October 31, 2005

DJ Air Group

Excerpt from the Yale Daily News today:

Airport authorities are currently negotiating with other airlines, including American, United and DJ Air Group -- which is seeking to create a low-fare carrier -- to add service to Tweed, Fernandez said. He said Tweed officials are focusing on securing two or three additional airlines.

Song No More

In case you have not hear, Delta is discontinuin its low fare carrier, Song Airlines! Song was Delta's attempt to compete with discounters on the East Coast but it never made money.

Considering Indepence is in trouble, Song is no more, SouthEast went out of business along with TransMerdian, do you think Venture Capitalists will be lined up to give DJAir group 100 million?

October 29, 2005


Check out the official website for ORH http://www.flyworcester.com then hit the "Master Plan and Studies" link.

Its the fall of 2005 right now and where are the results from any of these three studies?

October 27, 2005

JetBlue ad in Paper

It was there again today. They are spending more money then Allegiant in our catchment area..... Ten flights per day from Boston-JFK and we can not get any diverted for ORH-JFK???

Obviously JetBlue tracks their tickets sales and know people are flying JetBlue or they would not advertise in the T & G... This is truly hard to believe that MassPort, our partner, can not use some influence to make this happen??

Allegiant At Max

One of my hopes was that Allegiant may move into other Florida cities. Based on this from the Las Vegas Sun, it looks like Allegiant is at capacity based on the current fleet. Maybe they may add some other cities that they fly from but Orlando/Sanford and Las Vegas look like their only destinations in the short-term.

That's about all the capacity we'll have with our existing fleet," said Tyri Squyres, a spokeswoman for the airline. "But Orlando has already been really good for us."
The vast majority of Allegiant's traffic comes from small-town America. But Las Vegas and Orlando residents are starting to take notice of the airline's low fares and using it for their own travel.

Squyres said 9.5 percent of Allegiant's Las Vegas passenger counts originate in Las Vegas. Through August, the airline served 526,673 passengers at McCarran, making it the ninth-busiest at the local airport and on par with popular low-cost carrier JetBlue Airways.
But Orlando has embraced the airline even more: 16.1 percent of the airline's Orlando counts originate there.

Allegiant Air has 14 airlines in their fleet.

October 26, 2005

JetBlue Boston to JFK

Right now they have 8 flights per day from Boston (MassPort) to JFK... You would think maybe we could convince JetBlue to either to add a couple flight from ORH-JFK or divert a couple of these flights to ORH, especially since MassPort is out partner?? Imagine JetBlue can just look at their ticket sales out of Boston to see how many passengers are coming from our catchment area. Bet you it is a sizable amount.

After posting this I opened the newspaper. Check out the ad on page 11. This ad from JetBlue says "Introducing up to 10 daily flights from Logan to JFK." This is a huge ad so JetBlue must already be aware of the people flying from our catchment area, if they take an ad out like this in the Worcester Telegram.

Lets convince JetBlue to keep only 8 flights from Boston-JFK and add the other 2 to Worcester!!!!


October 25, 2005

Manchester Airport Access Road

Story from today's Boston Globe:

October 25, 2005
MANCHESTER, N.H. --New Hampshire transportation officials say construction could begin by next fall on a road linking the F.E. Everett Turnpike to Manchester airport. The access road could be completed by the end of 2009. The road is aimed at relieving congestion while providing access to the airport and industrial land in Londonderry.

The $100 million project is in its final design stages. The project was delayed several years ago when bald eagles were found nesting in its projected path. A planned bridge over the Merrimack River had to be relocated to gain federal approval for the project.

October 24, 2005

Sarasota Bradenton New Logo

Striving for a global identity, Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport has adopted a new logo with lower-case letters that spell out "srq" on a lime green background. The Airport Authority voted 5-1 Wednesday to embrace a brand awareness campaign it hopes will distinguish the airport as a larger facility and reinforce its name, especially among international visitors.

Lets learn from this and create a new image with the start of service in December w/ Allegiant:
  1. How about a new logo ORH (do we have a logo now?)
  2. New name Boston-Worcester
  3. Bumper sticker campaign to generate civic pride and support of the airport. A small oval with the letters ORH?

October 23, 2005

Atlantis Ad

In paper again today. Large ad 1st section has to cost some money.... If we could line up a flight out of ORH to Bahamas with the existing advertising??

Independence Air in Trouble

Reviewing recent press releases from Dulles-based carrier Independence Air, the future does not look bright. Flights are being cut back everywhere, on-line "glitches", lay-offs and the CFO Richard Surratt, who has been with the company since December 1999, has resigned to pursue other opportunities. Not only is he leaving the company, but he he is taking a job at a publicly traded company outside of the industry and outside of the region.

Anytime a CFO quits his job, leaves the industry and region, the underlying company is about to make alot of employees and creditors very angry. Reports say DJAir Group needs to line up about 100 million in venture capital to get started. Things like Independence Air potentially going down the tubes can not make this an easy task, not to mention SouthEast and TransMeridian.

That does not mean we should not pursue DJAir, but lets focus in the short-term on other second-tier carriers to compliment Allegiant Air. How much would it cost to send the Mayor and out City Manager down to Hooters Air Headquarters in Myrtle Beach? It would be well worth the investment.

October 22, 2005

DJ Air

On DJAir Group web page, under the tab "Fly the Opportunities":

We will focus on short to medium haul, point to point service to large metropolitan areas with high average fares, as well as developed markets that are currently underserved.

Needless to say DJAir does not believe in the hub and spoke system. The business plan, however, may have made more sense in New England, before JetBlue has made such a large presence in New England and decided to invest in 101 Embraers not to mention the presence of SouthWest.

