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WN & AUS In Dispute Over Low-cost Terminal  
User currently offlineLoneStarMike From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 3783 posts, RR: 34
Posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 11298 times:

KXAN Channel 36, the local NBC affiliate here in Austin, ran a story on the 6 pm news this evening which claimed WN is having a dispute with local airport officials concerning lower terminal fees the airport plans to charge ultra-low-cost carriers (so far only Viva Aerobus) who elect to operate out of the low-cost terminal currently under construction on the other side of the airport from the main terminal where Southwest and all the other airlines are located. Here is the gist of the report that aired:

A letter was sent to airport officials from a vice-president of Southwest which says that a new low-cost terminal will provide other airlines with a "substantial cost advantage," while Southwest is bound by their lease agreement to use the more expensive facilities in the main terminal. The letter goes on to note that Southwest's lease agreement with AUS stipulates they (WN) should pay the same terminal fees as all other airlines. Obviously, WN's lease agreement was signed before the city decided to lease land to GE to build and operate the new low-cost terminal.

In the city's response to Southwest, the city's aviation director says that things are completely different for Southwest because they fly from a different terminal. The city also claims they can charge lower terminal fees for carriers using the low-cost terminal because the city will not be providing baggage claim services, jetways and other amenities that they currently provide airlines using the main terminal.

The Austin City Council is set to discuss the issue tomorrow in a closed session.

I was unable to find a link to the text version of this story on the station's website, but if you follow this link you should be able to watch the same video report I saw earlier.

http://www.kxan.com/Global/category.asp?C=4427

Look for "Tension between Southwest Airlines and ABIA" The story lasts about two and a half minutes.

If the city were talking about charging lower landing fees for new carriers, then I would be more sympathetic towards Southwest's point of view, but I personally don't have a problem with any of the ultra low-cost carrier being charged a lower gate/ticket counter/terminal fee for using an inferior terminal. I'm kind of disappointed with Southwest's position on this issue.

LoneStarMike

110 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineBlueFlyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 3709 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 11030 times:
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So what does this have to do with US?

On to the story itself, the video states the city will not provide luggage service at the new terminal, one of the reasons to justify its lower use cost, but does it mean that checking luggage in will not be an option, or that airlines will have to install and pay for their own infrastructure ?

If it is the latter, I do understand Southwest's beef. They, and all other carriers, should be allowed to walk away from their current lease if they are ready and willing to set up their own equipment in the new terminal. If it is the former, on the other hand, I think Southwest is just airing sour grapes, as they would not be using the new terminal anyhow.

[Edited 2007-12-12 22:29:29]


I've got $h*t to do
User currently offlineSANFan From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 5229 posts, RR: 14
Reply 2, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 10963 times:

The thing is, if WN gets ticked off enough at the airport folks in Austin, despite who's "right" or "wrong" in this dispute, the station could rather quickly slip from its present position as the 21st busiest WN city (with about 50 flights as of 5/2007.) We've seen WN's reaction to what they consider unfair or excessive airport costs before, e.g., ELP, SEA, etc.; maybe nobody cares but it looks like WN carries about a third of the pax that fly in and out of Bergstrom. (http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/austinairport/downloads/activityrpt_oct07.pdf.)
I could easily imagine WN easily moving at least some of their AUS service 60 miles away to a more "friendly" airport near the Alamo.

Just something to consider...

bb


User currently offlineLoneStarMike From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 3783 posts, RR: 34
Reply 3, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 10904 times:



Quoting BlueFlyer (Reply 3):
On to the story itself, the video states the city will not provide luggage service at the new terminal, one of the reasons to justify its lower use cost, but does it mean that checking luggage in will not be an option, or that airlines will have to install and pay for their own infrastructure ?

The low-cost terminal won't have any sort of automated baggage handling system, and the way I understand it, even if a carrier wanted to install their own, they wouldn't be able to do so. The low-cost terminal will only be marketed towards airlines which don't need these "amenities."

Passengers flying out of the low-cost terminal will still have the option to check luggage, though (for an additional fee.) The luggage will just have to be carried out to the plane by hand, either by the passenger or an airline employee.

Quoting SANFan (Reply 6):
The thing is, if WN gets ticked off enough at the airport folks in Austin, despite who's "right" or "wrong" in this dispute, the station could rather quickly slip from its present position as the 21st busiest WN city (with about 50 flights as of 5/2007.) We've seen WN's reaction to what they consider unfair or excessive airport costs before, e.g., ELP, SEA, etc.; maybe nobody cares but it looks like WN carries about a third of the pax that fly in and out of Bergstrom.

Yeah, I thought specifically of WN at ELP when I read this. I guess if Southwest wanted to move some AUS flights to SAT (and thinks they can make more money in the process) then that's certainly their call.

At DTW, NW uses gates in the fancy new terminal, while WN operates out of one of the older terminals. Does WN have to pay the same rate for its' gates in DTW that NW does? (I'm asking because I truly don't know.)

LoneStarMike


User currently offlineLoneStarMike From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 3783 posts, RR: 34
Reply 4, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 10868 times:

OK, KXAN finally updated its' website. Below is a link to text version of the story, the video that ran on the local news last night and copies (pdf files) of WN's letter to AUS and the airport's response to Southwest.

http://www.kxan.com/Global/story.asp?S=7490590&nav=0s3d

One discrepancy I noticed is that Southwest's letter to the city seems to indicate that the required discussions between the airport and the incumbent carriers haven't taken place, yet the city's response claims that they have.

Reading both letters, it doesn't sound like either side is going to back down.

It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

Mike


User currently offlineTCFC424 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 517 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 10709 times:

I was wondering what was up with WN and ABIA. WN is a very large carrier at AUS and could really impact the availability of non-stops if they wanted to get nasty...but XE is at AUS and would surely pick up some of the slack. It really seems silly for WN to be fighting the arrival of Viva Aerobus, as WN doesn't fly to Mexico! They are not even a competitor! Perhaps they are figuring someone else may start service using that terminal, but the only one I can think of would be Virgin America.

B6, F9, YX, and XE are all out of the main terminal, surely locked in to the same leases WN is, so no cost advantages there. Of course, if the city caves to the request, the floodgates are open for every carrier to renegotiate lease rates. I don't know what the lease rates are, but the WN letter says they are the same for all carriers, and if that's the case, UA must be a red-headed step-child for the airport because they are constantly maintaining the AA and WN ops/ramp/etc areas while they might repaint our stuff when it is so faded you can barely see the lead-in line.


User currently offlineIAHFLYER From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 319 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 10689 times:



Quoting LoneStarMike (Thread starter):
The city also claims they can charge lower terminal fees for carriers using the low-cost terminal because the city will not be providing baggage claim services,

How will no baggage claim work??



Little airports with the big jets are the best!! Floyd
User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21106 posts, RR: 56
Reply 7, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 10669 times:



Quoting IAHFLYER (Reply 6):
How will no baggage claim work??

