September 30, 2005

Leisure Traveler

The immediate future of ORH is the leisure traveler with Allegiant being a great start to Olrando-Sanford. Assuming this will be as well received as we hope, we should be thinking of what to do next. First thing is we need to talk to Allegiant about opening other markets in Florida or talk to other discount airlines that service Florida from the NorthEast to these destinations:

  1. Tampa/St Pete
  2. Fort Lauderdale
  3. Fort Myers

In addition, we should seriously look at 4) Myrtle Beach... No more surveys, these are the top 4 markets for ORH right now.

Akron-Canton Free Wi-Fi

9/21/05 - Surfing the web in Akron-Canton airport (CAK) is easier than ever and won't cost you a dime. That's right, zip, nada, nothing. The airport has offered Wi-Fi service for the past year, but recently dropped the $1.95 per hour charge.

"We want to be the airport of preference in the region and free Wi-Fi is one more CAK advantage," said airport director Fred Krum. "With just one simple click you can look at email, blog, or check out the Brown's score. Great amenities like this, plus low air fares and lots more nonstop flights, make Akron-Canton a better way to go."

Because the entire terminal is a hot spot, web surfers can relax in the lobby, at their gate, in J.J's Sports Bar (or anywhere else in the terminal) and access the net. First Communications(R), a local web and telecommunications provider headquartered in Akron recently upgraded the service and will extend it to the new gates opening next summer.

The free CAK Wi-Fi is available to more travelers than ever before. In 2005, single month records were broken in June and July, and the airport is on track to post its highest annual passenger traffic in history. Additional information is available at

September 29, 2005

Parking Correction

Bob Nemeth, the chairman of the airport commission, e-mailed me to clarify the parking issue. There has NOT been any votes to charge for parking, sorry!!! "There was, however, a discussion about parking fees. At that time two commissioners (DeSantis and Santa Maria), expressed preference for free parking."

This still concerns me, since it appears to me that if free parking were to be formally voted on and only two commissioners expressed preference for free parking, it would lose 5 votes to 2 votes and ORH would charge for parking.

ORH To Do List

Be careful what you ask for. Now that we have commercial service back. Looking at our recommendations, there are three things that need to be done ASAP:

1) Establish Route 9 exits from both directions on 290 as the "Airport Road". It is the easiest way to get to ORH w/o getting lost. Signage, signage, signage. Whatever it takes! Remember the "JetBlue" Road? Balloons, banners, whatever.

2) Free WiFi at the airport.

3) We need to keep the parking free.

Couple the above three with Allegiant and ORH has a winner.

September 28, 2005

Allegiant Air Press Conference

Today was some great news for ORH. For details check out This is a great first step, but make no mistake about it, we have many many more steps ahead.

Not to be negative on such a good day, it was not happy to hear that the Airport Commission (not DeSantis or Santa Maria) voted in favor to charge for parking. First, I did not think this was possible since the DOT grant specified free parking for the first 6 months. Second, it is just bad business.

We need to learn from other secondary airports who have achieved success. Check out Rockford Airport's web page, check out how important FREE PARKING is. Have we learned nothing about the importance of free parking to people in the ORH catchment area?? Lets hope this is reversed so that we are able to build on this first step.

September 27, 2005

Allegiant Airlines To Announce

Press Conference tomorrow (Sept 28th) at Worcester Airport to annouce Allegiant from ORH to Sanford.

September 24, 2005

Embraer LJ (Light Jet)

Embraer is making progress on its light jet program, which it announced at the Paris airshow last spring. The company, which makes a lineup of regional jets and a high-end bizjet, the Legacy, will get into the light jet market by producing both a very light jet (six to eight seats) and a light jet (eight to nine seats).

The Embraer Very Light Jet (both airplanes are still going by generic names), powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney PW617F engines with 1,615 pounds of thrust, will carry up to eight people to a service ceiling of 41,000 feet. With four onboard, the Very Light Jet will have a range of 1,160 nautical miles with NBAA IFR reserves and an Mmo of Mach 0.70. The VLJ, expected to enter
service in mid-2008, will carry a price tag of $2.75 million in 2005 dollars.

