October 31, 2006
A yellow light on JetBlue Airways' plan for more flights at O' Hare International Airport could result in some green for Gary/Chicago International Airport.On Wednesday, airport officials in Gary renewed their vows to pursue the low-cost passenger carrier as they discussed last week's decision by the Federal Aviation Administration to allow JetBlue to fly to or from O'Hare International Airport four times per day.
JetBlue wanted eight flights per day at O'Hare and could seek other airports to accommodate its desire for four additional daily flights from the Chicago market. In recent years, the New York-based airline has shown interest in the Gary airport. That interest has been reciprocated and was reiterated at Wednesday's Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority board meeting."The airport will continue to pursue them as an option," Chris Curry, airport director, told the board. "It is a viable option to have them at this airport some day."
October 29, 2006
I read this story below about Tuscaloosa Regional Airport and how they have retained Boyd Consulting at a cost of $8,500 to do the same work as IMG? Here is the story:
TUSCALOOSA City leaders are banking on a Colorado consultant to help them restore commercial aviation to the Tuscaloosa Regional Airport.But why is Mike Boyd, owner and CEO of the Boyd Group in Evergreen, Colo., so excited about touting the city to prospective airlines?“Tuscaloosa makes me say that," Boyd said. “This is not some backwater, some sleepy little town.“You’re part of the global economy."
At the recommendation of Tuscaloosa Regional Airport Manager Wayne Cameron, the Tuscaloosa City Council voted Thursday to pay $8,500 for the Boyd Group to market the city and the airport to major airlines, like Delta, Northwest, Southwest and USAir, the four main air carriers that operate in the Southeast, Cameron said. He hopes to bring a commercial airline to Tuscaloosa.Cameron is currently compiling data on which companies in the Tuscaloosa area use air service. Once he’s gathered this information, the Boyd Group will use it to solicit one of the major airlines to set up shop at the airport.
If the Boyd Group -- which has tentatively set similar goals for Latrobe, Pa., and Marathon, Fla., -- is successful, it won’t be the first time commercial aviation has operated out of the Tuscaloosa Regional Airport.Two commercial airlines, American Eagle (an arm of American Airlines) and Atlantic Southeast Airway, which became Delta, were flying out of the airport as recently as the late 1990s.But changes in the airline industry forced them out of the Tuscaloosa market.
Boyd said that now, almost a decade later, Tuscaloosa’s a different place.“When you look at the economic impact of a Mercedes plant, that’s not miniscule," Boyd said.Boyd said he hopes to begin marketing to the major airlines by early 2007 at the latest.And while nothing is a “slam dunk," he said, the growth and success of Alabama and the Southeast U.S. in luring new industry will make it a lot easier to convince an air carrier to return
" There is no office space, hanger space, or anything available. As for service center, we have one for Cirrus. But we don't want to let anyone know. The bottom line is. You can talk to everyone in the world on coming here but if there is no accomadatioms available they are not going to relocate here. ORH has nothing to offer GA/corporate aircraft or companies."
By the way I have this same comment before many times from other people. Now lets look at the recommendations of the New England Regional Air Study Plan:
- road improvements to cut 10 minutes off the drive from Interstate 290 to the airport would result in a 39 percent increase in passengers, though the report does not call for the construction of a new access road.
- Improvements recommended at the Worcester airport include rehabilitation of aging runway and taxiway pavements and other technology upgrades
- what about the leaks I saw in the terminal roof the day of Allegiant's last flight
The consultants are great telling us what we need, but not telling us how to pay for any of it. How much would it cost to provide better accomodations for GA/corporation aviation, road, runway, taxiway improvements and technology upgrades??? 15-20 million?? How will the City Council be able to provide money for any of these improvements, while we are losing $2,000,000 per year, especially with the City Manager's new 5 year plan???
All of these recommendations lends more credence that we need to sell the airport to someone, who had the deep pockets to implement all of these recommendations. By the way has anyone been over Airport Drive or Goddard Drive lately?
October 28, 2006
Columbus-based Skybus Airlines Inc. plans to build its business on the Airbus 319 aircraft as it begins to pull together details of its planned spring 2007 launch at Port Columbus International Airport. The airline and Airbus said today the low-cost carrier has ordered 65 A319s aircraft over an unspecified period, beginning delivery in late 2008.
Skybus President Ken Gile told Business First the low-cost carrier will begin service using three leased A319s. It expects to expand using leased aircraft until it begins accepting new airliners from Airbus. "When we looked at our economics, we decided the best choice was the A319," Gile said. Chicago-based Boeing Co. also competed for the business.
At retail prices, those 65 aircraft cost $3 billion. "We've negotiated a better price," Gile said, who declined to reveal details of the deal. A contract for engines to power the aircraft remains in negotiation, he said. Airbus said the Skybus order is among the largest for a U.S.-based start-up carrier. "It is exciting to get in on the ground floor of such a promising operation as Skybus," Airbus Chief Operating Officer John Leahy said in a press release. "It has been a few years since an order of this meaning and magnitude has come from a low-cost start-up airline, and we are professionally flattered that Skybus has turned to the A319 as the core of its fleet."
