Grab Bag: New and Essential Service

By | September 17, 2007
  • American Airlines will add a daily flight from Chicago-O’Hare and Gulfport-Biloxi beginning December 13.
  • Pittsburgh International Airport has expanded its free wi-fi service to both pre and post-security areas of the terminal.
  • Continental has announced a major expansion at its Cleveland hub. The airline will grow its capacity at Cleveland by 40% in the next two years, adding 50 new flights initially, primarily on regional jets, and add 20 new nonstop destinations by next summer. It will also add a dozen additional flights on mainline aircraft. The planes will be pulled from already congested Newark airport. In early 2008, Continental will add service to Greensboro N.C.(3x daily – March 3rd), Omaha(3x daily – March 3rd), Savannah(2x daily- March 3rd), Birmingham(2x daily – April 6th), Charleston S.C.(1x daily – April 6th), Green Bay(2x daily – April 6th), Tulsa(2x daily – April 6th), Little Rock(2x daily – May 4th), Memphis(2x daily – May 4th), Lansing(3x daily – May 4th), Des Moines(2x daily – June 12), Kalamazoo(2x daily – June 12). Seasonal service to Paris will begin May 22nd. Additional cities will be announced later on.
  • Cleveland has decided to build a new Customs and inspection facility, now that Continental has decided to expand air service at the airport.
  • Cape Air has been approved as Rutland, VT’s new airline carrier. Cape Air operates nine-seater Cessna 402s from Boston to Cape Cod and the Islands. Cape Air replaced Commutair, which operated 19-seater B1900s, and defeated the competition for the Essential Air Service bid, Big Sky, which also operates B1900s in the Boston area under Delta Connection. Rutland felt that the smaller carrier with smaller planes was a better fit. Cape Air offers low fares and a partnership with discount carrier Jetblue. It will be basing a plane and crew at the airport overnight and offer three flights daily. Cape Air also received a waiver to qualify for the EAS subsidy, as it is set aside for airlines that use aircraft with 15 or more passengers. We hope that the DOT will consider making this exception again, as $49-$99 each way fares are much better than what EAS flights usually cost. And not all airports can sustain other aircraft. Cape Air can even easily add another plane if there are more than 9 passengers booked.
  • Jetblue has had its share of problems with passengers patronizing its Pittsburgh service in the face of competition from US Airways. We’ve encouraged people to patronize their service, and have ourselves, because we know that without them, US Airways will increase fares again. However, Jetblue has done something not conducive to their image. In late June, they marked their first anniversary in Pittsburgh with a two-for-one offer. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in a news article, failed to direct users to a special address for the promo. Several interviewed had called Jetblue to verify the information in the paper, but had never been told of a special site. While they are considering the situation on a case-by-case basis, and have given one of sixteen people the paper interviewed the free flight, but they insist they are not responsible for the inaccuracies and are therefore losing public relations points with the people of Pittsburgh.
  • Allegiant will be operating flights from Green Bay to Phoenix-Mesa beginning November 15th, with flights on Thursdays and Sundays.