Embraer’s nine-seat Light Jet will be powered by a pair of P&W PW535E engines with 3,200 pounds of thrust. Range of the Light Jet with six onboard is predicted to be 1,800 nautical miles with NBAA IFR reserves. It will have a maximum operating speed of Mach 0.78 and a service ceiling of 45,000 feet. Expected to enter service in mid-2009, the Light Jet carries a sticker price of $6.65 million in 2005 dollars.
Embraer’s Luis Carlos Alfonso, senior vice president corporate aviation market, said that the two new airplanes share the same fuselage cross section and that it’s larger than that of the Eclipse, the Mustang and the CJ1. According to Alfonso, the market segment of very light jets will encompass some 1,400 units not including those ordered as air taxis. "If the air-taxi model is successful," he said, "that could amount to another 3,000 airplanes."

Air Taxi Business

With fleets of very light jets ready to come on the market in the next few years, many operators are planning to use them in the development of point-to-point air-taxi systems. Aerobatic pilot Mike Goulian and partner Bill Herp have the same idea, but they've decided to jump the gun and start building their business now, using the VLJ-air-taxi model but flying four Cessna Grand Caravan turboprops. And it seems to be working.

In their first year of operation, Linear Air has grown from two employees to 25. Based at Hanscom Field, just outside of Boston, Mass., the company flies weekenders to Nantucket in summer and the New Hampshire ski resorts in winter, and zips business commuters to White Plains and Teterboro, near New York City. Passengers can charter the airplane to fly anywhere in the Northeast for about $750 per hour, or they can buy a single seat. The company has 25 Eclipse 500 jets on order, but will continue to operate the Caravans to accommodate larger loads or shorter runways.

September 19, 2005

Good Interview

With rising fuel costs, heightened security and bankrupt airlines, it’s a volatile time for the nation’s airports.

As a result, facilities across the country have to diversify their mix of airlines and maximize revenue from other sources, said Kevin Kern, director of the Center for Airport Management in Boston. The center helps about 30 client airports around the country make business decisions and, in the end, make money. Mr. Kern talked with BusinessWeekly about the state of the airport industry and issues that affect a new terminal like the one at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.

Q: What obstacles are the nation’s airports facing.
A: They are afraid the airlines are going to go out of business, they are concerned with the costs of running the airport.

Q: How are the spiking prices of oil and jet fuel affecting airports?
A: It obviously indirectly affects the airport: Delta and Northwest just declared bankruptcy. One of the things that may have tipped the scale in both their cases was rising jet fuel prices.

Q: How else is an airport affected when its airlines files for bankruptcy protection?
A: They are concerned about not getting paid rent, because in many cases the airlines are defaulting. Usually the highest revenue to an airport is what they get from the airlines. Then parking and rental cars and concessions, all those other kinds of things filter in as well to provide sources of income.

Q: How does our smaller airport compete effectively for those airlines when Philadelphia is two hours away, and Allentown is one hour?
A: It may be difficult for an airport like Philadelphia to bring in a new carrier. The gates are all taken up, and there may be existing leases that prevent a new carrier from coming in. A smaller airport may be able to offer space to a new carrier looking to come into a market. And the landing fees are cheaper and the amenities might be better.

Q: Most analysts say that discount carrier Southwest Airlines has gotten too big to enter our market. Are there other options for us?
A: JetBlue, Independence Air, Spirit, there are a lot of discount carriers that are out there looking for space.

Q: Airports also draw much of their revenue from non-aviation sources. How does an airport with a new terminal get the most out of its concessions?
A: The vendors usually pay the airport a minimum annual rent or a percentage of sales, whichever is greater.Do you want a Starbucks or a Caribou Coffee? Starbucks is going to pay you less rent, but Starbucks is going to make more money.

Q: Is there any advantage to choosing a local vendor without the brand name?
A: Yes, the advantage is a local flavor. People who fly in might want a particularly local flavor rather than something they see everywhere.Also, a lot of times the airports are owned or run by counties, and you want to give opportunity to your local retailers as well. And there is sometimes more accountability.

Q: How much benefit does the visual appeal and design of a new terminal help the airport?
A: The facilities are very important. People are nervous about flying, and part of the job of the architects is to figure out how to mitigate that nervousness and how to design buildings that encourage good traffic flow.

