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LWT And MLS Lose Essential Air Service  
User currently offlineridgid727 From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 1243 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 2554 times:

The DOT has suspended Essential Air Service to Lewistown and Miles City, and again placed Glasgow, Havre, Sidney, Glendive and Wolf Point up for Re-Bid.

http://www.easflights.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/montana.pdf

I wonder if Silver Airways will stay in Montana with losing about $2.9 million to operate these two cities. They continue to operate to the other 5 from Billings.

17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineHPRamper From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4154 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 2508 times:

I'm surprised MLS qualified for EAS service - it's less than two hours on the freeway from BIL.

User currently offlinemtnwest1979 From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 2485 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 2498 times:

I think they should combine and then average the LWT pax numbers with HVR numbers since they are flown on the same flights and planes. Same with Miles City and Glendive. This will certainly set up Glendive to be killed off next tim around for the same reason I suspect.

Too bad they can't sustain enough pax to keep service, but guess they should have used it lol.



"If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
User currently offlineBoeingGuy From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 3258 posts, RR: 7
Reply 3, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 2498 times:

Quoting HPRamper (Reply 1):
I'm surprised MLS qualified for EAS service - it's less than two hours on the freeway from BIL.

Doesn't VIS qualify too? It's less than an hour from FAT.


User currently offlineridgid727 From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 1243 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 2498 times:

Quoting HPRamper (Reply 1):
I'm surprised MLS qualified for EAS service - it's less than two hours on the freeway from BIL.

They have been an EAS city since the inception of EAS. All 7 of those cities have been.


User currently offlinebeechtobus From United States of America, joined Nov 2011, 329 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 2364 times:

The Montana "7" have been around for years, as long as EAS has been around and even existing into some of EASs predecessors. Glendive, Glasgow, Sidney, Wolf Point, Miles City, Lewistown, and Havre were rallied exceptionally hard for to have air service. The reason isn't so much because in the summer months it's a 2 hour or less drive to a close airport, it's because the winters in Montana makes many of the roads in ad out of these town impassible, completely isolating the town. In the case of these MT towns, they really do receive an essential service in EAS.

User currently offlinemtnwest1979 From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 2485 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 2248 times:

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 3):
Doesn't VIS qualify too? It's less than an hour from FAT.
Quoting HPRamper (Reply 1):
I'm surprised MLS qualified for EAS service - it's less than two hours on the freeway from BIL.

I believe that any city receiving airline service when deregulation began falls under EAS rules. Some tweaking since then has made it able to eliminate towns ( Ely,NV; Hastings,NE; now MLS and LWT) as time has gone by.

Additionally, it staes in DOT order that folks in MLS and LWT object due to no other transportion options from either locale. Well, Jefferson Bus lines does offer service out of Miles City East and West along I-94. So that isn't true.

[Edited 2013-06-18 21:37:49]

[Edited 2013-06-18 21:38:31]

edited for spelling!!!  Sad


[Edited 2013-06-18 21:39:06]


"If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
User currently offlinesurfandsnow From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 2908 posts, RR: 31
Reply 7, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 2213 times:

I am so glad that the EAS program has been reformed, and communities that aren't sufficiently using the service (>$1,000 subsidy per passenger) are being cut off from federal funding. Given that the majority of Montana EAS communities met the new EAS criteria, I can only assume the program standards are fair and reasonable. Looks like the EAS pork barrel boondoggle days are finally behind us. A step in the right direction for our federal government - every little bit helps! If Lewiston and Miles City want air service, they can always pay for it themselves. Perhaps the state of Montana would be willing to help them out. Not surprisingly, the markets closest to Billings (within relatively easy driving distance) were weakest, and those located much further away from it (more isolated not only from BIL, but any airport with considerable commercial airline service options) were stronger.

As for Glasgow, Glendive, Havre, Sidney, and Wolf Point, it sounds like the goal is to switch the EAS link back to DEN. No surprise that the BIL links were less popular/detrimental to enplanement numbers as oppose to the prior DEN services. I bet a lot of folks were flying to BIL, and then to DEN, and many forced to stop or connect again when headed to places like BUF, CDG, SJU, etc. I wonder if any of these markets could possibly support a UAX 50 seat RJ service to DEN? Otherwise, I guess we can expect puddlejumpers just like before.



