Speaking of shoes…

Edit 11 APR 421PM – It seems I was caught in a flight delay courtesy of FAR 117 today… my flight home from Seattle to Juneau had a minor maintenance delay that would have resulted in the flight crew possibly timing out, so Alaska had to locate a new cockpit crew – and 4 hours later we are in the air.   The fact Alaska had to get a captain on his day off and from their largest hub is a scary fact they blew through all reserves just after noon on a Friday.

Wow, just noticed its been almost 2 months since my last post!  That is a total accident I swear.

So, its becoming more obvious this rule by the FAA is really taking a beating on the independent carriers.  Great Lakes is doing what it can to operate its schedule with a new mix of 9-seat Beech 1900s and Silver is now next in line to see pilot shortages.

Today, Silver announced a 90 day notice to terminate service in the Mid-South with the exception of Macon, Georgia (probably because that is a bridge flight linking Florida to the Dulles flying).  These are markets that once flew as Delta Connection to Atlanta, had VERY attractive bids from SeaPort and Air Choice One, but decided they wanted 34 seat glossy airplanes instead of frequent, lower fare service.   I get it, I really do.  You miss the widget.  But I don’t have any sympathy for the politicians and chambers that supported Silver.  They had the higher bid and now its falling apart and everyone’s paying for it.  Had these markets gone with Air Choice One or SeaPort, you’d probably be flying just as many people now as you did 4 years ago.  Unfortunately that’s not the case.

Silver doesn’t have the luxury of yanking out a bunch of seats from its planes or using another division under Part 135 rules to fly 9 seaters.  They’ve been reducing service in these markets so they can at least operate what they schedule (some airports are reporting cancellations rates exceeding 40%).  I’ll dig up some news stories in a bit (waiting on a delayed flight as I type this), but Silver is doing its best to make these markets work.

Now with this 90 day notice, along with the Pennsylvania 5 (I didn’t post on it as I was working on a bid for these markets, but we are not going through with it), could be a move to simply get more money.

Only time will tell, unless Travis Christ tells the media something.

Essential Air Service at Muscle Shoals, Alabama and Greenville, Laurel/Hattiesburg and Tupelo, Mississippi

OST-2000-7856 – Muscle Shoals, AL
OST-2008-0209
– Greenville, MS
OST-2001-10685 – Laurel/Hattiesburg, MS
OST-2009-0305 – Tupelo, MS

April 9, 2014

Notice of Intent of Silver Airways to Terminate Service

Silver Airways Corp., pursuant to Part 323 of the Department’s regulations, hereby provides required 90-day notice of its intention to discontinue subsidized scheduled air service between Atlanta, Georgia and each of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Greenville, Mississippi, Laurel/Hattiesburg, Mississippi and Tupelo, Mississippi.

Silver Airways intends to discontinue this service on July 8, 2014 or such earlier date as permitted by the Department in any final order terminating the eligibility of any of these communities under the essential air service program.

The discontinuation of Silver Airways’ scheduled air services at the communities noted above will reduce air transportation at each affected airport to a level below the EAS determination set forth in Order 2012-5-17 because, at present, none of the points which are covered by this notice of intent receive scheduled air service from any other certificated air carrier. Prior to ending its scheduled air services at these communities, Silver Airways will contact all passengers holding reservations on discontinued flights to notify them of the schedule changes and assist them in arranging alternate transportation or provide them with a refund of their ticket price, without penalty, if requested.

By: Silver Airways, Travis Christ, 954-985-1500

http://www.greenville.ms.us/Airport.html – Mid-Delta Regional Airport
http://www.hlrairport.com/ – Hattiesburg/Laurel Regional Airport
http://www.flytupelo.com/ – Tupelo Regional Airport
http://www.flytheshoals.com/ – Northwest Alabama Regional Airport

Index

 

Essential Air Service at Meridian, Mississippi

OST-2008-0112

April 9, 2014

Notice of Intent of Silver Airways to Terminate Service

Silver Airways Corp., pursuant to Part 323 of the Department’s regulations, hereby provides required 90-day notice of its intention to discontinue subsidized scheduled air service between Atlanta, Georgia and Meridian, Mississippi. Silver Airways intends to discontinue this service effective July 8, 2014.