September 17, 2005


Check out Regions Air:

RegionsAir flies for American Airlines byoperating 19 seat planes flying passengers from 100 smaller communities to a hub for American Airline, St. Louis. The company primarily serves smaller markets. RegionsAir offers business-class service with its fleet of Jetstream turboprop planes, which feature leather seating and enough headroom for passengers to stand up. RegionsAir, formerly known as Corporate Airlines, was started in 1996.

Wonder if 10 smaller markets in New England could join to attract a "RegionsAir" operation here?

September 15, 2005

Allegiant In Rockford

The airport that ORH should use as their model, Rockford Airport, will begin non-stop service to Las Vegas, the airline will offer four flights a week out of RFD.

The airport authority says it's been working for 18 months to secure the deal and it's perfect timing, this week, TMA announced it will no longer be offering service from Rockford to Vegas. TMA was dependent on Rockford and Cleveland ridership and the airline couldn't secure enough passengers out of Cleveland, the airlines managing director says Allegiant strives for hassle free travel.

"We've become addicted to small, secondary city airports. And I think what you'll find, as the airline industry changes in America over the next few years, particularly with the financial trouble it's having right now, the types of airports that have been built here that you're proud enough to have really will be the next wave of aviation growth going into the future," says Managing Director of Allegiant Air Ponder Harrison.

Allegiant will be offering flights on Sunday, Monday, Thursday and Friday. Flights will depart Rockford at noon, return flights will leave Vegas at 6 a.m. If you looking to head out soon, you might want to act quickly because the airline is offering low introductory fares. Typically one-way fares will range between $89 and $200, you can book tickets now at

September 14, 2005

Allegiant Drops Madison, WI

Allegiant Air, which ended its flights between Madison and Orlando, Fla., on Sunday, will eliminate flights between Madison and Las Vegas on Oct. 31. Allegiant spokeswoman Tyri Squyres said rising fuel costs and competition from Northwest Airlines, which will begin Madison-Las Vegas service on Oct. 30, prompted the decision to end the year-old service.

"We feel that Northwest coming in is going to add some additional pressure," she said. "Knowing that we've had decent, but not tremendous results (in Madison), we felt it was going to be pretty tough to battle that out." She said customers with reservations will be issued refunds or accommodated on other carriers. Despite planes from Madison that were 66 percent to 95 percent full during the first five months of 2005, Squyres said other Las Vegas routes have done better, including Allegiant's service from Green Bay.

Northwest spokesman Kurt Ebenhoch said his airline's planned Madison-Las Vegas service was motivated by Northwest's commitment to serve customers and not by the plans of another airline. Allegiant's Las Vegas route was the first of several nonstop destinations added to the Madison airport over the past year. Airport and tourism officials say they don't think Allegiant's pullout will hurt their efforts to attract more service because other new routes are doing well. Northwest Airlines flights between Madison and Washington, D.C., and two daily American Eagle flights between Madison and Dallas-Fort Worth were added in June, and both carriers said those flights are doing well.

Brad Livingston, Dane County Regional Airport director, said he was surprised by Allegiant's decision to drop its Las Vegas service because the route seemed to be attracting a lot of passengers. He said the move doesn't indicate a decline in the Madison market. American Connection service to St. Louis soon will be upgraded to larger planes and he's working on other opportunities.

September 12, 2005

Hooters Starts In Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

Oct. 27th Hooters Air, the airline affiliated with the international restaurant chain known for its buxom waitresses and hot wings, announced earlier this month it would begin six weekly round trips to a trio of Florida tourist destinations. Flights will be backed by more than a quarter-million dollars of federal and local subsidies to market the service and offset start-up losses, officials said Tuesday. Each flight features hospitality services from Hooters Girls, who will be hired from Northeastern Pennsylvania, and a Hooters restaurant may be close behind. Mr. Peterson said he expects to see a restaurant in Allentown or Northeastern Pennsylvania sometime next year.

Hooters’ arrival marks a high point for the local airport, which will have more flights than at any time in its history, said Todd A. Vonderheid, Luzerne County commissioner and chairman of the airport’s Bi-County Board of Commissioners. The airport’s recent run of new air service has encouraged its political leaders to lend more support.“We as elected officials have decided to make an additional investment,” he said.

