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Countdown: The Last Days of Austrian Airlines’ Station JFK

I

2009 was a transitional year for Austrian Airlines as a company and in North America. Increasingly straddled with debt and unable to reverse the plummeting financial situation created by low cost carrier competition, escalating fuel prices, and the economic recession, its very existence was threatened until a July agreement with Lufthansa-German Airlines, under which it assumed its monetary obligations and acquired the majority of its shares, was concluded. European Union approval of the acquisition was obtained two months later.

Like many worldwide companies that have been forced to outsource functions and then surrendered to takeovers, it was subjected to several fundamental changes, particularly at its JFK station.

This is how its final chapter unfolded.

II

Seeking an investment partner to restore its financial viability, Austrian Airlines explored several options, but the first step to a solution occurred on March 2, 2009, when Lufthansa made a public offer for the tri-carrier Austrian Airlines Group after it reached an agreement with the state holding company to purchase a 41.56-percent stake in it. The 4.46 euro-per-share offer, however, was contingent upon it receiving antitrust immunity and the approval of 500 million euros of restructuring aid from the state holding company. It also hinged upon Lufthansa’s acquisition of at least 75-percent of its permanent voting shares.

For North America the clock was already ticking, and nothing foretold its fate more than the series of duty trips undertaken to negotiate new agreements. Although Austrian Airlines celebrated both its 20- and 40-year transatlantic service jubilees on March 26, the occasion was bittersweet, since it seemed unlikely that it would achieve another, at least not with its own staff.

Indeed, during one of the earliest duty trips to Toronto, an agreement was reached in which all operations would be assumed by Lufthansa, eliminating the need for its employees. It became only the first of three to be signed.

Spring usually signaled renewal, but not of Austrian’s staff contracts. A second Canada trip, in April, marked the transition, with JFK Station Manager Michael Steinbuegl overseeing the Centralized Load Control and Duty Manager Dorit the passenger handling components of it.

With the dawn of May, the first of JFK’s staff members also departed. Jenner, who had been employed as a Ticket Sales-Reservations Agent for three years, was laid off because of “budget-necessitated reductions,” and the empty seat next to Sidonie, head of the department, appeared like a void, symbolic of a strongly missed family member.

The dismantling continued. Whitestone, Austrian Airlines’ North American fortress, passed its reservations torch to Lufthansa on the tenth of the following month, or what could have been considered the airline version of “black Friday”

If there were any doubts about the hammer hitting the nail, they were eradicated on August 28, when the European Commission officially approved Lufthansa’s acquisition, which itself consisted of 500 million euros of restructuring assistance from the state holding company and the merger between the two carriers. In order to achieve the required antitrust immunity, however, Lufthansa agreed to relinquish key flight slots and reduce the number of frequencies between Vienna and Brussels, Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich, and Stuttgart.

Austrian Airlines itself was slated to become one of its many independent, European hub carriers-in this case, a Vienna-based one feeding traffic to its Central and Eastern European destinations.

The fall fell hard-emotionally-for Austrian’s JFK staff members and the duty trips, during which the plugs to its North American stations were pulled, continued.

Lufthansa employees were versed in Austrian’s ticketing procedures, while two managers departed flew to Vienna to discuss ground-handling details in New York.

Confirmation of the stations’ inevitability signaled its death knoll: Lufthansa would assume all ground-handling later in the year and all but the single JFK station manager and its two duty managers (the author included) would be released from their contracts at that time. Even these, however, had six-month limitations.

The news, the equivalent of removing the wing of an aircraft in flight, caused emotions to spiral to the ground, resulting in disbelief and depression, and this was only exacerbated when the head of ground operations informed Swissport that its JFK contract would be canceled on November 16.

Sharing the station’s fate with his full-time staff members, Patrick, Austrian Airlines-Swissport Account Manager, attempted to cushion a blow that words could not achieve.

Sadness, demotivation, and resignation hung in the air like thick jet fumes.

The clock’s hand continued to unwind and the expected parting words began to filter in. Long-time Austrian Airlines Station Manager at Washington-Dulles International Airport, Regula, for instance, sent the following telex on September 14.

“As you may have heard,” she wrote, “Lufthansa will take over the handling of our station tomorrow. Therefore, it is time for me to say good-bye.

“It is not easy, as I have met a lot of great people during my years at Austrian Airlines and I had an opportunity to learn a lot. With this, I would like to thank you for all your support and friendship over the last few years.”

Like a short string of dominoes, Washington was the second of the three North American stations to fall.

Of whatever small value it served, I elected to end each daily briefing with a “group therapy” session so that Austrian Airlines and Swissport employees could explore their emotions about the pending “family break-up.”

On September 15, Michael Steinbuegl, JFK Station Manager for four years, was promoted to Key Account Manager, North America, and became responsible for all three North American stations: New York, Toronto, and Washington.

The only thing anyone had now was the future. The head of Ground Operations discussed the reasons behind the station changes with the two remaining JFK duty managers, and they subsequently met with the Lufthansa Station Manager to discuss potential integration. Patrick held a meeting with his own management to explore the migration of Swissport personnel to other JFK accounts.

As the calendar flipped into October, one of the staff members noted on the washboard used to detail the daily flight information: “Countdown: 45 days.” And in the “Notes” section of the daily briefing sheet, I urged, “Smile while you still can. The days are running out.”

Clarifying the events, Paul Paflik, former Area Manager of North America, wrote, “Due to the economic environment, I regret that we, as a company, had no other choice to survive but to exploit the full cost synergies with Lufthansa wherever we could. This includes close cooperation at the stations worldwide. It is sad for some of our dedicated staff, but, again, we had no other choice if we wished to survive as a company.”

The rest of the Austrian Airlines’ route system equally fell victim to this reality.

A former JFK colleague, for instance, who had since worked at several other stations, wrote, “Finally, the ax has come round to smite me down as well. I will leave Austrian Airlines after 20 years… It seems as if I am no longer needed within this Austrian ‘New Generation.’

“We walked a 20-year path together, which has predictably terminated with the long-awaited ‘Anschluss’ we joked about many times, but we had somehow always narrowly avoided. Now that the inevitable has come, it means the end for many of us.

“There is an ironic parallel to the Star Trek saga here. It seems that we, the old, original crew, have been left behind in our old ship to drift away out of sight, replaced by Lufthansa. The good ship ‘Austrian” is gone forever.

“So I say farewell with no regrets and a bag full of fond memories to take with me slung across my shoulder.”

Andre, an Austrian Airlines Cargo Sales Manager, summed up the prevailing feeling.

“What can I say,” he wrote? “From the start, through the middle, and to the end, your life experiences bring out your emotions.”

The integration had already begun. Introduced to Lufthansa operations, I was asked to observe one of its 747-400 flights to Frankfurt.

Unwinding to the one-month mark, the calendar’s clock indicated October 15 and on the daily briefing sheet I noted, “Observe the date and count backwards from 30… “

Issuing the last Austrian Airlines duty roster on October 18, the station manager distributed it to his staff, but it abruptly terminated on the 16th of November for all but two of them.

Like advancing forces, two Lufthansa Duty Managers began to familiarize themselves with Austrian flight preparation procedures. Could there be any question now?

Halloween dawned mild, but blustery, causing the streets to be blanketed with red and gold leaves. But the blows continued internally, inside station JFK, and cargo was the next to go-and to say goodbye.

Confirming this, Peter Schleinzer, Austrian Airlines North American Cargo Manager, sent the following notice: “This is to advise you that Austrian Airlines Cargo will be moving and transferring its Air Cargo Operations and Sales activities from Menzies Aviation, Building 75, to Lufthansa Cargo, Building 23.”

Clearly, no department or division would be exempt.

November 1 marked the last portion of the collective Austrian-Swissport journey. Fifteen days remained until the road would fork.

The next transition occurred on the ramp. In an internal email from Lufthansa Duty Manager Edwin Haas, he wrote, “In order to prepare for Austrian Airlines, I would like to ensure that you are all familiar with their ramp procedures. Therefore, please make sure that one agent per day is present to observe their operation.”

Knowledge continued to be transferred. Several Passenger Service familiarization classes were given to Lufthansa check-in staff and their supervisors were versed on Austrian flight preparation procedures. Their blue uniform presence had already begun.

The parting messages also continued. Helnut Haubenwaller, Chief Boeing 767 Pilot, sent the following email in early November.

“With the final days for the Austrian Airlines JFK Station to come, I would like to thank all of you for your professional, solution-oriented, and always-friendly work at Terminal One. Your motivation and the quality of the handling of our flights has always been of the highest level, even if other factors sometimes made life difficult. From crew check-in to receiving the load sheet and leaving ahead of schedule, all of you gave us the feeling that we were departing a home station. And we know that you did far more for our crews than anyone could have expected.

“Once again, a big THANK YOU and all the best to all of you from Austrian Airlines Flight Operations.”

Characteristic of any move was its preparation and packing. Sending the following email reminder to station staff, I wrote, “It is with a heavy heart and much sorrow that I must remind everyone that the days are rapidly dwindling and that we need to begin the lengthy clean-up process of our ‘home.’ New tenants have already taken a look at our residence and intend to move in on December 1.”

Like memories, the old flight files were deposited into history.

Friday, the 13th, was a desolate, gray, rainy day. Then again, they all seemed to be that fall.

The “home” the staff had so painstakingly created over the years began to be dismantled, reduced to memories, and their remaining time as a joint Austrian Airlines-Swissport station could now be measured in hours.

Anyone clinging to the last hope of being rehired by Lufthansa was abruptly disillusioned when they read the latest telex.

“I have been informed by Lufthansa today,” wrote the head of Ground Operations, “that, unfortunately, they are unable to take over anyone from Austrian Airlines due to legal reasons.”

Why would anyone expect a silver lining in the dark cloud that hovered over station JFK now?

Despite what may be emotional attempts to prepare for reality before it occurs, the November 14 note on the washboard quickly nullified that theory. “Countdown: 1 day,” it said. And if it needed any more proof, it came in the form of an email on the same day.

“Please be informed about the following changes at JFK as of November 16, 2009,” it said:

“Supervision and Station Management: Lufthansa.

“Passenger Handling and Lost and Found: Lufthansa.

“Weight and Balance: Centralized Load Control, Lufthansa.”

The only hope anyone had now was they would soon wake up from the same nightmare. They didn’t.

Another acknowledgment of the situation’s finality came in the form of a letter from Pio Neria, Swissport Terminal One Manager.

“Thank you very much for all the things we went through together during the past seven years,” he said. “It was sometimes fun and memorable.

“Mike, thank you for always treating the Swissport staff as one with Austrian Airlines. This is something that does not happen all the time and something we will not forget.

“Robert, thank you for all your support and for guiding and grooming the staff members.”

November 15 was mild, but gray and heavy, as if an anvil had been pounded into it, and the mostly fallen leaves left the trees bare, reflecting everyone’s internal emptiness. Today, they would write the last page of Austrian Airlines’ station JFK history.

All Austrian and Swissport staff were scheduled to work that day-or, more accurately, to say “goodbye” that day.

Omi, wearing personal clothes, walked into the office at 11:40 and automatically asked, “What’s up?”

“Well, this is the last day,” I hesitantly replied. “Let me see if I can find something else… “

Swinging her head around, she looked at the washboard, whose note hit her like a bullet. “Countdown: 0 days,” it said.

