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eandslee

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, I miss RVA said:

In your opinion (since you do follow this quite closely) - what's the missing link?

Well, someone mentioned 40 destinations above, but that is not to say that ORF is currently serving 40 destinations...it’s the POTENTIAL ORF has to serve 40 destinations.  Personally, I think that can be the case for just about any airport...RIC included. I don’t really understand that statement to be honest...unless someone has done some studies on it.  I’m not sure the number of destinations ORF currently serves (it’s probably close to what RIC serves), but RIC (to me) has the potential to serve 40, 50...60 destinations...it’s such a subjective phrase. It can serve that many and more if there is a hub established at RIC...same for ORF.  It’s all about the context behind that statement. 

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1 hour ago, eandslee said:

Well, someone mentioned 40 destinations above, but that is not to say that ORF is currently serving 40 destinations...it’s the POTENTIAL ORF has to serve 40 destinations.  Personally, I think that can be the case for just about any airport...RIC included. I don’t really understand that statement to be honest...unless someone has done some studies on it.  I’m not sure the number of destinations ORF currently serves (it’s probably close to what RIC serves), but RIC (to me) has the potential to serve 40, 50...60 destinations...it’s such a subjective phrase. It can serve that many and more if there is a hub established at RIC...same for ORF.  It’s all about the context behind that statement. 

So that sparks another question: does ORF have the runway and terminal capacity to serve as a 'true' hub for an airline? Since it's landlocked, if there are no parallel runways there - I would think that alone would kibosh its realistic shot at gaining a hub.

RIC has the space to expand - but I don't think the powers that be are willing to undertake that investment to try to attract an airline to establish something here. I guess for RIC, it's a chicken-and-egg thing - do you build the hub-capable airport and hope to land an airline - or do you get a commitment from an airline and only then build the hub-capable airport? Fiscally conservative Chesterfield and Henrico would likely soil their knickers as the thought of ponying up enough sheckels to really build out RIC the right way to snag a hub purely on spec. The City, too, would probably balk at the idea. Jesus - we HAD an airline (Piedmont) knocking on our door in the mid-to-late 1970s wanting to establish a hub here - but the powers that be said "Thanks, but no thanks. We can't (translate - won't - ) spend the money. We don't need a hub - we'll just grow organically." (I don't think I can facepalm or eyeroll hard enough remembering this!) ... 

Is it even realistic at this stage of the game to think RIC can become a hub? Growing organically is nice - and may attract more service - but what's the trip-wire that gets an airline to say - "OK - we're coming to RIC and setting up a hub there"? Without a built-out-on-spec airport, I don't see an airline taking that plunge. And without an airline committing to do it, I don't see the powers that be funding a major build-out - even though the plans are in place (you've posted them here on this thread previously, if I recall) -- and have been on the books for quite some time.

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2 hours ago, I miss RVA said:

So that sparks another question: does ORF have the runway and terminal capacity to serve as a 'true' hub for an airline? Since it's landlocked, if there are no parallel runways there - I would think that alone would kibosh its realistic shot at gaining a hub.

RIC has the space to expand - but I don't think the powers that be are willing to undertake that investment to try to attract an airline to establish something here. I guess for RIC, it's a chicken-and-egg thing - do you build the hub-capable airport and hope to land an airline - or do you get a commitment from an airline and only then build the hub-capable airport? Fiscally conservative Chesterfield and Henrico would likely soil their knickers as the thought of ponying up enough sheckels to really build out RIC the right way to snag a hub purely on spec. The City, too, would probably balk at the idea. Jesus - we HAD an airline (Piedmont) knocking on our door in the mid-to-late 1970s wanting to establish a hub here - but the powers that be said "Thanks, but no thanks. We can't (translate - won't - ) spend the money. We don't need a hub - we'll just grow organically." (I don't think I can facepalm or eyeroll hard enough remembering this!) ... 

