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Status of Branson Air Express?  
User currently offlinedbo861 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 888 posts, RR: 1
Posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 14122 times:

Does anyone know the story on Branson Air Express and if they're still slated to begin operations May 17?

I haven't heard much since they first announced service back in February. How are bookings looking?

51 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinesurfandsnow From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 2873 posts, RR: 30
Reply 1, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 14089 times:

Quoting dbo861 (Thread starter):
I haven't heard much since they first announced service back in February. How are bookings looking?

Well, F9's new BKG flights are supposedly doing better than expected, and FL's MCO flights are still around, so the demand to this quirky redneck paradise must be there! I saw a commercial for Branson on late night television just the other night...



Flying in the middle seat of coach is much better than not flying at all!
User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 23029 posts, RR: 20
Reply 2, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 13999 times:

Quoting surfandsnow (Reply 1):
so the demand to this quirky redneck paradise must be there!

Aren't most of the flights pretty heavily subsidized?



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlinemariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25292 posts, RR: 85
Reply 3, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 13948 times:
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Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 2):
Aren't most of the flights pretty heavily subsidized?

In the case of Frontier I believe (?) it is similar to PHF - they are guaranteed against certain losses.

I've only seen Frontier numbers for the first couple of weeks, but at least one flight was over-booked and most were at or near capacity. Try booking DEN-BKG for May 20, for example.

I have no idea how this affects the Branson Air Express flights, though. HUF-BKG had lousy bookings and was cancelled before it began.

But I would think BNA-BKG might do okay.

mariner



aeternum nauta
User currently offlinedbo861 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 888 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 13923 times:

I don't believe any of the flights Branson Air Express is going to operate have non-stop competition. It looks as if they'll be operating an Allegiant Air type operation..non-daily flights and selling vacation packages instead of just flights. Hopefully they can be successful with this business model.

User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 23029 posts, RR: 20
Reply 5, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 13913 times:

Quoting mariner (Reply 3):
HUF-BKG had lousy bookings and was cancelled before it began.

But I would think BNA-BKG might do okay.

It's a weird list of destinations. DSM is small like HUF but probably has more people who go to Branson than any of the other destinations. SHV is there, IIRC, because XE does maintenance in SHV. The rest are decently large cities (BNA, HOU, AUS).



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineKcrwFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2004, 3817 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 13889 times:

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 2):
Aren't most of the flights pretty heavily subsidized?

I'm sure. They're probably granting exclusive rights to everyone as well..

Quoting mariner (Reply 3):
HUF-BKG had lousy bookings and was cancelled before it began.

Imagine that!


User currently offlinemariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25292 posts, RR: 85
Reply 7, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 13857 times:
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Quoting KcrwFlyer (Reply 6):
They're probably granting exclusive rights to everyone as well..

I hope they've given 'em to Frontier for DEN-BKG.

Red neck dollars and white hair dollars are still green.

mariner

[Edited 2010-05-06 20:08:58]


aeternum nauta
User currently offlinesunking737 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 2045 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 13783 times:

SY dropped service due to poor loads out of MSP & DFW.


Just an MSPAVGEEK
User currently offlineKcrwFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2004, 3817 posts, RR: 7
Reply 9, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 13541 times:

Quoting sunking737 (Reply 8):
SY dropped service due to poor loads out of MSP & DFW.

I was in such shock from gasping at the HUF route being dropped that I'm currently unable to sarcastically gasp at this as well.

But seriously.. MSP on a 737? DFW could be a good market for them but again.. Too much plane. I'm hoping the regional jet stuff works out. Branson seems like a very interesting market with strong ties to some less than obvious places (DSM.. or so I've heard)


User currently offlinemariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25292 posts, RR: 85
Reply 10, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 13514 times:
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Quoting KcrwFlyer (Reply 9):
Too much plane.

That may be a clue.

I don't have numbers for Sun Country, but someone posted Airtan's short-lived MKE-BKG at 58% load factor. Not good on a 717, but it is 60 or so pax per flight wanting to go there from MKE.

