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eandslee

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Overall, excellent news - and outstanding reporting, @eandslee-- much appreciate your dedication and thorough fact-finding and digging for good sources of info regarding all things important and impactful at RIC. While I'm sorry to hear that SW is temporarily kiboshing the RIC-DEN route, here's hoping that once they get their own internal staffing and equipment issues sorted out, that route will be back up and running ASAP. Ditto the summertime trim on the RIC-LAX. Hopeful that we'll start approaching those 2019 monthly records going forward and that ALL of the airlines will take notice and respond with more service!

Hopefully that Jamaica route comes to fruition - what a nice plus THAT will be to have RIC return to having some international flights. Exactly what is needed.

ALWAYS good that construction is underway on some facet of improving and expanding the airport. Given that Concourse A was expanded recently - perhaps if we can get back to setting monthly records, and if the airlines respond in kind, we'll see Concourse B get elongated and more gates added.

And I'm SUPER impressed that RIC stepped up to the plate and requested a grant to get the SFO route upgraded to daily. WOW - what a change from years past when the airport was more than content to just play everything close to the vest and hope/pray that organic growth would net positive results. There honestly is truth to the addage - "if you don't ask, you don't get..."  And FAR better that the airport be PROACTIVE and go out and aggressively recruit service than REACTIVE and scramble to make up for service cuts or service shifts to other nearby airports that either have a history of significantly deeper/better/more service - or - are (for whatever reason) simply outperforming RIC (not gonna name names, but ORF, I'm looking at you, babe...)

Let's go get 'em!!

Edited by I miss RVA
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1 hour ago, eandslee said:

 

As for passenger service, these are some of the observations I've personally made:

  • Southwest ended its nonstop flights between RIC and DEN this month (this is due to equipment and pilot shortages, so I expect it to return at some point)
  • JetBlue announced the temporary cancellation of its nonstop flights between RIC and LAX for the summer.  Someone said that they saw the flight back up for the fall, but I have not personally verified that yet
  • United Airlines nonstop flight equipment between RIC and DEN have mostly been downgraded from A319/A320s to Embraer 175s.  I usually only see an A319 on this route in the early morning or late at night.  This surprised me since there's no Southwest Airlines service on that route right now...you'd think that the demand would bolster United ridership.  Well, I guess a decrease in Southwest service does not translate to additional ridership on United Airlines on the same route.  Interesting (carrier loyalty?  Where all the other travelers going who would normally fly Southwest from RIC on this route?  DC?  If so, that would be unfortunate).
  •  Breeze Airways seems to be doing well with its existing routes, but in May it will add some very important nonstop flights from RIC:  Jacksonville, FL on 19 May; San Francisco, CA on 25 May - everyone please take advantage of these routes as they are rare from RIC!  Plus, we want to keep them and encourage expanded service from Breeze (which they've promised to do).  In fact, I've been seeing "chatter" that RIC - MBJ (Montego Bay, Jamaica) may be one of the first International Routes on Breeze from RIC in a very long time, which they may announce sometime this year.  There may be even more than that...so keep your ear to the ground!
  • As someone posted here earlier (about a week or so ago), RIC is applying for a grant that will add daily nonstop service between RIC and SFO on Breeze Airways.  This would be significant and I have all fingers and toes crossed that it comes to pass!
  • I'm hopeful that there will be new service announcements soon, so I'm standing by and I will monitor the "chatter" I hear for any details
  • Cargo at RIC has been lagging compared to the pandemic days, but hopefully, the cargo numbers increase again (without a pandemic this time)
  • The Concourse B Apron Expansion is ongoing and is progressing along.  Saw some photos the other day - the expansion is MASSIVE and will provide tons of aircraft parking space for deicing and one day...room for an expanded Concourse B!
  • New cargo facilities on the north east side of the airport appears to be progressing.  Also, the move of the Army National Guard facilities (to make room for that parallel runway) seems to still be in the works (just haven't seen anything tangible yet)

 

Seems like every airline is having pilot shortages. Most airlines are trimming routes due to it and Breeze is even recruiting pilots from Australia! I’m sure eventually this will be figured out and most of the routes will be restored.

I saw in one article that fall is when JetBlue is planning to restart the RIC-LAX route, but who knows. Staffing shortages have hit all airlines hard, but I’m guessing JetBlue doesn’t want to give up on this route just yet.