The A319 entered commercial service in 1996. The standard A319 has 124 passenger seats. Skybus has not disclosed its seating configuration, but said all of its aircraft will use a single-class layout
October 27, 2006
Item 7.3 is the airport. Nothing on the agenda.
October 26, 2006
Festival Airlines has been scouting airports in both the U.S. and Canada as the company is eyeing Niagara Falls as one of its primary destinations. Festival flies a 200-passenger, 757 airplane. The company uses Chicago-Rockford International Airport as its main hub and has plans to fly into several Florida cities. Festival is planning on running its service between May and October, according to William Vanecek, NFTA director of aviation.
Representatives from Festival Airlines met with tourism officials and political leaders in April to discuss their plans. Niagara Falls caught the company's eye for the vast number of tourists it attracts including 14 million annually on the Canadian side and 8 million in the U.S. Larry Lewin, a former Hyatt executive who is working with the airline as a consultant, is very familiar with the area having served as the immediate past president of Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort and Casino Niagara.
Festival is one of several airlines and air cargo companies looking at the under-utilized Niagara Falls International Airport for services and routes. NFTA officials are also negotiating with Myrtle Beach Direct, an adjunct of Golf Holdings, that wants to run charter service between the airport and Myrtle Beach. Niagara Falls is attractive to the company because of the large number of Canadians who vacation in and around Myrtle Beach. Because of the marked difference between flying out of Toronto or Hamilton and the Buffalo Niagara region, Canadians make up a larger number of passengers at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Canadian passengers account for approximately 20 percent of the airport's traffic count.
"There is an opportunity for Myrtle Beach Direct to bring some people back this way, too," Vanecek said. "So we could feel some impact here as well." Landing either Festival or Myrtle Beach Direct could be one the final pieces the NFTA needs to secure the last bit of public-sector funding required for the proposed $23 million new passenger terminal at Niagara Falls International Airport. The project is about $4 million shy of its goal.
October 25, 2006
That is raising hopes the arrival of SkyValue will live up to its advance billing two weeks ago, when airport officials and SkyValue execs said it will help show the world Gary -- currently without passenger service -- can fly.One thing that will not live up to its advance billing is the departure date for the first flights. That has been moved back to Dec. 15. Two weeks ago, airline officials said flights would start Dec. 1.The first day of flights will see flights departing for Orlando and Williams Gateway Airport, in Mesa, Ariz., just outside Phoenix. In the following days, the first flights to Las Vegas, St. Petersburg/Tampa and Ft. Lauderdale will take off.The airline moved its start date back to take advantage of the greater punch packed by pre-Christmas travel, Griswold said.
Gary airport director Chris Curry said he had just learned of the two-week delay when contacted Tuesday."It's very important to us that they are consistent with what they say they are going to provide," Curry said.The rush to get tickets Tuesday was a good sign, Curry said."That's a great response considering we haven't yet focused on a heavy-hitting marketing campaign yet," Curry said.
The greatest demand so far is for flights to Phoenix and Orlando, Griswold said.By mid-afternoon, 1,500 calls had come in to the call center and 889 reservations were booked for all five destinations, Griswold said.Fares are as promised, with a one-way ticket to Las Vegas, Orlando and Phoenix costing $79. One-way to St. Petersburg and Ft. Lauderdale costs $129. Planes will be 174-seat Boeing 737-800s in an economy-class configuration.
The airport plans to aid the new airline in a number of ways, including paying up to 75 percent of its marketing costs in Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland. It is also considering waiving some airport fees.SkyValue plans to operate out of Gary on a seasonal basis. The last flights out will be April 30, but those could be extended through the summer if demand continues, according to Griswold.SkyValue plans to start its marketing campaign soon, working in concert with area casinos and other businesses.
Hammond resident Catherine Bollhorst said she plans to be one of the first in line for SkyValue tickets from Gary, with children to visit in Orlando and a brother in Phoenix. Until now, she has been flying Southwest out of Midway Airport in Chicago.She had seen news the new airline was coming to Gary, but didn't know they had already started taking reservations on Tuesday."I would go to Gary because we can just walk right out, we don't have a line of 100 people we have to stand in line with," Bollhorst said. "And parking is free, it's well lighted, well patrolled and I feel very safe there."
October 24, 2006
George was right..... Anyone have any idea why their amortization costs could be so high???
Today's Editorial is regarding the City's plan to clean up fiscal house over the next 5 years. Selling ORH (either outright sale or 99 lease) fits right into this overall plan:
- One time capital cash infusion
- Relieved of the $2,000,000 annual operating deficit
- Negotiated PILOT
- Increased tax revenues from a hopefully more successul airport
October 23, 2006
Mass General Law Link below on Pubic Open Meetings
The district attorney of the county in which the violation occurred is responsible for enforcing the Open Meeting Law at the local and county level. The Attorney General is responsible for enforcing the Law at the state level.
If a governmental body fails to follow the Open Meeting Law, three or more registered voters, the district attorney, or the attorney general can seek a court order. The governmental body has the burden of proving that it did not violate the Law. Any court order that is issued can include an order invalidating the action taken at the meeting at issue or an order imposing a fine against the governmental body.
The commonwealth takes the Open Public Meeting Laws very seriously.