So does that route become viable on a smaller aircraft?

mariner

[Edited 2010-05-06 22:43:16]


aeternum nauta
User currently offlineflypba From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 431 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 13320 times:

Branson Air Express is operated by ExpressJet under contract

User currently offline93Sierra From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 418 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 13204 times:

I believe they cant lose with how subsidized they are and if flown with a 135 or 145 ( sorry i don't know which one) I see a demand for it. Question is what will the aircraft look like? Will they be white, or in coex colors with coverings over the titles etc

User currently offlinemariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25292 posts, RR: 85
Reply 13, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 13131 times:
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Quoting 93Sierra (Reply 12):
I believe they cant lose with how subsidized they are and if flown with a 135 or 145 ( sorry i don't know which one) I see a demand for it.

I suspect they can lose money, because Airtran gave up MKE-BKG after only a very short time - a couple of months, maybe.

They may be subsidized in some way, but I doubt the subsidies are open ended.

mariner



aeternum nauta
User currently offlineThePinnacleKid From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 725 posts, RR: 8
Reply 14, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 12903 times:

Quoting 93Sierra (Reply 12):
I believe they cant lose with how subsidized they are and if flown with a 135 or 145 ( sorry i don't know which one) I see a demand for it. Question is what will the aircraft look like? Will they be white, or in coex colors with coverings over the titles etc

ExpressJet only has ERJ-145's now.. the 135's are out getting tanned in the Western sun....

I can't see the aircraft being old COEX birds with slapped over titles... ExpressJet is one of the few carriers out there that really keeps up the appearance of their aircraft to the respective brands... they don't have generic birds like Chautauqua does that have blank paint... if the bird isn't flying CoEx or United which have their respective paint... then most likely it will be in the corporate colors (Same colors as from their branded days with new engine cowl colors that don't say xjet.com)



"Sonny, did we land? or were we shot down?"
User currently offlineKcrwFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2004, 3817 posts, RR: 7
Reply 15, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 12736 times:

Quoting mariner (Reply 10):
I don't have numbers for Sun Country, but someone posted Airtan's short-lived MKE-BKG at 58% load factor. Not good on a 717, but it is 60 or so pax per flight wanting to go there from MKE.

So does that route become viable on a smaller aircraft?

That's a good question. In the case of MKE I'd almost say no.. That's 60 people per flight on AirTran's introductory sale fares... If the fares were raised to RJ profitability levels, the demand almost certainly wouldn't stay at 60.


User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 32
Reply 16, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 12563 times:

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 5):
SHV is there, IIRC, because XE does maintenance in SHV

I was raised in a small town north of SHV just across the Arkansas state line.

I have been amazed how popular Branson is with people from that region for the past 20 years. My high school classmates even proposed holding the 40th Reunion in Branson.

And it is still one heck of a scenic, but long drive with little to no interstate time. The drive is basically the same as when I went to Fayetteville in 1970 for college. Other than the bypass over Washington Mountain north of Fort Smith and around Fayetteville - it is still the same highway, with 40 years worth of increased traffic and patchy road repairs.

My family and friends who vacation in Branson every year, sometimes twice or even three trips per year - love the idea of being able to fly rather than drive. The high school reunion committee even promoted the ability to fly from SHV to Branson.

I'm not sure the idea is dead yet.


User currently offlineTZTriStar500 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1452 posts, RR: 9
Reply 17, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 11900 times:

The key here is that Branson Air Express is NOT an airline, but a DOT Part 380 Public Charter company. They are actually FlyBranson Travel, LLC dba Branson Air Express with air service provided by Express Jet. It only lasts from May 17 to Aug. 14.

http://ostpxweb.dot.gov/aviation/charters/Charter2010.pdf



35 years of American Trans Air/ATA Airlines, 1973-2008. A great little airline that will not be soon forgotten.
User currently offlinemtnwest1979 From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 2461 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 10559 times:
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I did notice, though, that you can book connections. I threw out a GPT-AUS r/t end of May and it was 298 rt plus taxes/fees etc.
Was kind of shocked to see connections available.

