Airport Business

NOV 2018

The airport professional's source for airport industry news, articles, events, and careers.

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16 airportbusiness November 2018 AIRLINES By Benét Wilson The Battle Over Air Service Development Getting successful and robust airline service means finding the right needs for your community. No matter what size community you live in, having an airport that connects you to the global air transportation system is key. For example, in its search for a second headquarters, Amazon required that potential cities be within 45 miles of an international airport. Aviation has directly created 9.9 million jobs and created a $664.5 billion economic impact, according to “Aviation Benefits,” a 2017 report published by the Industry High Level Group, an ICAO initiative. Its members include the heads of ICAO, ACI, IATA, the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation (CANSO) and the International Coordinating Council of Aerospace Industries Associations (ICCAIA). So what are airports — large and small — doing to balance keeping existing air service with boosting frequencies and adding new flights? Many of them choose to hire air service consultants to help. Mike Boyd founded Evergreen, Colo.-based aviation consultancy, Boyd Group International, in 1984 after stints in planning and marketing at three airlines. He leveraged his experience into a firm that is well respected not only for its air service consulting, but its annual aviation summit, an event that attracts top airline executives from around the world as speakers. It has become a must-attend event. The first consideration when it comes to air service is pretty simple — is it possible, Boyd asked. “Many communities just want air service, no matter where it goes. Our biggest challenge with them is getting them to understand that air service access isn’t always possible at the local airport,” he said. Take the example of Youngstown–Warren Regional Airport, which has worked for 20 years to get air service, said Boyd. “They do have Allegiant Air for leisure travel, but that’s just leisure air service,” he said. “The best service for Youngstown comes out of Pittsburgh International Airport, an hour’s drive away. But some communities don’t want to hear that.” Another example is Topeka Regional Airport, said Boyd. The airport had three daily US Airways Express flights to Kansas City that ended in 2003. It won a Small Community Air Service Development grant in 2012 for $950,000 to operate United Express flights to Chicago, but the service ended in September 2014 after the funds ran out. Even Allegiant Air couldn’t make flights work and they stopped flights in July 2007. “Why didn’t it work? Because it’s more convenient to drive to Kansas City International Airport, which is a one-hour drive away,” said Boyd. “This is happening at small airports across the country. Your air service isn’t always at your local airport.” Even the right case for air service can be wrong, said Boyd. “Airlines aren’t stupid. They don’t need a consultant to send them a leakage study. If the traffic is there, the airline will know it,” he said. “The only case to be made for air service is does an airport meet the corporate objectives of the airline.” Pueblo, Colo., is literally an hour away from Colorado Springs Airport, said Boyd. “It is spending millions of dollars to keep two United Express 50-seat flights to Denver running at a 27 percent load factor,” he said. “More people go to Starbucks that fly on these flights, and Announcements about new international service from Indianapolis International Airport. Indianapolis Airport Authority

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