December 30, 2007
Here are some comments that would have been appropriate for today's column:
- The tax-payers of Worcester will find out what IMG has been doing with the over $100,000 from the DOT Small Community Air Service Grant to recruit and retain an airline.
- All the buildings at ORH will have heat, running water, no falling insulation and leaking roofs will be repaired.
- The approximate $200,000 remaining in the DOT Small Community Air Service Grant will actually be spent on attracting airlines, not consultants, during the one year extension that DOT granted ORH to spend these monies.
- The 20 Master Plan, that has been worked on for 4 years, will be released but the results will be out of date and a new 20 Year Master Plan will be started.
- The airport will be put out to an RFP to privatize the ENTIRE airport, National Express, the company that ran Stewart under a 99 year lease but was recent bought out by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, wins the bid paying annual lease payments to the City of Worcester, as well as property taxes, and makes ORH a success overnight.
- National Express calls Allegiant Airlines offering the remaining $200,000 of DOT Small Community Air Service Grant and Allegiant decides to come back to ORH.
- A new website is created for the airport.
- The restaurant slot is put out to an RFP and is won by Dunkin Donuts, who not only opens inside but has a curbside drive-up window with the motto "Don't Fly By".
- Naming right to ORH are also bought by Dunkin Donuts calling ORH the "DUNK".
- FREE parking at ORH
- Airport Director starts a weekly radio show where he gives updates on the happenings at the "DUNK".
December 28, 2007
December 27, 2007
Now I also read MaxJet has gone under. Over the past few years we have seen the folowing companies go out of business:
Then we have seen many other start-ups never start-up like DJ Air and Festival. In retrospect it makes what Allegiant has done even more impressive. We really blew it with Allegiant, while we still sit on over $200,000 of DOT Small Community Air Service Grant monies. Since they have left ORH, Allegiant has added Fort Lauderdale and Tampa/St Pete as destination cities. How nice would it have been to have direct service to three Florida destinations out of ORH?
December 24, 2007
December 23, 2007
If I am reading this correctly, it looks like a 2nd permit fee of $750,000 needs to be paid by that date (the first permit payment of $250,000 has already been made). This $750,000 fee can be avoided if the developer submits a termination notice to the City of Worcester. Not only would they not have to pay the $750,000, but they will get the first payment of $250,000 back in 30 days.
If I am Berkeley based on the tight credit markets and the real estate market, I would stongly be thinking of not submitting the 2nd permit fee of $750,000, terminating the agreement and getting my first payment of $250,000 back. Bottom line is that June 15, 2008 is less then 6 months away.
- No Nemeth Story on the airport
- According to Nick K in the newspaper the build-out of 11,300 square feet of space will cost 1.25 million. You can build a brand new building from the ground up of the same size for less then this? No way should the City of Worcester be doing this.
December 22, 2007
First off, we simply do not have the money to do this. If we really want these two tenants then lets cut them a deal on the lease and have them do the build out. What happens when we spend the monies for the build-out for the restaurant/night club and there is no business to pay the rent? Why do we think this club will succeed when other have failed? Bottom line is that the City of Worcester should not be in the lending business for commerical build-outs.
Secondly why these two tenants? Maybe if I, or you, knew the City of Worcester was willing to front $750,000 to build out the space other prospective tenants may be interested. In the end, I do not like the idea of the $750,000, but if we are going to do it then it should be a RFP open to everyone.
December 20, 2007
Today I had a broken meter. As I am walking by my car, however, I notice that I am getting a ticket. To myself, I figure the meter must have got fixed and then expired, but that was not the case. How can I get a ticket, when the meter has not expired?? Believe me I have seen these guys (and gals) berated many times for simply doing their job, but this one had me completely bewildered. I had to ask how is this possible?
I was then informed he was tracking the time himself and knew that I had parked there more then two hours (which I had) and he ticketed me?? Even though the meter had not expired and I would have put more monies into it if it was not jammed, the ticket was mine. I was then told that after my initial two hours (max allocated for this meter), I should have moved my car?
Bottom line is that I managed to get a ticket for a meter violation, even though the meter had not expired.
December 17, 2007
1) How important has the recent success of Rockford been to the City of Rockford itself?
So far, the main benefit has been for companies that use UPS regularly, because UPS has its second-largest sorting hub here.
It remains to be seen exactly how much the city will benefit from the airport's more recent success, but local leaders do feel it will have a very good economic impact. They expect to see not only an increase in cargo carriers at the airport, but more distribution centers, freight forwarders, trucking companies, etc., pop up nearby. They also see more aircraft maintenance and aerospace jobs, which would pay more than distribution jobs.
The increase in passenger service has somewhat benefited gas stations, hotels and restaurants, but the real benefit for those businesses is down the road, if passenger totals approach a million or more a year.
I think everyone would agree that RFD to date has largely untapped its potential as an economic driver, but if the developments being sought work out as planned, it could really help rev up the local economy.
2) Do you think Rockford could be where they are today without your Airport Director, Bob O’Brien?
Bob has been very important as a salesman for the airport (both to potential passengers and airlines) and as a tireless, energetic public face. He dares locals to dream big about the airport, and clearly articulates how he thinks it can reach those dreams. Having someone who can both think big and articulate a clear vision for getting there is key.
But - and Bob would be the first to say this - the credit also goes to the Greater Rockford Airport Authority. The board hired Bob because they wanted big things for the airport and wanted to buck conventional wisdom that it couldn't draw passengers in the shadow of O'Hare. They've backed him in his efforts to bring more passenger and cargo service here, have funded initiatives and also pushed him to do as much as he can. You can have the most dynamic airport director in the world, but if the people who hired him or her aren't dynamic too, it doesn't mean much.
3) What role do you think Rockford’s Miles Ahead program has played in the success of Rockford?
It has at least 23,000 people outside of our county (and another 10,000 in the county) at least thinking about Chicago Rockford International Airport. They in turn could be passing information to their friends. I know the recent "Big Event" promotion where they gave $30 to $100 cash back to anyone buying tickets sold 600 tickets. They basically spent $35,000 in "advertising" to sell those tickets, get people in the door, give them a good experience when they fly and hopefully get them returning. They do smaller promos all the time, and those have at least played some role in getting people in the door. The proof will be if numbers continue to advance.
4) What role do you think Free Parking has played in the success of Rockford?
