Jump to content

Richmond International Airport


Recommended Posts


  • Replies 2.6k
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

JetBlue to add Richmond flights to LOS ANGELES(!), LAS VEGAS(!), and TAMPA later this year!!! https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200910005309/en/

Today is a historic day for Richmond International Airport.  Today marks the first time in history that RIC has seen transcontinental flights marked by a direct, nonstop flight from RIC to LAX on JetB

LATEST NEWS - New Airline Breeze Airways will be flying between: RIC - TPA (Tampa) RIC - CHS (Charleston) * new destination RIC - MSY (New Orleans) * new destination Looks like a 1

Posted Images

1 hour ago, wrldcoupe4 said:

How does the current crisis impact route expansion for airlines?

Oh, I think it’s going to affect route expansion at RIC for sure unless things can be returned to normal soon.  I did contact a friend who works at RIC yesterday and he said that there was no effect as of yet that he saw, but I do expect to see a decrease in passenger counts this month...unfortunately, breaking the growth trend RIC has touted for quite a while now.  We shall see how this outbreak will affect the industry.  Right now, I’d say it’s too early to tell what will happen.  I’m hoping for the best!

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, eandslee said:

I do expect to see a decrease in passenger counts this month...unfortunately, breaking the growth trend RIC has touted for quite a while now.  We shall see how this outbreak will affect the industry.

Email from Virginia Credit Union a bit ago:

Quote

Eliminating out-of-state business travel for our employees and non-essential visits from outside vendors who serve our credit union.

Sadly, this is likely going to be the response from many others. :(

  • Sad 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Icetera said:

Email from Virginia Credit Union a bit ago:

Sadly, this is likely going to be the response from many others. :(

Yes, sadly this is the case.  The good news is that this will happen across the board and not just at RIC. Things will get better and RIC will recover!  I don’t have a doomsday outlook on this outbreak yet...I’m hopeful things will return to normal sooner rather than later. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, eandslee said:

Okay, I have to step up on my soapbox a minute and air out a bit of frustration.  Here goes:

I've spent the last several days in Knoxville, TN , McGhee-Tyson Air Guard Base to be exact, which sits directly across the airfield of Knoxville’s commercial airport. I have to say, this little airport is busy!!  First of all, my first impression of the airport facility was surprisingly good as it is very modern (glass curtain walls, awesome decor matching the area’s assets - they really have done a good job).  My biggest surprise was from my observations throughout this week watching the airfield operations - don’t be fooled, this airport is busy!  As I contemplated this, I wondered how many direct routes this little airport serves. After a short Google search, I discovered some surprising statistics - first of all, this airport has direct service to 29 cities!!  What?!  29?!?  How many direct routes does RIC serve?  The answer is only 23!  Then, I looked up Knoxville’s passenger counts. Last year, TYS served 2.5M passengers.  While that is less than RIC, it isn’t less by very much. In fact, it wasn’t too long ago that RIC was serving about that many passengers per year. I then discovered that Allegiant airlines was about to start several new routes from Knoxville in May, which is going to greatly increase their destination diversity and undoubtedly increase their annual passenger counts. My next thought was, “What is this airport doing, which serves a city about half the size of Richmond, that RIC is not doing?”  I don’t know the answer to that, but I can tell you that If TYS can land the type of air service they do for a city half the size of Richmond, RIC should be able to do that and more!  The population of Central Virginia greatly exceeds that of northeast Tennessee.  Nashville, a major hub, is not far away and still this airport is able to thrive!  So what’s RIC’s real reason for not being able to grow at faster pace?  Not sure, but it might have something to do with it’s management.  I just don’t think it’s aggressive enough nor do I think the airport’s image in the public’s eye is where it needs to be. This frustrates me to no end!  I’d like to know what RIC’s plan for quicker growth is...or is there even a plan of this type?  Really, after what I’ve seen this week, there is no excuse for why RIC is not miles ahead of where it currently is (and I’ve heard all kinds of excuses).  It’s time to get cracking on some serious growth at RIC.  We still don’t have direct flights to LAS yet!  Knoxville does!!  Someone needs to put the pedel to the medal at RIC and get the airport growing at a faster clip!  I know my timing of this post is a bit unfortunate with the Coronavirus taking a grip on the country, but this is something the airport can contemplate for when things get back to normal.  Get it done RIC!