By Order 2012-7-35 (July 30, 2012), the Department selected Silver Airways to provide subsidized essential air service, under a two-year contract, at MEI. Unfortunately, for the reasons set forth herein, Silver Airways is no longer able to continue providing this service.

The discontinuation of Silver Airways’ scheduled air services at MEl will reduce air transportation to a level below the EAS determination set forth in Order 2012-7-35 because, at present, MEl does not receive scheduled air service from any other certificated air carrier. Prior to ending its scheduled air services at MEl, Silver Airways will contact all passengers holding reservations on discontinued flights to notify them of the schedule change and assist them in arranging alternate transportation or provide them with a refund of their ticket price, without penalty, if requested.

By: Silver Airways, Travis Christ, 954-985-1500

http://www.meridianairport.com/ – Meridian Regional Airport

Index

Posted in Alabama, Mississippi, Silver | Comments Off

Great Lakes moves forward with reconfiguration

As mentioned on the Crankyflier.com, Great Lakes has apparently received permission to yank out 10 seats from a handful of their Beech 1900D aircraft and operate them under Part 135 rules.   What this means is that Great Lakes can now fly their routes using a 9 seat configuration utilizing First Officers who do not meet the latest FAA guidelines of 1500 hours and holding an ATP – Air Transport Pilot Rating – with the FAA.  They can now hire pilots as low as a few hundred hours to sit in the right seat and fly as a First Officer.  The planes will STILL have at least one pilot with at least 1500 hours of experience and holding an ATP rating (Captain).

From the Great Lakes timetable on their website, the routes that will get these 9 seat configurations include:

  • Alliances, Nebraska
  • Chadron, Nebraska
  • Dodge City, Kansas
  • Hays, Kansas
  • McCook, Nebraska

They aren’t talking about a lot of flights.  I think they have only done this to 2 airplanes, so we’re not looking at a massive impact.  But the company now has some flexibility to get some pilots who can fly their aircraft.  The big question that remains is how the DOT will rule on this:  EAS typically determines the frequency & subsidy based on the number of seats a plane is configured for; so a city like Marion, Illinois is allowed 6 flights a day (roughly) using a 9 seat aircraft, 4 a day using 19 seat aircraft, and 3 a day using 30 seat or greater.   So now that we have a bandaid put on Great Lakes, its a matter for the bureaucrats to figure out.   Many of these cities probably never do put more than 9 revenue passengers on a given flight, so this reduction in seats shouldn’t have MUCH of an adverse effect.   But lets see what comes out of the DOT.

Posted in Great Lakes | Comments Off

And there goes the other shoe

It looks like Silver is now the next to implode, although theirs is a bit more planned out than Great Lakes.  Silver has been able to get some reductions in the Mid-South markets to Atlanta and now it looks like they are closing the Cleveland hub on May 15th and parking the Beech 1900s.

Which means the Pennsylvania markets are now all out for bid – worth a whopping $10 million right now.  I bet Cape Air was wishing they had more planes!

The markets that will be seeing their service end are:

Bradford, Dubois, Franklin/Oil City, Jamestown Pennsylvania

and Parkersburg, West Virginia

These markets were once served by Air Midwest into Pittsburgh, so I’m wondering if we’ll see the PIT Connector service finally become a reality.  And for $10 million I bet it will!

Posted in Pennsylvania, Silver, West Virginia | Comments Off

And Great Lakes implodes…

Firstly, I am NOT biased against Great Lakes.  They are a good company, they’ve been through a lot – and provide a VERY vital link to a large chunk of EAS markets.   Great Lakes flies 19 seat Beech 1900D and 30 seat Embraer Brasilia 120ER turoboprops in and out of Denver, LA, Phoenix, and Minneapolis (well, for now).

As mentioned in my last post, Great Lakes is having some SEVERE pilot shortages.   Various news articles pinpoint that number to about 100 TOTAL pilots, compared to about 300 this time last year.

OUCH.

So, reliability has crumbled.   Great Lakes has been doing what it can to recruit new pilots, but I heard they’ve only been able to get them in the single digits.   And they clearly are blaming the new FAA pilot requirements.  As mentioned in my previous post, would a pilot with 1500 hours rather go to Great Lakes & fly a prop, or go to a Republic, Mesa, or SkyWest and fly a shiny jet?

