Flight Blog

Jun 25 2009 Fares Going Back Up BY sgf-adminTAGS Fares


Air fares are going back up.  This comes after about three months of delightfully low fares at airports across the country. According to Reuters, "American Airlines hiked prices between $5 and $10 for a one-way ticket for a large number of its U.S. routes on Wednesday. Later that day, UAL Corp's United Airlines matched those increases on many of its own U.S. flights."


We first started noticing the bump about two weeks ago. This is not to say that good fares aren't still out there. Yesterday, on the airport web site, a customer book roundtrip fare to Abilene, TX for $134.60. Last year at this time that Texas trip would have easily been more that $500.

Jun 18 2009 New Terminal Questions BY sgf-adminTAGS Midfield Terminal


Greg has questions:


"I just flew back in yesterday and had 2 questions. First why are there 2 passenger jetways (get from terminal to plane) at the old terminal? Secondly, are there future plans to put in a second luggage carousel? The new terminal is beautiful and love it, just looking forward to McAllisters."


The two jetways at the old terminal could not be retrofitted for the new terminal. We plan to sell them. As for luggage carousels, the new terminal already has two of them, with room to put in a third. I'd guess that a third one will be necessary in 10 to 15 years.


FOLLOW-UP June 19, 2009


More questions! Steven wants to know what will become of the old terminal? We plan to lease the building and are currently in lease negotiations with a company I can't name.


Steven also want to know if the new terminal will get a name? There are no current plans to name it. Colton blogs us, "If you ever do put in a 3rd baggage carousel, will you have to expand at all or will there be room? Also, what is the old terminal being used for right now?"


Yes, there is room for a third carousel. The old terminal is currently empty.

Jun 15 2009 The Great Unknown--Fare Sales Ending Soon? BY sgf-adminTAGS Fares


The great air fare sale, that's been going on across the country for the past few months, may be ending soon. I hate saying it, but the airline bosses are sending up warning flares...


"I think the industry is leaving money on the table." That's according to Scott Kirby, the president of U.S. Airways.


Or how about this one from the CEO of Southwest Airlines: "It's still a very low-fare environment...We're continuing to run fare sales. Even if we don't want to run a fare sale, our competitors have a plethora of low fares out in virtually all of our markets."


But wait, there's more. Read all about in this story from the Dallas Morning News.

Jun 12 2009 Gloomy Industry News BY sgf-adminTAGS Fares


Wow...what a mixed bag of news. While things are looking up at our airport (witness our May passenger numbers), the outlook for the airline industry is decidedly gloomy. Cases in point:


  • American Airlines is cutting 1,600 jobs. Bloomberg reports, "American’s reductions equal about 2.4 percent of the workforce...The cutbacks in flights and jobs announced yesterday may herald similar steps by other U.S. airlines. Revenue is vanishing as they trim fares to lure customers who are flying less because of the recession, especially in premium-class cabins on overseas routes."
  • Oil prices are going up in a big way and that's got the airlines sweating bullets. The Chicago Tribune reports, "The run-up in fuel costs was a hot topic at United Airlines' annual shareholder meeting Thursday as Glenn Tilton, United's chairman and CEO, called on President Barack Obama and Congress to clamp down on "excessive speculation in the commodity markets." Tilton also was grilled by a shareholder over his airline's effort to hedge against wild swings in oil prices last year."
  • And there's this bit of news this afternoon from Reuters: "Plans by major U.S. airlines to slash the number of seats they sell may bolster fares this fall, further stabilizing prices that tumbled this year as economic weakness drained travel demand."

So you see, what's good news for us (low fares and rising passenger numbers) is bad news for the airlines. Air fare will almost certainly start going back up. As the saying goes, buy now or pay later.

Jun 12 2009 Impact of Branson Airport BY sgf-adminTAGS How the Airport Works


Steve blogs with these thoughts on our airport's fantastic passenger numbers in May:


..."do you seriously believe that your new terminal, advertising campaign and lower fares by the airlines to fill seats, maybe this one a little, had anything to do with your increase. You know exactly what did it. Competition from the Branson Airport and their low fares are driving down your prices in the region. Why don’t you just admit that? The opening of the Branson Airport is now helping you so why don’t you embrace it."


I understand your point-of-view Steve, but that's not the way we see it. If fares were cheaper only in Springfield, then we would think the Branson airport had something to do with it. But that's not what's happening. The airlines have generally cut fares across the country in reaction to reduced advance sales caused by the recession. We don't expect to see the Springfield airlines react to what's going on in Branson unless they think the Branson airlines are affecting their advance sales. It will take at least two or three financial quarters for the Springfield airlines to get a handle on that. Here's how that process will work...


Branson passenger numbers will be tracked by the federal government.  As those numbers come out the Springfield airlines will look at them and try to figure out if the numbers are big enough to have any meaningful impact on their passenger numbers in Springfield.


As for the insinuation that the Springfield-Branson National Airport is afraid to admit that the Branson airport is forcing competition, nothing is further from the truth. In public meetings, and in print, we have repeatedly said that competition is the best thing that could happen. If the Branson airport brings down ticket prices in Springfield that's a good thing. But as it stands right now, it's too early to tell if that's happening.