My wish list for RIC:

- More diversity in direct flights  to more destinations (west coast destinations - LAS is a good start)

- More focus on bringing in new airlines, more options

- Focus on helping airlines currently serving RIC, expand

- Shoot for landing at least one international flight to start (London would be nice), but Canada, Mexico, somewhere in the Caribbean...something!!

- Market, market, market!!! Market to all of Virginia to include markets in other areas closer to other airports!  RIC needs to change its image so that it is seen as the best option for price, the best airport with the most direct flights, ease of use, the best alternative to the DC airports...and then it has to back up what it claims!!

- Court the airlines to get them to take a chance on RIC - that it would be worth their money to do so!  Be aggressive in doing so.

- Somehow motivate the airlines to provide better service to the RIC customers (ex - it takes forever to get my luggage after my flight at baggage claim...why does it take so long?!?  This needs to be fixed)

[steps off soapbox]

eandslee -- agreed 100% WOW - I never knew that a smaller airport like Knoxville serving a smaller community was outpacing us in terms of destinations.

As you said, unfortunately this all is now somewhat mood in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. My brother works in corporate travel and you don't want to know the headaches he's having to deal with.

As eandslee steps off the soapbox, I step up onto it with a 150K watt blowtorch speaker in hand:

For the sake of this exercise however (and to stay on-topic) - let's assume there is no extenuating circumstance like this virus to disrupt the global economy, and we're going on "business as usual." -- That said, you are spot on. It is unacceptable that a smaller airport in a smaller city is doing a better job of the variety of destinations being served. And I would agree that greater effort to push RIC into the oxygen stream and get it FIRMLY on travelers' radars is an absolute must. If TVS is serving 2.5 M passengers and has 29 direct connect destinations, why isn't RIC hitting a benchmark closer to 10M passengers and 35 or more destinations? (reminder: RDU topped 14M last year and has service to Europe). I'd be curious to know if TVS is helped by having a military base right across the street?

Part of it is chicken and egg -- some of what keeps a lid on growth is pricing. RIC is still more expensive than other airports in the region, particularly DCA and BWI. But prices won't realistically come down (without subsidies - "but the schools!!!"...) unless service is maxing out and there's a proven need for both additional service to existing destinations and additional destinations. Then it becomes a matter of competition -- get United and American to BOTH fly RIC to (pick your destination) and let them duke it out for customers. Curious to know what kind of taxes, fuel surcharges, etc., airlines have to pay to fly in and out of RIC vs DCA, BWI or even ORF -- all of that is passed on to the customer and can take what starts out as a reasonably priced fare and boost it up to the point that it's cheaper to choose a different airport.

So competition influences pricing. Pricing influences demand. Demand influences competition.

See the three-way catch-22?

Another approach is to beef up the demand simply by having enough business to support said demand. Which again, comes back to aggressive marketing and pursuit of business -- but not on the part of airport management, but on the part of the city, the counties, and the mechanisms in place to attract business to Richmond. It's hard to argue the Richmond market is "underserved" if the business demand isn't there.  Not to beat the dead Charlotte horse, but this is where their much more progressive attitude toward pursuing business and aggressive mindset toward development hits towering home runs. They don't have a robust skyline just for looks. They have the business muscle to back it up. As someone said on one of the other threads, Charlotte has VITALITY. Business there is flat out THUMPING. And it's that huge business demand that has helped make CLT a destination airport (because Charlotte is a prime business destination).