Free parking is huge because it is one of the single biggest differentiating factors in getting customers away from O'Hare (and to a lesser extent, Milwaukee). It's part of the "hassle free" brand the airport is trying to create - come here and it'll be easier and cheaper.
5) What do you think lies ahead in the future?
Allegiant is going to continue to grow - they've indicated they want to add one more domestic destination, one Caribbean or Mexican destination and several "niche destinations" to their system in the next few years. Rockford would continue to get most of those, it would appear. United will likely stay put, but it's not clear if it would add flights or destinations … it doesn't seem likely right now. The big question is whether the airport can get another "name brand" airport or two for it to grow as fast as officials want. That would be someone like Southwest, Jetblue, Skybus, ATA, etc. … and with the industry what it is, who knows their intentions? You can bet, though, the airport will continue to market itself like crazy to the western Chicago suburbs and southern Wisconsin and, if numbers continue to increase, some airline will listen. The thing naysayers forget is, RFD isn't marketing to all of Chicago, just the people who are as close or almost as close to here as to O'Hare.
On the cargo front, I can see a couple of carriers bringing some of their operations here next year, and more joining them later on. There are plenty of economic reasons for cargo carriers to come here: it's cheaper, has good transportation infrastructure, has the runway lengths and an airport staff willing to bend over backwards for them. I think you'll see big cargo growth sooner than passenger, but the possibilities for both are there.
Thomas V. Bona
Rockford Register Star
December 16, 2007
December 14, 2007
December 13, 2007
- No marketing report again. All year there has only been one marketing report filed. That was in September and that was to let us know that the expiration of the time allotted to spend the Small Community Air Service grant was extened one year. We have not one report on any discussions with any airlines during 2007.
- Master Plan is still not done, it has literally been 3 years maybe 4 that we have worked on a 20 year Master Plan
- the winner (and lone bidder)of the RFP for the parcel of land, Winward who had delayed their decision whether to buy the parcel until next March, now has paid $2,000 to advertise and recruit potential prospects?
- insulation in Hangar 2 has finally been completed
- I have received many anonymous e-mails detailing the deplorable conditions of some the buildiings at the airport. Now it has been confirmed in the minutes that the building that houses Amity is in "severe disrepair". The ARFF building, not sure which one that is, also has "some heating issues", which I translate as no heat.
The thing that really is bothering me right now is how did these buildings (assets of the City of Worcester) get into such bad shape?
December 12, 2007
December 11, 2007
In the latest promotion at the airport, travelers who buy tickets in person Tuesday and Wednesday for select dates will get between $36 and $100 cash back for each ticket.Travel must be between Thursday and March 31. There are certain blackout dates on each of the airport’s six regular routes.Travelers must be a part of the airport’s MilesAhead rewards program. They can join at the airport by providing an e-mail address. If they don’t have an e-mail address, airport staff will help them get one through free sites such as Yahoo! or Gmail.
December 09, 2007
Look at an airport like Rockford, who was in a similar situation after 9/11 with no commercial service in close proximity to a major airport-Chicago. One of the main reasons Rockford has had the success that they have had is that they have an airport director that is constantly selling the benefits of RFD. As a direct result, RFD is looking at 215,000 passengers this year, which is 215,000 then ORH.
No matter who runs ORH in the future, we really need a dynamic Airport Director like RFD's Bob O'Brien.
December 07, 2007
NORTH CLARENDON — A month into the start of its Rutland to Boston service, Cape Air is proving more popular than previous carriers that served Rutland Southern Vermont Regional Airport."Passenger-wise, they're looking good," airport manager Thomas Trudeau said. "They're full or nearly full."Trudeau said the nine-passenger Cessnas used by Cape Air routinely have six, seven or eight passengers.
The previous two commuter airlines employed passenger planes that often were empty or near empty.Trudeau said that unlike the previous airlines, Cape Air's low fares are attracting passengers. The one-way Rutland-to-Boston fare with a 14-day advance reservation is $47.50 or $95 roundtrip."I've had more calls and more interest than we've had with the past two carriers," he said.Cape Air's first month has not been without problems. There have been several weather-related cancellations or delays.
December 05, 2007
The company, which flies travelers from small cities to Las Vegas and other leisure destinations, reported late Tuesday that monthly scheduled-service traffic soared to 274.5 million revenue passenger miles from 166.9 million revenue passenger miles in the previous year. A revenue passenger mile is an industry unit measuring one paying passenger flown one mile.
Capacity surged 62.3 percent to 348.1 million available seat miles from 214.4 million available seat miles in the year-ago period. Load factor, a measure of occupancy, edged up to 78.9 percent from 77.8 percent. Departures climbed 65.7 percent to 2,533 from 1,529.
December 04, 2007
I truly believe if we had a dynamic airport director like a Bob O'Brien at ORH things would be much different at ORH today. It really is a shame that the lack of effective management will end up forcing us to give up the airport. Has anyone seen our 20 year Master Plan yet?
In case you are wondering our Airport Director makes 106,370 according to the Boston Herald. In essence Rockford has Randy Moss as their Airport Director and we have Ricky Williams.
December 02, 2007
For a couple years, we have targeted Linear Air on this blog with their headquarters at Hanscom Field, owned by our partner and potentially future owner of ORH , Massport. Currently their business model is similar to Cape Air with Cessnas with alot more emphasis on private charters, while waiting for the new Very Light Jets (VLJ) to become available.
Just this week, Linear become the first airline in the Northeast and third in the nation to start flying a VLJ, the Eclipse 500. Read the article in the Herald here. ORH should be talking with Linear to have one of the ten Eclipse 500's by the end of 2008 based here.
November 29, 2007
- Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, Manchester, New Hampshire: 58 miles from central Boston, free shuttle to Boston every 3 hours, 15 minutes; too far for cabs; closest Boston airport for Southwest, also other airlines. Use it mainly for Southwest.
•T.F. Green Airport, Warwick, Rhode Island: 59 miles from central Boston; poor public transportation (Amtrak/MBTA airport station under construction); too far for cabs. Boston option for Southwest, also other airlines. Use it mainly for Southwest.
•Pease International Airport, Portsmouth, New Hampshire: 67 miles from Boston. Poor public transportation; too far for cabs; the Boston airport for Skybus, with a history of on-and-off service from other low far lines. Use it only for Skybus.
