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Airport Construction: The Next Shoe To Fall?  
User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22718 posts, RR: 20
Posted (6 years 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 3546 times:

There was an interesting article in the local paper here in St. Louis today about the fact that the airport may need to put off some planned improvements because of the flight cuts...

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/new...9204A862574820013286D?OpenDocument

The construction they're thinking of putting off isn't the end of the world (it's new signage and baggage carousels), but then again we aren't losing too many flights (about 15% of the schedule from our two largest carriers, AA and WN). Are there airports where needed improvements are going to get put off? I imagine that STL is just the tip of the iceberg and that others are in worse shape.


I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePITops From United States of America, joined May 2007, 1442 posts, RR: 4
Reply 1, posted (6 years 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 3493 times:

I hate to be the one to bring this up, but PIT is in much worse shape. At least your hub airline still has interest in keeping some flights there. Still over 100. US barely has 60 some flights now and more cuts to come. No other airline is bringing in any new flights right now. Not even WN. Half our airport is boarded up and basically shut off from reality. Our gates are now parking lots for Republic's F9 aircraft.


Ground Ops, Southwest Airlines, CMH
User currently offlineMarcoPoloWorld From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 633 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (6 years 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 3383 times:

Unfortunately, we can indeed expect smaller (and even some mid-sized) airports to put a halt to expansion plans in the face of double-digit service losses.

Oakland, for example, is shelving plans for a third terminal in light of losing a quarter of its service this year. Pensacola is "reevaluating" plans to reconstruct and/or renovate as well, along with many other similar-size airports.

On the other hand, major gateway airports will likely proceed with at least their imminent projects because their traffic losses are anticipated to be less than those of small airports or secondary hubs, and their international traffic still anticipated to increase. LAX, for example, seems to be proceeding with their plan to issue bonds for their International Terminal renovation project. SFO is likewise proceeding to begin with its Terminal 2 renovation imminently.


User currently offlineSANFan From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 5353 posts, RR: 15
Reply 3, posted (6 years 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 3269 times:



Quoting MarcoPoloWorld (Reply 2):
we can indeed expect smaller (and even some mid-sized) airports to put a halt to expansion plans

I am watching the situation closely in San Diego to see what happens with our planned 10-gate expansion, etc. Of course SAN's motto has always been, "Wait -- let's do another study and make the decision later", so another delay of the whole project would not be a shocker at all.

bb


User currently offlineLTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13033 posts, RR: 12
Reply 4, posted (6 years 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 3202 times:

For most major airports in the USA, they are in such need for improvements as in some cases business had increased a lot in recent years, that it takes many years to carry out improvements that they will continue. The expected declines this fall could give some leeway to do badly need expansion with less hassle as they may be able to do more temporary reassignments of gates, of security areas, check in areas and so on to so work can be done.
Perhaps too some airports will have to scale back some improvements due to declines in income and changes in the airline business, but often needed changes have been put off for many years and they might as well do them now. Then there is the politics that encourages public facilitiy construcion during time of slow economic times to keep people in good paying jobs.


User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12333 posts, RR: 25
Reply 5, posted (6 years 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 3129 times:



Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 4):
For most major airports in the USA, they are in such need for improvements as in some cases business had increased a lot in recent years, that it takes many years to carry out improvements that they will continue. The expected declines this fall could give some leeway to do badly need expansion with less hassle as they may be able to do more temporary reassignments of gates, of security areas, check in areas and so on to so work can be done.

I agree. Those that have made it over the initial stages at large airports will probably keep going: it just takes too much effort to get them started, and if they are started, chances are they are desperately needed.

Many of the efforts at the mid or small sized airports are attempts to bring in more business, and in essence are speculative. Many of these efforts will be curtailed in the bad economic climate.



