Category Archives: Air Service Development

Drive Good Airport Data

Drive Good Airport Data – Attract NEW Air Service

The Answer to Sustain or Increase Airport Air Service is Simple – Present Airport Data Well AND Drive Good Airport Data!

While it is extremely important to present to airlines, traffic and other passenger data in its most favorable light, This doesn’t replace the need to drive good airport data. The creation of strong passenger usage of your airport and therefore compelling passenger data, is often overlooked by airports. With the highly competitive environment for increasing air service, airports that don’t drive good airport data will have a harder time sustaining or growing air service.

“Don’t Put Lipstick on a Pig! Work Strategically and Consistently to Create Compelling Passenger Performance at Your Airport”

Pretty graphics and insightful analysis that is not backed up by a very compelling financial case that states the airports current air service is not meeting the demand at your airport, will likely not  compel an airline to take a risk on increasing capacity or adding a new market service to your airport. While not all airports are operating below their peak passenger performance capabilities, many are. Many Airports have passenger traffic that they are losing to other airports and don’t recognize they should drive good airport data. They can pull back some passenger traffic to their airport with an effective passenger engagement program. Airports should focus on showing airlines there is spillage (Unsatisfied local passenger demand) currently happening that will be corrected with an increase in air service.

“70% load factors are not going to rouse an airline analysts interests…when you show 85% or more load factor and strong ticket and ancillary revenue, then that airline will contact you to increase air service. You may not have to chase down an airline to get their attention on your airport.”

So you want to drive good airport data and improve passenger traffic performance. I just need to do a lot of advertising right? Maybe…

We’ve found the critical elements to improving your passenger traffic begin with increasing passenger awareness and connection with your airport. Advertising is just one tool in the tool box to create more passenger awareness. Are local passengers regularly engaged with your airport or have they given up and look to fly out of an alternate regional airport without even checking rates at your local airport? Does your community understand that your air service is or could be an economic asset that when properly supported can drive a diversification and an increase in your economic activity locally? If not you need to focus your effort to improve your passenger numbers and drive good airport data by addressing these issues first.

Air Service is Market Driven

Don’t expect an appeal to “Local Loyalty” alone to win back passengers. Unless you can give compelling value arguments for your airport versus alternative airports (or at least close the gap on value if you are way behind other airport options), an emotional appeal to loyalty will not work. Every potential air traveler, whether for personal or business travel, has economic conditions or limitations that will drive their air ticket purchases. Airports that understand these market driven economic considerations and make appeals that highlight the local airport’s value are the airports that will win back a good segment of these air travelers and will drive good airport data that can sustain or grow air service.

It’s About Sustainable Air Service

Airports should not just be focused on new service but should also be concerned and watchful of retaining present air service. With the airline industry rationalizing into fewer regional flights, increasing average aircraft size in small markets and looking to condense and limit flight frequencies in many other markets (Driven by a shortage of qualified pilots with the new FAA pilot rules), many airports are as likely to see air service reductions as they are to see airlines consider capacity or new flight increases.

Quality of Total Passenger Revenue Should Also be an Airport Focus

I’ve seen communities drive 90%+ load factors on some of their flights, but still lose air service or pay out on revenue guarantee programs. Ultimately all airlines are looking for good revenue production and profit. Focusing on revenue beyond just the ticket revenue is also very critical. If the profitable revenue target is a dollar or more and your ticket revenue brings in 90 cents and other fee’s like bag fee’s, priority boarding etc…bring in another 30 cents, airlines will value your community higher than a community that brings in just the dollar and 10 cents in ancillary revenue. Through community engagement with the value of bundled air tickets and services and pre-purchase of services, Airports can help the airlines see more total revenue while also delivering more value and savings to the customer. Airlines see more profit, passengers get the services they want at a better cost and the airport improves the sustainability and growth potential of its air service. A Win, Win, Win. To effectively drive good airport data, airports must also focus on total revenue…not just passenger numbers.

