November 30, 2006
Backdoor politics Northbridge, Leominster skirt Open Meeting Law
With disheartening regularity in Massachusetts, public officials choose to ignore their legal obligation to conduct the public’s business in public. Recent attempts to avoid public scrutiny in Northbridge and Leominster are cases in point. With a few exceptions — notably for personnel matters and negotiations where public scrutiny would have adverse effects on a community’s position — the Open Meeting Law requires all meetings of public boards to be posted and conducted in public. The rationale is simple: to safeguard against backdoor dealing that excludes full public discussion and scrutiny. In Leominster this week, Mayor Dean J. Mazzarella cried foul after city councilors postponed action on a series of appropriations, in a move clearly choreographed out of the public eye. The mayor had heard talk in City Hall Monday about the planned action — and, indeed, almost every agenda item was postponed that night. Robert A. Salvatelli, council president, acknowledged one-on-one discussions before the meeting, but said there was no gathering of a council quorum in violation of the law.
There is no reason to suspect nefarious motives, but the fact that councilors likely had nothing to hide makes the prearranged move even more perplexing. As Mr. Mazzarella noted, “Whether it’s a breach of the law or a breach of faith, it’s bad government.” In Northbridge, the violations are still clearer. After investigating a complaint by former Town Manager Michael J. Coughlin, the Worcester district attorney’s office notified the town on Nov. 22 that exchanges of e-mail on public business by the Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee were in violation of the law. Use of e-mail for routine scheduling matters is permissible, but investigators concluded the “voluminous e-mails” to a quorum of board members discussing board business constituted clear violations of the Open Meeting Law. Whatever the boards’ intent, their practices clearly excluded the public. Mr. Coughlin put it succinctly: “There was a government behind a government on computer screens of a select few.”
Open government is good government. Too often, public officials ignore the fact that, in Massachusetts, open government is also the law.
Letter mailed today:
To: Airport Liaison Phil Niddrie
Re: Financial Information on ORH
Can you please get me the following information:
1) Salary/wages paid to each employee in fiscal year ending June, 2006 by position as well whether the employee worked for the City of Worcester or MassPort. In addition current status (active or terminated); for example:
2) Bond details including original amount, interest rate, amount still owed at the end of fiscal year ending June, 2006 and maturity; for example:
Owed June, 2006
November 29, 2006
Anonymous please enlighten us and post a comment the link to that budget where you found this information or advise where/how we can access the information?
Although I believe MassPort will renew the agreement, I ask why? This is the end of the second agreement spanning 8 years and are losses have only increased each year, currently at $2,000,000 per year, and we have no commercial service. As I have stated many times, I do not blame MassPort, in fact I thank them for keeping the doors open the past 8 years. These current agreements simply give MassPort no incentive since they will never realize any returns if they were to invest capital in the form of money or time. We need to either sell of long-term lease (99 years) ORH to MassPort.
Assuming we do get another 3 year extension, whereby ORH is responsible for a percentage of the operating losses, while paying 100% of the debt service, a loss of an additional 1,000,000 next year, if we do not hit 10,000 commercial passengers (primary airport status) will cost the the tax-payers even more.
November 28, 2006
Couple of thoughts--"prompt action on the long-term land use"?? Myself I have heard about this RFP for at least two years?? We needed a Master plan to tell us to promote aviation-related development of the airport's 1300 plus acres? Here is the editorial:
|Tuesday, November 28, 2006|
Airport initiative in keeping with master plan
Anticipating the unveiling of the master plan for Worcester Regional Airport, city officials already are acting on one of its major recommendations.
The final version of the master plan is scheduled to be presented at a public meeting Dec. 13 at the airport. The plan, in part, calls for expanding the facility’s vigorous general aviation component and re-establishing scheduled commercial passenger service.
Progress on the third major element of the plan — promoting aviation-related development on some of the airport’s 1,300-plus acres in Worcester and Leicester — is outlined in a report to the City Council tonight.
The administration’s prompt action on the long-term land-use program is welcome.