No executive session shall be held until the governmental body has first convened in an open session for which notice has been given, a majority of the members have voted to go into executive session and the vote of each member is recorded on a roll call vote and entered into the minutes, the presiding officer has cited the purpose for an executive session, and the presiding officer has stated before the executive session if the governmental body will reconvene after the executive session.
Since no board minutes have ever had a vote on an Executive Session then I can assume that we have not had any Executive Session meetings since January, 2005.
- Outright sale
- 99 year lease
Although I feel MassPort it the best option, it can be any airport mgmt company. Saw this letter today in the Telegram and thought it was worth a post.
City must hold on to airport property
Beware the assumptions in the recent Berger report recommending continuing investment in Worcester’s airport. The report blames our airport’s troubles on the Sept. 11 attacks and a recession. Its rosy forecast apparently assumes no further attacks or recessions. Yet attempted attacks continue and we have more enemies than before.
Many investors are battening down the hatches for what Frank Gaffney, a Reagan administration assistant secretary of defense, calls a “perfect storm, from a national security point of view, an economic point of view, and an environmental point of view.” He and others say we are approaching the inevitable, final downward trend in world oil production even as world demand rises, almost certainly leading to wars, inflation and economic stagnation. Consider the risks for our marginal airport. Don’t let Massport expand at our expense. Don’t let them take title to the airport. If peace and prosperity return, Worcester will own a viable airport. If an energy famine comes, we can quickly build a wind farm that will generate electricity and much more net revenue and acclaim than our airport generates now. It’s a sure bet in uncertain times.
October 22, 2006
I have no idea how ORH stacks up against Stewart as far as a sale price goes, but lets for arguement's sake we sold it to MassPort for $20 million. Here is what I see as the benefits to Worcester:
- One time cash infusion of $20 million
- Relieved of an approximately $2,000,000 annual deficit. Over the past 9 years ORH has lost over $15 million dollars.
- Negotiate with MassPort to make a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes). Right now no property taxes are paid on this property.
- MassPort will turn ORH into a successful airport with a mix of commercial, corporate and general aviation. This success will bring spin-off industry around the airport, which will mean more revenues to the City of Worcester.
October 21, 2006
Rhode Island Airport Corporation
The Rhode Island Airport Corporation was formed on December 9, 1992 as a semiautonomous subsidiary of the then Rhode Island Port Authority, now the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation to operate and maintain the state's airport system. The powers of the corporation are vested in its seven-member board of directors, six of whom are appointed by the governor, and one member appointed by the mayor of the City of Warwick.
The Rhode Island Airport Corporation is responsible for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the six state-owned airports; and the supervision of all civil airports, landing areas, navigation facilities, air schools and flying clubs. In addition to T. F. Green Airport, the Rhode Island Airport Corporation is responsible for five general aviation airports throughout the state: Block Island, Newport, North Central, Quonset and Westerly.
The purpose of the Open Meeting Law is to eliminate much of the secrecy surrounding the deliberations and decisions on which public policy is based. It accomplishes this purpose by requiring open discussion of governmental action at public meetings. The requirements of the Open Meeting Law grow out of the idea that the democratic process depends on the public having knowledge about the considerations underlying governmental action, for without that knowledge people are not able to judge the merits of action taken by their representatives.
The overriding intent of the Open Meeting Law is therefore to foster and indeed require open discussion of governmental action at public meetings
October 20, 2006
- The Airport Commission has finally requested to see qtrly budget numbers starting in October. I only wonder if they will actually post them in the Board Minutes for all of us to see.
- The August vote to "rescind" the tax on the sale of fuel at ORH was changed to "suspend." I believe that the City Council still needs to vote on this.
- The Master Plan will be released late fall.
- No mention of IMG or how they are doing on negotiations with commercial carriers.
- No mention on the status of the name change.
- No mention on any discussions with MassPort, with less then 9 months left in the current agreement.
- The RFP's on the land parcels should be released in September.
Note page 3 "the Chairman allowed each Member to share their thoughts on the departure from the Worcester Market, and discussion ensure." What did they say? Although "discussion ensued", none of these discussions were incorporated into the minutes of the meeting.
- RFP's. Reviewing the August minutes I noticed that the RFP's for the vacant parcels was suppose to finalized and issued in September. I do not see it on the City of Worcester purchasing site, does anyone know if it has been issued?
- IMG. These are the consultants who we have paid over 100,000 to recruit and retain for commercial at ORH. Has anyone heard anything??
- Master Plan.. Anyone know when these final results are coming?
- Are we still taxing the sale of fuel at ORH, or has this been waived per the recommendation of the Airport Commision at their August meeting?
- What is the status of the Worcester Regional Airport name change to Worcester-Metrowest-Boston Airport??
- Major announcement, anyone know when this is coming??
October 19, 2006
Here are my predictions as to the conclusions:
- ORH should keep its Part 139 Certification and not downgrade to a GA airport
- Forecast a medium growth scenario (2010-- 161,000, 2015---215,372, 2020--- 288,524)
- upgrade terminal and air carrier support facilities
- upgrade GA and corporate facilities
- upgrade airfield infrastructure
No recommendations as to how we should pay for any of this, how we can cut costs to lower the deficit, should we have an access road nor whether or not we should sell the airport.. There will, however, be a footnote to continue negotiations with MassPort to continue the current operating agreement.