The airport and counties have agreed in principle on a six-month incentive package with Hooters Air, Barry Centini said. The contract still must be signed by Hooters officials and the airport board.The airport plans to use $250,000 from a federal grant awarded last year to subsidize and market air travel from Avoca to Orlando, Fla., Mr. Centini said. Lackawanna and Luzerne counties will likely offer $30,000 to $40,000 on their own to aid the Orlando flights, he said.

In some ways, Hooters Air will fill the void left 11 months ago when the airport’s start-up charter service, Vacation Express, ceased flights to Orlando and to Myrtle Beach, S.C.Hooter’s Air will fly to Orlando, as well as Fort Lauderdale and St. Petersburg, and hopes to add Myrtle Beach before the spring golf season, Mr. Peterson said. Vacation Express ended in September after using more than $800,000 of local aid money. An open-ended agreement committed the counties to subsidize all the service’s losses, which greatly exceeded expectations for the six-month contract.

That failed venture, though, laid groundwork for other airlines to take a chance in the market, Lackawanna County Commissioner Robert C. Cordaro said. Since the end of Vacation Express, subsidies arranged for Northwest Airlines and Hooters Air have limited the aid a money-losing airline can receive. Most airlines get some incentive money for entering a new market. Such investments in the airport help the rest of the community, Mr. Cordaro said.“We need this airport to perform as the main economic hub and the main economic engine of our new economy,” Mr. Cordaro said.

Leisure destinations in Florida have long been a top target of airport officials hunting for new local air service. “We pulled a Hooters slot machine lever and we came up with Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and St. Petersburg,” said Mr. Centini, the airport director. “That, to me, is the jackpot.”

September 11, 2005

Tweed Airport Wins Award

Accoording to the local newspaper, DJ Air group is considering New Haven as a possibility for their hub along with Worcester and Trenton (I think). It is always a good thing to find out as much as you can about the competition.

“The Regional Airport of the Year Award, recognizes a regional airport’s outstanding leadership team for demonstrating innovative thinking, tenacity and marketing prowess in attracting new regional carriers, implementing a successful business model, and demonstrating expertise in providing air service and quality customer service. The award honors Tweed New Haven Regional Airport for controlling its own destiny by securing government grants and developing extensive community-based support to boost its air service.

One factor was Delta Air Lines’ decision in May 2004 to begin daily service to Cincinnati from New Haven, service provided on a 40-seat regional jet by Comair. Soon after, US Airways upgraded its service to six daily flights to Philadelphia. Meanwhile, the airport is still courting service to Detroit by Northwest Airlines.” said Tom Smith, editor of Regional Aviation News. “Airport managers, with the help of Yale University, secured 1.6 million in revenue-guarantee money for Delta from the local business community, as well as $250,000 for a marketing campaign. Then, New Haven successfully applied for a $250,000 federal Small community Air Service Development grant to match the local marketing dollars.” adds Smith.

Tweed’s has seen dramatic growth in the past year with the arrival of Delta Connection service and increased US Airways Express services. Tweed has gone from boarding only 16,527 passengers in 2003 to 40,660 in 2004, with boarding expected to increase to 61,000 in 2005. These numbers haven’t been attained since the mid-1990’s. The record high of 130,000 passengers was attained in 1993. "I'm extremely happy.

This is a great honor," said Tweed New Haven Airport Authority Chairman Lawrence DeNardis, president-emeritus of the University of New Haven. DeNardis, with Yale University Vice President for New Haven and State Affairs, Bruce Alexander and airport Manager Rick Lamport, accepted the award.“Thanks are due to a host of people and institutions for Tweed's turnaround, including the mayors of New Haven and East Haven, state officials, area business leaders and particularly air travelers who use Tweed," said DeNardis, a former congressman."

A good transportation infrastructure is one of the ingredients of a region that prospers economically, that creates jobs for its citizens and a strong tax base to support municipal services," Alexander said. "Our investment in Tweed was an investment in economic development." The award, Alexander said, "is a tribute to the partnership that has brought Tweed back to life so successfully." David S. Greco, Director of Marketing

September 10, 2005

PanAm in Big Trouble

PanAm Clipper has suspended its flights from Stewart Airport at newburgh, NY. Now that Allegiant has begun service, Stewart may not want PanAm back. Stewart President

Stewart may not want Pan Am back. Stewart President Charles Seliga said whether Pan Am comes back is contingent upon what the airline does between now and November.