Anyone have pics of Branson Airlines' DHC-7s that flew for a short, short time from PLK?

[Edited 2010-05-07 11:05:33]


"If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
User currently offlinemariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25292 posts, RR: 85
Reply 19, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 10433 times:
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Quoting TZTriStar500 (Reply 17):
It only lasts from May 17 to Aug. 14.

It will be interesting to see what happens then. Presumably, Branson gets the same post-summer drop off in numbers as many other places.

But Christmas at Branson is very big deal.

mariner



aeternum nauta
User currently offlinemariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25292 posts, RR: 85
Reply 20, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 9472 times:
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Quoting KcrwFlyer (Reply 15):
In the case of MKE I'd almost say no.. That's 60 people per flight on AirTran's introductory sale fares... If the fares were raised to RJ profitability levels, the demand almost certainly wouldn't stay at 60.

Well, maybe. I seem to be more positive about BKG service than most people.

mariner



aeternum nauta
User currently offlineYXwatcherMKE From United States of America, joined May 2007, 1003 posts, RR: 2
Reply 21, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 8643 times:

Some time ago on a Saturday I was listening to a travel show on WTMJ radio in MKE, and the travel agent from Fox World travel (not the regular lady) said that there is a big demand for help getting to Branson Mo. from the MKE area but the airlines are very reluctant to restart air service from MKE after FL service ended so quickly. And in her words "but that is what Air Tran is famous for "... the Station host asked what she meant by that and her reply was "well not to speak ill of Air Tran I'm not going to say anymore I've already said to much." the radio host was somewhat taken back, and after a brief silence the host went to an ad. Any Idea what they talked about during the time the ads ran?


I miss the 60's & 70's when you felt like a guest on the plane not cattle like today
User currently offlineknope2001 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 2917 posts, RR: 30
Reply 22, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 8569 times:

There were key problems with AirTran's MKE-BKG service in my opinion.

--Branson is a reasonable drive from Milwaukee for family vacations. At about 600 miles it's a full (but not exceptional) day of driving. With a mid-day flight both directions, flying to Branson "uses up" a day of vacation each direction, too. And for families, each additional person in the car is another ticket to buy.

--A large portion of the Branson market from a place like Wisconsin is the over-55 tour bus crowd. Nothing wrong with that, but that segment is not likely to seriously consider a flying vacation for Branson. If they do fly, it's to Vegas, Florida or maybe Arizona.

Although there was a significant TV commercial buy pushing Branson last spring, I'm not sure that they hooked up with the tour companies to try to sell flight packages. If anything, those commercials may have increased tourism to Branson from the area, but probably most of it via the highways.


User currently offlineknope2001 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 2917 posts, RR: 30
Reply 23, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 8419 times:

FYI, here are the stats for MIlwaukee-Branson for May and June of last year. (This was the entire run except for 3 round trips run in early July.)

80 flights operated
3,371 total passengers
9,360 total seats
36.0% load factor

42.1 average passengers per flight
29.3 average passengers per flight originating (to or from) Milwaukee
12.8 average passengers per flight connected at MKE to or from a different destination.

Average local fare for the four nonstop markets at Branson in the 1st quarter of 2009

$118.42 Atlanta, a 535 mile trip
$90.68 Minneapolis, a 576 mile trip
$83.14 Dallas, a 332 mile trip
$73.05 Milwaukee, a 525 miles trip

Onboard load factor for the four nonstop markets at Branson in the 1st quarter of 2009

73.8% DFW Sun Country
73.2% ATL AirTran
69.2% MSP Sun Country
36.0% MKE AirTran


User currently offlinemariner From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 25292 posts, RR: 85
Reply 24, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 8301 times:
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Quoting knope2001 (Reply 23):
Onboard load factor for the four nonstop markets at Branson in the 1st quarter of 2009

73.8% DFW Sun Country
73.2% ATL AirTran
69.2% MSP Sun Country
36.0% MKE AirTran

Wasn't that (a) winter and (b) the height of the recession?