So.. here’s the bad news.   Ironwood.  Devils Lake.  Jamestown.  Fort Doge.  Mason City.  Thief River Falls.   Moab.  Vernal.   All these markets are going to lose their air service on February 1st, regardless of what happens with the EAS RFP selection.   This is NOT good news.   Anytime you have a break in service, it becomes much more challenging to rebuild the service.

I’m looking for some type of press release from Great Lakes, but so far there are just a few news stories.

Devils Lake, North Dakota

Moab, Utah

Fort Dodge, Iowa

My hopes are that Great Lakes can figure something out, or the FEDS move to relax the pilot requirements for some Part 121 carriers – otherwise this is going to get messy.

Posted in Colorado, Great Lakes, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota | Comments Off

And now we are seeing the effects of the Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act of 2010

Well.. who would have thought.   A wonderful idea to the lawmakers has turned into a nightmare for the citizens of the United States.  For once, we’re NOT talking about Obamacare.   After the Colgan Air Dash 8 Q400 crash in Buffalo, New York – the government was pressured to do something – make more requirements for pilots who were apparently “overworked”, “undertrained”, or just bad aviators.    Lots of ideas got thrown around, and the smaller airlines warned us of what could happen.  And unfortunately they were right.

The new laws require that first officers, or the typically lower-experienced flight crew member, now holds an Air Transport Pilot Rating and have at least 1000 or 1500 hours of flight time under their belt.  I’ve always thought this was overkill, merely because most captain positions require this (or did).    Basicly, a pilot needs at least 2 SOLID years of flight time to operate a Part 121 aircraft – anything with 10 or more selling seats.  But, just as we see with some foreign airlines, lots of hours of flight time doesn’t always mean you have pilots who know how to fly (re: Asiana crash in San Francisco).

It has always been a challenge to staff the regionals – I recall a meeting with Great Lakes CEO Doug Voss, who once said “who wants to retire here? we’re merely a training ground for  United Airlines” back in the mid 90s.    Most pilots don’t day dream of flying an Embraer Brasilia or Saab 340 for the rest of their life:  they want the big jets.   Paris. International.  Left seat.

Before this law was passed, airlines like Colgan, Mesaba, Republic, Mesa, and Gulfstream were known to hire pilots with as few as 500 flight hours.   Now, they can’t until someone reaches 1500.  Pilots would typically work for the smaller airlines – think Cape Air, Air Choice One, SeaPort, Mokulele, Pacific Wings – to build their hours until they reached the minimum threshhold.  These smaller carriers fly 9 seat Cessna 208 Caravans, PC-12s, and Cessna 402s to many small communities.   Under Part 135, you need to have 1500 hours and an ATP rating to be a captain – so now we are presenting ourselves with problem #1.  The moment the first officer at Mokulele reaches his 1500 mark, there is no reason to stay unless he wants experience as a captain… he can now go apply at Mesa or Shuttle America and start flying a shiny jet.   He’s done the time and is done flying VFR in an unpressurized airplane.  He now wants to sit reserve in Boise, Idaho for the next 2 years until he can become a captain, then after a year or two hope he lands a job at Alaska Airlines flying 737s.     So now, Mokulele can find itself short captains – or a job pool of pilots who were not accepted/fired/let go from the other regionals.

Problem #2 focuses on the Part 121 guys:   Why should a pilot with 1500 hours fly for a Silver, Great Lakes, or Republic (Dash 8) when they can be hired by Mesa flying a CRJ 900?    Or go work for American Eagle and their new Embraer 175s coming on property soon (albeit for sh*tty pay).

Fast forward to today and this “pilot shortage” is causing havoc in the EAS world.  Both Silver and Great Lakes are having severe operational issues – and I can probably say its easily pointed at the pilot/crewing issue.   Mokulele, where I do perform advisory duties, fortunately hasn’t had much of a problem – but it could.   As could Cape Air and any other Part 135 carrier if the Part 121 guys start to get desperate.  Fortunately Mokulele tries to have a decent quality of life and taking steps to help make commuting & travel easier.

