Monday Update – February 13, 2023

Airport Air Service Management:
Too Bad Houdini’s No Longer Available

Just came across an article regarding a small airport on the East Coast.

Seems the airport board is fixin’ to zap the airport director.

For cryin’ out loud, he’s been on the job for over five years and has failed to bring more airlines into town. ‘Course, the story was accessorized by the sad tale of all the wonderous service the airport had ten years ago, and how today it’s down to just one network carrier. That’s not acceptable. “We need to recruit more airlines, now!”

So, the fine folks on the board appear to be ready to toss out the incumbent director, for dereliction of duty. They probably want a person who can dive into the giant vat of available airlines and bring a couple home, regardless.

Now that’s real community spirit! An air service pep rally or two at the local high school stadium is in order. And they may want to conduct a goat sacrifice to the airline gods out on the runway while they’re at it.

Signs of A Weak Airport Board. The people who are on airport boards have the responsibility to understand the realities of air service and of airline economics. To be otherwise is unprofessional.

So, tossing the director under the bus just for non-recruitment of airlines is the leper’s bell of governance that is somewhere out in la-la land.

Unfortunately, this is more common than one might think. That’s because a lot of communities are not fully informed regarding air service realities, and some are kept mis-informed by ethically challenged ASD consultants.

Damn The Reality Torpedoes! Full Speed Fantasy Ahead! This dovetails with a call we received a while back from the director of a small airport in the central USA, wondering if BGI would be interested in air service consulting.

The story is that the airport is down to one network carrier system, and the board of directors is taking action.

The first step was positive – delivering a pink-slip to the current air service consultant, which has been hosing the airport for years with jive studies, speed-date meetings, and lavish promises probably based on a list of air service recruitment “successes” longer than Interstate-35. Needless to say, a lot of those airlines involved might not recall their fine work.

So, the head of the board decided it was time for a new consultant. But after that, it’s pretty obvious that at this airport, it’s more correctly the time for an informed board, not another consultant.

Yikes. Here are the results they are demanding from a new consultant.

First, the consultant must recruit another airline. Any airline. Or else.

Second, the new consultant must convince the remaining network system incumbent to add more destinations other than just to their connecting hub.

And finally, the consultant must continue to deliver the usual eye-candy, such as massive studies, going to speed-date meetings, and performing economic impact analyses, etc., all of which the last Pied-Piper consultant had probably done, and none of which will do diddly to recruit more air service within the realities of today’s airline economics.

Attention, Attention! Calling Houdini From The Great Beyond. These expectations, within the air transportation realities of 2023, are right out there with fairy dust and incense-filled soirees. None of these studies will change anything, including the dollars they’re in danger of spending on yet another consultant that’s not telling them the truth.

In point of fact, the potential target airlines for any US airport are clear from the start. There are not many left, and all have clear strategies, fleets and route plans. Any consultant who just promises to “find more airlines” without identifying the targets up front has an ethical problem.

There Are Options. But They’re Not In The Traditional Playbook. The expectations of this airport board are completely counter to air transportation realities. But rather than politely ending the call with “thanks for calling, smoke’em if you’ve got ‘em, and good luck,” we instead took the time to talk at length with the director, and follow-up with a short report, clarifying how he needed to deal with this, providing examples specific to the airport.

Our recommendation was that the first and most important project was to educate the board and the community on air service realities. Otherwise, the path was to get another charlatan consultant on contract, doing all sorts of voodoo to continue to lead the board in the wrong direction.

The realities facing this airport were outlined. We pointed out that there isn’t “another” network airline. In this case, it was illuminated that the carrier that had recently pulled out was clearly losing money. Plus, the only other potential network airline system target had already yanked service at much larger airports in the region. A couple of phone calls to both of these airlines would put these dreams to bed.

Regarding the second demand, we pointed out that the remaining incumbent simply does not operate point-to-point service from small airports. Again, a call to the carrier would 86 the dream. No studies needed.

So, both “requirements” for a new consultant were out.

The ethical path we recommended was to work to educate the board and the community about the structure and economics of air transportation. Otherwise, eventually he himself could expect a pink slip for failing to recruit airlines that don’t exist to operate flights that can’t make money.

The report outlined alternative approaches to retaining the incumbent and investigating new revenue opportunities for the airport.

This took some time to outline, but it was important to let the director know that the airport was heading in the wrong direction.

Fighting Sacred Beliefs Can Be Dangerous. Needless to say, that was the end of communications from the airport involved. Our recommendations were probably not politically correct. And in fairness, for the director it could be an instantly career-limiting event to even attempt to discuss these realities with an airport board that’s intent on bringing back the past.