Probably just bring the bags from the plane and put them on a carousel or something, all by hand.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineWilliam From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 1240 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 10662 times:

SWA isn't going anywhere,they are not stupid. They are the largest carriers out of AUS and will not risk pissing off some of their most loyal flyers (those who have flown SWA when SWA was a Texas only carrier) and high yield traffic.

User currently offlineTornado82 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 10492 times:



Quoting TCFC424 (Reply 5):
Perhaps they are figuring someone else may start service using that terminal, but the only one I can think of would be Virgin America.

Virgin America wouldn't touch that new shed with a 10 foot pole. They provide service in their experience, not air stairs and paying for checked bags. The airlines who'd look at that shed-terminal would be Skybus, or if they found a route worth flying from AUS (WN already claimed them all) Allegiant. Southwest is FAR more likely to move into that shed than Virgin is... even though WN ain't going either. It's pretty hard to do a 25 minute turn without the proper infrastructure.

Quoting LoneStarMike (Reply 3):
Yeah, I thought specifically of WN at ELP when I read this.

There's a difference. Austin is a thriving business/economic market.... ELP not so much.

Quoting LoneStarMike (Reply 3):
At DTW, NW uses gates in the fancy new terminal, while WN operates out of one of the older terminals.

NW is financially connected to that terminal of theirs. They paid for considerable chunks of the place, and called the shots. At the end of the day when you look at the capital investment NWA has in that place, they probably pay significantly more overall.

Quoting SANFan (Reply 2):


The thing is, if WN gets ticked off enough at the airport folks in Austin, despite who's "right" or "wrong" in this dispute, the station could rather quickly slip from its present position as the 21st busiest WN city (with about 50 flights as of 5/2007.) We've seen WN's reaction to what they consider unfair or excessive airport costs before, e.g., ELP, SEA, etc.; maybe nobody cares but it looks like WN carries about a third of the pax that fly in and out of Bergstrom. (http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/austinairport/downloads/activityrpt_oct07.pdf.)
I could easily imagine WN easily moving at least some of their AUS service 60 miles away to a more "friendly" airport near the Alamo.

That would be a case of cutting off your nose to save your face. WN goes after the business traveler in AUS, and the business traveler ain't gonna drive to SAT when his business is in AUS.

Besides, it's not like WN really handed out any significant retribution in SEA anyways... because they couldn't afford to cut in such a lucrative market.

Quoting BlueF0yer (Reply 1):
I think Southwest is just airing sour grapes, as they would not be using the new terminal anyhow.

Ding ding ding, we have a winner. Just like in SEA, this is all fist pounding, hot air, and rhetoric.


User currently offlineCjpark From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 1234 posts, RR: 6
Reply 10, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 10435 times:

Southwest is always threatening some community over some perceived injustice against the airline. This is not news this is just business as normal for Southwest.

Hopefully Austin will not cower to WN and continue with plans for the low cost terminal concept.



"Any airline that wants to serve the [region] can go to DFW today and fly anywhere they want," WN spokesman Ed Stewart
User currently offlineAustinAirport From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 643 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 10284 times:

Yeah I think everything stated above was very correct. I dont see Virgin coming to AUS, not for now at least. Skybus, possibly. I dont think that they could fly CMH-AUS daily and make it work. But what the Hell do I know.  Smile But yes Southwest is a little bastard. I for one am in great favor of the new terminal and would love to see that little airline "Give It A Try,"  Smile VIVA AEROBUS!!!


Whoever said you can do anything you set your mind to has obviously never tried to slam a revolving door!!!
User currently offlineLoneStarMike From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 3783 posts, RR: 34
Reply 12, posted (6 years 4 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 10030 times:

Well, here is an updated report from News 8 Austin, the Time Warner local cable news station. Apparently all three Texas-based airlines (WN, AA & CO) are protesting the new terminal. There's some new information in this report that wasn't in the first one.

Major airlines upset over terminal deal

The council member interviewed in the story said there is the potential for the airlines to sue the city and demand equal treatment. He says at least three council members were under the impression that Viva Aerobus would be the only airline operating out of the low-cost terminal and that it would have only three gates, but said the City Council became aware of a plan to expand the ultra low-cost terminal from three to eight gates and include domestic low-cost carriers. I knew that the city was eventually going to try and attract other ultra low-cost carriers, but I don't remember anything about there being eight gates. Maybe that's a second planned phase.

According to the City Council member, the three airlines say the low-cost terminal for flights to Mexico should not include domestic ones. Although the agreement with GECAS to build the terminal has been approved by the City Council, nothing has been signed yet.

The report also said if WN, AA & CO can prove the city violated their lease, it might be hard for the low-cost terminal to even get off the ground, but also claimed that .Viva Aerobus still has plans to start offering service to 6 cities in Mexico in the spring. I'm afraid that might change, though, if the low-cost terminal doesn't get built. And even if it does get built, this dispute will probably delay construction.

I could live with a compromise - no domestic carriers in the low-cost terminal, but I would like for Viva Aerobus to be able to at least give AUS a shot.

LoneStarMike


User currently offlineRFields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7345 posts, RR: 32
Reply 13, posted (6 years 4 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 10000 times:

Southwest is just the lead airline on this argument - as noted above - the other airlines will join in.

Does anybody seriously think the airlines don't talk to each other about such situations and work together on the PR campaign?

Using government (airport) money to lower the cost of some airlines to operate at the airport while keeping the same lease rates for others will never work in the US. The airlines will not put up with it and will mobilize their customers. Yes, Southwest and the others would like lower lease rates - but more important is maintaining a status quo situation where no new competitor has a cost advantage.

If the low cost airlines want to build their own terminal building with their own money - that might happen.

If it is built with government money - it's going to have to have comparable lease rates as the other terminals.


User currently offlinePSU.DTW.SCE From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 7344 posts, RR: 28
Reply 14, posted (6 years 4 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 9964 times:



Quoting LoneStarMike (Reply 3):
At DTW, NW uses gates in the fancy new terminal, while WN operates out of one of the older terminals. Does WN have to pay the same rate for its' gates in DTW that NW does? (I'm asking because I truly don't know.)



Quoting Tornado82 (Reply 9):
NW is financially connected to that terminal of theirs. They paid for considerable chunks of the place, and called the shots. At the end of the day when you look at the capital investment NWA has in that place, they probably pay significantly more overall.

As Tornado82 mentioned, NW paid for a significant portion of the Worldgateway themselves and designed the terminal to suit their needs. They paid for for all of the "extras" to make it a premier hub facility.

