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monsoon

Concord Airport to Compete against Douglas

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This has been rumored to have been in the works for quite some time, but it appears now that Concord officially intends to explore the possibility of offering air service directly from its airport. They are currently spending millions to expand their runway to allow for jets that could fly directly to the west coast and Europe. Since this is the busiest general aviation airport in the state, it already has a quite nice terminal building and other facilities.

I personally think this is a great ideal. Having a low fare airline in that airport would make air travel much more attractive in the Charlotte area.

There is an article about it in the Observer today, but the kinda dismiss it as being unlikely to happen. Did I forget to mention the Observer's unbiased reporting. :whistling:

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This has been rumored to have been in the works for quite some time, but it appears now that Concord  officially intends to explore the possibility of offering air service directly from its airport.  They are currently spending millions to expand their runway to allow for jets that could fly directly to the west coast and Europe.    Since this is the busiest general aviation airport in the state, it already has a quite nice terminal building and other facilities. 

I personally think this is a great ideal.  Having a low fare airline in that airport would make air travel much more attractive in the Charlotte area. 

There is an article about it in the Observer today, but the kinda dismiss it as being unlikely to happen.  Did I forget to mention the Observer's unbiased reporting.    :whistling:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Thats great news... and I really hope it happens. A little friendly competition never hurt anyone :)

And all of us Charlottians knowthat we need as many discount airlines as we can get because we've never really had them before at Douglas. But isn't Douglas doing a total revamp of their airport too?

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Oh this would be great news. If Concord has the room, I can see them becoming our next big airport... not as big as Douglas of course, just bigger than they are

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Concord will study possibility of luring airline

Experts say proximity to Charlotte airport would hurt any effort

RONNIE GLASSBERG

Staff Writer

CONCORD - The city plans to explore the possibility of luring a commercial airline for passenger service to Concord Regional Airport, the state's busiest general-aviation airport.

But some industry experts say that would be difficult because the airport is so close to Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, the nation's 17th-largest airport by passengers in 2003.

Concord's city-owned airport plans to study the idea over the next year, but it's not clear how long the review will take or what it might cost, said Dick Lewis, the city's aviation director.

"You look at the cost and benefit to the community," Lewis said. "Right now, there's no timeframe. There's nothing pushing it."

A $13.5 million project to extend the runway by 1,900 feet is now under way and is expected to be complete this summer. It will allow jets as large as a Boeing 737 to land at the airport year-round. It also will permit planes to fly nonstop to the West Coast and Europe, because the longer runway allows planes to carry more fuel.

Concord Regional is hoping for $61 million in improvements over the next decade and beyond for a variety of projects, including increasing the strength of the existing runway and buying more land for expansion.

The city's push to start service comes after plans were announced for commercial flights to return to Hickory this spring. Atlantic Southeast Airlines, a Delta subsidiary, last month said it would begin service to and from Hickory Regional Airport in the spring.

The Concord airport would need to add a passenger terminal and security screening equipment to offer passenger service.

Lewis said commercial service would be a convenience for area residents.

And it could mean a lot of money: Commercial airports receive $1 million per year in federal money per year if more than 10,000 passengers per year use the airport. As a general-aviation airport, Concord gets only $150,000 from the federal government per year.

"Our location right next to a major metropolitan area may spark the interest of a commuter airline," said City Manager Brian Hiatt.

He said the city hasn't talked with an airline yet.

He added that the study would not be a major focus for the city. "Our success has been as a general-aviation airport," he said.

Some industry experts were skeptical about the city's chances of landing a commercial carrier.

"Is there a problem with Charlotte/Douglas? Lack of facilities?" said Robert Mann, an airline industry consultant based in Port Washington, N.Y. "Unless there was an issue of an airline unable to gain access to the facilities, using a secondary airport that's so close to Charlotte is probably unlikely."

Charlotte Aviation Director Jerry Orr said Charlotte/Douglas has plenty of space in its airfield and terminal for airlines.

"I would say their chances of getting commercial service are slim to none," Orr said.

Hiatt said Concord's advantage is that it would be easy for passengers to get in and out of.

Nationwide, many smaller markets have lost service in recent years -- a trend blamed in part on competition from discount carriers and increasing costs to fly small planes.

In Hickory, ASA will offer three flights a day to Atlanta on 40-passenger regional jets beginning May 1, said Tim Deike, the city's airport director.

Until April 2002, CCAIR had operated four 19-seat flights a day from Hickory to Charlotte Sundays through Fridays for US Airways, plus additional flights on Saturdays.

To lure ASA, Hickory offered free landing fees and facility rent for a year and committed $250,000 for advertising 60 days prior and 60 days after service begins, Deike said.

He said it would be tough for Concord to lure passenger service.

"I don't think it's impossible, although I think it's a monumental challenge," Deike said. "They are really, really close to a major airport."

-Even though I think this is a great idea since Concord is booming at an alarmous rate, I don't think it will every come to frution. We only have about 60,000 people in the city and about 130,000 in the county. And the airport is only 45 mins away on the other side of Charlotte. It would be awesome if this did happen. I think we should focus our resources more on luring quality businesses to the city than an airline.

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Before they get a commerical airline...they have to build a passenger facility...the one they have today can't be used for commerical airlines. Also Concord will have to compete with Piedmont Triad Airport as it is less than an hours drive. If Concord is willing to spend about $50M for a nice passenger facility then I see an outside chance of Southwest Airlines coming in...until then it will remain a GA airport.