As a first step, the city this month issued a request for development proposals for 4.5 acres within the airport’s secure area. Because the parcel has direct runway and taxi-lane access, the city and Massport consider it ideal for hangars, amenities for future commercial passenger activities and support services for corporate, private and charter aircraft. Other potential uses might include aircraft maintenance and parking, engine repair, flight instruction and air-taxi service.
The request has been sent to 50 potential developers, including many that have expressed specific interest in the airport.
While scheduled passenger service remains a priority, expanding corporate and general aviation could reduce the red ink in the airport budget substantially. For example, one large corporate jet based at the airport would generate hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in revenue, city officials say, and have a total impact in jobs, fuel purchases, maintenance and other services exceeding $1.5 million a year.
A key objective articulated in the master plan is to maximize revenue and economic activity and create jobs — while reserving land that might be needed for aviation use in the foreseeable future. The initial request for development proposals is a significant step in the right direction
November 27, 2006
“We’re trying to show them, not just Polar Air but other people, it’s a more convenient place,” said Derek Martin, deputy director of the Rockford airport. He said the company is considering Rockford’s offer, but he doesn’t know when it will respond. Polar Air Cargo would be Rockford’s second-biggest operator — UPS flies 30 planes a week.
Polar Air Cargo officials didn’t return calls seeking comment. The Polar Web site said the company connects major cargo markets in the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Far East through frequent Boeing 747 freighter service. Polar and its sister company, Atlas Air Inc., are wholly owned subsidiaries of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc.
November 25, 2006
The Massachusetts Port Authority board approved nearly $46 million in airport construction and renovation projects, including a $26.5 million project to reconfigure aircraft taxiways in the southwest corner of the airfield next year.
The taxiway work, which could reduce a recent spate of "runway incursions" when planes violate minimum safe spacing distances, will be funded by the Federal Aviation Administration and by proceeds from the $4.50-per-ticket passenger facilities charge Logan passengers already pay.
Massport capital programs director Sam Sleiman said, "The project will enhance safety. It's been supported by chief pilots'' of airlines serving Logan, "the FAA, and all the aviation community.'' Massport hasn't chosen a construction contractor, and it's not clear what, if any, delays the construction could cause when work begins next year.
Other projects approved by Massport's board this morning include:
- $9.5 million for Skanska Construction to complete unfinished work at the international Terminal E that now-defunct Modern Continental Construction Co. was to have finished during a $400-million-plus terminal upgrade.
- $8 million for an upgrade to move luggage more rapidly through a Transportation Security Administration screening system, with $6 million paid for by TSA and $2 million by Massport.
- $1.95 million to fund a consolidated American Airlines-American Eagle security checkpoint in Terminal B and complete renovations in Massport-controlled areas of the terminal, where American and airport concessionaire BAA Boston Inc. are building a new food court and shops.
November 24, 2006
The first big dividend of building a larger runway at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport near Latrobe paid off Tuesday when a 150-passenger jet took off en route to casinos in Laughlin, Nev Airport officials anticipate the MD-83 jet and other large aircraft will be a fixture on the tarmac, which was enlarged earlier this year to about 8,200 feet at a cost of $9 million.
"Hopefully this will lead to more junkets," said Westmoreland County Airport Authority spokesman Dwayne Pickels.
The side benefit of that project, though, is the ability for the airport to accommodate larger aircraft that can take more passengers to more distant locations. The airport provides daily commuter service to Detroit operated by Northwest Airlines Yesterday's charter flight to the small gaming town of Laughlin was the first nonstop long-distance flight not limited by the number of passengers and weight restrictions required by the shorter runway.
Preferred Casinos, which operates one of the regular Atlantic City junkets from the Palmer airport, sold out yesterday's flights. "In the past we considered these trips, but we didn't have the length on the runway. Now we're looking to do one of these a month," said John Mitchell, a partner with Preferred Casinos. In addition to its Laughlin and Atlantic City trips, Preferred Casinos, according to its Web site, operates charter service to Las Vegas, Reno, New Orleans and the Bahamas.
November 23, 2006
1) Master Plan---December 13th at 6:00PM.
2) RFP for Corporate/Aviation Facility is due January 17, 2007
I know I list 4 or 5 outstanding questions but lets just have one today--the biggest one. IMG has been paid over $100,000 to help ORH recruit and retain a commercial airline. What are the status of any of their negotiations.