Is it even realistic at this stage of the game to think RIC can become a hub? Growing organically is nice - and may attract more service - but what's the trip-wire that gets an airline to say - "OK - we're coming to RIC and setting up a hub there"? Without a built-out-on-spec airport, I don't see an airline taking that plunge. And without an airline committing to do it, I don't see the powers that be funding a major build-out - even though the plans are in place (you've posted them here on this thread previously, if I recall) -- and have been on the books for quite some time.

ORF has a one main and one secondary runway.  Their main runway is 9001 feet long, their secondary runway is only 4,875 feet long (that’s kind of short).  By comparison, RIC has a longer and shorter runway as well. The longer runway is 9003 feet long and shorter runway is 6,607 feet long.  RIC is nowhere near at operational capacity (neither is ORF).  The issue with ORF though is that there’s no room to expand, if needed...unless a whole lot of money is spent to make their runway longer (not really needed).  They could also build a new airport elsewhere (also would cost a lot of money).  RIC, on the other hand, has plenty of room to expand and build a parallel runway, even lots of room to house maintenance facilities and other airport operations facilities/airport-related tenant space...not to mention, plenty of room to expand for passengers gates.

RIC could become a hub for an airline.  Many have said that it would never happen, but never say never!  ORF just landed as a focus city, which many said would be impossible, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility. I think that the RIC airport commission members (from what I’ve seen...I could be wrong) are willing and would like to see growth at the airport. I also think they would jump at the opportunity to be a hub for an airline...if an airline would approach RIC with such an offer.   I don’t think they would spend the money to expand without there being a real need first though (ex - operational capacity is met) or if they anticipated the imminent need (such as an airline’s hub announcement).  Again, many have said that RIC would never be an airline hub, but in this industry and in this ever-changing world - never say it’s impossible...anything could happen!  It also has a lot to do with Richmond’s local economy and the demand for more flights and destinations.  As the economy grows, so should the airport. I’m just holding out that someday, something big will happen.  Richmond’s growth only helps!

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Well said all the way around. Agreed - Richmond's growth only helps. It's funny - the city's and the metro's population growth will indeed push RIC farther along in terms of passenger volume, direct flights to more destinations and increase the chances of landing a hub. Conversely, landing a hub will be like pouring gasoline onto a lit match when it comes to fueling RVA's population growth. The city in particular and the metro in general both are growing at an amazing rate and development, construction, etc., is happening at an unprecedented pace. And that's WITHOUT a hub. Can you imagine what the rate of growth of the city and the metro would be if RIC became a hub?

Edited by I miss RVA
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Does anyone know if the concourse A expansion gates have all been accounted for with this agreement with Breeze? I don’t recall how many new gates were added with that project. Would be nice to see further concourse expansion happen soon!

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3 hours ago, vaceltic said:

Does anyone know if the concourse A expansion gates have all been accounted for with this agreement with Breeze? I don’t recall how many new gates were added with that project. Would be nice to see further concourse expansion happen soon!

The expansion added 6 gates - bringing the total to 14 - matching Concourse B.  Not sure about how many Breeze would take or what airlines would take the other gates.

eandslee - would you have any insight on this?

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Short airport update:

Looks like Delta will restart its daily  flights from RIC to MSP (Minneapolis) this Saturday that it paused when the pandemic started.   Flights will be on CRJ-900s.  Demand looks decent based on my unscientific observations.
 

I also looked up when United will restart its daily nonstop flights to IAH (Houston) that it paused at the start of the pandemic.  Looks like daily flights begin again on 30 July.  Flights will be on Embraer 175s.  Demand for these flights are looking fairly strong, again, based on my unscientific observations.   It would be great if they move the restart date up a bit. United is already flying this route out of ORF...and I think has been flying for a while. 

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38 minutes ago, georgeglass said:

Just wanted to say my husband and I booked a Breeze flight out of RIC to New Orleans in August!

 

Also flying Spirit out of RIC to Orlando in a couple of weeks...

