Monday Update – February 18, 2019

The Rail Boondoggle – A Message For Air Service Planning

Almost on-cue from last week’s Update…

The much-vaunted California high-speed rail project, after billions spent, and enough jive-time hype to rival a Hollywood film debut, has been cancelled.

The governor of California did a super Captain Louie Renault impersonation… he was shocked! shocked! to find such an expensive boondoggle going on in his state.

Then it was reported that a privately-owned rail line between Miami and Palm Beach has scuppered its plans for and IPO, clouding its intent to expand across Florida. It seems that it has captured only slightly more than half of the ridership it projected, and there was a report that it sent $87 million into the financial porcelain fixture in 2018.

But the rail cults and some of the clowns recently elected to congress don’t care. It’s all part of the Politically-Correct Scripture that we must not allow to be criticized. It’s not trendy, see, to criticize rail programs, even when it squanders billions of dollars, as California has done.

The Message Also Applies For Air Travel, Too. Fact is that rail fantasies are not only built on politically-correct assumptions, but on steadfast refusal to recognize that consumer communication patterns have materially changed in the last 40 years.

That also applies to intra-regional O&D flying between small and mid-size airports.

In 1980, consumers lined up at gates to fly between places like Boston-Albany and Hartford-New York. Today, the systems and machinery that carried that traffic are gone – because the consumers have other more effective options. And in many cases, new communication channels eliminate the need for face-to-face meetings to gather information and exchange ideas.

In Many Cases, As Obsolete As Rail. The hard fact is that in some formerly-robust applications, particularly intra-regional O&D, scheduled air travel is simply not time-effective any longer, compared to other channels… such as e-mail, Skype, and others that transfer information so rapidly that the need for physical proximity is no longer needed to do business.

Think about it… Lining up at BDL for an 8AM flight to LGA, traveling into Manhattan, traveling back to LGA in the afternoon, and then driving home, all to attend a meeting for two hours, is right up there with taking a buckboard, when the relative time efficiency is compared to a video meeting.

And, in fact, with the speed and volume and accuracy of data and information transfer today, a lot of those meetings simply aren’t needed, in-person or via electronic means.

Air Travel Is Changing – Communities Need To Optimize These Shifts. Intra-regional air travel is just one part of the shifts in the applications of air transportation.

The lightning-fast route decisions on the part of ULCCs, often with day-of-week service between cities that even have no history of nonstop air service, is another dynamic that will shape how air transportation will emerge in the future.

Furthermore, it has almost zero relationship with traditional route-and-market forecasting and even less relationship with historical traffic data. In a sense, it’s like email – it wasn’t there as a channel ten years ago. Which routes stay, which get dropped, and which get expanded is a roulette game that no historical methodologies can predict… it all depends in the consumer.
Then, there is the coming international expansion – particularly along the US east coast – made possible by new-generation airliners. This will change airport usage patterns in certain regions.

Planning for the future means identifying the future…

Join US August 27-29 & Get A New View of The Air Service Future. The International Aviation Forecast Summit is bringing together the industry-leaders who will be discussing this new, exciting future.

In addition to the fast-paced sessions with airline CEOs, senior executives and decision-makers from across the industry and across the globe, this year’s optional pre-Summit Workshop Series, held Sunday afternoon, 27 August, will cut new territory.

In particular, The New Air Access Paradigm Workshop will cover the entirely new dynamics for communities and regions to consider to assure they remain connected to the global economy.

Prepare for some sacred ASD scripture to be laid bare for what it is. Prepare for some whole new perspectives on how to take advantage of the changes in the consumer economy. Prepare to come out of the Workshop with information that will reset air service access planning.

Click on the graphic below for more information, and to register by February 20, to get the New Year’s registration rate.


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