November 22, 2006
WASHINGTON, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Low cost airline and travel service company Allegiant Travel Co. filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday to sell up to 5 million shares for between $15 and $17 per share in an initial public offering of stock.
Underwriters, led by Merrill Lynch & Co., have the option to buy an additional 750,000 shares to cover overallotments, the filing said.
Assuming an offering price of $16 a share, the company -- which earned $10.3 million on revenue of $180.2 million in the first nine months of 2006 -- would have an initial market capitalization of about $300 million, according to the filing.The Las Vegas, Nevada-based company expects to list its shares on the Nasdaq under the symbol "ALGT"
November 21, 2006
Linear Air, a Lexington operator of air taxis, said today it has formally launched seasonal passenger air-taxi service from San Juan International Airport in Puerto Rico.
Through March 31, the company will offer charter service to such Caribbean islands as the Dominican Republic, St. Thomas, and St. Croix.
November 20, 2006
Original plans for a sixth runway at Logan were put on hold in 1976, when opponents worried about noise and increased air traffic got a court injunction to block it. The proposal was resurrected in the 1990s, and a state judge lifted the injunction in November 2003, allowing construction to go forward. The last legal barrier was removed in 2004 when the state's Supreme Judicial Court rejected the town of Hull's objection.
"For anybody who was around in the 1970s when the battle over airport expansion was in the papers every single day, day after day, it is amazing to think 14/32 would ever actually get built," said John Vitagliano, a former Massachusetts Port Authority board member.
By court order, use of the runway is restricted to planes taking off and landing over Boston Harbor. Massport also can use it only during about a third of the year when winds are from the northwest or southeast. Because the runway is half the size of Logan's three main jet runways, it will serve smaller planes.
But Massport predicts the runway will reduce delays not related to poor weather or air traffic congestion along the East Coast by 25 percent on average and by 90 percent on some windy days. People living in neighborhoods near the airport remain critical of the addition.
"We will not be giving thanks for this new runway on Thanksgiving day," said Mary Ellen Welch, a Jeffries Point resident. "When you get right down to it, it's going to increase noise. There will be more operations, more arrivals, more departures, and therefore there will be more noise and more traffic over our heads and next to our heads."
November 19, 2006
Yesterday, Congressman McGovern and I met with Massport and others to begin discussions on the future of Worcester Regional Airport in light of the news that commercial passenger sevrice will not be available with USAir Express eliminating uts three daily flights. The City is assisting Massport in a review of the short-term options available to address the immediate circumstances caused by the USAir annoucements. Congressman McGovener along with Senators Kennedy and Kerry, Massport and i will be arranging a meeting of all interested parties to consider the long-term options for the aiporrt. While no option should be excluded, it was clear to all of us who met yesterday that a healthy Airport is an asset to the community and essential to our economic growth and vitality and that we must continue our efforts, in partnership with Massport and the Fedeal Authorities, to work to make Worcester Regional Airport fulfill its role in providing transportatin service to this area. I will provide Council with reports on the short-term activities taken and the details of the plans for the long-term meeting wheb available.
November 18, 2006
Attached is a newspaper article from the T & G dated 6/2/2 regarding the interest of CommutAir in operating out of our regional airport. In this article, it indicates CommutAir has yet to meet with the ad hoc airport committee, which is co-chaired by Mark Love, President of the Worcester Regional Commerce and myself. While it is true, it is not a case where we have not discussed this matter within the committee.
I have had discussions with Eric Waldron, MassPort Director of Worcester Regional Airport with regards to this issue over the last several months. In addition, Mr Waldron has described the possibility of CommutAir being adding at the airport with the Ad Hoc Committee during the last several bi-weekly meetings. In turn, Mr Waldron has had continuing discussion with CommutAir during this period of time.
You can be assured that my office and the Ad Hoc Committee, along with MassPort, will continue every effort possible to confirm CommutAir operations at our airport in the near future.