Just not sure how DJAir will be able to compete against well-established Discount Carriers like JetBlue and SouthWest who are not leaving many markets underserved.

Co-Ordinating Three Studies

The other day I put up a message wondering when we were going to have the Spring meeting with Leigh Fisher Associates, who is working on our 20 year Master Plan. I also believe that IMG, the consultant we hired last year, is suppose to come out with their recommendations within the next month. Don't forget we have the New Regional Regional Air Study Plan being done by Louis Berger Group.

In other words we have three different consulting agencies working on recommendations that concern the future of ORH. Starting to wonder how these can all be co-ordinated?? What if one recommendation from one agency runs contrary to that of another agency??

October 21, 2005

Hub & Spoke System

On September 13th, Embraer delivered the first Embraer 190 to JetBlue. The first of a firm order of 101 with delivery of approximately 18 per year from 2005 through 2011. Although the conventional hub and spoke system may be changing, it is not dead. What do you think JetBlue will do with this fleet of 101 Embraer 190's? Maybe some will be used to provide some point to point service but 101......

One of the first Embraer 190's, if not the first, will go to Logan to shuttle to JFK. Add this with existing shuttles from Burlington, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo, to JFK and it looks like a hub and spoke. I can very easily see these Embraers being used to feed JFK even more, from cities like Newburgh, NY, Manchester, NH and Portland, Me. Long Beach, JetBlue's base on the West Coast, will see similar types of routes for the Embraer.

That is why I think we should keep in touch with JetBlue to target an Embraer for an ORH-JFK flight.

October 20, 2005

Allegiant our of MidAmerica

Allegiant picks up another TransMeridian route. MidAmerica (outside of St Louis) to Sanford.

Boyd Aviation Second Tier Airlines

Michael Boyd, the owner of Boyd Aviation and the consultant who seems to understand the airline business better then anyone else, speaking at the Boyd's Group 10th annual aviation forecast came with a third aviation category. In addition to the existing Legacy (Delta, United, etc) and Discount (SouthWest and JetBlue), he has come up with "Second-tier carriers".

"These are jet carriers which focus on leisure and vaction passengers only," Boyd said of carriers such as Las Vegas based Allegiant Air. "Their main destinations are Orlando and Las vegas, and they usually have some kind of package deal for their customers. There's nothing with that, but they really aren't providers of air service", Boyd added. Allegiant is joined by Sun Country Airlines, Spirit Airlines and Hooters, according to Boyd, in this second-tier carrier category.

WIP's initial target airlines like Allegiant, USA3000 and Hooters now have an official name---second-tier carriers. Seems appropriate when ORH is a secondary airport. There is nothing wrong with this being our initial target market, since it is here where ORH can re-establish itself and then focus on Legacy and Discount carries.

In addition the conference mentioned above by Mr Boyd seems to me to be the type of place that we should send out City Manager and Mayor to network and sell the benefits of ORH. Versus spending monies on a survey, monies spent on attending a conference like this would be more beneficial to ORH. Check out Boyd Group at http://www.aviationplanning.com

October 19, 2005

Today's Editorial From the Telegram for Free Parking

It is debatable whether reinstating parking fees at Worcester Regional Airport when commercial flights resume in December would have a critical impact on the fledgling service. But for the modest net income the fees would generate, why take the chance? The question is timely.
Allegiant Air, an up-and-coming low-fare carrier based in Las Vegas, will be launching its service to Orlando in December, and serious talks now under way could bring in at least one additional carrier in the near future.

The issue was raised several months ago by Joseph Cohen, a former airport commissioner. He suggested that parking, which has been free since scheduled commercial air service ended in 2003, should remain free during the first year or so of any new service. Mr. Cohen’s rationale is compelling: The airport has not figured in people’s travel planning for 2 1/2 years, he noted, and free parking would serve as an incentive to get people back to the airport. We agree.

The issue was raised again last week by City Councilor Frederick C. Rushton, who warned that high parking fees would be “the death knell” of the airport and the new air service. Whether parking fees would be fatal is debatable, but he is right in pointing out that parking would be another way to separate the airport from others in the region. He favors keeping parking free or at a very reduced rate, the latter being the less appealing.

To serve as an incentive, a reduced rate would have to be so low that most of the revenue would be consumed by the cost of collecting the fee — and “reduced” certainly lacks the marketing punch of “free.” A few years hence, with air service on a solid footing, the issue can be revisited. Meanwhile, free parking is a potential marketing opportunity Massport and the city should seize.

Allegiant in Lehigh Valley

Allegiant has just picked up the Sanford-Orlando route out of LeHigh Valley that was left open when TransMeridian closed shop. As mentioned before, privately held companies like TransMeridian and SouthEast Airlines (closed last year) can shut down with basically no notice since their financials are unknown.

The only good thing is that cities, which showed that they were able to maintain high passenger loads, with either of these failed airlines, had other airlines eager to take their place. Just this month Allegiant picked up TransMeridian routes out of Rockford, Toledo and now LeHigh Valley.

The interesting thing at LeHigh Valley is that Hooters has a strong presence with flights to Orlando (not Sanford), St Pete's and Fort Lauderdale. I thought Allegiant would have passed and let Hooters have the marketplace, especially since they fly to Orlando, not Sanford. Makes me think Allegiant has decided to compete against them and must be entertaining the addition of other Florida destiantions?

This also confirms that ORH needs to reach out to Hooters. Based in Myrtle Beach, Hooters flight from ORH-Myrtle Beach in the winter months would be a huge success, not to mention St Pete's and Fort Lauderdale. Ask any golfer you know if they have been to Myrtle Beach in the winter and what they would think of an ORH-Myrtle flight.