WN and the other non-Skyteam airlines all operate out of the old Smith terminal which will be replaced by the new North Terminal, scheduled to open in late 2008. WN has raised some complaints about construction costs and the increased lease rates that will occur when the new terminal opens. Right now rent for the Smith terminal is rather cheap, but rates are going to essentially triple next year when the new terminal opens. WN (and AA too) are actually going to occupy fewer gates for the same amount of flights in the new terminal than they currently have now. Granted the new terminal will be more operationally effecient and allow for better gate utilization as well as relatively close remote RON aircraft parking, but they don't want to pay much more than they are today.

WN & NK have battled construction costs particularly on who should pay for the ground transportation center and other "bells and whistles" in the new terminal, hence why the North terminal will be much more bare-bones than the Worldgateway. They want costs to be as cheap as possible and its a balancing act for the airport administration & the county as the new North Terminal will also house some legacies like AA & UA, non-Skyteam international airlines like LH & RJ, and all of the LCC's (NK, WN, F9, FL, US).


User currently offlineSCCutler From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 5394 posts, RR: 26
Reply 15, posted (6 years 4 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 9957 times:

Also of serious concern, the City of Austin has not yet offered any details on how this proposed bus-station-of-the-air does not impinge upon the general aviation use at the airport.

This project is potential trouble, in many different ways.



...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
User currently offlineLoneStarMike From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 3783 posts, RR: 34
Reply 16, posted (6 years 4 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 9926 times:



Quoting RFields5421 (Reply 13):
Using government (airport) money to lower the cost of some airlines to operate at the airport while keeping the same lease rates for others will never work in the US.

What about airports that offer incentives to get new carriers? If an airport offers incentives in the form of reduced rental fees and/or reduced landing fees to a new entrant that's starting new service, isn't that using government (airport) to lower the cost of some airlines, while keeping the fees for the other airlines higher?

Quoting RFields5421 (Reply 13):
If the low cost airlines want to build their own terminal building with their own money - that might happen.

If it is built with government money - it's going to have to have comparable lease rates as the other terminals.

I see your point, but Austin's proposed low-cost terminal would be built and paid for by GECAS, not Viva Aerobus nor government (airport) money.

At any rate, here is another write-up from Evan's Spark's Aviation Policy Blog on this issue. He's siding with the airport regarding this issue, but that's just his opinion.

Gates, Terminals, Fees and the Business of Airports

LoneStarMike


User currently offlinePSU.DTW.SCE From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 7344 posts, RR: 28
Reply 17, posted (6 years 4 months 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 9919 times:



Quoting LoneStarMike (Reply 16):
What about airports that offer incentives to get new carriers? If an airport offers incentives in the form of reduced rental fees and/or reduced landing fees to a new entrant that's starting new service, isn't that using government (airport) to lower the cost of some airlines, while keeping the fees for the other airlines higher?

There is a fine line here to prevent favortism. The existing tenants usually don't mind if they incentives / guarantees are for a limited period of time - to cover start-up costs, or coming from a private source. They do get very upset when they are coming from publicly funded sources/entities and/or without a time constraint.

Remember the Delta & AirTran issue at ICT?


User currently offlineLoneStarMike From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 3783 posts, RR: 34
Reply 18, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 9759 times:

FWIW, here's the closed caption log from the Austin City Council Meeting on June 21, 2007 when Jim Smith of the City's Aviation Department made the presentation for the low-cost terminal. The link below is to the log of the entire City Council Meeting. I've just retyped the part that dealt with the low cost terminal so it wouldn't be in all capital letters.

Note: Since these log files are derived from the Closed Captions created during the Channel 6 live cablecasts, there are occasional spelling and grammatical errors. These Closed Caption logs are not official records of Council Meetings and cannot be relied on for official purposes. For official records or transcripts, please contact the City Clerk at 974-2210.

Closed Caption Log, Austin City Council Meeting 06/21/2007

Mayor Wynn: So apologize for the delay this afternoon, but now council will take up our two posted briefings that we have outlined. We were scheduled this morning to have a briefing regarding a proposed possible new airline service at Bergstrom. We'll take up that briefing if aviation staff is here and then we'll go to our afternoon briefing, which was some of the results of property analysis we've been doing on Austin Energy's tract in far eastern Travis County. Welcome Jim Smith.

Jim Smith: Mayor, Council members, I'm here with a relatively short briefing to let you know what we've been working on. It is not an action item. If things go well in the negotiation, hopefully we'll be back in July to bring you an action item on it. Fundamentally, this is about improving Austin's competitive posiition so that we can compete for air service specifically on the handout. The next step - what we're proposing we're proposing to lease some land at the airport to General Electric General Aviation Services [sic] and the purpose for that is to build and operate a low-cost terminal.

I'll entertain what a low cost firm national [sic] is in a moment and why do we want to proceed with this? The first one is that we have an opportunity. We've been negotiating with an airline out of Mexico for five new nonstop flights to five destinations in Mexico, and we've had a lot of difficulty attracting international flights, specifically to Mexico. So this is something that we've been working very hard on. The airline is Viva Aerobus. It's a relatively new airline in Mexico. It's been around a year and they are following the ultra low cost business model, which I'll explain too, which is [different from] the typical business model of an airline. We also have [the] opportunity to position Austin to compete for this ultra low cost service as it continues to grow.

Some [of] you may have read some of the articles about Skybus, which is a new Airline headquartered in Columbus, Ohio which has just started flying. They are also following this new ultra low cost business model and we would obviously try to use this facility to compete for their business as well. Finally, we have an opportunity with GE to form a strategic partnership that would advance Austin's business. If we can partner successfully with General Electric, then we have a large worldwide company who would be trying to make Austin a successful operation and it would enhance our marketing power significantly.

Ultra low cost service - it's a successful business model in Europe, Asia and Mexico. In Europe, it's been around for over 10 years. And Ryan Air, which was the pioneer of this model, is now the largest carrier in you are ron. [sic] Some of you may have flown it or read about it, but they're famous for their five dollar fares, 29-dollar fares, 30-dollar fares. Relatively cheap fares. The business model is if they can keep their fares low enough, they will stimulate new demand from people who weren't flying previously. And because they stimulate the demand, they also put pressure on the communities to provide them the type of facilities which allows them to keep their costs down. It's based on the Ryan Air success model. Very low fares to stimulate demand. This is no frills service. You get a cheap fare, but you pay for everything else ala carte. You want food, you pay for it. You want bags, you pay for it. You want a drink, you pay for it. That's the type of service they provide. In terms of facilities, they don't use loading bridges. You load on the ramp. And again, to keep the costs down on the types of facilites and again because they don't come to every community and they encourage people to drive to one location, they try and solicit incentives from communities in order to bring their service to your community.

For example, in negotiating with Viva Aerobus, they only plan to come to one city in Texas, so we were working against Houston, San Antonio and other cities to try to get them to make Austin their hub for flights into Mexico. The bottom line is this new ultra low cost business model is a differentiated model from the typical airline operation and it requires low cost facilities. The bottom line is these people don't come to your community unless you can provide them a lower cost facility than your typical airline terminal.