This is the #1 issue in air service access development… an informed and open-thinking community. It is understandable that the average citizens will have misconceptions about local air service.

But that’s not acceptable for people entrusted with airport governance. Nor for the snake-oil peddlers hired to tell them what they want to hear.

Regardless, economic gravity will eventually prevail.

Looking For Futurist Airport/Air Service Planning?

These examples are not uncommon. There are dozens of communities that are not up to speed regarding the new future opportunities in air service and aviation.

It is important that the air transportation industry be understood in future planning.

Boyd Group International has a comprehensive program called Runway to The Future, which is designed to assist communities and airports identify future trends and plan to optimize them.

Click on the contact button, and we’ll get information to you. Hard facts, direct discussions and clear visions. We look forward to talking!


We rely on Cirium as our source of aviation data and related information. We highly recommend them for easy and indepth access to solve analytical challenges.

Monday Insight – February 6, 2023

Forecast: Potential Trans-Pacific Traffic Free Fall

There’s no point in trying to dodge the facts.

This Chinese balloon incident has set in motion a set of game-changing dynamics that may soon affect trans-Pacific air travel.

Like, putting traffic into a free-fall. Starting now.

This was a hostile attack by a Chinese military aircraft. It is just that simple. The CCP has gained not just potential military data, but in effect just did a dry run to discover how the people running the USA will react in time of crisis. They now have a good idea.

Events in Asia may be coming in rapid short order that will affect the entire USA air transportation system.

A Chinese Intelligence Coup.  Boyd Group International is a leader in research regarding China. There are a lot of moving parts here beyond just a balloon. The combination of what the Chinese actually learned from this event, plus the internal political and economic turmoil facing the people in Beijing, things in Asia could get really unstable, really fast.

Time For Some Blunt Talk. Enough here. The latest Aviation Unscripted research video delivers a view of what US carriers need to prepare for regarding trans-Pacific travel demand. Bottom line: US airlines planning more nonstops to China may want to rethink their fleet applications.

If you’re interested in a snapshot of what we can expect and why, click here and join us at Aviation Unscripted.

Don’t expect any punches to be pulled. Invest just seven minutes for some candid, no sugar-coat facts that we can no longer ignore.

Monday Insight – January 30, 2023

The Southwest Meltdown Is Over.
But It’s Set In Motion The 2023 Airline Jihad

The circus begins.

The headline pretty much validates what we predicted a couple weeks ago:
Between the political appointees at the top of the DOT and the various committee heads in Congress, they just can’t pass up a chance for some high profile soapboxing.

The premise, however, is trendy and panders to the life forms in the consumerist world that aren’t above claiming all sorts of evil on the part of airlines, like the ones recently claiming that USA airline seats have been getting narrower. Which is a lie.

Congress Will Milk This For All It’s Worth. The premise of the above headline, if it is to be taken seriously, is that WN knew weeks in advance that the country would be hit just before Christmas with some of the worst weather in decades, and then irresponsibly ignored it all.

This is stupid leadership at the DOT, and is shameful in that it will accomplish nothing.

This does not minimize the horrid and tragic human costs of the Southwest meltdown. Millions of people – not just travelers, but entire families at home expecting loved ones to arrive – went through a situation not seen before. (At least until a few days later when the FAA’s bailing-wire systems gave us another first-seen experience, shutting the entire nation down, if only for a couple hours.)

It’s clear that Southwest recognizes this and is doing all it can to rectify the damage. But congress, the honchos at the DOT, and some in the consumerist side of the media want to milk this for all it’s politically worth.

Get Tuned In For Some Oscar-Winning Performances. So, watch for the hearings on C-SPAN in the next few months, where crocodile-indignant politicians will open with gushing outrage. Then the first panels will consist of carefully-selected consumers who were affected, recounting the hardships they went through.

This naturally will accomplish nothing constructive, and will shamefully use these folks as political fodder, but it will set the stage and somehow validate the next panel of witnesses.

That will be airline executives, probably from across the industry, carefully positioned for the hearing chairman to initiate the congressional version of the last five minutes of Bonnie & Clyde getting whacked in the ’35 Ford. Except without live ammunition, probably.

The alpha and the omega of the Black Holiday was a computer system at one airline that couldn’t handle the demands of a major weather event. It was not and is not a generic situation in airline operations across the industry. This is not an excuse for Southwest. But it is the reality, and one that is being addressed so that there won’t be a re-occurrence.

Unfortunately, that won’t be the approach inside the Beltway.