Community Flights is an air service support, development and management company that facilitates small community airports sustaining air service as well as better positioning themselves for air service growth opportunities. A coordinated strategic “Community Effort” has a proven track record to lead to the best opportunities for community air service success. For more information email [email protected] or go to our website at www.communityflights.com

Community Air Service Programs - Leveraging Tourism

Community Air Service Programs

Leveraging Local Tourism Industry for Community Air Service Programs Success

In many communities, the local tourism industry, if incorporated as an integral partner of the community air service programs, can help drive the growth of scheduled air service.

There are many reasons why tourism is a driver of air service success including:

> Limits to local population – There are limits to air traffic that could be captured
solely from your local residents. Your regional population its the limit.

> More opportunity to increase visitation – while the number of lodging rooms can put some limits on your visitor passenger capture, most communities tend to have occupancy opportunities. You can typically capture more air tourism visitors than you are.

Coordinated actions with Tourism Air Service Partners that help drive increased passenger enplanements and drive more air service include:

  • Air Fare Tracking and Potential Guest Notification – Noting air deals via an email newsletter or other communication can help capture more price-point sensitive guests.
  • Communicate value of bundled or pre-purchase air ticket features – Educate
    potential guests before their air ticket buy. Tell them about various airline feature options and how to best save on these features (seat selection, bags, priority boarding
    …). This will help improve overall airline revenues and the airline view of your market.
  • Coordinate Air & Land Special Deals – When identifying slower booking periods ahead
    of air travel departure dates, request air sales. Also coordinate air sales with marketing lodging and activity deals. The combined value and promotion can help fill-in these flight periods. It will also help maximize passenger and revenue capture and improve flight financial performance.
  • Coordinate Air Markets Pursued – Often choosing a strong tourism market as your next
    new air service market can lead to a successful new air service. Also, involving tourism with new air market choice can increase tourism marketing and funding support.
    And More…

Coordinated support of your air service within your community air service programs with agencies like your local tourism association and lodging and attraction businesses will
put more resources and focus on air service and help lead to air service success.

Community Flights is an air service development, management and support company specializing in helping tourism heavy air traffic communities to reach their air service goals. We help drive positive economic benefits through air service support and development. We focus on developing Community Air Service Programs. Contact [email protected] for more information. www.communityflights.com

Small Community Airline Service Challenges

Small Community Airline Service Challenges

Do You Have Airline Service, an Airline Service Effort or an Airline Service Program?

Your answer often indicates whether you are sustaining or growing your airline service!

Definitions
Airline Service:
You have commercial airline service at your airport.

Airline Service Effort:
You do leakage and other data studies, you pursue air service with the airlines and you market commercial airline service at your airport.

Airline Service Program:
You execute an airline service effort AND focus and regularly involve multi-community agencies and businesses on developing an air service strategic plan as well as consistent on-going flight support.

Likely Outcomes
Airline Service:
Unsupported air service is highly challenged to sustain or to grow due to competition with other airports who want air service growth and may put in a strong development and support effort.

Airline Service Effort:
While an air service effort will likely help you outperform airports that have unsupported air service this still is not a maximum community effort that is often required to lead your airport to sustained or growing air service.

Airline Service Program:
Provides airports with the best chance to sustain or grow air service markets or seat capacity at your airport.

If you have anything less than an air service program you should pursue developing one. Community awareness and active engagement in your air service is a potential competitive advantage in regards to sustaining or growing air service. This will often increase resources dedicated to air service success whether funding or other in-kind support.

In today’s highly competitive airline industry environment, just having airline service or putting in less than a maximum airline service support and development effort, will not only challenge any goals of growing air service but also your goals of maintaining air service.

When your air service is such a critical part of your community economic infrastructure, investing in an air program will typically bring a strong return on this investment.

Community Flights has extensive experience and a strong track record in developing air service programs that sustain and grow small community airport air service. Contact us to help you with developing stronger air service stakeholder driven community air service program.

Scott Stewart is the Chief Community Air Service Facilitator of Community Flights; an air service support, development and management company. Community Flights works with communities, organizations or businesses on leveraging the great economic asset that air service is for economic gain. Scott formed Community Flights in January 2013 to mobilize community support efforts and help clients, bridge the “air service understanding gap” with the airlines. This creates an airline and community win-win air service support and performance environment. You can find more info about Community Flights at www.communityflights.com. You can contact Scott Stewart directly at [email protected]

Caribbean Air Lift Capacity

Air Lift Capacity & Load Factor Benchmarks in the Caribbean

Air Lift Capacity & Load Factor Benchmarks in the Caribbean
How does your Island Rate?