And please, the statis-quo apologists can kindly spare us the "Charlotte fanboy" BS. These are simple facts. Charlotte is the business destination Richmond COULD have been, but IS NOT. Let's be honest with ourselves about this. We lag FAR behind other MAJOR cities as prime business destinations. All the arguments about Richmond's "charm and character and quality of life and tourist attractions" don't fly. You want a tourist destination? Try Orlando - Disneyworld and the Space Coast. Or maybe Las Vegas - whaaat... you kiddin' me?? D.C. for obvious reasons. Memphis - Elvis - "thankyouverymuch. and the blues" Throw in Phoenix -- because of the weather in the winter and all the amazing resorts.  (Yes, I realize there are lots of others - Austin, TX, Nashville... you name it... and yes, Richmond, too. It's a good touristy city with a lot to offer, to be sure! But I'd hardly consider her iconic to the level of an Orlando or Vegas or Nashville.

But Charlotte is no tourist destination by any stretch. Neither is Atlanta, Houston or Dallas for that matter. They are all prime business destinations. 

Now -- Richmond has the advantage that is can blend the aspect of a touristy city with being a prime business destination in the manner of a Boston, San Francisco, Philly. THAT's where the "charm and character" can give RVA the leg up. But for Christ's sake, RVA needs to at least CATCH UP with Charlotte on the business destination side first. The insipid comparisons I've heard over the years to Charleston and Savannah are utterly backwards it's sickening. Those two "cities" will NEVER be prime business destinations. Lovely places to visit, and, if you're into that sort of thing, even live, I guess. (I wouldn't want to live in either of them). They are lovely towns that have great places to play golf, and that's about as far as it goes IMNSHO.

Mind you, Richmond does not have to sacrifice its "softer side" to become the big city we want it to be. But for the love of God, can we get a population of maybe 700K, an iconic skyline, a litany of top businesses (HQs, regional HQs, OCs, FCs ...), a metro population of better than 2.5 M , some pro sports (major league level) and a decent hub airport that offers flights to various parts of the WORLD? Let's focus on that as a city and a region, yeah? 

Getting RIC to be the airport we want it to unfortunately has no turn-key solution. Both the airport AND the area MUST be aggressively marketed. The mindset here MUST become more pro-business and the attitude toward development much more progressive. More business means more population. Both mean more demand. More demand improves service and competition at RIC. Better service at RIC forces the development of a larger, better airport. That larger, better airport becomes a huge asset to attracting more business.

Catch-22's/chicken-and-egg scenarios can move in BOTH directions! They don't always have be little more than a Kobayashi Maru. From a competitive standpoint, Richmond always seems to be stuck in Kobayashi Maru scenarios -- but with a shift of mindset and some good, old fashioned blood, sweat and tears, we can solve the seemingly unsolvable.

Stepping off the soapbox and donning the flame-retardant suit.

3 hours ago, Icetera said:

Hard to expand when money is vanishing.

The airline system is contracting as part of the reaction to this virus. Flights are getting chopped and services will shrink. My biggest fear is that the airlines will shink service to a certain level, but when/if everything normalizes and we can return to business as usual, we won't see the airlines push the service level back to where it was pre-contraction. They'll use it to milk extra money out of travelers - less service with not much price correction.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

eandslee -- I'm just perusing a few airports to examine their levels of service, and I thought you might be interested in some of these fun statistics:

This is the first one I checked out.

Salt Lake City International (SLC)-- 343 daily non-stop departures to 93 cities in the US, Canada, Mexico and Europe.

26 million passengers in 2019. Not as robust as CLT, but impressive none-the-less.

International Destinations (direct, non-stop service):

Mexico 5 -- Cancun, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, San Jose de Cabo

Europe 3 -- London, Paris, Amsterdam 

Canada 3 (2 seasonal)-- Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary

Domestic Competition: (helps keep prices lower)

3 airlines fly to Chicago-O'Hare - a fourth flies into Chicago-Midway -- so four different options to the Windy City.

