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Pan Am Odds'n'ends  
User currently offlineVarsity From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 249 posts, RR: 0
Posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 1764 times:

Surfing around, I saw three articles of interest about Pan Am:

* Pan Am has applied to the DOT for slot-exemption to operate from DCA (Robert Reagan National Airport) although it was apparently not approved. Pan Am then said the application should serve as a statement of interest should further slot-exemptions be made available.

* Pan Am plans to use the Boston-Maine Airways brand for its J-31 Jetstream operations. In various articles I have seen the following city pairs mentioned for Jetstream service:
- Branson, MO to St. Louis, MO (BLV)
- Ft. Myers, FL to Sanford, FL
- Key West, FL to Sanford, FL
- Halifax, NS to Bangor, ME
- Harrisburg, PA to Pittsburgh, PA
- Portsmouth, NH to Bangor, ME


* Gary, IN, officials have used Pan Am's success to reiterate their airport's viability as a third airport for Chicago.



20 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineN202PA From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1562 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 1626 times:

I find these news items rather disconcerting. While Ronald (not Robert) Reagan National is a much sought-after desitination, it is not Pan Am's kind of destination. It is a heavily-controlled airport that tends to serve only the major carriers. Even with the arrival of Frontier, Delta Express, Spirit, and the continued presence of ATA, it is still a fortress for USAirways and the other majors. It is not a secondary airport with low landing fees, which is precisely the market that Pan Am is trying to succeed in. While I'd *love* to see the classic Clipper globe back at my favorite airport in the world (and my hometown airport), I think it is a very bad idea, given their business plan.

I've always been very leery of PA's plans to expand via their commuter airline subsidiary, and these route pairs are even more unnerving. I simply cannot see how these routes will do anything for the carrier but lose money. The main problem I see, however, is that this commuter operation (which doesn't seem to have a hub at all) gets the airline away from a focused growth pattern within its niche--flying to small, secondary airports near large cities and offering low fares with a standard of service one notch above that of the majors.

I simply fail to see how you can offer the same standard of service on a J-31 as on a 727. They're noisy, bumpy, and cramped little aircraft, and there's no way you could take seats out (as on the 727) to increase comfort without severely decreasing the profitability of the aircraft.

The fact that Pan Am is not focusing on getting into other secondary airports and building up their services out of St. Louis and Portsmouth is indeed worrisome. I really hope that they pull off this commuter deal and go back to getting more refurbished 727s on their niche routes.


User currently offlineVarsity From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 249 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 1598 times:

Did I really say Robert Reagan??!?   We have a guy at work by that name, so you know where my mind must be on a Sunday night.

Anyway, I agree with ya. HBG-PIT is a USAir-dominated route and I can't see too many people going from a USAir regional jet or even a 737 to a Pan Am J31. So both of your concerns are quite valid IMHO.

There are so many other "thin" or non-operated routes Pan Am could try (e.g. Trenton-Sanford... Eastwind's flights were crowded despite their horrible reliability) without annoying the big boys. Not sure why they're using the J31's as they plan.  


User currently offlinePropilotJW From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 589 posts, RR: 7
Reply 3, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 1595 times:

Very good point N202PA, I live by BLV (Midamerica Airport) and I am very involved with what goes on there. Pan Am is going to start the BLV-Branson route with the Jetstreams. The date is yet to be determined. I too wonder why the hell Pan Am has jetstreams. like you pointed out, the jetstreams are noisy and crampt and are totally againts everythign that Pan Am is goign for. I have talked to Mr Mellon, Pan Am's CEO, and being a teen that has dreams of owning an airline someday, popped the big question. "have you always wanted to own an airline?" and this is the answer that I got. "No, it just happened to be a financial opportunity that looked good". Gee thanks. I did have the opportunity to talk to Dave Fink the president of the airline and he is the guy that should be running the show. He knows what he is doing and he knows what is going on. Mr Mellon is just in it for the money. Don't get me wrong, I would love to see this airline prosper but I think that they need to stay a bit more on track and not have their passengers that are going from Orlando to Branson have to get off the nice, quiet, roomy, 727 and onto a loud, crampt, bumpy, Jetstream. it just dosen't work.

