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eandslee

Richmond International Airport

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On 9/10/2020 at 12:25 PM, eandslee said:

The people of Central Virginia (even the Hampton Roads area) need to fill these flights up!  How many decades have we been waiting for an opportunity like this?!  DAILY flights too!!  We must fill these flights or they will be lost forever - never to return.  Richmond, this is your chance to prove yourself that you can be a bigger city now - so bring on the bookings!

By the way, if you haven’t flown JetBlue before - it is a great airline!  Lots of free amenities like free snacks and drinks, free WiFi, and free Direct TV on the seat in front of you!  These are perks the legacy airlines don’t offer!!  You do have to pay for checking in your bag, but what airline doesn’t these days (okay, Southwest doesn’t, but they are the only one)?  Their jets are usually new and their service is excellent. Who would have thought that you could go to RIC and jump on a direct flight to LAX...I still can’t get over how huge this is for Richmond!  Las Vegas should be just as popular!  Most everyone loves Las Vegas - one of the entertainment capitals of the world!!  Again, this is huge!!  Tampa...another great Florida destination - probably competing against Allegiant Air who flies to St. Petersburg (PIE).  Southwest flew to Tampa once a week, I believe, before the pandemic, but JetBlue has aggressively come in and is about to set the standard!  I’ve been on cloud 9 all day long today!!  While we are getting what we ask for, can we be a hub or at least a focus city?  Just dreaming. 

JetBlue is one of my favorite airlines to fly, even their redeye flights are fantastic.

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Hate to say it , but the airport really is not doing very well. In September, there was a slight increase in traffic over August (I think), but flat for all intents and purposes (based on the percent of decreased passenger numbers).  Compared to Norfolk Airport’s (ORF) rebound, RIC is way behind. Not sure why this is...maybe it’s the military travel at Norfolk?  Either way, this is just sad for RIC. I expected a more steeper increase in passenger traffic as the months progressed, but the growth has pretty much stopped since July.  These numbers are just depressing. The bright spot is that JetBlue plans to begin daily direct service from RIC to Tampa in November and daily direct service from RIC to Las Vegas and LAX in December.  I have my fingers crossed these routes will be successful...hoping for the best, but kind of expecting the worse with how slow RIC’s rebound is.  People have to get out and fly again. I flew a few weeks ago and I never felt unsafe. Flying is perfectly safe - I can assure you.  Fear is causing deep declines and I don’t think there’s any basis for it.  I hate this pandemic!
 

https://richmond.com/business/passenger-traffic-at-richmond-international-airport-sees-slight-rebound-in-september-but-still-far-below/article_56403095-8b4b-5ce4-82c3-c70376f23b92.html?utm_campaign=snd-autopilot&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook_Richmond_Times-Dispatch&fbclid=IwAR3ZaEJ1EXXLO8EXHRiz1QxHdU1FefOkUYonz_tPvBnjlE9qZZnYaxr1Y0c

Edited by eandslee
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Isn’t RIC  mostly a business airport?  
office buildings here are still largely vacant and it is even worse up north (and out in Chicago where I was recently).  Without business travel, most airports will suffer. 

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1 hour ago, Brent114 said:

Isn’t RIC  mostly a business airport?  
office buildings here are still largely vacant and it is even worse up north (and out in Chicago where I was recently).  Without business travel, most airports will suffer. 

Good point. So aside from military, what's driving Norfolk then?

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12 hours ago, eandslee said:

Hate to say it , but the airport really is not doing very well. In September, there was a slight increase in traffic over August (I think), but flat for all intents and purposes (based on the percent of decreased passenger numbers).  Compared to Norfolk Airport’s (ORF) rebound, RIC is way behind. Not sure why this is...maybe it’s the military travel at Norfolk?  Either way, this is just sad for RIC. I expected a more steeper increase in passenger traffic as the months progressed, but the growth has pretty much stopped since July.  These numbers are just depressing. The bright spot is that JetBlue plans to begin daily direct service from RIC to Tampa in November and daily direct service from RIC to Las Vegas and LAX in December.  I have my fingers crossed these routes will be successful...hoping for the best, but kind of expecting the worse with how slow RIC’s rebound is.  People have to get out and fly again. I flew a few weeks ago and I never felt unsafe. Flying is perfectly safe - I can assure you.  Fear is causing deep declines and I don’t think there’s any basis for it.  I hate this pandemic!
 

https://richmond.com/business/passenger-traffic-at-richmond-international-airport-sees-slight-rebound-in-september-but-still-far-below/article_56403095-8b4b-5ce4-82c3-c70376f23b92.html?utm_campaign=snd-autopilot&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook_Richmond_Times-Dispatch&fbclid=IwAR3ZaEJ1EXXLO8EXHRiz1QxHdU1FefOkUYonz_tPvBnjlE9qZZnYaxr1Y0c

I'm not too upset by the numbers since this is pretty much prevalent across the States.  Likewise I'm hoping (praying) that the new routes do well.