Great Lakes & Silver aren’t minting money, so they aren’t really in a position to greatly increase their pilot salaries.  Plus, it would be insane to offer a street captain (someone hired off the street to be a captain rather than upgrade a first officer) $80 an hour to fly a 30 seat plane.   But they may have to.   Great Lakes is losing markets, and Silver’s markets are all complaining.   Great Lakes has already lost Pueblo and Laramie to SkyWest.   Moab and Vernal Utah have gone to SkyWest, and Jamestown is about to go that route too.   A few of the communities in Pennsylvania  2 are screaming at Silver, as are the southern markets.   And Great Lakes awesome flights to Williston, North Dakota were taken over by “partner” United Airlines and are now flown by jets (Great Lakes used to be the sole carrier with 5-6 flights a day in 30 seat Embraer Brasilias, and was later flown at-risk – no subsidy).

So what is going to happen? I foresee the Part 135 carriers growing – because of the operational issues at the 121 carriers will probably make the airports think twice before ignoring, if not lambasting, the 9 seat operators (as the South cities did when SeaPort & Air Choice One both found when bidding on the Mississippi/Alabama EAS routes to Memphis).  I see it becoming more challenging for the Part 121 carriers without jets being able to staff their planes with COMPETENT crews, as they will only be able to hire pilots that the larger regionals rejected (or the minority few pilots who prefer smaller planes/live in base, etc).   Its also going to be a challenge for these same airlines to RETAIN their pilots – so if you own a Part 135 carrier and are scheduled, you need to get in CASS & myIDtravel so your pilots can commute/see their families!  But now we have a few markets in the mid-south struggling to retain their EAS status because they need to meet the 10 passengers/day requirement.   I hate to say “I told you so” to Tupelo, Greenville, and others -  but if you had selected Air Choice One / SeaPort, you’d be in a MUCH different position today.   Smaller planes, but at least you’d have a cheap fare and flight that departs on time.

The other alternative is to reverse the FAA’s moves in the 90s that placed many 19/30 seat planes under Part 121 rules than 135.  Maybe its time to move the 19/30 seaters back to Part 135 with some additional rules – then you’ll be able to see Great Lakes & Silver do much much better…. call it Super 135 regulations (ie – require dispatch, 2 person crew, ATP/1500 hours in the left seat, 500 hours min right seat).  This way, we can go back to how it was before — pilots learned to AVIATE (fly) at the regionals before moving to the jets.

We need to do this, otherwise we may see a lot more of the Asiana San Francisco incidents happen more and more (the pilots were not stick-flying the plane, but relying on automation to land it) — so this “great” law passed to make life better for pilots and “safer” for the rest of us has some damning repercussions.  So just like my libertarian stances on Obamacare – I think the government should go back and redo this law so that it is more effective, has more support of the airlines, and still provides a safe flying environment.

For information on the 1500 hour rule - click here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Merry Christmas!

xmas

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

And the poaching continues

20131121_142355I guess its almost time to start hanging up the Christmas decorations around here – we’ve already got Christmasy weather here in Juneau… sorta.  Had a few inches of snow fall earlier in the week, so we have a nice white powder covering everything – although we’re now back to our normal winter weather of 34 – 40 degrees with cloud & rain.   But the view out my office window is still white, thank god.

And special thanks to the FAA NexGen system up here in Juneau, most of our flights have been operating.  This system has not only saved lives, but it has also allowed commerce to continue.  Alaska Airlines apparently used to have about a 65% completion rate in Juneau before ADS-B and the NexGen system was installed here.

So back to EAS.   Great Lakes is being poached again.   SkyWest was just awarded the service in and out of Pueblo, Colorado.  SkyWest put in a bid of $1,737,732 to fly the Brasilia as United Express to Denver, while Great Lakes proposed status-quo with the Beech 1900D at $1,549,558.   The city threw a lot of support at SkyWest, and they won.   Even with a higher bid, this is good news for the community – SkyWest may not be flying the Brasilias in 2 years, so there’s a chance this could migrate to the jets at some point.  Great Lakes has also been experiencing some operational issues – so they are losing a strong EAS market, they probably need the slack in their system.  I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing.

However, we’re still looking at an overall increase for EAS – and we’re still not heading in the right direction.

