December 07, 2008

Nemeth X-mas Airport Story

Click here for story. Wow.


  • "Nasty attempt by a Boston Television to malign ORH." Reporting facts is considered a nasty attempt to malign? If you asking me it was nothing but fair and accurate. In fact it could have gotten in much more detail.
  • "Confusion involving flight cancellation due to bad weather". I still am not sure why the flight was cancelled was it really bad weather then where? Was it the winds in Florida or the visibility at ORH. Then could it have been the flight crew had logged in too much time?
  • "Negotiations aimed at taking over the agency are still on track." The first 5 year contract that ended July 1, 2004 was suppose to end with MassPort taking over ORH. The second 3 year contract that ended July 1, 2007 was suppose to end with MassPort taking over ORH. Since that time we have had three 6 month extensions of the current (MassPort pays 79% of operation deficit, Worcester pays 21% and 100% if the debt service) that was suppose to end with MassPort taking over ORH. Now it looks like there is an additional two years being tacked on and it is suppose to end with MassPort taking over ORH. How can nine and half years to date with two more years planned be considered "on track".
  • "Advisory board with a regional representation." Maybe I do have a chance?
  • "Current system has long been outdated." Nine and half years this system has been in place with at least two more to go and now we find out it is "fraught with difficulties".
  • "The role of the Airport Commission itself has been in limbo". Again nine and half years laters with at least two more and we find this out?

This column should have focused on three things:

  1. Discuss arrangements that have been made by Direct Air in the event a flight can not land at ORH, but could land in Boston. A true "act of god" fliers understand, but when flights are able to land/take-off from Providence, Hartford, Manchester and Boston but not ORH, people do not understand or accept. A policy whereby a bus would be paid for by Direct Air or ORH that would transport people to and from Boston in this even would help sell more tickets at ORH should be instituted.
  2. We should put out an RFP for the entire airport and solicit bids for long term lease or outright sale. Nine and half years of negotiations is neither acceptable nor "on track" and ORH will fall through the cracks as MassPort looks into taking over the MassPike, 2.5 BILLION of big debt debt and the Ted Williams Tunnel.
  3. Virgin America (kudos to Harry). It is great Direct Air has brought service to ORH, but the big target here is Virgin America. Not only more flights, but how about leasing the airport to them and convincing them to make ORH their base of operations on the East Coast.

8 comments:

John said...

Was out & about early this AM & decided to watch the 9:50 flight land. It was lightly snowing with no wind & not much visibilty. I was standing outside & couldn't see the plane until it was very close to the airport. What suprised me was how quiet the plane was landing.

Anonymous said...

i was there too. the ceiling was 400 ft so it looks like wx does not seem to be much of an issue. plane looks great and sounds even better. the doomsayers should take notice.

Matt said...

What you want done is not so easy as you make it sound. Im as big a supporter of the airport as anyone and will be on a flight from Sanford thursday, but you are over simplifying some things. First off is the Boston diversion idea. Its not so easy as just saying lets make an arrangement. Diversions cost airlines a good bit of money. Say a flight from florida diverts to BOS. direct air now has to pay landing fees at BOS, find an available gate that they can rent for however long it takes, and pay for fuel to make the flight back to ORH. In such a case, it is often better for the airline to cancel and reschedule rather than divert. Secondly is your plans for Virgin America. VX has big plans for the US. There buisness model involves flying into primary airports and attracting customers based on the flying experience they provide. There is no way that VX would ever be flying on their own to ORH or PVD or MHT or BDL or any airports of the sort, if they are to go into a new england airport, BOS will be their destination.

Bill Randell said...

Matt:

I realize this is not easy, but we are trying to turn around an airport that has a bad track history. Alot of people, myself included, are a little concerned to be stuck in Punta Gorda or Sanford because you can not fly into ORH. Again if it is a situation where the whole Northeast is snowed in that is another story.

Landing fees in Boston? As our partner one would hope that MassPort would not charge any more fees in Boston then Direct Air would incur in Worcester. I am sure that in the end it is cheaper to fly the next day, but in the long run you will lose money since people will not book their flights out of ORH.

As far as ORH not being in Virgin's plans, I am sure you are right. That is why we need to contact them and try to sell them on ORH. I bet you SouthWest wanted to go into Boston first before they settled on Providence.

Bill

Matt said...

bill,

landing fees, landing fees, landing fees my friend. They rule the world of aviation and dictate many things. I, in my little cessna 172, can do as many takeoffs/landings at worcester as i want all day any day. However, if i get bored, and decide to take a trip to the east and land at logan, i am hit with a nice $250, you guessed it, landing fee. Its a shame, but its the way it works. airlines pass the fees on to their passengers, but your weekend warrior pilot cant afford it...hence keeping the smaller, slower traffic out of the way. But I digress. My point is, the landing fees will be much different at BOS compared to ORH. One, ORH waived the fees for direct air, and 2, BOS has the demand, and therefore charges accordingly. An A320 sized aircraft currently pays between $450-$500 at BOS. And yes, this brings me back to Southwest. Southwest would have gladly gone into BOS, however, the landing/gate/other fees were much cheaper at PVD and MHT and ORH, however, ORH lacked the access that made PVD and MHT the choice of the largest airline in the country. Please dont take this as a condescending remark, just saying it the way i see it

Bill Randell said...

Matt:

Your comments are quite welcome.

I still believe that based on current partnership between ORH and Massport, that it can be worked out to waive landing fees at Logan in the event Direct Air can land there but not ORH?

Bill

Anonymous said...

Matt:

Good points, however don't forget... Southwest & JetBlue both built up their businesses first through secondary airports over a period of time before becoming major players at major airports.

Allegiant is also following this model and their stock is booming during the worst stock collapse since the Great Depression.

With the economy being what it is, do you really think VA wants to go into major airports with the huge expenses incurred or build up their market/demand first in close ,secondary markets first, then make a move to a major airport.

I wouldn't mind having VA base out of ORH for 5 or 10 years before they move to Logan. They could INSTANTLY fill an ORH to JFK demand with 90% plus load rates. This gets Worcester county residents to any point in the USA and/or the world for that matter through ORH. Throw in a midwest destination (Chicago, perhaps?), too and now we're talking!

As Bill and I have suggested previosly, RFP the airport to VA. Richard Branson is quite the contrarian and coincidentally a billionaire. If anyone could make a go of it at ORH, he could.Nothing like owning your own airport in the busiest air corridor in North America to really piss off your competitors, eh?!?!?! Don not think this is such a longshot, it would if other carriers were involved but as ORH is wide open at the moment, it would be easier to RFP.

These are just some thoughts outside of the box, granted it is a HUGE longshot that Virgin America would come to ORH but if Direct Air loads are consistantly high and the VA staff, crews, etc find ORH appealing, then you are already 1/2 way there to landing them (no pun intended) for ORH.
If the pike tolls and Logan tolls go up as predicted, you can also use this as leverage to metroWest .

Also DirectAir is catering to leisure passengers with VA crews and aircraft to RAVE reviews. Just imagine how business travelers would appreciate such amenities on their way to JFK , Dulles or other airports, too.

Just some food for thought.

Thanks,

Harry T
Worcester, MA

John said...

Just read on Boston.com That Virgin America is starting service from Logan in February

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