Airport Business

DEC 2017 - JAN 2018

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AIRLINE SERVICE December 2017/January 2018 airportbusiness 31 said Dillon. "Prior to that, our only other interna- tional service was to Canada and some Mexico seasonal flights." The greater Hartford region and western Massachusetts has a significant business base, said Dillon. "And the business community in our region was looking for this global connectivity, especially trans-Atlantic travel," he said. "We spent a lot of time with the business community trying to understand that. We ended up dealing with just 23 companies that we felt were somewhat emblematic of the industries and businesses in our catchment area. We learned that they were spending well over $43 million annually on trans-Atlantic travel." Unfortunately, they were required to either make a very long drive down to JFK or up to Boston, said Dillon. "It was a huge inconvenience and a bad use of their employees' time to have to make that trip both ways," he noted. "So it was a high priority that we had to satisfy a demand of the business community. But we're also very interest- ed in serving the leisure market of the inbound tourism market. Our studies showed that each European visitor coming to this area spends on average, over $1,700 per visit. We felt that was very important for our tourism market to be able to capitalize on that as well." San Diego International Airport is two-and- a-half hours south of Los Angeles International Airport. Despite that close proximity to an airport that serves 78 international destinations, San Diego has been able to carve out its own niche. Hampton Brown is the director of air service development at San Diego International Airport. His city has 15 international flights, some with multiple frequencies from airlines including Air Canada, British Airways, Condor, Edelweiss, Japan Airlines and WestJet. "For a long time, San Diego was unable to sat- isfy the region's demand for international flights. Travelers were making the two-plus hour drive up to Los Angeles to fly out of LAX," said Brown. "Aircraft also have a limited ability to take off and land at our downtown airport. Our market size wasn't large enough for the aircraft size that could handle international flights." But the game changer for San Diego was the Boeing 787, with its high fuel efficiency and the right number of seats that make it profitable for airlines to operate, said Brown. "It also helped that businesses in San Diego has diversified from defense to other emerging industries like mobile telecommunications, university research, biotechnology and clean technology," he said. "These are all global businesses. Time is money, and it's inconvenient for them to drive to LAX." MAKING THE CASE Making the case to get international flights comes down to demand and revenue, said Schorr. "There are a lot of non-hub airports, like Portland, Austin, Hartford and San Diego, that have significant inter- national demand and the high fares that go with it," he said. "For example, you see that demand in Hartford, yet travelers will drive to larger airports like JFK or Boston to fly across the pond. The case is similar in San Diego and Austin." Airlines look at reported O&D traffic when making their decisions, said Schorr. "But it's ours and the community's job to show them passengers that aren't showing up in their reported data," he noted. "If an airport can show they can change travel habits and retain passengers leaking to other airports, you can better make the case or new international flights." Schorr cited the example of the Austin-London flight on British Airways. He also pointed out Japan Airlines and BA in San Diego, Aer Lingus in Hartford and London flights out of Oakland and Portland. "These are all cases where there was so much demand and the airports were able to prove their cases," he said. John Albrecht is the chief marketing officer at Oakland International and takes the lead in making the case for his airport. "We offer clarification on our market because we note that the usual data sets airlines use to make service decisions don't represent the true O&D market in Oakland," he said. "Most of the traffic in our catchment area actually leaks to San Francisco International, so that shows up in San Francisco's data." Oakland also uses data that breaks down the region's true origin by zip code, Albrecht explained. "For example, it illustrated that our market expands from the East Bay up to Napa Valley wine country. That element helps us correctly size the market. These are data sets that airlines don't typically see but find very useful." he said. The Port of Oakland is a member of the Oakland Chamber of Commerce and Aviation Director Bryant Francis sits on board of the East Bay Economic Alliance, said Albrecht. The airport also participates in the Innovation Tri-Valley Leadership Group, a network of busi- ness leaders that work to advance the business climate and quality of life in the state's Tri-Valley cities of Danville, Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton and San Ramon. "The Tri Valley has hundreds of companies and brands like Chevron and Del Monte. This allows us to have discussions with C-suite level representatives on their air service needs," said Albrecht. "Sometimes that translates into letters of support or comments in airline discussions. It also introduces airlines to sales managers and travel bookers at these companies." Oakland has a strong partnership with Pixar Animation Studios, said Albrecht. "They are big fans of our airport because many of their employees use the Southwest Airlines shuttle to LAX, where Disney headquarters are," he said. "All the music for Pixar movies is recorded in London, so we make it more convenient for them." Bradley does an extensive amount of research, working with the business community to know which particular routes are needed by them, said Dillon. "But we also do a fair amount of zip code data research, so we know where people are flying to and what airport they're utilizing in our catch- ment area. So with that data, we're able to make a very strong case to the airlines on particular routes," he explained. "We said that if you bring service to Bradley, in some cases, you'll be the only game in town and can really capture a sizeable portion of the market." The airport found it will capture 80 percent of travelers to a destination in its catch- ment if a nonstop flight is present. San Diego International Airport Condor made its inaugural flight May 1, at San Diego International Airport. Read more at www.AviationPros.com/ 12341125

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