JetBlue, Boston’s largest airline with 125 daily flights, has succeeded where three other carriers did not: making a profit and winning over travelers with cheaper fares and in-flight amenities on a 300-mile trip on which US Airways long had a lock.
US Airways, with a hub in Philadelphia, has 19 nonstop flights on peak weekdays from Philadelphia to Boston.
JetBlue’s arrival in May with five daily Boston nonstops immediately lowered airfares, once as high as $800 round-trip on US Airways, to $55 to $154 one-way on Jet Blue, depending on the day and time of travel.
Yet while Fitzgerald points to improved employment, production and tourism as signs of the region’s economic vitality, growth at Pittsburgh International is stalled.
“I can’t explain it,” Fitzgerald said of the incongruity between the region’s surging economy and an airport that is scuffling in its core business of flying.
The airport was on pace through November to post its lowest annual passenger total since opening in 1992, according to the latest data. It recently learned that 600 airline jobs will vanish when the new American Airlines, created through a merger with US Airways, closes a flight operations center in Moon by next year. An unused section of one concourse in the $1 billion airport remains walled-off. The airport doesn’t have a CEO.
An aerial view of LaGuardia Airport (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
NEW YORK — Dark, dingy, cramped and sad. These are some of the ways travelers describe LaGuardia Airport, a bustling hub often ranked in customer satisfaction surveys as the worst in America.
“It does not represent what people think of when they think of New York and Broadway shows and glamour. It’s not very pretty,” said Layla House, a sales manager for a medical supply company who travels from her home in Bullard, Texas, to New York at least six times a year.
That’s about to change.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced the state is taking control of an ambitious $3.6 billion construction project that envisions a new central terminal at LaGuardia, with vast open spaces, restaurants, shopping plazas, new parking garages, free Wi-Fi and other amenities now common in other airports. Cuomo wants to develop a plan to upgrade cargo operations at nearby John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Delta Air Lines’s flagship, the Boeing 777-200LR. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Delta Air Lines said Tuesday its refinery in Trainer, Delaware County, posted a $3 million profit for the three months ended Sept. 30.
It was the first quarterly profit since Delta bought the former ConocoPhillips refinery last year to keep supplied with jet fuel.
“We have a tremendous opportunity with the Trainer refinery,” Delta CEO Richard Anderson told investors on a conference call discussing third-quarter financial results. “Importantly, the refinery’s production has proven to be effective in keeping jet cracks in check, particularly in the New York harbor,” he said.
The “crack spread” is the difference between the cost of crude oil and the selling price of jet fuel – it’s the price paid to refiners.
The application was filed this week with the FAA’s Small Community Air Service Development Grant program.
The grant would be used toward a nearly $1.2 million initiative that includes enticing airlines to add flights to leisure and business destinations not currently offered out of Northeastern Pennsylvania including Tampa, Boston, Pittsburgh, Washington and Las Vegas, said Barry J. Centini, the airport’s director.
Money would be used to help subsidize the airlines, could go toward landing fees and other offers making flying in to and out of the area more attractive, Centini said. Additional money would be used to amplify marketing efforts for those airlines and existing airlines.
The cost of flying might be going up, but this time it’s not the airlines raising prices.
The Obama administration has proposed raising the taxes on air travel by about $14 per flight, a move airlines strongly oppose.
Higher taxes are needed to help reduce the deficit, pay for improvements at the nation’s airports and add thousands of new immigration and customs officers to reduce wait times to process foreign visitors, the administration says.
Airlines say higher taxes will backfire and hurt the economy.
The airline industry took a decisive step toward greater concentration on Thursday with the announcement that American Airlines and US Airways had agreed to merge, forming the nation’s biggest airline. The merged airline, to be called American, leaves just three major carriers — Delta Air Lines and United Airlines too — able to offer extensive domestic and international service, a sharp contraction over the last decade.
But while airline executives argue that mergers are good for passengers because they bring more service to more destinations, some economists and consumer advocates warn that all this consolidation comes at a price for travelers.
With fewer carriers, passengers have fewer options; fares and fees are now more likely to go up, particularly for flights between midsize cities. And more cities, especially smaller ones, can expect to see further reductions in service.
“It’s much easier to have tacit collusion with just three airlines,” said George Hoffer, a transportation economist at the University of Richmond. “It’s not illegal. But it’s like having a few big people in a small boat. Anyone’s decisions tie you all together.”
Aerial photo of Lehigh Valley International Airport (IATA: ABE, ICAO: KABE) in Hanover Township, 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Anyone walking into Lehigh Valley International Airport will notice the shiny new terrazzo floor, the modern glass architecture and the new LV Cafe — the result of a $14 million makeover that took three years.
But what is also noticeable is that lately there are relatively few passengers to enjoy the new amenities.
Passenger traffic has plummeted at LVIA after three airlines left in the past year, and airport administrators will soon announce “austerity” measures that could include job cuts, fee increases and business contract reviews.
Analysts say it’s part of a national trend in which skyrocketing fuel costs have prompted air carriers like American to pull their planes from smaller regional airports. And with no relief in sight for jet fuel prices that are up 443 percent over a decade ago, it’s a situation that’s likely to get worse before it gets better.
Apparently buried in debt and wracking up service fees at airports including Lehigh Valley International, Direct Air abruptly halted all flights Tuesday morning, and there is no word when or if air service will resume.
Charles Everett Jr., executive director of Lehigh Valley International, confirmed that Direct Air had halted flights but he said he wasn’t sure what that meant for its upcoming flights at LVIA.
He also wasn’t yet certain what the unannounced stoppage meant for the $93,000 in service, landing and passenger changes Direct Air owes LVIA.
Visitors to Pittsburgh International Airport can be forgiven for thinking, at certain times, that they wandered into an aviation ghost town. Where once US Airways alone operated more than 500 daily flights into Pittsburgh, the airport is now left with an average of 139 non-stops a day for all airlines.
There’s no question the airport needs more flights and the people who take them — and that makes the news that PeoplExpress is reviving an old brand and is eying a presence in Pittsburgh especially encouraging.
Today, a nonrefundable round-trip ticket will set you back $118.00 before taxes. After Southwest ends their nonstop service, the same ticket, for the same flight, will cost you $698.00 on US Airways.
Taking a flight with one connecting stop makes flying almost equivalent to driving across the state. Amtrak and Megabus are also not options for business travelers who need to make same-day round-trips.