Leigh Fisher & Master Plan

Last December, 2004, there was a meeting in the airport terminal with representative from Leigh Fisher Accociates, who are putting together our $400,000 Twenty Year Master Plan. By the way, this study was paid 90% by the FAA and 10% by the Mass Aeronautics Commission, not by the City.

At that time we were told there would be a follow-up meeting in the Spring, 2005, with final recommendations this December. Can anyone reading this, who can comment on when the follow-up meeting scheduled for this past Spring will happen, would be appreciated.

I wonder, if things like whether or not we should charge for parking are discussed in this Twenty Year Master Plan??

October 18, 2005

Monterey Airport

Found this and thought everyone would find it interesting


Atlantis Ad

Check out the Atlantis ad on page 6 of the paper and while you are at it check out the website for Atlantis. if they are advertising in the Worcester market evidently they must feel their is a market here. Now if we could get a charter to fly out of ORH (that had free parking, free wifi, great signage, and coffee) hook up with Atlantis???

October 17, 2005

Restaurant Space

Reviewing our recommendations from our web page, I came across one of our recommendations:

8 Explore new revenue sources including but not limited to the available restaurant slot and lands remaining idle in the Airport Industrial Park.

Instead of looking to the parking fees for revenues lets concentrate on these ideas for additonal revenues. What ever happened to the plans to rent out the restaurant slot?? A coffee joint with free internet access would be winner?? Seriously think about passengers coming to Worcester in December and January for the first Allegiant flights, don't you think the flying public will assume that they will be able to buy a cup of coffee and donut at ORH?

In addition when has anyone reviewed the terms in the current leases at the airport industrial park?? Maybe some can be renegotiated? Maybe some of have violated the terms of their original leases?? Who knows, but does anybody check them??? What about the extra empty parcels of land in the Airport Industrial Park??

Belive me I am all for looking for more revenues to reduce the operating deficit. Parking in the short-term will yield few dollars, when one considers the additional operating costs, but more importantly hurt the image that we are trying to project and actually end up costing us money. We need to have free parking along with carriers like Allegiant, proper signage to and from the airport and free WiFi to get the passengers back to ORH. Oh yeah, and coffee.

The day we have multiple airlines flying out of ORH and the lots are nearing capacity is the day we start to charge for parking.

Worc Telegram Today Nick K

With the planned resumption of scheduled commercial air service at Worcester Regional Airport in December, there is now some debate about what the city is going to charge for parking at the airport. Since commercial air service was terminated at the airport in 2003, parking at the airport has been free. City Manager Michael V. O’Brien said no determination has been made by the city or the Massachusetts Port Authority, which manages the airport, on what parking fees will be established when air service resumes. "The decision of Massport and the city will come down to the reality of what our expectations are," he said.

A few months ago, Joe Cohen, a former member and chairman of the Airport Commission back in the 1980s, suggested that parking at the airport remain free during the first year or so of any new service, to serve as an incentive to get people back to the airport. He said the city should consider offering such an incentive because Worcester Regional Airport has pretty much been out of the minds of area travelers for 2-1/2 years. "You would want to do what you can to get people to use the airport again," Mr. Cohen had said in an earlier interview. "The airport wouldn’t lose any money if there was free parking because it’s not collecting any parking revenues now as it is."

Last week, District 5 Councilor Frederick C. Rushton also made a pitch for having free parking. He said it would be the death knell of the airport and the new service provided by Allegiant Air if the city charged high rates for parking. "We should do what we can do separate our airport from all the other airports in New England," Mr. Rushton said. "We should make ourselves the exception rather than the rule. We should offer free parking at the airport - or at a very reduced rate."

October 15, 2005

Airport Minutes Follow-Up

It does not look like the airport commission minutes will be put on the official airport web site. We did, however, get copies of many of the meetings. If anyone wants a copy, we can fax them.



Allegiant Pulls Peoria -Sanford

Citing stiff competition from AirTran's low-cost, non-stop to Orlando flights from the Bloomington airport and skyrocketing fuel costs, Allegiant will scale back its Peoria to Orlando operation next month before eliminating it completely on Dec. 1. The cuts, however, won't threaten Allegiant's more popular direct flights to Las Vegas, which will grow next month to an unprecedented six weekly trips out of the Greater Peoria Regional Airport, consistently the airline's best seller for Vegas vacations and only market to operate as many departures.

"The Vegas market continues to be incredibly successful for us," said Tyri Squyres, spokeswoman for Allegiant. "Fuel costs just magnified all the issues with (Orlando flights)."
Unlike the Las Vegas flights, which average monthly passenger loads of between 85 percent and 92 percent of cabin capacity, the Orlando service quickly peaked at a nearly 80 percent load factor in June - its first full month of operation - before losing altitude.
The number of passengers plummeted to 60 percent in July, 50 percent in August and 55 percent in September, the last month for which complete airport records are available.

"We tried to market it heavy and pick up the numbers further, but fuel keeps rising," said interim Peoria airport director Mary DeVries. "They were not pulling the numbers that they needed" for the flights to be profitable.

October 14, 2005


Check out home page http://www.ci.worcester.ma.us , there is a new web cam there. Also note the signia for WiFi zone that declares it is available on the Commons and Union Station. I knew about the Commons but Union Station is news to me.

We need to have this extended to ORH before the 1st Allegiant flight departs..

Welcome To Blog

I would like to welcome Harry Tembenis to our blog and website. He noticed our website, liked our ideas and forwarded me a link to a letter that he had written to WoMag. If you look at is closely many of our recommendations are within his letter. Urge you to check it out

October 13, 2005

DJ Air & JetBlue

Tim M made some real good points today. Maybe we should not look at BOS-JFK getting the Embraer 190 shuttle as a loss to ORH. Check out the closeness of Ontario and Burbank to Long Beach on the JetBlue route map.. If BOS-JFK is successful and JetBlue notices alot of support from our catchment area, they may want to move some Embraer 190 flights to ORH for the JFK shuttle before someone else does??