4 airlines fly to LA, 4 to SF (1 seasonal) 5 to Phoenix-Sky Harbor (Personal Note: Sky Harbor is one of the best airports I've ever flown to/from)

While i realize SLC has a mega advantage of being the only game in town for about 2.5 million people and 1.3 million jobs (all within a 30-minute drive), this is something for RIC to aspire to.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, wrldcoupe4 said:

What is the next closest international airport to Salt Lake City? Richmond’s is 120 miles away. 

Yeah, he mentioned that he realized that SLC was the only game in town for miles and miles.  I guess it was an example of what RIC could be?  I agree that it’s not a great comparison...SLC is just a similarly sized city as Richmond (similarities end there though) - SLC draws people in from so many who live in that general area of the country making it prime for a hub such as it is.  

RIC does have a good pool of people to draw from though, it’s just that there are many more options available to travelers and RIC has to be competitive to win their business, which it CAN do...it’s just more difficult.  I’m just afraid that it may not be trying hard enough.  It does have a lot going for it though: Richmond is the state Capital (the government center, robust business and education center) and it’s location in the state is very advantageous to be a viable airport option for most people living in the state.  Just got to sell people on flying out of RIC instead of the other options out there.  How do you do it?  Well, I mention several ideas in an earlier post above, but I think the primary focuses should be: driving costs down for the potential traveler (make flying out of RIC worth not going to a DC airport), offering a variety of direct flight options (to popular destinations...to include west coast and other popular cities - how is it that we still don’t have direct flights to New Orleans, Las Vegas, LA, Seattle, etc.?  It’s because travelers go to other airports to travel to these places.  People are going, they’re just not using RIC to get there because the direct flights aren’t there - RIC and the community need to change that), and RIC needs to market itself better to show potential consumers what it does have to offer and to show them that RIC is a viable/smart travel option.  I’d argue that many people in Richmond proper, much less people in the surrounding areas, don’t even know what options they have at RIC.  Based on my personal experience, when I talk to people about RIC’s options, most are surprised and didn’t realize RIC was an affordable option for travel. Most still think that RIC is too expensive and/or doesn’t offer the flights they want/need (while that may be true for some, for others, it is NOT true).  RIC needs to fix that - fix how it is perceived and make it so that it offers the flights people really want. 

Edited by eandslee
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, wrldcoupe4 said:

What is the next closest international airport to Salt Lake City? Richmond’s is 120 miles away. 

Las Vegas.

SLC has no competition in that region.

Gotta love the Wild Wild West.

21 minutes ago, Icetera said:

To add on some of the example airports.

TYS is the gateway for Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg so that may explain their traffic some as well as destinations.  SLT is a hub.

Location in the West where major cities are more spread out makes a huge difference and generally lends itself to each city (Phoenix, Denver, Salt Lake, Vegas) being hubs of one airline or another. Each location has a large "captive audience" and no real competition to speak of. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, eandslee said:

Yeah, he mentioned that he realized that SLC was the only game in town for miles and miles.  I guess it was an example of what RIC could be?  I agree that it’s not a great comparison...SLC is just a similarly sized city as Richmond (similarities end there though) - SLC draws people in from so many who live in that general area of the country making it prime for a hub such as it is.  

Exactly.  :tw_thumbsup:

Agreed - SLC isn't an apples-to-apples comparison. Cities like Salt Lake, Denver, Vegas, Phoenix are natural hubs given how spread out the West is. The coastal hubs are simply too far away for folks in the Inner-Mountain West (or just beyond).

Sizewise, SLC is comparable - in fact, Richmond is a shade bigger.

