Flight Blog

 

Have you noticed recent media stories about the battle between American Airlines and Delta Airlines? They're battling for control of Japan Airlines (JAL). That airline is in financial trouble. American and Delta both want controlling financial interest in JAL so they can control its code share agreements. Code shares let different airlines share resources. There are three major code share alliances in the world: oneworld, Star Alliance and SkyTeam. What does all this mean to you? Read on!

 

There’s a school of thought in the airline industry right now that makes an interesting prediction: in the not too distant future you won’t buy a ticket from an airline, you’ll buy it from an airline alliance. Example: instead of buying a ticket on American Airlines, you’ll buy a ticket from the oneworld Alliance, of which American is part. What is an airline alliance? It’s a group of airlines, from around the globe, which share resources—things like operational employees, ticket counters and sales staff. What’s going on here—why might this seismic change take place? Consider what the airlines have faced in this decade:

 

  • September 11, 2001
  • Runaway oil prices
  • Declining and static economies

These challenges have made it difficult for Airlines to sell seats at a price that makes money, yet doesn’t drive away customers. Here are some of the things airlines have done to cope:

 

  • Mergers. Mergers eliminate competition and, theoretically, provide greater efficiencies.
  • Cut jobs: pilots, flight attendants, and mechanics.
  • Cut back or eliminated routes.
  • Analyzed all aspects of their operations: how can they make things more efficient?

Against this backdrop the world is shrinking. 25 percent of all air travel in the United States is directly related to international travel. Or, to put it another way, a quarter of all air travelers in the United States are flying in or out of the country. That’s according to aviation analyst Michael Boyd. Keep in mind that the airline alliances are global. So with international travel increasing, the alliances make even more sense. If a U.S. airline shares resources with a foreign airline, both airlines benefit. Airline customers benefit too:

 

  • Greater airline efficiencies theoretically mean lower cost for customers (we can hope!).
  • Sharing of frequent flyer miles between alliance airlines.
  • International trips easier to plan and schedule.
  • Airline airport lounges shared between alliance airlines.

To learn more about the major alliances visit these web sites:

 

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Dec 05 2009 Is The Airport's Flow Reversing? BY adminTAGS Fares

 

Michael makes interesting comments in response to a posting earlier this week about Allegiant Air, and its motivations for flying to Orlando International Airport (MCO), rather than Orlando-Sanford airport:

 

"...after reading the previous blog regarding the change to MCO. Interestingly enough, they are “not a soft option” as yesterday I was speaking with a friend in LA and he was telling me about an associate who wanted to go to LA from STL, but did not want to pay “$600″ to fly there. In the last month I flew to LAX with Allegiant and was telling him about it. Well he passed this along and his associate is driving to SGF from St. Louis to fly to LAX. I guess the flow of passengers is reversing."

 

Michael points out what we've been noticing for some time: there is reverse flow taking place. It's not huge, but it is happening and it seems to be increasing.

 

Just to be clear on what we're talking about here...

 

For years anywhere between 12 to 30 percent of Springfield's potential airport customers have flown from other airports because fares were cheaper. Now we're getting people driving from St. Louis and Kansas City to Springfield because our fares are lower. And Allegiant's low fares from Springfield aren't the only reason. Delta, United and American also get some of the credit.

 

The example that sticks out in my mind is the couple I met in May at our new terminal's grand opening. They were getting ready to fly from Springfield to Frankfort, Germany. Their roundtrip fare was $475 a piece. They said the roundtrip cost from St. Louis was $700 to $800 a piece.

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For the second time this year Delta Airlines is dropping our service to Minneapolis. The one-trip a day service ends on December 14.  The service was dropped for six weeks late last summer, but was brought back based on strong advanced fall bookings. The latest word indicates that the route performed poorly in October and November, so it's been pulled again.

 

While the airline isn't saying so, there's little doubt that this is more fall out from the merger of Delta and Northwest airlines. Before the merger Delta and Northwest provided us with service to Memphis, Detroit, Cincinnati, Minneapolis and Atlanta. Since the merger we've lost Cincinnati, Detroit, and now Minneapolis. These losses can't be blamed entirely on the merger, though. When one combines the business realities of the merger, along with the triple whammy of the world-wide recession and unstable fuel prices, well, what do you get? Cuts in service.

 

Okay. Having said all that, we hate to count our chickens before they're hatched, but there appears to be a chance that the service will come back next year. A quick trip to our terminal travel agent was revealing. It shows that you can book a flight between Springfield and Minneapolis in May. Keep your fingers crossed, a lot can happen between now and then!

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Our airport's positive growth trend continue. October's total passenger numbers were up seven percent over the same month last year. That means we're up five percent for the period January - October. In and of itself, that may not sound like a big deal, but it is: we continue to be the only airport in the central region of the United States with positive growth for the year. Take a look at this chart. It shows monthly percentage increases and decreases for the past 16 months:

 

Notice the valley in September of last year: down 24% compared to the same month the year before––a direct reflection of the national recession. We began 2009 down 14%. Then, in March, we came up 14 points. In April we hit the magic zero––no change from the year before. In May numbers skyrocketed: up 17% Before May we had 15 consecutive months of negative or flat numbers.

 

For those of you who love numbers, here are the monthly total passenger numbers for 2009, along with the percent change from the same month the year before:

 

  • January: 50,375. -14%
  • February: 45,797. -15%
  • March: 66,295. -1%
  • April: 61,413. 0%
  • May: 84,496. +17%
  • June: 85,976. +10%
  • July: 84,076. +13%
  • August: 73,499. +13%
  • September: 65,342. +13%
  • October: 71,250. +7%

For more thoughts on why our passengers numbers are so peachy, read this previous post.

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Nov 16 2009 Honor, Respect, Gratitude BY adminTAGS Misc.

 

Bright and early tomorrow morning (0500!) the airport will host the first, of what we hope will be many, Ozarks Honor Flights.

 

Honor Flights began in Ohio in 2005. They have one goal:

 

"To transport, in the safest and most timely means possible, military veterans of World War II to Washington DC to view their World War II Memorial and other commemorative sites with the highest degree of honor, respect and gratitude at no cost to the veteran."

 

Why the urgency? The World War II memorial wasn't completed until 2004. So most veterans of that war have never seen it. And many have left us without seeing it. Visit the Ozarks Honor Flight web site by clicking here.

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