I think United is only temporarily using E-175s for the RIC-DIA route. I was checking on google flights the other day and both flights are advertised as using the a319 or a320. 
Awesome to hear Breeze’s existing routes are doing well. I know that the Tampa route is up to 6 days per week, almost daily which is a good sign. As you said, hopefully we hear news about international routes soon. I’d like to see the Caribbean flights but I think the real exciting ones would be to Europe. The Uk apparently has a sizeable amount of companies operating in RVA so a flight from RIC to Heathrow or Gatwick would be phenomenal!

Heres hoping more service expansion is announced soon to hold us over!

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1 hour ago, 123fakestreet said:

Thanks for posting, with 3 full years of data I'd like to see these numbers seasonally adjusted.

That would be a good analysis. I'm thinking we'd need to see three years of non-pandemic truncated data through. We should throw out 2020 and 2021 - perhaps do a seasonally-adjusted analsys with 2018, 2019 and 2022 (once we have FY22 in house) - that would give us the closest apples-to-apples view under the most reasonably 'normal' conditions possible, given the impact of the pandemic.

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1 hour ago, blopp1234 said:

Seems like every airline is having pilot shortages. Most airlines are trimming routes due to it and Breeze is even recruiting pilots from Australia! I’m sure eventually this will be figured out and most of the routes will be restored.

I saw in one article that fall is when JetBlue is planning to restart the RIC-LAX route, but who knows. Staffing shortages have hit all airlines hard, but I’m guessing JetBlue doesn’t want to give up on this route just yet.

I think United is only temporarily using E-175s for the RIC-DIA route. I was checking on google flights the other day and both flights are advertised as using the a319 or a320. 
Awesome to hear Breeze’s existing routes are doing well. I know that the Tampa route is up to 6 days per week, almost daily which is a good sign. As you said, hopefully we hear news about international routes soon. I’d like to see the Caribbean flights but I think the real exciting ones would be to Europe. The Uk apparently has a sizeable amount of companies operating in RVA so a flight from RIC to Heathrow or Gatwick would be phenomenal!

Heres hoping more service expansion is announced soon to hold us over!

Given the size of aircraft necessary to have the range of a 7 1/2 hour flight between RIC and London, would the airport need to at least extend the longest runway? Or is what we have on the ground right now sufficient to handle the bigger birds that would ocean hop?

Would we be able to find out exactly how many UK-based companies have offices operating in RVA? I tell you - this would be a helluva grab if RIC could pull something like this off - to get direct UK service - holy wow.

I realize the odds of this actually coming to pass are only slightly better than the Commanders (or whatever they're being called this week!) ever winning the Super Bowl at any point in my remaining lifetime... (then again, the odds of me hopping a SpaceX flight to where-ever are actually probably better than the Commanders winning the Super Bowl at any point in my remaining lifetime...)  but still, we can dream (about direct service between RIC and either LHR or LGW, can't we?

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13 hours ago, I miss RVA said:

Given the size of aircraft necessary to have the range of a 7 1/2 hour flight between RIC and London, would the airport need to at least extend the longest runway? Or is what we have on the ground right now sufficient to handle the bigger birds that would ocean hop?

it's not range nearly as much as its cost efficiency.  A regional jet like an Embraer 170 has has a range of around 3800m which is just more than enough to get to London.  they just want a big jet packed full of people to make it worth it.

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4 hours ago, I miss RVA said:

Given the size of aircraft necessary to have the range of a 7 1/2 hour flight between RIC and London, would the airport need to at least extend the longest runway? Or is what we have on the ground right now sufficient to handle the bigger birds that would ocean hop?

Would we be able to find out exactly how many UK-based companies have offices operating in RVA? I tell you - this would be a helluva grab if RIC could pull something like this off - to get direct UK service - holy wow.

I realize the odds of this actually coming to pass are only slightly better than the Commanders (or whatever they're being called this week!) ever winning the Super Bowl at any point in my remaining lifetime... (then again, the odds of me hopping a SpaceX flight to where-ever are actually probably better than the Commanders winning the Super Bowl at any point in my remaining lifetime...)  but still, we can dream (about direct service between RIC and either LHR or LGW, can't we?