The next page is an example. Have some pictures there of the concept of differentiated products for different airlines at airports, and the particular one you've got here is Singapore. In the upper right hand corner, you have the standard Singapore terminal which is widely acknowledged as one of the top three in the world. But yet when they have one of the top airports in the world, they've determined they need differentiated products and the picture on the lower right shows you their luxury terminal. There are airlines flying which now have just a first class and business class product and they want a higher class terminal facility. And then you see to the left of that they also have a budget terminal which is for the people who want the lowest fare possible. So in Singapore, they have three types of terminals, all differentiated for different markets.

The following page is the Monterrey low cost terminal, which we went down to look at and study because this is where Viva Aerobus is [head]quartered and this is what the City of Monterrey had to build to have Viva Aerobus come to their area. You can see the type of facility it is. It's a single story type of facility with no loading bridges similar to a cargo type facility. Just used for processing passengers as quickly and cheaply as possible. Again, the last picture there is the Singapore budget terminal which gives you an indication of what they're like.So far, all of these low budget terminals have a typical similar type of design.

Why we're bringing this to you is the bottom line is air service these days is a very, very competitive marketplace and communities have to position themselves to compete successfully to get airlines to come to your communites. The low cost model encourages competitive proposals. Skybus now, when they [...] come to communities, they want competition, so they'll pick three or four airports in a geographic region and you bid against each other to see who will give them the best deal, which is essentially what Viva Aerobus did and [we] were successful with that particular solicitation, but the bottom line is this competition requires communities to take risks if they want to win these particular proposals.

So why [are] we talking to General Electric? In the first sense, they're an existing tenant at the cargo part. We have a relationship with General Electric today. They're already one of our tenants. They also cooperated with us on making the proposal to Viva Aerobus in Mexico. So we competed jointly and the bottom line [in] my opinion [is] that the only reason they're coming to Austin is because we had GE as a partner and they knew we were serious about providing them the type of facilities that they wanted. GE clearly has a brand and presence in key global markets. They have relationships with airline customers around the world.They have relationships with 230 airlines and 70 countries, so they have tremendous connections to try to market Austin and make our facility successful. Why are we not building this ourself? First of all, Viva Aerobus wants to start flying by the holidays. So by Thanksgiving or Christmas they want to start flying and there's no way the City can move quick enough to put facilites in place to meet that type of time line.

There's also risk involved. While we compete for the airlines, the airline business is a shaky business. More than 50 percent of those businesses go bankrupt or get into trouble, so we don't want to risk a lot of our capital with these types of situations. So finding a strategic partner or a partner like GE who is willing to risk their capital in conjunction with us helps us preserve our capital for the expansion of the existing terminal while GE moves ahead with the low cost terminal that we've been talking about. The lead structure that we're talking about would be consistent with existing leases at the airport. Fundamentally, the city's role at the airport is landlord. We are not a direct service provider to any of the customers. What we do is we lease land to other businesses who then in turn build the facilities necessary to serve their customers. Whether it's the airlines, whether it's the cargo facilites, whether it's general aviation, Sky Chef that provides foods, we basically lease them land and they run the business to provide service.

Essentially, we give a lease to the entity, they build and operate the facility and at the end of the lease the city inherits that particular [facility]. We become the owners of that the same way we will inherit the hotel at the end of 30 years and fixed base operator facilities at the end of 30 years. So the term of the [...] lease is usually equal to the useful life of the facility and the typical facility we're talking about is typically a 25 to 30 year facility. Finally, we charge a base rent and also a percentage rent which gives us rent based on the success of the operation. So the bottom line is offering air service in any community is a competitive business and for us to compete effectively a strategic partner with help in our ability and also help mitigate our risk as we try to preserve our capital as much as possible. Finally, in terms of next steps, we're going to proceed with negotiations with General Electric. We are hopeful that those [end] up successfully but we're still in the very early stages of doing that. Viva Aerobus has committed to coming to Austin. We just have to get the facilities in place. So ideally, it's our game plan to come back to Council in your meeting towards the end of July to come back with a proposal and a lease structure with General Electric to provide these particular services. with that, I'll stop and answer any questions you may have.

Mayor Wynn: Thank you. Questions for staff, Council? Councilmember Leffingwell.

Leffingwell: I believe you don't know for sure yet, but the anticipated term of the lease would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 years [sic] depending on what you determine to be the life of the building?

Jim Smith: Right. For the facility, normally about 25 to 30 years is generally the typical life of the building we have in our lease structure today.

Leffingwell: At the end of that time, it would revert to city ownership?

Jim Smith: Right

Leffingwell: What about things like concessions, parking, public transit, things like that? Are those all negotiable items?

Jim Smith: Yes, they are and in terms of -- object be obviously with General Electric putting their property at risk, they have to get a return on the investment. So we have to develop pro formas with them from both sides on what their stinlts [sic] are on the volume of traffic, how much money will be paid, what they have to pay us in lease structure, and make sure it's a fair return. So yes, the concessions would be part of the negotiations. The parking will probably be part of the negotiations. We may choose to ask General Electric to build the parking to serve this facility rather than us build it. All those things have to be worked out during the negotiation and we're not that far along yet.

Leffingwell: OK. Last question. Is this going to be exclusively for the use of Viva Aerobus?

Jim Smith: No. They will be the first tenant, but we are hopeful that -- first of all, these facilities are modular in design, so they can easily be expanded. Our goal is to market Austin as having now two different products. We have the main terminal for the traditional airline, but the ultra low cost business model is a growing business model and more airlines are entering it and we want to be competitive in going after and recruiting them to come to Austin.


Leffingwell: And finally, just looking at the map, there's no connectivity between the existing terminal and this low cost terminal?

Jim Smith: No.

Leffingwell: It's accessed through a different route

Jim Smith: We're still negotiating, but right now it looks like we would put this on the south side of the airport and you would actually access it from Burleson Road as opposed to [Highway] 71

Leffingwell: And initially you plan four gates?

Jim Smith: It would be three or four gates max to get it started.

Mayor Wynn: Councilmember Kim


Kim: What if the public wants some connectivity between the low cost terminal and the main terminal? If they want to catch flights going to other destinations and other airlines, what would be the option? Is that something we would provide or hire a private transporter or our airport shuttle service.

Jim Smith: Well, there's always transportation options, wlits [sic] super shuttle, taxi cab, in a we can provide [sic] There's a variety of ways of doing it. The first thing to do is to judge what is the level of transfer traffic. Generally, this is not transfer traffic. This is destination traffic the way most -- 98% of everything we get at the airport today is what they call origination and destination. We don't have a lot of transfers taking place at our airport because we're not a hub. So that isn't a major portion of the business be. [sic] But yes, there will probably be occasional people looking to get from one terminal to the other and we'll have to accomodate that, but it will probably be some type of a bus facility or whatever. Again, this is not planned out yet.

