MtnWest1979 From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 2912 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 1964 times:
Like most, inept management, I believe.
I seem to remember that they had strife in the management group and forced out one of the original folks and it was down hill after that.
I think if they would have stuck to the original plan it may have worked out for them, but we will never know.
Knope2001 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 3401 posts, RR: 34
Reply 2, posted (9 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 1934 times:
Here's what I know and recall on Westward.
Westward was formed to fill the traditional Nebraska "River Run" market, roughly following the Platte from Omaha and Lincoln on the east to Grand Island, North Platte and Scottsbluff. Nebraska is several hundred miles from east to west, and over the decades these intrastate markets saw a fair amount of traffic. These were traditionally Frontier markets, and later airlines like Rocky Mountain, Pioneer, Great Lakea and GP Express served these markets to one extent or another. These markets were served on "milk run" routes like Denver-North Platte-Grand Island-Omaha-Kansas City, so it wasn't the local river run traffic alone that supported it. As "milk runs" went out of favor and EAS came into play, the river run eventually lost service.
Over the last decade or so there had been talk and tentative plans to subsidize an existing carrier to serve the river run, or to start a new airline to do so. Eventually Westward, based in Scottsbluff, was formed to serve the river run with a nine-seat Pilatus. I believe they started service in 2004. They flew twice each weekday on a Scottsbluff-North Platte-Lincoln-Omaha line. With the exception of some Scottsbluff-North Platte-LNK flights on fall Saturdays for Husker games, I don't think they did any weekeing flying. Interestingly, Westward didn't serve the main terminal but instead flew out of the FBO or other side hangars. Passengers did not have to clear security and flights were not available for purchase in airline CRS or other traditional delivery methods. I believe you had to call or book directly on their website to fly them.
Loads were apparently decent on Monday mornings and Thursday / Friday afternoons but less at other times, and when I'd check Flytecomm they often overflew stations with no passengers or even (apparently) didn't operate some zero-booked flights. It also appears that closer to the end they *may* have just scheduled a single daily round trip on the river run midweek, though I'm not positive of that. Again, it wasn't all that uncommon during the middle of the week to see skipped stops or flights completely missing.
Westward seemed to always be looking for money, and but early 2005 they applied for some Essential Air Service routes including Alamogordo NM. In spring of 2005 they started flying to Alamogordo, Las Cruces, Ruidoso, Albuquerque and Phoenix, with plans to start Gallup. I believe the pursued and perhaps received subsidy money from these New Mexico communities themselves in addition to EAS money. Westward also was planning on starting Grand Island-Kansas City service with local subsidy money. Westward pulled out of North Platte in mid 2005 for lack of adequate traffic. They pretty much looked for subsidy from every community they served. I think the local Scottsbluff community had just sunk more money into Westward when they shut down.
In late July of 2005 they ran out of money and shut down. Their EAS subsidy market Alamgordo in New Mexico sealed their because if they couldn't live up to their contract there, they would not be allowed to start up elsewhere, either.