Aviation Media Loses A Leader

Susan Cary is retiring from the Wall Street Journal.

Susan has been one of the leaders in covering the airline and aviation business for three decades. Her insight and expertise has been at the top of the industry, and her reporting has given us all new perspectives to often very complex issues.

All of us at BGI wish Susan the best in the future.

More BTS Data Nonsense…

Take a look at the nonsense and hand wringing coming from various media sources regarding the 3Q BTS “fare” report.

As usual, there are the righteous outrage reports in local newspapers that “Our fares are higher than the national average!”

Here’s a clue… there is no way to compare the “national average” with a single airport… all airports have different geography and economic base and consumer distribution. There is no national “average” fare. In addition, the BTS numbers aren’t fares charged per se, but are average ticket spend… which means that it will vary by location of the airport.

It is unfortunate that these BTS reports are not fully explained before they get in to hands of local reporters.

“Itinerary spend” – varies from airport to airport. Midland, Texas has an average itinerary of under 900 miles. Newark is over 1,500. Denver’s around 1,200. The travel mixes are not comparable. There is no “average” metric.

Get the message?  Fares at various airports are based on a range of factors that totally preclude this nonsense of “average fares.”

By the way, the GAO has recommended that this BTS system be completely overhauled.

But that was twenty one years ago. In the meantime, it’s incumbent for the media to get to understand these data – and to realize that they are from the Feds, not Mount Sinai.

Another “Regional Commuter” Goes 86

Seaborne Airlines of the Caribbean has filed “chapter” and is in line to be blended into Silver Airways.

To be sure, the spate of hurricanes and the devastation to an already-depressed Puerto Rican economy likely had much to do with the filing.

But, it is in line with the collapse of other “independent” carriers such as GLO and Pen Air. The reality is that this mode of transportation simply does not have the economics to survive in many formerly-viable applications.

Particularly tough are intra-island markets, where costs are high, segments are short, and there’s lots of salt in the air.

A Couple of Losses For Aviation In 2017

We’re sad to note that in the last part of 2017 the passing of two of our good friends in aviation.

Fred Johnson, who worked with us in maintenance projects, passed away. Fred was a good friend and ski-buddy as well as one of the most experienced in his field, from DC-3s to the Concorde. We will miss him.

Also, folks from Braniff and Southwest lost Leroy Carroll in December. Leroy was a tower in operations at both carriers, and a close confident of Herb Kelleher. He, too, leaves wonderful memories for all who were lucky enough to work for and with him.

Gee, Notice All The Outrage Over TSA Screening Test Failures

Following up from the November 27 Update, take a media scan.

After reports of an 80% testing failure rate was reported, the comments are in from the industry honchos

Not one word about poor screening, but they’re thrilled that there were no major security back-ups over the Thanksgiving holiday.

That’s leadership, Washington-style.

DOT Revokes Eastern Airlines Certificate

Message to airline geeks: there are no consumers pining away for the return of past “iconic” airlines.

Latest example: Eastern, with its assets now subsumed into another carrier, is a name officially once again gone. The DOT has cancelled its operating authority.

Lamentations at employee reunions notwithstanding, the logos and past market identity of dead airlines don’t confer any market advantage to a start-up airline.

Sometimes just the opposite.

Alaska Latest To Drop Cuba

As outlined in the 11/13 Update, the airline pull-downs from Cuba are not over.

Alaska is dropping LAX-HAV.

Furthermore, while AS hasn’t focused on it, the media – such as the LA Times – has claimed that it’s simply due to the new Trump policies, supposedly choking off all the strong traffic that was otherwise eager to get to a place with shortages of basic necessities, where people cannot talk freely or vote, and where tourist infrastructure is somewhere south of the Third World.

They made no mention of the other four airlines that pulled out long before the supposed new policies were in place. But that’s pretty much par for a lot of the journalistic course.

TSA Continues To Leave Us Vulnerable

According to leaks from the TSA, they’ve once again set records for massive security incompetence, with a report that tests to find weapons have come up croppers as much as 80% of the time.

We saw this two years ago, with 96% failure, and absolutely zero concern from the incompetent political hacks running this threat to security.

A year later, when the #2 at Homeland Security was asked if this had been corrected, the slug of protoplasm responded that he “didn’t know” – but he was sure it had gotten better.

Apparently not.

Keep in mind that the people in the blue shirts at airports across the country are NOT responsible for this… they are victims of sloppy and negligent security management, just as is the flying public. At least passengers don’t have the indignity of having to work for senior management idiots, as do the folks on the front lines of the TSA.

Let’s watch and see what the new administration does with this information. Under Bush and Obama, nobody cared. Or did anything.

More ATC Nonsense From Congress

Two democrat representatives have issued a “study” decrying any attempt at privatizing ATC.

They claim it will lead to a decline in safety and to budgetary mayhem.

Needless to point out, neither of these political mannequins offered any suggestions regarding fixing the system. Not now, and not in the past.

Knee-jerk reactions, with no value whatsoever.

It’s unfortunate that small airports are also getting misled, fearing that air service will be harmed by a privatization system that changes nothing.

And one that in it’s current state is hampering the efficiency of air service.

Seems politics are more important.

April 2, 2018

Great Lakes Airlines Shuts Down:
A Signal That Midsize Airports & Communities Best Not Ignore