Flight Blog


Columbia is getting a new EAS airline. EAS in a federal program that subsidizes air service in small communities. In Missouri it includes Joplin, Columbia, Kirksville and Cape Girardeau. In Arkansas it includes Harrison and several other towns. Without EAS, these places would probably not have any commerical air service.


Several months ago Air Midwest said it was leaving many of these markets. Now, we're finding out who will replace them in Columbia. The Columbia Tribune reports that Mesaba Airlines will provide service between Columbia and Memphis—three flight a day.


Mesaba is a subsidiary of Northwest Airlines. It's interesting to note that Mesaba is pursuing EAS markets—even in the shadow of the pending merger between Northwest and Delta.

Apr 07 2008 Another Airlines Bites the Dust BY sgf-adminTAGS Airlines


Skyway Airlines, a regional carrier for Midwest Airlines, shut down over the weekend.  It's the fourth airline to close in less than a week. The other three are Aloha, ATA and Skybus. A fifth airline, Champion Air, says it will close before summer.

Apr 05 2008 Skybus Folds BY sgf-adminTAGS Airlines


skyb.gifThe airline famous for having a few $10 seats on every flight ends operations today. On Monday it plans to file for bankruptcy. It's the third airline closing this week.


Skybus began business less than a year ago and was based in Columbus, Ohio. The Columbus Dispatch quotes aviation analyst Michael Boyd: ""They had a dumb model. The original plan never had a chance, at $50-a-barrel oil or $100-a-barrel oil. But I really thought someone could come in and turn it around. The pressures on airlines today are very different than they have been in the past. They're shutting down suddenly now to preserve whatever assets they have for the creditors."


Read the company announcment here.

Apr 04 2008 Axe Falls at Northwest Arkansas BY sgf-adminTAGS American


The Northwest Arkansas airport is losing service to Miami and Raleigh, NC. American Airlines will end the routes in May and June. The Morning News quotes the airport director as saying the routes were losing money.

Apr 04 2008 Three Dominos? BY sgf-adminTAGS Airlines


domino.jpgSo far this week two U.S. airlines have filed for bankruptcy: ATA and Aloha. Both are (were) small, low-cost niche carriers. You've probably never heard of them, but their collapse won't go unnoticed in the industry. Consider the fact that ATA was a code-sharing partner with Southwest Airlines. Southwest now has to scramble and deal with the aftermath. But wait, there's another: Champion Air says it's closing shop on May 31. The small charter company is based in Minnesota.


For the past several years low-cost carriers have presumably had an advantage over the legacy airlines: low business cost and cheap fares. But the high cost of jet fuel is putting the pressure on ALL the airlines. This week's bad news could foreshadow things to come.


Meanwhile, Reuters reports that, "Northwest Airlines Corp will park aircraft and cut domestic capacity by an estimated 5 percent later this year and take other steps to counter sky-rocketing fuel costs..." And late last week Allegiant Air announced service cuts in several of its origination cities.


If there's any good news to report (from the customers point-of-view), it's probably a story from Reuters that says, "The rapid pace of air fare hikes this year may be slowing as airlines brace for weaker demand." But wait, there's a flip side: "...their need [the airlines] to pass on fuel costs to travelers through new fees remains greater than ever." This flip side may be in play in the bankruptcies.


Against this backdrop Josiah wants to know if I have any thoughts on yesterday's announcement by John Q. Hammons that he plans to build a hotel at the airport being built south of Branson...


Well, as I've written several times before, we wish that airport best wishes and good luck. In the current aviation economy it's going to need an abundance of both. Short of subsidizing an airline to fly there, it's hard to imagine how an airline could be persuaded to fly into an unproven market. If subsidies are paid the question them becomes, how long can they be paid? Keep in mind, though, that Mr. Hammons doesn't do anything without a plan, so perhaps some private business plans are in the works that could tip the scales in the airport's and Hammon's favor.


Josiah also want to know if there are any plans to build hotels on West Chestnut, near the entrance road to the new terminal? I haven't heard of any, but I'm not a good person to ask about that.