gvillenative

GSP International

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When I flew to Chicago last year, United was the cheapest option and I did not need to check a bag. Why would I fly Southwest and pay more and not go into Ohare? I appreciate the cheaper rate, which I attribute to SWA, but I'm not paying extra to fly them.

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When I flew to Chicago last year, United was the cheapest option and I did not need to check a bag. Why would I fly Southwest and pay more and not go into Ohare? I appreciate the cheaper rate, which I attribute to SWA, but I'm not paying extra to fly them.

 

Well one big reason would be the partly on time rate United has.  If you were a frequent ORD traveler there's absolutely no way you could travel there without being impacted multiple times.  Their kickoff flight lists an on time percentage just over 75% of the time and they won't even list the 5pm stats.  Probably b/c of how bad it does.  Then again ORD is an on time machine compared to EWR.  4572 was list as the 3rd worst flight in the country last year according to the DOT for on time pct and it's not much better this year, especially with the runway construction that's been going on.  IAD is pretty bad too when they run those ex ASA CRJ's.  Those old birds are so unreliable it's silly.  And now they're going bring in turbo props for IAD in August.  God help us all!

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Unfortunately that was the only positive stat from Southwest.  After having a load factor of 57% last year which was 5th worst in their system, looks like they are only up to 65% despite the 80% from May.  Not sure where that ranks now, but can't think that moves GSP too high up.  Also, while the load factor was at 80.5%, that is mostly b/c of all the flight cuts by Southwest.  May of 2013 actually had 2211 more passengers than this year.  That's an 11% drop.  GSP's avg was a 4% growth and AA had a 1% growth, Delta 16%, and US Airways a 20% growth in number of passenger flown.  United was the only other of the 5 major airlines with a decline in passengers at -6% so Southwest's drop is certainly alarming!

This circles back to one of my previous post, for which I was bashed by many, that GSP is one of the worst performing cities in the SWA system.  Unless something drastic happens, SWA will fly off into the wild blue yonder.  Chat among many in the corp staff is 100% negative about their limited future at GSP. 

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  IAD is pretty bad too when they run those ex ASA CRJ's.  Those old birds are so unreliable it's silly.  And now they're going bring in turbo props for IAD in August.  God help us all!

What to do about IAD, what to do?   Now that CLE is history, word is IAD will be "right-sized".   Obviously can't let go of the international and major feeder routes, but right-sizing is on the way.   I feel sorry for UA, in that market.   With the AA / US merger, AA and DL now have almost a total lock on DCA.  Then you have SWA at BWI.   Couple all that with UA's poor customer service metrics of late and it is kind of sad for IAD.

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I honestly don't understand why anyone would fly Southwest.  Their fares aren't usually the cheapest.  They have an unfamiliar boarding process.  You have to pay extra if you want to reserve a seat.  The only places they fly from GSP are Chicago, Houston, and Baltimore.  Only one of those was a new destination from GSP (Baltimore), and it is in the Washington-Baltimore metro area which was already well served by GSP.

 

If Southwest had the lowest fares, people would probably be willing to put up with having to stop in one of the aforementioned cities to go where they need to go.  But with only 4 arrivals into GSP, and 4 departures out of GSP each day, and to destinations which aren't really new for GSP travelers, it's no wonder they aren't doing well.

 

Before anyone tells me that Southwest lowered the fares from GSP...I'm not debating that.  But now that other airlines have reduced their prices as well, and Southwest isn't usually the cheapest, it's up to Southwest to do the other things well.  They must not be, or else their planes wouldn't have so many empty seats on them.  Most of the other airlines at GSP are doing well.

SWA has somewhat changed their business model and basically transformed into a mainline carrier.  They aren't interested in smaller markets like GSP as they once were.  They are re-allocating their planes to go head to head with other mainline carriers on high demand / high volume routes.  When the Wright Ammendment ends in Oct, SWA will be flying to LAX, LGA, etc from Love head to head with AA from DFW.  Those old Love-Little Rock type routes are being pruned quickly.  Their planes do fly full, just not from GSP.   

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I think what has probably hurt SWA in Greenville is when they acquired Airtran.  That gave them ATL and CLT so there is no pull from those cities to GSP.

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SWA has somewhat changed their business model and basically transformed into a mainline carrier.  They aren't interested in smaller markets like GSP as they once were.  They are re-allocating their planes to go head to head with other mainline carriers on high demand / high volume routes.  When the Wright Ammendment ends in Oct, SWA will be flying to LAX, LGA, etc from Love head to head with AA from DFW.  Those old Love-Little Rock type routes are being pruned quickly.  Their planes do fly full, just not from GSP.   

 

Interesting.  Understandable that GSP isn't as attractive a market to them anymore.  It's sad that SWA is bailing on its roots as a low cost carrier.  I remember when they were the only profitable airline several years ago, and they did it as a low cost carrier.