The 1:30 briefing, somehow arriving more rapidly than it had on any other day, could barely support the more than 20 staff members, as many, braking from their traditional, company-dictated roles, confirmed the group’s disbandment. Damian read part of the briefing sheet, while Monica and Madaive became temporary “Supervisors of the day.”

The “Notes” section of the briefing sheet read: “Last day, last briefing, last chapter.”

Flooded with emotion, I read the “Parting Speech” I had prepared, but often felt as if I were wading my way through a thick trench.

“On New Year’s Day, January 1, 2003,” I began, “I sat at my usual desk and then-Station Manager Mary Tretter walked into this very office. Lufthansa, which had performed most of Austrian Airlines’ ground-handling at JFK in Terminal One since Austrian itself joined the Star Alliance, passed the torch to Swissport USA that day. Since Lufthansa was well acquainted with our procedures and used their own computer system, she had some trepidation about the transition, looking me in the eyes and asking, ‘Are we really going to go through with this today?’ That was January 1, 2003. Today is November 15, 2009, or almost seven years later. The interval proves two things to me:

“First, that time passes much faster than you think. And second, that nothing in the physical world is permanent. Everything has a beginning and everything has an ending. And I think you know which end we’re at today. We have done so much in these briefings. Now we have one last order of business to complete-namely, to say goodbye.

“We all traveled this road together. For some it was longer than for others, but the number of faces seen and the events experienced during that time, both good and bad, is almost unfathomable.

“The road, however, is actually a shorter portion of the longer ‘life road’ we all walk everyday, in that both serve as developmental paths and thresholds to our ultimate, higher existences.

“Of that development, there are two types. The first, the professional one, includes learning, understanding, and performing job-related functions, such as Passenger Check-In, Ticketing, Baggage Services, Ramp Supervision, Load Control, and Management. The second, the personal one, deals more with personality and character refinement, strengthening, and growth. You have all, whether you are aware of it or not, engaged in both types here, where many successful professional and personal chapters of your own lives were written. For many of you, Swissport in general, and Austrian Airlines in particular, served as your entry into the airline industry. None of you will leave today the same way you came in–that is, when you first began your employment with us.

“Annie, for instance, is one of only two remaining from the original team and holds the third highest seniority of anyone on the station. Having weathered the Delta Air Lines code-share agreement, the joint Austrian Airlines-Sabena-Swissair station under the Atlantic Excellence banner, the Star Alliance, numerous ground handling companies and concepts, and four terminals, she was instrumental in building JFK over the past 15 years, and has performed Passenger Service, Ticket Sales-Reservations, Ramp Supervision, and even Duty Manager functions, as well as a myriad of other activities too numerous to cite here.

“Sidonie, with whom I have shared more alternate names and recipes than any other person, led her team to and at the Ticket Sales-Reservations counter.

“Dorit, who joined the JFK team as Duty Manager in 2006, was instrumental in creating the North American Station Ticketing Procedures Training Program, having frequently taught in Chicago, Toronto, and Washington, as well as having occasionally performed this function here at JFK.

“Ecaterina was one of only two to transition from Swissport to Austrian Airlines, and during her five-year tenure has performed Passenger Service and Ticket Sales functions.

“And Susanna, who was the only one to join the airport staff from Whitestone, equally performed Ticket Sales functions. Although she was only with us for six months, we quickly came to love her.

“Patrick, with Swissport, has held Passenger Service Agent, Ramp Supervisor, Load Controller, Lead Agent, and Account Manager positions; has taken nine local courses within the Austrian Airlines North American Station Training Program and two in Vienna; and is the second Load Controller to have been licensed on the local level. In his personal life, he had a son, earned his Private Pilot License, and completed his Bachelor of Science degree in aviation.

“David achieved many of the same things: he performed Passenger Service, Baggage Services, Ramp Supervision, and Load Control functions; took six local courses and one in Vienna; was the third locally licensed Load Controller; and also had a son.

“Josue, the fourth locally licensed Load Controller, performed Passenger Service, Ramp Supervision, and Load Control functions; took seven local courses and one in Vienna; and later completed load sheets for Saudi Arabian Airlines and Turkish Airlines.

“Omar, who joined the Austrian Airlines account from Royal Air Maroc, was the Baggage Services/Lost and Found Lead Agent and ran an exemplary department, establishing procedures, organizing, training Whaid and Steven, and even structuring other North American Baggage Services departments. Because of his efforts and contributions, JFK won an award for its improvement.

“Omi and Berqui, having both commenced their careers with Swissport in Passenger Service, were equally promoted to Lead Agents of the Austrian Airlines account. They intermittently completed their university degree studies, and Omi even pursued a minor in aviation. Both developed into beautiful ladies.

“Damian, having spent more than half a decade with Swissport-Austrian Airlines, performed Passenger Check-in, Arrivals, Flight Controller, and Departure Gate functions, but Austrian Airlines was more than just a ‘job’ for him: it was his family, his friends, his laughs, his holidays, and his annual ski trip vacations to the Poconos. For him, it was ‘home.’ In fact, he twice ran away from home, to other airline accounts, during his five-year tenure, and twice he came back.

“Passenger Service and Ramp Supervision contributions were also made by everyone else, including Syed, Kewal, Lorena, Cristina, Monica, Pinky, Madaive, Wendy, and Jean.

“Because of all of you, JFK can be credited with numerous strengths, accomplishments, and successes.

“And if you think I forgot Mike, think again. He is singularly responsible for cultivating the atmosphere and orchestrating the steps that allowed every one of these strengths and accomplishments to have been made here. If you think he is like most station managers, you better think again. He is a rare breed indeed!

“My own accomplishments can be reflected by the numerous roles I played here: manager, director, mentor, psychologist, teacher, writer, travel agent, entertainer, jokester, recipe creator, alternate name provider, and even Omi’s father.

“Throughout our joint history, there was never any barrier between the two groups, just a seamless interface between Austrian Airlines and Swissport-in other words, humanity connecting with humanity, regardless of which company they worked for.

“I could cite the economic reasons–although no one would agree with them–why this had to end today. But if it had not been for them, it would have ended anyway, one way or another. Do I say this because I know of some deep, dark secret from Vienna? No, I say it because, as previously mentioned, nothing is permanent in this physical world, and it prepares us, in some small way, for the sometimes-difficult task of moving to the next stage of our development. When we are finished with that segment, we must leave it behind. Someday, after we ‘walk’ all the developmental paths of our lives here, we will leave them all behind.

“Today may serve as one small preparation for that inevitability. But, paradoxically, that is when we will regain the bond we were forced to break today. That is when we will see each other, everyday, when there are no days left down here.

“I do not know if we will walk the same path again in this existence. But I do know that, whatever paths you do walk, if you walk them well, and correctly, and ethically, that every one of them will lead to the same destination-up there.

“Your tears are tears of conversion–an attempt to ‘convert back’ those empty pockets you will assuredly feel when you leave here tonight–as you ‘disconnect’ from everyone, because, you see, this began as a venue where we would work together, but it ended up one where we played together, and laughed together, and cried together-in other words, we temporarily re-merged into the ‘oneness’ from which we all came.

“And now comes the difficult part–leaving behind what we created and making a significant life change. Change is something everyone resists, yet it is actually the mechanism by which we are moved to the next stage of our developmental paths.

“Today, I want you to take three things with you.

“First, I want you to take all your professional-level learning experiences with you, whether they concern check-in or load control or ticketing.

“Second, I want you to take your pleasant memories with you. For each of you, they will be different. They may be a joke, a funny name, a glance, the cheese provided by Rocio, the Secret Santas at Christmas, the ski trips, or the pumpkin soup served during Thanksgiving. Whatever they are, cherish them. And remember, no one can take them away from you.

“And finally, I want you to take with you the ‘bigger picture’ lesson that was taught here-namely, that, when you give to others what you yourself have been given, whether you are asked to or not and whether you are paid to or not, that a harmony results, and that you are not only a part of that harmony, but the partial creator of it.

“And now, as the clock rapidly consumes our final hours together, the last order of business is to thank each and everyone of you for your time, efforts, contributions, ideas, jokes, and laughs-your presence. And most of all, I thank you for letting me lead you.

“Each one of you is one small reason why, together, we were one big success.

“I wish you that same degree of success as you leave here today, as you write the next chapter of your lives and follow the next part of your developmental path.

“Until we see each other again-and we will… “

During the speech, it was difficult to gauge which sound was louder: the uncontrollable sobs or the stark silence.

Cameras, flashing throughout the day at the check-in counter, captured the final closing of the aircraft door–a picture of a waving flight attendant, a second of Austrian Airlines’ JFK history frozen in time and forever preserved.

Depressing the button on my radio, I announced, “The last Austrian-Swissport 088 is off the blocks at 42 past the hour,” or 13 minutes ahead of schedule with 30 business and 176 economy class passengers on board.

And with the last flight, even Kewal was granted his long-awaited wish: he finally ramped the aircraft, with Cristina.

Amid computer cord disconnections, emptying shelves, and furniture movement in the office–a piece by piece dismantling of our seven-year “home”–a post-departure and post-station party ensued, highlighted by visits of more than a dozen prior Austrian Airlines and Swissport employees who felt compelled to return “home” one last time, and ended with the inevitable tears and the draining emotionalization generated by each and every final “goodbye” as they left-that is, with each and every final disconnection.

Somehow appropriately, I accompanied Annie to the parking lot. We were the first to work for Austrian Airlines, tracing our respective roots to 1989 and 1994, and we were the last to leave.

“For God’s sake,” Annie exclaimed, “I’ve known you for 16½ years,” as tears preceded a final hug.

Driving away from the airport that night, I felt the most overwhelming sense of emptiness I had ever experienced in my life.

III

The final nail had been hammered into Austrian Airline’s North American operation, sealing its fate. JFK was the third and last station to have been ceded to Lufthansa, after Toronto and Washington, and its reservations department, Whitestone headquarters, and cargo handling had also been lost in the process.

In November, Swissport, its seven-year ground handler, passed the torch to Lufthansa, and station JFK, both North America’s first and last, closed its doors to autonomous handling after 21 years.

My emptiness, now coupled with numbness, continued the following morning.

Ecaterina, representing the last thread to the now-closed play, stopped by to pick up some personal belongings, but as I escorted her to the escalator, I saw her take one last glance at the ticket counter that had served as her daily “home” for the past three years. Watching her recede, I saw her form the word “goodbye” on her lips, but she refused to match it with the sound that would have finalized its reality.

The last move was my own–the relocation to one of two duty manager desks in the Lufthansa office. How long I would sit there and would I ever equate these new surroundings with the word “home” were questions that filtered through my mind.

No longer in uniform, both I and the other Austrian Duty Manager wore business attire and were now responsible for the daily operation of five Air China, Austrian Airlines, and Lufthansa flights.

Untethered to the family I had known, I felt displaced, as if I no longer belonged there. Then again, there was little “Austrian Airlines” left to which to belong. Infiltrated with feelings of guilt, I wondered why I had survived the transition while most of my colleagues had not.

During passenger check-in, which had been relocated from aisle H to aisle G, I stole a glance at the former Austrian Airlines ticket counter. It only revealed emptiness-no red uniforms, no Annie, no Sidonie, no Jenner, no Ecaterina, no Susanna-and two keyboards their hands would never again touch.