Also DJAir has a web site .

Free Parking

I drove by the airport tonight and it got me to thinking. Since the last airlines pulled out of ORH till now, we have gotten nothing in parking revenues. Why is there is a rush to consider charging now?? If we are looking for additonal revenues, lets rent out the slot for the restaurant, review all the existing leases in the airport industrial park??

As a businessman, lets look at how much it will cost to staff the lot to accept payments. First of all we would need to have 24/7 coverage. At $10 per hour that is approximately $1,700 per week, now add in matching FICA, benefits and I would assume that we would be in the $2,500 per week (AT LEAST) range times 52 is $130,000 for the year.

How much can we collect on 4 flights per week and what would be our expected net?? Until we get more flights and passengers, it might not even make sense economically to charge for parking. Putting that aside, we need to follow the example of Rockford Airport, another airport who lost commercial service one hour outside a major metropolitant airport (Chicago).

They started with leisure flights like TransMeridian, Hooters and Allegiant then moved onto charters like Funjet and Apple Vacations. After proving to the airlines that they could actually support air service, NorthWest has begun multiple business flights per day to their hub, Detroit.
How much is parking at Rockford? FREE!!! Below is direct from their home page:

Free Parking at RFD Gets You There For Less!!!

All parking is FREE at RFD!!! Whether your trip is for business or pleasure, our well-lit parking facilities are designed to make your FREE parking experience at RFD both convenient and safe. RFD offers two parking lots near the terminal area. Lot A is located directly in front of the entrance to the airport. Lot B is located directly across the street from the terminal and is just a five minute walk to the front door. PLUS, 600 additional FREE parking spaces have recently been added to Lot A.

Additionally, complimentary luggage carts are provided in each lot to assist you in transporting your luggage. Passengers can be dropped off directly in front of the terminal doors - now that's convenient!

Don't let parking costs eat into your vacation fun! Fly RFD and park for FREE!

Rockford Airport Adds Apple Vacations

Rockford Airport, the model airport that we should follow, located an hour outside of Chicago who also had lost all commercial service has added another charter to the existing FunJet.
Apple Vacations will fly from Greater Rockford Airport to Cancun, Mexico, starting next year. Pennsylvania-based Apple Vacations said Wednesday it will offer Saturday service to the popular holiday resort from Feb. 11 through April 22. The company, in business for 36 years, has served O’Hare International and Midway airports for many years and will continue to do so.

The other very interesting thing about this is that Apple Vacations utilize the USA3000 airlines, another Philadelphia based company , as their partner. Talking to Apple Vacations may be a way to make inroads with USA3000.

October 12, 2005

Airport Wi-Fi

Great news about Wi-Fi on the Commons!!!! Now that we know how to do it--lets make ORH a free Wi-Fi zone as well??? Free parking, free wi-fi, great signage and Allegiant will get people back to ORH.

Embrear 190

Our initial idea was convince JetBlue to designate one of the Embraer 190's that they would be receiving for an ORH to Kennedy. Since Kennedy was their hub, you could then fly anywhere around the country. We did think this was that far-fetched since they were already doing this in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Burlington, Vt. As a result, we had Dave Ulmer, the JetBlue flight planner visit ORH to tour our facilites and see the "JetBlue" road.

We were not that far off. Although we were told Logan would never be interested in a shuttle of this nature, they in fact will take one of the very first Embraer 190's that have been delivered for this exact purpose. Considering JetBlue will be taking on 100 of their Embraers, we should still look into this option.

Additionally, JetBlue announced new service with the Embraer 190 to Austin, Tx., and Richmond, Va., and increased service to upstate Buffalo and Burlington, Vt.

City Council Meeting

Last night, unless you watched on television, you would not know this but Councilor Rushton asked the City Administration their position on parking. Although it was not exactly clear where the City Administration stood on whether parking should be free or not, Councilor Rushton made it clear that parking should be free.

Lets hope other City Councilors do the same. We all know that parking can not be free forever but in order to re-establish ORH with the flying public, we need free parking to reach the ephermal "critical mass". Once that is reached we can start charging.

When will that be? It will be when there are multiple airlines flying out of ORH (not one) and the lots are overflowing with cars.

October 11, 2005

Airport Commission Minutes

Tom Moore has taken it upon himself to get the minutes of the meeting for the Airport Commission to be available on the Official Worcester Airport Web Page. We realize the importance of public support of the airport and there is no better way to have that support, then to keep the tax-payers aware of the happenings at ORH.

We all look forward to this and will let everyone know when and where they will be available.

October 10, 2005

Embraer 190

Remember when we all thought that maybe we could convince Dave Ulmer at the terminal to put one of their new fleet of Embraer 190's in ORH to fly shuttles to JFK? Tomorrow JetBlue will will hold a press conference introducing the new EMBRAER 190 and announce new EMBRAER 190 routes as well as new service from Boston.

The EMBRAER 190 is 100-seat aircraft and JetBlu JetBlue has firm orders for 99 with options for 100 more through 2016. The low-fare carrier currently has two EMBRAER 190s in its fleet, and is scheduled to take delivery of six additional EMBRAER 190s this year, and 18 in 2006. JetBlue's EMBRAER 190 fleet will come with the most live entertainment options of any airline. The airline already offers 36 channels of free DIRECTV(r) programming, FOX , InFlight Premium Entertainment and now all EMBRAER 190s will have more than 100 channels of live XM Satellite Radio.