Get your travel on!  Thanks for flying RIC and for taking a chance on Breeze.  I think you'll have a great experience on Breeze...and New Orleans is a great place to travel to.  This is exactly what Richmond travelers needed - a nonstop flight to New Orleans!  Hoping that Breeze expands its destinations at RIC soon.

Regarding Breeze destinations, I think New Orleans is the best of their destinations from RIC.  Charleston is okay, but I don't see where there is a ton of demand to the small, southern city (we'll see how that goes).  Tampa is just a repeat of what JetBlue and Southwest (and even Allegiant with their flights to PIE and SRQ...all in the Tampa Bay area) are doing.

Please provide a report on your experiences on Spirit and Breeze.  I've never flown on either and would love to hear your perspective.

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4 minutes ago, eandslee said:

Get your travel on!  Thanks for flying RIC and for taking a chance on Breeze.  I think you'll have a great experience on Breeze...and New Orleans is a great place to travel to.  This is exactly what Richmond travelers needed - a nonstop flight to New Orleans!  Hoping that Breeze expands its destinations at RIC soon.

Regarding Breeze destinations, I think New Orleans is the best of their destinations from RIC.  Charleston is okay, but I don't see where there is a ton of demand to the small, southern city (we'll see how that goes).  Tampa is just a repeat of what JetBlue and Southwest (and even Allegiant with their flights to PIE and SRQ...all in the Tampa Bay area) are doing.

Please provide a report on your experiences on Spirit and Breeze.  I've never flown on either and would love to hear your perspective.

Yeah, I will definitely let everyone know how it goes. We always use RIC...it has always worked out better for us than driving somewhere else.

I agree with your assessment on the Breeze options. NOLA is definitely the best...and a place we previously didn't have service too that is a decent sized airport. Charleston isn't that attractive to me to fly to when it's not that far of a drive. Even with a cheap direct flight, it's not like it's that feasible to fly there and then not rent a car which negates the attractiveness of a cheap flight for me.

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Recently flew to both Philadelphia and Miami.  

The trip to Philly was completely full.  I chatted with a couple people on the plane, all of which were using Philly as a connector to fly somewhere else. 

The Miami flight was a later one (got back around midnight), but it was not at all packed.  I got a whole row to myself.

I really would love to see RVA become a hub as maybe it would spur a bit better airport amenities.  While getting through security is always a breeze with RIC, the food and beverage offerings certainly leaves much to be desired. 

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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, RiverYuppy said:

Recently flew to both Philadelphia and Miami.  

The trip to Philly was completely full.  I chatted with a couple people on the plane, all of which were using Philly as a connector to fly somewhere else. 

The Miami flight was a later one (got back around midnight), but it was not at all packed.  I got a whole row to myself.

I really would love to see RVA become a hub as maybe it would spur a bit better airport amenities.  While getting through security is always a breeze with RIC, the food and beverage offerings certainly leaves much to be desired. 

Thanks for flying RIC!  
I agree about the food and shop amenities in the airport - really not much there, but because RIC is not a hub, there are fewer people in the terminal than would be if people were connecting to other cities.  I really have my fingers crossed for a hub sooner rather than later, but gee...every major airport in VA has a hub now except for RIC.  Not sure how that happened since Richmond is the Capital city and serves the most passengers in VA outside of the DC area. SMH

Edited by eandslee
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6 minutes ago, eandslee said:

Thanks for flying RIC!  
I agree about the food and shop amenities in the airport - really not much there, but because RIC is not a hub, there are fewer people in the terminal than would be if people were connecting to other cities.  I really have my fingers crossed for a hub sooner rather than later, but gee...every major airport in VA has a hub now except for RIC.  Not sure how that happened since Richmond is the Capital city and serves the most passengers in VA outside of the DC area. SMH

That really is a head scratcher. RIC is long overdue. A question: is there any distinction between types of hubs? Meaning - are there smaller 'hubs' that might not meet the definition of 'major' hubs, like those at ORD, or DFW or ATL? I know it's been discussed here that RIC is not operating at full gate or terminal capacity. Would there be a way -- given the current configuration of the airport and number of gates (and lack of parallel runways) - that RIC could somehow "stair-step" its way to a hub? I don't see any airline coming in and dropping a 'major' hub in our laps (not just because of the proximity of other airports - but because of the physical configuration of RIC itself) ... 

