Quote: Federal officials are considering restoring a subsidy of more than $1 million to keep Atlanta to Macon passenger flights, despite the route's 2011 average of about one person aboard each flight.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has collected proposals from two carriers to take over the 80-mile route under the "Essential Air Service" program, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported (http://bit.ly/LU9TvC). The program subsidizes airline flights to smaller cities which might not have passenger air service otherwise.
There was a piece about this on the 6PM newscast of WSB here in Atlanta and they're saying that the two airlines are Sun Air International and Twin Air Calypso. From what I can gather from the websites of both airlines as well as the photo database here, they would be using Piper Chieftains.
If they do restore this subsidy, I would be shocked. It really would not matter who operates the flight, it just will continue to have horrible loads. When I worked for ASA a dozen years ago, I remember sending ATL-MCN flights in the evenings that had no more than 2-3 people and we'd often send the plane out empty. If Delta couldn't make the route work even with the EAS subsidy via ASA (The last few years they operated the route, they did it with the EAS subsidy.) and they offered a multitude of connecting opportunities, an airline without any interlining agreements surely isn't going to make it.
Macon is close enough to Atlanta to not need air service to it. I know that in the past Gulfstream (now Silver Airways) proposed service from MCN to Florida, but the bid exceeded the EAS max subsidy, which was already an issue on Georgia Skies' ATL-MCN service, which the subsidy was close to $500 per passenger and is why the EAS subsidy for Macon was withdrawn after the rebid two years ago resulted in no contract being awarded due to the subsidies exceeding the maximum.
XT6Wagon From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 3150 posts, RR: 4 Reply 2, posted (11 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 3369 times:
how much to create a "loan" for a airport to airport shuttle service by bus? I can only imagine that the price of a bus is less than the yearly subsidy, and if the company should fail to deliver, you can recover part of the money with the sale of the asset(s).
srbmod From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 16896 posts, RR: 51 Reply 5, posted (11 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 3189 times:
Quoting Dalmd88 (Reply 3):
Groome Transportation offers bus service from MCN to ATL for $37 ow. Hour and a half ride. They have been doing it for 14 years now.
Back when Georgia Skies had the EAS subsidy, they were charging $39 each way, which was competitive to Groome. But considering that for part of the time you still had to take a shuttle bus from the FBO to the terminal and go through security there, the only advantage they had was taking a lot less time to make the journey. The problem was that their schedule was never really workable to make early flights out of ATL nor were there evening flights out of ATL to MCN. Groome has more runs a day and start service early enough in the morning to catch an early flight out of ATL.
WA707atMSP From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 2059 posts, RR: 12 Reply 6, posted (11 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 3157 times:
Quoting 727LOVER (Reply 4): In the mid-late 70s, how many flights did EA & DL have between ATL & MCN?
Departed Flights' website shows that as of Nov 15, 1979, Delta flew 4x day DC-9s ATL-MCN, and Florida Airlines - Air South flew 3x day Martin 404s on the route.
Eastern flew ATL-MCN prior to deregulation, but the following quote from EA's 1978 annual report says:
"Seldom in its history has Eastern started so much new service as it initiated in 1978. Dormant routes claimed under provisions of the Deregulation act of 1978 included Atlanta-San Francisco, Miami-San Francisco, St Louis-Salt Lake City, Ft Myers-New York and Austin-Houston. In addition, through traditional CAB procedures, we were able to expand service elsewhere, particularly out of the Atlanta and Miami hubs. From Atlanta, we inaugurated nonstop service to Detroit, Cleveland, Savannah, Charleston, SC, and Columbia, SC. Expansion of our Miami hub to the south opened new routes to Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Merida and Mexico City (via Tampa). Service to Cozumel, Cancun, and Merida on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula was started from New Orleans. On the domestic scene, we received routes from New York City to Albany, NY, and from Ft Myers to Chicago. Conversely, shifting market forces also forced Eastern to delete service in some markets which proved incompatible with our changing route system. Included were Memphis, Macon, Roanoke, Canton-Akron and Chattanooga. In early 1979 it was decided to also suspend service at Cincinnati and Huntsville. These deletions were necessary to free equipment for use in more productive markets. The activity also reflects the pace at which an airline like Eastern must adjust itself in a deregulated atmosphere to protect its most productive markets, and, at the same time, capitalize on new opportunities."