November 17, 2006
I have read today's editorial in the Telegram and Gazette concerning the cancellation of one of American Eagles's daily flights to Chicago from Worcester. Although the editorial correctly notes that American Eagle is restricted by the collective bargaining agreement between American Airline and its pilots, the story of the Worcester service is far more complicated.
In fact, our service to Worcester has simply not had the support from the community to make it profitable. We are in the process of developing a more detailed history of the market, but let me share some important points in advance.
The fundamental problem with the service has been a lack of business traffic. As you know from the numerous hearings that you have attended over the years on aviation issues, the economics of a successful aviation route depend upon the "mix" of traffic on the route. We need both business and leisure traffic to be successful. We have been reasonably successful at attracting the low-fare leisure traffic on this route. But this is not so for business travel. As a result, although the flights may look full, they are actually full of passengers, who together are not paying for the cost of the flight.
Basically, at the fares that we are able to charge at Worcester, our "break-even" load factor is 126%. In other words even if every seat was full on every flight, we would need 26% more passengers to break-even!
Unfortunately, the market was already suffering prior to September 11th. The actual load factors and losses on this route for the past several months are as follows:
Month Load Factor Losses
July 64% 199,000
August 52% 247,000
September 44% 295,000
October 61% 260,000
November 59% 228,000
As you can, although the events of September 11th were damaging, we were already losing a great deal of money before then. The August numbers are particularly distressing. That should be a much stronger month and the trend was clearly on the decline.
At your urging and that of MassPort's, we decided to keep one flight per day in the market to see if we could operate more profitably. If we were able to make it profitable, we would certainly consider adding back the second flight and building up the market. We recognize that this is a real challenge because the service pattern is so limited with just one flight per day. But under the circumstances outlined above, the only alternative was to pull the flights altogether.
You have been immensely supportive of this service and we would really like to make it work. As I have noted, I have requested American Eagle prepare a more detailed analysis of the situation for your use. They are more then willing to send a senior marketing person to Worcester to meet with you and whomever you recommend to discuss ways the community may be able to support the service. In turn, we are happy to listen to your suggestions for any possible way to turn the situation around.
Senior Vice-President of Government Affairs
November 16, 2006
TO: Thomas Hoover, City Manager
From: Phil Niddrie, Chief Development Officer
Re: Airline Contacts
You have asked for a report on the contacts with the Airlines that have taken place over the course of a monthly period of time. The Airlines submit regular monthly activity reports to the Airport Directors Office. Additionally, the Airport Staff has regular conversations with the Airlines regarding ORH.
As you are aware, Massport established an Airport Marketing Committee of which I have been a member since my years with the Chamber of Commerce, and followed into the role once again as Chief Development Officer. My predecessor, Mr Shaw, was a member along with Susan Black, Marketing Director. They and I represented you at these meetings.
Massport was, and is, committed to chairing and staffing these meetings. At a meeting in December, the representative of the Airlines also participated.
The goal of the Marketing Committee has been to "reach a goal of 400,000 passengers by 2004" and to develop "a larger percentage of the corporate travel market." With changes in the airline industry and corporate travel in the past year, these goals will be adjusted in the near future.
Regarding the financial situation of each Airline, those figures are not regularly released by Airlines.
November 15, 2006
The move enables each carrier to use its partner's frequent flier programs to attract new passengers from outside its network. AirTran serves 51 cities, mostly in the East, from its Atlanta hub, while Frontier flies to 55 cities, mainly in the West, from its Denver base. Between Atlanta and Denver, each carrier has three daily flights.
Local officials and an Allegiant Air executive have scheduled a news conference for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Fort Wayne International Airport. An Allegiant spokeswoman and an airport spokeswoman declined to provide more details late Tuesday afternoon, but the announcement will almost certainly be that the Las Vegas-based low-cost carrier will add Fort Wayne to its route.
Allegiant, which flies to 51 cities in the United States, has built a business model around providing low-cost flights to three vacation destinations -- Las Vegas; Orlando, Fla.; and Tampa Bay, Fla. The airline already has regular flights to South Bend and to Toledo, Ohio.
For more on this story, see Wednesday's editions of The Journal Gazette or visit http://www.journalgazette.net after 7 a.m. Fort Wayne time Wednesday.