If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it…Air Lift Capacity and Air Lift Load Factors are important tourism metrics to driving successful tourism results.

Many Caribbean nations are challenged with air lift capacity to their islands and have been for many years. Air Lift capacity never seems to meet the islands need for air seats and visitor access. While many islands have seen recent improvements, a need for more air lift capacity still exists on many Islands. There is a value in knowing your relative performance on key air and tourism metrics as it regards strategic planning and actions you take to maximize your air lift and tourism economies.

Caribbean Air Lift Capacity Metrics

Data above pulled from various sources including One Caribbean and Aviation DataMiner.

We recommend you check your Island’s air lift capacity and flight occupancy against the above chart to gauge your relative performance in the Caribbean. For example if you produced over 80% flight occupancy in 2014 you are performing better than average, under 79% flight occupancy and you are performing under the standard level and may want to elevate your efforts to support your current air lift.

Why Flight Occupancy is an Important Air Lift Metric
When looking at the flight performance of 44 Caribbean airport flights there is a trend where Islands that are producing 80% or above load factors have more instances of sustaining or growing air service capacity in later years. Islands producing below 70% load factor are more likely to see air capacity decreases. While these are not absolute trends there is a lot of evidence of supporting high load factors driving more air capacity and lower load factors showing capacity decreases.

Air Lift Access – A Key Metric for Tourism Growth
I don’t have to tell Caribbean tourism professionals about the importance of air access to tourism industry growth. Islands that are seeing air service growth are typically also seeing a growth in their tourism guest receipts and economy.

Are you Prioritizing Maximizing your Air Lift Load Factors?
If you are not putting a priority in maximizing your air lift load factors you should be. This is the path to air lift increases and better tourism development and tourism revenues.

Maximizing air lift load factors is not just about producing an effective marketing strategy. Maximizing air lift load factors also involves truly understanding the airline industry and tourism sales funnel/guest purchasing behaviors and presenting air lift opportunities in a way that helps potential guests commit to a trip.

About 50% of Travelers Haven’t Committed to a Specific Destination when they begin their Travel Search!
Many travelers are shopping between a few travel options. Cost and value are often key factors in their decision-making process. You can help travelers choose your destination by presenting the value and cost of a trip including the air ticket cost when there is a material improvement in this cost. This air ticket cost is not always firm, often varying in price through the period many potential guests are searching. Often noticing travel prospects on travel and air deals to your destination can trigger a guest commitment and sales conversion driving incremental travel to your destination.

Air Lift Value is often a key Travel Decision Driver – To Many Trips begin with the Flight
Going beyond lowest price in your air access communications is also important. A good many people want more flight comfort and convenience and will pay a reasonable premium for this experience. It’s also important to note any changes in first class or other premium cabin air ticket costs as well as highlighting the value benefits to out compete other potential trip destinations for these more premium travelers business.

Specific Air Lift Professional Guidance Can Help Maximize Airline Service Performance
To be most effective with your prioritizing of air lift performance, we recommend a focused effort guided by air lift professionals with a track record of improving flight load factors. Every 1% load factor increase can mean many more spending tourists on your island and many more tourist dollars flowing through your local economies. Every 1% load factor growth can also help efforts to increase your air lift capacity. These benefits are worth investing in professional guidance that can help drive these economic revenue enhancing results.

Caribbean Tourism Performance Ranking

Revenue Enhancement is Critical to Air Lift Growth
While load factor is often a key driver to air lift capacity growth, higher load factor is really important because more passengers tends to mean more revenue and airline profitability. Because tourism profitability is also dependent on revenue enhancement we’ve also posted some key metrics above to help you measure within your competitive set your performance on other key Caribbean Tourism metrics.

Community Flights is an air service support, development and management company. We specialize on assisting leisure destination communities improve their generation of tourism activity through their air service and in air service driven revenue enhancement in these communities. Our track record includes helping multiple tourism driven community’s greatly increase their load factor (Over 10%) above previous levels and then increasing their air lift capacity.

