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11 Airlines Protest SMF Expansion Fee Increase  
User currently offlineFATFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2001, 5804 posts, RR: 14
Posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 3277 times:

The new terminal project at Sacramento has run into a stumbling block with 11 of the airlines operating at SMF protesting the planned fee increase for the construction.

Passenger fees at SMF are currently $6. The plan is to raise them immediately to $9 then raise them again in 2013 to $13.63. That would make SMF's fees similiar to the current fee at SFO which is one of the highest.

The airlines are not opposed to a SMF expansion but feel the timing of the fee increase is bad given the current uncertainty in the industry and the national economy.

But there appears to be external reasons why SMF does not want to wait.
County officials say they face a time pressure of their own. Federal officials intend to redraw flood maps for the Natomas basin soon, effectively placing a moratorium on new construction. The airport project needs to be under way this year to ensure that it won't be shelved indefinitely.

Airlines will speak to the county board today before it votes on the fees.

http://www.sacbee.com/101/story/933284.html


"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineDavescj From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 2307 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 3271 times:

No one wants to pay more fees, cause it adds to the price of the ticket. But the underlying question is will SMF be able to generate sufficient traffic to warrant the fees? Or will people decide to fly to somewhere else instead?

Dave



Can I have a mojito on this flight?
User currently offlineStuckInCA From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 1963 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 3228 times:

I hate this kind of argument:

Quoting FATFlyer (Thread starter):
That would make SMF's fees similiar to the current fee at SFO which is one of the highest

So, in 2013 will SFO not have raised their fees? If not, will theirs still be "one of the highest."


User currently offlineFATFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2001, 5804 posts, RR: 14
Reply 3, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 3197 times:



Quoting StuckInCA (Reply 2):
I hate this kind of argument:

Quoting FATFlyer (Thread starter):
That would make SMF's fees similiar to the current fee at SFO which is one of the highest

So, in 2013 will SFO not have raised their fees? If not, will theirs still be "one of the highest."

Its not an argument, just a comparison. I did say it is the CURRENT fee at SFO and yes SFO may increase.

So lets look at it this way if you don't like the SFO statement:
SMF wants to more than double its passenger fees by 2013.

Better?  Wink



"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
User currently offlineStuckInCA From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 1963 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 3182 times:

I'm not in a position to opine on whether 13.XX is too much for SMF. Is there a list somewhere of California airport passenger fees?

It shouldn't be hard to accept that the current $6 needs to be raised. The old terminal is pretty sad and too small for the future.

And seriously, where else would people fly to/from? I suppose some percentage of traffic might go to OAK or FAT, but I'd guess that's not a large number. If WN raised prices to SMF by $7 I doubt it would materially impact their loads.

Pure speculation, of course.


User currently offlineFATFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2001, 5804 posts, RR: 14
Reply 5, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 4 days ago) and read 3138 times:



Quoting StuckInCA (Reply 4):
I'm not in a position to opine on whether 13.XX is too much for SMF. Is there a list somewhere of California airport passenger fees?

At the bottom of the article they have the current fees around Calfornia.

SMF is currently $6 planning to be $13.63 by 2013
The national average is $6
SFO is $13.50
SJC is $7.50
LAX is $7
OAK is $7
SAN is $6.50

I don't know if any of those airports have plans to increase fees in the next 5 years, I'm sure those who know will post.



"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
User currently offlineSANFan From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 5434 posts, RR: 12
Reply 6, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 3025 times:

I think if SMF goes ahead with these plans, they can count on WN cutting service in the future, no doubt. Look at SEA and ELP as a couple of examples (although lately WN has added some service at SEA/TAC.) WN makes no bones about using their resources at lower-cost airports and when fees increase to level higher than they like, flights simply go elsewhere. I'm sure that less WN service at Sacramento would have the overall effect of raising fares in general.

Expanding and improving an airport for the future is fine but does it have to be done on such a scale? If the answer is "Yes", then SMF must be prepared for some consequences. As I've posted before, the plans for SMF look like extreme overkill -- especially for a market of this size -- and I'd be willing to bet that expansion costing half as much would achieve the same ultimate results: more gates, with modernization and all the improvements needed to appearance and functionality.

bb


User currently offlineStuckInCA From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 1963 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 2956 times:



Quoting SANFan (Reply 6):
I'd be willing to bet that expansion costing half as much would achieve the same ultimate results: more gates, with modernization and all the improvements needed to appearance and functionality.

So then maybe they'd have to raise fees to $9 or $10? I bet airlines would still object.

I really don't understand why they wouldn't just raise airfares by that amount and move on with life. What's the alternative? I'm guessing airlines (WN) make good money at SMF. Could they NOT make money if fees go up that amount? Would the market really not bear a $7 fare increase? Seriously, I don't get it.

So, if an airline like WN picked up and left SMF altogether, you don't think somebody else would move in? And do you think people in, for example, Roseville are going to drive to OAK to save $7 or even $20 on a flight?