Essential Air Service at Pueblo, Colorado

Order 2013-11-19
OST-1999-6589

Issued and Served November 25, 2013

Order Selecting Carrier and Establishing Subsidy Rates

By this Order, the Department is selecting SkyWest Airlines to provide Essential Air Service at Pueblo, Colorado, for an annual subsidy of $1,737,732. The service to be provided will be 12 nonstop round trips per week to Denver International Airport, using 30-seat Embraer Brasilia 120 aircraft for the two-year period from February 1, 2014, through January 31, 2016.

By: Susan Kurland

http://www.pueblo.us/index.aspx?nid=88 – Pueblo Memorial Airport

Posted in Colorado, Great Lakes, SkyWest | Comments Off

Evolution

I’ve had a lot of email since its been such a long time from my last post.  This has been a very interesting year in my professional and personal life.  I’ve also come across some information and I need to rethink how I move forward on this website.

First off, I want to extend a SINCERE apology to the EAS group at the DOT – namely Dennis Devany and his analysts.   I know I’ve been harsh on some of the decisions to come from the EAS division, however I understand that DOT, like all parts of government, doesn’t run how we all wish it would.   Their hands are tied most of the time, not all the decisions on EAS awards unfortunately don’t come from him or his analysts… so yes, politics gets its hands on this program and Dennis & crew do what is told.    I think this gives us more reason to have set requirements as to how DOT awards both EAS and SCASD money to keep behind-the-scenes influences from affecting how the program is ran.   So I’m sorry for pointing fingers at you and your work group when it really should be aimed at those ABOVE you.

Knowing this, I want to keep this blog as an INFORMATIONAL tool for people to learn about EAS, the real need for air service in small cities, and how we can keep this program afloat and make it more efficient.   And one of my clients recently won an EAS award that I did the financial numbers and forecasting on, so I’m now in a weird position of how do I write this from a neutral standpoint.   And how do I talk about bids that I am involved with, and not use this forum improperly.

That all aside, I still work for Crankyflier.com and that’s been keeping me busy as well – I just completed an Around The World Trip to write a series on inflight comfort in economy.  Yes, I finally had to endure crossing a body of water in economy.   I really did feel like Penny from Come Fly With Me.   The series will be published during the Dubai Air Show, so keep your eyes peeled for my adventures on various airlines and a wide array of aircraft.

Here are some pictures of my recent adventure that won’t make the blog:

eas_9Ah yes… lets grab some food at the Honolulu Commuter Terminal.   Yup.. $15.49 OR $17.06 for a combo meal.

 

 

 

eas_1

Amazing views on my flight from West Maui to Honolulu… loved seeing this cloud layer, and yet this flight was amazingly smooth!

eas_2

Flying over Hawai’i is always a treat, especially since you can see the lava flows from the air – gives you a much different perspective.  I believe this is the Kohala Coast on the Big Island.

 

eas_8Got to fly on the 787… I wish I could talk about my experience, but you’ll have to read about that on the Crankyflier.com website next month :(

The window shades, or lack thereof, were.. interesting.

 

 

 

 

eas_6

I always love how Emirates launches their IFE before departure – and you get to watch your airplane take off from the tail or nose cameras!  Great for any #avgeek.

eas_5

Was getting a bit nervous as we flew near Syria ^_^    Actually, was playing around on the inflight WIFI and uploaded this to Facebook and had some interesting comments.   The wifi on Emirates was a handy tool, but be prepared for speeds that make you feel like you are in 1995.

eas_3

Second time in Dubai and had a lot more free time than last; got to see a lot of the sites and even swam in the Persian Gulf.  Was very cool to float because of the high salinity of the water.   I also went up the Burj Khalifa – despite my fear of elevators – and amazingly you could barely feel it move.

 

 

 

eas_4First time boarding via bus at Dubai and we in steerage were pushed to board via the rear.  Its astonishing to realize how big the tail of the 777 is until you get this close to it!