Message To Airlines: This Is Not A Drill. This has set in motion a jihad regarding airline service. This means that it’s up to the airline industry to now take stock of every aspect of their service delivery and ability to quickly remediate or avoid service failures.

There are a number of areas where the industry is vulnerable. We covered them a couple of months ago in a special Aviation Unscripted video. The #1 recommendation was for airlines to do a forensic review of all of the processes the customer goes through and literally do war games on how they can turn into confrontational situations, and have specific training on how to de-escalate them.

Airports: You Have A Dog In This Fight. Airlines need to get consumers on their side. It’s also important for airports to get in and take a stand.  Remember, a lot of the stuff these politicians are suggesting will affect the viability of air service across the nation. Like, the bozos demanding all seats be 20 inches wide, which has never been the case.

Great. That will make 737s and A320 cabins go to 5-across, instead of six. Give a thought about the fallout of losing 25-35 seats per flight, guys. And that is with no defined or proven increase in health or safety.

ACI & AAAE: don’t play politics with this one.

Click here to take a gander at the video.

And let us know your thoughts.



Monday Update – January 23, 2023

The China Travel Future That Isn’t, Anymore.
Multi-Billions of Chinese Spend Not Coming Back To USA Airports & Venues

Here’s a figure: fourteen billion dollars.

That’s what Chinese leisure visitors spent in the USA in 2019. That is not the full economic impact. Just the gelt directly applied to the visit. Conservatively estimated.

Here’s another figure: bupkus.

That’s pretty close to what Chinese leisure visitors spent in the USA in 2022, mainly because there weren’t many of them. This represents a huge hit to a wide range of USA venues that were beneficiaries of this travel sector.

Last week, US airlines asked for waivers in 2023 regarding authorities to serve China. The market is only rebounding slowly, they claim.

Wrong. The USA-China air market as it existed before the CCP-Covid pandemic is not really “rebounding” – it is essentially in its death throws, deflating a traffic bubble that was the result of strong discretionary spend and on strong business flows.

Both of these drivers are now history. The entire underpinnings of the USA-China air traffic demand have been demolished. Let’s take a look at data from Airports:China™:

In 2019, air traffic volume between the USA and China represented over 8.8 million O&D, including nonstop and connect itineraries. Of that, approximately 70% were leisure visitors – equating to 3.1 million people entering the US with an estimated per-visitor spend of $4,500.

It is today barely 150,000 total O&D.

Heck, today the largest single US-China market isn’t Beijing or Shanghai. It’s Xiamen, which most people in America couldn’t find on a map. And it’s under 7,000 annual O&D.

Yes, the spread of Covid across China – some estimates are as high as 900 million infected (!) – is one reason. The recently lifted bans on outbound travel from China is certainly another.

But what most of the aviation media is missing is that the Chinese economy that once generated this USA traffic is now a growing wasteland. It’s a blazing mess for a number of reasons that we don’t have time or room here to fully cover.

In short, leisure demand to visit the Grand Canyon or The Big Apple is pretty thin when factories are not paying employees. Or when millions of middle-class citizens have been defrauded by bogus real estate scams. Or when factories are being closed and moved out of country by foreign corporations, due to production problems or the political issues with CCP’s programs of genocide in Xinjiang, or forced human organ transplants.

It is so bad that even the CCP thug patrols who arbitrarily test people are protesting for lack of pay. Or when millions of unpaid workers in major cities don’t have money to buy train tickets to visit family over the Lunar New Year festival.

Entering China Isn’t Good Business. Then there is the commercial side. Because of the CCP’s anti-US policies, this is not a place to go, even without the CCP-produced Covid on the rise. Business travelers are at risk of arbitrary CCP actions. One executive of an Irish aircraft leasing company took a quick trip to visit their offices in Shanghai. He was refused exit for over a year due to the CCP officials trying to extort $30 million in ransom from his company over a concocted airliner deal.

It Hits Pennsylvania and Kentucky and Las Vegas, Too. Bottom line. This is a hit to the USA economy. A fun trip from folks in Beijing or Tianjin to visit Hershey Chocolate Land, or to the glass factory in Elmira, or to hit ‘Vegas just isn’t supportable, anymore.

Those visitors and that 14 mega-large spend are in the history books and aren’t coming back.

It’s the market demand that has fundamentally changed. Nonstops to Beijing and Shanghai will return. But the glowing future that was seen five years ago is now dead.