The same Austrian 767-300, registered OE-LAX, departed from the same gate that day as it had the previous one, but, now handled by agents I was only acquainted with and who wore blue Lufthansa uniforms, it seemed different and somehow far removed from the one I had always known. What a difference a day can make.

I thought of the four no-longer present Ticket Agents who were laid off and their empty chairs. Six months from now, I felt, mine would be one of them. (It was.)

IV

The morning of December 31 revealed a transformed world. The ground was covered with a light blanket of snow and the trees, like an endless line of brown sculptures, appeared coated in white sugar.

Re-entering the now-former Austrian Airlines office, I walked through it, allowing the past to replay in the present-in my mind.

I looked at the narrow room where the Baggage Services Department had been located and the countless, sometimes multi-faceted briefings had occurred, before moving into the main office.

Passing the area where a table extension had once stood, I thought of the hundreds of cockpit crew briefings that had been held there and the makeshift “buffet” that it had become during holidays, displaying birthday cakes and Thanksgiving dishes.

Eyeing the floor in front of what had been the load control desk, I could just detect where the small Christmas tree had been annually placed, at least in my imagination.

Visualizing the chair where David, one of the three load controllers, sat, I swore his daily question reverberated in my mind.

“Robert, are we closed yet,” he would ask, in anticipation of sending the load sheet?

Yes, David, I answered, permanently.

Stark and silent, deserted and devoid, the Austrian Airlines office now seemed like a lifeless stage where the past seven years had played out. But the desks were gone. A cabinet door, still ajar, revealed an empty shelf. A piece of tape was still stuck to the wall, but whatever had been affixed to it had apparently long ago relinquished its grip. And an old boarding pass resting on the floor seemed to bear the collective shoe prints of the countless hundreds who had worked there.

Somewhere, at the stroke of midnight, someone clinked glasses of champagne, amidst another dusting of snow, to ring in the New Year, but no one was present to hear them. The soul that was Austrian Airlines had departed the station.

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Cheap Flights From El Paso: Guide to the ELP Airport, Airlines, and Affordable Destinations

Whether you are from El Paso or traveling through, you can use the internet to help you find discount airfare. The ELP serves as the gateway to West Texas and Northern and Southern New Mexico. You can fly to other parts of the country as well; There are six airlines that fly in and out several times a day. It's usually not difficult to find cheap flights from El Paso to every region of the US.

If you want to fly to Vegas, Orlando, or San Diego, Allegiant Airlines offers some great deals. American Airlines offers nonstop flights to major cities like Dallas, Los Angeles, and Chicago, and connections to international destinations. Other airlines that serve ELP include Southwest, Frontier, Delta, and United. Southwest Airlines is the top carrier flying out of ELP, offering more than 1,200 flights per month.

If you need to get to Dallas or certain cities in NM from other parts of the country, decide whether it would be cheaper to fly direct or to first fly to El Paso and then onwards to Dallas. Since airfare can change on a daily basis, you might want to be as flexible with the dates and times as possible. One day you might find that there are no cheap flights from El Paso to your destination, and on the very next day there could be several to choose from.

The Best Days for Cheap Flights from El Paso

A lot of travel experts recommend flying out on certain days of the week in order to get the cheapest rates. For instance, departing in the middle of the week and returning on a Sunday or Tuesday will usually yield you a good deal for a roundtrip. However, this is not always the case, especially around holidays, so you'll still want to take the time to go over your options and compare rates.

ELP is a nice airport, so you can enjoy yourself while you wait for the boarding process to begin. There are two history galleries with artifacts and images, as well as a shopping center on the Main Floor, which can be accessed pre-security checkpoint. High speed Wi-Fi internet access is available throughout the terminal.

The rates are set by the individual airlines themselves rather than the airport. Sometimes you will find additional discounts and promotional codes from third party travel bargain sites. Don't just look for cheap flights from El Paso – look into hotel + air combo packages. It's possible to save on the trip as a whole if you book everything at once.

You can find all of these packages and deals online. The airfare search and comparison tools are very easy to use. You'll find cheap flights from El Paso to just about any destination in no time.

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Allegiant Airlines – Spend Less and Fly Easy

Allegiant Airlines, also known Allegiant Air, is a low-cost airline operator in United States, headquartered in Las Vegas. The airline operates to more than 70 destinations in America, mostly to small cities that have limited passenger airline service. In fact, in some places it is the only passenger airline that operates. Since it is a low-cost carrier, the airline operates many methods to cut cost. However, they offer good services as well to passengers who travel via this airline. Before flying with this airline, be sure to see their website about any updated regulations they have come up with.

Passengers are recommended to check-in two hours before the departure time. Airline desks at the airport close about 45 minutes before departure. The carry-on baggage that you have with you must be able to fit under your seat or the overhead compartment. The size specified for hand baggage is 9 x 16 x 19 inches. $4 is charged by the airline for every bag; each bag must weigh less than 50 lbs and four bags are permitted per passenger. Bags having excess weight are charged extra.

As mentioned earlier, the airline does several things to cut cost being a low-cost carrier. The airline does not operate flights to and from the destinations daily, but on some days of a week. You will have to make your travel plans according to the schedule, if you are traveling by this airline. Amenities like pillow, beverage, different types of food and beverages etc, are available for purchase on the flight. Passengers are allowed to carry pets in cabin for $50 each way.

Allegiant Air’s fleet consists of planes of different types having an average age of 20.6 years and equipped with economy seating arrangements. The fleet consists of:

• Boeing 757-200

• McDonnell Douglas MD-81

• McDonnell Douglas MD-8

• McDonnell Douglas MD-83

• McDonnell Douglas MD-87

• McDonnell Douglas MD-88

Allegiant Airlines has received many awards and recognition for their services. In August 2010, the airline received Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) Diamond Award of Excellence. Aviation Week ranked the airline as the ‘Top Performing Low-Cost Carrier’ and it has also entered the list of 25 under the Fortune 100 Fastest Growing Companies category.

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Cheap Flights to Myrtle Beach – Info About Nearby Airports, Airlines, and Popular Hotels

Myrtle Beach is one of the top travel destinations along the Eastern Seaboard. The most popular times to visit are during winter and spring break. However, if it’s a bargain you’re after, you’ll find cheap flights to Myrtle Beach during off-season, which is during the summer and around fall. If you go during the summer, be sure to bring plenty of sun block, since the weather will be hot. If you go during fall, beware that it is hurricane season in the Atlantic.

The Myrtle Beach International Airport serves nearly 1,000,000 people per year. There are multiple airlines that fly directly into MYR from cities including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Boston, Washington DC, Huntington, Dallas – Fort Worth, Charlotte, and many more.

The following airlines fly directly into MYR:

• United

• Delta

• Allegiant

• American

• Spirit

• Porter

Since it’s an International airport, there are a number of international flights from cities across the world.

The airport is located just three miles SE of the central business district, so you’ll easily be able to make it to your hotel via taxi, shuttle, or car rental. You might be able to find a better deal if you fly to Wilmington, NC, if you don’t mind traveling the 74.7 miles to Myrtle Beach by bus or rental car. Another airport to look into is Grand Strand Airport, located north of the beach.

Since it’s a small vacation destination, it’s easy to get around Myrtle Beach. All of the hotels are close to the airport and major tourist attractions. Some of the popular hotels include Sea Mist, Westgate, Sea Crest Oceanfront Resort, Dunes Village Resort, Best Western, and Mariana Inn.

Additional Vacation Options to Look for With Cheap Flights to Myrtle Beach

When you are searching for cheap flights to Myrtle Beach, you might want to look into packages that include lodging as well. There are also all inclusive vacation packages that include dining and entertainment. If you stay in a hotel near the airport, you can take a shuttle from the Ivory Wilson Transfer Station, which stops at several convenient locations.

There is a lot to do in the area. You can simply opt to stay at the beach all day, every day, or spend some time going to the Coastal Grand Mall and shopping at 140 or so stores, or go golfing at Whispering Pines Golf Course.

Whether you are just currently interested in cheap flights to Myrtle Beach or also want to go ahead and book your airfare and/or car rental, it’s a good time to find discounts on vacation packages.

Get some last minute travel deals, cheap flights to Myrtle Beach, and more with online promo codes. It’s the best place for any traveler looking for a good bargain, whether you need to go on a business trip or simply want to relax on the beach.

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The Stages of US Airline Deregulation

I. Regulation

Although US airline deregulation was initially envisioned as leading to an increased number of carriers whose divergent service concepts, market segments, fleets, and route structures would have produced new competition, stimulated traffic, and lowered fares, it ultimately came full cycle and only resulted in virtual monopoly. Three distinct stages occurred during its evolution.

The regulation itself traces its origin to 1938 when Congress adopted the Civil Aeronautics Act. Its resultant five-member Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), formed two years later in 1940, regulated fares, authorized routes, awarded subsidies, and approved interline agreements, among other functions.

“Regulation, by definition, substitutes the judgment of the regulator for that of the marketplace,” according to Elizabeth E. Bailey, David R. Graham, and Daniel P. Kaplan in their book, Deregulating the Airlines (The MIT Press, 1985, p. 96).

So regulated had the environment been, in fact, that an airline often had to resort to the purchase of another carrier just to obtain its route authority. Delta Air Lines, for example, long interested in providing nonstop service between New York and Florida, continually petitioned the CAB for the rights. But the regulatory agency felt that Northeast, a small local service carrier often plagued by low traffic, financial loss, and bad weather because of its route system, needed the lucrative Florida route’s revenue potential to boost it back to health and granted it the authority instead.

Undaunted, Delta ultimately resorted to acquiring the regional carrier and subsequently received approval for the merger on April 24, 1972. But these extremes would shortly no longer be needed.

A glimpse of the future could already be had in California and Texas. Devoid of jurisdiction over local air transportation, the CAB could neither exercise fare nor route authority over intrastate airlines and these carriers, usually offering high-frequency, single-class, no-frills service at half the fares the regulated “trunk” airlines were forced to charge, consistently recorded both profit and traffic growth.

Air California and PSA Pacific Southwest Airlines, for example, operating in the Los Angeles-San Francisco market, saw yearly traffic figures increase from 1.5 million passengers in 1960 to 3.2 million in 1965. Texas-based Southwest Airlines similarly provided low-fare service between Dallas and Houston and other Texas points. These airlines demonstrated that true deregulation could yield fares accessible to average-income passengers, provide greater airline and service concept choice, and stimulate traffic.

Passengers and government alike increasingly decried regulation during the mid-1970s, citing the examples set by Air California, PSA, Southwest, and other intrastate airlines as demonstrable proof that deregulation could produce mutual airline- and passenger-benefit. At least that was the theory.

Ultimately conceding to reason and democratic rule, President Jimmy Carter signed the Airline Deregulation Act on October 28, 1978, in the process eliminating the need for CAB approval of route entrance and exit and reducing most of the current fare restrictions. Even those would eventually be eliminated when the Civil Aeronautics Board, in its now famous “sunset,” was disbanded in 1985.

At the time of the event, eleven then-designated “trunk” carriers collectively controlled 87.2 percent of the domestic revenue passenger miles (RPMs), while 12 regionals, 258 commuters, five supplemental, and four intrastates provided the balance of the RPM distribution. Which would still ply the skies when deregulation’s dust settled?

II. Deregulation

Stage One: New Generation Airlines:

Like the California and Texas intrastate airlines, an increasing number of nontraditional, deregulation-spawned carriers initially infiltrated the US market. The first of these, Midway Airlines, was the first to receive certification after the passage of the Airline Deregulation Act and the first to actually inaugurate service, in 1979.