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Before they get a commerical airline...they have to build a passenger facility...the one they have today can't be used for commerical airlines. Also Concord will have to compete with Piedmont Triad Airport as it is less than an hours drive. If Concord is willing to spend about $50M for a nice passenger facility then I see an outside chance of Southwest Airlines coming in...until then it will remain a GA airport.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

My opinion: $50 million would be a sizeable chunk of the money required to establish commuter rail service between Concord, Charlotte, and Charlotte-Douglas. It would also have the added benefit of reducing traffic on I-85.

With CLT airport as huge as it is, seeing how close it is to the CBD, and given that US Airways is in a state of limbo, I'd say now is not the time to make this investment. If USAir does go belly up or make significant cuts, that would leave a lot of vacant space at CLT. Who would want to fly into Concord then?

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Well I would certainly be happier flying in and out of a smaller airport. Less trouble, faster to get to the plane, and less congestion and delays. If I am coming into Charlotte it doesnt matter to me if the plane lands in Concord or West Charlotte. What does matter is the pain in getting in and out and Concord would certainly beat Douglass on this account.

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I think this is farther down the road.

There is a possibilty that, one day, Concord would at least be the regional or national airport.

It is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, by the way, and is already the 4th busiest airport in the state. It has taken a lot of the private/executive flights out of CLT/Douglas.

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Oh, no... If the Concord Airport does go commercial I'm not sure how this would affect the property on my house. My neighborhood would most likely be under the landing and take-off patterns. I was planning on keeping this house as a rental when I move to Noda. Might be a good idea to sell it in the not too distant future. hmmm. :blink:

On the other hand, a commercial airport in Concord would be awesome! It would be convenient, have easy access and would most likely be cheaper than flying out of Charlotte/Douglas! :thumbsup:

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Oh, no... If the Concord Airport does go commercial I'm not sure how this would affect the property on my house. My neighborhood would most likely be under the landing and take-off patterns. I was planning on keeping this house as a rental when I move to Noda. Might be a good idea to sell it in the not too distant future. hmmm.  :blink:

On the other hand, a commercial airport in Concord would be awesome! It would be convenient, have easy access and would most likely be cheaper than flying out of Charlotte/Douglas!  :thumbsup:

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I don't think its going to happen anytime soon...

plus, any commerical planes there (when it does happen in 20 years) probably wouldn't be that much bigger than what already flies out of there.

That whole area is growing with new, high value homes and race shops; property values will sore. Most people don't even know they live next to the 4th busiest airport in NC.

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If "low-fare" airlines wanted to be in CLT, they'd already be here. Terminal has plenty of gate andn ticket counter space. It's a free-market economy...nothing's keeping them out.

jb4563  Posted Jul 14 2005, 01:30 PM

Most people don't even know they live next to the 4th busiest airport in NC.

They would if a commercial carrier flew there. Nothing like a 737-200 flying over your house to wake you up.

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If "low-fare" airlines wanted to be in CLT, they'd already be here.  Terminal has plenty of gate andn ticket counter space.  It's a free-market economy...nothing's keeping them out. 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The Airline business is not a free market system. Instead because of government policies since WWII it has evolved into a Oligopoly. It is exceedingly difficult for a carrier for gain a foot hold in Charlotte because USAir will instantly under cut them on the few routes they will provide and force them to leave. No alternative carrier has lasted here against USAir for any amount of time. (Except for other members of the Oligopoly)

If it were indeed a free market, USAir would be bankrupt and gone by now. It only still exists due to $billions in Govt. bailouts. Something that most businesses in a free market don't get.

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Chrylsler comes to mind, as does Halliburton, the US oil industry, the timber industry, the drug industry...

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Chrylsler comes to mind, as does Halliburton, the US oil industry, the timber industry, the drug industry...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

No argument. Our free market is hardly that in a number of areas. We have voted in government that loves big business.

Still its irrelevant to my argument about the Airline industry. Its not a free market system and because of that competitors have an impossible time against USAir in Charlotte.

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But Metro, I would argue that most any carrier that is stronger than US could easily come into CLT and simply bleed them dry. That's my point. Southwest could have come here and done the same thing it's done at PHL and STL (where it helped kill TWA). It's even invaded MSP, Northwest's fortress hub and headquarters.

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But Metro, I would argue that most any carrier that is stronger than US could easily come into CLT and simply bleed them dry.  That's my point.  Southwest could have come here and done the same thing it's done at PHL and STL (where it helped kill TWA).  It's even invaded MSP, Northwest's fortress hub and headquarters.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

You could argue that but you would lose as it hasn't happened.

PHL has the O&D market to support SW in a bid against USAir and the market there is actually competitive as its pretty easy to get on the train and take a plane from NYC. CLT and airports like it do not have this advantage. TWA would have died without Southwest which saw an opportunity and jumped on it.

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US has lost market share in PHL. LOTS. Southwest could easily come to CLT and add service to places where O&D numbers work. They do it all over the US. CLT would get service to PVD, MDW, BHM, PHL, BWI, TPA and maybe LAS. We have the O&D numbers to support those markets. Keep in mind that they don't have to sell as many seats in a city pair as hub and spoke carriers, so their load factor numbers can be lower to make a route profitable.

Your TWA point is lost on me. Southwest loves be a leech and suck an injured carrier dry. Then it can own market share and raise prices. That's exactly why it chose STL. Likewise, it would love to see US die, therefore, why not come into CLT and let the bleeding begin? They certainly have the bank account to foot the bill.

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