In any event, it will be interesting to see the load factors for DEN-BKG.  

mariner



aeternum nauta
25 knope2001 : The airport opened in May 2009...those numbers were for May and June for all four city pairs. Doesn't necessarily mean nothing can work in Branson, o
26 mariner : Ah, sorry - I read "first quarter": I guess you meant first quarter the airport was open? Looking at your Sun Country loads for DFW, I wonder again i
27 knope2001 : Brain cramp...sorry for the typo! And indeed it was in the depths of recession, too. Yup, it sure is. I wonder if a moderatly smaller aircraft would
28 Post contains links and images mariner : This is mildly off topic because it is about Frontier and not Branson Air Express, but it may be a clue to the latter: http://www.earthtimes.org/artic
29 USXguy : Not to burst anyone's bubble, but Branson does NOT subsidize ANY air service - at least thru the airport. the only incentives to airlines are: -> R
30 Cubsrule : Your list is missing market exclusivity.
31 HeeseokKoo : Does anyone know how Branson air express is doing? They must have launched new routes early this week. I'm trying to visit near BKG (here is Austin) i
32 enilria : Maybe that's the one good one. Who knows. How did HUF ever get in there? SHV at least I see the bad reasoning behind it (mntc). But yet SHV will be g
33 sldispatcher : Actually already sold out on several dates and higher fare buckets left for a many of the other dates. When you have sky high fares to most of the re
34 vin2basketball : AUS-BKG just isn't going to work. As per DOT data 7.17 pax traveled their each day in Q4 2009, unless the summer market suddenly becomes huge, I just
35 Post contains images mariner : It may not. But I'd love to see Frontier get that route. I'd prefer DFW-BKG, of course. mariner
36 Longhornmaniac : Well, my mom's friend just flew in from BKG (on the second day of service), and she said there were only about 8 people on the plane. Strangely, thou
37 Post contains links LoneStarMike : How were 7.17 daily pax able to fly from AUS into BKG in Q4 2009? There was no published service between the two cities (not even via a connection.)
38 HeeseokKoo : Hmm.. coincidence? Anyway good to hear they are actually flying. I'll go book the ticket.
39 sldispatcher : They also had some experience with the Xmas season to some markets. Agreed: don't think they are going after the existing fliers ...there weren't any.
40 dbo861 : Well, there also wasn't an affordable non-stop option for travellers. I see this service having an Allegiant Air effect..creating it's own market and
41 Post contains links LoneStarMike : Not to mention the fact that the only way to get from Austin to Branson was by flying into SGF. From there it's 53 miles to Branson and takes about a
42 vin2basketball : yah SGF, but they essentially serve the same market
43 Post contains links LoneStarMike : Somehow, I missed one little word in the above statement when I read it the first time. Cameron's saying his mom's friend flew in from BKG (to AUS) o
44 sunking737 : My in laws go every year, and my grandparents did also. My GP may have flown in but form MSP no service as SY lasted 1 yr if that. IW not sure they li
45 Cubsrule : Within the driving perimeter (here in STL), Branson is really heavily advertising its family friendliness. That seems to be their advertising emphasi
46 Post contains links IAD51FL : Here is a link to the Airports YouTube Page: http://www.youtube.com/user/BransonAirport And a link to the 1st Branson departure for Branson Air Expres
47 Post contains images mariner : Yee-haw! It's an interesting experiment because if any of the routes do well, they can take that passenger info to other airlines. mariner
48 sldispatcher : If this doesn't fail spectacularly, what would be the next 5 markets they would eyeball?
49 mariner : I think it is anyone's guess. They thinking the tipping point is anything more than "a comfortable day's drive" - and since it is a family/older folk
50 KcrwFlyer : Maybe Branson Air Express will try CRW one day. We've got more old people than shoneys and golden corral can feed in a year. And I'm by no means askin
51 Post contains images Longhornmaniac : She lives in Bull Shoals, Arkansas, about 1:15 from BKG. Good observation. Cheers, Cameron
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