Founded three years earlier by Irwing Tague, a former Hughes Airwest executive, Midway inaugurated low-fare, high-frequency, no-frills “Rainbow Jet” service in November of that year from Chicago’s underutilized Midway Airport-which was once the city’s only airfield until O’Hare was built and which Midway hoped to resurrect the same way Southwest had at Dallas’s Love Field–with five single-class, 86-passenger, former TWA DC-9-10s, initially to Cleveland, Detroit, and Kansas City. Its low fare structure fostered rapid growth and it strategically hoped to penetrate the Chicago market without attracting O’Hare competition from the established carriers.

But, having been employed by Midway, the author can attest that it quickly learned three vital lessons, which indicated that it would have to remain tremendously flexible in order to survive under prevailing competitive market conditions:

Although it served a secondary Chicago-area airport, it first and foremost still competed in the Chicago market.

Secondly, once the incumbent airlines lowered their fares, its load factors declined.

Finally, the high-density, low-fare strategy, which had become the principle characteristics of deregulation-spawned upstarts, was ineffective when an airline attempted to cater to a specific market segment, such as the higher yield business one, where increased comfort and service were expected.

Resultantly, Midway modified its strategy by introducing a conservative cream-colored livery; single-class, four-abreast business cabin seating with increased legroom; additional carry-on luggage space; and upgraded, complimentary-wine in-flight service in exchange for higher than Rainbow Jet fares, but those which were still below the major carriers’ unrestricted coach tariffs.

The newly implemented strategy, dubbed “Midway Metrolink,” significantly reduced the number of seats per aircraft. While its DC-9-10s and -30s had respectively accommodated 86 and 115 passengers, for example, they were reconfigured for only 60 and 84 under the new Metrolink strategy.

Apparently successful, it sparked explosive growth, from an initial 56,040 passengers in 1979 to almost 1.2 million in 1983.

Capitol Air, another deregulation-transformed carrier of which the author had equally been a part, also experienced initial, rapid expansion. Formed in 1946 as Capitol Airways, it had commenced domestic charter service with Curtiss C-46 Commandos and DC-4s, eventually acquiring larger L-049 Constellations, and by 1950 became the fifth largest US supplemental carrier after World Airways, Overseas National (ONA), Trans International (TIA), and Universal. It acquired the first of what was to become one of the largest used-Super Constellation fleets in January of 1960, eventually operating 17 L-749s, L-1049Gs, and L-1049Hs during the 14-year period from 1955 to 1968.

Redesignated Capitol International Airways, the charter airline took delivery of its first pure-jet in September of 1963, a DC-8-30, and subsequently operated four versions of the McDonnell-Douglas design, inclusive of the -30, -50, -61, and -63 series, which replaced the Lockheed Constellation as the workhorse of its fleet.

Receiving scheduled authority in September of 1978, Capitol inaugurated New York-Brussels service on May 5 of the following year and a second, Chicago/Boston-Brussels transatlantic sector on June 19. Like PSA and Southwest, Capitol Air, a former supplemental carrier, was not regulated by the CAB and therefore conducted its own “deregulation experiment” by sublimating proven charter economics of single-class, high-density, low unrestricted and even standby fares to scheduled service in order to attain low seat-mile costs and profitability.

The scheduled concept, branded “Sky Saver Service,” consistently attracted capacity-exceeding demand and sparked considerable fleet and route system expansion. Operating six DC-8-61s, five DC-8-63s, and five DC-10-10s to seven US domestic, three Caribbean, and three European destinations from a New York-JFK hub by 1982, it attracted an ever-increasing passenger base: 611,400 passengers in 1980, 1,150,000 in 1981, and 1,824,000 in 1982.

Passengers, unaware of deregulation-molded carriers whose low fares could only attain profitability with used aircraft, high-density seating, and lower-wage nonunion employees, often voiced criticism about Capitol Air’s non-interline policy and refusal to provide meals and hotel rooms during delays and compensation during missed, other-airline connections. Nevertheless, its fares in the New York-Los Angeles market ranged from an unrestricted $149 based upon a round-trip purchase to a one-way $189, while the majors’ unrestricted tariffs in the market hovered at the $450 mark. As a result, Capitol Air’s load factors exceeded 90 percent.

By September of 1981 ten new carriers received operating certificates and inaugurated service.

“The first effects of deregulation were dramatic,” wrote Anthony Sampson in Empires of the Sky: The Politics, Contests, and Cartels of World Airlines (Random House, 1984, p. 136). “A new breed of air entrepreneurs saw the chance to expand small companies or to establish ‘instant airlines’ which could undercut fares on local routes; they could dispense with much of the superstructure and bureaucracy of the big airlines and could use their flexibility to hit the giants at their weakest points where they could make quick returns.”

Four types of airline types emerged and exerted considerable initial impact on the traditionally regulated airline industry.

The first were the deregulation-spawned upstarts, such as Air Atlanta, Air Florida, Air One, Altair, America West, Best, Carnival, Empire, Florida Express, Frontier Horizon, Jet America, Midway, Midwest Express, MGM Grand Air, Morris Air, Muse Air, New York Air, Northeastern International, Pacific East Air, Pacific Express, PEOPLExpress, Presidential, Reno Air, SunJet International, The Hawaii Express, and ValuJet.

The second were the deregulation-matured local service carriers, including Allegheny, Frontier, Hughes Airwest, North Central, Ozark, Piedmont, Southern, and Texas International, which quickly outgrew their former, regulation-imposed geographic concentrations.

The third, the boundary-crossing intrastate airlines, encompassed companies such as Air California (later AirCal), Alaska, Aloha, Hawaiian, PSA, Southwest, and Wien Air Alaska.

The fourth were the deregulation-transformed charters, such as Capitol Air, Trans International (later Transamerica), and World Airways.

Although some of these carriers, particularly Air One and MGM Grand Air, targeted very specific market niches by offering premium seating and service, the vast majority, whether spawned, raised, or matured by deregulative parenting, attained (or attempted to attain) profitability by means of several core operating characteristics, including, of course, low, unrestricted fares, single-hub, short- to medium-range route systems, high-density seating, limited onboard service, lower wage nonunion work forces, and medium-range, medium-capacity trijets, such as the 727, and short-range, low-capacity twinjets, such as the BAC-111, the DC-9, the 737, and the F.28.

All achieved high load factors, generated tremendous traffic in existing and emerging markets, and created considerable competition.

“In this respect,” wrote Barbara Sturken Peterson and James Glab in their book, Rapid Descent: Deregulation and the Shakeout in the Airlines (Simon and Schuster, 1994, p. 307), “deregulation worked like a charm.”

Stage Two: Monopoly:

Although the established, traditionally regulated major carriers temporarily lowered their fares in selected high deregulation airline-concentrated markets in order to retain their passenger bases, the established airlines, long nurtured and protected by regulation, were not structured for profitable operation with them. Yet even in those cases where they managed to eliminate competition from the market, another low-fare upstart seemed waiting in the wings to fill the void.

The incumbent carriers were thus faced with the choice of relinquishing painstakingly developed markets or dwindle financial resources to retain passengers until they themselves slipped into bankruptcy. It quickly became apparent that the deregulation-sparked fare reductions would become permanent elements of the “new” unregulated airline industry and the major carriers eventually discovered that they had to fundamentally restructure themselves or succumb to the new breed of airlines. Almost every aspect of their operations would, in the end, be transformed.

The first aspect targeted was the route system. Traditionally comprised of point-to-point, nonstop service, which had its origins in 1940 and 1950 CAB route authorizations, these route systems actually contained no inherent “system” at all, and consisted instead of unbalanced geographical encompassments that resulted in lost revenue to other carriers and inefficient, uneconomical use of existing fleets. What was really needed was a centralized “collecting point” for self-feed.

Because of bilateral agreements, European carriers actually operated the first “hubs,” channeling passengers from, say, Copenhagen to Athens by means of an intermediate connecting point such as Dusseldorf. Any passenger flying either the Copenhagen-Dusseldorf or Athens-Dusseldorf sector could theoretically transfer to any of the airline’s outward-radiating flight spokes, vastly increasing the number of markets potentially served. These European capital hubs also demonstrated increased aircraft utilization, improved traffic flow, a larger market base than traditional point-to-point service relying only on origin-and-destination traffic could have supported, and retention of the connecting passenger.

“Although passengers prefer frequent nonstop service, such service can be quite costly,” according to Bailey, Graham, and Kaplan (p. 74). “Airlines thus face strong incentives to establish hub-and-spoke operations… By combining passengers with different origins and destinations, a carrier can increase the average number of passengers per flight and thereby reduce costs. Essentially the broader scope of operation lets the carrier take advantage of the economies of scale in aircraft. At the same time a hub-and-spoke operation provides more convenient service for travelers in less heavily traveled markets.”

The first US hub had its origins in the 1940s when the government, attempting to develop the south, awarded Delta some profitable, long-range routes in exchange for its agreement to serve several small communities from Atlanta.

“All of these routes became the ‘spokes’ leading into a Delta ‘hub’ at Atlanta,” said Peterson and Glab (p. 120). “With it came the compelling benefit of passenger retention.”

Allegheny, formerly a Pittsburgh-based local service carrier without a distinctive long-range development plan, recorded considerable success on its eastern and mid-Atlantic state route network, which had progressively “evolved” because of its Pennsylvania funneling point. Increasing the balance of its predominantly business and small community route system with longer-range sectors to leisure-oriented destinations, it was further able to nurture this evolution and by 1978 73 percent of its passengers connected. By 1981 this figure rose to 89 percent-meaning that 89 percent of those flying to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh were not flying to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

The Delta and Allegheny hubs were only the beginning of the phenomenon, since the concept did more than create airline concentration in a particular city. Instead, it resulted in an ultimate monopolistic strangulation that precluded any competition.

At four of the major US hubs (Atlanta, Chicago-O’Hare, Dallas-Ft. Worth, and Denver), for example, “the two largest carriers have simply squeezed out or have made it virtually impossible for other airlines to expand and gain market share,” wrote Julius Maldutis in Airline Competition at the 50 Largest US Airports since Deregulation (Salomon Brothers, Inc., 1987, p. 4).

In Atlanta, where both Delta and Eastern once had hubs, the possibility of any significant third-carrier competition was eliminated. In 1978, for instance, Delta’s and Eastern’s hub traffic percentages were respectively 49.65- and 39.17-percent, while nine years later these figures had increased to 52.51- and 42.24-percent.

Analysis of the 50 largest airports (which represented 81.1 percent of US scheduled passenger enplanements) indicated that only ten of these airports could have been considered less than highly concentrated. On the other hand, 40 (or 80 percent) of the airports had excessive amounts of concentration. The ten most concentrated airports had one airline that had more than a 66-percent market share of passenger enplanements.

In St. Louis, where both TWA and Ozark operated hubs, the former enjoyed a 39.06- percent market share, while the latter had a 20.21-percent of it in 1978. In 1986 these corresponding figures respectively increased to 63.16 and 19.68 percent. The following year, after TWA acquired Ozark, its only other significant competitor, it parlayed this share into 82.34 percent with nine other US domestic airlines sharing the remaining 17.66 percent. An airline computer listing, reflecting all carriers operating between New York’s three major airports and St. Louis on December 1, 1995, revealed 27 flights on this day. Not one of them was operated by a carrier other than TWA! This was power.

