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Hello, my name Sean. I’m deaf.  I enjoy to read on Unbanplanet. I will post more pics later.  British Airways Dreamliner Boeing 787-9 landed last Sunday evening.  ( 2/L  7,704 feet long runway) 

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There's not much that can be done, they built a billion dollar airport that was yet to be paid off by the time 9/11 happened. US Air is the only reason it was built, and they left in a cost savings move.

I mean you can't blame them for wanting the cost savings of an airport that is cheaper, but the Pittsburgh airport authority wouldn't have built the airport had it not been for US Air lobbying and getting it for the sole purpose of it being their largest hub.

So who's paying for the airport now, taxpayers? I'll say this: I know many people are not happy about the Titan's deal on the stadium, but at least they are locked into a 30 year lease. These people in Pittsburgh didn't even get a contract from US Air before expanding?

Lexy, you know more about this than I do. Is it un-common for aiports to lease gates under long-term contracts?

Does anyone know how much of MNAA's budget compes from taxpayers as opposed to revenue from the airports?

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So who's paying for the airport now, taxpayers? I'll say this: I know many people are not happy about the Titan's deal on the stadium, but at least they are locked into a 30 year lease. These people in Pittsburgh didn't even get a contract from US Air before expanding?

Lexy, you know more about this than I do. Is it un-common for aiports to lease gates under long-term contracts?

Does anyone know how much of MNAA's budget compes from taxpayers as opposed to revenue from the airports?

The only long term leases that I know of out at BNA is American, Delta, and Southwest I believe. But the others are all revolving leases I think. Continental and United may be long term, but I am not to sure of that. I think it is somewhat common at airports with a reasonable PAX to pull from. Memphis and Nashville are good examples.

The biggest majority of the money coming into the airports is from the airlines, namely Southwest and American. Both have large amounts of flights, thus creating large amounts of landing fees, gate fees, etc. Southwest, of course, pays the most into the airport and as they create a new flight here their total paid in goes up. But most of that is worked out in the contract to service here with a pre-determined amount of flights and a pre-determined amount of new flights written in the contract. At least that is the case at some airports. The fees that airlines pay into the airport for leases and other stuff is a big reason they have flights from your city. if they feel they are being ripped off, they hold out on the airport and only provide mediocre service. As you can see, SWA gets a sweet deal for being here, thus having around 90-95 flights a day from here is the result. LOL! As far as I know, American is still paying off the debts of the construction of the terminal here. Taxpayers money is spent on payroll and other things, but airline money goes to airside and landside improvements for the most part.

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I've searched the Southwest web site extensively and never found this 90-100 flights a day number. Do any of you have a solid link for the information?

Seeing how many flights SWA has out of Nashville, and considering the Chicago route alone has over 10 flights a day, I would think there would be more than 90 flights a day. I mean the airport authority shows there are over 400 flights a day at the airport, and if SWA takes up that much service I would think it would be higher than 90.

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I've searched the Southwest web site extensively and never found this 90-100 flights a day number. Do any of you have a solid link for the information?

Seeing how many flights SWA has out of Nashville, and considering the Chicago route alone has over 10 flights a day, I would think there would be more than 90 flights a day. I mean the airport authority shows there are over 400 flights a day at the airport, and if SWA takes up that much service I would think it would be higher than 90.

Well, the BNA Operations Supervisor is part of our photography group out at the airport and that is around how many they schedule everyday. According to his sources. Plus, one of the guys in our group is a Captain for SWA who has a wife who works in scheduleing for them. And both have confirmed that it is around the 90-95 flights a day number. Depending on the day of course. That was before the new flights to Philly, and Denver were added....so it may be above 100 by now. But I know that American still has a large amount of flights both on their mainlines and commuter jets from here. As well as Delta. Keep in mind as well, some of those operations are charter, and general avaiation. But the bulk is commerical airliners and cargo, etc.

Edited by Lexy
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These lists seem awfully confusing to me.

Nashville has 28 non-stop cities that Southwest offers, on that list only Houston Hobby matches that number, and only 5 cities are above this.

That would suggest Nashville is Southwest's 6th most important connection hub.

Apparently we have fewer flights per city than a place like San Diego, it appears on the updated list San Diego only has 15 non-stop flights with SWA.

Take a look for yourself

http://www.southwest.com/travel_center/routemap_dyn.html

Edited by heckles
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We do have fewer FREQUENCIES than other SWA Focus Cities, but part of that is due to the inablility to connect equally from here to places like Manchester and Albequerque, etc. Hopefully, that will change soon and the routing will follow with that as well. I know they are trying to pull a few more flights into Nashville due to the fact that there aren't quite as many as some other hubs for SWA. Alot depends on the Dallas LUV Field flights and how they go over.