Kim: And as far as where the destinations are in Mexico, have those been announced yet? Do you have any idea where they are?

Jim Smith: Monterrey will definitely be one of them because that's where they're headquartered. The rest, they're plan[ning] to go file with the FAA this week. They've delayed until this week, so that will show up next week and I don't have the final destinations myself yet. So other than Monterrey being one of them.

Kim: Thank you very much

Mayor Wynn: Further questions?

Martinez: I wanted ask a quick question about -- I guess Councilmember Leffingwell kind of asked about the services, the transportation to get out there, parking, but I assume policing services will be the same way? Will they provide their own or is this part of the Federal Customs Program? How will that work since these are international flights? Would we be providing policing services out there?

Jim Smith: There's different levels of security there. The Transportation Security Agency is the entity which actually screens passengers. They will have to have a presence in this facility. We've already had preliminary discussions with them to do that. Immigration will have to have a presence in this facility because it's international. So we've already had discussions with them to be prepared for this. In terms of just security -- in terms of our security of police or whatever it is, yes we would still be providing that the same way we do in the existing terminal.

Martinez: And maybe you mentioned this and I missed it earlier, but what would be our initial investment to build a structure, a separate structure or separate facility? What is our initial it [sic] investment or the total investment?

Jim Smith: From ABIA? Well, we're negotiating that. At this stage of the game it's potentially that our potential investment will be nothing more than leasing the land and GE will put up the capital. But again, as we negotiate this out, that may change slightly depending on what we think is most important for us to accomplish in this transaction.

Martinez: So it sounds like this is a Mexican Airline that is targeting the heavy immigrant community here in the United states? That's where their target market is?

Jim Smith: First of all, their business model is intended to have very inexpensive seats, basically all under $100.00. A lot of them for $25.00, $35.00, that type of thing. In Mexico their business model revolves around the fact that less than five percent of the people of Mexico fly today because they can't afford the fares. So the goal is if they can get the fares down for every increment they can keep the fares down, they will stimulate that much more traffic in Mexico. So the boon to us and why the tourism community in Austin is excited about this is that means a whole lot more tourists coming to the Austin area. And they may decide to go to Houston and San Antonio after they land here, but at least they're going to come into Austin. The other thing that this business model tries to accomplish on the U.S. side of this is because the fares will be so low , they anticipate that people will be driving from Houston and San Antonio in order to take these flights, and then we get the benefit [of] that business as well. So the business model -- this has been proven successfully in Europe, Asia, Mexico, wherever it's been used, is you will get people to drive relatively long distances to get a cheap flight to a destination and by being a community which hosts this, hopefully us, then we get the benefit of both incoming and outgoing passengers for that reason.

Martinez: But none of the safety standards, regulations, we're not creating some two tiered flight system?

Jim Smith: No. You all have to meet the same FAA standards and everything else to fly in the U.S. You will get different contract standards on the plane because you will be squeezed in a little tighter on the plane so they can put more seats in there and things like that.

Mayor Wynn: Further comments, questions?

Leffingwell: Standard fees that apply to all airlines coming into ABIA, are they going to be the same? Are they going to pay the same landing fees that everybody else pays?

Jim Smith: The FAA requires that you cannot discriminate among the airlines, so all landing fees, rental rates that we charge for the airlines have to be the same for everybody. Now, for new certain routes we as an airport offer incentives for a certain period of time which reduces one airline's rates [when] they introduce service to a new destination, but those expire at a certain point and then everybody's rates become the same.So Viva Aerobus will pay the same as anyone else at the airport.


Leffingwell: The reason I ask the question is in some of the material that you furnished us, it said that they usually look for out of the way airports that have very low landing fees. I didn't know that we were in that classification.

Jim Smith: We're not. We don't have what you would consider a low landing fee, but because we're proposing to build them a terminal that is lower cost, that their rental rate inside the terminal will be significantly less than the rental rate we charge in the main terminal. And that's what you find in Europe, what they did in Amsterdam and Frankfurt. They basically got the rent to down to about half of what is was in the main terminal.

Mayor Wynn: Council member Martinez

Martinez: One last follow-up. If we contract with GE and we simply just lease the land, I want us to make sure that we put provisions in there that any construction that takes place at ABIA, Infrastructure building, that we continue to do everything we can to meet and exceed our minority participation goals. I don't want us to get into a situation where we just sign a lease and some company comes in here and builds whatever they want using outside firm, outside labor. I want to make sure that it speaks easy the values of Austin and that we contract locally.

Jim Smith: We try and do that through all the leases at the airport. Almost everything which is done at the airport is through a lease arrangement Faye, so we put those items in there.

Martinez: Thanks

Mayor Wynn: Further comments, questions? Thank you Mr. Smith. Interesting stuff. So Council, without objection, we'll now go to our afternoon briefing, which is a presentation and update on the City's -- Austin Energy's 2800 some-odd acre tract of land in far Eastern Travis County.


It seems odd to me that six months after this presentation News 8 Austin (link in Reply #12) reported that:

At least three council members say they were under the impression that only one airline, Viva Aerobus, a Mexico-based low-cost carrier, would use the new terminal.

"We became aware that there was going to be a plan to expand the ultra low-cost terminal from three to eight gates and also include domestic low-cost carriers," Leffingwell said.


Jim Smith covered both of those points in his presentation and again in the Q&A from Council Members after the presentation where Leffingwell himself asked if the low-cost terminal was to be for the exclusive use of Viva Aerobus and was told no. Smith went on to mention that the low cost terminal was modular in design and could easily be expanded.

Jim Smith also flat out said that the FAA required the City to charge the same rental rates to all the airlines. I e-mailed a couple of questions about gate rental fees to the airport and their response was that for the gate rental fees in the main terminal, the city does charge the same amount per square foot to all the airlines regardless of whether it's a ground level gate (Gate 1) or an upper level gate (Gates 2-25) Jet loading bridge fees are separate.

Whether or not it would stand up in court remains to be seen, but I think the City's position is that they're only leasing the land. GECAS is building the terminal. GECAS is recruiting the airlines. GECAS will own the terminal for the next 25-30 years until it reverts to city ownership. GECAS is setting the gate rental rates and collecting the money, not the city. The city will just get a percentage of GECAS' overall profits and income from the leasing of the land, if I'm understanding things correctly.

The things that the city does charge for (like landing fees) will still be the same for every airline.

Southwest, in their letter to ABIA mentioned that whether the city was charging lower rates itself or having a third party do it, it was splitting hairs. I don't know if there's some sort of legal loophole if there's a third party involved, but if there is, I hope the City of Austin crawls through it. It wouldn't be the first time an airline or airport used a legal loophole to achieve a desired result.