Skywatcher From Canada, joined Sep 2002, 442 posts, RR: 4 Reply 7, posted (11 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 3143 times:
I used to admire Americans for their efficient, no nonsense way of getting things done with a minimum of government involvement (with the exception of huge military expenditures). No longer. Wasteful deficit spending on things like this has become the norm. It's not only the grotesque amount of squandered money but the unecessary environmental damage that acccompanies it (wasted carbon/adding to already overloaded infrastructure etc.) that bothers me.
Why should the bus service have subsidized EAS competition? How can it possibly be economical for ATL to handle a Chiefton landing/taking off/gate position etc. given the fact that heavies may have to delay in a holding pattern while waiting their turn to use saturated facilities?
This defies common sense but I guess it's just another example of the new reality. There are just so many better ways to spend a million dollars.
bigbird From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 156 posts, RR: 0 Reply 8, posted (11 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 2836 times:
I worked for DL as a gate agent in the early 80s when we were operating DC-9s to MCN. It was not uncommon to put 8 to 15 passengers on a flight. I can remeber doing 3. That is the fewest passengers that I ever put on a scheduled flight in the 17 years that I worked as a gate agent.
srbmod From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 16896 posts, RR: 51 Reply 9, posted (11 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 2747 times:
Quoting bigbird (Reply 8): I worked for DL as a gate agent in the early 80s when we were operating DC-9s to MCN. It was not uncommon to put 8 to 15 passengers on a flight. I can remeber doing 3. That is the fewest passengers that I ever put on a scheduled flight in the 17 years that I worked as a gate agent.
When ASA was flying the route, the a/c had to go regardless of how many passengers because there was always COMAT for the maintenance base they had at MCN plus this was how they often rotated a/c in and out of maintenance.
jporterfi From United States of America, joined Feb 2012, 361 posts, RR: 0 Reply 10, posted (11 months 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 2734 times:
This flight would not have any potential for business travellers. Driving or using Groome Transportation to get to Atlanta makes more sense. The only way that flights would work is if the load factors were increased through.....the only way I can see it is if Macon somehow promotes itself to the general public or if a big company with a national or international scope gets its headquarters in Macon. Then maybe flights will fill up and service will be added (think RDU to LHR on a much smaller scale). But obviously we are nowhere near this currently as if that happened, the EAS subsidy would hopefully no longer be needed.
Quoting Skywatcher (Reply 7): How can it possibly be economical for ATL to handle a Chiefton landing/taking off/gate position etc. given the fact that heavies may have to delay in a holding pattern while waiting their turn to use saturated facilities?
I agree with you, but keep in mind GeorgiaSkies already does this with its service from AHN with Cessna 208Bs (another air route which I think should not exist). If the airline is willing to pay the landing fees, the flight is beneficial to the airport, and the airport can accommodate the aircraft, they will allow the flight. Also keep in mind that whatever airline that operates the flight could share the gate at Concourse E that GeorgiaSkies uses to bus their passengers to the plane (which is parked at a hardstand), and therefore not use up an additional gate.
srbmod From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 16896 posts, RR: 51 Reply 11, posted (11 months 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 2683 times:
Quoting jporterfi (Reply 10): I agree with you, but keep in mind GeorgiaSkies already does this with its service from AHN with Cessna 208Bs (another air route which I think should not exist). If the airline is willing to pay the landing fees, the flight is beneficial to the airport, and the airport can accommodate the aircraft, they will allow the flight. Also keep in mind that whatever airline that operates the flight could share the gate at Concourse E that GeorgiaSkies uses to bus their passengers to the plane (which is parked at a hardstand), and therefore not use up an additional gate.