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They do have a nice terminal. It was at one point, a very large Focus City for US Airways. Now it isn't though. Still an important city, but the city as a whole has led the airport to be less busy than it used to be. Still, it has respectable PAX numbers and certainly has a bright future ahead of it. I doubt that US Airways will be a huge part of that future, but you never know.

I don't mean to burst in on the Nashville forum... but I was reading your thread and thought I'd clarify a few things. Heckles summed up many of the issues concerning PIT quite well.

PIT currently is USAirway's largest "focus city". It previously was USAir's largest hub. USAir was founded in Pittsburgh as Allegheny Air. The "city as a whole" has had nothing to do with the decline in passenger traffic at PIT. While the total passenger traffic has seen a drastic decline, this is entirely due to the lack of connecting traffic due to USAir's cuts. Origin & Destination traffic at PIT has seen healthy increases every year, especially lately... in response to dramatically lower fares due to USAir's retrenchment. Many low-cost carriers, such as Southwest, have finally arrived at PIT.

The negatives:

USAir slashing thousands of Pittsburgh jobs

Loss of hundreds of flights

Loss of trans-atlantic flights

Loss of retail business at PIT's revolutionary AirMall

Underutilization of one of the country's best and largest airports

The benefits:

Decrease in fares (once one of the most expensive airports to fly out of... now below the average for major US airports)

Greater diversity of airlines to choose from

Increase in O&D traffic (people are no longer driving to Cleveland for cheaper flights)

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Sounds like PIT's experience is much like BNA's after American Airlines pulled out.

It certainly does. I predict that Pittsburgh will have a renaissance of their airport eventually in a similar way to what is happening to Nashville, but Pittsburgh's renaissance may be even better. They have a jewel of an airport there. It's one of the best designs in the nation. I feel for all the people who lost their jobs, though.

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It certainly does. I predict that Pittsburgh will have a renaissance of their airport eventually in a similar way to what is happening to Nashville, but Pittsburgh's renaissance may be even better. They have a jewel of an airport there. It's one of the best designs in the nation. I feel for all the people who lost their jobs, though.

I am going to agree with Hank on this. I certainly wish PIT all the best and can only hope things get better soon for them. I hate the fact that it has put so many out of work and all and wish everyone up there all the best. Please Evergray, feel free to keep us updated on the situations at PIT as they develop. I would love to hear what happens.

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One last word on the Pittsburgh airport situation.

I think US Airways made a long term strategic mistake by moving most of its operations away from Pittsburgh.

PIT was built as a super hub specifically to serve US Air. The only other airports in the eastern US they have hub service in are Philadelphia and Charlotte. Philadelphia is predominantly their international hub and their connection for other northeastern flights.

Charlotte now serves as their domestic hub with some seasonal international service focused on the Carribbean and Central America as well as a few mainline flights to Europe.

Philadelphia is already a hub that can't take a huge transfer of flights unless they build more concourses or whatever (aka. higher landing fees), Charlotte's airport was never designed to behave in the capacity of a super hub. The terminal building is squeezed into as much space as they have. Concourse E looks like the last major concourse that can physically be added to the airport unless they extend outward with existing concourses (which construction would disrupt the current capacity required).

If US Air needs to grow significantly in Charlotte, they will just have to end up building a new terminal in a new location.

In other words, US Air will face having to fund a new airport to expand at a decent capacity, and it will end up with higher landing fees to deal with just like Pittsburgh has. At least Pittsburgh had 10 years worth of payments paid down on the airport that already exists with the super-hub capacity.

US Airways has an obvious choice, as it didn't leave the Pittsburgh market entirely. It just downsized its super hub to the third largest operation as a focus city. US Air will most decidedly transfer lots of traffic back to PIT when it grows.

Long term, I think US Air will have some strategic problems to deal with. But honestly the airline has always been a step behind others and has had more financial difficulty because of bad strategy. This was true BEFORE 9/11.

I think they are just trying to make-do with what they have and get through financial hardship for now. When the airline matures you'll see it re-appear in Pittsburgh.

Edited by heckles
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^ I think that's a possibility. The same argument could be made for American when they left here and then inherited St. Louis as a hub when they took over TWA. Most feel, and I am one of them, that the St. Louis hub will never be anything more than a domestic hub for AA with very little, if any, international service out of there. That due in large part to Dallas and Chicago. Rumors before 9-11 had Nashville becoming a Focus City of US Air. Now I doubt that will be the case now, but they certainly have a decent presence here with the fourth or fifth most flights at the airport.

