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Not for Sale

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64 Passenger Air Service Development Techniques to "fill frequencies" between larger cities where mainline jets also fly.) Those regional carriers use turboprop aircraft or regional jets. Compared to smaller mainline aircraft, these turboprops or RJs have fewer seats, which are carefully priced and managed for sale by the major airline. Such actions reduce the availability of discount fares in the market. Smaller aircraft can also make it challenging for larger commu- Consider: nity groups (e.g., school or church groups) to travel together, as there simply are not enough What aircraft mix seats on the aircraft to accommodate them. Most regional jet aircraft with less than 70 seats are serves the market? flown in single-class (i.e., economy-only) configuration. Some regional jet aircraft in the 70- to How has this mix 100-seat range also have a premium (business-class) cabin. changed over the Aircraft Types past few years? The size of aircraft that carriers use and the mix of aircraft serving the facility can influence the Has the use of traveling public's perception of the quality of service offered at an airport. Generally speaking, smaller aircraft led the traveling public prefers larger aircraft, and jets are preferred over turboprops. The advent to more nonstop of the regional jet in recent years has brought jet service to smaller communities previously served by only turboprop aircraft. However, commercial flights over shorter distances (i.e., less than destinations 500 miles) are more economically well served using turboprop aircraft, which tend to be far more served at the fuel efficient than jet aircraft. But, as noted in Chapter 3, except in the smallest markets, the num- airport? ber of turboprop aircraft in service in the United States has declined significantly over time. The size of aircraft serving an airport can also affect the use of or need for jet bridges and gates. Consider: The footprint of a regional jet is significantly smaller than that of a narrowbody or widebody jet. How often do Increased regional jet and turboprop service also impacts the need/desire for jet bridges versus your airline opera- ground loading. tors fly on-time? Reliability Why are flights Airline and aircraft reliability can weigh heavily in a passenger's perception of a travel experi- late in departing ence. If an airport experiences chronic delays in arriving and/or departing flights, the issue must your airport? be addressed with the operating carrier. Lack of attention to this operational reliability can lead passengers to avoid flying the perpetually tardy carrier; they may choose another carrier at The key community another airport. In the end, both the carrier and the airport suffer. stakeholders are Burlington (Vermont) International Airport acknowledges that it benefited from JetBlue's service to JFK, yet it also was forced to recognize that for some time during early 2007, JetBlue's those corporations, operations at JFK suffered significantly because of congestion and delays. Passengers appreciated organizations, and the low-fare service, but did not care for connecting at JetBlue's crowded JFK facility. Flight prominent individ- delays there meant that the last flight back to BTV often arrived hours after it was due. uals who have a Figure 5.4 summarizes the issues that were most commonly identified by surveyed airports as their major air service problems. vested interest in the quality and quantity of com- Where do key community groups want to fly? mercial service at After understanding the current situation at the airport, the ASD team's next step is to exam- ine demand by determining who the major travel groups in the community are and where they the airport. travel. Key community stakeholders are those corporations, organizations, and prominent indi- viduals who have a vested interest in the quality and quantity of commercial air service at the air- Solicit input and port. They are the largest companies in the area that funnel their business air traffic through the facility being assessed. They include the Chamber of Commerce and economic and tourism feedback from development agencies. Local travel agencies can also provide insight into the patterns of the local them. traveling public.