For more information on Community Flights services contact Scott Stewart at 970-759-3559
or email him at [email protected]

Potential Passengers

Potential Passengers: Competition Among Regional Airports

Potential Passengers: Competition Among Regional Airports
Knowing Your Target Customer Is Critical

To many airports and communities, it’s clear that they are not the only choice for potential passengers traveling to or from their geographic proximity. Most airports are close to alternate airports and have competition for passengers. To effectively compete for potential passengers in the air travel industry, knowing your target customer is critical. You also must know about passenger airport decision factors.

Every Airport Has At Least One Competitive Advantage Over Alternate Airport Options
The amount of air service offered, lower airfares, and other features offered at alternative airports may seem daunting to compete against at your local airport, but you will always have the advantage of closest proximity to many potential passengers, This competitive advantage can help you capture certain passenger types. Of the factors affecting flying travelers when making their airport choice, you will see more than one feature and benefit that you can use to convince potential passengers to select flights to/from your community airport. Airports that maximize their passenger enplanements, promote all of their best sales features and communicate these effectively in their community and to inbound destination travelers.

Tailor Your Messaging To The Right Potential Passenger Segment
Once you’ve determined your airport’s competitive strengths, the most effective way to maximize your passenger capture is to find the right passenger segment(s) to target. In general, you shouldn’t communicate location convenience and low airport hassle factor airport features to a leisure traveler who only flies when stimulated by super-low fares. You also shouldn’t focus on promoting low fares to business travelers to whom flight time choices, low total travel time, flight convenience, and service reliability is more important. For the business traveler, you might want to advertise in the local chamber/economic development newsletter or the local business newspaper with your messaging mentioning the reliability, time and convenience factors most critical to them. Potential passengers not necessarily planning a leisure trip, can be stimulated to take a trip due to super-low fares. You might look at communicating low-fare opportunities through the local newspaper or direct email announcements through the local tourism agency and social clubs to low fare driven passengers.

Not All Passenger Types Value Air Service/Airport Decision Factors The Same
While business or leisure passenger segments can often share priorities within their passenger type as it concerns how they weigh airport choice factors, there are many subsets to the segments with different valuation concerns as it regards their air travel. While business travelers are less resistant to high airfares, some business travelers may decide to meet customers via conference call or Go to Meeting instead of flying, based on the high cost of airfares. While many leisure travelers make travel choices based on low fares; where convenience and travel time weigh less in their travel choices, some leisure travelers are willing to pay a higher fare for more convenience and shorter total travel time based on the nature of their leisure trip.

Situations Also Drive Potential Passengers Air Service/Airport Decisions
It is important to note that the specific travel reasons involved in a potential travel decision is more important to the airport/air service choice than the passenger segment type making the choice. A business trip to close a big business deal, may place more weight on travel time and convenience over cost, than a trip to an industry conference for business travelers where cost might be a bigger factor in their decision. A flight to a family wedding may raise the price these leisure travelers are willing to pay for their air ticket while a flight for a vacation may need a lower air cost, or total air and lodging cost to trigger a passenger buying decision.

Does Your Airport Know What the Potential Passenger Mix is? The Best Sales Features of your Airports Current Air Service? Which Passenger Type(s) Should Be Targeted?

Potential Passengers

Potential Passengers

Note: The above generalizes air customer type trends. Individual passengers within an air customer type can vary on the weight they place on various air service/airport decision factors.

If your airport doesn’t know who is currently using the airport, nor who could be using the airport based on competitive features, your airport is likely not maximizing passenger capture. The road to maximizing potential passengers capture (to/from your region) is in identifying the airport’s strengths and then effectively targeting and communicating with the passenger target segments these features will benefit most.

If your airport doesn’t have strengths for a passenger type you are looking to acquire, you need to build-up these strengths before you can successfully attract this passenger segment.

Regular Comparative Regional Airport Competitive Analysis
You need to analyze not only your local airport but also the relative strength of your local airport against the alternative airports in the region. While the major hub airport 200 miles away with many non-stop flights to different destinations may seem a tough egg to crack in competing for potential passengers, your airport always has some competitive advantages (proximity, easier access into the national transportation system, etc.). The key to maximizing your passenger usage of your airport is in effectively identifying your strengths and playing up those strengths to the right passenger segments.