•Worcester Regional Airport, Worcester Massachusetts: 48 miles from central Boston. Off-and-on history of airline service; currently "off."
November 28, 2007
November 27, 2007
"The airport has seen 177,696 passengers through October. Last year, the airport totaled 172,200 passengers for the whole year."
Keep in mind that this airport faces many of the same challenges as ORH being a secondary airport within an hour of a major airport (Chicago) and also had no passenger service after 9/11. They, however, have been able to succeed and should be the example that we follow.
November 26, 2007
- Multiple daily commuter flights to nearby larger airports (Chicago, Boston, etc) where you can then connect direct to anywhere else. If you can not get an airline to do that, get a smaller airline (Cape Air) who can then negotiate a code sharing agreement with a larger airline.
- Direct leisure flights a couple times per week to populkar destinations like Vegas, Myrtle Beach and Florida.
- Charter business to international vacation spots.
- Free parking
- Free airport wifi
"Sometimes, you need to do business face to face. Now, businesspeople can meet in Boston and be back in Rutland the same day. And you can connect to points worldwide from Logan International. Take advantage of business-friendly schedules to save time. And with direct access to downtown Boston via rapid transit, you won’t need a car. (Leave it in the free parking lot in Rutland.)
Less time. More convenience. Exciting destinations. What other reasons do you need?"
November 24, 2007
" Cape Air's (www.flycapeair.com) roundtrip fare to Boston with a 14-day advance reservation is $95. It also has more flights — three roundtrips a day or 21 flights a week"
We can not, however, get Cape Air to come to ORH??? Lets hope Mr Nemeth has a story about ORH tomorrow.
November 22, 2007
Target areas and/or specific buildings for commercial development while offering:
- waive all permitting fees
- waive all water and sewer hook-ups
- freeze assesed valuess for 10 years
If the City of Worcester did this, developers would be attracted to the City of Worcester, increase the commercial tax base and bring us closer to the day where we will again have one tax rate.
November 21, 2007
Looks like Allegiant must be doing well here and the flight has to be, at least, 200 miles longer each way?
November 20, 2007
John Mahoney ran for City Council and this was the same exact idea that he proposed, except he proposed ten years similar to what has been done in Philadelphia, not 7 years. The City of Philadelphia realized that their residential tax base was leaving its downtown, so they proposed a freezing of the current assessed value of any building that was convered to residential for 10 years. The results have been startling and the City of Philadelphia has proposed a similar concept for their downtown.
The City of Worcester should target undeveloped commercial areas and buildings as being elgible for a ten year freeze of the assessed value while waiving of all permitting fees, like they have done for the Hanover Theatre. Unlike Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, who are looking for residential units, we should propose commercial taxable development in order to be eligible for these tax breaks.
Ideas like this would truly build back our commercial tax base. My only problem with this TIF, however, is that it is being applied for post development. These breaks should be given up front and give all developers the same opportunities in the City of Worcester.
November 19, 2007
Every once in a while something happens and everything gets put into perspective. Today my thoughts and prayers are with Harry Tembenis and his family.
November 17, 2007
My point being that if we actually put the airport our "For Sale" or "For Lease" and did and actually marketed it, we could fine someone who would be interested in our airport.
November 14, 2007
November 13, 2007
The City Manager, however, said that the current negotiations will still be towards the operating deficit being covered 100% retro-active to July1st, 2007. He also indicated that the long-term deal would transition ownership to MassPort, so it appears to be a lease to own agreement, more then a lease, as milestones are achieved.
- Debt service would still be ours, until ownership is transferred.
- Martha's Vineyard
Now I read in the Courier Press that Cape Air is doing this from Evansville and South Bend to Indianapolis. How come we can not get Cape Air to come to ORH?
November 11, 2007
November 08, 2007
Will Cape Air spread its wings to Oregon?
As Cape Air launches new routes in Vermont and Indiana this month, the Hyannis-based airline is looking at another possible expansion. Cape Air CEO Dan Wolf has made three trips to Oregon, said the airline’s spokeswoman Michelle Haynes, to discuss potential routes connecting Portland, Ore. to the coastal cities of Astoria and Newport.“It’s a little premature to say anything definitive,” Haynes said, though she added, “It fits our niche perfectly--if it works its something we’d be very interested in doing.”
Cape Air currently provides service between Boston, Providence, the Cape and Islands. The airline also operates routes in Florida, Puerto Rico and Micronesia.
Service in Vermont launched last week and flights are scheduled to begin in Indiana next week.
November 06, 2007
With two months to spare, Chicago/Rockford International Airport has topped last year’s passenger totals.The airport has seen 177,696 passengers through October. Last year, the airport totaled 172,200 passengers for the whole year.And while the airport has fallen off its record-setting pace, officials say a 28 percent increase in traffic over last year is very impressive in its own right.
Keep in mind Rockford also had no commercial service like ORH in 2001. Now they are up to 177,696 in ten months, while ORH has no commercial service.
November 04, 2007
The main problem was the idea of having an access road off Route 290 utilizing the Hope Ave, later Cambridge Street was considered, were plain stupid ideas and alienated pretty much everyone in Worcester!!!!!! Trying to imagine the cost and time to build these roads is overwhelming. Has anyone been on Goddard lately? I swear it has been 2 maybe 3 years they have been working on these roads.
The most logical option has been, is and will be a new exit off the Mass Pike on to Route 56. The highway here would be quite easy to widen, with the only exception being when you cross Route 9. Leicester, and other surrounding towns, would welcome this idea since it will increase all the property values in their towns overnight. Worcester would not only welcome the idea for better access to ORH, but the lines of cars that cross Worcester (East-West) from points West every morning would utilize this "north south connector" to the new Mass exit.
Click here to access a map:
Best of all you can collect monies to pay for it!!! Can you even imagine how much the land would be worth around ORH if you could access the MassPike from this connector??
Maybe the Master Plan will address this issue, but where is it? How many years has it been that they have been working on the 20 year Master Plan? Honestly it has been over 3 years now!! Maybe IMG ("Infrastructure" Management Group) will look into it?? Maybe the New England Regional Air Study Plan will look into this? No to both. We need to put together 750,000 to 1,000,000 to do another study??? Let me get this straight, none of these consultants (Leigh Fisher, Jacobs, Berger, IMG) have been studying the highway access???