Similarly, deregulation-matured Piedmont, which only captured a 10.19-percent market share in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1977, parlayed this into a monopolistic 87.87-percent a decade later after having established a hub there. The same transformation occurred in Pittsburgh with Allegheny/USAir/US Airways-43.65 percent in 1977 and 82.83 percent in 1987.

“Since a large proportion of city-pair markets cannot support convenient nonstop service, hub-and-spoke operations have proved to be the dominant strategy of air carriers since deregulation,” wrote Bailey, Graham, and Kaplan (p. 196). “There has been a significant shift away from the regulatory vision of linear systems and toward sunbursts of routes.”

Aside from the hubbing concept, the major carriers experienced several other fundamental changes. Aircraft, for example, were reconfigured for higher-density-and, in some cases, single-class-seating, while business cabins augmented first class and coach sections on selected routes; first class cabins were later altogether replaced by those of business class in a trend-following pattern sparked by some special-niche deregulation airlines.

Fuel-inefficient aircraft types were gradually replaced by new-generation designs and daily utilization increased-from 8.6 hours in 1971 to 10.3 hours in 1979. During the 1970s and early 1980s average aircraft size increased on long-range sectors, while during the late-1980s the size increased in all categories. During the early 1990s pure-jet technology for the first time penetrated all markets-from the 50-passenger regional to the 500-passenger intercontinental.

Employment was also metamorphosed. According to Robert Crandall, former chairman and chief executive officer of American Airlines, “deregulation is profoundly anti-labor… there has been a massive transfer of wealth from airline employees to airline passengers.”

The deregulation-spawned airlines’ fare reductions produced a lower revenue and profit base from which funding could be rechanneled into traditionally high employment salaries and benefit packages, thus necessitating increased employee productivity, cross-utilization, part-time, nonunion, profit-sharing measures. In some cases, employment was actually provided by contracted ground service companies in order to reduce benefit compensation. The author was involved in the initial ground service company experiment at JFK International Airport between Triangle Aviation Services and Royal Jordanian Airlines.

“A relatively new, but quickly developing concept, the service company provides the personnel on a contractual basis to the particular carrier for which a certain amount per daily turn-around is assessed, according to Airport-Based Airline Careers (Hicksville, New York, 1995, p. 9). “The service company then hires the personnel, conducts the training programs (if any), and determines the hourly wage and benefit package.”

Having worn Royal Jordanian’s uniform and provided all ground operations functions, I often felt “caught in the middle,” simultaneously attempting to please both the passenger and the airline. After all, they were both my customer, revealing the concept’s inherent conflict.

Reduced airline employment wages and benefits actually trace their origins to Crandall himself who devised a plan to reduce employment costs with a “B-scale” payment scheme that initially offered lower salaries to newly-hired employees and required them to accrue greater longevity before they could attain the higher “A-scale” levels.

“American (itself) was poised to increase enormously in size, and it had a strong incentive to so,” said Peterson and Glab (p. 136). “The more it expanded, the more workers it would hire-all at lower B-scale wages-and the more its average costs would drop.”

According to Bailey, Graham, and Kaplan in their work, Deregulating the Airlines, regulation created above-industry standard monetary and benefit compensation. “It is now clear that inflexible work rules and higher than competitive pay flourished during regulation. Airline employees appear to have benefited substantially from CAB’s protective regulation.” (p. 197)

Yet another deregulation-sparked necessity was the increasing reliance on automation. American Airlines, again led by Crandall, created the first computerized airline reservation system, SABRE, which was immediately followed by United’s Apollo System. As powerful sales tools, these automated systems were purchased by travel agents who paid a varying fee to their owners for each booking made while smaller carriers had to negotiate for representation.

So sophisticated and multifaceted did these systems become that their information was progressively sublimated through each aspect of the airline’s operation with their “reservation modes” providing reservations, itineraries, fares, hotel, tour, and ground transportation bookings, frequent flier mile tracking, and ticketing; their “departure control systems” (DCS) providing passenger check-in and boarding pass issuance; and their “controller modes” utilizing this information for aircraft weight and balance and load plan and load sheet generation.

It is only through these sophisticated airline reservation systems that carriers were able to implement “yield management” programs-that is, the determination of the optimized balance of passenger-attracting low fares and profit-generating high fares based upon seasonality, departure time, demand, convenience, capacity, and competition to produce an ultimately profitable flight. An airline reservation system consultation, for instance, listed 27 separate fares between New York and Los Angeles on December 1, 1995 just with American Airlines, ranging from an unrestricted $1,741.82 one-way first class fare to a highly restricted $226.36 round-trip coach fare. The codes in the “Fare Basis” column, such as “KPE7HOLN,” were accessed in order to reveal the restrictions attached to each–the printout of which spanned several pages!

Another fundamental change to the deregulated industry was both the structure of and relationship of the regional and commuter carriers to the majors. Because history is sometimes cyclic, the pattern once demonstrated by the local service airlines of abandoning small community, low-density routes when they acquired pure-jet aircraft once again occurred, but now with two primary differences: (1). The present-day regionals were never, by regulation, restricted to these routes, and (2). Although rapidly-expanding with pure-jet fleets of their own, they attempted to coexist, rather than compete, with the majors through code-share agreements in which their aircraft appeared in major-resembling liveries and their flights carried the affiliated airline’s two-letter codes.

Of the 300 destinations served by Delta during the latter part of 1995, for example, 85 of these were actually reached by one of its four “Delta Connection” code-share carriers, including Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA), Business Express, Comair, and Skywest-only the first of which had yet to acquire pure-jet equipment at that time. American outwardly purchased its own commuter-feed airlines and collectively designated them “American Eagle.”

Nevertheless, the major carriers’ deregulation-necessitated restructuring was complete.

When TWA matched Capitol Air’s unrestricted transcontinental coach fares, the former supplemental recorded 30-passenger bookings on DC-8-61 aircraft otherwise able to accommodate 252 and canceled its flights. In a similar situation, when established USAir’s and upstart’s PEOPLExpress’s load factors were analyzed in the Buffalo-Newark market between August of 1981 and June of 1982, the latter consistently reported those that were at least 20 points lower.

“The data thus suggests that many consumers chose to travel on the carrier with the greater name recognition and amenities when the fare is the same,” continued Bailey, Graham, and Kaplan (p. 106).

Competition ultimately forced Capitol Air to realign its route system to include an increasing number of ethnic and un- and underserved markets until the majors also encroached on this territory and the carrier was left with little choice but to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, ceasing operations on November 25, 1984.

Midway equally encountered major-carrier opposition. Indeed, whatever strategy it implemented to define its optimum niche, it was always counteracted by the aggressive majors. Acquiring Air Florida in 1984, for example, it reconfigured its aircraft with dual-class seating, but riding on both sides of a seesaw, it soon swung back to the single-class concept and in November of 1989 once again to the dual-class one, by which time it operated an 82-strong fleet with its “Midway Connection” affiliation and carried 5.2 million yearly passengers.

But over-expansion and an attempt to replace Eastern at its Philadelphia hub during poor economic times in direct competition with USAir resulted in its own demise two years later, on November 13.

“Although these numerous strategies indicated a constant reassessment of its proper course, they also indicated the instability of market conditions in deregulated skies and the airline’s determination to remain in them and its resiliency to navigate them with a juxtaposition of service concepts, cabin configurations, seating densities, and marketing strategies,” according to The McDonnell-Douglas DC-9 (Hicksville, New York, 1991, p. 59).

Capitol Air and Midway were only two examples of deregulation-matured carriers that succumbed to the radically restructured majors. Indeed, of the approximately 100 airlines that had been certified since the passage of the Airline Deregulation Act, only one, America West, was still in operation at the end of 1995.

“(The major airlines) implemented a strategy with which they could beat the lower-fare competition at its own game by aggressively expanding and charging comparable fares, despite high losses on certain routes, all in an effort to maintain-or, in some cases, to regain-market share… The major carriers grew mighty and monopolistic by eliminating competition wherever it was encountered,” according to the Austrian Airlines Passenger Handling Manual-JFK (Hicksville, New York, 1990, pp. 10-11).

Stage Three: Megacarrier:

Airline expansion, once set in motion, seemed self-propelled and resisted inertia. Monopolies, by definition, know no boundaries. The logical next step was foreign market penetration.

Unlike US domestic growth, however, “it was a lot tougher for a US airline to gain access to a new foreign market than to a new domestic one, because international air services were still tightly regulated by bilateral agreements between the United States and foreign governments,” wrote Peterson and Glab (p. 283). “… To win immediate operating rights to a foreign country, a US carrier had to buy the route authority from another US airline.”

The phenomenon, it will be recalled, was a virtual repetition of the US domestic governmental structure prior to deregulation. Such a purchase in the latter case was usually only granted if the route-authorized airline was in financial difficulty and needed the revenue generated by the sale to remain viable.

Pan Am, particularly hammered by deregulation’s effects, was forced to sell its lucrative Pacific division, along with aircraft and ground facilities, to United for $750 million to remain afloat. United, already then a large, financially sound airline, now had a global route network with proper domestic feed.

More important than the sale, however, was its far-reaching implications. “The United Airlines purchase of Pan Am’s Pacific division was to set off a domino effect,” continued Peterson and Glab (p. 148) “Many airlines were alarmed at the new competition they faced, especially Northwest, which objected to the nation’s largest airline moving onto its Pacific turf. Northwest knew it would need a substantially bigger domestic network of its own, and the fastest way to get one would be through a merger.”

By the end of 1986 it had done just that, acquiring Republic, which itself had been formed by the North Central-Southern merger in 1979 and the secondary Hughes Airwest acquisition in 1980, and the strategy rewarded Northwest with monopolistic status at all of its hubs, such as Minneapolis, with an 81.55-percent market share.

Delta, fearing it would be unable to compete with airlines of such magnitude, acquired Western Airlines for $860 million in September of 1986, in the process obtaining a coast-to-coast route structure and new hubs in Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.

The already described TWA-Ozark merger produced such a lock on St. Louis that it controlled three-quarters of all gates and was able to assess much higher fares in those markets where there was no competition.

In fact, these mergers only served to tighten a carrier’s already almost unrelenting grip on a particular hub. Deregulation-spawned Empire, for instance-a rapidly-expanding New York State Fokker F.28 Fellowship operator-adopted a Syracuse hub and recorded an initial 1979 market share of just.75 percent, but this exponentially increased to 27.36 percent in 1985 when Piedmont acquired the growing regional. Two years later, its market share climbed to 39.82 percent. However, when USAir in turn purchased Piedmont, the Syracuse hub lock skyrocketed to over 61 percent.

Perhaps the most encompassing (and disjointed) merger was that between PEOPLExpress and Continental, which itself had already been the result of an amalgamation between the original, pre-deregulation Continental, Texas International, and New York Air. PEOPLExpress had equally already absorbed Denver-based Frontier. Texas Air, owner of the new conglomerate, also acquired Eastern, but retained its separate identity.

All these mergers, consummated during the latter half of 1986, unequivocally produced the “megacarrier.”

“Deregulation’s theme, echoing Darwinian philosophy, clearly demonstrated itself to be ‘survival of the fittest,’ which, for the airlines, translated as ‘survival of the largest,’ according to the Austrian Airlines Passenger Service Manual-JFK (p. 10). “If the long-established major carriers… wished to survive and maintain the markets they had so carefully nurtured during regulation, they would somehow have to implement a strategy which would ensure that they would remain ‘large.'”

