Does a New Terminal Mean New Airlines?

 

Steve asked if the new terminal will mean new airlines at SGF?

 

No. When talking to a prospective airline, a new terminal is a nice card to have on the table, but I can't  foresee that it would ever be the deciding factor in convincing an airline to enter a market.

 

In the final analysis, here's what airlines care about: how many seats they can fill in the market.

 

On Steve's point about needing additional hubs... This airport has reached a point in it's growth where adding daily service to new hubs is very problematic. We have service to six of the top 10 hubs in the country:

 

  • #1 Atlanta
  • #2 Chicago O'Hare
  • #4 Dallas/Ft. Worth
  • #5 Las Vegas
  • #6 Denver
  • #10 Minneapolis

After that, here's how our destinations rank:

 

  • #11 Detroit
  • #22 Cincinnati
  • #32 St. Louis
  • #34 Memphis
  • #92 Orlando/SFB
  • #172 St. Petersburg/Tampa

Now you and I can look at this list and come with lots of other places we'd like to fly. But here's how the airlines see it. They look at the list and say things like, "You've already got connectivity to the upper east coast--just fly to Detroit, Memphis or Cincinnati and catch a connecting flight." Or, "Just fly to MSP, Denver or DFW to connect to points west, you don't have enough bodies to justify the service between SGF and wherever."  

 

And then there's the regional jet issue... Since 9/11, the airlines have primarily flown regional jets (RJs) into small market airports like SGF. It's an effort to save money.  Most RJs have fifty seats; a few have 70. The bigger jets have generally moved to transcontinental and overseas flights (much more profitable). So here's the bottom line on RJ's: they have limited seating and the airlines generally won't fly them on hauls that are longer than 500 or 600 miles. The haul from SGF to Newark and Phoenix are about 1000 miles a piece.

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