By the way the cost for this will be $400,000. Good news is that 90% was paid by the FAA and the other 10% was picked up by the Mass Aeronautics Commission. Between IMG and Leigh Fisher (now Jacobs), we have spent over $600,000 in consulting fees the past two years, although none was from the City of Worcester coffers. FAA--360,000, Mass Aeronautics $40,000, DOT Small Community Air Service Grant 200,000.
PS September 11, 2006 Airport Board Minutes still not on-line.
October 18, 2006
Either party may terminate this Agreement without cause at any time by providing not less than thirty (30) days prior written notice to the other party, in which event this Agreement shall terminate on date set forth in such notice (but not less then 30 dyas after the date of the notice); provided, however, that Allegiant agrees to keep the City and Authority apprised of the existing and future market demand (bookings) regularly throughout the Term (December 22, 2005 thru December 21, 2010), and will contact the City and Authority as soon as possible upon determining the market is experiencing difficulties or is at risk.
My point here is that I believe Allegiant did notify the City and Authority that it was in fact experiencing difficulties. Why then was everyone upset with Allegiant when they exercised their rights under the Agreement when they provided a 30 day written notice after initially expressing their concerns??
PS September 11, 2006 Airport Board Minutes still not on-line today.....
October 17, 2006
Does everyone remember, however, when Bob kraft threatened to move the Patriots to Hartford?? Well, maybe we (ORH) should call the authorities that manage TF Green, Bradley and Manchester and explain the benefits of a 2nd reliever airport. Basically this may be a once in a lifetime opportunity to buy an existing airport with all the amenities within an hour's drive..
Why not?? I worked for Bob Kraft and what do we have to lose?
Here are some real interesting things in the annual report. Check out page Hancom Field financial numbers on page 116 of page 118. Revenues in fiscal 2005 were 6.2 million with operating expenses of 6.5 milion for an operating deficit of 249,000 before debt service. I believe ORH had an operating deficit of 1,800,000 last year before debt service.
Page 101 of 118 shows the top 20 destinations out of Boston. Why do we waste our time on surveys when we have this information so readily available.
Page 81 of 118 payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) made by MassPort to Chelsea, Boston and Winthrop. Maybe this could set a precedent for the colleges. Right now ORH pays nothing in taxes to the City of Worcester.
Page 8 and 80 of 118 information on ORH. MassPort has kicked in alot of monies to ORH to cover the annual shortfalls.
Lastly September 11 ORH Board Minutes still not on-line.
October 16, 2006
Just to clarify on the Massport/taxpayer issue that you commented on, interestingly enough, I found that Massport is not directly a state agency, but it was enabled by Mass. Legislature in 1959 as an independant public authority. It is not part of the state government although it's board members are appointed by the Governor. Massport recieve's no state funds as it is a revenue bond authority and it's monies are generated by these bonds and monies recieved from user fee's charged at thier facilities.So Massport does not rely on taxpayer funds. They're sufficient on the funds they recieve from facility use. Just an interesting sidenote, if you go on their website and look at the salaries for some of thier positions, you see that they apparently do very well. For example, ORH Crash Crew firefighter makes about 38,000 annually, Massport Firefighter makes 63,000 annually.
For arguements sake, lets just say the Allegiant loads were 80-85%. Lets also assume that they are comparable to the loads out of Portsmouth and/or Newburgh, NH. I also believe that the ticket prices are comparable in these three markes, so lets even assume one more thing that the total revenues per flight are approximately the same in these three markets.
If the total revenues in these three markets are approximately the same and the other two markets had better yields, that means the expenses were higher at ORH then these two markets.
What is it in the ORH cost structure that creates this difference between ORH and these other two markets?
October 15, 2006
- "While departure of Allegiant Air from ORH was disappointing, it may have been been a blessing in disguise"
You got to be kiddin me.
- "Whatever the reasons for Allegiant's decision to, it wasn't the lack of passengers"
Maybe we should figure out why Allegiant left ORH, since they have left no other airport that they serve since leaving ORH and no other airline has taken their place.
- "Create a misture of aviation services that can ensure the airport's long-term viability"
Has this not always been the plan??
- "While in the past, success was measured by passenger travel provided by commercial airlines"
This means that there are no commercial carriers coming to ORH.
- "Despite its setbacks, the airport in Worcester has been a formidable and irreplaceable asset."
Losing on average 1,500,000 per year the last 10 years is not what I would consider a formidable asset?
- "Accompanied by airport director Eric Waldron, and Philip Niddrie, the city’s airport liaison, I had an opportunity to visit Hanscom and meet the Massport officials in charge of the 1,300-acre facility adjacent to Minute Man National Historic Park"
It is no secret that Hanscom has a successful aviation business, and by the way this is where Linear Air is based. Is our current mgmt team just finding finding out about the successful GA business at Hanscom?? Lets hope that although it was the first visit for Mr Nemeth, that Mr Niddrie and Mr Waldron have made several prior visits to learn from Hanscom example.
- "Until it came under the jurisdiction of Massport, which has been maintaining it since 1974."
MassPort has owned this airport since 1959, while taking control of general operation and maintenance in 1974. Let me say that again Massport has OWNED Hanscom since 1959!!!! They are not running Hanscom through 3 year operatinig agreements!!!
