Flight Blog

Mar 01 2011 Aviation Reality BY sgf-adminTAGS Essential Air Service (EAS)

 

The New York Times does a good job of summing-up the state of aviation in small town America...

"The country’s network of plentiful regional airports connecting to big hubs was largely built in an era of $30-a-barrel oil. But oil prices are now more than triple that, so maintaining commercial airline service to underperforming airports may be unsustainable."

To be clear, when the story talks about communities completely losing service, it's not talking about airports like Springfield. It's talking about smaller cities — Missouri cities like Joplin, Columbia, Cape Girardeau, Waynesville and Kirksville. Closer to us, there's Harrison, Arkansas. All the airports just mentioned have, or have had, Essential Air Service (EAS).

Our airport does, though, feel some of the pressures described in the story:

"Since airlines typically fly turboprops and 50-seat jets on the routes that connect outlying communities to big hubs, the higher cost of fuel and other expenses gets split among fewer passengers. Airlines are retiring these planes because they are unprofitable as oil prices climb."

For those of you wondering about the size of the airport profiled in the story, in Traverse City, Michigan... In 2009 it ranked 179 in terms of total passengers.

This will give you a feel for the size of the airports talked about here, and in the Times story. This shows each airport's ranking out of the nation's 538 airports with commercial air service in 2009:

  • Springfield-Branson National, Springfield, Missouri: 124
  • Cherry Capital Airport, Traverse City, Michigan: 179
  • Columbia Regional, Columbia, Missouri: 306
  • Waynesville-St. Robert Regional, Forney Field, Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri: 453. EAS.
  • Joplin Regional, Joplin, Missouri: 481. EAS.
  • Cape Girardeau Regional, Cape Girardeau Missouri: no service in 2009. Currently has EAS service.
  • Kirksville Regional, Kirksville, Missouri: no service in 2009. Currently has EAS service.
  • Boone County Regional, Harrison, Arkansas: no service in 2009. Currently has EAS service.

 


 

The consultant who's writing our airport's new master plan has compiled a list of the airlines serving our airport since airline  deregulation in 1978. Take a look at the chart. It vividly illustrates the huge changes in the industry.

 

See the service to Tulsa, Kansas City and Little Rock? A present day airline wouldn't even consider serving those near-by cities. And notice all the big jets the airlines used to serve this market before 2001 — the 737s and 727s. These days the airlines use regional jets to fly into small markets like ours. The regional jets are denoted as the CRJs and ERJs.

 


Feb 22 2011 Fares on the March, Redux! BY sgf-adminTAGS Fares

 

wingsdollars1Most airlines tried raising fares last week, but they didn't stick because US Airways wouldn't play ball. This week, "American, United, Continental and US Airways raised prices Monday by $20 to $60 per round trip on some tickets favored by business travelers." That's according to the Associated Press. Oil prices are the culprit, not to mention the fear of energy prices going substantially higher due to the unrest in Egypt and Libya. Get the deep background from Flightglobal.


Feb 15 2011 American Eagle Spin Off? BY sgf-adminTAGS American

 

AMR Corporation, which is the parent company of American Airlines and American Eagle Airlines, may be close to divesting American Eagle. That's according to Bloomberg News, quoting a pilot's union official.

Any news about Eagle catches our attention because it provides us with service to Chicago and Dallas/Ft. Worth. AMR has talked about selling Eagle for several years due to the high cost of running the commuter airline.

Bloomberg reports, "Unloading Eagle would let Fort Worth, Texas-based American seek cheaper ways to fly regional routes. A spinoff, public offering, leveraged buyout and sale to a private-equity buyer were among the possibilities under review..."

 


Feb 14 2011 Flirting Whilst Flying? BY sgf-adminTAGS Misc.

 

"45% of passengers admit to flirting whilst flying, whilst 95% want to join the mile high club..."

The Queen's English makes this piece from skyscanner.com all the more amusing. Read the rest of the story here.