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, 23309 posts, RR: 20
Reply 8, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 1944 times:

Quoting HPRamper (Reply 1):
I'm surprised MLS qualified for EAS service - it's less than two hours on the freeway from BIL.

LWT is a similar distance from GEG, though U.S. 195 is two lanes much of the way. Pullman, Washington and Moscow, Idaho--two cities that contribute a significant amount of LWT's demand--are even closer to GEG. Moscow, for instance, is about 34 miles from LWT and 88 miles from GEG. That seems like an easy choice given the number of flights at GEG.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlinebeechtobus From United States of America, joined Nov 2011, 329 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 1800 times:

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 8):

LWT (Louistown, MT) is the airport being talked about. I think you're confusing it with Louiston, ID (LWS)


User currently offlineCubsrule From United States of America, joined May 2004, 23309 posts, RR: 20
Reply 10, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 1777 times:

Quoting beechtobus (Reply 9):
LWT (Louistown, MT) is the airport being talked about. I think you're confusing it with Louiston, ID (LWS)

D'oh --sure am. But give me some credit; at least I didn't confuse it with LWB.



I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
User currently offlineMountainFlyer From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 477 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 1714 times:

Quoting surfandsnow (Reply 7):
As for Glasgow, Glendive, Havre, Sidney, and Wolf Point, it sounds like the goal is to switch the EAS link back to DEN. No surprise that the BIL links were less popular/detrimental to enplanement numbers as oppose to the prior DEN services.

The Montana EAS towns have long been linked to BIL back when Big Sky Airlines was operating. IIRC, a few of them were briefly linked to DEN in the transition between when Big Sky closed its doors and when ZK took over for a while before Silver Airways, but BIL has been the predominate hub for the Montana towns for many years.

Quoting surfandsnow (Reply 7):
I wonder if any of these markets could possibly support a UAX 50 seat RJ service to DEN?

No. They are all too small.

Quoting surfandsnow (Reply 7):
Not surprisingly, the markets closest to Billings (within relatively easy driving distance) were weakest, and those located much further away from it (more isolated not only from BIL, but any airport with considerable commercial airline service options) were stronger.

True. If you include the fact that LWT is 105 miles from GTF, MLS is actually the more isolated location in terms of miles being 145 (albeit 75 mph freeway) miles from BIL.

It will be very interesting to see what happens going forward. I would estimate that Sidney and Havre are the healthiest airports on the list, although SDY is not very far from ISN, which as of late is not well served by both UA and DL regional service because of the oil boom. ISN is in need of a new airport, and there has been talk about building it between SDY and ISN to serve both communities as more of a regional airport. Granted, given the political climate and the fact that we're talking about two different towns in two different states, I'm not holding my breath on that idea.

Quoting beechtobus (Reply 9):
LWT (Louistown, MT) is the airport being talked about. I think you're confusing it with Louiston, ID (LWS)

Not to be even pickier, but they are both Lewis, not Louis.  



SA-227; B1900; Q200; Q400; CRJ-2,7,9; 717; 727-2; 737-3,4,5,7,8,9; 747-2; 757-2,3; 767-3,4; MD-90; A319, 320; DC-9; DC-1
User currently offlineSLCUT2777 From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 4138 posts, RR: 9
Reply 12, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 1659 times:

Quoting Cubsrule (Reply 8):
LWT is a similar distance from GEG, though U.S. 195 is two lanes much of the way. Pullman, Washington and Moscow, Idaho--two cities that contribute a significant amount of LWT's demand--are even closer to GEG. Moscow, for instance, is about 34 miles from LWT and 88 miles from GEG. That seems like an easy choice given the number of flights at GEG.


Lewiston to Moscow/Pullman has some VERY steep grades along a two lane road in that Lewiston is actually a river-port city connected to the Columbia River Drainage and the other two are higher onto the Palouse.