The major airlines’ fundamental restructuring, beginning with monopoly and ending with megacarrier, constituted that strategy, as carriers tracing their origins to the infantile days of aviation and bearing names virtually synonymous with the industry fell like a string of acquisition-induced dominoes. By 1995 only seven US megacarriers remained, including American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, TWA, United, and USAir, along with two significant majors-America West and Southwest-a few “niche” airlines, and the regional-commuters which were almost exclusively aligned with one of the megacarriers or majors through code-share agreements.

Even these names disappeared early in the 21st century. Like brides and grooms walking down a monopoly-destined aisle, Delta married Northwest, United took Continental as its lawfully wedded, American joined arms with US Airways, and Southwest tied the knot with AirTran.

III. Conclusion

Although the examples set by Air California, PSA, and Southwest had indicated that a deregulated environment would ultimately prove to be mutually advantageous to both the operating airline and the passenger, these experiments failed to approximate actual conditions, since the rest of the US airline industry was still regulated and these fledgling airlines had therefore been insulated from major-carrier competition. Lacking the authority, cost structure, and equipment, they had been unable to launch comparable service of their own.

The initial proliferation of small, low-fare, no-frills, non-unionized deregulation-spawned, -bred, and -transformed airlines provided tremendous airline-, fare-, and service concept-choice only until the major carriers implemented their fundamental route system, aircraft, employment, computerized reservation system, and regional airline affiliation restructuring, reversing the expansion phase into one of buyout, merger, bankruptcy, retrenchment, consolidation, monopoly, and, ultimately, megacarrier. The upstarts, having lacked the majors’ name recognition, financial strength, frequent flier marketing tools, and size, invariably succumbed, leaving most of the original dominant airlines, although in greatly modified form, until even these surrendered to prevailing forces. US airline deregulation had thus come full cycle.

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Flights From JFK to LAS: Overview of the Airlines, Route, and Ticket Prices

Vegas is one of the most popular vacation cities in the world. Every year, millions of people flock to the city and stay at one of the many infamous casino resorts. Those flying from the East Coast will often select NYC as their departure city. This is because flights from JFK to LAS tend to be pretty affordable. You can use online search tools to compare airfare prices.

The approach is pretty simple. You just enter the destination, select the dates, and then get a list of prices from all the different airlines. There is usually an option to search for hotels in addition to the airfare if you want to bundle the prices together. If you are flexible with the dates, you stand a better chance of getting a good deal.

The average duration of this particular flight is 5 hours and 25 minutes. The distance is 2,243 miles and multiple airlines offer a direct flight. September is usually the cheapest month to fly to Las Vegas and May and June are usually the most expensive months to fly. It's recommended to book flights from JFK to LAS at least two weeks in advance to ensure a below-average pricing.

Since this is a popular flight route between two major cities, a number of airlines offer multiple trips every single day. Delta and Jetblue offer the most flights per day, followed by Virgin Atlantic. Other airlines you might want to check with include Delta, Alaska Airlines, Sun Country, and American Airlines. Some flights have at least one stop in cities like Phoenix, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Charlotte.

Lowering the Cost of Flights from JFK to LAS

Air travel does not have to be expensive. Just use travel price comparison sites to help you find a good deal. If you're not familiar with these airports, look at a map online beforehand. Where are the terminals located? Where is the parking lot at JFK, and the ground transportation area at McCarran International?

Speaking of which, you can book a car rental in Vegas in addition to booking your flight. All of the rental car companies like Alamo, Enterprise, Payless, Avis, Budget, and Hertz operate at the McCarran Rent-a-Car Center, which is located about three miles away, and can be accessed via the dedicated shuttle. There are also plenty of other ground transportation options if you don't want to drive yourself. Just take a shuttle, taxi, bus, or even a limousine to your resort.

When searching for flights from JFK to LAS, try to leave on a weekday to avoid any weekend surcharge. Avoid flying during a major holiday as the price will go way up. Check out hotel rates as well and see if any airfare + hotel discounts are available for your trip.

Online discounts are all you need to save on air and a hotel in Las Vegas. The search tools are very easy to use and intuitive. Before you book your flight, however, check and see if any coupons for flights from JFK to LAS are available.

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Delta Airlines Introduces Cheap International Flight Tickets

Delta Airlines is an American airlines operator that was founded way back in 1924. It stated operating from various cities from the year 1929, during the aviation boom that was in place in the USA in those times. The Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the main hub from which Delta Airlines operate nowadays. Of late the North West Airlines merged with the Delta Airlines in 2008. presently the world’s largest commercial airline operator.

Like all other commercial airline operators, also introduced cheap international flight tickets to stay afloat in the market. It has an offer a range of cheap international flight tickets to fly to different places, in different times of the year. It is the one and only airline operator in United States of America that offer a flight to all the six inhabited continents of the world. With a great infrastructure and more than 1000 aircraft in their custody,flies to as many as 3675 destinations around the world. All these feathers being already added, the introduction of cheap international flight tickets by them have ensured that are one of the top airlines operators around the world.

The airlines flies more than 1500 flights per day from various destinations around the world, and have employed around 70000 employees in different fields. The employees of Delta Airlines are provided with extra facilities like dental, vision and mental check up along with free tickets all over world, after they have worked for at least 30 days. Aeroflot, AirEuropa, Aitalia, AeroMexico, Air France are all business partners of the gers who are flying by Delta Airlines’ flights can check the status of a running flight on their website. Or they can also enquire about the status of the flight by calling in to the customer helpline of Delta Airlines. reat record of running flights on time, except on unavoidable circumstances like heavy air traffic or bad weather conditions causing flight delay.

Another unique facility provided by the that it allows the passengers to travel along with their pets in the cabin, pertaining to certain terms and conditions. The pet which the passenger is carrying needs to be kept in a kennel, which fits under the seats of the plane. The rules and regulations relating to the size of the kennel can be verified with the authorities of the Delta Airlines.

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Benefits of Low Cost Airlines

The changing economy has brought a sea change in airline operations across India as air travel is becoming increasingly affordable. Budget travelers, who formerly chose trains over flights, can now opt for air travel without pinching their pickets. Statistics show that the share of low-cost carriers (LCCs) has risen significantly in recent years, mainly because corporate travelers are shifting to LCCs because of the economic slowdown. In an attempt to get back these customers, airline operators have introduced low cost airways. Full service carriers have no way to reduce their prices, meaning that the only strategy is to launch all-economy flights or move their flights to the low-cost wing. Nevertheless, the move seems to be beneficial for consumers as discussed below.

The biggest advantage of low-cost airlines is that the common consumer or rather the budget traveler can look forward to travel by air. Air travel is no longer a dream for the common man. Low-cost air services do not involve expensive frills, such as complimentary food and drinks. Instead, customers can purchase their meals and refreshments on board. They have a broad range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian items, snacks and drinks to choose from. Some airlines even allow passengers to carry their food along. Low-cost airlines also enable customers to get low fares under premium brands. Many offer shuttling services including air-conditioned buses to carry their customers to the aircraft.

Though frequent flier benefits are not available with all LCCs, some airways provide these benefits, allowing customers to earn miles and redeem them easily. While most premium airlines focus on metro cities, LCCs have extended air connectivity to two-tier cities as well. The all-economy services of LCCs cover short routes involving cities, such as Kochi, Coimbatore, Madurai, in addition to major cities like Chennai, Bengaluru, Delhi and Hyderabad. In fact, this initiative of low fare air services is a new trend in the airlines industry. Yet another advantage is that consumers can book their tickets online. They can compare ticket rates and learn the price difference to optimize their economic benefits. They can use secure online portals to book, pay and print their tickets in minutes. Mobile ticketing options are an added convenience as consumers can book their tickets and check the flight status on the move.

According to aviation forecasts, low-cost carriers in India will take over more than half the domestic market share. The disadvantages of budget air travel are few. For instance, customers may have to compromise on some leg space due to rather crammed seats and luxury services. LCCs may not allow flexible transit between different airlines or carriers. However, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, as evident from the quick pace at which LCCs are gaining their market share. In a nutshell, low-cost airlines offer quality service, reliable operations and standard services.

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Sun Country Airlines and American Airlines: The Smartest Way to Fly Is With Them!

Sun Country Airlines is a low-cost American airline, which has its headquarters in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul suburb of Eagan, Minnesota. It is based out of nearby Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. The airline's main focus is flying people to warmer destinations during the winter months, such as Florida and Mexico.

Accordingly, in the summer months, it focuses on flying people between Minneapolis and the east and west coast. It operates scheduled and charter flights to destinations in the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Sun Country deals make sure that your vacation starts the moment you decide to get Sun Country Airlines tickets because they offer a completely hassle free travel experience. Trust us when we say this, it is almost invariable that you will choose to fly with them continuously because no other leading airline offers such competitive prices and certainly nobody can match up to bar set by them.

We cannot think of anyone who would not appreciate cheap airline tickets. Sun Country airlines offers just the same but with the added benefits of a luxury flying experience. The base fares are designed exclusively keeping in mind the budget constraints of a passenger. What is more reassuring is that Sun Country airlines emphasizes on the fact that the comfort is the first and foremost and they leave no stone unturned in achieving that.

American Airlines flights, otherwise simply known as "American" are arguably the most preferred flights in the wholeety of the USA. American Airlines flight tickets offer the services of tracking your bags from your smartphone, laptop and tablet which is going to save you from the hassle of waiting in long lines and wasting time, for your luggage to arrive. They have also introduced new aircraft with better entertainment options which will make sure that you are not bored during the duration of your flight.

One of the many things that 'flying American' will do for you is that they will allow you to access their baggage allowance changes, the all new phishing email alerts and the ability to turn miles into happy memories with their Advantage program. American Airlines, Inc is the epitome of strength in numbers because it is the world's largest airline when measured by scheduled passengers, revenue, fleet size and the second largest by the number of destinations visited.

American Airline Flights are also extremely environment friendly because they have a wastewater treatment plant which recycles water to wash the aircraft, irrigate landscape and process rinse water tanks. It has led to reduction of waste material by 50% since 2000. It is a win-win situation for everyone who wants to avail the services of a major airline with the added advantage of knowing that the airline is giving back to the environment. American Airlines reservations have made check in, boarding and arrivals extremely easy. You can check your flight status, security and collecting information if and when you please. They are truly dedicated to providing a comfortable experience to all their customers. Their services are of the highest quality and indispensable for an enjoyable journey with the added advantage of fairly cheap airline tickets.

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The Regional Jet Airlines of Long Island MacArthur Airport

Introduction:

The story of the 50-seat regional jet, produced by Canadair and Embraer-and preceded, to a lesser degree, by the Fokker F.28 Fellowship and the British Aerospace BAe-146-was, in many ways, Long Island MacArthur Airport’s story, since the type finally facilitated major carrier aligned hub feed service. Representing larger airline reach to smaller and secondary airfields, it offered the same speed, block times, and comfort as the traditionally larger mainline jets, plugging the gap between them and the 19- to 50-passenger turboprop aircraft that were too small and too slow for many of these sectors.

The need, in great part, was created by the airline deregulation bred rise of the hub-and-spoke route system in the US. Funneling and feeding passengers to the higher-capacity aircraft of the majors, such as American, Continental, Delta, and United, from longer, but thin segments operated by regional airlines that bore the majors’ two-letter code and livery, the originally independent commuter carriers rapidly expanded themselves, primarily because of this new type of jet. It was the right aircraft at the right time and led to what has been called the “regional jet revolution.”

