krazeeboi

Columbia Metropolitan Airport

92 posts in this topic

This is a thread to discuss any news related to the airport.

It appears as though CAE is landing its first low cost carrier since Independence Air went belly up in 2006. Miramar, Fla.-based Spirit Airlines, known for sale tickets as low as $1 each way, announced its arrival at Columbia Metropolitan Airport today. The airline specializes in routes to the Caribbean and Latin America. Spirit already flies out of Myrtle Beach, offering direct routes to Atlantic City, Boston, New York

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US Airways announced Monday it was adding a fourth daily flight to Washington

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That is definitely good news for the airport considering the current state of the economy.

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I seem to remember reading in The State a few years ago something about CAE lengthening its runways and applying for international designation. Does anybody else remember this? Is there anything happening towards this end at CAE?

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I know the airport is able to handle jumbo jets, but I don't understand the significance of the word "international". Plenty of airports have "International" in their name, but they don't have any regularly scheduled commercial international flights.

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I think it has to do with the amount of DHS, CBP, immigration holding facilities, etc. I remember when GSP "went international," so to speak, after BMW became such a big presence in the area. The airport added the basic minimum requirements for "international" status so they could handle the corporate/charter flights from Germany. It would seem to me that expanding the runways and upgrading to international-level facilities would be useful if UPS ever wanted to expand its CAE hub, and also in recruiting more corporate business. It's a huge longshot, but it would be fantastic if CAE could somehow find a way to reinvent itself as a low cost alternative to US Airways' fortress hub at CLT.

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It basically means you have customs people/facilities, etc like SCxpBrussel said.

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It basically means you have customs people/facilities, etc like SCxpBrussel said.

Columbia does have customs people, a customs office and a foreign trade zone - it has for years.

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From the CAE website:

The Columbia Port of Entry is a full-service facility providing cargo clearance for regional In-Bound and Air shipments. The Port also administers landing rights for private and commercial aircraft entering the Columbia area from foreign [sic]. Aircraft requiring landing rights are processed by appointment and appointments are available outside normal working hours.

http://www.columbiaairport.com/customs.html

My interpretation is that Columbia's Customs capabilities are geared towards cargo screening, with nominal resources available for charter or by-appointment-only flights, but not enough capacity to clear numerous jetliners' worth of people and baggage.

I think CAE suffers from the locals' perception that it is a small, expensive airport. I know people who don't even include CAE in their search when booking plane tickets because they assume--sometimes rightly--that the tickets will be sky high. So, most people end up driving to CLT, not realizing that CLT is one of the most expensive big airports in the country because of lack of competition. (This may have changed on some routes with AirTran, JetBlue, and Southwest now operating there).

One way CAE could work to recreate itself into a low-fare airport and shed its expensive image would be to undergo some headline-grabbing changes - for example, by changing its name from "Columbia Metro" to "International," and perhaps naming the airport after a famous local the way many other airports around the world do.

...this thought leads me to wonder who would be appropriate candidates for the naming rights? My first thought was Jimmy Doolittle in honor of the airport's WWII military history, but the jokes and double entendre of "Columbia/Doolittle Airport" are probably prohibitively negative. There is also former Mayor Lester Bates, who helped establish the Airport Authority, but there is a local freeway already named after him. Other ideas?

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I agree about flying out of Columbia. It's like the automatic thing to do when wanting to fly it is search straight from Charlotte. I don't know many people who fly in and out of CAE as much as CLT. We usually end up flying outside of CLT and picking up family and stuff from Charlotte instead of Columbia

Edited by sonofaque86

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I actually like the Columbia airport...it's really nice and quiant. The thing is that i've actually found some good deals the last few times i flew out of Columbia. I found a flight to Los Angeles that was only $10 more than Charlotte and $30 more than ATL....that wasn't a difference that would make me take a trip. I also have flew out of Columbia to Richmond, VA, Dallas, New Orleans and NYC and it was all at good prices. I checked flights going out of Greenville, Charleston, Savannah, & Augusta and they wasn't too much difference in the prices to warrent a trip. Charlotte was cheaper in most cases, but when you factor in gas, parking and time...it's becoming more and more cost effective to drive out of town to catch flights IMO.

Like I'm in Savannah and i have to catch a flight to Milwaukee in October and it was $480 for 2 tickets [the best deal i found]....I could have gotten that same flight for $320 in ATL....but Savannah is no closer to ATL than Columbia is and i started thinking about the flight, drive time afterwards and etc and realized that if i would have booked that trip out of ATL i would have paid $140 roundtrip for gas and even more if i parked at the short-term lot and not at my brother's place [having him drop us off]...I just kept thinking about the 3.5hr drive after a 4hrs flight in comparison to a 4hrs flight and a 20min cab ride home and i'll pay more for convience post flight.

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If I fly for pleasure it isn't usually on short notice so I always fly out of Columbia. With a little bit of notice it usually isn't that much cheaper to fly out of Charlotte and it is a huge hassle. I'd have to save a couple hundred dollars to consider flying out of Charlotte instead of Columbia.