November 14, 2006
Now open the presentation in the bottom left hand corner. Pretty much any secondary underutlized airport in the country could simply replace the name Gary with, for example, Worcester and save themselves 100,000 in consulting/Master Plan fees.
November 13, 2006
Between the fact Allegiant pulled out of ORH after less then 9 months and the future mgmt of ORH is unknown, it will be very difficult (if not impossible) to get an airline to commit to ORH.
November 12, 2006
Just for comparison sakes, check out the story below from the New Haven Register. If ORH was losing $187,157 then I would urge the City of Worcester to keep ORH. A consistent pattern of increasing losses for 10 years now at $2,000,000 (with no commercial service), we need to sell or long-term lease (99 years) ORH:
Tweed New Haven Regional Airport finished the 2005-06 fiscal year with a $187,157 operating deficit, according to a recently completed audit, but remained in the black overall, with a general fund balance of $1.29 million and a restricted fund balance of $256,864. The audit, by independent auditor Mike Solakian, said the operating deficit was "in part attributable to lower income from on-airport parking, taxi and rental car concessions as a result of the termination of air service by Comair (Delta Connection) on Jan. 2, 2006."
It also cited the Tweed New Haven Airport Authority’s decision to continue a regional marketing campaign in the wake of Comair’s exit.Authority members discussed and unanimously approved the audit this week.The general fund balance is akin to a savings account. Restricted funds may be used only for eligible airport capital projects under Federal Aviation Administration regulations. The $1.29 million general fund balance actually grew from the previous year’s $1.03 million fund balance. The $256,864 restricted fund balance diminished from $620,651 the previous year.The audit found that the unrestricted general fund balance was "consistent with industry standard for airports of this size and scope."
November 11, 2006
- Final results of the Master Plan from Leigh Fisher Associates (now Jacobs Consulting)?
- How is Infrastructure Management Group (IMG) doing recruiting commercial airlines, after we have paid them over $100,000 from the Small Community Air Service Grant?
- Status of the RFP's for the vacant parcels of land and the restaurant slot?
- Status of airport name change?
- Have we or have we not revoked the imposition of a tax on the sale of fuel at ORH?
- When can we expect the major announcement?
- Status of negotiations with MassPort to extend the current operating agreement?
- When is the next Airport Commission Board Meeting?
Skybus Airlines has picked a site near Port Columbus for its headquarters. The Columbus startup airline, which hopes to begin flying in March, has signed a five-year lease for 100,000 square feet of office and hangar space at the Columbus International Air-Center.
The company is receiving $57 million in state and local incentives to aid its startup. The space in the 3 millionsquare-foot center had been vacant. The building, on 5 th Avenue on the south side of the airport, formerly was used by companies such as McDonnell-Douglas Corp. to manufacture military planes.
Skybus President Ken Gile called the center an "ideal location," as it abuts the runway that Skybus will use when its planes take off and land at Port Columbus’ Terminal B. Skybus has raised more than $100 million from firms including Fidelity and Morgan Stanley.
Central Ohio investors include Battelle, Huntington Capital Investment Co., Nationwide and Wolfe Enterprises Inc., a subsidiary of The Dispatch Printing Company, publisher of The Dispatch. The airline expects to have 200 employees when it begins flying early next year and as many as 350 by the end of 2007.
November 10, 2006
GARY The Gary Jet Center plans to build a 38,000-square-foot hangar for corporate jets at Gary/Chicago International Airport.The $4.1 million hangar will be the Gary Jet Center's second at the airport and will bring to six the number of large private hangars just off the airport's 7,000-foot main runway.
The new hangar will more than double the Gary Jet Center's hangar space when completed this spring, according to owner Will Davis. He said the second hangar is being built for a simple reason."Pressure," Davis said. "Because there is demand. And this is a great airport."High costs at Midway and O'Hare, as well as long waits for takeoffs, are driving more and more private jets to Gary, according
November 09, 2006
E-mail lists across campus were abuzz yesterday with rumors that a JetBlue campus promotion that has students wearing blue and yelling “go blue” to win free plane tickets is actually a prank engineered by Yale students.