 

 

 

 

 

eas_7

And finally, baby chester gave me a ride to Seattle as part of a connection on Alaska.   This was also my first flight as an MVP Gold… in all I flew 33,550 miles in a two week period.  And unfortunately, starting this Friday I’ll be clocking in 12,000 miles over 11 days.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Victoria, Texas air service may not be working out…

… if the city is paying a consulting firm $39,000 to help attract a new airline.  I’m surprised they are spending taxpayer money on a study when I can do it for free.   First suggestion: you picked the wrong airline.  #2.  You have to give your market a few years to build up.

According to the news story, there are issues with Sun Air – “size of the planes, problems with luggage and ground problems..” and they want to look at other destinations.   I swear all of this was brought up during the EAS bids back in June of last year.   Two airlines bid on Victoria to replace the shoddy service by Colgan – Sun Air using Piper Navajos for about $2.3 million, and Seaport – which had two bids, one at $1.84 million and the other for $1.87 million – using Cessna Grand Caravans or Piper Navajos.  I’d also like to point out that both airlines bid for Houston, SeaPort has a presence in Dallas at Love Field.

So what happened?  For starters, Sun Air was just operating Florida – Bahamas flights and had bid on a handful of other markets – so Victoria didn’t quite start on time.  The airline had some growing pains and even had to turn down starting EAS in Macon, Georgia.    For some reason there are no figures for 2013 for Victoria’s service, but Sun Air has done quite well in Victoria – their latest reported month (December 2012) shows they boarded 576 passengers and apparently flew all of their flights.   Looking at Colgan’s record from earlier in 2012, they’ve already done better.  So kudos to Sun Air.

However, the local paper has reported some challenges with the operation.  Its difficult to substantiate those without seeing the DOT T-100 data, so I can’t tell if there are issues with flights being cancelled or if there are issues with the size of airplane.   December 2012 shows they are getting 4 people on a flight (average), so for an 8/9 seat Navajo that’s not bad.

I’m just still scratching my head over this EAS award – SeaPort’s bid was substantially lower – by almost half a million dollars a year, and they proposed using more capable aircraft in the market (Cessna Caravan, which can fly 9 passengers and all their bags on this route without risk of leaving people behind).   SeaPort was also in a position to possibly add a Dallas flight in there if it could, just as they did to Harrison a few years ago when they added Kansas City service (and ultimately added a non-subsidized flight to KC!).

Yet the last EAS award was for Mokulele Airlines for Kamuela on the Big Island, where the community CLEARLY supported nonstop service to Honolulu, DOT awarded the airline flights to Maui (which has some in the community a bit upset, albeit not public) to save $90k a year.   And I should also point out that the DOT made a misstep by sending out the Montana bids without including a bid by Boutique Air, which has a fairly lower bid than Cape Air.  I’m still trying to see if they submitted the bid ontime, the date stamp is a bit difficult to read.

But in this day and age, the DOT’s awards are confusing at best – especially when we need to cut the budget.   Some bids its OK to award the higher bid, despite having a lower, more efficient bid – yet they’ll turn around and award the lower bid for an airline to a market that wouldn’t do as well as the other option presented and wasn’t supported by the local community – Carlsbad, New Mexico included.

With the budget cuts NEEDED on a national level, we need to get more clear direction from the DOT as to how they award bids, and the airlines need to be more financially conservative with their numbers.   Its hard to take government serious when they claim “financial savings” for selecting one proposal over another, only to turn around and award higher bids to less-tried/tested bidders/options.

So to Victoria, good luck on that money being spent.   Sun Air is getting your numbers up, but maybe you should be having discussions with them to split their flights between Houston and Dallas using a more capable airplane.

link: http://www.victoriaadvocate.com/news/2013/jul/22/mc_commcourt_072313_215289/

Order 2012-7-17
OST-2005-20454

Issued and Served July 13, 2012

Order Selecting Carrier

By this Order, the Department is selecting Sun Air Express, LLC d/b/a Sun Air International to provide Essential Air Service at Victoria, Texas for an annual subsidy of $2,294,036. Service to be provided will be four weekday and four weekend nonstop round trips (24 a week) to George Bush Intercontinental Airport using 9-passenger, twin-engine Piper Chieftain aircraft for the two-year period beginning when the carrier commences full EAS.