Has your airport identified its strengths and weaknesses in relation to air passenger segment targets in your regional airport competition lately?

Community Flights works with communities, organizations or businesses on leveraging the great economic asset that air service is for economic gain. Community Flights specializes in helping tourism dominant air service communities maximize the return on their air service investment. Scott Stewart formed Community Flights in January 2013 to help mobilize community support efforts and guide communities and clients in bridging the “air service understanding gap” with the airlines to create an airline and community win-win air service support and performance environment. You can find more info about Community Flights at www.communityflights.com . Contact Scott Stewart directly at 970-759-3559 or [email protected]

Community Air Service – What Does it Take to Succeed?

Not All Community Air Service Revenue Guarantee Program Efforts are Successful:

In an earlier post, we talked about Community Air Service success and the airport air services in Vail and Orlando. In the case of Vail, the uneven annual demand was a challenge.  The community then implemented revenue guarantee incentives to entice winter seasonal air service. Not all communities that use these incentives, however, succeed in either acquiring air service or in effectively supporting their acquired air service.

How can a Destination Marketing Organization help manage a successful air program?

1. Community Air Service Should Understand the Airlines Point of View

Understand the Airlines Point of View

             Understand the Airlines Point of View

     a. Airlines are Driven by Profit. While a DMO wants to increase visitor arrivals and
revenue an airline’s top priority is high-yield passengers on their planes. These two
goals can often conflict so DMO’s need to strategically target passenger segments that
are also the targets of the airlines. The areas where community interests intersect with
those of the airline should be emphasized in discussions with the airlines.

     b. Airline Marketing Contributions. Airlines do not usually advertise and market on a
destination basis; oftentimes, their only contribution to filling the flights is in-kind air
tickets for promotion which, unfortunately, are sometimes unavailable. DMO’s and the
community must lead efforts to fill the flights.

     c. Limited Airline Staff. Airlines typically are lightly staffed and thus often unable to carry
out intricate activities or events to support your flights. DMO’s and the community
need to carry the majority of the flight support burden and/or make participation turn-
key for airlines if they are to meet partnership success.

     d. Airlines Interact with Hundreds of Communities. The community’s message or
requests to the airlines should be clear, simple and well-coordinated. Formalize the
community air service development effort so that you have a joint-approach with the
airport, economic development organizations, local government and other air service
stakeholders. This will yield effective and efficient results.

2. Community Air Service Should Educate and Align the Community

2. Educate and Align the Community to Drive to Full Air Service Support Engagement

Educate and Align the Community to Drive to Full Air Service Support Engagement

     a. Regularly assess if you’ve aligned Air Service Performance with Community Goals. In
trying to develop air service, adhere to the principle: “if you don’t measure it, you can’t
manage it.” Determine periods of softer air service and allocate and/or reallocate resources
and marketing focus accordingly. This will help you to better support your community
flights and help you keep or grow air service.

     b. Create Realistic Air Service Expectations. Make sure that you have realistic and
reasonable air service expectations and that the members of your community
understand these expectations.  In this way, the community’s actions can focus on
effective support activity.

     c. Instill an All Hands On Deck Support Approach. When multiple community air
service stakeholders understand that they also have a role in supporting air service,
they can use various synergies to turn a lackluster program into a successful
community air service program.

3. Community Air Service Should Develop Air Service Benchmarks

Develop Air Service Benchmarks to Better Assess and Manage the Performance of Your Community Air Program

Develop Air Service Benchmarks to Better Assess and Manage the Performance of Your Community Air Program

      a. Set measurable benchmarks that are meaningful to the airlines. Increasing flight
load factor to a level that does not also increase airline profits will have little impact on
sustaining or growing your air service. This kind of growth is unsustainable and can
damage your air program efforts and/or drive a larger community air service
investment to meet growth objectives.

     b. Set measurable benchmarks that take into account your community funding
support. Strive to set performance goals that you can sustain financially. When you
have effective return on investment and cost per passenger type goals set, air program
growth will be sustainable.

     c. Set measurable benchmarks that meet long-term community air service goals.
Adopt a “feed it or shoot it” mentality with your air program. If a flight does not meet
or exceed performance goals either cut that air service market or increase your
investment and support of that market to exceed your goals.