Maybe we should hire a consultant to tell us what are consultants should be working on.
November 02, 2007
November 01, 2007
Remember the highlights:
- long-term lease at a nominal amount
- MassPort will pay the operating deficit
- Worcester tax-payers pay the debt service (600,000 per year)
- starting January 1st
To date only Jahn, aka the Unabomber, has accepted my $20 bet.
Linear Air on Verge of FAA Approval for Very Light Jet Service; Backlog Already Brewing
These micro-jets can operate at close to the same speeds and altitudes as the light business jets flown by charter services, but at less than half the cost. That makes them tailor-made to the needs of an air-taxi service. And any day now, Concord, MA-based Linear Air is expecting approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly its first “VLJ.” Expect service to start in early November. But be fast, a backlog is already brewing.
Linear Air’s CEO, Bill Herp, who got his pilot’s license in 1996, has been a “VLJ” fan ever since he first heard about the concept in 2001. At the time Herp was CEO of e-Dialog, a Lexington-based email-marketing-services firm he founded and eventually built up to over 200 employees, and which constantly sent him and fellow executives on nightmarish, prolonged commercial-airline escapades to pitch potential clients.
Herp started playing with the new math of VLJ-enabled flight and decided to build an air-charter business around micro-jets. “E-Dialog was running pretty well, and I saw a window opening for a new approach to air travel,” he says.
October 31, 2007
October 30, 2007
October 29, 2007
- The current operating agreement with MassPort that ended with a 6 month extension this past July 1st, started in July of 2004. This was, I believe, one year before IMG was retained so I am not sure how they helped on the joint operating agreement.
- Looks like they are trying to take credit for getting Allegiant to ORH for 9 mos, not 12 , and it was Sanford, not Orlando. Again not sure this is accurate.
- Check out the last line: "IMG is also supporting the City of Worcester in its continued negotiations with MassPort over a new extended operating agreement whereby Massport would assume operating control of the airport and relieve the city of most of the airport’s annual deficit."
Since IMG was being paid from the Small Community Air Service Grant monies from the IMG, I thought they were hired to help retain and recruit commercial service. Now they are helping with negotiations with MassPort? Again this may be accurate, but something I never realized from the Airport Commission Official minutes and did not realize monies from the grant to recruit and retain commercial service could be spent on consultants to help with MassPort negotiations.
Most disturbing thing about the 3rd point above, however, is that we learn most about the current negotiations with MassPort from the IMG website .
October 28, 2007
- The deal will be great
- MassPort will long-term lease the airport long-term at a nominal amount
- MassPort will pay the operation deficit
- We pay the debt service (600,000 per year)
- Betting $20 (one taker so far) that this will be done for 1/1/8
Instead the story was about Choose Worcester. Here is my favorite line from the story and may be the
He has been meeting with such key partners as the city, chamber of commerce, WBDC, state Office of Business Development, Massachusetts Development Finance Agency, Massachusetts Biomedical Initiative, UniverCity Partnership, Destination Worcester, and others. “We’ve been talking with all the players to learn what they have been doing, to establish communication and trust, to see that we’re all on the same page, to formulate strategies and to find the best ways to collaborate,” he said.
We have 8 "key" partners and "others". Maybe if we had less "key" and "other" partners, people would be able to Choose Worcester easier. It will take Choose Worcester over a year just to meet with all of these groups and "formulate strategies."
October 27, 2007
The complete upgrade program, which could cost more than $20 million, involves no use of tax money thanks to a special financing plan devised by City Manager Michael V. O’Brien and approved by the Legislature and former Gov. Mitt Romney.
The financing plan created a Special District Finance Zone that includes the DCU Center, the Hilton Garden Inn, the city garage across from the hotel and the Residence Inn on Plantation Street. “Net new” state tax revenues from businesses in the district — including hotel-motel occupancy taxes, food and beverage taxes and taxes generated from the sales of services collected by the state — will be redirected into the special district and will be used to repay loans for the work on the DCU Center.
How many times has the Telegram gotten this wrong now?? How can they say "no use of tax money"???? The Special District Finance Zone only lets the City of Worcester retain "NET NEW" state revenuues. The telegram is asserting that there will be enough "NET NEW" state revenues to pay for the $20 million in upgrade. No way!!
I am not saying that we should or should not invest the monies, but the Telegram Editorial Board should not leave the impression that this project will not use any tax monies .
October 26, 2007
Maybe we will get lucky and Mr Nemeth will write about the airport Sunday.
October 24, 2007
Irish destination likely for Rockford airport
Chicago/Rockford International Airport could get weekly flights to Ireland starting as early as December.Maryland-based Kenny Tours is in talks to set up regularly scheduled charter service between Rockford and the western Ireland city of Shannon.It would be a similar model to Apple Vacations’ weekly flights to Cancun, Mexico.
Kenny Tours would contract with another airline to operate flights, but Kenny Tours would coordinate motor coach tours and lodging in Ireland.Kenny Tours hopes to have a deal in place with an airline within 10 days and U.S. Department of Transportation approval shortly thereafter.
Bob Nay, Kenny Tours’ director of sales and marketing, said they’d target people in this region looking to travel to Ireland, as well as Irish tourists looking to visit Chicago, Milwaukee and the Midwest.“(At major airports) people are coming in four hours before their international flight just to make sure,” he said. “Whereas, with us, you get on your flight at Rockford at 9 at night, you’re up there, you have a drink and you’re in Ireland at 8 a.m. ready to go on a tear.”
Airport Executive Director Bob O’Brien confirmed talks with Kenny Tours. He said he knew they were interested in starting anytime between this fall and next spring.O’Brien said Kenny Tours can compete with American Airlines’ and Aer Lingus’ flights from Chicago O’Hare International Airport to Ireland by focusing on the free parking and short lines at Rockford.
Also, O’Brien said it’s a lot cheaper for the company to fly out of Rockford, so they can pass the savings on to their customers.Nay said one-week vacation package deals start as low as $1,000 a person. The company also plans to offer flights independent of vacation packages.
Kenny Tours is also hoping to start nonstop service to Ireland from Niagara Falls, NY; Lansing, Mich.; Columbus, Ohio; and other markets.Kenny Tours has been in business since 1989, mostly scheduling trips between the United States and Ireland on other airlines. Nay said the company wanted to offer its own regularly scheduled charter service so it could get lower prices.