October 08, 2005

Allegiant Bottom Line

Right now the predictions are that Allegiant may bring in $125,000 in net revenues for ORH. Considering that the operating deficit is approximately $2,000,ooo we have a way to go. At the same time, there is more to the bottom line then dollars and cents.

First, there is the goodwill that can be created between the flying public assuming:

  1. Allegiant is reliable
  2. ORH experience is excellent (signage, free wifi, free parking, etc)

Goodwill is somthing that is very difficult to attach a dollar value. In addition if Allegiant has high loads, it will only lead to more airlines which will further enhance revenues and cut the operating deficit. Lastly let us not forget the $1,000,000 FAA grant that may have been lost if we did not reach 10,000 passengers.

In summary, you need to look at the entire package, which includes $125,000 in hard dollars to the bottom line, goodwill with the flying public, entrance of other airlines and the maintenance of $1,000,000 grant from the FAA, the Allegiant package is a good one for ORH.

ORH Turned 78

Little late but on October 3rd, ORH turned 78.

...in 1927, two runways and two hangars opened for business at the new Worcester Airport. A week later, more than 30,000 people flocked to the official dedication. Stunt flyers, parachutists, and military pilots entertained. Built on a hill in North Grafton, this small field was the only airport Worcester was to have for the next 19 years. By 1940, Worcester was the largest city in the country without regular passenger air service. In 1944, ground was broken for a new airport closer to downtown, and two years later, commercial service began. The next 50 years brought good times and bad. No commercial flights have operated in or out of Worcester Airport since February 2003 but will restart December 2005 with Allegiant.

In the 1920s, flying was an adventure. For the Whittall brothers of central Massachusetts, the years after World War I were spent testing their skill and luck by flying canvas covered biplanes over the fields and villages of Worcester County. But the Whittalls, like other local pilots, faced a serious obstacle: there was no airport in Worcester. Farm fields provided a bumpy alternative for recreational flyers, but commercial passenger planes and mail carriers needed the improved runways available at a real airport.

In 1925, an informal group of Worcester businessmen and flying enthusiasts began to scout potential sites for an airport in Worcester County. But, as often happens when committees are involved, the plans stagnated. Finally, Whitin' Whittall grew impatient with the delays. He used his own money to hire engineers to survey possible sites. Inches Farm field in North Grafton came up at the top of the list. He took out options to purchase the land, then drummed up excitement and support from Worcester businessmen. Within three weeks, the group had the funds to incorporate, and by October 3, 1927, two runways and two hangers were open for business. Whittall Field became Worcester's first airport.

Whitin Whittal succeeded not only in getting the airport built, but also in spreading his excitement about flying. On October 12, 1927, the day the airport was dedicated, roads around the airport were jammed for miles. A huge crowd turned out to witness the opening ceremonies and flight demonstrations, including daring maneuvers performed by a female German pilot. A festival atmosphere prevailed, in spite of endless speeches by politicians and dignitaries.

For 18 years, Whittall Field was one of the busiest spots in Worcester County. Until 1945, the field hosted airplanes such as Jennies, Robins, Wacos, Fords, Stearmans, Cubs, and Taylorcraft; special charters brought visiting performers and dignitaries, and pioneers such as Wiley Post made stopovers on around-the-world flights. In the years leading up to World War II, the field was especially busy with the Civil Pilots Training program.

World War II brought major advances in aircraft design, and it became clear that the old farm fields would soon be too small for modern aircraft. On May 4, 1946, a new Worcester Airport was dedicated; commercial service to New York City began a week later. The site on Tatnuck Hill, which rises over 1,000 feet above sea level, often experienced troublesome fog and bad weather, causing serious problems for the airlines. The old Whittall Field was sold for a housing development in 1951.
Once Told Tales of Worcester County, by Albert Southwick (Worcester Telegram and Gazette, 1985).

October 07, 2005

DOT Grant

We should definately retain Boyd Consulting next time we apply for the DOT Grant. These guys are good, very good.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded $18.9 million in federal grants to 37 regional airport projects in 29 states and encompassing 68 communities as part of the 2005 Small Community Air Service Development Program. DOT received 84 applications in April for $19.8 million in available grant money.

This is the fourth year of this grant program. Collectively, the 84 applicants asked for more than double that amount - nearly $51 million - in federal funds to jump-start or expand air service in small communities. In many cases, these communities have not had scheduled air service since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when many carriers reduced their networks. In some cases, communities have not had service since the 1978 deregulation of the airline industry.
Of the 84 applicants, only 15 were from first-time applicants. The rest were past winners as well as repeat losers applying for the funds.

Although Congress had authorized up to $20 million to be split among up to 40 projects, the number of applicants were down from 120 last year to 84 this year, even though the program has proved to be "wildly successful," said Michael Boyd, of the Denver-based Boyd Consulting Group. "When you cull out the fruitcake ones, they were down to 65 good ones [of the 84 applications]," he said.

Of the winning applications, Boyd's firm advised 20 percent of them. Over the past three years, 25 percent of all the funds allocated have been awarded to Boyd clients.

SkyWest and ASA

In a prior post I had mentioned that with the purchase of ASA by SkyWest, that maybe we should contact SkyWest since ASA had good loads out of ORH to Chicago. Both Tim DeSantis and Alec corrected me that ASA had flown from ORH to Atlanta. My mistake.

Chicago is in fact the hub for SkyWest but they will continue to use Atlanta as their ASA hub. Maybe we should then contact SkyWest about ASA from ORH to Atlanta based on the past passenger loads?

SkyWest posted an $82 million profit last year, up 21.7 percent on revenues of $1.6 billion. Revenues have more than tripled since 2000. SkyWest has always been a non-union company. ASA pilots and flight attendants are union members.