Short of the chicken-and-egg argument of a major runway/terminal/gates expansion and an airline coming in with 150 or more flights per day - how can RIC move in the direction of securing a hub? It seems like we're stuck in the "friend zone" of relationships with airlines - and are wholly dependant on organic growth. It's all well and good, but at that pace, we'll never live to see RIC get a hub. Maybe our grandkids will. 

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I am not sure how accurate it is at times, but I track planes on planefinder. This afternoon or late morning there was a plane that was showing it was flying from Lawton, OK to RIC on Sun Country Air. I wasn't even aware this was an airline, but apparently it is. However, they don't list destinations of Richmond or Lawton. Anyone have any insight to this?? 

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, georgeglass said:

I am not sure how accurate it is at times, but I track planes on planefinder. This afternoon or late morning there was a plane that was showing it was flying from Lawton, OK to RIC on Sun Country Air. I wasn't even aware this was an airline, but apparently it is. However, they don't list destinations of Richmond or Lawton. Anyone have any insight to this?? 

I have insight - Sun Country is contracted out often by the Army to do charters. This is a charter flight to transport Army personnel.  This is also one of the benefits of having Fort Lee at our doorsteps.  Sometimes, you’ll see Boeing 777s come in and pick up Army personnel to transport them overseas for deployments. I saw this happen a few months ago where we had, not only a 777 land and take off from RIC, but it was also a direct flight to Germany!

26 minutes ago, flack4ric said:

United restarts Richmond-Houston service on Thursday, June 3.  UA6293 is scheduled to depart at 1645.

Thanks for the update @flack4ric!  Good to see these flights start up again sooner than I thought! :thumbsup:

Edited by eandslee
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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, I miss RVA said:

That really is a head scratcher. RIC is long overdue. A question: is there any distinction between types of hubs? Meaning - are there smaller 'hubs' that might not meet the definition of 'major' hubs, like those at ORD, or DFW or ATL? I know it's been discussed here that RIC is not operating at full gate or terminal capacity. Would there be a way -- given the current configuration of the airport and number of gates (and lack of parallel runways) - that RIC could somehow "stair-step" its way to a hub? I don't see any airline coming in and dropping a 'major' hub in our laps (not just because of the proximity of other airports - but because of the physical configuration of RIC itself) ... 

Short of the chicken-and-egg argument of a major runway/terminal/gates expansion and an airline coming in with 150 or more flights per day - how can RIC move in the direction of securing a hub? It seems like we're stuck in the "friend zone" of relationships with airlines - and are wholly dependant on organic growth. It's all well and good, but at that pace, we'll never live to see RIC get a hub. Maybe our grandkids will. 

Yes, there are smaller hubs...they’re called Focus Cities. This is what Norfolk is getting with Breeze Airways.  Not sure if there will be any connecting flights there yet (haven’t found that out), but there are certainly more destinations connecting ORF via Breeze than from RIC.  ORF will also have a maintenance center there, as well as, will be a home base for flight crew. 
 

I’d love to see RIC become a focus city.  This is a good example of a stair-step approach to becoming a bigger hub (although doesn’t guarantee it).  RIC could easily be a focus city with its current facilities.  No question - RIC would be a great location if an airline wanted to focus on grabbing much of the airline passengers in Central Virginia.  Depending on the direct flights from RIC, I can even see folks coming down from the lower part of Northern Virginia to catch flights at RIC.  Heck, this happens now - I’ve done it myself!