Staff writer Thomas V. Bona may be contacted at 815-987-1343 or firstname.lastname@example.org
October 23, 2007
If nothing else it shows how difficult a start-up airline is whether it be:
- DJ Air
It makes me realize now more then ever what a job Allegiant has done. Thanks to everyone who let me know my mistake.
October 22, 2007
Instead I read about how Cape Air, a local company, is doing great out of South Bend (secondary airport like ORH) to Indianapolis (hub like Boston) and they are considering doing the same out of Gary--check out the timesonline.com below. How can we not be able to lure Cape Air to ORH (secondary airport) while these other 6 cities (all secondary airports) have been to make it happen?
219.933.3326GARY Direct flights to Indianapolis from Gary/Chicago International Airport on regional air carrier Cape Air could start within months.Strong advance ticket sales for Cape Air's new service from South Bend to Indianapolis and Evansville mean the Gary airport will be aggressive in seeking similar service, according to airport director Chris Curry.
After Thursday's airport authority meeting, Curry said he will meet in a few weeks with Sixel Consulting Group, a company that set up the flights in South Bend and wants to do the same in Gary."The underlying dynamics of both airports are the same," said Sixel President Mark Sixel on Thursday. "The business community ... whether it's South Bend, Evansville or Gary, they all need to go to the capital."
Cape Air already has surpassed its goal for ticket sales for South Bend Regional Airport for November, Sixel said. Service does not begin until Nov. 13.Sixel said Gary service could begin as early as January or February, if everything "went perfect."For the full story, read Friday’s editions of The Times.
October 20, 2007
Festival to become latest low-cost fairline
Festival Airlines is set to become the latest combatant in the fiercely competitive cheap flights market. According to local press, the new low-cost airline will announce a "relationship" with Chicago/Rockford International Airport. This is expected to feature around 12 flights a week to popular domestic vacation spots.
Festival will be a privately financed venture. Its chairman and CEO, software developer Carl George, explained to Chicago Business: "We will focus on vacation flights, not business flights, and not at busy hours. Leisure travel is the largest part, 65 per cent, of ticket sales." The newcomer plans to be operating flights in 35 cities by 2009 with tickets available for between $150 and $350.
Despite George's confidence, Festival is far from being a full-fledged low-cost airline and has yet to announce details of its first flight. The company has still to be cleared by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) and will be operating routes on a contract basis initially.
Festival plans to be flying Boeing 757s out of Rockford, Midway International Airport, Detroit and Cleveland by the end of the year
October 19, 2007
Here is a story from Chicago Business.com, part of it is here:
Chicago is "very close" to resolving questions Southwest Airlines and other carriers raised earlier this year about the city's proposed privatization of Midway International Airport, city and airline officials say. A Midway deal is “going to happen,” Mayor Richard M. Daley told Crain’s editorial board in a meeting Wednesday.
"We are close to a number of preliminary terms," said a Southwest spokeswoman who was interviewed later. "We are working very closely with the city, but there's still a lot of work to do." City officials originally hoped to put a long-term lease on Midway up for bid early this year and close the deal by yearend, reaping as much as $3 billion, some experts estimate. The funds would help pay for infrastructure needs and shore up city pension funds.
October 17, 2007
I also remember a group of meeting with Mayor Murray coming up with various ideas as to how we could spend these monies to bring commercial service to ORH. In fact, Mayor Murray mentioned that he may recommend a Blue Ribbon Committee to work on this. In the end, it was decided it was best for the airport itself to handle this.
Over the past three years I have requested these reimbursement reports and have been trying to keep track of how the monies have been spent (note yesterday's e-mail). Per the September Airport Commission Board minutes, the three years have ended. Best I can tell we only received reimbursements of 170,000 over the three year period and in essence left 285,000 on the table.
Maybe if we had invested these monies in free parking and Allegiant Airlines, they would would never have left ORH and right now there would be direct service to three cities in Florida from ORH.
October 16, 2007
Recruitment Material 9,750.00
Guertin Graphics 1,560.50
Radio Ad 1,500.00
Worc Chamber 1,000.00
Curry Copy 719.16
We are reimbursed at a rate of 72.73% so if all of these expenses were approved (assume that they were), ORH has received 170,421.79. I believe the initial grant was for 455,000 so it appears to me that we have 285,000 remaining in our Small Community Air Service Grant.
In the September minutes it was noted that the three year grant expires on September 9th, but that a two year extension was requested. My translation of this is that we in essence have lost the remaining 285,000 in grant monies. Maybe we should have used this 285,000 and the 100,000 on to keep Allegiant at ORH??? Keep in mind by not have 10,000 passengers this year, we lose another 1,000,000 from the FAA for not have primary airport status.
In other developments hangar 2 repairs are not done yet and the Master Plan is not done yet. Another great two months at ORH.
October 15, 2007
October 13, 2007
October 12, 2007
October 11, 2007
Among those services: Linear Air of Concord, Mass., already has one of the mini-jets and four more expected to arrive in the next several months, with plans to expand its fleet to 15 sometime in 2008. The company already offers charter flights on eight-seat Cessna Caravan turboprops, but Linear Air President and Chief Executive Officer William Herp said the new jets _ which will carry two pilots and three passengers _ are lighter and faster.
It will start using its new jet as soon as the Federal Aviation Administration gives the go-ahead, hopefully sometime this fall, he said. "We have customers chomping at the bit to try them. I literally get e-mails and phone calls every day from people with questions about it," Herp said.
Another local company, a Chicopee, Mass.-based startup called Pogo Jets, plans an initial public offering (IPO) of stock to raise money to order more than two dozen of the jets, with an eye toward launching service in 2009.
October 10, 2007
October 08, 2007
Mirroring a national seasonal slowdown in air traffic, Chicago/Rockford International Airport had its slowest month of the year in September.But bucking the national trend, airport traffic was again up over last year.In September, 11,750 passengers flew in and out of Rockford, a 6 percent increase over last September.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, September is historically the third-lowest month for domestic airlines.“Nationwide, Aug. 15 though about Nov. 15 is the roughest period in the year for the industry as a whole. September is worst, everybody heads back to school,” said Executive Director Bob O’Brien. “This is our weakest month, but not all months are created equal. It was expected for us.