- "The Hanscom model is significant because it combines the two key elements our regional airport needs for success. One is strong general aviation.
Any "major' announcements at ORH will be regarding General Aviation.
- "Massport recently invested 2.5 Million in facility improvements at Hanscom, all told has spent 44.5 million on capital improvements.
MassPort owns Hanscom!!! They do not own ORH and would never make this commitment to ORH and you can not blame them.
- "As the two sides enter negotiations, officials should revisit the original management agreement that includes the best option. MassPort taking title to ORH"
Did I read that right??? Finally, the current airport mgmt realizes that they can not get the job done. Extending the current agreement with MassPort for another three years is pointless and will only extend the current awful results.
Sell ORH or lease it for 99 years to MassPort and maybe they can make ORH the formidable asset that it should be.
October 14, 2006
The provisions of this chapter relative to the imposition, payment, collection and distribution of an excise tax on the sale or use of aircraft fuel shall apply in a city after acceptance by a majority vote of the city council with the approval of the mayor, in the case of a city with a Plan A, Plan B, or Plan F charter; by a majority vote of the city council, in the case of a city with a Plan C, Plan D or Plan E charter; by a majority vote of the annual town meeting or a special meeting called for the purpose, in the case of a municipality with a town meeting form of government; or by a majority vote of the town council, in the case of a municipality with a town council form of government. The provisions of this chapter shall take effect on the first day of the calendar quarter following thirty days after such acceptance, or on the first day of such later calendar quarter as the city or town may designate
Please note that this was only a recommendation by the Airport Commission but that it is ultimately up to the City Council to vote on this recommendation to rescind the tax. To date this has not been brought up at any City Council meetings.. In other words the tax per gallon is still in effect.
I also had a chance to read through the Allegiant operating agreement with the City of Worcester. The only thing that jumped out at me was Section 5.2 whereby Allegiant represented to purchase 2,600 gallons of fuel per outbound flight. Lets assume there were 20 outbound flights in a month that would equate to 52,000 gallons of fuel. If Allegiant only purchased 40,000 gallons, they would have to still pay a flowage fee (.055) on the shortage. In this case it would be 12,000 times .055 or $660.
Was this a big deal? Was this typical at other airports that Allegiant flies from?? I do not know, but these are the types of things we need to find out.
October 13, 2006
"we do not have figures for their "yield" for the month of July and that remains, as reported last month, a significant concern for Allegiant and Worcester."
As a result of this mention in the Airport Board Minutes, I asked for these "yield" figures for the month of July, as well as prior months. Here is the response from Airport Liaison Niddrie:
During his monthly reports, Eric Waldron, Airport Director simply described what figures play into the development of the yields for an airline and that Allegiant and Worcester had concerns with Allegiant's bottom line figures from Worcester. There was no written information presented to the Commission at any time.
Obviously I am aware that none of these numbers were presented to the Commission, since they are not present in any of the minutes. Maybe a better questions should be why wasn't any writtten information presented each month on the "yield" numbers during the Airport Commission meetings, if they were in fact such a concern to Allegiant and the City of Worcester?? Maybe if these had been presented monthly since Allegiant's arrival, the Commission and the public would have been aware of Allegiant's problems and it would not have been such a surprise? Better yet, maybe the City of Worcester could have made changes when they saw the negative trends and made changes to have help keep Allegiant at ORH..
If you review the August minutes (http://www.flyorh.com/user/airport%20commission%20august,%202006.pdf) , Airport Director clearly states that he is awaiting figures that represent a yield. Now we are being told that there are no such reports and Eric Waldron was merely discussing what figures play into the development of the yields. In the private sector, these figures are referred to as Revenues and Expenses.
October 12, 2006
You can not blame MassPort, however, for worrying about Logan, or for that matter Hanscom, before ORH since they own those airports-not ORH. What pride of ownership, or return on investment, can MassPort receive through short-term ( 3 years) operating agreements with the City of Worcester. Maybe if they outright owned ORH or manged ORH through a 99 year lease, the results would be different. Couldn't be much worse???
Not only have they not pulled out of other cities, but they are expanding service:
1) Newburgh, New York Stewart International
Allegiant Air announced Tuesday it would offer daily flights to Orlando, Fla., from Stewart International Airport beginning in February.
2) Allentown, PA Lehigh Valley International
Low cost airline, Allegiant Air has announced it will begin daily flights to Orlando, Florida starting on February 7th of next year. The flights will leave from Lehigh Valley International Airport. To celebrate the new schedule, the airline will offer a limited one-way fare of $99. In order to get the special deal, you must purchase your tickets by October 28th.
October 11, 2006
- 159,954 by the Year 2010
- 213,212 by the Year 2015
- 284,204 by the Year 2020
Jcobs Consulting can then site the final results from the NERASP (http://www.nerasp.com) and the fact IMG "debunked" the idea to downgrade to General Aviation as back-up. Then they can add that we should improve runways, runway safety areas, further upgrade landing systems and add new hangars, again utilizing the results from the New Regional Air Study Plan and IMG.
Once all of this is done and all three studies are patting each other on the back for a job well-done and the Editorial Board from the Telegram lauds the efforts of everyone involved--then what?
ORH will still have no passenger service and be losing $200,000 per month.
