route OneJet City Notes
GSO 4 Yes
BHM 3 Yes
CHS 3 Yes Possibly Leisure Only
GSP 3 Yes
OMA 3 Yes
RIC 3 Yes
CMH 2 No Possible hidden city for IND
MEM 2 Served Yes Could be served from MKE, PIT
RDU 2 No Already served by DL
SDF 2 No Too close to serve from IND
BNA 1 Served Yes Could be served from MKE
MKE 1 Served Yes Could be served from MEM
PIT 1 Served Yes Could be served from MEM

Conclusion

Honestly I was hoping the data would make this analysis easier but it is very hard to predict with OneJet’s model. Theoretically they could serve really any midsize city as I am sure there is some business between every market pair. The next focus city will come down to what businesses OneJet has been directly working with, that will be the most important factor.

After business connection ensuring that the new focus city has overlapping destinations with Indianapolis would be next. In that regards, Milwaukee wins with 12 shared destinations with Pittsburgh right behind at 11. In terms of all potential markets Pittsburgh wins at 21 thanks in part of it’s more central location compared to Milwaukee. Longer routes would be required to serve many of the east coast destinations from Milwaukee something I believe OneJet will avoid at least for now. On the other hand Memphis is by far the weakest when it comes to the data and in my mind the least likely pick. However, it does have one big advantage and that is Fedex. OneJet and Fedex are getting cozy and Memphis is Fedex’s “SuperHub” which could easily be reason enough for it to be a focus city.

I am going to split the difference between data and speculative news articles and pick Milwaukee as the potential OneJet focus city. Really all three cities could become focus cities for OneJet’s model in the near future and I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens.