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Delta may drop flying in 24 small cities

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Delta Air Lines Inc. is looking to drop money-losing flights in 24 small cities, putting some of them at risk of losing air service altogether. Delta says it has been losing $14 mil . . . (flightaware.com) עוד...

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preacher1
preacher1 0
Sad to say but an airline is a private business and is there to make a profit. If the government wants to subsidize service, that is up to them and DAL will bid the subsidy to make money or let sombody else fly it. As the article says, most of them are the Turboprop routes and old NWA cities. Anderson was brought in to turn the company around and get it profitable. He is doing that and should be allowed to continue
RRKen
Kenneth Schmidt 0
We saw the writing on the wall in Mason City, IA. First Delta retiring the SAAB 340's, then once the contract with EAS expired, the reduction of flights to two per day. Originally, service was from Ft. Dodge, stopping in MCW, then on to MSP. This usually had flights near capacity in the early mornings and late night.

We have a choice now, drive 67 miles to Rochester, MN for a flight to ORD, or down to Des Moines 120 miles away. Rochester is not an EAS city, and yet the fares were half that of Delta.

My personal contention was that you were a captive flyer with NWA/Delta to MSP. And even with the EAS subsidy, that 120 mile flight was $340 on average. Once getting to Minneapolis, you had one basic choice, NWA/Delta. Yes there are token flights from other carriers, but NWA always dominated.

Compare that to the $160 average fare on American Eagle from Rochester to O'Hare and the many choices of carriers once arriving at ORD.

How this effects the local economy is yet to be seen, but like other small towns the lack of transport tends to reduce economic development.
bishops90
Brian Bishop 0
I never understood why DAL flew to AHN anyway. It takes more time to check in and get on the plane than it does to drive to ATL.
preacher1
preacher1 0
Not talked about in this equation is the landing fees at the hubs. Those PAX from the smaller airports don't have the same ticket cost(PAX charge) as one originating from a hub so the Airports themselves may have something to do with it where the smaller airport is within driving distance.i.e you can fly US Airways from LIT to GSO, connecting via CLT cheaper than you can fly from LIT to CLT direct. For our business in NC, it is about an equal distance from either point. All other costs such as car/hotel is equal. If you can schedule the time for the connection it is over $300 cheaper to take the change and go on to GSO
bishops90
Brian Bishop 0
Yeah Wayne, It's the same here at GSP. At least until SWA showed up. DAL's prices here have come way down. I don't know about US as we don't fly them usually. At least now I can go direct to BNA where my regional office is located. I'm lovin' it.
preacher1
preacher1 0
That is the main reason that prices in/out of RDU have been low over the past few years, because SWA has been in there, albeit from Midway, which is not worth a dang from out here in the midwest, but it sure made DAL and the rest of them get honest. We had heard last year that SWA was going to come into Columbia but they wound up at GSP and I think over at Charleston.
RRKen
Kenneth Schmidt 0
Let me add one more thing. In places like Rhinelander, WI; Bemiji, MN, or Mason City, IA; driving long distances five months out of the year may not an be option. Ten or twenty miles is fine, but 67 may as well be 500 miles with winds and open fields. Even on Interstates.

And as a friend mentioned, if you do not drive you are out of luck, as there is no bus service. A local taxi ride to the airport costs $10. But going up to Rochester is about $100, and St. Paul or Des Moines, over $220. Rural isolation.
MANBOI
MANBOI 0
When one door closes, another door opens. This might also create opportunities for others. Skywest and Horizon have pulled out of some smaller markets near me while Sea Port has begun filling the void with PC-12s. In one case when Sea Port announced their plans to take over, Skywest changed their mind. Competition is a funny thing.
chiphermes
Chip Hermes 0
Unfortunately this is the normal process for EAS....hopefully it will go away. EAS is currently one of the debated issues in the FAA re-authorization bill.
dbaker
Daniel Baker 0
@bishop90 -- Although I'm not asserting that the routes are justified (the question is if they make financial sense), but the overhead of the check-in and initial flight at a small airport is not really relevant in comparison to driving to a larger airport. You still have to check in and go through the whole security process at the larger airport, so you can't count that time against driving.

I lived in Austin for several years and would fly through Houston (IAH) several times a month. AUS is about a three hour drive from IAH and people would regularly point out how crazy it was to drive to AUS, park, check in, and take a 20-25 minute flight to IAH, a process which takes almost as long as the drive. The reality is that you arrive air-side to IAH and have spent the last hour reading and relaxing as opposed to driving. I'd spend an hour in a plane roundtrip rather than 6 hours driving anytime....especially when the destination is another airport.
chris13
Chris Bryant 0
This sounds like an opportunity for an airline like CapeAir, which files Cessna-402s and ATR-42s. Some small airline flying very small aircraft like that wouldn't have nearly as many empty seats as a percentage of total seats, and the fuel costs would likely be lower overall.

But there's definitely some concern for small cities to be either underserved or completely cut off from commercial air service. I'd imagine there's some trepidation at CAK because of the merger of Southwest and AirTran. Currently Southwest serves CLE and AirTran serves CAK. But those airports are only 54 miles apart by car. But, like driving to RST as RRKen mentioned, it can be a challenge in the winter.
chiphermes
Chip Hermes 0
Why is the taxpayer's problem if small cities with no reason for airline service get cut off from airline service? Why should I pay part of the $600/ticket or whatever the average subsidy cost is? I don't see why that's a concern at all, much less a concern for the taxpayers.

Why not give these failing towns money so that all their local businesses turn a profit, too?

It's crazy.
donpeterf
DONALD FARQUHARSON 0
I would like to see DELTA Come to PGD. We need more Flts. out of this port.
RRKen
Kenneth Schmidt 0
What cessation of air service does, is it dooms economic development for those towns involved. It isolates them.

We watched the same process back in the 1950's when railroads began to isolate communities when they abandoned passenger service, and then abandoned the branch lines. Many towns dried up and went away.

Given our current economic situation, small towns have a hard enough time attracting new jobs to replace those that went away. Isolating them from transport adds another reason not to invest in such a community, and it continues to shrink.
dbaker
Daniel Baker 0
Has there ever been a case of a city served by EAS succeeding enough that it continued to have comparable airline service without EAS?
RRKen
Kenneth Schmidt 0
Salem, OR seems to be one of them (SeaPort Airlines), also Brownsville, TX (American Eagle, Continental {Express Jet}, Aeromexico); and Santa Fe, NM (American Eagle).
dbaker
Daniel Baker 0
Good examples. Perhaps there should be a time limit and/or metrics to demonstrate improved revenue/performance so that EAS isn't a bottomless pit.
BoeingFan59
Troy Raiteri 0
Well I would love to see the Saabs go in Memphis...Tired of seeing them.
jackmcfadden
Jack McFadden 0
SeaPort announced Friday it was canceling service to Salem Or. This comes just as the City Airport completed a $1.4MIL upgrade (using our fed and state tax money). What a waste. It's 65 miles to PDX. Even taking into account the high parking fees at PDX vs. free at SLE, it's always been cheaper to drive to PDX.
slgordon3
slgordon3 0
Regarding cities and towns dying if they lose transportation connections, I'd just add that a similar thing sometimes occurred when the interstate highways were built. Formerly, a non-interstate highway (e.g. US 40) would run through a town, and the townspeople made money servicing the travelers. When the interstate was built, if it bypassed one of these towns, then the town would just die off. Sorry this is not really a good analogy!
preacher1
preacher1 0
I can rememember before I40 was finished in Western Arkansas, US64 was the prime artery carrying all the traffic through here.Yes there were business that made money off the travelers but I can also remember waiting 30 minutes trying to back out of a parking spot on Main Street because of all the thru traffic that had no interest in stopping here. As far as those businesses, some are no longer here, some are still going and thriving. Folks said towns would die when the passenger trains started going away. Most didn't. People just adapt. Our town, KRUE, lost PAX train service in the late 50's. We have never have had air service, yet we have the nicest airport the city has ever had and it just seems to keep expanding. KLIT and KFSM are an equal distance, 75 miles in either direction and you can hit KDFW or KATL out of either one of them. I guess local service would be nice and if there was justification for it, fine, but I don't think me or anyother taxpayer ought to haver to subsidize it.
slgordon3
slgordon3 0
Peter F. Hartmann Esq.- No, generally I don't think the govt should subsidize airlines. All I'm saying is that towns can die when they lose transportation connections. It is sad to see, but I don't think that the govt should be in the business of trying to "save" those towns by subsidizing transportation to them.
RRKen
Kenneth Schmidt 0
Peter H, I understand your concern, but you need not type all in caps.