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineDrgmobile From Canada, joined Aug 2006, 608 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (6 years 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 2960 times:

MarcoPolo said

Unfortunately, we can indeed expect smaller (and even some mid-sized) airports to put a halt to expansion plans in the face of double-digit service losses.....On the other hand, major gateway airports will likely proceed with at least their imminent projects because their traffic losses are anticipated to be less than those of small airports or secondary hubs, and their international traffic still anticipated to increase.

Well put Marco. I think you are exactly right. Also, as somebody else mentioned work was long overdue at some airports and will need to take place anyway.

Outside of the U.S., it will be interesting to see what happens in some of the more congested European airports. I suspect any service cuts (no where have they been as much as they have been in the U.S.) will have little impact on congestion and the need to address it.


User currently offlinePanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 9
Reply 7, posted (6 years 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 2938 times:

Thankfully BFL got that grant and has both a new terminal (William Thomas terminal) and an international facility (the old terminal) before the latest round of cuts.

Pretty soon it'll be on the tour of "Ghost Towns of California". Heck, Calico will have more people passing through there per day than BFL will...but at least the work is done!



Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22718 posts, RR: 20
Reply 8, posted (6 years 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 2824 times:



Quoting MarcoPoloWorld (Reply 2):
Unfortunately, we can indeed expect smaller (and even some mid-sized) airports to put a halt to expansion plans in the face of double-digit service losses.

Agreed. The other group that is going to hurt is those airports with big renovation projects that are too far along to cut back. DTW, IND, and JAX will finish their terminals, but as airport revenues decrease, funding may become a problem.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineCommavia From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 11413 posts, RR: 62
Reply 9, posted (6 years 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 2807 times:



Quoting Cubsrule (Thread starter):
Are there airports where needed improvements are going to get put off?

Some yes, but in general, I sincerely hope - and suspect - that airport infrastructure and investment won't slow down too appreciably over the coming years.

As others have said, airport infrastructure is one of the longest-term investments there is - right up their with interstate highways. The infrastructure takes years and years to get built, and is then used (and capitalized) over decades. The sheer material costs are immense, as is the cost of upkeep.

Long-term, I see no slow-down in the demand for aviation infrastructure in the U.S. In fact, this country is in desperate need of more infrastructure, and that will likely be (ironically) one of the biggest results of this latest industry rough patch: there will be huge pressure on the government to increase investment in aviation infrastructure. The industry is slowing down right now, but that won't be forever.

This country needs new terminals, new runways, and definitely a new ATC system. That is not disputable - regardless of where the airline industry presently is. Now - that isn't to say that every airport needs new terminals, runways, or ATC systems. Some airports need it, while others don't. Obviously, the worst offenders are the first place to start investing: that means O'Hare, that means Philadelphia, and that definitely means - above all else - all three New York-area airports. Further out, that could also mean more investment in growing airports serving growing markets that will likely becoming even bigger hubs in the next two decades: that means Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Miami, Phoenix, etc.

Smaller airports that are already over-invested, like Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and St. Louis, will naturally see some investment erode away as their markets make more efficient use of the excess infrastructure they already have.

Quoting Cubsrule (Thread starter):
I imagine that STL is just the tip of the iceberg and that others are in worse shape.

Again, St. Louis is in a different circumstance than, say, LaGuardia or O'Hare: namely, it was already an artificially inflated hub to begin with (going back to the 1990s), and it's infrastructure - particularly the terminals and the third runway - were already in excess of what the natural market would demand. So there it makes sense to cut back.

In other places, though - there is absolutely no need to cut back, and the demand for modernized and/or expanded infrastructure won't be slowing down over the next 10-20 years.


User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 22718 posts, RR: 20
Reply 10, posted (6 years 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 2587 times:

Quoting Commavia (Reply 9):
So there it makes sense to cut back.

You're missing the point, though. STL's improvements aren't about more gates or runways or parking spaces (and you're absolutely correct that STL doesn't need any of those). It's about keeping the more-than-30 year old infrastructure working, and if there isn't money to do that, it's going to be the problem. Some parts of STL are/were overbuilt, but it has the same number of baggage carousels as JAX, and routinely uses all of them. That means they need to be kept in working order.