”Allegiant Air, Rockford’s largest carrier, cut its service to six flights a week in September. The airline did this at several of its markets because of the seasonal slowdown.But Allegiant’s schedule shows a big upswing for Rockford in the coming months. While only seven flights a week are scheduled for October, 13 a week are scheduled for November and 15 in December.
Preliminarily, the airline is planning 19 a week during March — the most it has ever had at Rockford.That includes two flights a week to Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz., starting in November and two a week to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., starting in December. O’Brien hopes to see those routes add flights next year after early success.
October 06, 2007
For the quarter ended 30 September, there was a 56.6% increase in passengers, a 45.6% increase in revenue passenger miles and a 35.2% increase in available seat miles. This resulted in a load factor of 86.2%, up 6.2 points from the same period in 2006.
October 05, 2007
October 04, 2007
October 02, 2007
They last airport minutes are, however, from July. I will airport their airport director to find out if they have had any meetings since then and how long it takes them to post. Take a moment to review the July minutes which are much more detailed then ours and they even had an executive session, which is fine. Our Board has never had an executive session!! How is that possible?
If we miss this winter season then I do not see commercial service coming back until the fall of 2008. In total that would be two years since the last Allegiant flight. Lastly it really amazes me that an entity that is costing the tax-payers approximately 100,000 per month is not more of an issue during this campaign.
Lastly the August and September Airport Commission Minutes are still not on-line.
September 30, 2007
Although we were suppose to have wrapped up negotiations with MassPort this past July 1st, but but instead had to sign another 6 month extension which I estimate costs the tax-payers $100,000 per month. Although we are 3 months into the 6 extension and have no updates on the MassPort negotiations. Although we have spent approximately $200,000 on IMG to help recruit and retain a commercial airline and have no idea where they stand on any negotiations. Although we still have not seen the Airport Master Plan that was supposed to be released last Spring. Despite all of these reasons why we need a story on the airport, still no story.
I am sure Mr Nemeth will write a glowing story over the next three months how signing a long-term lease with MassPort, where they take over the operating deficit while we keep paying the debt service (600,000 per year), was the right thing to do. Wonder if he will ever write a story about the mismanagement that past ten years, where he played a lead role.
September 26, 2007
September 25, 2007
September 24, 2007
September 21, 2007
Read the entire story from AZ Central.com but consider this one Section:
"Using a variety of scenarios based on trends and experiences at other secondary airports in the country, the firm projected a yearly passenger boarding count of almost 5.1 million on the high end and more than 1.3 million on the low side. Either figure represents an astronomical climb from the nearly 19,000 commercial airlines passengers who flew out of Williams Gateway during the fiscal year that ended June 30. "
In the past I have said 100 times that we should model ourselves after Rockford, now we may saying Phoenix-Mesa as a model airport. Here is where it gets even more interesting, do you remember when Allegiant use to only have one destination city--Las Vegas? Then they added Sanford (outside Orlando), followed by St Pete's (outside Tampa), followed by Fort Lauderdale and guess what students is their 5th destination city? If you guessed Phoenix-Mesa then increase your grade to A+. Right now Allegiant flies from 12 cities to Phoenix-Mesa.
We really blew it with Allegiant. Their whole model was patterned on secondary airport, but where secondary airports like Sanford, St Pete's, Rockford and Phoenix-Mesa were able to get on board and make the numbers work, we missed big time.
Let’s start making money for our wonderful city that is slowly dying. Casinos are a way to go, and what better place to have it but the airport? Never mind selling it to a casino investor; we could have both. What casino do you know of that has many entrance and exits points? We would have Mill Street, Pleasant Street, Goddard Memorial Drive and Route 56. Plus you could keep a portion of the airport for the high rollers to fly into. How many casinos have an airport? And the traffic wouldn’t be all in one area. Is this something we could look into?
Let’s keep our money in Massachusetts and stop supporting Connecticut.
September 20, 2007
VLJ's could be the next huge thing in the airline business or it can be a complete bust. Either way our empty facility should have been a perfect testing ground, instead we are on the sidelines again. Why am I ranting right now? Just saw this press release below:
Pogo Jet IPO Reveals Plan To Buy Eclipse 500s
September 18, 2007
On Thursday afternoon, Pogo Jet filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public stock offering to raise money to launch Pogo’s very light jet air charter service. In the filing, Pogo Jet said that it is negotiating the purchase of 25 Eclipse 500s and plans to begin operations in the first quarter of 2009 from a base at Westover Metropolitan Airport in Chicopee, Mass. The would-be operator expects its Eclipse fleet to grow to 100 airplanes by 2011. Pogo Jet plans to offer whole-airplane Part 135 charter in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Ohio Valley and the Carolinas using Eclipse 500s with three passenger seats and two-pilot crews. By the end of the third year of operation, Pogo Jet expects to be flying its Eclipse 500s at an annual rate of 2,000 hours per aircraft.
September 19, 2007
What can or does our current Airport Commission do?? Review the September 14, 2007 blog below. The current role of the Airport Commission has changed "dramatically" under the operating agreement with MassPort, but there is still a "significant" role for the commission. What is it? I have no idea!!! Looking at the monthly minutes, not much there unless you are very interested in photo-shoots or the never ending repairs to hangar 2. If you want to know the monthly operational losses, the ongoing negotiations with potential airlines or the status of discussions with MassPort, do not look here.
Right now we have a asset owned by the taxpayer's of the City of Worcester called the Worcester Regional Airport that is about to make a huge decision on the future fate the next 20 years (guesstimate) effective January 1st, 2008, I wish we had an airport commission like the Cambria Airport Commission that realized their importance representing us.
September 18, 2007
In an unexpected and swift move, the Cambria County Airport Authority last week terminated the employees of the Johnstown facility and contracted with MTT Aviation Services to manage the day-to-day operations of the airport. MTT is a private company owned by MountainTop Technologies of Johnstown.
We repeatedly have pushed government agencies toward privatization, and while the airport authority did not sell the airport (we hope that comes later), they did the next best thing by turning its management over to a private company.The former airport manager and his staff are all great people, and we hope they are considered by MTT Aviation, or another employer, for their skills. But we believe that a private company, looking to serve customers in the brutal marketplace in which airports compete, will serve the region better than county employees.