Naturally, there are a lot of entities on this side of the Pacific who have big time dogs in the fight – heavy financial investment in China. They will do what they can to smokescreen the wreckage growing across the Chinese economy. Even some major news networks. Remember the glowing accolades given the CCP in 2020 for their deft handling of Covid? Funny, those same news outlets don’t seem to remember that.

It won’t change things. The dynamics that generated over 8 million O&D are gone.

US carriers: plan accordingly.


Aviation Unscripted Video Program – New Enhancements

We are honored about the traffic going to our Aviation Unscripted videos, over Rumble and other channels.

Now in its third year, effective February we’ll be making some exciting changes.

Aviation Unscripted With Mike Boyd & Friends will debut in February. It will feature a new format that includes reviews of emerging aviation events and relates them within the future context of the industry. We’ll also be drawing on he expertise of our futurist friends, to get their input and perspectives. Short, concise, and as usual a bit iconoclastic.

In in addition to subject-specific content, we’ll be discussing the latest events in aviation, and how they may affect all sectors – airlines, airports, suppliers and consumers. No sacred cows. No consensus thinking. Group think in the cross-hairs. A valuable ten minutes or so that will widen the exploration of issues affecting aviation.

More information on the way. In the meantime, be sure to check out the current Aviation Unscripted by clicking here.


Just FYI. We depend on Cirium for our data sourcing.

Because accurate information is critical for planning the future.

Weekly Monday Update – January 16, 2023

Before we start this week…

The Update is being posted on Tuesday, January 17, in observance of the Martin Luther King Holiday.

To start, we’d point out that Dr. King’s message was universal. Not only great personal advice, but sound guidance for a lot of our lives, including business.

As we move into the challenges in aviation for 2023, we may want to consider these observations given to us by Dr. King:

“Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.”

“The soft-minded man always fears change. He feels security in the status quo, and he has an almost morbid fear of the new. For him, the greatest pain is the pain of a new idea.”

As we move into the challenges of 2023, we all need to give consideration to Dr. King’s guidance in regard to the issues facing aviation. We all have resistance to change. Easy answers too often tend to be the goal.

The need for us to think out of the past is imperative, but we too often shy from them. We have a long way to go, still. We owe a lot to Dr. King’s guidance.


Get Ready. Let The Senate Games Begin
The FAA Has Major Challenges.
Congress Wants To Make It A Political Playground.

Just got word that the Senate will hold hearings to get to the bottom of how Southwest screwed up over the holidays.

Senator Maria Cantwell is outraged. She’s making profound statements, like “consumers deserve reliable air service” or some stuff like that. Yessir, she assures us, we in the Senate are going to take Southwest to task.

The Usual Show Agenda – Maximum Impact. Facts Secondary. The agenda will probably be an initial panel of consumers who were devastated by Southwest cancelling flights.

Not that this information will do anything to resolve what happened in the past, as these types of stories have been recounted in thousands of media articles. But it will show that whatever Senate Hoedown Committee is involved really, really has empathy, and intends to take action. Misusing human tragedy for political ends is not new.

Then there will be the panels of airline executives, maybe salted with a few toady-level “consultants” or experts from the consumer or even the aviation sector. This will be the prime show for the Senate panel members, who will perform like trained seals decrying the event, and demanding that heads must roll.

Plan also on at least a cameo appearance by DOT Secretary Buttigieg, who will earnestly advise the Senators all the hard work he’s doing to assure this won’t happen again.

The Real Threat To Safety Is Now Is Continued Mismanagement of the FAA. ‘Course, not much will be made of the major safety IT failure on the part of Buttigieg’s FAA. A major safety failure that shut down the entire air transportation system. Not just Southwest, but sending the entire USA air transportation system into chaos.

Cantwell and crew won’t likely get too much into it. Crocodiles generally don’t attack each other.

The FAA’s unreliable IT systems and the incompetent management of same probably will get either ignored or just touched on, even though it was an indication of a situation much more safety-related than the Southwest event. Much more of a threat to the public.

There’s more that will be ignored by Cantwell and her Senate Rangers.

Just this week, there was a near collision between airliners on the ground at JFK International Airport. It was avoided at the last second. But it was an event that involved the FAA. Buttigieg’s FAA.

The Southwest problem was due to inadequate crew management systems specific to one airline. The FAA problem was due to complete failure of a major safety system, without which the entire air transportation system shut down. Reportedly, an old system.

The Real Message: FAA Needs Expert Technical Leadership. Not A Political Appointee. Touching  the Third Rail, these events once again prove that the FAA itself is in dire need of hard, competent management leadership with in-depth experience in the areas covered by the agency.

But that is not what the occupants of the White House are intending to do. Just to opposite.

