Commavia From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 10193 posts, RR: 62 Reply 1, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 1412 times:
RJs are a symptom, not a cause, of the problem.
We should be building runways in the U.S. to deal with increasing demand for air travel in the United States (driven by ever-lower fares, not more RJs). Instead, we're fighting over how to artificially constrain air traffic patterns and trends that have been going on for 20 years.
Consumers in the U.S. have told airlines resoundingly again and again what they want: more frequency, and lower fares. In many smaller markets, RJs deliver on both counts.
In addition, if you look at markets in which RJs have been deployed in recent years, where mainline used to fly, one that that you constantly notice is that, in many of these markets, RJs have been put in by legacy carriers precisely because they've come under stiffer competition either from each other or from low-fare competitors. In many cases, RJs are a signal of a large and competitive market.
Long term, the only solutions to fixing this problem are to re-regulate the industry or do something serious about New York airspace which, as the article points out, accounts for - either directly or indirectly - an astoundingly disproportionately large number of U.S. air traffic delays. Either build more runways, or regulate aircraft size (in which case you will shut off many smaller markets to nonstop access to major hubs). Personally, I'll take option #1, but that would involve heavy political lifting to get around the NIMBYs.
Mikey711MN From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 1380 posts, RR: 8 Reply 2, posted (5 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 1367 times:
Quoting Commavia (Reply 1): We should be building runways transportation facilities in the U.S. to deal with increasing demand for air travel in the United States
...then I'd agree with you. My opinion is that we have a myopic view as aviation enthusiasts, employees, etc. on this board that fundamentally all travel needs can and should be served via air travel. Broadening out, we Americans have a viewpoint that all travel needs can and should be served via road-based travel--if only better facilities to get us to airports when distances reach a certain threshold. That remains, in my humble opinion, the crux of the issue.
Now I'm not suggesting that ATC can not be improved for the sake of supporting air transportation growth. It can. And if I knew the answer as to precisely how and who pays, I'd be a far wealthier man than I am. (perhaps not saying a whole lot, but anyway...) But the strain on the transportation system at large in this country is growing, and our reliance on somewhat out-of-balance modes of travel only exacerbates the problem.
I suppose I would agree with Mike Boyd that the term "RJ" is a bit of a misnomer, as its role in the airline industry has changed from a "regional" coverage to that of a "mainline substitution" when service must be maintained for the good of the network but there aren't enough butts in seats to maintain profitability on the existing supply. To that end, I suppose I don't really view some of these particularly troubled airports, e.g. JFK, et. al. as being overrun with RJ's, so as Commavia suggested, surely there's more to the problem than the RJs, regardless of role.
Sorry for the somewhat lengthy philosophical aside here. I guess as a Civil Engineer, I see this situation as being far greater than just an "air travel" problem.