But according to JetBlue spokeswoman Sharon Jones and JetBlue campus representative Taylor M. Owings ’08, the promotion is not a prank. “The promotion is real,” Jones said. “Students will be able to win free tickets if they wear blue and say ‘go blue.’” Kristin Morgan, a brand engagement manager for Mr. Youth LLC—a marketing firm that works with JetBlue, also confirmed in an e-mail that “Blue Day” is not a prank. “Blue Day is by no means a prank event, and has no affiliation with Yale University,” Morgan wrote.
Flying from Rockford to Orlando just got a lot easier.
Starting today, Allegiant Air is offering flights six days a week to Orlando. The new flights leave Rockford at 12:15 p.m. and arrive in sunny Orlando at 3:45. Return flights depart at 10:00 a.m. and arrive back in Rockford just before noon.
Reservations can be made through the airline's Reservations and Information Center at 1-800-432-3810 or through personal travel agents.
November 08, 2006
November 07, 2006
This is Linear's Air future:::
Business jets have traditionally been the domain of the super rich and high-powered corporate executives who don’t have time or patience for getting frisked at airport security checkpoints. But a new smaller aircraft could make private air travel more available for less-wealthy folks. Very light jets have travelers, corporations and commercial operators buzzing about the “perfect storm” of technology that could revolutionize the way people get places by plane. The jets cost between $1.5 million and $3 million, weigh under 10,000 pounds, seat about seven people and can fly over 1,000 miles at speeds approaching 460 mph. The cheapest cut the price of existing business jets by more than half, although they generally are slower and fly shorter distances.
They could be an addition to a corporate jet fleet, an individual’s plaything, or the savior of the nascent air-taxi industry. Yet no one knows if they will be any of these. Critics say there’s a bubble about to burst. Only two companies have received Federal Aviation Administration certification for the jets so far and are set to begin making deliveries. They are privately owned Eclipse Aviation, whose second-largest investor is Bill Gates, and Cessna Aircraft Co., a unit of Textron Inc.
But the industry has quickly become crowded. Brazil’s Embraer SA, an alliance by Honda Motor Co. and Piper Aircraft Inc. and others, is seeking certification and deliveries in the next few years. “They’re the greatest growth market the aviation industry has seen in a long time,” said Richard Aboulafia, a Teal Group aviation analyst. A self-described “enthusiastic skeptic” of light jet mania, he believes the market capacity will be 250 to 300 orders a year worldwide, with a heavy concentration in North America. “The real danger is when a group of people start banking on the market growing at 1,000 aircraft a year,” Aboulafia said. “Then you get financial carnage.”
Cessna has received 250 orders for its Citation Mustang, which costs $2.6 million. Eclipse plans to deliver 515 Eclipse 500s, priced at $1.5 million, next year. Eclipse has received 2,500 orders. The company said customers generally pay 10 percent down on the purchase price — about $150,000. Leonard Goldberg, president and owner of Fort Lauderdale-based charter company Gold Aviation Services, put a refundable deposit down on two Eclipse light jets in 2001 and is scheduled to get them next year. Goldberg said aviation critics are overly skeptical. “Aviation is such a conservative market,” Goldberg said. “Everyone else said it can’t be done, it won’t be done. Now it’s clear that it’s a viable market that will do well, and everyone is paying attention.”
Eclipse has invested $500 million in development, and DayJet, an air-taxi company to start up in Florida early next year, placed 239 firm orders for Eclipse jets beginning in 2002. The companies declined to reveal how much DayJet has paid for the planes. “It could really open up air travel to a whole different group of folks,” said Vern Raburn, Eclipse’s chief executive, who used to work at Microsoft Corp. with Gates.
Eclipse was founded in 1998 and its sole business is the small jets. While the buzz at October’s National Business Aviation Association conference in Orlando focused on the jets, Goldberg said the consensus on the floor about Eclipse was pessimistic. “I think everyone still thinks Eclipse is going to fail,” he said. “It’s easy to pick on the brand-new manufacturer.” Raburn’s high expectations hinge largely on the air-taxi industry, a large portion of the company’s projected sales — 60 percent of which are targeting the commercial market. Air-taxi proponents say that with the low-cost technology of the new jets, there is a great opportunity to bring businesspeople who normally drive into short-haul jet travel.