Michael J. Boyd, a Colorado aviation consultant, said ASA has consistently been among the worst airlines at Hartsfield-Jackson in terms of on-time performance and baggage handling, and Boyd said that will change. "SkyWest will clean up the mess on the C Concourse," he said. "They've shown they can run hub operations smoothly – and I think they'll do in Atlanta what they've done everywhere else they fly."

SkyWest also inherits a long-simmering contract dispute among ASA pilots. The current contract became amendable three years ago, but negotiations have produced little progress since then. "SkyWest knows how to make money and they know how to run an airline," said Rick Bernskoetter, an ASA captain and union leader. "

In addition to legacy carriers, SkyWest has sought alliances with low-cost carriers such as AirTran, JetBlue and Southwest, which have been profitable and expanding throughout the airline industry's post-9/11 hardships. So far, there have been no takers.

Atkin, CEO of SkyWest, says the cost structure of carriers like United and Delta will closely resemble their low-cost competitors whether the cuts come in Chapter 11 or elsewhere.
"What used to be a huge cost difference between the network carriers and the low-cost carriers is narrowing," he said.

Manchester Access Road

Something to watch http://www.manchesternh.gov/devprojects/airportaccess.html

Manchester Airport Access Road

Project Information

Location: Bedford-Merrimack-Manchester-Londonderry

Developer: New Hampshire Department of TransportationCity

Contact: Alex Vogt, Project Manager, NHDOT

Budget: $75

MillionStatus: Construction to start 2005Est. Final Completion: Open to traffic 2008Benefits: Safe, efficient and convenient access to Manchester Airport and undeveloped industrial zoned land in Londonderry south of the airport via connection to the FE Everett turnpike.

Allegiant Picks Up Rockford TMA Route to SAN

Just six days after TransMeridian Airlines folded, Allegiant Air said Wednesday it will begin nonstop jet service on Dec. 15 from Greater Rockford Airport to Orlando Sanford International Airport. The destination is popular with Rockford area travelers - TMA's flights were more than 80 percent full.

Allegiant Air will fly four times weekly, on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. That's one more flight than TMA offered at the time of its demise. Allegiant Air also offers package deals with 18 Orlando and three Daytona Beach hotels, with round trip air fare and three night hotel stays starting at $185 based on double occupancy.

Allegiant Air flights will leave Rockford at 12:15 p.m. and arrive at Orlando Sanford at 3:45 p.m. Flights leave Orlando Sanford at 10 a.m. and arrive in Rockford at 11:40 a.m. Introductory one-way fares start at $59 when booked at www.allegiantair.com. This is the second Rockford destination announced by Allegiant Air. In September, the airline said it will fly four times a week from Rockford to Las Vegas starting Nov. 3.

Derek Martin, Greater Rockford Airport's deputy director, said the airport has courted Allegiant for two years to provide service to both Las Vegas and Orlando."Originally, Allegiant wanted to be in Madison, Wis. I spent two years trying to convince them that Madison wasn't the place for their product, Rockford was," Martin said. "We talked about Las Vegas and Orlando, and when opportunities came about to bring Las Vegas on board, we started those conversations again, and they were looking for the timing, and the timing happened very quickly."

Squyres said that when TMA shut down abruptly Thursday, Rockford airport leaders immediately phoned Allegiant Air. "It was some late night phone calls for a couple of days, and we got it all worked out pretty quickly," she said. The airline made its decision Monday.

"Everything is about the numbers, and it all pencils out very favorably that this is going to be a great market for us," Squyres said.The airport is not giving Allegiant Air service guarantees or fee waivers, Martin said."The only thing that's been committed is to include them in our advertising package throughout the region." The value is $75,000, he said.Allegiant Air was founded in 1997 and serves 25 U.S. cities from Las Vegas, in addition to 12 cities from Orlando Sanford. It has been profitable for the past two years, "which is enormous in our business," Squyres said

October 06, 2005

WoMag Today Worcesteria

Good stuff.

Two of the WIP recommendations are highly prevalent--free parking and better signage for the "east-west connector". Where's free WiFi? Completely agree with Tim D, we can not offer free parking forever. Until we get more airlines to ORH, people re-acquainted with ORH and the parking lot is overflowing with cars then, and only then, should we consider low cost parking.

In addition, one of our recommendations was more positive presss. The story in the T & G about planes landing at ORH, when fog prohibited landing in Boston, is exactly the type of story we need to see more of.

In case you forgot here is the list of recommendations from our home page:

  1. Rename the airport to Boston-Worcester to approve its appeal as alternative to Boston. This has worked very well for Baltimore Washington and Orlando Sanford International Airport.
  2. Improve access to and from Route 290 including reverse signage. We need to pick one route as the preffered route versus attempting to direct prospective passengers from every single exit off Route 290.
  3. Contact, pursue and invite leisure airline who target secondary cities and provide discount prices to popular leisure destinations (note targeted airlines below).
  4. Replace studies with action.
  5. Prospective airlines do their own research before entering a market so why waste monies on consultants when we could utilize these same dollars to help advertise airlines who enter this market?
  6. Open lines of communication among involved parties with monthly reports from the Airport Director to the City Council pertaining to the budget and prospective airlines.
  7. Explore possibility if naming rights for the terminal or airport itself.
  8. Generate positive press for the airport. Correct misconceptions about not being able to landing in bad weather and highlight the high level of general aviation activity.
  9. Explore new revenue sources including but not limited to the available restaurant slot and lands remaining idle in the Airport Industrial Park.
  10. Revise and update the official web page.
  11. Start a bumper sticker campaign to generate civic pride and support of the airport. A small oval with the letters ORH?
  12. Improve business traveler services specifically FREE WIFI and FREE PARKING!!!
  13. Recruited airlines need to offered a package that waives fixed overhead expenses and allocated a portion of the $455,000 Small Community Air Service Development Grant from the FAA to their advertising needs.
  14. Invite airport management companies to Worcester and review the possibility of putting together an RFP whereby we lease the entire airport to a private management company.
  15. The PILOT program for non-profits is extremely controversial. We may look into the possibility of asking local non-profits to contribute to a fund that would help attract a daily business flight which would benefit the entire community.