Let’s just touch on the huge challenges the FAA is looking at in the next two years.

We have eVTOL aircraft coming – hundreds of them. That means new procedures and regulations to assure safety and protect the public. No, these aren’t in progress. The issues of new CFR equipment and emergency training are not in place. The issues of maintenance requirements for whole new and untried powerplant systems are not fully addressed. The airport facility revisions and ATC demands are not yet in place. Procedures and oversight of handling of toxic batteries are not in place.

Beyond this, the administrative quagmire that allowed the 737MAX fiasco still hangs a shadow over the FAA. Then there’s the need for more oversight of foreign repair stations. The emerging value and also the emerging security issues represented by increasing drone use will be a huge planning challenge.

And these are just at the top of the pile. Yet people like Senator Schumer and the occupant of the White House are demanding the appointment of a person with no such expertise whatsoever. None.

To contend that an appointee with no extensive and relevant experience or perspectives on specific aviation matters can direct the Federal Aviation Administration is flat out nonsense. But, if all goes to the plan, that is exactly what’s coming.

Think about it.



Now Posted At Aviation Unscripted:
The Air Service Challenges For 2023

Join us for a 10 minute video outline of the coming shifts in air transportation that have been missed in the mainstream. If you’re planning for the future, this is a source of insights that will deliver new perspectives into the future.

Areas such as:

The coming growth in secondary airport international travel.

The major strategy shifts taking place at ULCC carriers.

The new air service value metric: clock time, not local departures.

How fixing the pilot shortage is actually reducing small/rural air service access.

The end of scatter-shot air service schemes and the need for specific focus.

How the consumer will make the air service decisions in the future.

Get an jump on the future. Click here for planning insights not available anywhere else.

Monday Insight – January 9, 2023

Mexico As A Vacation Destination.
Warm Sun… Or Hot Lead?

The latest BGI Touch & Go Insight Newsletter included a review of the potential air service fallout from the violence experienced in Sinaloa state cities of Mazatlán, Culiacan and others.

It is not comforting for the US airline industry.

The hard reality is that drug cartels essentially now control parts of Mexico.

Reports from Culiacan describe situations where even the Mexican army was held at bay, including two attack helicopters shot down, and drug forces shooting at airliners at Culiacan airport. Plus stories of tourists huddled in hotels as drug hoodlums surrounded the buildings with burning automobiles.

These are vile people, with no compunction about killing anyone. Fully armed, including machine guns mounted on roving pick-up trucks. Heavy firepower.

The point is that this was not just a skirmish between good guys and black hats. The wider question is how safe the rest of Mexico may be. The answer is likely positive, as the drug cartel leadership is focused at specific cities, even though they do business literally across the world.

That notwithstanding, the image of a cartel taking terror control of a city isn’t going to engender a lot of eagerness to travel to Mexico, regardless of the destination. Plus, this latest event has dredged up the stories of how the Mexican authorities were literally defeated in 2019 by the cartels when they attempted to capture the same kingpin they were after this time.

Not to be alarmist, but US carriers may see a material decline in Mexico-USA travel demand. These cartels have no respect for human rights and this event has severely damaged the image of Mexico as a leisure destination.

Traditionally, travelers visit Mexico for great beaches, superior resorts and globe-beating hospitality.

But in the aftermath of the events in Sinaloa, It’s a fair bet they are not particularly interested in becoming extras in a re-enactment of the film Blackhawk Down.

Not pleasant, but it is an issue that could demolish this traffic sector. Stand by.

(By the way, for those not on the subscription list for the BGI Touch & Go Insight Letter, just drop us an email to join the over 500 aviation leaders who get it every week.)


The Latest AA Small Market Reductions –
It’s About Economics, Not Pilots.

American has announced it is ceasing service to Long Beach, Columbus GA, and Del Rio Texas.

The official reasons were given as “pilot shortage” and low traffic.

In the case of the two smaller airports – Columbus and Del Rio – there is a message that is going to continue to get louder as we progress into the New Year: The raw and increasing expense of connecting many smaller airports is exceeding the revenues that these communities can generate.

It’s not pilots – it’s the increasing cost of pilots. And fuel. And maintenance. Both Del Rio and Columbus were barely generating 60% to 65% load factors, and the basics of highest and best use of resources are in play.

Point: there will be an increasing number of such airports getting air service pink slips in coming months. All the king’s horses and all the king’s “true market studies” won’t change this. It is now incumbent on communities such as Del Rio to re-think the role of the local airport, including attracting economic investment.