By: Susan Kurland

Posted in Boutique Air, Hawaii, New Mexico, SeaPort, Sun Air International, Texas | Comments Off

And Montana is out…

When I wrote about Silver pulling out of Montana a few weeks ago, I was expecting a few more bidders – the DOT released the bids today and its NOT a pretty picture.  Great Lakes and Cape Air are the sole bidders on the remaining Montana markets, and both carriers aren’t taking ANY risk.

eas

So, as you can see – this state is about to get a lil expensive.   Great Lakes’ bid was fairly commendable, as they are requesting less subsidy for Sidney than the current operator, but Glendive takes a bit of a hit.  Note: I only used Cape Air’s bid with 3 flights a day instead of 2 flights a day per market… this 2nd option is only marginally cheaper.

Cape Air is the interesting bidder here.  Fortunately, their bid isn’t an “all-or-nothing” bid – they need at least 3 cities, which will fit nicely if the DOT awards this round of RFPs.  But man, its an expensive bid.   I noticed that Cape Air’s bid left out flight times and block hours, probably for good reason.  I don’t like being stuck in a Cessna 402 for anything over an hour, and all the Montana markets will be at least 80 minutes each, with Sidney clocking in at close to 100 minutes.   Ouch.   Especially in a plane that doesn’t have air conditioning.  Their bid is 77% higher than the current operator, but do you blame them?  Cape Air will probably go shopping for more planes (if there ARE any good 402C’s out there) or cut routes somewhere else to cover these routes.  The routes also all propose nonstops in and out of Billings, whereas the Great Lakes bid proposes 1 stop service to Denver for both markets using either Beech 1900s or the Brasilia.

Both Great Lakes and Cape Air submitted very conservative bids, despite the current slashing of the EAS budget.   While I think the DOT should just award these markets, I have a feeling they will go back out for rebid because of the massive expense.

Essential Air Service at Glasgow, Glendive, Havre Sidney and Wolf Point, Montana

OST-1997-2605
July 15, 2013

Propsal of Hyannnis Air Service d/b/a Cape Air

Option A:

Havre Glasgow Wolf Point Sidney Glendive
Daily RTs 3 3 3 5 3
Departures (net of completion) 2124 2124 2124 3541 2124
Fare $42 $42 $42 $42 $42
Pax Rev $200,746 $200,746 $200,746 $669,155 $200,746

Option B:

Havre Glasgow Wolf Point Sidney Glendive
Daily RTs 2 2 2 4 2
Departures (net of completion) 1416 1416 1416 2832 1416
Fare $42 $42 $42 $42 $42
Pax Rev $160,597 $160,597 $160,597 $588,856 $160,597

By: Cape Air, Andrew Bonney, 508-862-9719

July 15, 2013

Proposal of Great Lakes Aviation

Glendive:

Beech 1900D – 1218 Departures
Subsidy per departure: $1563.94

Sidney:

Beech 1900D (19-seat) – 1827 departures
Subsidy per departure: $1412

Embraer 120 (30-seat) – 1218 departures
Subsidy per departure: $2118

By: Great Lakes, Michael Matthews, 307-432-7030

July 16, 2013

DOT Request for Community Comments

I would like to update you on the Essential Air Service situation in Montana and give you an opportunity to submit any comments if you wish. As the contract with Silver Airways, Inc. expired on May 31, 2013, the Department issued Order 2013-6-13, on June 12, 2013, which, among other things, solicited proposals from air carriers interested in providing EAS at Glasgow, Glendive, Havre, Sidney and/or Wolf Point, Montana, for a new contract, with or without subsidy. Those proposals were due no later than July 15, 2013.

In response to that Order, Cape Air, Inc. and Great Lakes Aviation, Ltd. submitted proposals to provide subsidized scheduled passenger air service.

We request that you submit any comments you may have as soon as possible, but in any case no later than August 9, 2013.

By: Dennis DeVany

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glasgow_Airport_(U.S.) – Glasgow Airport
http://www.glendiveairport.com/ – Dawson Community Airport – Glendive
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Havre_City-County_Airport – Havre City-County Airport
http://www.richland.org/airport/ – Sidney-Richland Airport
http://ci.wolf-point.mt.us/public-works/airport.asp – L.M. Clayton Airport – Wolf Point

Posted in Cape Air, Great Lakes, Montana, Silver | Comments Off