Not only were the regional jets the most cost-efficient way for airlines to link hundreds, if not thousands, of communities to airport hubs and global airline networks,” according to Bombardier Aerospace (which subsequently acquired Canadair), “these innovative aircraft enhanced the passenger travel experience and provided regional airlines with increased traffic, revenues, and greater market share. To further increase traffic growth, the idea of using the Canadair Regional Jet to fly between ‘spoke’ cities was promoted. Every new spoke city increased the number of connecting passengers flying to a regional airline’s mainline partner’s hub. These additional routes provided passengers in small communities with more flight options.”

This certainly occurred at Islip’s Long Island MacArthur Airport.

“There are literally hundreds of markets out there that could not support regular jet service, but 30-, 50-, and 70-seaters can now bring jet comfort and economic service,” commented Doug Blissit, once Delta Air Lines’ vice president of network analysis. “The regional jets are a phenomenal economic transformation of the industry. The vast majority of deployments have been to extend the reach of the hubs with more economical aircraft.”

Over and above the type’s cooperative nature, it also had a competitive side. It could be considered a tool that attacked major airlines’ hub-and-spoke fortresses, enabling smaller carriers that began as traditional turboprop commuters to penetrate the cracks in the majors’ armor, forging new point-to-point routes that did not need hub feed for adequate load factors.

Early Regional Jet Operations:

Perhaps the earliest regional jet in the western world, which eliminates the Russian tri-engine, 27-passenger Yakovlev Yak-40 from the discussion, was the Fokker F.28 Fellowship.

The popularity of its high-wing, twin-turboprop, 40-passenger F.27 Friendship, like a compass needle pointing in the direction of a pure-jet complement that would offer higher speeds and hence decreased block times, led to the development of the F.28 itself.

Announced in April of 1962, it was intended for short-field operations, but offer higher seating for 65 in a fuselage wide enough for five-abreast arrangements. Appearing similar to the mainline jets, such as the British Aircraft Corporation BAC-111 and the McDonnell-Douglas DC-9, it featured a low-mounted, compoundly swept wing on its leading edge, two aft-mounted Rolls Royce RB.183 Spey Junior turbofans, a dorsal fin, and a t-tail, yet retained simplicity by eliminating any leading edge devices. Unique to its design was a hydraulically actuated petal airbrake that formed the aft end of the fuselage. Extendable to varying degrees, it facilitated steep, but slow and controlled descent profiles.

Aside from financial backing provided by the Dutch government, the program’s risk sharing came from Short Brothers of Belfast, Northern Ireland; HFB and VFW of Germany; and AiResearch, Dowty Rotol, and Goodyear.

Three prototypes respectively first flew on May 9, August 3, ad October 20 of 1967 and the first production version, the F.28-1000, was delivered to launch customer LTU of Germany on February 24 two years later. As had occurred with the F.27, sales could be counted in single digits, since the F.28 was usually the largest type in a small airline’s fleet.

A stretched version, the F.28-4000, featured a 97.2-foot overall length and an almost 12-foot greater wingspan of 82.3 feet. Powered by two 9,850 thrust-pound Rolls Royce Spey 555-15H turbofans, it had a 73,000-pound maximum takeoff weight, a 530-mph cruising speed at 21,000 feet, and maximum payload-to-fuel ratio ranges of 1,162 to 2,560 miles. Although it accommodated 79 five-abreast, single-class passengers, six more, for an 85-total, could be carried at a 29-inch seat pitch with the installation of an additional overwing exit on each side.

The type factored into Piedmont’s Islip operation.

Piedmont itself inaugurated its scheduled aerial link as far back as February 20, 1948 with flight 41. Departing Wilmington, North Carolina, at 0700, its DC-3 made the multiple-hop journey to Pinehurst, Charlotte, Ashville, the Tri-Cities, Lexington, and Cincinnati. Two other aircraft of the type and 250 employees constituted its metal and human backbone.

With progressive expansions, particularly with route extensions to Atlanta, it initially fed the flights of Delta and Eastern, significantly growing until it became a US major in its own right. Perhaps symbolic of its prestige was both its literal and large-airline image arrival in New York in 1966.

Profits mounted: $1 million in 1965 and almost double that two years later. Erecting its first hub in Charlotte, North Carolina, it radiated its reach to major cities, such as Boston, Pittsburgh, Tampa, Miami, Dallas/Ft. Worth, and Denver, exceeding, in the number of passengers carried, Eastern Airlines’ traditional Charlotte stronghold.

Operating 727-100s, 727-200s, and 737-200s-the latter its short- to medium-range workhorse-it advertised in its October 31, 1982 system timetable, “We make it easy to get around to over 80 cities.”

Hubs were subsequently established in Baltimore and Dayton and widebody 767-200ERs eventually reached the West Coast and Europe.

By 1987, Piedmont operated a 177-strong fleet to some 235 destinations, carrying 23 million passengers, and thus became ripe for USAir’s $1.6 billion acquisition.

Capacity, particularly of the 65-passenger F.28-1000, ensured frequency at Long Island MacArthur Airport.

Of the five daily departures it dispatched to its Baltimore hub, the morning and evening ones were conducted with 128-passenger 737-300s; the mid-morning and mid-afternoon ones were flown with Henson, The Piedmont Regional Airline’s 37-passenger DHC-8-100s; and the noon sector was conducted with the F.28-1000, enabling it to “right-size” its equipment according to time of day, capacity, and demand.

When Piedmont acquired New York State-based and -concentrated Empire Airlines in 1986, along with its Syracuse hub and 85-passenger F.28-4000s, it deployed the type from Islip to feed its significantly developed Charlotte hub.

Another early regional jet was the British Aerospace BAe-146.

The ultimate design response to a need for a feeder or regional aircraft, it progressed through numerous iterations, including those of the high-wing, twin-turboprop DH.123 proposed by de Havilland and a low-wing one with aft-mounted engines until it arrived at the HS.146 of Hawker Siddeley with Avco Lycoming ALF-502 high bypass ratio turbofans. Because they did not generate the required thrust for the envisioned aircraft, only the use of four, pylon-mounted to the high wing’s underside, could ensure the needed performance and range.

Although the type’s official, 1973 launch appeared promising, the subsequent world recession, rising oil prices, and escalating development costs, rendered it ill-timed, resulting in its termination in October of 1974. Low-key development nevertheless continued.

After de Havilland and Hawker Siddeley were combined into the nationalized British Aerospace, and it conducted its own design and market review, it was government granted full-scale program development on July 10, 1978.

Final assembly took place at Hatfield.

Sporting, like the F.28 Fellowship, a t-tail and an aft petal, fuselage-forming airbrake for steep approaches, it deviated by having a high wing, also without leading edge devices, and the four turbofans. While its cabin was wide enough for six-abreast seating, most carriers chose five.

First flight of the BAe-146-100 from Hatfield occurred on September 3, 1981. Two successively higher-capacity, stretched versions, the BAe-146-200 and -300, followed.

The former, which first took to the air on August 1, 1982, featured a 93.10-foot length and an 86-foot span with a 15-degree sweepback and tabbed, trailing edge Fowler flaps. Up to 112 single-class passengers could be accommodated at a six-abreast, 29-inch pitch. Its maximum gross weight was 93,000 pounds and range, with a full payload, was 1,130 nautical miles.

The BAe-146 was inaugurated into service with Air Wisconsin on June 27, 1983.

Presidential Airways, founded by Harold J. Pareti in 1985 and headquartered in Washington, was the only operator of the type into Islip, maintaining a fleet of eight BAe-146-200s, in addition to its 737-200s. Connecting Long Island with its Dulles International hub, it later operated as a Continental Express and United Express code share carrier, respectively feeding each of its major’s flights in Washington.

Later Regional Jet Operations:

The first next-generation regional jet took form as the Canadair (later Bombardier) CRJ.

Aside from developing all-new designs, aircraft manufacturers of potential, low-capacity pure-jets had two options: scale down an existing mainline aircraft, such as the DC-9-10, which would have incorporated too much structural weight for its market, or scale up an aircraft. Those that fell into the latter category were business jets, although their narrow fuselages rendered them less than ideal for such a commercial application. Because of the wide cabin of its own CL-600 Challenger, which first flew in 1978, Canadair was able to choose the latter option.

Initially envisioned as incorporating a simple stretch with capacity for 24 four-abreast passengers and designated CL-600E, it was first publicized in 1980, but cancelled its plans to proceed with the version the following year. In 1987, or a year after Canadair was acquired by Bombardier, the small regional jet concept was reconsidered, leading to its launch in 1989.

A more ambitious version than originally considered, it introduced a 19.5-foot stretch, attained by means of forward and aft fuselage plugs, additional overwing emergency exits, a reinforced wing with increased fuel capacity, and two aft-mounted General Electric CF34 turbofans, in which guise it first took to the sky as a prototype on May 10, 1991. After a three-airplane flight test program, it received its FAA certification on October 29 of the following year, entering service with launch customer Lufthansa CityLine, which used it to provide both point-to-point and hub-feed service to Western European destinations from Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Munich.

Exuding what one pilot called a “sexy look,” the initial CRJ-100 version featured a pointed nose, an 87.10-foot length, a 69.7-foot, winglet-attached span with a 520.4-square-foot area and trailing edge-only flaps, two 9,220 thrust-pound CF34-3A1 thrust reverser provisioned turbofans, and a t-tail. Fifty four-abreast passengers could be accommodated in slimline seats in a cabin with enclosed overhead storage compartments, a galley, and a lavatory.

Payload was 13,500 pounds, gross weight 53,000 pounds, and range 1,650 nautical miles.

The succeeding CRJ-200, powered by CF34-3B1s, offered greater range, lower fuel consumption, and increased cruise speeds and altitudes.

Sales of both types totaled 1,054.

Headquartered at Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport, Comair was Long Island MacArthur’s first modern regional jet operator.

Commencing service as an airline in 1977, it initially touched down in Akron/Canton, Cleveland, and Evansville with eight-passenger, piston powered Piper Navajos, succeeding them with 18-passenger turboprop Embraer EMB-110 Bandeirantes.

Accepted as a Delta Connection carrier and operating in its livery after its establishment of a Cincinnati hub in 1984, it significantly expanded, soon acquiring Fairchild Swearingen Metro, Shorts 330, Embraer, EMB-120 Brasilia, and Saab 340 equipment. Orlando became its second hub.

As the US launch customer for the Canadair Regional Jet, it operated 163 of the type, including 63 CRJ-100ERs, 37 CRJ-100LRs, 37 CRJ-200ERs, and 27 CRJ-700LRs, by 2005.

Delta had acquired 20 percent of Comair’s stock in 1996 and the remainder of it three years later.

The type was instrumental in its service inauguration to Islip, providing three daily morning, afternoon, and evening round trips to Cincinnati so that passengers could connect to its own and partner-Delta’s flights. That link opened the rest of the country and parts of Canada to Long Island.

Another Canadair Regional Jet operator from MacArthur, which was also a Delta Connection carrier, was ASA Atlantic Southeast Airlines.