4. Community Air Service Should Set-up a Community Air Service Investment Base

Set-up a Community Air Service Investment Base     that can Drive Long-Term Funding Sustainability

Set-up a Community Air Service Investment Base that can Drive Long-Term Funding Sustainability

     a. Involve as complete a group of air service stakeholders in funding as possible.
This will not only help you meet the necessary financing to achieve air service
development goals, but it will also spread the financial burden so that each
organization will be able to keep up with their level of financial contribution.
Remember, the sum is always greater than its parts. Funders also show more
ownership of air service results.

     b. Set funding levels that will help meet long-term goals. If part of your funding will
come from a local sales tax, lodging tax or similar mechanisms, be careful about
setting the tax rates and predicted revenues from these taxes.

     c. Create funding mechanisms that are directly connected to the benefits of the
service program. If tourism is the main driver of air service use, tie the tourism tax
level to the funds needed to expand service, and the estimated increase in tax
collection to the budgeted support of those flights to get to a sustainable situation.

If you want your community to meet a strong long-term air service growth like Orlando or Vail, two very successful leisure air service dominant communities, follow these guidelines in managing your community air program.  It does take a community effort to fully tap into your current air service demand and/or build up this air service demand to realize your aspirations for your community airport.

Scott Stewart is the principle of Community Flights; an air service support, development and management company. Community Flights works with communities, organizations or businesses on leveraging the great economic asset that air service is for economic gain. Community Flights specializes in helping tourism dominant air service communities maximize the return on their air service investment. Scott formed Community Flights in January 2013 to help mobilize community support efforts and guide communities and clients in bridging the “air service understanding gap” with the airlines to create an airline and community win-win air service support and performance environment. You can find more info about Community Flights at www.communityflights.com . Contact Scott Stewart directly at [email protected]

 

Strategic Air Service Support and Community Tourism Organizations

Strategic Air Service Support and Community Tourism Organizations
The Role of Destination Marketing Organizations in Community Air Service Development

Most Destination Marketing Organizations (DMO’s) understand the critical role of airline service in expanding access to specific destinations which, in turn, increases the number of visitors and their overnight spending. They understand strategic air service support is important. DMO’s also seem to understand that they need to play a role in supporting community air service and being a part of community air service decisions. The 2014 DMAI’s Destination Next Study 2014 argues that this involvement is a cornerstone activity for DMO’s.

Strategic Air Service Support:
Broad Community Organization Support Helps Drive Community Air Service Growth

Broad Community Organization Support Helps Drive Community Air Service Growth

Broad Community Organization Support Helps Drive Community Air Service Growth

Supporting and growing a community’s air service is not just the job of the airport or the airlines. DMO’s, economic development organizations, government and individual community businesses also need to align their goals with, and take part in, the community air service development effort. Their strategic air service support is essential. It is this sense of community that will help and sustain successful air service development.

DMO’s and economic development groups should actively and effectively engage with local air services. This is accomplished through strong strategic planning and by leveraging the overlapping market goals of DMO’s and economic development groups.

Strategic Air Service Support:
The Destination Marketing Organization Role

The Role of a DMO: Includes  facilitating air service access to their region.

The Role of a DMO: Includes facilitating air service access to their region.

When the DMO and key tourism entities give strategic air service support and are actively engaged in air service support, they can help positively influence the growth and success of the community’s air service. One example is Orlando, Florida. The business in Orlando International Airport has grown exponentially from just 1.3 million passengers in 1971 to over 35 million passengers in 2013. While Disney World does account for a large part of this expansive growth, this is exactly the point. Tourism helped drive the strong and sustained growth of air service to and from Orlando which was to the benefit of other businesses and industries and the Orlando community at large.

“While Tourism Helped drive Orlando Air Service Growth – 27% of passenger air trips in 2013 originated in Orlando which suggests that close to 9.5 Million trips were by Orlando Locals.”