DayJet plans to fly over 300 Eclipse jets in two years. The company wants to expand into Georgia, and throughout the Southeast after that. DayJet is basing its franchise on snatching business travelers from the highways by providing on-demand travel between smaller airports. The cost will be equivalent to a standard airline ticket, plus the cost of an overnight stay — which DayJet will render unnecessary, Chief Executive Ed Iacobucci said. “This is for the middle-niche, middle-tier of travelers that don’t have any options,” Iacobucci said. “New people will be coming to the plate that otherwise wouldn’t have been flying.”
Still, Cessna doesn’t believe the air-taxi industry is feasible, and so it didn’t develop its jet planning to sell a high percentage of them for commercial aviation. That’s the main marketing difference between the two companies with the earliest start in the market. Cessna doesn’t need success with the jets to survive, because it is a subsidiary of Textron, which makes everything from jets and helicopters to golf carts and surveillance systems. Cessna believes it will corner much of the market on sales for corporate travel and individual owner-operators.
November 05, 2006
Now the major announcement may be a a corporate jet being based at ORH? Don't get me wrong, I think it is a great that a corporate jet will be calling ORH home, but when we just lost our one commercial carrier while we are losing $2,000,000 per yeat--is this a major announcement?
On this Sunday morning lets review some of the outstanding questions:
- Master Plan from Jacobs (old Leigh Fisher) Consulting?
- IMG recruitment efforts that we have spent over $100,000?
- ORH name change?
- Are we still charging a fuel tax?
- Leaks in terminal roof?
- Airport Drive Construction?
- MassPort negotiations with 8 months remaining?
- RFP's for the vacant parcels and restaurant?
In light of these open questions and the City Manager's recent 5 year year forecasts to limit debt and the fact our free cash has dropped significantly, I do not see any other option other then the outright sale or 99 year lease to MassPort. A sale will:
- Provide an initial capital infusion or annual cash payment depending on terms
- Negotiate a PILOT with MassPort as well
- MassPort has the expertise and cash to turn ORH around and the success of ORH will bring even more tax revenues
Extending the current agreement with MassPort that has not worked already for 8 years makes no sense whatsoever.
November 04, 2006
Decisions about who does creative work and other jobs needed in the marketing effort are being worked out, Brinton said. "This is such a fast-track situation that we're on the move trying to figure out the best way to do each of those things," he said. Service is scheduled to start Dec. 15.
Xtra Airways of Nevada will fly Sky Value's passengers. The tour operation will work much like any airline, with one big difference. It will follow the scheduled charter model, in which the company will deposit passenger payments into an escrow account, and then collect the money when the passenger's trip is complete. Traditional airlines, such as US Airways, receive passenger money at the time of ticket purchase.
Some airlines who have followed the scheduled charter model, such as Hooters Air, Southeast Airlines and TransMeridian Airlines, have gone out of business.However, the head of Sky Value built Pace Airlines, a successful charter airline, said Lynn Kusy, Williams Gateway's executive director. Pace continues to operate today. "We do have some confidence in the management of this group," Kusy said.
Both Southeast Airlines and Hooters Air served Gary Chicago International Airport, the airport from which Sky Value will fly to serve five destinations, including Williams Gateway. Some aviation analysts are leery about the Williams Gateway-Gary flights."Other carriers have tried serving Gary and haven't survived, so unfortunately it doesn't have a strong track record," said Steve Lott, assistant managing editor at Aviation Daily, a trade publication. "I give them credit for giving Gary a shot."
The Gary airport was not the focus of previous airlines, while it is Sky Value's focus, said Darrell Richardson, the company's chief executive officer. He also said the company's use of new airplanes sets it apart from other carriers that have tried the airport.He noted the Gary airport's free parking and proximity to Chicago.
"It's everything the passenger really wants," he said. "If you believe in Gary, you've got to believe in Williams. It's the same concept."A major selling point, Richardson said, is that both airports are smaller, secondary airports that aren't plagued by the inconveniences of larger airports, such as long security waits."You have to go through the same regulations, the only difference is you don't have 200 other flights trying to go through at the same time," he said. "People are sort of tired of going and standing in line all day."