I agree with you.  No fear here. 

Edited by Shakman
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1 hour ago, blake_p said:

Amazon Air started cargo flights to RIC in June.  2 flights a day.

https://www.henricocitizen.com/articles/richmond-international-airport-now-serving-amazon-air/

Yep and this has been a boon for RIC’s cargo numbers!  Funny how during this pandemic the passenger numbers significantly decreased, but the cargo numbers have significantly increased!

Quote from the newsletter regarding Cargo:

This June, the Richmond region welcomed Amazon Air when it opened gateway operations at RIC. We’re now one of more than 30 airports across the major cargo airline’s network. At RIC, Amazon Air operates two flights a day, seven days a week.
 
We’re proud to say that RIC’s air cargo handling was robust even before Amazon Air’s arrival – in fact, we’re one of the busiest air cargo facilities in the nation. DHL, FedEx, and UPS all reported growth in shipments for the first quarter of the 2020 fiscal year, with a broad-based increase of 31%. Thanks to Amazon Air, these numbers are climbing even higher as businesses in the region tap into their extraordinary access to a leader in transportation innovation.
 
We’re thrilled by these developments and look forward to continuing to support the region’s cargo needs.


By the way, this is RIC’s latest route map as published today in their monthly newsletter:

RIC’s Route Map as of 30 Oct 2020

 

Edited by eandslee
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Definitely good news about the big uptick in cargo service. RIC has integrated well into that portion of the industry.

Looking at the service map - I have to admit that I'm a little surprised that we don't have direct service to Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Memphis, New Orleans, Phoenix. Pandemic aside, I somehow figured RIC would have those routes - or at least should. Provided something remotely approaching "normal" returns in the wake of the pandemic, I hope we'll see those routes start to become part of the mix. Much as we want to see international flights (say to London), RIC still needs to somehow land a hub and beef up domestic service -- the markets I listed above as well as Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake City. Obviously Covid is the big wild card - we're still only roughly 9 or 10 months into this thing - let's see how things look in a year, two years, five years.  Really hoping to see a return to growth at RIC once things normalize. Perhaps as Richmond's population continues to grow - and if we reach those boom projections the planners say are possible (340K in the city in a decade and a half) perhaps that will drive passenger and service growth at RIC to levels we've never seen, even pre-pandemic.

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Yeah, there are a lot of “holes” in RIC’s routes.  It surprises me that for a city Richmond’s size, there are no direct flights to St. Louis, Salt Lake City, New Orleans, Phoenix, Seattle...these, at the VERY LEAST, are essential stops for any good-serving airport.  The fact that RIC now has direct flights to Las Vegas and Los Angeles is super news.  Some additional “nice to have” routes would be to San Francisco, Pittsburg, Kansas City, San Diego...and then some International flights to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Canada.  Let’s focus on getting service to the “must haves” first though.  Hopefully, these flights to LAS and LAX are successful, proving that RIC can do very well with even more expanded service to some of those “must have” cities.  That is my hope anyway. 

Edited by eandslee
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2 hours ago, eandslee said:

Yeah, there are a lot of “holes” in RIC’s routes.  It surprises me that for a city Richmond’s size, there are no direct flights to St. Louis, Salt Lake City, New Orleans, Phoenix, Seattle...these, at the VERY LEAST, are essential stops for any good-serving airport.  The fact that RIC now has direct flights to Las Vegas and Los Angeles is super news.  Some additional “nice to have” routes would be to San Francisco, Pittsburg, Kansas City, San Diego...and then some International flights to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Canada.  Let’s focus on getting service to the “must haves” first though.  Hopefully, these flights to LAS and LAX are successful, proving that RIC can do very well with even more expanded service to some of those “must have” cities.  That is my hope anyway. 

I would argue that the next "must haves" are SFO, Seattle, and Toronto for business reasons in those cities and connections to East Asia (for SEA and SFO).