User currently offlineN202PA From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1562 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 1585 times:

PPJW, I think we may have found the explanation for why PA is trying this nonsense with the Jetstreams. When you have a bunch of businessmen running an airline, who have been taught to exploit every opportunity for profit that they can, you tend to get a management team that gets too greedy and strays too far from the airline's original business plan. I'll bet that the Jetstream operations look *great* on paper--low cost of operation, projected market on the routes named, etc.

However, I think Pan Am will soon find out that running these little turboprops on these short runs will provide a disconnect in terms of product quality (ie, being forced to transfer from a quiet, roomy 727 with food service to a noisy, cramped J-31 with no food), and in terms of operations. For example, how do they intend to service these J-31s when something goes wrong? There are many reasons why airlines have hub systems; having a central location at which aircraft can be serviced easily and quickly, minimizing cost. I would understand if the entire Jetstream operation was based out of *one* airport--say, Chicago or Orlando, where there are routes with definite potential. But spreading things out will, I believe, ultimately end up being a large mistake.

Pan Am should focus on building up routes from Orlando and St. Louis, where it has its greatest potential, using 727s. As airlines jettison more and more of their 727's, PA can pick them up on the cheap and convert them to Stage III craft with their signature winglets. These should be used on existing routes, as well as new routes to places like Trenton, St. Petersburg, and Rochester. Pan Am's focus should be strengthening their presence in the markets they already serve, increasing frequency of flights to these destinations, and getting as many flights a day as possible out of their current aircraft. Only then should they consider new destinations and new aircraft purchases.

But they should stick to their original business plan, down to the letter--one-type operations between secondary airports outside large cities, at low fares and upgraded service. Southwest has done this successfully for over 30 years, very rarely deviating from their plan (ie, the 727s in the early 80s). In contrast, PeoplExpress deviated significantly from their business plan, beginning to fly 747s across the Atlantic, purchasing carriers like Frontier, and overexpanding--and they died out rapidly as the situation spun out of control.

Hopefully, the people in control of the current iteration of Pan Am will learn from Burr's mistake with PeoplExpress, and Kelleher's success with Southwest; equally, I hope that the Jetstreams are removed from service quicker than a PSA L-1011. If not, it might be the undoing of an airline that has been rather successful so far.


User currently offlineLowfareair From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 1577 times:

I got a brochure from Lehigh Valley Int'l Airport(ABE) that says Panam will get flights 1-9-01 to BGR and SFB. And if you look on their website, they have Harrisburg as a destination in res.

User currently offlineAC183 From Canada, joined Jul 1999, 1532 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1544 times:

Here's a link to a story from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in today's aviation newslinks:
http://www.postnet.com/postnet/stories.nsf/Business/0AA5F95CB1F1825586256979002DE34A?OpenDocument&Headline=Owners%20say%20that%20the%20time%20and%20location%20are%20right%20for%20Pan%20Am%20to%20find%20success

As for my 2 bits on this, I'm not so dead set against the J31 operations at PA. While I am concerned about it, I think it could possibly work. Although enthusiasts such as those of us on this board may not care for J31's, I think it's possible that some passengers may write off a bad J31 ride as "just a feeder run," in favour of a good experience on a 727. I also think that in spite of the J31's, passengers may be content in spite of the aircraft as long as they are offered a better routing. Also, from a company perspective, the advantage to offering feeder service is that traffic on the 727 operations is increased, the actual O&D on the J31's is probably not that important.

That all said, the key to making the J31 operation work is to pick routes where the shortcomings of the aircraft are outweighed by the advantages to other alternatives. In other words, airports that passengers will fly from based on convenience, and not on the comfort of the aircraft, thus it would be airports without too much competiton. I can't really comment on most of the J31 routes, but the YHZ-BGR proposed route doesn't really catch my interest as much as other eastern Canada destinations might... Halifax is the largest centre in Atlantic Canada, but AC, CO, AA, and various charters all have southbound flights from YHZ. Not that YHZ won't work, but it's more crowded, and the J31's won't look that attractive compared to RJ's or Saab340's or Dash8's. I think St. John and Moncton in New Brunswick, and Charlottetown, on Prince Edward Island could work, because although they're smaller markets, there isn't daily scheduled operations to the US from there, and in those cases the J31's connecting to 727's might look more attractive than driving to or connecting at other airports.