As it was pointed out before, taxpayers already subsidize other modes of transport. Those commuters in Chicago on Metra get taxpayer money to run the system. Yellow Freight is also subsidized to make money hauling freight. Same goes for the Taxi service in town. Yet I don't hear a peep from Taxpayers not wanting to subsidize those businesses.

It ends up however in those small towns, that the Middle Class Americans end up paying an ever increasing burden because the tax base shrinks.

EAS. like other programs in government, are part and parcel of “promoting the General Welfare” our Constitution talks about, as construed by our Courts.
slgordon3
slgordon3 0
RRKen- as an example, the Washington DC Metro subway system, to my understanding, never breaks even. Thus it requires yearly subsidies from the federal government to keep from going out of business (someone please correct me if I'm wrong). I believe this is the case for most urban public transportation systems.

Wayne Bookout- interesting points, thanks for explaining that.
RRKen
Kenneth Schmidt 0
As far as Urban transit, there are none in the world that I am aware of that make a profit, some however come close to breaking even.

Mr Hartmann, again, there is no need to shout. We in our country make a lot of accommodations for many things. Some big, some small. I suggest that EAS, is quite a small line item in the large scheme of things.

In a perfect world such as yours, everyone should pay the total cost. The problem exists in rural areas that there are not enough people to cover those costs. I would venture to guess what it costs per person to pave a mile of road in your city, is minuscule compared to what it costs us in rural areas. Yet we must, else we inhibit commerce and basic necessities.

If it were left to the States, there would be no Interstate Highways outside of large populated areas. We could not afford it. Same goes for Federal Highways, they would still be dirt roads as are most farm-to-market roads today.

Yet you have no issue at all with the State Governments subsidizing the maintenance of those paved roads for your pleasure. Even though what you pay in fuel taxes in those states hardly make a dent in the overall cost (The inadequacy of the state gas tax is widely misunderstood; today it covers only 25 percent of actual road maintenance and rehabilitation.).
preacher1
preacher1 0
Well, it comes down to majority rule and squeaky wheel getting the grease or in this case the money. 12 PAX out of Greenville MS won't carry as much weight(or votes) as will a large metro's commuter service, but Peter you are correct, where can we get ours at.lol
taylorcraftbc65
Brie Hill 0
I have a BETTER idea. I walk out the door between my bedroom and the hanger, preflight the plane, pull it out of it's hanger, and GO FLY!!
Being a retired Army aviator, I have nowhere that I have to be in a hurry, so flying my 1940 Taylorcraft from my own rural West Texas airstrip is Heaven on Earth for me. Brie
dakotadoc
dakotadoc 0
Agree with RRKen's comments. The problem with winter service is that the Saab 340s are not a robust winter vehicle, which prevented people from even booking winter flights out of MCW. During the majority of the winter, you are better off taking your chances out on I-35 than booking MCW-MSP.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 0
The taxpayers need out of the subsidy business. Private enterprise will pick up the slack if there is truely a need. Just perhaps we all don't need to travel as much as we do???? But if you do need to go, pay the price it takes for the carrier to make a profit. Less travel-less oil! We are just a little spoiled.
asm129
Alan Mileski 0
Well, as much as I hate to say this, the comments about Delta (and others) is a fact. They are private carriers that are NOT government owned or operated. Kalispell, Montana is a clasic example with 3 airlines, including Delta, United and Horizon that fly to SLC, DEN and SEA. You're basically on your own and IF you happen to get a seat, its going to cost you over $1400 one way to go less than 1000 miles. My fault for living here.
RRKen
Kenneth Schmidt 0
Not a problem Mr. Wallace. Let's start with Airports, highways, and rivers. After all they are heavily subsidized by the tax payers. None of them would break even without taxpayer money.