October 10, 2006
The IMG Study "debunked" the idea of a fallback to a GA airport, it did?? Page 27 of the IMG "If a partnership is not established and/or primary airport status is not retained by 2008, the City should scale back from a Part 139 Certified to GA." In other words if we have a partner to help pay the bills and 10,000 passengers, we should keep the Part 139 Certification. Right now our current partnership agreement ends in less then 9 months and we are on track to be 10,000 below the 10,000 mark to retain primary airport status, so how exactly is that "debunking"??
I am glad to see, however, that ORH, after 70 years of operation (October 12, 2007), is beginning to provide a solid foundation for decision-making.
Air advice Survey keeps Worcester in regional air travel net
The long-anticipated regional airport survey released last week reaffirms the belief of local and state officials that Worcester Regional Airport has the potential to play a dynamic role in New England’s air transportation network, the premature exit of Allegiant Air notwithstanding. Emphasizing the need for a ring of reliever airports for Logan International, the report indicates that Worcester should continue to make improvements at the facility and improve access. The report, by a consulting team led by The Louis Berger Group Inc., was sponsored by the Federal Aviation Commission Airports Division, New England Council, 11 New England airports and the transportation departments of the six states. The report and its technical addendums provide a wealth of detail about air travel trends in Central Massachusetts and the region. It also offers suggestions about options that should be pursued by Worcester and the Massachusetts Port Authority, which operates the airport.
Citing the community support for the airport, the report suggests the city pursue short- and medium-haul business and leisure connections to niche markets. It also suggests Worcester should continue to refine its airport master plan, improve runways and runway safety areas, further upgrade landing systems, add new hangar and general aviation service facilities, and more. The suggestions complement last year’s study by IMG Inc. It stressed the need for a long-term commitment by the city, warning that in the near-term subsidies will continue to be needed. That’s why solidifying a long-term partnership with Massport is a must. The IMG report also debunked the notion that downgrading the airport to a general aviation facility would be an attractive fallback if efforts to establish full commercial service ultimately should prove untenable. The debate over Worcester’s airport has been hampered by lack of hard facts. IMG’s report, coupled with the master plan and new FAA survey, are beginning to provide a solid foundation for decision-making.
October 09, 2006
Stewart lease to be sold
When a new operator takes over Stewart International Airport, it will bode well for its future, say people close to Stewart and the airport business. That's because the newcomer, a player yet to be named, will likely be more qualified than National Express Group PLC, which long ago exited the aviation business except for Stewart.
National Express said Thursday that over the past two months, it has received expressions of interest from other airport operators and has "commenced negotiations regarding a potential disposal." Airport spokeswoman Tanya Vanasse said Thursday National Express expects to make a selection in the near term and complete the transaction by the end of the year. No companies were named, but Vanasse said she understood the parties are performing fact-finding and that some "have had people come through" Stewart.
Chuck Seliga, president of Stewart, said in a news release, "It is rewarding to see that aviation entities are interested and ready to invest. I only see good things ahead for our stakeholders, for the airport and for the Hudson Valley." Clearance is required by the state Department of Transportation, which owns Stewart and leased it to National Express for 99 years in April 2000, and the Federal Aviation Administration, which created the pilot program in privatization that made the deal possible.
James Wright, chairman of the advisory Stewart Airport Commission, said he wasn't surprised at the stance taken by National Express, "and those that I've talked to are pleased." "National Express, while they've tried, hasn't really been successful," Wright said. Chances would look better with an operator with good experience willing to really push Stewart, he said.
"The new guys are going to have to have contacts; have a pretty healthy budget and beef up the whole marketing effort," Wright said.
So who might the new guys be? There are a handful of major players on the international scene:
Grupo Ferrovial, Spain, is a major construction company that has investments in the Bristol airport in United Kingdom and a 21 percent share of the Sydney airport in Australia. It recently bought BAA PLC.
BAA PLC is itself a major airport operator in the United Kingdom, where it privatized seven airports including Heathrow. It has interests in Italy, Australia and Hungary. It has a long-term management contract to run the Indianapolis International Airport.
Macquarie Airports, part of Macquarie Bank in Australia, also owns interests in Bristol, England; Sydney, Australia, and Birmingham, England. It's also in Rome, Brussels and Copenhagen.
Fraport AG, based in Frankfurt, Germany, is active in some way at 50 sites globally. Other major interest include airports in Antalya, Turkey; Cairo, Egypt; Lima, Peru; and Hannover, Germany.
TBI PLC, originally British, is owned mostly by a Spanish company, Abertis Infraestructuras, SA. TBI has ownership interests and management roles at London Luton Airport, Belfast and Cardiff in the United Kingdom; the main airports in Bolivia; one in Colombia; and one in Stockholm; and manages several in the U.S., Atlanta and Burbank, plus Orlando-Sanford International Airport in Florida. Stewart has flights to Orlando-Sanford via Allegiant Air.
Schiphol Group, an enterprise owned by the Netherlands' government, owns or runs four airports in that country and has interests in Brisbane Airport, Australia, and owns part of Terminal 4 at JFK Airport in New York.