LoneStarMike


User currently offlineTcfc424 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 517 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 9703 times:

I think it is interesting also that they talked briefly about the (concurrent?) expansion of existing facilities. I read this to mean that they are currently working on expanding the existing terminal to the 35 gates in the master plan. Those trigger points (per plan) have been reached, as have the trigger points for the construction of a 2nd terminal building. I have seen no groundwork for any of these projects as of yet, considering that one of the very first things is relocation of the employee parking area to the north of Highway 71.

My biggest questions regarding this ULCC terminal, and I am getting very close to sending some emails to council members and airport officials, is what impact, if any, this terminal will have on expansion of the current air facilities (for those "middle class" airlines). Perusing the ABIA website, I found competition plans for 2000, 2001, and 2002. Each of those ends with a letter from the FAA mentioning that every year the report is to be posted on their website....where is 2003-2007? The information contained in the others is out-of-date and I want to know how our airport is going to compete for additional air service with all current gates leased and heavily utilized (some gates by 2 airlines!).

I know for UA, a third gate at this point could mean additional service. We are full most of the time (no need, I understand full doesn't mean profitable) and are picking up an LA flight in Feb that is going to stretch our gates to the max. Our schedule had to be adjusted significantly to accomodate that service. With the success B6 has had, I am sure JFK would not be too far out, if we had the gates, but we don't, so we can't. We also close a taxiway down EVERY NIGHT to park an aircraft because the city has not added RON spaces, as specified in the master plan. The room is there...they just need to pour the concrete! That would give us the ability to return to 5 RON flights from our current 4...we just have no place to park an additional aircraft. I am sure others are dealing with the same limitations, B6 and F9 being among those impacted.

Also, with AA potentially looking at AUS as a focus city, they are going to need new resources...which are not available. This city and this airport are, and have been, behind the 8-ball when it comes to getting things accomplished. It is disappointing that we are limited in our expansion.


User currently offlineLonghornmaniac From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 3244 posts, RR: 45
Reply 20, posted (6 years 3 months 3 weeks ago) and read 9673 times:

Interesting follow-up read... Thanks!!!

Mike, from an outsider's insider's (if that makes sense. Not actually in the industry but following the happenings at AUS very closely) perspective, I completely agree. I have heard of NO discussion of further expansion, despite having reached our so-called "trigger points." The gate space is stretched VERY thin across the board, and with F9 and Midwest Connect both using 24, and XE forced to use the overflow spaces at gate 1, it is time to act. It is wonderful to see the airport booming, with new routes being announced nearly every month it seems. I'm getting really worried that we will start to lose out on business as Austin continues to grow because potential airlines will recognize the clusterf**k that AUS has become. I'm ever amazed each time I set foot inside Barbara Jordan terminal; it seems busier than the previous time. With the likes of VX and FL assuredly looking long and hard at AUS, as well as AA wanting to make AUS into a focus city, we may be losing out by waiting so long. I can almost guarantee you that VX and/or FL would love to set foot in Austin someday, but to be completely honest, if I were them, I'd be a little scared to. Gate space is virtually to completely non-existent (even though F9 and Midwest don't (AFAIK) use Gate 24 to the max, Lord knows we wouldn't stick 3 airlines in one gate). Baggage Claim space seems to be difficult to come by, as does check-in space.

Suffice to say, if AA started parking any MORE planes here overnight, they might as well build a maintenance building and get some C-Checks done!  Wink What are they RONing now? 8-10? RON space is getting really bad now, as you mentioned. It'd be nice to see some initiative taken by the city to begin implementing the next stages of the Airport Master Plan. A new, cross-field terminal, would be really nice, and will come in due time. Personally, I think they need to begin the planning phase for the construction of the east Concourse extension, which would add 8-10 gates to the existing concourse.

I must confess, however, I'm not sure of some of the terminology in the Airport Master Plan. What exactly are "Enplanements and Enplaned Passengers." For example, High Growth Forecasts for Enplaned Passengers in 2010 are 6,623,000. Surely this number does not compare (meaning it's not representing the same thing) to the 2006 figure of over 8,000,000 passengers enplaned. If it does, we're way behind. For God's sake, the high growth forecast for 2020 is between 9-10 million... I'm hoping I'm wrong.

Cheers,
Cameron


User currently offlineTcfc424 From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 517 posts, RR: 2
Reply 21, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 9662 times:

Certainly there are gates that could be further utilized...the JetBlue gate being one of them. The problem with that is that everyone (or the airlines?) seem to want to fly at the same time. I have frequently (weather a factor of course) seen B6 at US gates, and another B6 on the mx ramp. Personally, I wish B6 was somewhere else, their rear stairs get in our way!

Cameron, I completely understand your confusion regarding the "master plan". I dug through those docs and was (somewhat naievely) surprised that doc even existed, after all, it is obviously not being followed. One of the things that stuck out in my mind was that trigger points were based on forecasted growth. Admittedly, we are slightly behind the growth figures for 2005 as we step into 2008. Those trigger points (presumably) are based upon forecast growth, and we have been behind there...but is that due to lack of vision???

I agree 100% that other air carriers are looking to serve AND CURRENT: Austin - Bergstrom International (AFB) (AUS / KBSM), USA - Texas">AUS and I also agree 100% that existing carriers want to expand their services/schedules/frequencies. The terminal is always busy...although most outbounds are done by 2100...no red-eyes here. Most of the people that I work with are not from AND CURRENT: Austin - Bergstrom International (AFB) (AUS / KBSM), USA - Texas">AUS. They laugh at our facility and it's capabilities. As one said, AND CURRENT: Austin - Bergstrom International (AFB) (AUS / KBSM), USA - Texas">AUS was designed for the 50-100 seat jets...not the larger aircraft we see. The crescent-shaped terminal is beautiful, and to some degree functional, but it is also severely limiting, as referenced in the master plan. At least they know they screwed up. The baggage system has been overloaded so many times this holiday season that it is virtually impossible to ensure bags make the flight (30 min. cutoff in mind) and prohibitive in getting inbound luggage to the carousel in a timely fashion. The make-up areas are being redone, but they are still inadequate. TSA screeners are understaffed, increasing baggage screening times and causing mishandled bags. AA has more than 8-10 RON's...they fill their alloted (read most of) RON spaces AND their gates.

Just for a second perspective, maybe FXRamper could give us some insight on the cargo side...

Maybe all of us AND CURRENT: Austin - Bergstrom International (AFB) (AUS / KBSM), USA - Texas">AUS folks should get together somewhere for a roundtable chat...I'd be up for it.

Mike


User currently offlineLonghornmaniac From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 3244 posts, RR: 45
Reply 22, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 9660 times:



Quoting Tcfc424 (Reply 21):
Maybe all of us AND CURRENT: Austin - Bergstrom International (AFB) (AUS / KBSM), USA - Texas">AUS folks should get together somewhere for a roundtable chat...I'd be up for it.