Fuel taxes only cover 25% of a State's actual costs of repair and maintenance. The rest of the costs come from Gen. Obligation Bonds. Read, taxpayer subsidy.

Did the airport fees at O'Hare for example actually cover the cost of the new expansion? Not even close. Taxpayer subsidy ($797 million in Federal Funds, and $298 million in bonds)!

Does the barge traffic on the Mississippi River pay it's way? Out of an $880 million cost of projects, the Industry only provided $80 million. Read, taxpayer subsidy.

Where shall we start?
preacher1
preacher1 0
I want to start with the Highway's as that is always a pet peeve. As a trucking company owner, among other things, I have always maintained that the Highway trust fund would have more than enough money in it, based on not only gas and fuel taxes collected but on Road Use taxrs paid by companies such as mine, IF IT WASN'T RAIDED TO SUBSIDIZE MASS TRANSIT AND AND OTHER SUCH THINGS AS THAT, AND THEN POOR MOUTHED TO SAY THAT TRUCKS DIDN'T PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 0
How about with all of them. We really don't need the fed.gov. to be the middleman. Sweet Jesus, the're even in the ball team business!!!
RRKen
Kenneth Schmidt 0
Dakotadoc, I cannot count the number of times last winter I-35 was closed. I-90 was twice that rate. So even getting to Rochester for example, is risky. (The Interstates here close so often in Winter, they have installed gates on them.)

On a lot of those days, Mesaba cancelled at MCW or FOD. But Rochester operations to ORD ran. But you could not get there from here.
dakotadoc
dakotadoc 0
I agree...there is no reason for MCW to have subsidized air travel. If there is a private firm that thinks they can make a buck on it, then that's what private enterprise is for. But considering Mason City's lack of economic vitality, along with its proximity to MSP and Rochester, tax-payer subsidies for air travel just don't seem worth the money at MCW.
devsfan
ken young 0
People are just going to have to get used to not having air service.
The taxpayers should not have to pony up to reduce someone's airfare from a small city. Let them drive to the nearest large airport.
The EAS is just another example of government waste.
Politicians have some nerve when they act with surprise over objections lodged by taxpayers.
If the carriers wish to service these places, let them eat the cost. And it should be illegal to pass the expense along to flyers out of large airports
AABABY
AABABY 0
Maybe Aerflot could make a go of it. They have the cost cutting department pretty well covered. And they know how to get the most out an A/C before it falls out of the air.
No US taxpayer problems either, just the Russian ones.
AABABY
AABABY 0
Come to think of it, Maybe Malaysian Air would fit in, too.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 0
Subsidized air travel...........the ones doing the traveling should be doing the subsidizing!!!!!! Traveling by plane has always been very expensive unless someone else is doing the paying.
nitroxprt
nitroxprt 0
Why you Delta management genius's don’t come back to the SBA/SLC route that was nearly 90+ % full both ways I do not know.
I flew that route at least 2-3 times per month for business. I also saw numerous other FF business travelers using the route with the same frequency.
Now I am a United SBA/DEN FF the same two to three times a month with the same clientele.

You are a lot like congress who could not make an outhouse run correctly

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