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I also really enjoy flying out of the Columbia airport, it is much less stressful and really makes for a pleasant start to a trip. I love all of light inside the airport let in from the skylights, that is one of my favorite parts about CAE. I always fly out of Columbia when I go on trips, if it is a personal trip I do check Charlotte however I have yet to find a flight that is more than $40 or so cheaper than Columbia out of Charlotte. I usually fly US Airways and end up going through Charlotte anyways and have found that with US Airways that if you fly from CAE instead of CLT it seems to be always $10 cheaper from CAE than CLT. I do however make sure to book at least 3 weeks in advance, for flights much closer to your departure date CLT is a much better bet. CAE's prices skyrocket about a week to two weeks before the trip. Also I think it depends on where you are flying to as to the price difference between CLT and CAE. However flying is such a pain these days, I just got back from a trip to New York and it was a horrible experience(just the flying part everything else was great!) which is why I am looking forward to the opening of the Southeastern high speed rail (yes it is far away but I believe this will provide a much needed alternative to flying).

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I have always found great deals flying out of CAE (which I try to always support) and the convenience is priceless. It's 15 minutes from downtown, there is hardly ever a line, and the airport itself is beautiful, I love those rocking chairs.

I just booked a flight to Costa Rica and it was $400 from Columbia and $500 and something from Charlotte. I thought that was really odd, but it solidified my decision to fly CAE.

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I think CAE is the nicest airport I've ever experienced worldwide, and I have seen many.

I fly out of CLT at least once a month, out of CAE 2-3 times a year. I always search both airports, but it's almost always cheaper from CLT and there are more connections and airlines. For me the price has to be more than $50 cheaper to be worthwhile the trip to CLT. I have 30 min to CAE and 2 hrs to CLT from where I live. I'm hoping that with the current focusing on gas prices and many people actually calculating the price pr mile (at $4/gl, it cost me $.16 to drive a mile with my 25miles/gl car in gas alone, making my trip to CLT cost $36 not to mention my time and wear and tear), that more locals will choose to fly out of CAE and thereby bringing prices down and choices up through demand. Also, CAE should bring down parking costs, it's twice the price of the CLT for the cheaper options.

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...this thought leads me to wonder who would be appropriate candidates for the naming rights? My first thought was Jimmy Doolittle in honor of the airport's WWII military history, but the jokes and double entendre of "Columbia/Doolittle Airport" are probably prohibitively negative. There is also former Mayor Lester Bates, who helped establish the Airport Authority, but there is a local freeway already named after him. Other ideas?

How about South Carolina International Airport. We are, after all, the capital city.

Or better yet, maybe, we sell out the name to a commerical company, like the the Adluh Flour International Airport? That's the new trend, although I don't like that idea myself.

Edited by LexScUSA

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Has anybody flown on Spirit Air out of CAE or been to the airport recently and noticed how they are doing passenger-wise? Air travel seems to be in a tailspin financially (again, or still?), and low cost airlines don't have the best track record in Columbia. I'm just wondering how Spirit is doing on its route out of CAE because I hope they stay (and expand!).

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Columbia to South Florida is not a highly traveled route. The busiest flights are Columbia to DC, NYC, Chicago and Boston and those are the cities we need for a low cost carrier, not Florida.

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Columbia to South Florida is not a highly traveled route. The busiest flights are Columbia to DC, NYC, Chicago and Boston and those are the cities we need for a low cost carrier, not Florida.

That's an interesting statistic seeing how it is a highly traveled route for GSP and both areas of the state have around the same population. Allegiant doesn't have direct routes from GSP to four different cities in Florida for nothing.

Edited by citylife

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Looking at some of the comments under the article on The State's website, some people didn't even seem to know about Spirit. I wonder if they advertised enough in the area. Also, people are apt to be more familiar with a carrier that offers flights to multiple destinations instead of just one or two.

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That's an interesting statistic seeing how it is a highly traveled route for GSP and both areas of the state have around the same population. Allegiant doesn't have direct routes from GSP to four different cities in Florida for nothing.

Columbia is a shorter drive to Florida than from Greenville. I went to a conference in Orlando in November and I chose to drive instead of fly. That extra 2 hour drive makes a difference.

Looking at some of the comments under the article on The State's website, some people didn't even seem to know about Spirit. I wonder if they advertised enough in the area. Also, people are apt to be more familiar with a carrier that offers flights to multiple destinations instead of just one or two.

I can't recall seeing any ads. It's like restaurants claiming they don't have enough business and then you ask them where they advertised and they are like, "say what"?

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Allegiant Air has added another flight for Columbia, this time to Ft. Lauderdale. This will fill the void left by the departure of Spirit. Fares will be $49 for one-way with introductory prices at $29. Allegiant also has non-stop service to Orlando.

These are two good destinations, especially during the summer time. Hopefully we'll see greater demand.

Article: The State

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At $29, I'd fly to Fort Lauderdale just because I could do so at such a cheap rate.

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