FWAERJ From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 3220 posts, RR: 1 Posted (7 months 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 461 times:
I went to a concert at Purdue several weeks ago, and saw a Miami Air 738 on approach to LAF (probably an athletic charter) as I was walking on campus. This made me think: The last scheduled service LAF had was AA/RegionsAir to STL on Jetstreams (and before that, NW/XJ SAABs to DTW). Competition with IND (less than an hour away, with extremely low fares at the time RegionsAir pulled out) was likely a factor.
That said, I still think LAF has potential for commercial air service - not with legacy RJ service to major hubs, but with ULCCs like G4 that want to provide a vacation alternative to big airports (IND, ORD/MDW) and serve a large local population base. G4 has done a similar strategy elsewhere in the state at GYY, serving GYY-SFB as an alternative to ORD/MDW-MCO and tapping into the large northwest Indiana population base. Because it still handles sports and other charters, LAF could also be modified for scheduled passenger service with minimal expense. And as a bonus, if pax service is successful at LAF again, they get more FAA funding. I could see G4 normally flying the route their normal 2x/week most of the year and boosting it to 4-5x/week during spring break at Purdue.
But I think there's a big reason why G4 hasn't started LAF yet: short runways and MD-80s don't mix. LAF has a short runway (6,600 ft), so G4 probably couldn't send their Mad Dogs in to SFB (which I think would be a natural route for relaunching scheduled service). But with the A319s coming online soon (far superior short-field performance) and SFB as one of the first Airbus bases for G4, plus rising fares at IND across the board, could G4 give LAF-SFB the ol' "college" try? I could see G4 doing a good job, and it could even draw people from Indy's north/northwest suburbs thanks to IND's rising fares and free parking at LAF.
kcrwflyer From United States of America, joined May 2004, 3638 posts, RR: 7 Reply 1, posted (7 months 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 462 times:
Quoting FWAERJ (Thread starter): But I think there's a big reason why G4 hasn't started LAF yet: short runways and MD-80s don't mix. LAF has a short runway (6,600 ft), so G4 probably couldn't send their Mad Dogs in to SFB (which I think would be a natural route for relaunching scheduled service).
That's not short unless there is an obstacle impacting climb requirements or you're at a higher altitude. I don't think LAF has either.. so that's probably not the reason G4 doesn't fly there.
Mainliner From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 367 posts, RR: 0 Reply 5, posted (7 months 2 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 462 times:
ROA's longest runway is just 200' longer than LAF's and G4 has no problem sending MD-80's here, and that's with mountains on almost all sides.
I'm sure that LAF-Florida flights would fill up during the spring break season, but the terminal is pretty small. Not sure that they have enough seating capacity for more than 50 pax or so, but I could be wrong. There is quite a large amount of empty space that could be converted though.
Generally, I think with IND just over an hour down the road, and with GYY and ORD/MDW a few hours north, I wouldn't expect to see G4 in LAF any time soon.
web500sjc From United States of America, joined Sep 2009, 589 posts, RR: 0 Reply 7, posted (7 months 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 460 times:
Quoting FWAERJ (Reply 2): In LAF's approach, planes basically do a low-fly over the university campus.
the Long runway...the only one any jet can normally use runs east->west about 1/2 mile south of campus, its the only runway with either an ILS or GPS approach. The only instrument approach that could really come close to campus is the VOR-A, which i am almost certain you will never see a commercial jet on.
the approaches will have no bearing on weather commercial jets will be able to fly into LAF.
just so i can put it out there, there would have to be upgrades to the airport. as of right now i have no idea how security is done, but the only service we get is charter ops for either sports teams or veterans flights to the DC area.
the largest aircraft I have seen out of LAF was a DL752 for the Minnesota Gophers, and an USA321 for Penn State - others tend to use Miami Air B738