The impact of tourism on air service growth can also be seen in smaller markets that have developed through strategic air service support. The Vail Eagle airport served only about 540 commercial passengers in 1989; by 2013, they served around 335,000 commercial passengers. Vail is a world-class skiing destination and ski resort, but it is the cooperation between the local visitors’ bureau and community members that helped the Vail/Eagle County airport to grow and develop.

In 2013, a study commissioned by the Colorado Department of Transportation Aeronautics Division found that air services contribute a total of $636 million to the local economy. Moreover, the Vail/Eagle County Regional Airport created 6,294 jobs, which paid $218 million in local wages.

Strategic Air Service Support:
Airline Service Acquisition + Effective Airline Service Support = Airline Service Growth

Strategic Air Service Support: Airline Service Acquisition + Effective Airline Service Support = Airline Service Growth & Dynamic Communities!

Airline Service Acquisition + Effective Airline Service Support = Airline Service Growth & Dynamic Communities!

How did Vail get to develop this strong air service that has helped drive the economy, employment and the quality of life of Vail Valley? Vail was one of the first communities to recognize the benefit of investing in, and managing, airline revenue guarantee programs. Vail saw that these programs would help them capture air service and provide air access to the community that they would otherwise not attract. In the process, they successfully grew their local ski resort businesses and diversified their local economy through strategic air service support while improving their air access to the national transportation system which benefits all their residents.

Scott Stewart is the principle of Community Flights; an air service support, development and management company. Community Flights works with communities, organizations or businesses on leveraging the great economic asset that air service is for economic gain. Community Flights specializes in helping tourism dominant air service communities better manage their air service programs maximize the return on their air service investment. Scott formed Community Flights in January 2013 to help mobilize community support efforts and guide communities and clients in bridging the “air service understanding gap” with the airlines to create an airline and community win-win air service support and performance environment. You can find more info about Community Flights at www.communityflights.com. Contact Scott Stewart directly at [email protected]

Follow-up Article:     What Does it take for Community Air Service Success!…

Air Passenger Capture Should be Community Air Service Priority

Air Passenger Capture

Air Passenger Capture

Air Passenger Capture Should Be Community Air Service Priority
…And The First Community Action Taken to Gain More Air Service

Success in capturing new air service or sustaining current air seat capacities, drives the successful air passenger capture of inbound flyers and the recapture of  your local flyers who are using alternative regional airports. Pursuing air service when you are under-performing with current service is a recipe for failure and community frustration.

Unfortunately the “Fun” part of community air service development is the pursuit of new air service from the airlines, not maximizing air passenger capture. If you think like the airline, however, why would you add air service to a community that is not maximizing its air passenger capture, flight revenues and profits?

On the other hand, when you maximize air passenger capture, if this takes the service to a level of strong profitability, the airlines will sometimes add service on their own initiative. In other cases, when you point out your air service performance improvements (With the help of air service professionals!) the airline will be more likely to add service capacity or new markets than with just average or worse air service performance.

Conscious and effective action to maximize air passenger capture can gain more flight markets and capacity and increase the access the global world can have to your community bringing many economic and quality of life benefits to your region.

Community Flights has developed over 35 best practices and guiding principles for communities looking to improve their air service. The above is just a small sample of a complete guidebook of best practice.

If you’d like to receive the complete guidebook for FREE: Community Flights Air Service Development Best Practices and Guiding Principles, email: [email protected] and ask that we send the full guide.

Scott Stewart is the principle of Community Flights; an air service support, development and management company. Community Flights works with communities, organizations or businesses on leveraging the great economic asset that air service is for economic gain. Scott formed Community Flights in January 2013 to help mobilize community support efforts and guide clients in bridging the “air service understanding gap” with the airlines to create an airline and community win-win air service support and performance environment. You can find more info about Community Flights at www.communityflights.com. Contact Scott Stewart directly at [email protected]

Airline Incentives

Airline Incentives – Take Care when Setting Them Up

Airline Incentives – Take Care when Setting them-up

Airports should consider A view of the big picture when setting airline incentives or other risk abatement programs. Select incentive qualifying criteria, that is consistent and with an eye on the long-term. Most importantly you also need to keep in mind incumbent air service. Airlines are highly sensitive to community support given to other airlines. Incentives and support should be airline sensitive, strategic and consistent. If incentives are inconsistent or unfair, airlines can feel slighted and decide to stop serving your market.

