Someone asked about the plans for expansion of DSM
, and I thought that I would mention some things since no one has said anything.
Back in the mid 90s, when the airline industry was on one of its upswings and looking for some good years, the city laid out ambitious plans for expansion. As someone mentioned, there used to be a short parallel runway (13R/31L) to the current 13/31 off to the southwest by about 2000 feet I think. Anyway, it was close enough that the crosswinds 5/23 still intersected both. Anyway, UPS was looking for a regional hub for expansion (not Louisville type expansion, but a regional sorting center with a consdierable number of flights a day...by the way, anyone know how many UPS birds we get in DSM
on average during the normal time of year - not Christmas?), and thus the expansion of the cargo facilities were given top priority. In order to expand - and I believe double the apron area - the parallel GA
runway had to go.
The initial plans that they drew up also included the extension of 5/23 (which has been completed) and a new 13R/31L parallel runway that was to be around 10,000 feet long and spaced further out to accomodate the expanded cargo facility. The final addition to the plans was to be a new terminal building. For those of you who have been to DSM
, the current concourses cannot be expanded much further due to the runways. Plans had called for a new terminal at the northwest end of the airport in the upper portion of the "H" that was to be formed by the three runways. This would have allowed significant expansion of gates for us.
However, reality set in, and although Des Moines traffic increased, it was not as much as hoped for (largely because we don't know how to treat the LCCs when they do come!). As mentioned, the third runway has been scaled back to a GA
runway for now, but with the possibility to expand. As for the terminal, they decided to keep the current one and "fill in the gaps" in the terminal. The current concourses have a waiting area with gates on each side, then a narrow corridor, then another waiting area. The plan was to expand the corridor portions and make one long continuous wide concourse and add gates between the current locations. The current separation of gates will easily allow another gate to be added between them and the largest aircraft that would likely serve DSM
(737s, 717s, MD80s, 319/320s) would have little trouble parking. The only change would be that many would have to go to a more straight in park and use tugs or power backs to push back instead of the open space that some have to simply roll forward and turn around in the gate area.
I am still not aware of when or if this expansion is planned. They redid the baggage claim area and rental car desks, as well as adding a parking garage many years back. So, they are not likely to build a new terminal any time soon.
As for CID
adding a third runway, I don't really see why. As others have mentioned, the traffic levels are so low that fitting GA
traffic into the pattern should not be a significant problem. DSM
only has two runways, but they have at least double the commercial movements, probably 20-25 UPS, FedEx, Airborne, etc. movements per day, and we have F-16s of the Air National Guard doing exercises. To my knowledge, SUX
is the only other airport in Iowa with ANG operations and I doubt any of the parcel carriers are looking for a new sorting hub.
With regards to WN
or other LCCs coming to Iowa. As someone mentioned, WN
serves Omaha (2 hours away) and Kansas City (3 hours away). Given how many people make the trek to these places already, it almost seems that WN
would just be taking a lot of their own business. This was actually the argument in favor of CID
a few years back since the nearest WN
city is MDW
(3.5 - 4 hours?). STL
might be closer, but there are few direct and quick road links. I personally would expect WN
to start serving Rochester, MN
before they started any Iowa routes. I don't know the size of the terminal up there, but you have the MSP
area only an hour or so away. Perhaps the terminal size is a problem, but one that could be solved.
Also, many LCCs probably remember how Iowans have treated past ones that have come here. I have mentioned this before on other threads. Air Tran actually operated here in the mid and late 90s with nonstop and direct service through MLI to CO
), USA - Florida">MCO
(We had one flight a day that reversed which direction it went through the two cities). However, when majors matched them, Iowans went with the majors and the LCCs suffered. The same happened when Vanguard came here. They started off with 2 to 4 flights a day each to MSP
, and MCI
. The majors matched them and Iowans flew the majors, so eventually Vanguard was down to just the MCI
route before closing up shop completely. Accessair was the same story. So, I think that a lot of LCCs are going to think twice about coming here. Thankfully, I think that we have been better with Allegiant and their flights to LAS
. Hopefully, they do well out of CID
as well. Perhaps Independence Air would consider testing the market with a CRJ to IAD
. We are losing Midwest's nonstop service to DCA
, so the city will probably try to entice Independence to start. I doubt WN
will start anytime soon to DSM
. They seem to have their sites set on the East Coast anyway. Air Tran might give it another shot when a few 717s are freed up. ASA operates two flights daily (might be three, but I thought they decreased) to ATL
. It would also be interesting to see CO
Ex try their luck in CID
Finally, someone mentioned that mainline services are only operated from DSM
and Allegiant. UA
currently flies six flights to ORD
- 3 737s, 1 146, and 2 CRJs. However, they are stepping up service this summer to 5 737s and 1 146. They also serve Denver with 6 flights - 4 737s and 2 CRJs. In addition, NW
still operates two of its MSP
flights with D9S's (and four with the larger ARJs). We lost the TWA/American 717s and 80s to STL
a couple of years ago - miss having 6 or 7 of those mainline jets in here each day. AA
also switched their DFW
service to all RJs in the past year. So, on the plus side, we have more flights, frequencies, and destinations than we used to. However, most are on RJs, so it is a mixed bag.
Oh, one last thing. Omaha is in Nebraska, not Iowa!