Maybe SMF will tone down their plans, but I don't see why this should be the reason.

And as for SEA being an example of what not to do... it seems to me that SEA is doing OK. It's one of the nicer airports I visit in the US (not speaking of really small ones) and they seem to have plenty of service.


User currently offlineHondah35 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 117 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 2900 times:



Quoting StuckInCA (Reply 7):
I really don't understand why they wouldn't just raise airfares by that amount and move on with life. What's the alternative? I'm guessing airlines (WN) make good money at SMF. Could they NOT make money if fees go up that amount? Would the market really not bear a $7 fare increase? Seriously, I don't get it.

We know you don't get it, nobody in California ever gets why a doubling of some fee or tax may be uncalled for, which is why I finally got the hell out of there. Airlines can barely raise their fares enough to cover the cost of service without some 10-year fuel hedging scheme, and yet the Sacto Board of sups can vote to double fees for some overkill, bloated expansion project that will end up 150% over budget, and the travelling public is just supposed to accept it and "move on with life."

Quoting StuckInCA (Reply 7):
So, if an airline like WN picked up and left SMF altogether, you don't think somebody else would move in? And do you think people in, for example, Roseville are going to drive to OAK to save $7 or even $20 on a flight?

Which airline is going to move in based on your expert opinion??

Quoting StuckInCA (Reply 7):
And as for SEA being an example of what not to do... it seems to me that SEA is doing OK. It's one of the nicer airports I visit in the US (not speaking of really small ones) and they seem to have plenty of service.

I guess you could consider SEA nice, but it certainly is no memorable experience. Unless partially redesigned 1960/1970's airports are your design standard, you may want to travel more and check out some more airports.


User currently offlinePanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 8
Reply 9, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 2857 times:



Quote:
I think if SMF goes ahead with these plans, they can count on WN cutting service in the future, no doubt.

I'm not sure about that - they pulled out of SFO once, and now they're back, despite the high fees.

Quote:
I really don't understand why they wouldn't just raise airfares by that amount and move on with life.

Because in the U.S., $4 a gallon (probably up to $5 next year) gas is a fact of life, $10+ for a movie ticket - everything is going up, up, up - but $5 more for a plane ticket? That'll break the bank. When it comes to airfares, price is the only matter, and airlines have no other choice but to be competitive. Personally, it seems fair that if fees are going up, they be shared equally between the airlines...

Quote:
What's the alternative?

Terminal 3 at LAX popped into my head immediately. Nobody wants to pay for its remodel, so it languishes.

Quote:
I'm guessing airlines (WN) make good money at SMF.

WN wouldn't be expanding at SMF if they weren't!! Besides, state business flying to and from the capital city must be tremendous.



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User currently offlineStuckInCA From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 1963 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 2811 times:



Quoting Hondah35 (Reply 8):
We know you don't get it, nobody in California ever gets

Nice attitude...

Quoting Hondah35 (Reply 8):
Airlines can barely raise their fares enough to cover the cost of service

I realize that fare increases seem difficult, but does that mean there can't be progress in modernizing and expanding an airport?

Quoting Hondah35 (Reply 8):
based on your expert opinion??

Yeah. That's exactly the tone I took... hence I used such words as

Quoting StuckInCA (Reply 7):
I bet



Quoting StuckInCA (Reply 7):
I'm guessing



Quoting StuckInCA (Reply 7):
it seems to me



Quoting StuckInCA (Reply 4):
I suppose



Quoting StuckInCA (Reply 4):
Pure speculation

Do you think that air service would cease to exist or substantially drop off long-term at SMF if the fees are increased? Airlines are just posturing to try to minimize the increase and voice their displeasure (rightfully). The fees will go up. They will still fly there. My opinion.

Quoting Hondah35 (Reply 8):
you may want to travel more and check out some more airports

A bit presumptuous of you. I've been to more than a few airports. SEA terminal B isn't that great, but it's easy to stroll between all terminals. I personally don't think any major US airports are much nicer than SEA... most are not nearly as nice. That's a bit off topic however.


User currently offlineChris133 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 303 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 2811 times:



Quoting SANFan (Reply 6):
Expanding and improving an airport for the future is fine but does it have to be done on such a scale? If the answer is "Yes", then SMF must be prepared for some consequences. As I've posted before, the plans for SMF look like extreme overkill -- especially for a market of this size -- and I'd be willing to bet that expansion costing half as much would achieve the same ultimate results: more gates, with modernization and all the improvements needed to appearance and functionality.

IOn another note, the expansion doesn't benifet WN at all. The construction (from what i have read, correct me if i'm wrong) is on the other terminal and its parking garage. Why should all airlines be forced to pay for improvements that a few will enjoy. Nine years ago that didn't happen when the otherr terminal was built only the carriers that serviced it had the higher fees.