User currently offlineMEA-707 From Netherlands, joined Nov 1999, 4325 posts, RR: 36
Reply 7, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 1532 times:

The J-31 is not as bad as driving the same distance for three hours, and I think Pan Am will do s small drink or snack on it. I wouldn't mind. But operational-wise it would be better if they focussed their feeder ops to one airport (sanford or Gary), so they could always have a backup Jetstream available.
The thing about Pan Am which remarks me is that they have 7 727s for two years now in spite of their reports about continuous 'growth' Why not acquire more planes then?



nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
User currently offlineLHMark From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 7255 posts, RR: 46
Reply 8, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 1530 times:

As horrible as it may be, the economics of the J-31 are attractive to Pan Am, and there's another side to this coin: You can dip your jetstream into an airport dominated by large national carriers, and you only need 19 passengers to fill the flight. It's a novel way of establishing a broader regional presence than simply flying to second-tier airports, as well as providing feeder service for the clippers.
One big problem small airlines face is brand perception. In the US, consumers tend to lean toward the familiar, comfortable brands in EVERYTHING, even air travel. Just having logos hanging up in airports like YHZ and DCA helps build top-of-mind awareness of Pan Am as a brand, reminds travellers that the airline is back, and creates a more customer receptivity to a product that is by no means easy to sell. I think the J31s are basically going to be flying billboards. -Mark



"Sympathy is something that shouldn't be bestowed on the Yankees. Apparently it angers them." - Bob Feller
User currently offlineN202PA From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1562 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 1527 times:

Southwest could have picked up some J-31s or B1900s and flown them around on marginal niche routes as flying billboards, but they didn't. Why? Because they had restraint and self-discipline, which kept them in their original niche market.

While this Jetstream operation might be, at best, marginally successful, it does damage to the airline by taking their focus away from the 727 operations, and thus, their niche market. I can't imagine that adding 19 passengers to the 727 runs via the J-31s will do anything to total passenger numbers that increased advertising in their core markets (Chicago, Boston, St. Louis and Orlando) couldn't do. One of the big failures of start-up airlines has historically been that they simply do not market their product enough in public, often expecting low fares or increased service to do the talking by word of mouth. Most of the time, this does not work. People need to know that your product is out there and that it is more desirable than that of the other airlines. You don't need a glitzy Madison Avenue marketing campaign to accomplish that, but some creative television/newspaper and newspaper ads (like the ones ValuJet used to saturate the Washington market with) would be nice.

Pan Am should focus on building up their current markets and increasing frequency on routes like St. Louis-Orlando, St. Louis-Chicago, Chicago-Portsmouth, and Portsmouth-Orlando. Working on maintaining current secondary markets like Pittsburgh, Bangor, and (beginning in November) Allentown, should be the second order of business.

Overall, PA should work towards getting as much utility out of their 727s as possible before they start expanding and purchasing new aircraft. They may be near this frontier with their current 7 aircraft.

And most certainly, they should ditch the Jetstream operation until they are an established carrier, if ever. If they are intent upon doing it, however, they should center the entire operation on one hub, such as Portsmouth or Orlando. Spreading things out over 5-6 airports increases maintenance costs and does very little to increase passenger totals on the 727s; flying 5 J-31s from 5 different destinations with 19 passengers apiece (75% of which might, on any given day, be continuing on to the 727 routes) would be much more beneficial.


User currently offlineLHMark From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 7255 posts, RR: 46
Reply 10, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 1520 times:

Well, can anyone provide a truly logical rationale for Pan Am's Jetstream ops? N202PA is right- they're not going to increase their paz # significantly with the 19 seaters.

Could it be that they've found a way to make money on J31 routes?

Hmmm...



"Sympathy is something that shouldn't be bestowed on the Yankees. Apparently it angers them." - Bob Feller
User currently offlineAcvitale From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 922 posts, RR: 10
Reply 11, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 1505 times:

With J31s goign for between $550,000.00 and $600,000.00 US Dollars it is not hard to make money with the 19 seaters.

Leasing them is from $5000.00 - 10,000.00 per month. Dirt cheap. Fly 300 block hours and you have 19 seats that gives you a CASM on the lease of around $.029 for the aircraft. Add in maint., pilots, landing fees, ground handling etc etc and you have a CASM that can be as low as .06 not a bad number for any carrier. RASM on short haul is higher then long haul figure a safe number like $.35 and that means lots of profit potential with the little 19 seaters.