Inaugurating independent scheduled service from Atlanta to Columbus, Georgia, with de Havilland of Canada DHC-6 Twin Other aircraft on June 27, 1979, it progressed through another turboprop, the EMB-110, before acquiring pure-jet BAe-146-200 and CRJ-200 types, which fed Delta’s Atlanta hub after it had concluded its own two-letter marketing agreement with it. As had occurred with Comair, ASA was appendaged by increasing stock purchases until Delta wholly owned it.

Cincinnati, reached in 2002, was its 100th destination and in 2003 it took delivery of its 100th regional jet. By 2011, it operated 112 CRJ-200ERs, 46 CRJ-700ERs, and 10 CRJ-900ERs.

Islip was connected to its own and Delta’s extensive Atlanta hub with three daily ASA-operated CRJ-200 round trips as of August 1, 1999. Comair later also served the route.

Another Canadair Regional Jet operator to Islip was Air Wisconsin, which was branded US Airways Express and reinstated the link lost due to Washington Reagan National slot restrictions, when its inbound aircraft, arriving at 1250 on March 25, 2012, was granted with a water curtain on MacArthur’s ramp.

Re-departing at 1328, it became the first of two daily CRJ-200 round trips. Although it was highly endorsed by law makers, it was short-lived.

The Canadair Regional Jet’s counterpart-if not competitor-was the Embraer ERJ-145.

Harnessing its power from never-before-available engines that enabled it to operate in primarily untapped markets, it sought to outweigh the higher fuel consumption of them as opposed to that of the traditional turboprop’s by increasing the daily utilization its shorter block times afforded, coupled with their greater passenger acceptance.

Unlike Canadair’s CL-600 Challenger business jet, it used the EMB-120 Brasilia as its inspirational foundation, introducing two fuselage plugs and a redesigned wing, with an extended leading edge chord, a slight sweepback, and winglets, but replacing its turboprop engines with pure-jet ones encased in pods. The t-tail was retained. It was initially designated the EMB-145 Amazon.

The Allison GMA-3007 turbofan, producing 7,100 pounds of thrust, with potential for up to 10,000, was selected in early-1990.

Iterations entailing reduced lengths, increased spans, greater fuel capacities, higher weights, and improved performance, led to the definitive ERJ-145 that first flew on August 1, 1995. Accommodating 50 single-class, three-abreast passengers with a partial step-down aisle at the very front of the cabin, it had a 12,755-pound payload and a 48,501-pound gross weight. It was first delivered to launch customer ExpressJet Airlines, operating as Continental Express, the following year, providing the capacity, speed, and range to match the demand on longer, thin routes to both feed its own flights and those of Continental.

“With its hub at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, Continental Airlines is the largest airline in northeast Ohio, with more than 250 daily departures to nearly 80 cities,” according to United Airlines’ March 29, 2004 Corporate News. “With one of the youngest fleets of airplanes in the United States, Continental and Continental Express offer convenient, high-frequency service from Cleveland Hopkins to major business centers, including Boston, New York (Newark Liberty, La Guardia, Kennedy, White Plains, and Islip), Washington (Reagan National, Baltimore-Washington, and Dulles), Chicago (O’Hare and Midway), Houston, and Atlanta.

Like other regional airlines, ExpressJet itself was the amalgamated result of several turboprop commuter carriers-among them Bar Harbor Airlines of Bangor, Maine; PBA Provincetown-Boston Airlines of Hyannis, Massachusetts; Rocky Mountain Airways of Denver, Colorado; and Brit Airways of Terre Haute, Indiana, all of which flew on the latter’s operating certificate.

It inaugurated ERJ-145 regional jet service on September 4, 1998 and ultimately became the type’s largest operator of all three versions, including the smaller, 37-passenger ERJ-135 and 44-passenger ERJ-140.

Its three daily morning, afternoon, and evening Islip-Cleveland frequencies, bearing “CO” flight numbers, linked Long Island with the rest of the country.

Another MacArthur Embraer regional jet carrier was American Eagle.

Like Continental Express, the American Eagle concept, which was unveiled in late-1984, resulted from American Airlines’ inability to economically serve secondary and tertiary markets with its mainline jets. It grew rapidly, feeding its hubs and progressing from turboprop to pure-jet equipment. The first officially designated American Eagle flight, from Fayetteville, Arkansas, to Dallas, took place on November 1 when one of its Metroflight’s 14 Convair 580s, powered by two 3,750-shp Allison 501-D13H turboprops, touched down at American’s southwest hub. The aircraft, converted from piston propelled CV-240s, -340s, and -440s, were eventually replaced with Saab 340s.

Second to join the fold, also that year, was Poughkeepsie, New York, based Command Airways, which operated Beech 99s, DHC-6 Twin Otters, Shorts 330s, Shorts 360s, and ATR-42s.

Simmons, the third, deployed Japanese NAMC YS-11s, Shorts 360s, ATR-42s, and ATR-72s from Chicago-O’Hare, and Wings West, the fourth, dispatched C99s, Fairchild Swearingen Metros, Jetstream 31s, and Saab 340s to West Coast destinations.

Lastly, Puerto Rico based Executive Airlines jumped into the pool on September 15, 1986, operating CASA C-212-200 Aviocars, Shorts 360s, and ATR-72s.

From Islip, it operated a midday ERJ-145 to Chicago-O’Hare, supplementing American’s morning and evening MD-80s, and replaced its four daily, 34-passenger Saab 340s (which had once flown in Business Express colors before AMR, Inc., acquired it and folded it into the American Eagle brand) with an equal number of 37-passenger ERJ-135 frequencies.

Yet another Long Island MacArthur American Eagle ERJ-145 operator was Piedmont, which traces its origins to Henson Airlines.

Founded in 1961 by Richard A. Henson, an aviation pioneer and Fairchild Aircraft test pilot, it planted sedentary roots as a fixed base operator in Hagerstown, Maryland, designated “Henson Aviation,” yet initiated scheduled service of its own from there to Washington in 1962 under the “Hagerstown Commuter” name.

Consummating a code share agreement with Allegheny Airlines five years later and replacing that carrier’s own service in Salisbury, Maryland, it expanded to Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, boarding its one millionth passenger in 1977 and acquiring its first quad-engine, 54-passenger de Havilland of Canada DHC-7 two years after that.

Purchased by Piedmont Airlines in 1983, it was rebranded “Henson, The Piedmont Regional Airline.”

The following year it took delivery of the first 37-passenger DHC-8-100 and by the end of 1987, it served 38 destinations in ten states, as well as in the Bahamas.

After the 1989 merger with USAir, Henson operated as a USAir Express and later US Airways Express carrier, but was renamed “Piedmont Airlines” four years later to retain its original identity. American Airlines, which purchased US Airways in 2013 and rebranded it American Eagle, maintained the philosophy.

Today, Piedmont/American Eagle operates three daily ERJ-145 frequencies, departing Islip at 0710, 1035, and 1858 to Philadelphia, one of USAir/US Airways’ former hubs. Return flights arrive on Long Island soil at 1007, 1833, and 2221.

Both ASA Atlantic Southeast Airlines and Comair operated the larger CRJ-700 into Islip.

The result of Bombardier’s first attempt to offer a higher capacity version in order to more effectively compete with the Fokker F.70 and the Avro International RJ70, both 70-seaters, it officially launched the program in January of 1997. Based upon the original CRJ-200, it introduced a slightly wider fuselage with a 106.8-foot overall length; a larger wing, with a 76.3-foot span and 760-square-foot area; leading edge slats to increase low-speed lift and reduce takeoff runs; 13,790 thrust-pound CF34-8C5B1 turbofans; a lower floor for increased cabin headroom; raised passenger windows; a single-class capacity of 78; and 18,055- and 75,000-pound maximum payloads and gross weight weights.

First flying on May 27, 1999, it entered service with Brit Air two years later, retaining the same type rating as that of its smaller capacity predecessors.

Its extended range CRJ-700ER had a 1,504-nautical mile capability and a 448-knot/515-mph/Mach 0.78 cruise speed.

Regional Jet Snapshots in Time:

Because of demand, the need to adjust capacity, scheduling, and, in some cases, replace one aircraft type with another, any attempt to discuss Long Island MacArthur Airport’s regional jet operations can only be done as snapshots in time.

During the latter portion of 1988, for instance, which can be considered its early regional jet period, Presidential Airways operated its BAe-146-200s to Washington-Dulles, while Piedmont “right-sized” its aircraft to maintain frequency, sandwiching the 65-passenger noon F.28-1000 between morning and evening 737-300s and mid-morning and mid-afternoon Henson DHC-8-100s.

1998, which can be considered the dawn of the next-generation regional jet era, saw Long Island connected to Delta’s Atlanta and Cincinnati hubs and Continental’s Cleveland one with 50-seat CRJ-100s, CRJ-200s, and ERJ-145s, respectively operated by Comair, ASA, and ExpressJet.

The number of daily departures included three Comair/Delta Connection CRJ-100s to Cincinnati, two American Eagle ERJ-145s to Chicago, two and later three ExpressJet/Continental Express ERJ-145s to Cleveland, and three ASA/Delta Connection CRJ-200s to Atlanta.

During its first month of regional jet operations, the latter airline carried 6,980 passengers, making it the airport’s third-largest tenant in terms of boardings.

By December of 1999, eight of the 37 daily pure-jet flights, or 19 percent, were conducted with the new breed of Canadair and Embraer regional jets. By March of 2000, the monthly regional jet passenger total was 16,210-that is, 6,107 carried by ASA, 6,831 by Comair, and 3,212 carried by ExpressJet.

In August of 2002, American Eagle replaced its four Saab 340 flights to Boston with ERJ-135s, providing American Airlines hub feed, and by the fall ASA and Comair upgraded two or their three Atlanta and Cincinnati frequencies to larger capacity CRJ-700s.

Last Regional Jet Service Inauguration:

The latest carrier to enter the Long Island market with the regional jet was Elite Airways.

Founded, as reflected by its name, to offer a quality travel experience in 2016, it entered the arena as a US Part 121 air carrier, transporting sports teams and executives on both scheduled and charter services on northeast-to-Florida routes with one CRJ-100, five CRJ-200s, and five CRJ-700s.

Limited, twice-weekly CRJ-700 services, from Islip to Portland, Maine; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and Melbourne, Florida, were inaugurated on June 17, 2016. But lower than expected load factors prompted it to twice pause, between January 15 and February 16, 2017 and April and July of that year, to reconsider its strategy.

While the second suspension turned into an unanticipated 16-month one, it finally reappeared on the scene on September 6, 2018, this time routing a Thursday and Sunday CRJ-200 to Melbourne. Designated Flight 7Q 21, it departed at 0800 and arrived in the sunshine state at 1045. After a 45-minute turnaround, it redeparted at 1130 for Bimini, Bahamas, becoming Islip’s first one-stop link to it.

“The route is designed so that passengers from Islip can book a flight to Melbourne only or stay on board with connecting service to Bimini,” according to Rebecca Emery, an Elite Airways public relations executive. “It is the closest Bahamian island to the US with miles of seclude beaches, four-star hotels, and the Resorts World Bimini Casino and Marina.”

The return flight, 7Q 23, departed Bimini at 1330, but required US Customs and Border Patrol preclearance. Landing in Melbourne an hour later, it next operated as 7Q 24, taking off at 1600 and touching down at MacArthur at 2045.

Low load factors once again caused its discontinuation, leaving Piedmont/American Eagle’s ERJ-145s to Philadelphia as Islip’s only remaining regional jet operations at the dawn of 2020.