What Stewart would go for is hard to tell, but National Express is likely to want to recoup its $35 million purchase as well as the capital investment in infrastructure. Vanasse said the airport has put in $78 million, with federal funds covering most of that and National Express picking up either 5 percent or 30 percent, depending on type of project and funding. That suggests the company has more than $50 million sunk into Stewart. Operations have generally been profitable, Seliga has said, though no numbers have been given.
Wright speculated National Express could also be approached by an airline or a cargo operator.
Vanasse said the state's lease agreement lets National Express transfer its holdings to an operator that has key managers with significant experience in running commercial airports like Stewart and whose financial strength is sufficient to handle Stewart. In the meantime, "It's business as usual here."
Kevin Schorr, research director for Campbell-Hill Aviation Group in Alexandria, Va., said National Express' decision made sense and that any newcomer would build upon its work so far.
"Any firm that takes over the lease will want to proceed with any facility or infrastructure investments that are going on or planned," Schorr said, as these would make the place more attractive to buyers.= "I don't think there will be any big changes," he said. "But then again, you never know." Doing better at getting airlines isn't easy, Schorr said. But what might help is if the new owner lowers the operating costs or offers better financial incentives. "It's almost expected nowadays that to attract new service, you have to offer some kind of incentive."
Robert Poole, head of transportation studies for the Reason Foundation, a backer of the privatization movement, said National Express made the right move. "They seem to have made a corporate decision sometime several years ago to not go further into the airport business," Poole said. "This made Stewart kind of an orphan project for them." He expects good interest. "The global airport privatization market remains a very active one," he said. "It's probably the only place that really has the feasibility to become the fourth major jetport for the greater New York metropolitan area."
Sen. Charles Schumer, who has worked to increase air service upstate, provided a statement through a spokeswoman: "I've always said that Stewart has great potential to help attract new economic development and jobs to the region. I see this impending sale as an opportunity to more fully realize that vision."
October 08, 2006
This is good news and this may be the direction that ORH needs to head, General Aviation, but not the major announcement that I had hoped for. Think we can all agree at this point that the loss of Allegiant was huge in relation to commercial air service. No other airline will be coming to ORH in the short-term (6-12 months). In other words we may have paid $100,000 to IMG,on top of the initial 100,000 for their study, to recruit commercial carriers for nothing.
I truly wonder how the Leigh Fisher Consultants, now called Jacobs Consultancy, will explain their Medium Growth Scenario Recommendation in the final Master Plan, when we can not recruit one commercial carrier now in their Master Plan. Leigh Fisher or should I say Jacobs Consultancy passenger predictions under the Medium Growth Scenario:
- 159954 by the Year 2010
- 213212 by the Year 2015
- 284204 by the Year 2020.
Ironically I was on the Jacobs Consultancy website and there is one section dedicated to Airport privatization http://www.leighfisher.com/services_airport_privatization.shtml. Pretty impressive track history, maybe this is what we should have hired them to do three years ago.
October 07, 2006
Bottom line there are no excuses left for the Master Plan not to be done.
Recommendations we (a group of tax-payers) put together two years ago for free:.
- Rename the airport to Boston-Worcester to approve its appeal as alternative to Boston. This has worked very well for Baltimore Washington and Orlando Sanford International Airport.
- Improve access to and from Route 290 including reverse signage. We need to pick one route as the preffered route versus attempting to direct prospective passengers from every single exit off Route 290.
- Contact, pursue and invite leisure airline who target secondary cities and provide discount prices to popular leisure destinations (note targeted airlines below).
- Replace studies with action. Prospective airlines do their own research before entering a market so why waste monies on consultants when we could utilize these same dollars to help advertise airlines who enter this market?
- Open lines of communication among involved parties with monthly reports from the Airport Director to the City Council pertaining to the budget and prospective airlines.
- Explore possibility if naming rights for the terminal or airport itself.
- Generate positive press for the airport. Correct misconceptions about not being able to landing in bad weather and highlight the high level of general aviation activity.
- Explore new revenue sources including but not limited to the available restaurant slot and lands remaining idle in the Airport Industrial Park.
- Revise and update the official web page.
- Start a bumper sticker campaign to generate civic pride and support of the airport. A small oval with the letters ORH?
- Improve business traveler services specifically FREE WIFI and FREE PARKING!!!
- Recruited airlines need to offered a package that waives fixed overhead expenses and allocated a portion of the $455,000 Small Community Air Service Development Grant from the FAA to their advertising needs.
- Invite airport management companies to Worcester and review the possibility of putting together an RFP whereby we lease the entire airport to a private management company.
- The PILOT program for non-profits is extremely controversial. We may look into the possibility of asking local non-profits to contribute to a fund that would help attract a daily business flight which would benefit the entire community.
- Seek help from the State and Federal Government to upgrade landing system from Category 1 to Category 3 which would enable airplanes to land in heavy fog.
October 06, 2006
Here is part from the Boston Globe:
State Senator Susan C. Fargo , a Lincoln Democrat who represents communities that have been battling commercial service at Hanscom for years, said of the FAA study: ``That is very alarming, I know the towns would oppose that kind of expansion vigorously. The road network just isn't there to maintain that kind of service."