The AHN service actually does fairly well and the subsidy costs are well under the limits. While Athens is not that far from Atlanta, the traffic to get to ATL from the Athens area is a nightmare. If you take I-85 out of Jefferson or Commerce, you hit bad traffic through most of Gwinnett County. If you opt for GA-316 to I-85, you hit bad traffic on 316 outside of Lawrenceville and that traffic merges in with the I-85 traffic. If you take US-78 instead, you have bad traffic from the Snellville/Loganville area all the way to I-285. A lesser known option is to take US-78 to GA-138 outside of Monroe to I-20 in Conyers. However, you hit bad traffic there as you get into DeKalb County up to (and sometimes past) the interchange with I-285. In the afternoons, these issues are reversed.
slider From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6518 posts, RR: 36 Reply 12, posted (11 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 2676 times:
Your government hard at work again.
Grasping to dereg-era vestiges of keeping cities that had air service grandfathered in even if it makes ZERO economic sense. It's a political toy more than anything--ie: Rockefeller's influence in getting all that air service to West Virginny.
If there even is to be ANY EAS program, it needs to be scrapped entirely in its current form and rebuilt ONLY for markets of a certain size or economic impact and only if they meet certain geographic threshholds and it has to feed a major hub. There are some truly rural cities in the Western US that might be able to make a legitimate argument for it, if you believe in the premise of EAS to begin with, but any city east of the Mississippi River that's within 100 miles of a scheduled service airport should have no EAS service. Waste of more tax dollars. Small potatoes in the grand scheme, but every penny counts at this point.
727LOVER From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 5770 posts, RR: 20 Reply 13, posted (10 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 2486 times:
I've always thought MCN was a perfect market for G4. The only problem is Florida markets are too close & the mad dogs can't make it out west. But with today's G4 announcement, MCN should work hard to lure them.
MJBATC12 From United States of America, joined Jul 2012, 42 posts, RR: 0 Reply 14, posted (10 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 2266 times:
Since I go to MGC nearby at EZM, I was going to take that flight to connect in ATL via DL. I saw and have heared things about the airline itself, and I just don't like the idea of flying into ATL in a turboprop, and the only one that goes in there, didn't excite me. I decided to drive under 2 hours to ABY and fly ABY to ATL instead and be right on Delta the whole way. If there were actual loads out of MCN, and it was DL, I would use it.
Otherwise, ABY is my place to fly out of now. Nice airport at MCN too, too bad. Would be nice to see Piedmont go in there with Dash-8's to CLT.. That might work. But I'm a Delta guy, so wouldn't matter to me then
srbmod From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 16896 posts, RR: 51 Reply 15, posted (10 months 3 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 2177 times:
Quoting MJBATC12 (Reply 14): If there were actual loads out of MCN, and it was DL, I would use it.
If there were actual loads out of MCN, there would still be Delta Connection service out MCN. The last few years ASA was operating the ATL-MCN route, they were doing it with the EAS subsidy. Then again, towards the end of ASA operating the route, they were flying CRJs on the route, which was a bit much, but they had retired the E-120 and the ATR-72 from the fleet. The route was never a moneymaker and for the most part, ASA used it instead of ferrying empty a/c between ATL and MCN where they had a maintenance facility.
Quoting MJBATC12 (Reply 14): Otherwise, ABY is my place to fly out of now. Nice airport at MCN too, too bad. Would be nice to see Piedmont go in there with Dash-8's to CLT.. That might work. But I'm a Delta guy, so wouldn't matter to me then
Piedmont isn't going to go after EAS flights out of MCN (or AHN for that matter), especially since there is a major airline hub a short drive from Macon. Why fly MCN-CLT to connect to a flight that is likely operated nonstop out of ATL? It would take nearly as long to fly to CLT from MCN as it would to drive from Macon to ATL.
bhmdiversion From United States of America, joined Dec 2008, 445 posts, RR: 0 Reply 16, posted (10 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 2019 times:
Please for the love... MCN will never have Delta service again. We closed it in 2008. Wings Air and Pacific Wings both took a shot at it, and failed. Unfortunately, MCN is too close to ATL and will never have a strong aviation presence there. If you need a plane fixed, Bombardier has a great facility there with the former ASA MX staff and can fix damn near anything there.