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Some not-so-positive news regarding the direct, daily flights from RIC to LAS and LAX was released today.  Basically, the flights are delayed 2 days for flights to LAS (now 20 Dec), but neither west coast destinations will be daily until 5 January.  Instead, there will only be a couple flights a week from when the flights start until 5 January.  My opinion is that these flights were not filling up, so JetBlue decided to delay daily service to January (we’ll see if even that holds up).  Folks, if these flights don’t fill up, they will go away...for good. JetBlue is taking a chance in Richmond and early indicators are showing a poor response.  I know we are in the middle of a pandemic, but the fear of flying in these times are unfounded.  I’ve flown during this pandemic and it was super safe.  People need to stop fearing and just do what they would normally do.  Anyway...here we are...and here is an article explaining it all in more detail:

https://richmond.com/business/jetblue-delays-daily-nonstop-service-to-vegas-and-l-a-until-january-but-will-have/article_e2f20023-cd39-5308-a4ab-93b925e1c608.html#tracking-source=home-top-story-1

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On a positive note, I have noticed 2 daily flights to and from Miami from RIC lately, which is more than the one daily flight that was the norm...even pre-COVID.  Additionally, the aircraft on this route is are an Embraer 175 and a Boeing 737 (both aircraft types flying a route each day).  This is a significant increase in capacity compared to the Embraer 145 this route was using last year (one flying once a day).  So, this is very good news for this route - larger aircraft and the additional daily flight means more demand - gotta love that!

Edited by eandslee
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3 hours ago, eandslee said:

Some not-so-positive news regarding the direct, daily flights from RIC to LAS and LAX was released today.  Basically, the flights are delayed 2 days for flights to LAS (now 20 Dec), but neither west coast destinations will be daily until 5 January.  Instead, there will only be a couple flights a week from when the flights start until 5 January.  My opinion is that these flights were not filling up, so JetBlue decided to delay daily service to January (we’ll see if even that holds up).  Folks, if these flights don’t fill up, they will go away...for good. JetBlue is taking a chance in Richmond and early indicators are showing a poor response.  I know we are in the middle of a pandemic, but the fear of flying in these times are unfounded.  I’ve flown during this pandemic and it was super safe.  People need to stop fearing and just do what they would normally do.  Anyway...here we are...and here is an article explaining it all in more detail:

https://richmond.com/business/jetblue-delays-daily-nonstop-service-to-vegas-and-l-a-until-january-but-will-have/article_e2f20023-cd39-5308-a4ab-93b925e1c608.html#tracking-source=home-top-story-1

TBH, I was surprised they were instituting service increases in the middle of a pandemic that's firing on all cylinders right now.  Not saying RIC can't be a good market - but with infections currently going off the scale (and we're not even to the traditional cold-flu season just yet) and number of daily deaths over 1K per day, I'm personally being very cautious right now. Very glad your travels so far have been safe - may they continue to be safe, my friend! 

Come December, January, February, I'll be interested to see how many daily cases are piling up what the situation will look like at that time. I totally agree that we likely have only one shot to nail West Coast service - but I hardly blame anyone who is cautious about flying right now (and into the coming 3-4 months). I'm sorry - as much as I love Richmond, I'm absolutely not willing to proactively put myself at risk of even the chance of contracting something that, given my age AND my co-morbidities, would very possibly not end well. I have three relatively young (school-age) kids to consider. So it's not just about myself.

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I don’t think fear of flying is the real issue. 
 

1) businesses have their employees working remotely here in VA.  In CA the lock down is even tighter.  Business travel can’t be robust right now.   No one is sending their employees that are currently working from home on a business trip to a closed office building/ conference center.   Conventions  are canceled.  Workshops are canceled.  Artists residencies are canceled.  Universities are still virtual learning.   
 

2) leisure travel isn’t all that fun right now either.   Once you get  to Los Angeles what are you going to do?  You can drive around and look at stuff but you can’t go in.  There’s no trying to get on the Price Is Right, for example.  
 

3) people are broke and/or fear going broke in 2021.  There’s a global recession.  I’m not making any big purchases or planning any big trips until I know that I’ll be able to pay my bills in March. 

Edited by Brent114
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18 minutes ago, Brent114 said:

I don’t think fear of flying is the real issue. 
 

1) businesses have their employees working remotely here in VA.  In CA the lock down is even tighter.  Business travel can’t be robust right now.   No one is sending their employees that are currently working from home on a business trip to a closed office building/ conference center.   Conventions  are canceled.  Workshops are canceled.  Artists residencies are canceled.  Universities are still virtual learning.   
 

2) leisure travel isn’t all that fun right now either.   Once you get  to Los Angeles what are you going to do?  You can drive around and look at stuff but you can’t go in.  There’s no trying to get on the Price Is Right, for example.  
 

3) people are broke and/or fear going broke in 2021.  There’s a global recession.  I’m not making any big purchases or planning any big trips until I know that I’ll be able to pay my bills in March. 