There are no mystery airlines out there. Alternative secondary air access may be a potential. But booking a trip to the next speed-date air service convention won’t do diddly to find a network carrier to replace American.

The economics don’t work, anymore.


Tuesday – January 3, 2023

Happy New Year!

The Southwest “Point-to-Point” Lore
Facts v Trendy Assumptions

In the media din surrounding the Southwest Black Holiday fiasco, the usual suspects on the margins of aviation knowledge have come out with all sorts of prognostications regarding the reasons for the meltdown.

One of the trendiest is the suggestion that Southwest’s point-to-point system was a contributor to the complexity of the operational collapse. The rationale given doesn’t make much sense, except to illuminate the lack of expertise of the authors.

One reason  is that Southwest isn’t really a point-to-point carrier.

Nope. Sorry to shatter dogma, but WN actually depends on connecting (“flow”) traffic as a major part of its revenue generation. Not a sideline, but a fundamental part of its system.

Let’s look at the traffic mix – local O&D and connect – at six of Southwest’s largest operations for the 12 months ended 3Q 2022:

Sorry to rain on the veneer analysts’ parade, but at these airports, the connect flows are a significant and very critical component of the Southwest revenue passenger mix.

Underscoring this is the column on the right. It indicates what the WN load factor would have been without the connect traffic. In short, Southwest is operating these airports as connect points.

In the real world, that’s called a hub operation.

Point: WN may or may not actually schedule in specific banks (we are splitting hairs here) but at these airports, they are in business to aggregate traffic across their system, i.e., connect passengers.

The reality is that Southwest really is a network carrier. True, it has a cohesive fleet of 737s – 700/800 and Max8s, instead of a wide range of capacity units. This limits the mission applications and markets it can pursue. (Although it is more lore that they’ve always operated “one airliner.” They may look alike but the 737-700 and the 737-8 (Max) have a lot not in common. Plus, in at least two time periods, they operated 727s.)

But in places like Tucson, the ability to flow passengers over Houston or Denver Midway is essential for Southwest. In fact, Southwest lists as many as ten flight options between Tucson and Atlanta – every one being a connect itinerary.

Actually, Delta Is More Point-to-Point Than Southwest. Here’s where the facts get in the way of trendy lore. Take a look at how Southwest ranks v other airlines in regard to percentage of passengers making connections.

We tossed in Alaska just for reference. The data are clear. The Southwest system is essentially as connect-focused as are American, Delta and United, and if international traffic flows were culled out, it’s likely all four are neck-and-neck in regard to percentages of flow traffic.

Not to be missed is that Delta actually has a larger percentage of point-to-point traffic than does Southwest.

The hard reality is that the Southwest system – large capacity airliners of 137 to 175 seats – needs strong aggregation of traffic flows.

So, do be circumspect when the media gurus and inhabitants of hobbyist aviation websites spout the lore about WN being “point-to-point.”

At some key airports – like LGA – the traffic is almost entirely point-to-point. But without the revenue flows generated at their hubs such as HOU, DEN, BNA, MDW, etc., they would not be in business.




Monday Insight – December 26, 2022

Looking At 2023: Overall, A Lot of Positives
But A Couple of Distant Events That Could Blow It All To Smithereens

Today, the Boyd Group International Aviation Trend Forecast for 2023 will be issued at Aviation Unscripted.

It’s an 18-minute video discussion of the emerging post-CCP-pandemic dynamics affecting and fundamentally affecting aviation and air transportation. Take a look, because it covers areas and issues not being discussed. The year 2023 has a lot of exciting dynamics that are emerging. And

Some of what is covered:

The New Main Planning Metric Is Time. We start by illuminating that time is now the #1 value factor in aviation planning. That means the air option that entails the least amount of total travel time is what the consumer will use. This is particularly important in programs addressing the value proposition of air access for small and rural communities.

Air Access Programs – Targeting Within Airline Industry Realities. Fact: there is no secret regarding the number and identity and strategy of airlines in the USA. Yet, ASD programs have in too many cases degenerated into the equivalent of desperate quack research to find “the cure” – the unfocused, and often unethical programs aimed only to “find more (unidentified) airlines” without any real objectives beyond having “more flights.”

This is as misguided as wanting “more roads” without any concern for where they may go or what economic need they may fill. Yet it’s a refrain heard way too often from civic leaders who are intentionally kept in the dark by their hired air service “advisors.”

As one example, it was recently reported that one small community in the last four years has spent close to a quarter million dollars on air service consulting fees, with bupkus – zip, nada, nothing, meiyou – for any new air service results.