“It really depends on what shakes out,” he said. “Will they get certified; we can’t live without other aircraft; they have three aircraft.” Seliga said no airline can operate with just three airplanes. Allegiant is ready to “put into it what they have to do, and build on it.” Seliga said Allegiant originally wanted to start with two weekly flights to Sanford Orlando and quickly doubled that. Pan Am wants to add two more airplanes to its fleet, but the US Department of Transportation has yet to certify them.

Now add to this that Allegiant has gone right into their hometown, Portsmouth, and Youngstown has decided not to welcome PanAm but Hooters instead . The future does not look blight for PanAm.

September 09, 2005

Allegiant's Pease Agreement

Pease Development Authority (PDA) will spend $100,000 in a cooperative marketing

partnership with Allegiant Air to highlight the new service and the airport.
The PDA will also waive Allegiant’s landing, passenger and counter fees at Pease for two years.

Allegiant will begin flights between Pease and Orlando’s Sanford International Airport on Oct. 28. Squyres said the airline plans to run one round trip four days a week (Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday) on 150-seat McDonnell Douglass 800 series jets. Pease is the second airport, Newburgh NY the first, in the Northeast selected by Allegiant to serve the Orlando market.

A 35-page proposed agreement has been exchanged between the PDA and Allegiant. A final two-year agreement that could be extended to five years could be signed within the next month. PDA deputy director David Mullen said that the waiving of landing and counter fees was standard for the industry. "Airports don’t make money from (flight) operations. They make it from parking and concession sales that come" from passenger traffic. Mullen believes that the arrival of Allegiant could lead to "a priming of the pump" for more carrier interest in Pease Airport.

Allegiant could provide serious competition to Pan Am Clipper Connection, the only other commercial passenger airline operating out of Pease, which has attempted to develop a low-cost flying market. But since its arrival in 1999, Pan Am Clipper Connection has flown inconsistent flight schedules to various cities. Last week Boston & Maine, the owner of Pan Am, said that skyrocketing fuel prices will force the shutdown of its Boeing 727 operations - and flights between Pease and Orlando - for more than two months beginning in early September.
In the 1990s, Business Express airline provided regular passenger service until it ceased operations in 1996.

September 08, 2005

Fuel Costs To Airlines

I have read that the widespread devastation to Gulf Coast oil production from Hurricane Katrina is resulting in soaring jet fuel prices for airlines and creating possible fuel shortages in southern states that could drive prices even higher. Analysts say the escalating costs could push some carriers out of business or into bankruptcy.

It is estimated that 8.4 million gallons of jet fuel a day aren't reaching the market, pushing prices up almost 41 cents within the first week after Hurrican Katrina . Airline economists expect fuel prices will continue to rise if refineries along the Gulf Coast remain off line for an extended period. "We have lost about 13 percent of our jet fuel production in the Gulf region," Heimlich said. At the same time, at least 10 southern airports are in danger of running out of fuel as the industry scurries to find a way to replenish supplies. "In Las Vegas, Orlando, Tampa and Fort Myers, we are carrying enough fuel for the flight in and flight out," spokesman Kurt Ebenhoch said Wednesday. Ebenhoch said the airline prefers not to carry extra fuel because the added weight makes it more expensive to fly, but it has no choice.

Spirit Airlines could run into shortages in Orlando and Tampa but will carry extra fuel to avoid having to refuel at those airports, said spokeswoman Rebecca Rivera. "For northern flights out of Florida, we also may stop in Myrtle Beach (S.C.) for refueling so we can continue to fly with a full load of passengers," Rivera said.

While fuel shortages are a major concern, soaring oil prices pose a severe threat to the financially struggling airline industry. Jet fuel prices have jumped almost 79 cents a gallon since May, making it more difficult for carriers such as Northwest to stay afloat.
It costs an airline like Northwest about $17 million on an annual basis for every penny increase in jet fuel prices. Fuel is the second-biggest expense for an airline after labor.

"The airlines I'm worried about are these peripheral low-cost carriers that don't have the revenue stream to support this," said Michael Boyd, president of The Boyd Group, an aviation consulting business in Evergreen, Colo. "The price of jet juice has gone up so fast, it's going to take longer to adjust for it. But unfortunately, they have to pay for the fuel in the meantime."