Edited by eandslee
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Posted (edited)

Yet another airport update!  Seems that I’m doing these every few days, but as the Summer travel season gets into full swing again, plus the fact that the pandemic is loosening its grip on the travel industry, developments in air travel at RIC are happening quite frequently.

So, today marks the start of a second (that’s right, I said 2nd) daily flight via United to DEN (Denver).  Prior to the pandemic United was flying twice a day from RIC to DEN and now it looks like that level of service has restarted...well for the next couple days at least.  We’ll see if this second  flight remains a daily occurrence (I’ll be monitoring).  The flight to DEN in the morning will be on a mainline aircraft (lately has been on an A319...sometimes an A320) and the afternoon flight will be on an Embraer 175.  Don’t forget that Southwest just started daily nonstop flights to DEN recently as well.  So that makes a total of 3 daily flights to DEN from RIC, which is good progress!  It was only several years ago that RIC had no nonstop flights west of Dallas!

The other thing I noticed (speaking of flights to the west) is that starting at the end of next week, JetBlue will increase its weekly flights to LAX from 2 flights a week to up to 4 flights a week.  JetBlue is already flying 4 times a week to LAS (Las Vegas) and seems to be seeing pretty good passenger numbers.  Remember, these two routes were originally announced as daily flights last year.  Well, we aren’t there yet, but we are getting close!

Finally, it appears that Thursdays are RIC’s busiest flying day of the week (Sundays are probably the next busiest), so happy Thursday everyone!  If you want to get away, just remember to Fly RIC!

Edited by eandslee
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5 hours ago, eandslee said:

Yet another airport update!  Seems that I’m doing these every few days, but as the Summer travel season gets into full swing again, plus the fact that the pandemic is loosening its grip on the travel industry, developments in air travel at RIC are happening quite frequently.

So, today marks the start of a second (that’s right, I said 2nd) daily flight via United to DEN (Denver).  Prior to the pandemic United was flying twice a day from RIC to DEN and now it looks like that level of service has restarted...well for the next couple days at least.  We’ll see if this second  flight remains a daily occurrence (I’ll be monitoring).  The flight to DEN in the morning will be on a mainline aircraft (lately has been on an A319...sometimes an A320) and the afternoon flight will be on an Embraer 175.  Don’t forget that Southwest just started daily nonstop flights to DEN recently as well.  So that makes a total of 3 daily flights to DEN from RIC, which is good progress!  It was only several years ago that RIC had no nonstop flights west of Dallas!

The other thing I noticed (speaking of flights to the west) is that starting at the end of next week, JetBlue will increase its weekly flights to LAX from 2 flights a week to up to 4 flights a week.  JetBlue is already flying 4 times a week to LAS (Las Vegas) and seems to be seeing pretty good passenger numbers.  Remember, these two routes were originally announced as daily flights last year.  Well, we aren’t there yet, but we are getting close!

Finally, it appears that Thursdays are RIC’s busiest flying day if the week (Sundays are probably the next busiest), so happy Thursday everyone!  If you want to get away, just remember to Fly RIC!

Very good news indeed. Now we (well the powers that be) need to somehow push to convince an airline to make RVA a focus city (and RIC a focus airport) - maybe the news (yesterday) that RVA is now home to 12 Fortune 1000 companies (up from 10? last year) - and still home to seven Fortune 500 firms - will help spur that. Not sure what has to happen to convince an airline that Richmond is a good market to make a focus city for flights - but it needs to happen.

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Ths is fantastic!! Where'd you find this gem?

Okay -- looking at that map, I'd like to see the following direct-flight destinations added:

Pittsburgh
Cleveland
Indianapolis
Memphis
St. Louis
Kansas City
Oklahoma City
San Antonio
Salt Lake City
Phoenix
San Francisco
Portland
Seattle

Obviously demand would drive service additions - but - if RIC became a focus city - a hub - etc. - I could see at least a good majority of these 13 destinations added. Currently (according to this map) there are 28 specific airport destinations served (unless I miss counted).

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