It isn't that STL doesn't have infrastructure needs while ORD and LGA do. It's that STL has different needs from LGA and ORD.

Quoting Commavia (Reply 9):
Long-term, I see no slow-down in the demand for aviation infrastructure in the U.S.

Agreed. That's the problem. With increasingly volatile fuel prices leading to increasingly volatile financial situations for airlines, the cash flow (both to airlines and from airlines to airports and the government through various per-ticket charges) for infrastructure improvements will also become less predictable. That makes planning infrastructure improvements very difficult unless we are going to change how we fund them.

[Edited 2008-07-12 10:14:40]


I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineSTT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 16817 posts, RR: 51
Reply 11, posted (6 years 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 2543 times:



Quoting Cubsrule (Thread starter):
Are there airports where needed improvements are going to get put off?

There's a different problem facing many airports, even where traffic is steady or still growing. The cost of construction materials are skyrocketing, this is effecting all major capital projects from Subway repairs, buildings etc..

Here's an article about the skyrocketing costs of a modest remodeling currently underway at EWR's Terminal B.

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/200...osts_for_expansion_project_at.html



Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
User currently offlineBmacleod From Canada, joined Aug 2001, 2242 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (6 years 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 2493 times:

Construction is continuing at YVR and YHZ, these projects don't seem to be affected by AC's recent cuts as Westjet and international carriers have't signalled any cutbacks, though it could still happen soon.


The engine is the heart of an airplane, but the pilot is its soul.
User currently offlineWolfpacker From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 354 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (6 years 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 2454 times:

RDUs Terminal 2, Formerly AA Hub Terminal C, continues with no delays announced yet.

http://www.rdu.com/terminal2/index.htm


User currently offlineGlbltrvlr From United States of America, joined Oct 2007, 698 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (6 years 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 2320 times:



Quoting MarcoPoloWorld (Reply 2):
Unfortunately, we can indeed expect smaller (and even some mid-sized) airports to put a halt to expansion plans in the face of double-digit service losses.

Do you suppose we'll see them give up the $3 or $4.50 a passenger ticket tax that was justified by those building programs? Not.


User currently offlinePanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (6 years 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 2310 times:



Quote:
Do you suppose we'll see them give up the $3 or $4.50 a passenger ticket tax that was justified by those building programs? Not.

Agreed, but it doesn't mean the airports can't continue to "save up" for future use, should the situation ever recover.

Now, if lawmakers would quit using the tax dollars as a slush fund for pet projects and actually use it for improving air travel, THAT would be a great thing!!



Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
User currently offlineMMEPHX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (6 years 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 2243 times:



Quoting Commavia (Reply 9):
This country needs new terminals, new runways, and definitely a new ATC system. That is not disputable - regardless of where the airline industry presently is. Now - that isn't to say that every airport needs new terminals, runways, or ATC systems. Some airports need it, while others don't. Obviously, the worst offenders are the first place to start investing: that means O'Hare, that means Philadelphia, and that definitely means - above all else - all three New York-area airports. Further out, that could also mean more investment in growing airports serving growing markets that will likely becoming even bigger hubs in the next two decades: that means Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Miami, Phoenix, etc.

all very true that almost the entire aviation infrastructure needs a major overhaul but the trouble is who will pay for it? Some is in the form of grants from the FAA but that relies on taxes, some comes from PFC's but that relies on passenger numbers and some comes from landing fees etc. which rely on airlines...of course at the moment, tax income is down, passenger numbers are starting to slow/plateau as the cost of flying starts to impact certain groups ability to afford travel and airports are struggling with airlines cutting numbers of flights so that reduces fees they collect. In Phoenix there are huge plans for automated trains, new terminal, airfield improvements etc. but both US and WN have said they don't want / can't pay for it through increased fees in the days of stratospheric oil....a viscious cirlce ensues....


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