Authority chairman Raymond Porsch said he expects the move will save $50,000 to $70,000 per year, a significant amount considering the tenuous state of the county’s finances. But a move such as this should do more than just save money. We have been critical of the airport authority and airport management because of the lack of adequate commercial passenger service in and out of Johnstown.
We urge the new managers at the airport to vigorously pursue new and better service options for our region. The airport authority should hold MTT’s feet to the fire in terms of luring new carriers. If demands to improve service weren’t included in the deal, and if service doesn’t improve, then this move was ill-conceived.We know the challenges in the industry, and we don’t expect overnight miracles. But we certainly hope, and expect, that the good folks at MTT can show the county, and the populace, that they are going to make our airport more useful.We wish them well.
We’ll be watching.
September 16, 2007
Low-cost carrier Skybus Airlines could end up serving two destinations in the Bahamas when it begins service.
Following approval from the US Department of Transportation in July, the airline is to commence operations "on or about" October 1, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
The original Skybus service bid was for a service from Port Columbus to the Grand Bahama Island city of Freeport. However, Skybus Spokesman Bob Tenenbaum said that this service was mooted "as a result of a specific request from the government of the Bahamas".
It is thought that the carrier would prefer to alternate between flights to Freeport, and service to the Bahamian capital Nassau.
Robin Schneider of Twin Horizons Travel commented: "Freeport has a couple of neat hotels and casinos, but Nassau is clearly the more desirable location."
He added: "I don't think people would be crowding the planes to go to Freeport."American Airlines and Delta Air Lines currently serve Grand Bahama International Airport in Freeport.
September 15, 2007
Should they, Winward, not have conducted this market study before bidding on the parcels?? At the end of the 6 months, if Winward decides that there is no demand do they lose their deposit, which I believe was $10,000???
September 13, 2007
On a serious note, check out the comments from the City Solicitor. Although the role of the Airport Commission has changed "dramatically" under the operating agreement with MassPort, there is still a significant role for the commission.
At the same time MassPort runs "the daily operations/acitvity at the airport", so then why does the Airport commission vote on photoshoots? Would that not fall under "daily operations/activity"?
Honestly I am trying to figure out what exactly the Airport Commission is suppose to do. Based on the Airport minutes they are not involved in the daily operations of the airport due to the operating agreement with MassPort. At the same time we know that they are not involved in any negotiation with MassPort or prospective airlines since they are never mentioned in any of the Airport Commission Minutes.
This begs the question. What "significiant role" does the Airport Commission, who represent the tax-payers of Worcester, play at ORH?
Lastly no marketing report. What is IMG doing with the 200,000?
Master Plan--no update.
September 12, 2007
- no reports from the Airport Liaison
- no communication from the Airport Liaison
- no airport commission minutes on-line for July-AUgust
- no word on the status of the Master Plan
- 2 1/2 months into 6 months extension and no word on current negotiations with Massport
September 09, 2007
CONCORD, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Linear Air, the premier air-taxi service that is revolutionizing personal air transportation, has announced the anticipated first flight of their Eclipse 500 Very Light Jet (VLJ) for mid-September. This flight will mark the first customer trip for a VLJ in the Northeast by the Concord, MA based air-taxi service, headed by President and CEO Bill Herp.
The Eclipse 500, manufactured by Albuquerque, New Mexico based Eclipse Aviation Corporation, is the first of a new class of aircraft called Very Light Jets, or VLJ’s. The cutting edge technology on board this revolutionary aircraft cuts the cost of personal jet travel in half, making private air travel accessible to millions more than currently in existence. The Eclipse 500 cruises at over 400 miles per hour, accommodates 4 passengers with 2 pilots, and has a range of over 1,000 miles.
By adding this jet to their fleet, Linear Air strives to make private jet travel more accessible to a wide-range of businesspeople, with prices not far above commercial airlines’ first-class or last-minute fares. Over the next two years, Linear Air’s VLJ fleet will grow to 30, allowing the company to expand its existing propjet service within point-to-point 500-mile regional networks around major metropolitan areas.
“We could not be more excited to be the first air-taxi service in the Northeast to offer service on this revolutionary jet,” says Bill Herp, President and CEO of Linear Air. “The fact is, this VLJ and the additional fleet we’ve ordered will make a seamless transition into our current business model allowing customers immediate access to cutting-edge aviation.”
Currently, Linear Air operates the largest on-demand fleet of executive Cessna Grand Caravan propjets in the U.S. With the addition of this first VLJ and another three by the end of the year for a total of four in 2007, Linear Air will continue to provide customers the ability to set a custom schedule with attractive fares, convenience and flexibility, now with additional speed and efficiency - a “car service with wings” type experience.
Linear Air is planning a launch event with its first customer aboard the VLJ later this month. Local dignitaries, officials from the Massachusetts Port Authority and Hanscom Field Airport (a Linear Air base of operations), will join Herp to celebrate this historic occasion.
September 08, 2007
It's been less than two months since discount carrier Skybus Airlines established a daily link between Chicopee's Westover Metropolitan Airport and Columbus, Ohio, and it looks like this bird is going to fly.
Skybus, the first regular passenger service out of Westover in about 20 years, the startup company with its growing fleet of orange-painted jets is becoming a popular choice for travelers between the two cities.
And why not. Besides fares starting as low as $10 a flight, Skybus has deliberately chosen smaller, less-congested, passenger-friendly airports to launch and expand its business. At Westover, the planes touch down at 6:45 p.m. and leave at 7:21, arriving in Columbus at 9:03 p.m.
Since its inaugural flight on July 16, business has been brisk, averaging approximately 100 inbound and outbound passengers a day, according to Allan W. Blair, president and chief executive officer of Westover Metropolitan Development Corp., which owns the airport. "It's beyond our expectations, he said." Skybus spokesman Robert Tenenbaum concurred, saying the route had met the "high-end" of the airline's expectations.
The success of Skybus Airlines is excellent news for the region's business and tourist economies. While Westover airport services a much smaller niche than Bradley International Airport, which began daily nonstop flights to Amsterdam this summer, both airports are important for local businesses.
From its Columbus hub, Skybus offers connecting flights to other destinations, including Florida, California and Washington state. Blair would like to see Skybus add a morning flight to its Westover schedule. It could happen, given its success. It's a question of availability, Tenebaum said. Right now, Skybus has five A319 jets, with plans to add 75 more by the end of 2012.