September 07, 2005

Hibbing, MN "Air Service Development Zone"

HIBBING — Chisholm-Hibbing Airport officals got a double dose of good news Thursday.
In addition to being announced a grant recipient, Hibbing was named the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Air Service Dvelopment Zone” — a designation given to only one airport community each year. The designation serves to highlight a community’s resources and committement to the development of it’s aviation- and airport-related businesses, services and economic opportunites.

Dave Danielson, executive director of the Chisholm-Hibbing Airport, made the case for DOT officals in his application for the Small Communities Air Service Development Program. In it, he outlined the region’s poise, preparations and incentives for economic development.

That charisma and drive was something that came through loud and clear to DOT officials.
“We were impressed by Hibbing’s plan,” said Karan Bhatia, DOT’s assistant secretary for aviation and international affairs. “Given the 120 acres with infrastructure for future development and the Minnesota legislature’s designation of a JOB Zone, we felt that all of that combined with the existing plans made Hibbing stand out.”

Having close promixty to rail and road access were also selling points, he said.
The designation is expected to create a unqiue relationship and communication between the DOT and Hibbing. The two entites are anticipated to work together to attract businesses to the area surrounding the airport, to develop land use options for other areas of the community and act as a link with other federal govermental agencies.

While Danielson said he could picture a lot of potential benefits of the new partnership, Bhatia said most of it’s up to us. “A lot of it depends on the local community and what they’re willing to bring to the table,” he said. “Becasue it’s not additional funding, there has to be a strong commitment. Combing this with the $485,000 grant, we’re very optimistic that Hibbing will become a success story.”

Bhatia also made the case for what — if anything — Hibbing can do for them. He said they look foward to learning from our experience in the air service field.
“Given this is a relatively new program, we’re still trying to find out what the needs of small community airports are,” he said. “One of the key things is we hope to get out of this grant is a greater understanding of what ‘s working and what’s not.”

He said the department is also intriuged by the possibiity that this grant program may helping small community airports to separate themselves from the DOT’s Essential Air Service Program. The EAS program is three-year federal subsidy on which many small airports, including Chisholm-Hibbing operate on. Past airports designated as “Air Service Development Zones” include those in Alabama, Augusta, Ga., and Waterloo, Iowa.

Source: Hibbing, MN Daily Tribune

September 05, 2005

Small Airport Relief Act

There are 55 small airports that benefited from a Congressional exemption meant to protect airports that suffered a steep drop in air travel after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Worecster Regional Airport, ORH, is one of them.

Congress passed an amendment in December 2003 that waived a yearly minimum 10,000-passenger count requirement to be designated a primary airport and receive the $1 million in improvement grants that go with the classification.The bill, known as the Small Airport Relief Act, created a "virtual primary" designation for airports that had more than 10,000 enplanements in 2000 or 2001 but dropped below that in 2002 or 2003.But the bill is set to expire Sept. 30.

If it's not extended, airports falling short of 10,000 annual enplanements (ORH) would receive only a $150,000 annual allotment from the federal Airport Improvement Program. Overnight our approximately $2,000,000 operating deficit becomes $2,850,000. Congress has to pass an amendment to get funding into the Department of Transportation appropriations bill by October 1st, 2005.

September 03, 2005

Boyd Aviation

One of the most prolific consultants in the aviaiton industry is Michael Boyd from the Boyd Group ( Barely a day goes by when there is not a quote from Michael Boyd, most recently his comments on the NorthWest strike. These guys are good, very good.

For a list of the recent accomplishments check out In the past twelve months here are some of the services that they established for their clients:

  1. Kalamazoo/Battle Creek to Atlanta on Delta.
  2. Chattanooa to Houston on Continental
  3. Bangor to New York on Continental
  4. Tupelo Mississippi to Atlanta on Delta
  5. Latrobe, PA to Detroit on NorthWest
  6. Lewiston, Idaho to Salt Lake City on Delta

Last year's 33% of the awards under the FAA Small Community Grant program went to clients of Boyd Aviation. If the airport ever decides to hire even more consultants, which I hope we do not, then we should take a serious look at what the Boyd Group. They can be particularly helpful when 1) establishing new service or 2) applying for the FAA Small Community Grant Program.