From the airline's standpoint, using these kinds of airports makes sense because of lower costs, Aviation Daily's Lott said. But, he said the airport hassle factor comes and goes as security issues change. "I think the airport hassle factor is more of an issue for many business travelers than for leisure travelers, so I wonder how much weight that argument holds," he said. The company plans to run its service through at least April. "If these routes do well, we'll continue to fly them year round," Richardson said. "Years of study went into this program."
November 03, 2006
There are no minutes of the previous meeting on tonight’s Agenda. It is a Special Meeting of the Commission to discuss an agenda item regarding a new Swissport Sublease. The agenda on the next regular meeting (presently set for 11/13/06 at 6:30 in the Airport Conference Room) will have the minutes of the last regular meeting and this meeting to be voted at that time.
Does anyone know anything about this Swissport Sublease??? I have e-mailed our airport liaison formally requesting the minutes of this Special Meeting, along with the minutes of last month's regularly scheduled meeting, to be sent to me after the 11/13 meeting.
The opening of a $1 million three-hangar general aviation complex at the Colorado Springs Airport signals a growing market for facilities that house privately-owned fixed-wing turbine, turbo-prop and jet-engine aircraft. The facility is one of three hangar construction projects currently slated for completion in 2006 and 2007.
JHW Enterprises President Dick Janitell said his project was initiated in response to increasing demand a shortage of hangars for private planes and jets. “We already had the new hangars 100 percent pre-leased when construction began — and we’ve still got a waiting list,” he said.
The firm and its sister company, Pikes Peak Aviation, are the Colorado Springs Airport’s oldest and largest tenants, with 28 acres under lease. The companies also have a fixed-base operation which supplies jet fuel and gas, along with a complete maintenance and avionics shop.
The hangars include a number of upgraded features, such as increased insulation, special electric bi-fold doors and low-maintenance floor finishes. Each lessor pays a monthly hangar rental as well as the cost of utilities, including water and electricity to serve offices and restrooms.
Tenants can take advantage of the 5,800-square-foot units to store additional equipment or multiple planes. Rents range from $375 to $8,000, and facilities range from simple shell structures to deluxe multi-plane hangars.
November 02, 2006
In the shadow of a vacant World War II-era hanger, Oxford Aviation officials and state and local leaders turned over a few shovelfuls of earth Wednesday in a ceremonial groundbreaking for the company's Sanford Jet Division. Pending final approval of a $1.2 million federal grant, which officials expect within the next two weeks, Oxford Aviation is planning to build a $10 million, 93,000-square-foot facility at Sanford Regional Airport.
More than 200 people will work there, Oxford President Jim Horowitz said. Gov. John Baldacci, U.S. Rep. Tom Allen and other speakers at the groundbreaking all praised Horowitz for deciding to locate the facility in Sanford. "Jim cares about Maine and he wanted this to happen in Maine," Baldacci said. "Oxford Aviation is a success story." Oxford Aviation currently has 65 employees at its Oxford headquarters, where workers refurbish small planes.
But the runway there is too small to accommodate larger planes, and the 6,000-foot landing strip at Sanford will allow the company to take on orders for medium and large planes.
The company will also expand its business of finishing planes -- adding colors, designs and registration numbers to brand new planes. Under an earlier agreement, Sanford town officials said they would return property taxes of up to $109,000 per year, and assist in securing the $1.2 million federal grant, which will be matched by city funds.
"We're going to get the grant, I have no doubt about that," said Sanford Economic Affairs Developer Les Stevens. "Our challenge is to get it as quickly as possible." Horowitz said he considered locating the new facility elsewhere in Maine or another state, but decided on Sanford largely because of support from local and state officials. He also noted that the Sanford Regional Airport is a Pine Tree Zone.
These enterprise zones offer businesses a package of tax benefits for every new job created. Oxford Aviation has also received $400,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds from the state. Construction will begin after the demolition of the old hanger, which will take place after the town receives approval of the federal grant, company and city officials said Wednesday