Well said, Brent. It's just common sense, given the world we live in. Air travel can't be robust at this time - and it's hard to envision that improving through the winter. My brother works in the corporate travel industry and he has commented that the big companies his outfit deals with (including some high-profile Chicago law firms) do not anticipate any kind of near-term uptick in business travel -- if anything, they are preparing for another downturn. Even the attorneys - where travel DID increase modestly as lockdowns began easing - understand that as this current upswing of the pandemic continues full-force, their travel will again be curtailed over the forthcoming several months. It's just the nature of the beast right now - and it's not a matter of fear or being brave or being "tough". This virus doesn't care HOW  brave or tough someone thinks they are. 

And to your point re: the recession: exactly - it's global. Economic woes are not limited to being a domestic problem relative to this pandemic.

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Heard a rumor that Southwest was going to announce the exit of a city they serve tomorrow (10 Nov).  Some folks on the aviation boards are saying that RIC could be on the top of Southwest's chopping block list.  Right now Southwest Airlines serves ATL (about twice daily service) and Orlando (via MCO) on select days from RIC.  Southwest's showing at RIC has been lackluster, to say the least, from day one with a lack of commitment to the airport by expanding air service, which RIC could easily handle (to places like Chicago/Midway, Denver, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Dallas, etc.).  Instead, RIC has only had service to ATL and sometimes to MCO (Orlando) and Tampa (which it ended when the pandemic hit).  So, we shall see how this plays out.  I hope the airport doesn't take the hit tomorrow...fingers crossed.

Edited by eandslee
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9 minutes ago, eandslee said:

Heard a rumor that Southwest was going to announce the exit of a city they serve tomorrow (10 Nov).  Some folks on the aviation boards are saying that RIC could be on the top of Southwest's chopping block list.  Right now Southwest Airlines serves ATL (about twice daily service) and Orlando (via MCO) on select days from RIC.  Southwest's showing at RIC has been lackluster, to say the least, from day one with a lack of commitment to the airport by expanding air service, which RIC could easily handle (to places like Chicago/Midway, Denver, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Dallas, etc.).  Instead, RIC has only had service to ATL and sometimes to MCO (Orlando) and Tampa (which it ended when the pandemic hit).  So, we shall see how this plays out.  I hope the airport doesn't take the hit tomorrow...fingers crossed.

Here's hoping! Surprising that Southwest didn't connect RIC with Midway at least. I've flown Southwest out of Midway quite a few times over the years and found it worth the extra long travel time over to the South Side (O'Hare is MUCH more convenient). Here's hoping RIC stays onboard!

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It's been a while since I've posted on here. Just wanted to mention that I'm really excited about the direct LAX flight and plan to use it to visit family. I have a lot of friends that also like to visit LA so I think it will be a popular flight. I'll probably book something for February.

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22 hours ago, eandslee said:

Heard a rumor that Southwest was going to announce the exit of a city they serve tomorrow (10 Nov).  Some folks on the aviation boards are saying that RIC could be on the top of Southwest's chopping block list.  Right now Southwest Airlines serves ATL (about twice daily service) and Orlando (via MCO) on select days from RIC.  Southwest's showing at RIC has been lackluster, to say the least, from day one with a lack of commitment to the airport by expanding air service, which RIC could easily handle (to places like Chicago/Midway, Denver, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Dallas, etc.).  Instead, RIC has only had service to ATL and sometimes to MCO (Orlando) and Tampa (which it ended when the pandemic hit).  So, we shall see how this plays out.  I hope the airport doesn't take the hit tomorrow...fingers crossed.

Where did you see this rumor?  I'd hate for RIC to lose Southwest, even though it seems they haven't at all tried to tap into the potential market here.

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44 minutes ago, benstyree said:

Where did you see this rumor?  I'd hate for RIC to lose Southwest, even though it seems they haven't at all tried to tap into the potential market here.

Saw it on Airliners.net.  These guys seems to know what they're talking about when it comes to the aviation industry.  There were some other possibilities too, but Richmond was mentioned.  Haven't heard any news about it yet, so that is a good sign.  Hoping we don't hear anything negative.

Here's a link to the thread.  Do a search for "RIC" and you will see the chats about it (near the bottom of the page):

https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1453457&p=22502157&hilit=RIC&sid=7aabf1f57b49ecb2c8b4c3d0315f5e41#p22502157

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7 minutes ago, eandslee said:

Saw it on Airliners.net.  These guys seems to know what they're talking about when it comes to the aviation industry.  There were some other possibilities too, but Richmond was mentioned.  Haven't heard any news about it yet, so that is a good sign.  Hoping we don't hear anything negative.

Here's a link to the thread.  Do a search for "RIC" and you will see the chats about it (near the bottom of the page):

https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1453457&p=22502157&hilit=RIC&sid=7aabf1f57b49ecb2c8b4c3d0315f5e41#p22502157

Let us pray!

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