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Grand Rapids Airport (GRR) News and Developments


joeDowntown

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I felt kind of nervous snapping photos at the airport so this is a horrible flyby of the new ramp. Construction seems to be moving pretty rapidly.

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Joe

Wow, that was fast!

They've also already built a temporary road through the old short term lot (now demolished) and have a new passenger drop off point about 175' from the terminal:

http://blog.mlive.com/grpress/2007/12/arri...ropoffs_at.html

http://www.flygrandrapids.org/PDFs/tempcurbmap121907.pdf

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  • 2 weeks later...

I recently paid approximately $70 more to fly from GRR instead of DTW. However, since I was only purchasing one ticket, it was a direct flight to my destination, the cost of gas to DTW and parking for a week is about $100 (I can get dropped off/picked up at GRR for free, or take a bus for $2.60), and it would add an extra 2 1/2 hours to the beginning and end of my trip to drive to/from DTW (maybe more depending on the weather), it was an easy decision for me.

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I am getting really tired of trying to fly into GRR, only to find that the little RJs are totally booked. I wanted to fly into GR on MLK weekend, only to find out that most of the flights on UAL or American from ORD, or on NWA from Minneapolis, were totally full.

Maybe I am spoiled living in a big city, but even our smaller airports (Burbank, Long Beach) feature 737s or Airbus 319s or 320s on most flights. Airlines may love RJs, and they can be fun, but give me capacity any day.

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I am getting really tired of trying to fly into GRR, only to find that the little RJs are totally booked. I wanted to fly into GR on MLK weekend, only to find out that most of the flights on UAL or American from ORD, or on NWA from Minneapolis, were totally full.

Maybe I am spoiled living in a big city, but even our smaller airports (Burbank, Long Beach) feature 737s or Airbus 319s or 320s on most flights. Airlines may love RJs, and they can be fun, but give me capacity any day.

You might want to try flying through Milwaukee on Midwest Airlines. It's a pretty easy airport to navigate and less crowded. All the flights over here are on the small planes also, but they do have 4 or 5 flights per day between MKE and GRR so they might be less full.

Edited by dbrok
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I am getting really tired of trying to fly into GRR, only to find that the little RJs are totally booked. I wanted to fly into GR on MLK weekend, only to find out that most of the flights on UAL or American from ORD, or on NWA from Minneapolis, were totally full.

Maybe I am spoiled living in a big city, but even our smaller airports (Burbank, Long Beach) feature 737s or Airbus 319s or 320s on most flights. Airlines may love RJs, and they can be fun, but give me capacity any day.

Our 737-500 from ORD to GRR is about full already, for the first week in Feb. GRR is terribly underserved. Everyone including the airlines know it, they just don't care.

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Well, Midwest might be a possibility, but it is really tough getting back to the West Coast at a decent hour. And the FRJs are even smaller than the Embraers on the competition.

Given these issues, why is the airport building a new 4800 car parking ramp? At this rate, everyone will be flying out of Kalamazoo, ORD and DTW.

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Airline merger could be opportunity

Do people agree that this merger might open up competition and might allow other airlines to get into GRR? I'm thinking the opposite might happen (fewer choices).

I don't know enough to know how these mergers would work, but in the end, the costumer always loses.

NWA would keep DET and MSP open, likely close memphis as a hub? Delta would have to keep ATL... I wouldn't see much changing from that standpoint.

The arguement about increased competition with LCC's is misguided. Every time a LCC comes in, the Legacy's match the route, and undercut the fare, why would it be any different if they merged?

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I don't see much that would change for Ford Int'l if this merger goes through. It would be different if the two of them at present accounted for 90% of the business, but they don't. NWA may have the lions share, but enough other major airlines keep there foot in the door here, and would keep things some what balanced.