DJ Air

We have all read the stories about a new start-up airline, DJ Air, considering Worcester along with New Haven and Trenton as their base for operations. Obviously this would be great for the City of Worcester, but we need to look at this realistically.

  1. DJ Air Group needs 100 million of venture capital. In recent years JetBlue has been a success but who else? SouthEast Airlines closed earlier this year, Inpendence Air is in big trouble and several legacy carriers may not be around in a couple years. Envisioning Wall Street lining up to cough up 100 million on a start-up airlines based out of Worcester, Ma seems like a stretch.
  2. DJ Air Group needs FAA certification which can take years. I have been watching MaxJet (, POGO Air and Bold Air for over a year now and none of these carriers have yet to have their first flight.
  3. Access Road... Sorry, an operation that Allegiant proposes for the leisure traveler does not require an access road. It does, however, require better signage and the establishment of one road that is the preferred road to the airport. If DJ Air is going to raise 100 million then get FAA certification, Worcester will have a very difficult time convincing DJ Air to call ORH home without an access road.

I hope that I am wrong, but we need to put DJ Air in the long-term (long-shot) goal category. We need to focus rather on the short-term goals, especially when the current airport is losing $2,000,000 per year and we are now 22 months away from picking up the entire tab (this year we only pay 15% of it). July 1, 2007, the date current agreeement with MassPort ends will be here before you know it .

September 02, 2005

Allegiant Air

We have all noticed Allegiant Air is making a big puch into the NorthEast, now that they have added Sanford-Orlando as their second leisure destination next to Las Vegas.

In the past week alone, Allegiant has begun service from Newburgh, NY, and Portsmouth, NH, with 4 flights per week effective November 1st with introductory prices as low as $39 one way. I would be very surprised, if we do not see a similar announcement like that within a couple weeks for Worcester, MA. The winter season begins November 1st and Allegiant would need to announce service now for NOvember 1st.

Allegiant Air may not be as large an operation as the rumored DJ Air, but lets keep in mind that DJ Air is most likely two years away from their first flight and is that just that--a rumor. Even if they ever have their first flight and that is a big if, considering 1) 100 million of venture capital needed , 2) current price of fuel and 3) the lack of success by companies like Independence Air, and 4) we may not even be picked pover Trenton or New Haven? Allegiant Air, on the other hand, may not provide the immediate mythical "critical mass", but it can be a great start and help the management of ORH correct the misconceptions of the traveling public in our catchment area.

It took the City of Worcester less then two months to build a ballpark for the Worcester Tornadoes, now we have two months to correct some of the problems at ORH. Specifically,

  1. Free Wi-Fi in the terminal
  2. Better signage both two and from the airport
  3. Advertise the free parking

It is vitally important that someone's first foray back into ORH is enjoyable both from a pricing and amenities standpoint. The last thing we want is for a new traveler out of Worcester to end up lost, circling Kelly Square 2o times.

Allegiant Air will not provide overnight "critical mass", but it can be the first step in resusitating ORH. Look at an airport like Rockford Airport ( who was in a similar situation to ORH, with no commercial service an hour away from Chicago. They started with TransMeridian ( to Sanford/Orlando then Hooters ( to Vegas. Both of these flights are similar to the schedule proposed by Allegiant in the NorthEast.

Once Rockford Airport proved to the airlines that they could in fact support these leisure flights to Sanford/Orlando and Vegas, guess what happened? Northwest ,earlier this year, began multiple flights daily to their hub (Detroit) targeting mot only the leisure traveler but the business traveler., who can not survive on the leisurelu schedule of 4 flights per week.

Allegiant Air can be a great first step, but make no mistake about it, this is just a 1st step. Please keep in mind that the 2nd year of the current contract between the City of Worcester only exposes the City of Worcester begins to 15% of the operating deficit. Since the operating deficit is approximately $2,000,000, that means we will have to pay $300,000 or the fiscal year that begins July 1st ofthis year. Next year the City of Worcester will be forced to pay 32% of the entire burden then, July 1, 2007 the entire burden falls on the taxpayers of Worcester.

Keep in mind that this will be based on the current operating deficit, which is estimated at $2,000,000 per year to the taxpayers of the City of Worcester.