DELTA Air Lines; The Only Way To Fly from Salt Lake City; Let the Western Heritage always be with Delta!
User currently offlinebeechtobus From United States of America, joined Nov 2011, 329 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 1616 times:

Quoting MountainFlyer (Reply 11):

Haha, if I'm going to be picky, I better check my spelling a bit closer.  


User currently offlineknope2001 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 3005 posts, RR: 31
Reply 14, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 1455 times:

Couple of points on this...

(a) EAS distance to another airport only matters if that airport is of a particular minimum size. BIL does not qualify. If I recall correctly (and if someone knows for certain and has different into please jump in):

--No EAS eligibility if within 70 driving miles of a medium or large hub airport
--For airports 70-210 driving miles to a medium or large hub airport, EAS must be less than $200 per passenger
--For airports 210+ driving miles to a medium or large hub airport there used to be no cap per passenger, but I think now that is 1,000 per passenger.

The nearest medium or large hub to these communities is DEN or SLC, which is why the qualify. The idea of requiring a medium or large hub is that those airports likely have a reasonable level of air service and fare competition. If your community is a 3 hour drive to a big airport with frequent flights a good fares, that's not remote enough for $200+subisdy. But if your community's closest unsubsidized airport is 3 hours away but only has a small number of flights and high airfares, that's not considered adequate. (And note the these definition of "large hub", "medium hub", "small hub" and "nonhub" are DoT definitions based on passengers served -- it has nothing to do with connecting passengers or the size of the airport's dot on the Delta route map.)

(b) These Montana EAS communities are somewhat unique in their air service market. A large portion -- perhaps the majority -- of the traffic from these small communities is actually intrastate. At a place like Havre, what demand there is for air service for vacation and visiting friends and relatives mostly drives to someplace like Great Falls. What business travel exists is not mostly to places like New York or Chicago or Dallas. But there is some business (including medical) travel to their regional economic capital, which is Billings. A few years back Great Lakes shifted service from most of the Montana EAS cities to go to Denver instead of Billings. It would make sense in general, as the code sharing in Denver could take you to countless destinations with an easy connection. But in every instance traffic at these small EAS communities plummeted. While not all that many people flew from Havre to Billings, almost nobody wanted to fly from Havre to anywhere by taking a 650+ mile 1-stop four-hour trip Denver on a Beech 1900 where they could connect on United or Frontier. Expensive, time-consuming torture. Those interstate travelers going to vacation in Phoenix or visiting relatives in Kansas City drove to Great Falls or Billings and boarded RJ's for a 1-stop connection or perhaps even an Allegiant nonstop. And the former traffic who used to fly from Havre to Billings went to the highway.

This is a very different situation than someplace like Waterloo where a lot of their traffic is really looking to connect at a big hub to a wide variety of destinations. Montana is so large and remote that the situation is something of a oddity. Attempts to tie those small EAS cities into the Denver hub have not served the market that exists.


User currently offlineFATFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2001, 5848 posts, RR: 28
Reply 15, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 1435 times:

Quoting surfandsnow (Reply 7):
I am so glad that the EAS program has been reformed, and communities that aren't sufficiently using the service (>$1,000 subsidy per passenger) are being cut off from federal funding.

That is one of the reforms.

The other change is a required annual average of 10 boardings per day at an EAS airport starting as of Sept. 2012.



"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." - Mark Twain
User currently offlineridgid727 From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 1243 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 1395 times:

These cities could more than likely support 1 flight a day, but the EAS rules state there must be 12 frequencies each week, which is overkill for these cities. (12 frequencies add a per passenger cost

Its interesting to note, that these highline cities used to have service from the original Frontier, which used Twin Otters In most of the markets.


User currently onlineUSAIRWAYS321 From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1848 posts, RR: 9
Reply 17, posted (1 year 6 months 1 week 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 1295 times:

Quoting SLCUT2777 (Reply 12):
Lewiston to Moscow/Pullman has some VERY steep grades along a two lane road in that Lewiston is actually a river-port city connected to the Columbia River Drainage and the other two are higher onto the Palouse.

There's really just the one big hill out of Lewiston, and US 95 is a 4-lane divided highway at that point. ITD is working to make the entire stretch between Lewiston and Moscow 4 lanes. US 195 from Pullman south is still just 2 lanes, though.


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