That sounds like a hell of an idea. I'm up at Southwestern in Georgetown for school, but it wouldn't be hard to come back for such a chat. Let me know when and where, I'll be there.  Wink Just kidding, I'd love to help coordinate!

Off to bed....finally, for me. LOL.

I'll see to it this thread gets back toward the top if it's sagged a bit by the time I wake up.  wave 

Cheers,
Cameron


User currently offlineMikey711MN From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 1395 posts, RR: 8
Reply 23, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 9572 times:



Quoting Longhornmaniac (Reply 22):
That sounds like a hell of an idea.

Count me in. You guys are huge into AUS developments and always provide enlightening conversation, so I'd be down for some chat over a cup of coffee or a pint of beer or whatever.

-Mike



I plan on living forever. So far, so good...
User currently offlineSCCutler From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 5394 posts, RR: 26
Reply 24, posted (6 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 9554 times:

Again, nothing to describe what protections will be given to the GA function of the airport. AUS is the only airport in the city, and Austin is the largest city with only one airport to serve all of its aviation needs.


...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
25 Tcfc424 : The GA functions are (according to the plans that I have seen) in no danger of being reduced. The new terminal(s) would be located a little ways away
26 Boeingfever777 : I would have to agree on this... I wonder if this is why AA has held back on making AUS a focus city. Also what happens when other carriers or new ca
27 RwSEA : Yep. WN has expanded since their fist pounding in SEA - they've added frequency and have also added DEN. I don't think AUS has much to worry about. E
28 Flyingclrs727 : Are they out of their minds? Doesn't that defeat the whole purpose of the airport security system? If passengers carry their luggage out to the tarma
29 Longhornmaniac : As I've said in other threads about Austin aviation, the GA infrastructure is really, really bad. City planners failed miserably when they decided to
30 LoneStarMike : I noticed that, too and wondered why there are no current competition plans posted. Enplaned passengers refers to departing passengers only and does
31 Tcfc424 : Here is the link to the airport master plan. Chapter 7 is the meaty one, with all of the information regarding expansion. There are many graphics and
32 PlanesNTrains : I agree completely. But if it works, then for them it least, it was worth it. Correction: "Hopefully Austin will not cower to WN, CO, and AA and cont
33 Post contains images Mikey711MN : Along those same lines, would it not have been equally--if not more--one track minded to keep it open just for GA? God knows that WN would've sued th
34 Post contains links LoneStarMike : A bit more info from the closed caption log of the City Council Meeting on 08/23/2007, a couple of months after the initial presentation: Leffingwell:
35 Longhornmaniac : Interesting sentiment... Perhaps it would've. I suppose where I was coming from is in the coming years, AUS is going to need an improvement in GA inf
36 BoeingFever777 : FYI: Talked to Drew, he has been back and forth between AUS & MEM for training these last 2-3weeks.
37 Post contains links Tcfc424 : Was wondering where Drew has been.... According to the quote, and probably absentmindedly, I did not include the link to the master plan, so here it i
38 JIWNCO : WN always playing victim... Didn't they try to do something like that in Seattle a couple of years ago? What are they so afraid of? After all Vivaaero
39 SCCutler : There was some significant impetus to maintain Mueller, in a much-reduced form, with particular efforts made by teh State of Texas' Aviation Departme
40 Post contains links LoneStarMike : Maybe hope is on the horizon? Found this blog entry over at airportbusiness.com from October 25, 2007: http://www.airportbusiness.com/inter...e-austi
41 Mikey711MN : Ok, I'm writing so I can understand the situation. So, in essence, it's not so much that the facilities themselves at ABIA are lacking, but rather tha
42 Post contains images Longhornmaniac : Mike, here's my worth regarding your understandings. I could be way off, too. I would say it's some of both. AUS's facilities are, while by no means m
43 TCFC424 : I too am enjoying this thread, and I am certain with new information we will return to WN's dispute with the City... It sounds like, if the old Bird's
44 SCCutler : The Bird's Nest thing is an encouraging development, but there is something especially galling about a city like Austin having aviation infrastructure
45 Post contains links LoneStarMike : One of the reasons the partnership with GECAS is good is because the City will preserve it's capital to be used to expand the main terminal. I think
46 LoneStarMike : You may be right. Looks like WN currently operates 49 departures per day at AUS. They're adding 1 new n/s to PHL on March 17 and 1 new n/s to FLL, 1
47 TCFC424 : WN cutting 2 flights to DAL is a big deal. Some of the most profitable routes WN has are AUS-DAL, AUS-HOU and HOU-DAL. Any change to that is a change
48 Post contains images AirframeAS : The same way SX does it at their outstations....see..... Pretty much. But I doubt SX would go to AUS though.
49 LoneStarMike : Or perhaps I'm just an idiot - DING! DING! DING! yeah, that's it. I looked at the schedule for May 11 - a Sunday. Looking at the schedule for Monday
50 Post contains links and images LoneStarMike : These are probably stupid questions, but I'll ask them anyway. In his presentation to the City Council, Jim Smith said "Everybody who flies at the air
51 Tcfc424 : LoneStar, you bring up some interesting talking points. I do not know whether Viva will be signatory or non-signatory, but I, like you, think it may a
52 TCFC424 : The word I have now is that the airport is currently painting the lead-in lines for the new ULCC on the MX ramp, currently reducing the capacity there
53 Post contains links LoneStarMike : That's a great idea. Capital Metro is my "ride" but I know which one to take to get to the Airport Hilton. Re: Documents I found the handout that Jim
54 KAUSpilot : Personally I think WN and the other US carriers have a valid point....the low cost terminal should be equally accessible to all airlines not set aside
55 LoneStarMike : I see it as being similar to the old Legend Terminal at Dallas Love Field, which was a private terminal. That terminal wasn't equally accessible to a
56 Boeing7E7 : I just want to know which clown at AUS thinks that a decentralized terminal complex at an airport of this size is a good idea in the first place, neve
57 Post contains links LoneStarMike : The original airport master plan called for Phase 1 which would have involved 5 gates added to the East Concourse and subsequent phases would have inv
58 Post contains images Boeing7E7 : They're still going to have to improve roadways and absorb the nasty cost of utilities infrastructure for what they want. If the existing facility wh
59 KAUSpilot : Well, I guess I don't see as much of a problem with it if it's funded privately, I just don't think the service to mexico from austin is sustainable
60 Tcfc424 : Viva Aerobus will infringe upon current carriers in regards to their Mexico routes. I am going to CUN in June, and after researching airfares, I will
61 Post contains links LoneStarMike : Well, Viva Aerobus & ABIA both say that they expect many people within a 200-mile radius to take these cheaper flights. I think we may see some peopl
62 Longhornmaniac : Hey guys, I don't have a whole lot to add to this particular discussion but I wanted to follow up on Mike's suggestion of an AUS a.nutter's meeting. P