MJBATC12 From United States of America, joined Jul 2012, 42 posts, RR: 0 Reply 17, posted (10 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 1998 times:
Yeah it's too bad, nice little airport too. Nice little terminal, and facilities there also. Sad it's so dead there too, I think they average about 100 ops a day, the tower is only open 8a-8pm. That's why I chose ABY instead of driving over 3.5 hours to ATL and put miles on my truck. I'd rather fly out of something small with DL that serves it, and is under 2 hours away.
cargolex From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 1178 posts, RR: 8 Reply 18, posted (10 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1894 times:
I think the EAS program is necessary, but approving a route like MCN-ATL is why it gets criticized. Yeah, that's a long commute to drive if you work in Atlanta and live in Macon, but people in New York City regularly commute two hours or so on a train (or multiple trains) or sometimes in a car.
I would hope that this doesn't get approved, because it just isn't "essential" to have that air link, and that gives the program the taint of wasteful spending.
Air Greco d.b.a. Wings Air seems to have disappeared completely and their decision to offer AHN-ATL and MCN-ATL despite not getting the EAS subsidy is probably what led to that. They also tried service from LZU-ATL as well. They had one advantage over Georgia Skies during the brief time they offered competing service, they actually had a gate at ATL and one did not have to be bused from the FBO to the terminal and back. They contracted AA to do their ground handling and leased gate space from them. Georgia Skies was not willing to do that and instead tried to force the airport to give them gate space, which eventually happened although it was all the way on E.
Athens is closer to Atlanta than Macon, but their EAS subsidized service on Georgia Skies actually comes in under the max subsidy per passenger. It's a longer drive between Athens and Atlanta than it is between Macon in Atlanta because Athens is not located along an interstate highway like Macon is and the various options that get you to either I-85 or I-20 are highways with sections of traffic lights which slow things down. Plus you have to deal with traffic in the mornings going SB on I-85, SB on GA-316, WB on US-78 and WB on I-20. So no matter which way you go from Athens, you'll be delayed by traffic lights and rush hour traffic. By comparison, Macon to ATL takes no more than 90 minutes even in the thick of morning rush hour.
milesrich From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1861 posts, RR: 7 Reply 20, posted (10 months 3 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 1806 times:
It is routes like ATL-MCN that will eventually doom EAS service to cities that really need it. It is a joke. MCN will only make sense if Macon grows substantially. That probably won't happen either, no matter how much money is poured down the drain. The money would be better spent to widen I-75 from the airport to south of McDonough. The traffic on this stretch, especially as far north as the I-675 split is horrendous.
bhmdiversion From United States of America, joined Dec 2008, 445 posts, RR: 0 Reply 21, posted (10 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 1743 times:
Seeing the reply about flying out of ABY and such... If the 50's go away, will ABY ramp be able to handle the 700 - I know that UPS sends a A300 there but their ramp is considerably farther down than the passenger terminal.
Same this with VLD - I know a 50 always had to do a turnout but I don't think anything else would fit? Would they be able to move on the other side of the terminal to park?
crj900lr From United States of America, joined Mar 2011, 204 posts, RR: 0 Reply 22, posted (10 months 3 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 1699 times:
AHN-CLT worked nicely back when it was flown by US Airways Express (Air Midwest). True most of the traffic was UGA people but still the flights were almost consistantly full. I'm sure the traffic would still be there today if a legit carrier offered service to a hub.
CIDFlyer From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 2008 posts, RR: 3 Reply 23, posted (10 months 3 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 1639 times:
MCN's problem is much like TOL's. It's too close to a major hub. People would rather just drive to ATL like they drive to DTW at TOL. If DL had kept MEM substantially larger then maybe I could see a flight there just to tap into the DL frequent flyerf pool in MCN, but that will never happen with the draw down there.