Delta noted airline incentives given to American Airlines in Columbia, Missouri that they didn’t receive as a reason for pulling out of Columbia a few years back. When you set your airline incentives at a sustainable level in the longer term and consistent and available to all new airline service you can avoid this loss of service.

Community Flights has developed over 35 best practices and guiding principles for communities looking to improve their air service. The above is just a small sample of a complete guidebook of best practice.

If you’d like to receive the complete guidebook for FREE: Community Flights Air Service Development Best Practices and Guiding Principles, email: [email protected] and ask that we send the full guide.

Scott Stewart is the principle of Community Flights; an air service support, development and management company. Community Flights works with communities, organizations or businesses on leveraging the great economic asset that air service is for economic gain. Scott formed Community Flights in January 2013 to help mobilize community support efforts and guide clients in bridging the “air service understanding gap” with the airlines to create an airline and community win-win air service support and performance environment. You can find more info about Community Flights at www.communityflights.com. Contact Scott Stewart directly at [email protected]

Community Air Service Performance

Community Air Service Performance – Who is Responsible?

Community Air Service Performance – Who is Responsible?
Hint: It’s Not the Airlines!

Community air service performance is critical for both communities and airlines. Communities want to keep up flight service, while airlines want increased profits from your community’s flight routes. Because airlines want to maximize profits, one would assume that airlines should bear most of the responsibility for improving your community air service performance, right?

Follow the Money – Airlines Are System-Focused
Airlines focus on maximizing system profit for their entire business and not on profits from specific markets. Most airlines do not advertise their air services to each community; rather they advertise at the national level to promote their overall quality and system offerings.

Airline System Profitability is More than the Sum of its Parts
Doesn’t every profitable air service market, add to overall airline system profitability? It depends. When an airline can show a solid profit on a specific route and provide passenger feed traffic revenue that helps all of its routes, that route service is very valuable to system profitability. Community air service performance that provides low feed traffic, however, is less valuable for airlines because it contributes little to all other system routes.

The Community Air Service Challenge
The current challenge for many communities is the availability of alternative airline routes that could offer major airlines both a profitable market route and more system profit. This could lure airlines to drop service to your community and move elsewhere.

Airlines are also attracted by incentives or airline risk abatements offered by other communities competing for airline service. Risk abatements also increase the profits of major airlines.
These two factors; alternative airline route options and many communities offering risk abatements, will prevent airlines from fully investing in marketing your community flights and improving your community air service performance.

My Community is an EAS Community.
Will this improve our chances of an airline putting more focus on our flights success?

Small subsidized EAS communities, often see more airline-initiated community advertising, support and development initiatives. Despite this enhanced airline support, community air service performance may still fall short of EAS subsidy qualification standards. If one airline serves many communities, then the overall quality of air support can suffer.

Your community cannot just rely on these airlines to meet the qualifications for EAS subsidy. Losing air service flights could mean the permanent loss of access to the air transportation system for your community. Airlines, however, can move the plane serving your community and will only lose a small fraction of their market when flights to your community are cancelled.

In short, airlines stay in business but your community will lose your airline service. Your community has the best chance for meeting EAS subsidy qualifications and retaining your subsidies and air service, if your community takes responsibility for community air service performance.

Recent actions like the EAS enforcement policy Docket OST-2014-0061 which came out on October 24, 2014, reaffirm the critical need to strengthen community air service performance. This new policy defines the future enforcement of the $200 maximum per passenger subsidy. Communities do not have much time to follow departmental standards. If a community still does not comply with standards by September 2016, it could lose its EAS subsidy status and most likely its air service.

The answer is clear. Each community needs to take on the responsibility for community air service performance. Communities need to invest in effective community air service support and development actions. The stakes are high for your communities.
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Community Flights is an air service support and development company that focus’ on community air service performance. www.communityflights.com provides more information about Community Flights approach, clients and experience. To find out more about Community Flights EAS Support and Development Programs Click Here for a short presentation