If the Western Massachusetts market can keep pace as new planes are added to the fleet, the sky's the limit for the economy
September 07, 2007
September 06, 2007
"The city still has some time to turn around Worcester Regional Airport, he said, before it is turned over to the Massachusetts Port Authority."
Not sure what he can possibly mean by that??
Story from MSN Money Central:
Allegiant Air traffic jumps 55.8 percent
Allegiant Air LLC has announced that the number of passengers for its scheduled service jumped 55.8 percent in August compared to the same period a year ago. The Las Vegas-based, low fare carrier, which operates the largest scheduled service at Orlando Sanford International Airport, had 254,687 passengers last month, up from 163,504 in August 2006. The load factor also increased to 86.8 percent, up from 78.4 percent.
Allegiant, a subsidiary of Allegiant Travel Co. (Nasdaq: ALGT), focuses on linking travelers in small cities to world-class leisure destinations such as Orlando, where it has flights to and from 26 destinations.
September 03, 2007
It was interesting to read in the newspaper that Saint-Gobain was planning to expand its Northboro facility by 55,000 square feet to accommodate an additional 300 employees (Telegram & Gazette, Aug. 25). When Norton first established the Northboro facility, it would have been easier to have put it in Worcester. There was plenty of spare land at Norton’s Greendale plant and the facility would have been closer to other facilities which used similar technology. Norton management, however, decided not to locate in Worcester because, despite many open and closed meetings with the City Council, there was no willingness on the city’s part to stop discriminating in the tax rate against business. That discrimination continues and, in fact, has become more entrenched in the attitudes of all city councilors.
It is useless to indulge in pipe dreams like a letter writer in the same edition of the T&G who stated that development would take place in Main South if the PIP shelter and Centro Las Americas were removed. Worcester’s City Council and administration should aim to make Worcester an attractive urban bedroom community for people who work in the suburbs or Boston and forget about attracting any business here. Of course, because there will be so little business, the residential tax rate will soar.
DONALD R. MELVILLE
September 01, 2007
Comment #1 from Mr Gallagher
That new approach must also apply to fuel services. "Fuel is a pain in the ass," says Gallagher, but it represents 40% of Allegiant's expenses. "So I'm in the fuel business." Airports should not "outsource and forget" fuelling services. "A monopoly fueller is a serious competitive handicap. We literally have a number of cities we won't go into because of this. They are not just making a living off us they are making a killing off us, and we are just not going to do it."
August 31, 2007
August 30, 2007
The mayor said there are 100 acres available for development between the airport and state turnpike exit that are owned by the city, state and Westover Metropolitan Development Corp. Although casino gambling is not legal in Massachusetts, there is a chance the governor will ask the Legislature to vote on the issue.
Maybe the RFP for the parcel of the land at ORH should have been for a casino operator??
August 29, 2007
Sell Worcester airport to casino investors
Sheldon Adelson, the sixth-richest person in the world, proposes to build a casino in Marlboro. Mohegan Sun, the third-largest casino in the world also proposes to build a casino in Palmer. Should either proposal go forward, they will need an airport to fly in their high rollers.
Enter the sale of Worcester Regional Airport to either group. Rather than wait until January to let Massport take over the airport for pennies on the dollar, sell the airport outright to either casino group for a potential eight-figure windfall into the city’s coffers. You now have laid the foundation for property tax relief for residents and businesses in Worcester and also save teaching, fire and police jobs.
August 28, 2007
- My public information request on the route analysis that have been done by the various consultants.
- The July minutes still are not posted
- Who was the one bidder on the parcel of land, some 4 months later
- Where is the Master Plan
The anonymous poster then accused me of deleting comments, so why should I be mad when my requests to our airport liaison are not honored?? Answer: The airport liaison is held to a different standard then me, it is called Massachusetts General Law (MGL)-- can you say Sunshine Week. There is no MGL that prohibits me from deleting any comments that I want to cancel since my blog is a private entity. Sorry, none of you saw this comment, I deleted it.
On the other end of the spectrum, I received a link to an article from Harry Tembenis. Harry, per usual great link. In the end, I am merely want to make ORH the airport that I know that it can be so that it can contribute to the City of Worcester's revenue stream, versus costing approximately $1,200,000 per year.
Anonymous posters, who I will continue to delete as I see fit, can accuse me of who knows what, but I feel the majority of people know nothing would make me happier then to be discussing a successful airport that contributes to the City of Worcester's bottom line, versus my continued unanswered questions.
August 27, 2007
I can easily see MassPort doing the same thing with ORH over ten years. Problem is that in ten years we will not have the cash to buy the airport back from MassPort.
August 25, 2007
All General Aviation activity and services remain available. Last year we had over 66,000 operations involving private, corporate and general aviation. We are continuing our Lobster give-a-way for pilots. Contact WiFi Accessable Swissport link on this site or call 508 755-5870. For more information see the "GENERAL AVIATION SERVICES" link on this web site.
Here is my question 66,000 operations? That averages out to 180 per day. I had no idea that ORH was that busy?
August 24, 2007
- No word from our airport liaison
- July and August Board Minutes still not on-line
- Status of negotiations with MassPort?
- ORH Master Plan?
- ORH not an issue in this election
Although we all have known that control of ORH will turned over to MassPort, via a long-term lease or sale. I am more convinced then ever that it will be done for pennies on the dollar. Good news is that ORH will become the airport that is should be, but the bad news is how much money will we have left on the table.
Bottom line is that we should have been doing a nationwide sale on ORH the past three years to ensure the highest possible return for the tax-payers. At his point, hemoragging money the way we are and the current City of Worcester financial condition, we are at the mercy of MassPort and whatever offer the make.
August 23, 2007
“If you watch one City Council meeting you realize right away that we have too many councilors,” Mr. Germain said. “Not only is it fiscally irresponsible to have the current number, it’s functionally impossible to get the needs of the city taken care of with so many people who have so many personal agendas.” Mr. Germain said Worcester Regional Airport has been a drain on the local government and, as a result, believes the city should pull out of the airport business. He said the travel needs of city residents are already being well taken care of by existing New England airports
August 22, 2007
And check out, it is pretty dam good:
and still no word from the airport liaison and the July minutes are still not posted.