In the grand scheme of things, I love hearing about airline mergers - there are way too many seperate carriers in the US. The law of supply and demand would have taken care of that a long time ago, but some people seem to think that these "struggling" businesses need gov't bailouts and constant bankruptcy protection. When at any given time you have 2 or 3 of the top 10 players in any industry in bankruptcy, that means there are too many, and some need to die a natural death. Whether they fold, merge, downsize, whatever, in this industry I think it is a very positive thing. Supply and demand along with fair competition, are beautiful things. Why would any market need more than 3 or 4 healthy air carriers serving the same markets?

Besides, I don't think NWA and Delta have a whole lot of overlap anyway in markets served.

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Mergers mean consolidated routes, which means fewer flights and therefore less selection on departure times and less competition on prices.

This has the potential to go from bad to worse. Although, we will all have a $25,000 parking spot to park our cars for the non-existant flights.

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Or higher profits if there's not enough competition to lower the fares.

Perhaps. The problem with the airline industry is that there's enough competition to make the business barely profitable. I guess the carriers need to make profits on the few routes without much direct competition. It's a terrible business to be in and I'll never directly buy an airline stock.

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It is anybody's guess in the long term if new airlines would add flights to GRR, but I would think that would happen due to reduced service from the NWA/Delta merger. What is for sure is the closure of Memphis and Cinci as hubs for NWA and Delta respectively to create savings and eliminate overlap. This would portend the loss of nonstop flights to those cities in the short term.

In the broader sense, Alex is correct in how cut-throat the business is. It is funny to see people complain about full flights and lack of destinations. I think people fail to grasp the enormous capital costs involved with an airline adding capacity, especially on a whim. This is not even taking into account operational costs. Just about every major airline is a couple bad quarters away from going bankrupt---profit margins are razor thin. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to never fly on a full flight and be able to fly nonstop to SFO or SEA, but it is just not practical. We already have 15 non-stop destinations(1 is seasonal). What I could see happening is for America West/US Air adding flights to PHL or possibly PHX in the next couple of years if the demand is there and this merger goes through.

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USAirways exited this market, why with a merger would they re-enter? Don't get me wrong I've lived in Phoenix for two years now, i'd love nothing more than to see Phoenix's home airline with direct flights into GRR. If they did enter I'd assume it'd all be connections to PHL or their CLT hubs. Tho you could possibly see direct flights into their Vegas hub. It's all moot.

Feel free to correct me if i'm wrong, as there are certainly people on here much more informed than I. But I have come to be under the impression that GRR is an expensive airport to operate out of. Grand Rapids is in a market that's with in an hour drive of more than two million people. But what is the difference between Grand Rapids and all of the satelite airports in the cities it competes with? Nothing LAN AZO MBS FNT, all of Michigan's small to midsized airports are dominated by NWA, all feed almost exclusively into ORD or DTW, and all Cost at times $150-$200 more to fly out of than the giant airports that are within striking distance of them. I think the merger of two dominant GRR carriers would only result in more empty ticketing counters, and entry ramps. If GRR expects to attract new airlines it will have to do what other successful Airports do.....compete. No other outstate Michigan Airport is in a position to capture so much market share. But you'd have to attract SWA and another carrier to give destination options and lower prices accross the board. The only way that'd happen is if the Airport found away to make it cheaper to operate out of. Think about it, sucking passengers away from the little airports, and slowing the flow of potential passengers that drive two hours to Detroit and Chicago.

Screw all the talk of consolidating airports. You can accomplish the same thing if you just do one thing....compete.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Flew back from Orlando today (completely packed- loved the direct flight) and snagged a shot of the airport. A lot of progress is being made but boy are they making a mess in the meantime. :) The road in front of the entrance is now gone and they have a temporary drop off area about 80 feet out from the original (it's the grey "building" in the pic). Steel is popping up on both sides. I always marvel at the precision the goes on during the construction process.

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Joe

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Flew back from Orlando today (completely packed- loved the direct flight)

Hmm, seems Joe and I were on the same flight. I agree, it was nice to have a direct flight from/to GRR, and to see it nearly full (and on time).

Now if only we could figure out a way to bring that Orlando weather back to Michigan.....

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