The A220 is supposed be able to match the range of some of the larger wide body jets and Neelman has mentioned possibly adding transatlantic flights before. Who knows though but the a220 will have more than enough range to get there. And being able to get there profitably with a smaller jet will open up smaller markets to transatlantic flights.

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  • 4 weeks later...

5 hours ago, eandslee said:

@flack4ricmentioned on Twitter that about 65k travelers will pass through RIC this Memorial Day weekend.  That sounds like quite the uptick in passengers served!  Not sure how that compares to Memorial Day weekends from years past, but would love to know. Either way, I think it’s a good thing for RIC.  Here’s to a busy travel weekend ahead!

AMEN to that! I'm guessing data to such a granular level doesn't exist for us to peruse for comparison purposes?

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15 minutes ago, I miss RVA said:

AMEN to that! I'm guessing data to such a granular level doesn't exist for us to peruse for comparison purposes?

I don’t have it nor know where to look to find it. Might be something only RIC could track down for us since they keep those kind of detailed records. I only see the monthly statistics. 

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10 minutes ago, eandslee said:

I don’t have it nor know where to look to find it. Might be something only RIC could track down for us since they keep those kind of detailed records. I only see the monthly statistics. 

Would our RIC guru who keeps up with our community here and occasionally pops on to visit us be able to help?

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19 hours ago, I miss RVA said:

Would our RIC guru who keeps up with our community here and occasionally pops on to visit us be able to help?

It's a mix of consulting our crystal ball, looking at performance in recent weeks, and checking various indicators. There's no granularity at all.

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2 hours ago, flack4ric said:

It's a mix of consulting our crystal ball, looking at performance in recent weeks, and checking various indicators. There's no granularity at all.

Very cool crystal ball ya got there! :tw_wink::tw_thumbsup:

So a question I do have - is there any year-over-year data available that measures passenger traffic specific to certain key holiday weekends? (Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas)

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4 hours ago, Niccckk said:

New to this forum thread, haha, but I'm an avid KRIC fanatic.. didn't know there were threads for this stuff! So hopefully I'll be here more often.

Last week I went to check out the inaugural RIC - SFO route with Breeze! Saw it landed as the first passenger A220 at RIC! (a delta a220 diverted here last year but that doesn't count).

https://niccckk.xyz/images/oj2ez.jpg Was super cool to see RIC - SFO service...       Also it appears the jetblue LAX service will resume on September 8th... that seems to be a really good service out of RIC but it sucks with the pilot shortage...

Welcome aboard, @Niccckk! So glad to have you here with all of us RVA nuts! Stroll around and get a feel for all the threads - I think you'll like our little community. We've got a lot of cool and smart folks on here - so settle in and have fun! Looking forward to your thoughts on all things Richmond.

Edited by I miss RVA
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2 hours ago, eandslee said:

Okay, it's that time again for your monthly RIC update.  It took longer than usual to get the airport statistics this month because their monthly commission meeting took place on Tuesday (the last day of the month).  Okay, so here's the skinny straight from @flack4ric:

The passenger total for April 2022 represents a 93.8% recovery of traffic versus April 2019, RIC’s best-ever April.  Richmond International Airport (RIC) reports 349,078 passengers for April 2022, a 66.7% increase over the same month a year ago.  For the first ten months of fiscal year 2022 (FYTD22), traffic has increased 131.3% year over year, amounting to a gain of nearly 1.8 million travelers – about 6,000 extra travelers each day!

New destinations:

- Nonstop service between RIC-SFO started last week with little media fanfare (RIC served as a BreezeThru).  Reason is because Breeze's newest aircraft (A220) was to be used for the first time on this RIC-SFO route and Breeze ran into some issues getting the aircraft certified in time (which it finally did).  So to avoid a PR disaster, Breeze chose not to involve the media.  Incidentally, that same aircraft did not fly the RIC-SFO route last Wednesday because there was an issue with Breeze's A220 aircraft (a maintenance issue is suspected) and therefore had to charter an A320 to fly the route.  In the process, these flights were delayed by several hours in each direction (not a very good PR story).  As Breeze works out the kinks, it should smooth out operations eventually and I've heard that on 8 July, Breeze will involve the media (even though the RIC-SFO route was the first Breeze transcon flight and the first of Breeze's new A220s)!