Fargo said she is also mystified by the FAA projection, given that ``no airline has ever been able to maintain commercial service at Hanscom for any significant amount of time." After the 2004 shutdown of Shuttle America, Hanscom's commercial service now amounts to only a handful of daily flights on 19-seat planes by Boston-Maine Airways Pan Am Clipper Connection to Elmira, N.Y., and Trenton, N.J.And Boston-Maine has been an erratic tenant at Hanscom. In 2002, it launched service to several destinations, including Bangor, Maine; Nantucket; St. John, New Brunswick; and White Plains, N.Y. But then it pulled out of Hanscom in April 2003, before returning 11 months later to challenge Shuttle America on the Bedford-Trenton route.
Joseph A. Maturo Jr. , mayor of East Haven, Conn., where part of Tweed Airport is situated, scoffed at the idea of the little airport -- which has no easy connection to Interstate 95 -- ever serving 1 million annual passengers. ``To me, that is very far-fetched. It's a pie-in-the-sky number," Maturo said in a telephone interview. ``Airport studies are done by airport people, and I don't pay a lot of attention to them."
• GUESSING GAME AT ORH: Not to rely on conjecture, but something’s coming in the next two weeks at the Worcester Metrowest-Boston Airport. We’re not sure what, but we’d almost guarantee that City Manager Michael O’Brien is getting ready to make an announcement of some sort about the airport in the next two weeks. At Tuesday’s City Council meeting he coyly cited “active discussions” with target airlines, as well as an eventual expansion of corporate and GA operations. O’Brien was reticent to report anything concrete on Tuesday, and turned visibly frustrated at Councilor Gary Rosen’s repeated attempts to get new information out of him. (After Rosen stated that he remained “very positive” on the airport, O’Brien quipped back, “I’m working hard to pick up that positive vibe as you’re asking these questions.”) Even so, Councilor Joe Petty said, “I know the administration is working hard ... I know you’re having conversations behind the scenes.” Similar comments from other councilors over the past few weeks smack of them knowing something behind the scenes that they don’t want to let out yet. In any case, we don’t think it’s necessarily a full “airline” announcement, but we can’t ignore the whispers of a new partner of some sort
October 05, 2006
I just flipped through it .. I love the table that shows the ORH leakage at 100%--thanks for reminding us.. I really did not learn one thing about ORH. It is easy to forecast that ORH will have between 275,000 to 550,000 passengers by the year 2020 and I do not debate that we could do that, but the question is how???? The answer is not in here, maybe it will be in the Master Plan--kiddin. My favorite line, however, is on page 34... A 10% reduction of time from Route 290 to ORH would increase passengers by 39%. Not 40% or 33.33%, but 39%.
If an airport has no passengers, but was able to increase passenger count by 39%, how many passengers would that airport have???
e) none of the above
We can turn this airport around and I truly believe that we could have 500,000 passengers by the year 2020. How do we get from 0 to 500,000 over the next 15 years??? There are no "magic" answers in this report or will there be in any other report. The truth is that there is no substitute for hard work and a management team that is held accountable, but until that happens nothing will change. Lets hope MassPort either outright buys or leases ORH for 99 years.
If you are from the private sector the answer above was the letter D)... If you are not from the private sector, then any other answer is right except D).
October 04, 2006
FAA: Keep investing in airport
A Federal Aviation Administration-funded study of regional airports released today says capital improvements should continue to be made at Worcester Regional Airport to handle anticipated growth in commercial passenger traffic over the next decade. Even though a low-cost airline recently pulled out of the airport, leaving it without scheduled passenger service, the airport could be handling between 275,000 and nearly 550,000 passengers a year by 2020, according to the report by the Louis Berger Group. The $2.5 million study also says road improvements to cut 10 minutes off the drive from Interstate 290 to the airport would result in a 39 percent increase in passengers, though the report does not call for the construction of a new access road. The report projects much greater growth for other regional airports. Improvements recommended at the Worcester airport include rehabilitation of aging runway and taxiway pavements and other technology upgrades
Learned that negotiations are under way between the city and the Massachusetts Port Authority on a new agreement for the operation of Worcester Regional Airport. The current deal expires next year. Mr. O’Brien said preliminary discussions with Massport have been productive, with both parties setting ground rules for the negotiations to go forward. He said he hopes a new deal can be close to fruition by next spring when the city’s budget season begins. “We have a true partner in Massport new CEO Tom Kinton,” Mr. O’Brien said. “He has a true understanding in the value of our airport to this city and the region.” Under the current deal, Massport is picking up the tab for 68 percent of the operating deficit at the airport.
Lets hope the negotiations include an outirght sale of ORH to MassPort or a 99 year lease to MassPort. We have already had a 5 year followed by the current 3 year agreement. Although we should be thanking MassPort for the financial assistance, losing $2,000,000 an average per year w/o any commercial service can hardly be considered a success.
October 03, 2006
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For the next six to 12 months Manchester will offer free bus service between Manchester-Boston Regional Airport and two locations in Massachusetts, the Woburn stop and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority stop at Sullivan Square in Boston. About 1 million of Manchester's 4.4 million annual passengers come from Massachusetts.
The interesting thing about this was thatMassport needed to sign off on the initiative because it had the licensing rights to the Woburn location, served by the Logan Express shuttle service
October 02, 2006
Makes you wonder how Skybus is going to start a discount airlines out of Columbus, compete against JetBlue and succeed??
October 01, 2006
Restauranat coming soon.