Edited by Lexy
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Just a note about the Charlotte Airport. It is currently almost 2M sq ft and has plenty of space for expansion w/o having to build a completely new terminal. Here is the master plan for the airport where everything highlighted in orange is on the books for expansion plans. The new additions will be built when the need arises. Sorry for the interuption...now back to BNA :)

mplanview1.JPG

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Wouldn't building all that airport out cost more in landing fees than the left-over debt from PIT's airport construction? And wouldn't the end result still have less capacity than what PIT has today already? PIT is a substantially large airport, and its larger than this diagram for a built-out CLT. Looking at CLT's plans... Adding a people mover, more garages, and three new concourses isn't cheap. That looks to be well over $1billion. PIT's existing debt load is in the $500-700 million range. It was $700 million two years ago, so I assume they've paid down some of that over the course of the budgeting assistance they've gotten.

If these facts are true, I don't see the financial incentive US Air would have to invest into that.

Edited by heckles
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I think USAir has already made its decision to go with Charlotte over Pittsburgh as far as air traffic is concerned. Don't you think it makes sense to have a southern and northern hub as opposed to two mid-Atlantic hubs? I don't know the details behind an operations facility that USAir is trying to get cities to compete for, but PIT is trying for it desperately. Hopefully, none of those cities will put all their "eggs in that basket" given the airline's shaky history.

Even after the America West merger, it is a regional airline with financial problems, and time will tell if it provides a service that the public wants. Personally, I don't see it as a growth strategy. However, it should help having the western "footprint".

Edited by ATLBrain
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Wouldn't building all that airport out cost more in landing fees than the left-over debt from PIT's airport construction? And wouldn't the end result still have less capacity than what PIT has today already? PIT is a substantially large airport, and its larger than this diagram for a built-out CLT. Looking at CLT's plans... Adding a people mover, more garages, and three new concourses isn't cheap. That looks to be well over $1billion. PIT's existing debt load is in the $500-700 million range. It was $700 million two years ago, so I assume they've paid down some of that over the course of the budgeting assistance they've gotten.

If these facts are true, I don't see the financial incentive US Air would have to invest into that.

Charlotte in the past year instituted a $3 PFC (Passenger Facility Charge) that will be used to fund most future expansion. They are currently building a 3,000 space parking deck, new 3rd parallel runway, and 6 gate expansion of Concourse E using the PFC to cover the local portions of those projects. At the same time CLT plans to lower their already outragously low landing fees even lower.

Currently PIT has 100 gates

Currently CLT has 85 gates (with 6 gate expansion under construction). At full build out CLT would have close to 140 gates.

PIT does have a superior design, unfortunately its location, costs, and timing are what "de-hubbed" it.

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http://pittsburgh.about.com/library/weekly/n122100j.htm

According to that map, the mainline terminal has 89 gates and the commuter terminal has 22 gates for a total of 111 gates at PIT.

If you count all those airliners around the concourses with the total buildout of the Charlotte diagram it shows 133 gates after all expansion is complete. That's barely 19 more gates than PIT is at today.

I still think the cost of adding all that is more trouble than just opening more flights at PIT. US Air is the one making these decisions and I suppose they will decide whatever they think is best. Hopefully it works out.

A $3.00 PFC fee is not sufficient to fund what looks to be well over a $1 billion rennovation plan. It'll take more fees.

Edited by heckles
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A $3.00 PFC fee is not going to fund a $1 billion or more expansion program at CLT to build a people mover, an underground walkway system, two new concourses (looks like they would effectively have to redesign concourse E) and an extension of one of the major concourses (with all that construction going on while trying to maintain a hub with the ongoing traffic, it looks like they'll have to cut out gates from concourse E during thee redesign).

I believe that 2/3rds of the money needed for some of these expansions is coming from the FAA. The fee will generate about $75M/year. NC Law allows the city to issue bonds for this kind of construction to be paid back by the fee. If they used a 25 year bond, they could cover almost $3B in construction but they wouldn't do this.

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Hub airports as they have existed are no longer money makers. The profit is in filling up direct flights. I think you'll see more direct flights from big cities to big cities and less flights between smaller and medium size cities. For the airlines to survive they need to fill up the planes. Having a bunch of 1/3 full planes flying to a hub to fill larger planes going to major cities just doesn't make money like flying smaller planes that are full on direct routes. This is what companies like Southwest, Jetblue and Airtran do.

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