There’s a message here we discuss in the video.

The Airline To Watch In 2023 – Missed Entirely. The BGI 2023 Trend Projections identify the airline that’s in the position to blow by the competition in the next 18 months. In an environment of tight pilot and airliner availability, one carrier has leapfrogged the rest of the US airline industry.

Small & Rural Communities – Zero Flights At The Local Airport Is Not The Same As No Air Access. We discuss the fact that airline fleet trends are culling out smaller jets, particularly those leased-in from mis-named “regional airlines.” This will put pressure on that segment of airliner leasing. The recent shifts in lease customers at Mesa and Air Wisconsin are one indication. The announcement by Delta that they will stop leasing 50-seat jets in the next six months is another.

We’re candidly discussing what this means regarding air access planning for small and mid-size airports.

International: Great Potential For Mid-Size Airports. The 2023 Trend Projections identify some of the airports that are in the crosshairs of gaining trans-Atlantic nonstops in the next 18-24 months. On the other side of the mix, the issues with trans-Pacific are more daunting. Like, near-dead.

New Air Communication Channels. It has been proven time and again that intra-regional point-to-point passenger air service does not work any longer. But since time is the new economic currency, there may be a range of applications where third tier operators may find where a C208 or similar could develop new logistics applications. Concept: just-in-time or speeding up current logistics where air could be cheaper. A concept.

Electric & eVTOL – Now It’s Time For Hard Facts. The 2023 Trend Projections note that while some of the proposed applications of these new electric aircraft are exciting, the time for hype and PR is over. There are hard questions that the purchasing airlines must now address. These include social and environmental issues that are not inconsequential and if not resolved, will torpedo the entire eVTOL concept. True.

Two Potential Torpedoes. There are two distant issues that have the potential to 86 all the strong expectations for 2023. Maybe not likely, but possible.

Click here to log on – invest the 18 minutes for insights not covered anywhere else in aviation. Get prepared for an exciting year ahead. And while you’re there, hit the subscribe button and join us for notifications of new video products in 2023!


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Monday Insight – December 19, 2022

Boom Supersonic Engine Program.
The Real Story Is The Media Reaction.

The usual suspects in the all-knowing luddite corner of the media are jumping into their water dishes in a frenzy after the announcement that Boom Supersonic has formed a consortium to create a new engine for its planned Overture airliner.

Yikes! Don’t mess with consensus thinking. “Everybody knows” this is lunacy. As far as Boom goes, Rolls-Royce wasn’t interested. Nor was Pratt & Whitney or GE. The reasons for the lack of interest – like maybe the financial issues at Rolls for just one to consider – are not to be investigated.

So, that means it’s game-set-match for this upstart aircraft manufacturer.

Gee, Boom seems to disagree. But what’s at hand here is how a lot of the media – from the veneer gadfly hobbyist websites to writers at supposedly prestigious financial publications – tend to write first and learn later.

Boom is not a favorite among the status quo thinkers. It has openly denied the dogma that supersonic air travel is not economically possible. The consensus knows that this was proven conclusively by the failure of the Concorde, which first rolled out of the hangar when TV vacuum tubes were still being sold at drug stores.

Outrageously to the consensus thinkers, Boom has now lured two major US airlines into being dogma deniers, too.

The denial movement is expanding. According to the tone of some in the media cognoscenti, Boom has used its siren call to lure some sort of combination of companies to develop a new powerplant. This insulting heresy to the consensus is after established engine companies apparently had no interest in such a project.

As a typical response, we have the prestigious Financial Times, posting a tome outlining how business travelers won’t pay a premium just to save time across the Pond. ‘Course, the writer had no idea of what that premium would be, nor the intent of the Boom project to have economics commensurate with business class fares. Facts not needed.

Then, the Financial Times played the environmental card. It confidently stated that business travelers would stay away in droves from the Boom aircraft, as they morally would not cotton to flying on an aircraft that had many multiples of carbon emissions compared to traditional airliners.

That, naturally, was without any knowledge of the characteristics of the engines being developed. Facts not needed.

Caveat Reader. This is not about Boom. It’s about the ethical and moral cesspool that some of the media has descended into. We are seeing it with the stories about “shrinking airliner seat width” which are fake news, We’re seeing it with unverified stories that it’s just a pilot shortage that’s responsible for major airlines not wanting to lose money at some smaller communities.

Most of the Fourth Estate is professional, but dimbulb stories like this are way too common. They state it and we are expected to believe it.

We covered this in the latest Touch & Go newsletter. If you are not on our complimentary subscription list, hit the contact button and request.