 

Sadly, SWA is primed to fail as a mainline carrier.  I see no way they can compete with the likes of Delta and American on price, service, or destinations.

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Baskin Robbins and CNN Newsstand announced for GSP Airport. Previously announced are Flatwood Grill, Dunkin Donuts, Hudson News, Chick Fil A, Thomas Creek Grill, RJ Rockers Flight Room, and Green Leaf's. I have to say I am loving the diversity and options GSP Airport is landing for the retail/restaurant options. 

Edited by gman430
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Baskin Robbins and CNN Newsstand announced for GSP Airport. Previously announced are Flatwood Grill, Dunkin Donuts, Hudson News, Chick Fil A, Thomas Creek Grill, RJ Rockers Flight Room, and Green Leaf's. I have to say I am loving the diversity and options GSP Airport is landing for the retail/restaurant options. 

 

This is quite an impressive list for an airport of GSP's size.  Great job by airport leaders to secure these tenants.

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:) Very nice looking: http://www.wyff4.com/news/new-gsp-milestone-temporary-ticket-counters/27329568#!bxqGSw Be aware that the ticket counters are temporary. 

 

They are temporary but that's gonna be the look of the new ticket counters when they are completed.  Airlines have been told they will be housed at the temporary ticket counters for approx 18 months.

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I flew into and out of GSP last weekend and all I could say is wow. The airport finally looks like a real airport with the normal amenities that I've come to expect. Now if only JetBlue flew into GSP I'd be all set.

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GSP is one of the best-looking airports that I've ever been to: spotless and very attractive, and overall very easy to use.  The airport management has done a superb job.

 

I'd suggest that it also add things that are helpful for business travelers (and other frequent fliers):

 

1. First class/"preferred"/"elite" lanes at check-in.  I was surprised that US Airways/American/United had only general check-in lanes, particularly when those airlines have at least some first class passengers from GSP, and credit card holders who are supposed to get that benefit.

 

2. TSA Pre-Check security lane. I was also surprised that the TSA Pre-Check lane is gone.  Hopefully it wll come back.  I was able to leave my shoes and belt on, but who really cares, since I had to wait in a very long security line.

 

3. Dual-zone boarding lanes.  At least US Airways has dual-zone boarding lanes, indicated as such, in most airports.  (There are supposed to be 2 lines: one for frequent fliers, and one for general boarding.)  GSP didn't have those.

 

GSP, please add these things, and you'll make frequent fliers happy!

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A. Preliminary Personal Rapid Transit Feasibility Study.

Mr. Peter Muller from PRT Consulting presented the findings of the Preliminary Personal Rapid Transit Feasibility Study. Some of the problems that initiated the study were the lack of an Economy Lot Shuttle Service, the growing parking demand, and the fact that shuttle buses will not work well. Mr. Muller discussed that PRT is a small, driverless vehicle that operates on an exclusive guide way. The system is elevated and provides short wait times with non-stop travel. Mr. Burch asked how the system gets around traffic. Mr. Muller stated the system goes around the edge of the parking lot and is elevated so the automobiles would go underneath the system causing no issue. The stations are also elevated at the terminal so you would have stairs or an elevator. Chair Shaw asked if an off-site garage possibly was researched. Mr. Muller said no, but that it could be. Chair Shaw asked when researching the bus option if Proterra wasconsidered. Mr. Edwards stated that the Proterra platform does not work for the airport because of the size of the bus.

 

The 30-year life-cycle cost is $181 million. The PRT scenario breaks even at $6.40 daily rate. Mr. Muller stated that some supplemental revenue options include: advertising, passenger facility charges (which could generate $4 m/year), sponsorships, loans, grants, and future parking rate increases. The initial PRT implementation would consist of the following: .88 track miles with 5 stations, capital cost of $20.9 million, annual O&M cost $1.81 million, annual parking revenue $3.05 million, breaks even at $6.00 parking, 4% interest, advertising, grants, and PFC can be considered. Mr. Smith asked if the financial numbers are just for the economy lot. Mr. Muller stated yes, we are only picking up the economy lot revenue stream. Mr. Barnet asked what the life expectancy of the system is. Mr. Muller stated it is hard to say but probably about ten (10) to twelve (12) years. Mr. Smith asked if private investments were an option.

 

Mr. Edwards stated yes; however, a private investor would want to charge more but it is worth exploring. Part of the next step is to meet with local companies to see if we can get them on-board.

 

In summary, Mr. Muller stated that a shuttle is needed to maintain a high level of service. PRT is preferred to bus because of the following reasons: higher level of service, similar life-cycle cost, obviates need for parking structure, higher revenue potential, no disruption of surface traffic, no on-site emissions, economic development opportunities, and the initial implementation breaks even at a $6 daily rate. Mr. Smith asked if there are any carbon or green credits. Mr. Muller stated yes. Mr. Smith stated he considers the carbon credits to be significant and would like for this to be researched. Mr. Burch asked for the build time. Mr. Muller stated once permits are obtained the build time would be approximately two (2) years.