City Population:   Salt Lake (approx) 200K.  Richmond (approx) 230K

Metro:  Salt Lake (approx) 1.2 M.  Richmond (approx) 1.3 M

Wider region - Salt Lake - 2.6 M.  Richmond - not certain of a good metric to use for comparison - Hampton Roads is both too far away and it's own metro area. I have seen references to the swath of Central and Southeast Virginia sometimes referred to as Richmond-Hampton Roads for a very wide regional look (example: market from which to draw attendance for pro sports) as somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.5 M.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

I ended up doing a bunch of flying this year, so I got a travel credit card that got me into a lot of airport lounges.  It was the first time I really experienced them, but they were just an amazing plus when flying.

Most airports I went to had a ton of lounges to choose from.  

I wonder how much traffic RIC would need to be able to support a lounge?  Maybe they're only viable in hubs where there are a lot of layovers?

Edited by RiverYuppy
Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, RiverYuppy said:

I ended up doing a bunch of flying this year, so I got a travel credit card that got me into a lot of airport lounges.  It was the first time I really experienced them, but they were just an amazing plus when flying.

Most airports I went to had a ton of lounges to choose from.  

I wonder how much traffic RIC would need to be able to support a lounge?  Maybe they're only viable in hubs where there are a lot of layovers?

That’s my guess. Thinking about it, hubs or large market airports are where I’ve seen airline lounges.  I would think that an airline would have to either have a significant presence at RIC or have a hub here. It may seem out of reach for little RIC, but I don’t  think so. I still hold out hope that an airline will see Richmond an attractive market for a hub in the near future.  It will depend on how Richmond and it’s economy evolves after this pandemic has passed.  I think the fundamentals are still there for a strong economy in Richmond...and who knows, we might just experience some good luck with an even stronger economy than it was before the pandemic!  That’s my hope anyway.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Some positive news for the airport - I noticed that flights to NYC via Newark airport started today!  Looks like there is a morning and evening flight to start. This is the first time RIC has seen flights to/from the NYC area since the pandemic began and things came to a halt.  So, this is very good news!  July should bring even more flights...so, slowly, but surely, the airline industry is coming back. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/9/2020 at 3:17 PM, RiverYuppy said:

I ended up doing a bunch of flying this year, so I got a travel credit card that got me into a lot of airport lounges.  It was the first time I really experienced them, but they were just an amazing plus when flying.

Most airports I went to had a ton of lounges to choose from.  

I wonder how much traffic RIC would need to be able to support a lounge?  Maybe they're only viable in hubs where there are a lot of layovers?

Lounges are for layovers, Richmond has no meaningful number of layovers so we'll never have a lounge until we do. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, jbjust said:

Lounges are for layovers, Richmond has no meaningful number of layovers so we'll never have a lounge until we do. 

Would be great to have something like an RIC300 that's as aggressive and progressive as Richmond300 is. Maybe we could figure out how to lure a major airline to drop a hub here, get those doggone parallel runways built and start terminal expansion... that's of course presuming things ever get back to normal. 

At least the NYC flights coming back on line is good news for now. 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, eandslee said:

Recently, Richmond International Airport became an Amazon Air Gateway Facility. This means that RIC is an airport that Amazon serves for better Prime member customer service.  Right now, there are twice daily Amazon Air aircraft serving the airport.  As more aircraft are acquired by the company, more cities will be served and you can probably expect more frequent service.  Currently, the aircraft serving RIC are Boeing 737s.  This is good news!

Definitely good news!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

And another “good news” story out of RIC today!  I have a friend who works at RIC and this was his post on Facebook last night:

“Tomorrow we celebrate another post-COVID milestone at RIC.  Airport wide our airline partners are booked for over 2000 departing passengers. That’s the first time we’ve been over 2000 in quite some time. We’re a long ways off of the 7 to 8 thousand we would normally do but way up from numbers in the 200s from just two months ago.  So proud of Team RIC for the hard work and perseverance in these uncertain times.  To our airline friends, we can’t wait to see these numbers soar again.  There are blue skies ahead!”

Folks, we are on the road to recovery, and hopefully, even more growth!!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.