63 SCCutler : You and me, both... If they get anything remotely close to the traffic they claim, the roads and parking will be not remotely up to the task; and the
64 Post contains links LoneStarMike : There's an interview with Jim Smith in this month's edition of Airport Business and he was asked why the airport didn't just add these low-cost gates
65 Longhornmaniac : Hey Mike, Usually, that would work for me, but I have tennis practice from 5-7:30 on the weekdays now. It really complicates things in terms of getti
66 KAUSpilot : I agree that the cost structure of the existing terminal is a little to high. My current employer wanted to create a base for pilots and fligth attend
67 Brons2 : Me either. I contacted every single one of the City Council reps to object to it. Setting up a hub for a Mexican ULCC provides very little value for
68 Post contains links LoneStarMike : Why would you object to it? The only thing the City is going to do is lease GECAS the land. GECAS is the one taking all the financial risks here. The
69 TxAgKuwait : Mike, you and I have historically agreed so let me try to share with you a few of the reasons I think this is a half-baked, hare-brained scheme and wh
70 SCCutler : My most fundamental objection is, and remains, that this operation will profoundly interfere with the operations of the general aviation areas of the
71 Post contains links and images LoneStarMike : Thanks for your thoughts, TxAg. I was kind of hoping you'd weigh in on this issue I agree with some of what you've said, but not everything. First, le
72 Post contains images Longhornmaniac : Just a quick hitter before I'm off to bed, like I already should be... If GECAS complied with those demands, the rates charged to airlines would almos
73 Cjpark : This is certianly ironic. When people expressed a similar opinion that Southwest could end the Wright Fight by simply moving to DFW ..... well everyo
74 Boeing7E7 : Isn't it though????
75 Tcfc424 : February meeting cancelled...interesting! Perhaps they read this site and don't want the tough questions, which have been raised here brought up? It w
76 Tcfc424 : Ask and you shall receive... GENERAL AVIATION SUBCOMMITTEE NOTICE OF WORK SESSION NOTICE IS GIVEN THAT THE GENERAL AVIATION SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE AUSTIN
77 TCFC424 : Just FYI...this meeting is in regards to General Aviation...NOT ABIA...and appears to be a reschedule of the Jan 24th meeting....still good to listin
78 TCFC424 : The location of this meeting appears to be in the operations building at the airport. It is accessed via the cargo entrance...directions to follow: Fr
79 Post contains links and images LoneStarMike : VivaAerobus has now posted on its website a map of AUS showing where the terminal will be: LoneStarMike
80 Post contains links and images LoneStarMike : I happened to find a rendering of the temporary low-cost terminal. Boy, it's a real beauty, isn't it? Additionally, there was originally a notice post
81 AirRyan : After browsing over the AUS master plan I see they have an entire new South Terminal planned for construction which I Nunderstand is seperate from thi
82 SCCutler : Is there any plan for access to the Low Cost Terminal other than General Aviation Boulevard? Also, I note Viva Aerobus is already selling seats starti
83 Post contains links LoneStarMike : The current location of the temporary Low-Cost-Terminal doesn't look like it would interfere with the planned location for the future South Terminal
84 SCCutler : For the time being, vehicular traffic is the key issue, but in a city whose GA options are already de minimis, I worry about whether a substantial ex
85 AirRyan : So concept A-07A is still the plan of which AUS is currently heading? I would think the new LCC terminal would take up a lot of RON space and hopeful
86 LoneStarMike : Yes, Concept A-07A is the current plan. The six or so gates that are being added to the existing terminal are supposed to be enough for AUS to be abl
87 Blue747 : The A-07A concept will put GA in the Current Family Viewing Area. I wonder if they will build another viewing area when the expand? On the agenda ther
88 Cjpark : But SC they are analogous. Think back when Southwest first started up at Love Field flying as a state regulated airline instead of a CAB regulated ai
89 SCCutler : Hmmm... ...while they are not close enough for a mirror-image comparison, I am compelled to agree that there's a definite feel of the shoe being on th
90 TxAgKuwait : Some rather significant differences, though. The Civil Aeronautics Board allowed both Braniff & Texas International to charge a separate "intrastate"
91 Brons2 : You're not kidding. I keep calling city council and those guys are pretty clueless on these issues.
92 Luisde8cd : Then Viva wouldn't had come to AUS, as simple as that. They came to AUS because the City offered them a new terminal to operate from at a reduced cos
93 Brons2 : Fine by me. Hey, HOU just had a big expansion, why don't they try to get a few gates over there?
94 Post contains images Longhornmaniac : I really don't understand all this complaining...cheaper air service to Mexico is a great thing. It would be one thing if Viva had gotten discounted r
95 Cjpark : Longhorn, don't forget it is a Southwest tenet that cities are not allowed to operate their own airports as the cities see fit to operate them.
96 Longhornmaniac : LOL. Very true. Cheers, Cameron
97 Drerx7 : Because HOU has no FIS facilities to service airline flights - only biz jets.
98 LoneStarMike : Well, they (the cities) are allowed to operate their airports as they see fit, so long as they aren't in violation of the law, which Dallas was. At l
99 Post contains links LoneStarMike : There was an item on last weeks February 28, 2008 City Council Agenda regarding additional RON space at AUS, but it isn't where I thought it would be
100 Sammyk : Probably. Looks like they're looking to duplicate the other side and preparing for the terminal extension.
101 Longhornmaniac : Did they name the South terminal the San Marcos terminal? That's what I saw it as on Viva's website... Cheers, Cameron
102 SCCutler : Cameron: Good catch- it did not say that a few weeks ago! San Marcos, huh? Methinks something is afoot. Is the Viva Aerobus deal at AUS a fully-inked
103 Post contains links LoneStarMike : Where on VivaAerobus' website did you see this? When I click on "Know Before You Go" and then click on Airport Maps all I see is Austin Austin flight
104 SCCutler : When you select Austin as the starting location in the booking engine (or destination from elsewhere), it is referred to in the drop-down list as "Au
105 Sammyk : It's in the origin/destination drop down box and says AUSTIN ST (SAN MARCOS). I don't think they've named the terminal San Marcos but are just advisi
106 Post contains links LoneStarMike : OK, thanks. I see what you guys are talking about now. I agree with Sammyk. I think "Austin ST (San Marcos)" means the actual airport is Austin (Sout
107 SCCutler : Mike: In a convo with a business consultant last night, I believe we reached the same conclusion you did (OK, *he* did, not me!). He zeroed-in on the
108 Longhornmaniac : Ahhhh.....makes sense. I should've put two and two together. Last time I was at the outlet malls down there in San Marcos, half the license plates wer
109 Post contains images LoneStarMike : Yeah - here's the diagram of the East Concourse extension If the airport needs more RON space, though, I'm wondering why they don't first just pave o
110 Post contains links and images LoneStarMike : A couple of photos I took of the Low Cost Terminal. The first was taken March 12, 2008. It's the building on the left The second photo was taken March
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