 

Chair Shaw stated she would like to see this wrapped up into GSP’s overall master plan. The Commission all agreed to proceed to the next level of planning and design for a PRT system to be implemented at GSP.

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What is the break even point for this....I see $6.00 and $6.40. And, is that in addition to parking or total for both?

Not sure GSP is large enough or busy enough to require a system like this but it makes more sense here than on Woodruff Road. Using this as a transit option is silly.

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People. Stay calm they no not what they do. Nah. Yeah they do. Can someone get a hold to one of the moderators cause this madness is getting out of control with this guy?

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Anyone have any thoughts on the renovation? I have not been through there over the past year or so, so haven't seen much of the new stuff. What are thoughts on the upgrade?

I noticed on the GSP website that, through May, passenger traffic is down this year by about 9000. Not a huge drop, but still not the growth we are hoping to see at the airport. Does anyone here have any insider info on how the airports ongoing attempts to recruit new service and destinations are going? After SW came, the passenger numbers went up by about %50 , but only up by %25 since over the pre-recession numbers,. That is a good increase, and pretty close to the increase that CHS has seen, but their raw numbers continue to leave ours in the dust, with CHS having over 3.1 million last year. They are also adding a bevy of new destinations and airlines, while we have been completely quiet since the arrival of SW. They are now served by Jet Blue, and also have direct flights to Seattle and Toronto. This is NOT meant to be a "vs" post nor am I forgetting the tourist destination that Charleston is, I am merely using them to compare with GSP since they are a peer city in our state. I am also well aware of the ATL/CLT issue with GSP so not trying to ignore that either. BUT, our airport still is in the middle of an area with 2-3 million people (roughly the TV market area)  and for decades, places like DIA, LAX, Vegas, and others have continuously been in GSPs top 20 destination list, but new routes continue to be elusive.

Also, I sent Jet Blue a "suggestion" (from their website) for GSP needing direct routes to places like Boston, Miami, LAX, DIA and I got the general "Thanks for your interest..."  automated reply. Just some thoughts...

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Do you think many people from Western NC use GSP? How does it compare to Asheville in terms of destinations/operators, etc?

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I'm not really sure. I have always been a little surprised at how much service Asheville actually has. Right now, they have Allegiant and they had Air Tran before it merged with SW. I think they have had a few cuts recently, but, they have more than you might think. Still, I think quite a few WNC people use GSP depending on where they are. The pictures on their website make the airport look quite attractive, and the stats show 625k passengers for 2013 - that would have been about a third of GSP. The biggest difference I see on their flight map compared to GSP is no flights to Washington, Ohio, or Texas. They have New York, Chicago, ATL, CLT, and Florida Allegiant destinations. Intuitively I would expect their airpoort to be much more similar to FLO, but it offers way more. The current airport manager at GSP, Dave Edwards, came from Asheville a few years ago, just before we got SW. I have also heard that some people from NEGA use GSP some for quickness, but of course their direct options are very limited. I wish Allegiant would expand thier routes. I know they used to go to Vegas but they stopped that b/c of flight range, not because of demand. They would be a good carrier to get some western routes from. I also remember that GSP tried a couple times to get Frontier to come here from DIA but they didn't bite. 

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I think part of the problem is that most people still think that GSP is far more expensive than CLT and ATL. Most people I've talked to don't even check GSP. The "Think GSP First" ad campaign goes a ways toward addressing this, but I feel needs to be more informative. 

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I agree that is part of the problem. Most people are just so used to using ATL/CLT that they forget GSP is even there. Plus, neither Allegiant nor SW fares show up on travel sites, so that leaves very few direct destinations that do. I think the airport is going to have to rebrand a little as far as advertisement; maybe some TV spots, sponsorships, community partnerships and events? I doubt most people in the upstate even know about the renovations. Still, in sports, they say nothing brings more positive press than winning. I think GSP is going to have to get some more direct routes before most people start to give it a look. Prices are very competitive for direct routes, but with so few, most people have to go elsewhere if they want non-stop. Of course ATL/CLT will always have way more, but a dozen or so more directs from GSP could really broaden the appeal and open up a lot more doors. 

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I'm flying out of GSP next month on a leisure trip to the west coast. I'm excited to check out the revocations. My flight is routed through ATL, but it's only $70 more. I think that is more than worth not paying gas and parking to/in Atlanta. And both driving or flying the Atlanta to Greenville stretch of my trip, I would still be getting in my front door about midnight. Id rather drive 20 minutes if I'm tired upon landing, rather than 3 hours to save 70 bucks.  

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