Upcoming new destinations on Breeze:  Hartfort, CT starts on 3 Jun (tomorrow) and Providence, RI apparently started today (I thought the original plan was for 30 June?). ..okay!

Some of my observations and news I've heard in the aviation community:

- Flights between ATL-RIC appear to be upgrading the equipment from Boeing 737s to Boeing 757s (the "Flying Pencil") starting this month - something I saw just prior to the start of COVID when passenger traffic at airport was at its prime

- American Airlines appears to be cutting its LGA-RIC route in November of this year (equipment/pilot shortage and focus in other markets?).  Hopefully, there is a solution soon and this cut doesn't actually happen

- No word yet on when/if Southwest will restart its route between RIC-DEN.  Hoping it starts back up soon. 

- Work on the Concourse B Apron Expansion continues and will take about 18 months (from the start of construction) to complete

As usual, here is the passenger traffic line graph so that we can see the passenger number trends at RIC.  It appears that the trend is moving up and getting back to the pre-pandemic numbers, but there is more to go to meet the same numbers the airport was producing 2 years ago.  We on the right track though and these new Breeze destinations should help!

image.thumb.png.37c5239ab9bbe4340f6635cc9b566dcc.png

Mixed good news - leaning mainly toward the good. In golf terms, it's like shooting a round of 3-under 69 with an eagle, three birdies and two bogies. All in all - not bad! Things are indeed looking positive for the most part.

The "Flying Pencil" portion made me laugh. Jesus - when I was in grade school, my friends and I used to have "pencil flipping" contests - where we'd flip pencils off the edge of our desks. So I guess going as far back as the early '70s, you could call me a "pioneer" in the "art" of the "flying pencils". :tw_joy::tw_thumbsup::tw_wink:

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4 hours ago, Merrittk92 said:

So, just for sh!ts & giggles I went to Breeze’s web site and looked at their RIC-SFO bookings. From what I’m seeing…WOW! Looks like Breeze has a winner with this route. Hopefully they will increase frequency soon. 

Yeah, I’ve been monitoring it closely myself. Seems like some of the flights are full and not even offered. However the flights that are offered in the next couple weeks are close to being full. Remember though, these flights originate from Tampa and come to RIC as a BreezeThru, so some of those seats are being taken by some from Tampa. Still, it’s good to see a successful route.  Las Vegas starts tomorrow and those bookings look strong too. 

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7 hours ago, eandslee said:

Yeah, I’ve been monitoring it closely myself. Seems like some of the flights are full and not even offered. However the flights that are offered in the next couple weeks are close to being full. Remember though, these flights originate from Tampa and come to RIC as a BreezeThru, so some of those seats are being taken by some from Tampa. Still, it’s good to see a successful route.  Las Vegas starts tomorrow and those bookings look strong too. 

I've got no problem at all with the BreezeThru concept, since literally all of the larger, non-ACTUAL-hub airports in the country have benefitted greatly from this. It helps drive passenger traffic - and in this case particular, gives RVA two destinations served for the price of one aircraft on the route. Sure, the "real" proof of the pudding will be if -- down the road (down the runway?) -- we have RIC-SFO flights ORIGINATING from RIC. That may be a ways off - but if this BreezeThru is super successful, I would not be surprised to see some RIC-SFO flights exclusive to the two markets.

Here's hoping the RIC-LAS service is super successful. 

QUESTION: Did RIC-LAX get pulled - or was that "getting" pulled (due to airline restructuring some things in the wake of staff shortages, etc.)?

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8 hours ago, eandslee said:

Yeah, I’ve been monitoring it closely myself. Seems like some of the flights are full and not even offered. However the flights that are offered in the next couple weeks are close to being full. Remember though, these flights originate from Tampa and come to RIC as a BreezeThru, so some of those seats are being taken by some from Tampa. Still, it’s good to see a successful route.  Las Vegas starts tomorrow and those bookings look strong too. 

I wouldn’t be too worried about to much traffic from Tampa continuing on to SFO as United offers direct flights from Tampa to SFO, so most of the traffic is to RIC, either from Tampa or SFO.

 

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1 hour ago, blopp1234 said:

I wouldn’t be too worried about to much traffic from Tampa continuing on to SFO as United offers direct flights from Tampa to SFO, so most of the traffic is to RIC, either from Tampa or SFO.

 

Exactly! A really nice 2 for 1 for RIC.

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