User currently offlineEVA777SEA From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 473 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 2706 times:



Quoting SANFan (Reply 6):
think if SMF goes ahead with these plans, they can count on WN cutting service in the future, no doubt. Look at SEA and ELP as a couple of examples (although lately WN has added some service at SEA/TAC.) WN makes no bones about using their resources at lower-cost airports and when fees increase to level higher than they like, flights simply go elsewhere. I'm sure that less WN service at Sacramento would have the overall effect of raising fares in general.

As far as I know they have more flights at SEA now than they ever have. I don't know why this keeps coming up. Maybe you are referring to the number of flights BFI was supposed to see accidentally? Which was substantially larger than the current number of flights at SEA.


User currently offlineDesertAir From Mexico, joined Jan 2006, 1462 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2662 times:

It seems to me that SMF is the type of airport that airlines add routes last and cut routes first when economic times are uncertain. Has there been a bond iniciative to help fund the expansion? Since SMF benefits the entire Sacramento business community, it seems as though there needs to be a spreading of the costs.

User currently offlineAirframeAS From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 14150 posts, RR: 24
Reply 14, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 2642 times:

What is AS's position on this whole SMF expansion? Have they said anything?


A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
User currently offlineAaway From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 1523 posts, RR: 14
Reply 15, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 2514 times:

Quoting FATFlyer (Thread starter):
The airlines are not opposed to a SMF expansion but feel the timing of the fee increase is bad given the current uncertainty in the industry and the national economy.

This sentence represents the crux of the matter. The institution of fee increases prior to commencement of Capital Improvement Projects is now the norm. Some airport authorities can be required to do this in order to maintain certain levels of liquidity - particularly if bonds will be issued to cover the costs of construction. I'd wager that SMF and its tenant air carriers will come to an amenable agreement on a new (perhaps revised) fee schedule.

Quoting Davescj (Reply 1):
No one wants to pay more fees, cause it adds to the price of the ticket. But the underlying question is will SMF be able to generate sufficient traffic to warrant the fees?

In some sense, the increased costs almost compel air carriers to (at least) maintain a certain level of service. If the throughput of the airport can be maintained, the costs per enplanement are eventually reduced. Increasing throughput can result in even greater offset of p/enplanements costs, particularly at a primarily O & D airport like SMF.

Quoting Chris133 (Reply 11):
IOn another note, the expansion doesn't benifet WN at all. The construction (from what i have read, correct me if i'm wrong) is on the other terminal and its parking garage. Why should all airlines be forced to pay for improvements that a few will enjoy.

Depends on the nature of the fee / lease agreements at SMF. Without knowing SMF's devil-in-the-details, its sounds as though SMF operates on a 'compensatory' fee basis. Under this model, all tenant air carriers share the cost burden of CIPs. If this is indeed the model used at SMF, WN would have little voice in protest now, other than with the fee structure issue. The upshot to this is that all of the tenant air carriers were likely briefed and allowed input into the expansion proposal. In short, every one knew what was coming down the pike.

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 5):
At the bottom of the article they have the current fees around Calfornia.

SMF is currently $6 planning to be $13.63 by 2013
The national average is $6
SFO is $13.50
SJC is $7.50
LAX is $7
OAK is $7
SAN is $6.50

I don't know if any of those airports have plans to increase fees in the next 5 years...

I'd have to dig through a lot of material for LAX info. But, suffice to say that since all of the airports shown on that list have ongoing / will have major CIPs, the costs p/enplanement will indeed rise at some point.

[Edited 2008-05-13 21:50:18]


With a choice between changing one's mind & proving there's no need to do so, most everyone gets busy on the proof.
User currently offlineFATFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2001, 5804 posts, RR: 14
Reply 16, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 2376 times:

Sacramento County approved going ahead with the project.

But it sounds like many airlines were there to protest the fees and timing.

A few airline comments:

"We're only here because we're desperate," United Airlines official Korbey Hunt testified at a sometimes acrimonious hearing.

Donnell Harvey of Delta Air Lines went further, arguing a new set of fees proposed by airport officials appears to be "retaliatory," because the airport and airlines failed to come to terms on how much airlines would pay for the project.

Southwest Airlines executive Greg Gillis said he will be back to make the airlines' case again to supervisors in the intervening days.

Kathy Smith of Alaska Airlines. "It's disheartening," she said. "We're supposed to be partners."


http://www.sacbee.com/101/story/936838.html



"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
User currently offlineAirframeAS From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 14150 posts, RR: 24
Reply 17, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 2326 times:



Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 16):
Kathy Smith of Alaska Airlines. "It's disheartening," she said. "We're supposed to be partners."

Interesting choice of a spokesperson for AS. Whatever happened to Amanda Tobin.....



A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
User currently offlineRW717 From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 289 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (6 years 4 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 2251 times:

My friend, who is the General Manager for one of the airlines at SMF, was there and said that the UA manager told the county supervisors that in his 30 years of airline service, and of all the airports he had worked at, the SMF Airport Manager was by far the hardest to work with.


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