One Air Service Acquisition Requirement
Your Target Aircraft Type Can Operationally Fly In to Your Airport!
One Air Service Acquisition Requirement is that your target plane type can operationally fly into your airport. That’s right…many an “Air Service Development Plan” falters because the airport to which a community is trying to attract commercial airline service to…has operational characteristics that prevent service by the plane and airline market they are looking to attract. The operational ability of aircraft to fly to your airport is the one air service need that is required.
Airline guarantees, subsidies, marketing or other incentives are inconsequential to your airline service development efforts if the One Air Service Acquisition Requirement is not present. That’s right…many an “Air Service Development Plan” falters when your airport cannot operational accept the airline/aircraft your community is targeting!
When you don’t meet the One Air Service Acquisition Requirement of Airline Operational Conditions, while often difficult to understand, it can make the answer easy to a communities pursuit for airline service when the answer is no. An airlines first priority is to offer SAFE transportation from point A to point B. If the airport has a short runway for its elevation or obstacles that force extreme take-off or landing situations that an aircraft cannot handle then an airline can’t viably serve you. If the airline can make it in and out of an airport but has to restrict airline seats it can sell, then this too can prevent an airline from coming to your community.
Airlines are commercial enterprises and as such need to earn a profit to stay in business. When you don’t meet the one air service acquisition requirement you will either get no air service or this will drive a restriction on how many seats an airline can sell and it can make the service economically untenable if the level of restriction impedes the ability to make a profit.
Aspen Colorado, (http://www.aspenairport.com/
) recognized the one air service acquisition requirement in its effort to get a runway extension recently. Aspen noted that the runway extension was not so much about getting new plane types and markets but in being able to fill in more seats on present plane and markets that were flying into the airport. At over 8000 feet elevation and with a 7000 foot runway in the summer particularly and from longer distances (Over 1000 Miles) the CRJ700 aircraft flying into Aspen takes seat restrictions on their flights (Particularly in the heat of summer) that jeopardize the capabilities of some of their flights to fly profitably. Atlanta in particular, a service they have had, is in jeopardy of not continuing due to the seat restrictions the airport is experiencing. Even if the Aspen community were to consider revenue guarantees to continue this Atlanta service (And they are not…Aspen doesn’t guarantee any service)…the seat restriction issue due to its operational challenges makes Aspen a difficult airport for the service to continue to.
Charlottesville Virginia (http://www.gocho.com/
) is another community that is losing service due to airport operational restrictions (Also short runway length for the elevation level of the airport) and not meeting the one air service acquisition requirement. A direct flight to Detroit recently got cancelled due to a short runway. Often a 50 seat regional jet could only fill 35 seats when it was hot. Even at 640 feet elevation instead of 8000 feet like Aspen, Charlottesville experiences situations where the airport needs either more runway length or needs its plane to have less weight on takeoff. The airport is presently looking at an 800 foot runway extension to take care of this issue so it can try to regain service to Detroit.
So…the first question that a community and airport should ask as it regards your airport and gaining airline service is: “What aircraft can operationally fly into our airport and from the markets that you want air service from?!” Communities and airports should address the issue of the one air service acquisition requirement upfront.Additionally the community air service development effort should consider…does the airlines we’re considering approaching about airline service have these aircraft in the markets within a range where they can safely and economically sustainably serve your community?
If the answer is no…then you need to consider other market service options or look at the airport infrastructure (Runway Length, Elevation, Obstacles etc…) and improve the conditions of the airport to expand the plane types and mileage ranges of these aircraft that can service your community. You need to meet the one air service acquisition requirement.
I know from personal experience that some airline service cannot be obtained due to operation restrictions. In Telluride, Colorado we have the highest commercial airport in the United States at over 9000 feet elevation. Unfortunately, we can’t lower the mountain. We can look at runway length and approaches which we are doing. Additionally we’re clarifying the plane and mileage ranges these plane can fly in from so that we don’t waste our time pursuing aircraft that cannot sustainably fly into Telluride.
Recommendation: Save yourself some trouble…check to insure you can meet the One Air Service Acquisition Requirement…1) know what is possible aircraft and market/distance from airport-wise and 2) Focus on airlines that could offer service from those markets as targets for your air service acquisition efforts.