October 05, 2005

ORH Deal w/ Allegiant

Allegiant, the city and Massport were scheduled to sign a five-year agreement yesterday, an incentive-laden contract designed to encourage Allegiant’s long-term commitment to Central Massachusetts, said Assistant City Manager Julie A. Jacobson.

The contract was not available yesterday, but Ms. Jacobson said the agreement generally calls for a $5.75 charge per person, a rate calculated from passenger load, landings and fuel flowage fees, she said. The city has estimated Allegiant would pay $143,750 in revenues if the airline transports about 25,000 passengers a year, she said. As more passengers travel, the city would receive added revenues, she said. The airline did not seek any discounts on parking fees at the airport.

The city will also aid Allegiant by using money from a $442,615 marketing grant received in August 2004 from the federal Department of Transportation. The city will match up to $50,000 in marketing expenses during Allegiant’s first three months, Ms. Jacobson said. For the rest of the first year, the city will match up to $10,000 a month in marketing expenses.

Hooters Air

Story from the Atlanta Journal Constitution

ATLANTA — It seemed like a joke when Hooters Air launched 2 1/2 years ago.
"A restaurant getting into the airline business?" traveler Kary LeBlanc wondered at the time.
To make matters worse, the Atlanta-based restaurant chain, best known for its "Hooters Girls" in snug tank tops and orange hot pants, couldn't have picked a worse time to get into the business than the post-Sept. 11 travel slump."I thought it was a gag, that it would never last," said New York-based airline industry consultant Robert Mann.

Hooters Air has not only lasted, it's grown. The carrier quietly keeps adding flights, linking such places as Gary, Ind., and Allentown, Pa., with Orlando and Myrtle Beach, S.C., hometown of company founder Bob Brooks. Because the carrier flies to so many satellite airports, only a few Hooters Air flights compete directly with commercial airlines.

It's technically classified as a "public charter" carrier that takes reservations from individuals directly on its Web site. There are some advantages to being a charter, including fewer financial regulations, Mann said. Charters are, however, subject to the same safety regulations as commercial airlines. Hooters also owns a 15-year-old airline called Pace, which specializes in high-end charters for such groups as pro sports teams. Pace holds the operating certificates for both carriers.

In the first six months of the year, Pace had operating revenues of $26 million and posted a loss of $1.7 million. "If they do a good job for people and are predictable, maybe it has more legs than a lot of people gave them credit for," Mann said. Hooters Air now flies to 15 cities, including Nassau, Bahamas, and is eyeing other destinations in the United States and abroad, President Mark Peterson said.

The airline offers low fares, lower than competitors' in many cases, although they tend to use different airports. Hooters also has roomy leather seats and in-flight entertainment in the form of two scantily clad waitresses, in addition to the usual number of trained flight attendants.
Peterson rejects the suggestion that Hooters Air aims to become a small-scale, blue-collar JetBlue.

"We're not in this to take on the Southwests and the JetBlues of the world," he said. "If we can find something that works for Hooters and use the brand to provide some additional revenue, then that's what we'll do." Hooters Air's goal is to make money, not merely serve the marketing interests of the larger organization, he said.

One unusual consideration in adding Hooters Air destinations: whether the airport is near a lot of Hooters restaurants. "Florida is a big market; Chicago is a big market," Peterson said. "If a place is a great Hooters market, and we can provide some air service that hasn't been there before, and a better travel experience, then we'll look at starting service there."

October 04, 2005

Allegiant Picks up TMA in Toledo

Officials struck the deal in the wake of TransMeridian's sudden departure.
If you want to fly to Orlando or Las Vegas Allegiant Airlines is a new option at Toledo Express Airport. Tyri Squyres from Allegiant Air says "they're full sized MD 80 jets which is about 150 seats, plenty of leg room and it's non-stop".

Officials say Allegiant was planning to begin service in Toledo to Las Vegas in 2006 but Thursday's abrupt departure of TransMeridian helped new plan take off.
Paul Toth, airport director, said "when we found out Thursday evening the first phone call we made was to Allegiant."

Port authority officials convinced Allegiant that Toledo was a good choice for service to Las Vegas and Orlando. Paul Hartung, Port authority, said "it's extraordinary good news and it couldn't come at a better time." Allegiant's been in business since 1997 and focuses on providing flights to Vegas and Orlando for underserved cities like Toledo.

"You can travel through March 31 but you need to book by Oct 22 to take advantage of 49 dollars to Orlando and 69 dollars to Las Vegas" that's one way. Airport officials say there's also one way to keep the airline in Toledo. "Stop driving to Detroit and book in Toledo and we can continue to build what our community truly deserves." People interested in booking Allegiant can go to their website at allegiantair.com. The first flight leaves in December.

October 03, 2005

Linear Air

Condensed story in Globe yesterday

Andre, 30, a business analyst with Siebel Systems Inc., lives in South Boston, barely 3 miles from Logan International Airport, but since June he's been heading almost every week to Hanscom Field in Bedford to fly to New Jersey. Andre takes Linear Air LLC, a new private-plane service that flies four days a week to Teterboro, N.J., across the river from New York City.