The point is that it is important to be informed. But some of the traditional sources are no longer reliable.


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With the structural changes taking place in aviation, accurate and current metrics are critical. Therefore, we recommend Cirium.


Monday Update – December 12, 2022

Media Discussions of The Chinese C919 Airliner:
Like Trying To Predict Last Week’s Football Game.

With the recent “revelations” of Boeing getting cut out of China – something we covered over a year ago – the new hot topic is discussing the future of China’s indigenous C919 airliner.

Never has such an obvious outcome been so thoroughly and uselessly discussed.

Anyone with a pulse, and just a sliver-understanding of airline economics, can see from the start that this contraption was market DOA when it rolled out of the factory several years ago. Years ago, right.

“Hey, this new airliner is fixin’ to challenge the Airbus/Boeing global duopoly,” is a theme heard in some media circles. Which means using a Ouija board to pick investments is far more reliable than the stuff coming from some of the glazed doughnuts holding forth on financial networks.

It’s Not A Chinese Airliner. It’s A CCP Political Project. All this C919 contraption represents is an embarrassment to China. A national embarrassment. The CCP-run COMAC is the Keystone Kops of airliner manufacturing. A powerful, innovative country like China could do a whole lot better, in the absence of the people currently running the place.

Most of the panel discussions we’re seeing on the networks dance around the issue.

There are a couple of obvious points that indicate the CNBC, FOX Business and others could spend their time on more productively.

First, this is not a new airliner. This iron sled was first rolled out of the factory seven years ago. This past week, it’s been reported that the first C919 has finally been delivered (foisted on?) China Eastern Airlines, which plans to monkey around with it for a few more months before trying to put it into passenger service.

Second, there is no reason for a major global airline to buy the thing. It represents zero operational advantages over existing products from Boeing, Airbus and Embraer. Any high school kid who hangs out on aviation geek websites would tell you that an airline will buy an entirely new platform only if it represents superior economics.

For example, the Bombardier CSeries, now the Airbus A220, certainly did just that, and it is rattling cages at not only Boeing but probably at current-producer Airbus, which is facing the market opportunity of stretching the -220 into something that needs to be carefully handled, lest it becomes a competitor to existing other lines. A nice conundrum to be in, while Boeing is stuck with the 737 platform and no planned successor.

But the COMAC C919 isn’t superior to anything in the sky. It is strictly me-too, at best. They may be able to toss a few units at Third World airlines, sort of like the experience with the Sukhoi SuperJet. With similar results.

Third, the expense of bringing on a new airliner type – especially one from the CCP-managed COMAC cabal – is astronomical, unless it offers whole new mission economics – which the C919 does not.

Fourth, the is the emerging reputation and monstrous ethics of the owner of COMAC, the unelected Chinese Communist Party, which brought us concentration camps and ethnic cleansing in Xinjiang, forced organ harvesting and the global pandemic. Among other societal programs. Hard to explain, maybe, at shareholder meetings. Even at Ryan Air.

Fifth, even if the C919 were an operational barn-burner, most airlines wouldn’t want to wait. COMAC is reported to announce that they’ll be delivering 25 C919s a year by 2030. That’s about what Airbus does in two weeks.

Hanging New Electronics On A Dog Airliner Is Meaningless. Finally, the last refuge of apologists for this embarrassment to the Chinese people is the US and western embargo of sensitive systems, for fear (certainty) of COMAC pirating them.

That’s nonsense in that the entire C919 platform is not competitive, anyway.

China Could Do A Lot Better. If a Chinese company were free to pursue such major projects on a market basis, instead of having chump CCP toadies making the calls, there really would be a competitor coming out of China. So, the component embargo is a non sequitur, so don’t fall for it.

The terminal flaw in the COMAC C919 is that it is an airliner developed for a political purpose, not a market need, regardless of where the components come from.

A Unique Branding Opportunity? Blend all this together into creating an appropriate market image for the C919, expressing the true culture of the CCP, and a Madison Avenue firm could have a field day.

Let’s name it. The C919 Thugliner, maybe. Instead of economy cabin, label it the concentration cabin, maybe. Instead of curtain dividers between cabin classes, use barbed wire. Lots of appropriate options to showcase the true style of the government-based builders of this thing.

Log On for Some Insight That Goes to The Core of The Matter. Over a year ago – when most folks thought “C919” was a late-night TV product to cure acne, we published an Aviation Unscripted video covering the how this machine was a complete market bow-wow.

Click here to invest a couple of minutes that will cut through the yogurt coming out of some current media stories.

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