User currently offlineN202PA From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1562 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 1504 times:

Granted that J-31 ops could potentially be profitable for Pan Am...however, the main question is, why not focus the operation on one airport, such as Portsmouth, St. Louis, or Orlando? It seems to me that focusing the operations around a hub city would be much more efficient than spreading things out among several cities.

User currently offlineAC183 From Canada, joined Jul 1999, 1532 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 1507 times:

I think the logic in J31's is this: as an example let's say 10 passengers on a J31 flight, say from YHZ to Florida. They would connect at BGR. Let's say they pay another $50 than what BGR passengers do to go to Florida, which let's just say is $200. This means that although those 10 pax only bring in $500 for the YHZ connection on the J31, they add revenues of $2500 total by the time they get to Florida. Now maybe those 10 pax aren't that important, but then again those 10 extra 727 pax could easily be the difference between profit and loss. And the idea of getting $2500 (or whatever their actual rates would be) of additional revenue just for operating a single J31 flight could be tempting. And from what the BGR page says about it being a "customs mini-hub" for PA, then perhaps they'll apply this to a couple of destinations. Also note that as far as the bottom line goes, $2500/day adds $912,500 of revenue per year. Now that's perhaps may not reflect the prices paid, I used those numbers for ease of calculation, but the point is that potential is there to significantly increase revenue.

That's the theory. Will it work in practice? I agree, having J31 ops spread around may be questionable. But on the other hand, with 10 J31's, having 3 or 4 at each of BLV, BGR, and flying out of Sanford may be enough to work.


User currently offlinePropilotJW From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 589 posts, RR: 7
Reply 14, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 1488 times:

I agree that the hub system is a very important part of airlines, especially start ups. I think that BLV would be a great place to have a maintinence facility because it is centrally located and it gives them the opportunity to expand westward and still have a "safehaven" to come to that is in the middle of the country (Midamerica Airport) as opposed to flying all the way to Portsmouth to get something fixed.

User currently offlineLaserjet From New Zealand, joined Apr 2000, 193 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1480 times:

I think the plan does make some economic sense, lets hope that they can make it work, and use it to expand into some other secondary airports.

User currently offlineLHMark From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 7255 posts, RR: 46
Reply 16, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 1469 times:

I disagree that a hub and spoke network would be wise for Pan Am. The potential for passenger draw to the second-line airports that Pan Am serves is limited. PSM is an hour away from Boston. Gary is an hour south of Chicago. The point-to-point system they're setting up can take advantage of "trickle in" traffic that doesn't need to connect to another flight.
A strong central hub at PSM would be an impossibility. The area doesn't have the industry, commercial activity, or population density necessary to be successful. Boston flies from Logan. That's the way it'll stay.



"Sympathy is something that shouldn't be bestowed on the Yankees. Apparently it angers them." - Bob Feller
User currently offlineTWAneedsNOhelp From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 1467 times:

You think Pan Am will start some upstate NY flying? Perhaps the Jetstreams to Allentown (range?) or Portsmouth?

What would your views on that be?


User currently offlineLHMark From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 7255 posts, RR: 46
Reply 18, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 1463 times:

I could see where Pan Am would have a strong interest in Niagara Falls Int'l Airport. No competition, a half hour from Buffalo, convenient (in Pan Am's terms) to Rochester, St. Catherine's, Hamilton and all points in between, great tourist destination. I'd watch for 722 service in the future.


"Sympathy is something that shouldn't be bestowed on the Yankees. Apparently it angers them." - Bob Feller
User currently offlineRominato From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 268 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 1427 times:

with the addition of St Louis, it makes me wonder just how far they're planning to branch out. I like the Niagra Falls suggestion... it seems to work. I hope PA continues to grow. Remember... all those reading these boards need to give them a try... that's the best way to help them out!

User currently offlineN202PA From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1562 posts, RR: 3
Reply 20, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 1425 times:

I only wish that I could try them out--Clipper Class, although not quite up to the standard of the old Clipper Class, looks *mighty* inviting for the price.

Unfortunately, I'm a poor college student who can't afford to take frivolous trips, even at discount prices. And until Pan Am flies into National, they're too far away for me to have a chance to go with them.  

People of St. Louis, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Boston and Orlando, consider yourselves lucky!!


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