Flying takes longer in the 10-seat Cessna Caravan turboprop than in a commercial jet, but the overall trip can be shorter when factoring in security lines and other traffic at Logan. At $438 round trip, it can cost roughly the same as a commercial flight. Pretzels and cookies are served, Andre can spread out to work on his laptop, and valet parking at Hanscom can make it a 10-foot walk from the plane to his car. ''It's superconvenient, and it's really first-class treatment," Andre said.

Andre is among a growing group of business travelers and affluent vacationers who have flocked to new ways of flying to avoid the frustrations of big airports, long security lines, and enervating commutes to and from the flight.

While three of the six major US airlines are still operating in Chapter 11 protection and while US Airways Inc. left bankruptcy court last week, the business of private plane service is thriving.
Companies such as Linear -- which plans to add new service Tuesday between Hanscom and Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y. -- and others that sell time on charter jets are making private-plane service increasingly affordable.

Another impetus: Passengers often get to decide when they want to fly and where they want to fly to. Nationally, business jets and turboprop planes carried 13 million passengers last year, up from 11 million in 2000 and 9.8 million in 1998, according to Jerry Bernstein, an aviation analyst with The Velocity Group consulting firm in San Francisco.

William Herp -- chief executive of Lexington-based Linear Air, which began flying 13 months ago -- said all signs he sees suggest continued growth in demand. ''I have called this the 'if we build it they will come' strategy," Herp said. ''People are so disaffected with the public airline service model." Linear offers one of the least expensive options for travelers who want a private jet experience. Federal law allows companies such as Linear to offer up to four scheduled round trips per week on specific routes before they are regulated as airlines. Linear also offers weekend service to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

Many industry officials expect the noncommercial passenger aviation business will take an even bigger leap next year as a new breed of aircraft called very light jets begins to enter service. The FAA is expected to certify VLJs for commercial operations as soon as March.
Costing as little as $1 million to $2 million each, or a half to a quarter the cost of the cheapest small jets today, VLJs could carry four passengers at speeds up to 400 miles per hour on routes of up to 1,200 miles.

Even more important, VLJs will be able to land at airports with runways as short as 3,000 feet. That could ultimately bring jet service to 5,400 smaller US airports that are within a half-hour drive of 93 percent of Americans' homes, according to industry data. Those potentially include Massachusetts airports in Chatham, Gardner, Hopedale, Mansfield, Marshfield, Shirley, and Tewksbury.

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates is a big VLJ believer, investing millions in Eclipse Aviation of Albuquerque, one of a half-dozen aircraft makers building the small jets.
''VLJs are probably going to revolutionize this industry," said Dan Hubbard, vice president of the National Business Aviation Association, a trade group. ''They're going to make charter flights a very reasonable option. Why go through all the hassles of airlines that operate on their schedule, landing three hours away from the city you want to get to? To me, that's a no-brainer for people who fly frequently."

Additional to List

We watch out for airlines with larger B737 series aircraft, such as the B737-900. With those 170+ seaters (similar to B757), even just 60% payload will require about 6,700 feet of RWY (we only have 7,000 max here at ORH). A320s, 319s, and smaller B737 series (300,400) should be fine at ORH.


First of all, it is not far away. Secondly I have been reading how the members of the Bermuda Hotel Association (BHA) have asked Tourism Minister Dr. Ewart Brown to meet them next month to discuss their proposals to change the way the island is being marketed.With projected hotel occupancy rates for September down to 50 per cent – down two per cent from last year – concern is mounting in the industry over the failure to attract more land-based tourists.

What do you think the budget is for tourism here? 35 MILLION DOLLARS!! Why not try to tap into that??? Right now USA3000 flies from Baltimore, Newark and Philadelphia to Bermuda, why not work with the BHA and Tourism Director of Bermuda to put together a package to attract USA3000 to ORH?

October 02, 2005


Rockford Airport,

, the airport that we should model ORH, will be starting service to Cancun and Puerto Vallarta in January, 2006, with FunJet Vacations. We should reach out to them.

October 01, 2005

ASA Sold

Delta last month sold fellow regional subsidiary Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA) for $450 million to St. George, Utah-based SkyWest. According to different stories that I have heard ASA was quite happy with their ORH-Chicago route but pulled out because of corporate (Delta) decisions.

Maybe we should put them on our target list??

Who Picks up TMA Routes?

Hooters and Allegiant will be picking up the established routes from TMA that had good load factors.

Lehigh Valley Airport officials already expect other carriers — including Hooters Air, which already serves LVIA — to step in and fill the gap in service to Orlando, the airport's most popular destination. Allegiant Air is also already talking to airport leaders about the route.

TransMeridian Airlines

Old WIP favorite, TransMeridian (TMA), shut down the other day, just like SouthEast Airlines did last

year and as PanAm may be doing soon. Good thing we dropped them(TMA) from our target list earlier this year when he heard that they had no further plans to expand. The tough thing with private companies,however, like these, unlike public companies, one truly does not know the state of their actual financials until it is too late.

At the same time, we should have been concerned when TMA pulled out of Rockford to Vegas Route (note 9/15/5 entry) and Allegiant jumped in that there was trouble. Also remember reading about travelers from MidAmerica being stranded for hours. Next time, we see a carrier not only not adding destination, but dropping routes picked up by others and passengers being stranded for hours and hours--THE FUTURE IS NOT BRIGHT!

Here is what we need to look for in an airline:

  1. An airline that works with secondary cities.
  2. An airline that has direct jet service to popular leisure destinations.
  3. An airline that has "discount" prices.
  4. An airline that is in good financial shape.

Based on these parameters, that means Allegiant, Hooters and USA3000.