Flight Blog

Not sure how many of you have a hankering to go to Dubai, but it just got a whole lot easier to get there from Springfield. Starting today, Emirates Airline flies direct from Dallas to the Middle East megalopolis. That means you can fly to Dallas, from Springfield, and then jump over to the Emirate flight. To put it another way, fly to Dubai with just one stop.

The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram reports that, "Airline and regional officials hailed the launch of the flight as significant in opening connections between North Texas, the Middle East, India, Africa and other points. Read the rest of the story here.

 

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Jan 24 2012 Southwest in Branson? BY adminTAGS Branson airport, Southwest

 

We've had several inquiries about the announcement last Friday that Southwest Airlines will continue the AirTran service to the Branson airport. For those of you haven't kept up, here's some brief background...

AirTran Airways has provided subsidized service at the Branson airport for the past couple of years. AirTran was bought out by Southwest Airlines in 2010. Last week Southwest announced that the Branson airport "will eventually join the Southwest route map." Since the announcement, people have had two questions for the Springfield airport: 1) how will Southwest service affect air service in Springfield, and 2) why did Southwest go to Branson instead of Springfield?

Here's a post we got from Mike:

"So, I read this weekend the final list of airports that will not receive service from Southwest Airlines once the AirTran merger is completed. Branson was not included on that list.  Whats the logic? I know AirTran gets a subsidy, but I heard that passenger numbers are not so great for Branson.  Any truth?  I thought the population base of SW Mo doesn't fit into the SWA business model.  Maybe SW views Branson as a vacation market similar to  Reno-Lake Tahoe or something? It seems to me that if SW wanted to serve the area they would do so out of SGF.  Much larger local population base and the new terminal is amazing.  Outside of living in a hub city I think cities like SGF with a modern terminal have it the best.  Flying in and out of SGF has so many affordances that make it virtually zero stress for me."

Mike... the logic boils down to this:  the Branson airport is paying for the service. It can do this because it's a privately owned airport  The Springfield airport is a publicly owned airport, which receives federal funding. Under federal aviation law it’s illegal for an airport, which receives federal funding, to pay for airline service.

As for the impact on Springfield air service, it's too early to tell. But given the limited number of daily flights, and the limited number of destinations, it probably will not be significant. We think it’s unlikely that Southwest will make significant changes to number of flights or destinations…but at this point we just don’t know because Southwest isn’t saying.

 

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One of the world's best aviation analyst is someone you've never likely heard of: Bill Swelbar. This week, on his Swelblog, he gives an astute assessment of what the AMR bankruptcy potentially means for the industry and consumers:

"The lack of news from it [AMR] or the bankruptcy court probably has a lot of people - union leaders, media, employees, communities – wondering what is taking so long. That’s the first key to understanding this airline bankruptcy is different and why other airlines such as United, Delta and Southwest as well as the federal government and even regional carriers are keenly watching and waiting. Unlike all the other airlines that have gone through Chapter 11, American doesn’t have a Debtor In Possession (DIP) lender breathing down its neck. That’s because the AMR board of directors made a strategic decision to file for bankruptcy with more than $4 billion in cash in the bank. That’s more cash than any airline that’s ever entered bankruptcy has had on hand and one of the highest totals in U.S. corporate history."

According to Swelbar, that $4 billion cushion gives AMR the time it needs to make the very best of its reorganization. Read the entire post here.

 

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Dec 15 2011 Overstuffed? BY adminTAGS Airlines

 

suitcase"Already armed with an exhaustive list of checked bag fees, some airlines are stepping up their enforcement of weight limits for carry-ons. This may lead to aggravation if an airline agent weighs your bag at the gate and then charges you."

Read the rest from the Associated Press, via USA Today.

 

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Dec 15 2011 Demand and Fares on the Rise BY adminTAGS Fares

 

wingsdollars"The nation's airline industry continues to rebound from the Great Recession with federal reports showing airline traffic and airfares on the rise. The average domestic airfare in the U.S. rose to $370 in April, May and June, up 8.5% from the same period in 2010, according to a report Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The $370 fare--not adjusted for inflation--is also 6.5% above the previous second-quarter high of $347 in 2008, according to the bureau."

Read the rest of the story from the Los Angeles Times.

 

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