I was reading some of the posts in the other Chicago Express themed forum and was thinking of some possible ideas, mainly centered around the basic idea of the name "Chicago Express". I am not quite sure what the operating expenses of the Saab 340 are, so the basis of my ideas maintain that they are not terribly expensive (cheaper than RJ
's) to maintain and operate.
Imagine an independant midwest based airline that uses Saab 340's with a Hub at MDW
in chicago. 30 airplanes is a good number we'll say. Each airplane would have 32 seats, and the airline would serve cities within 500 miles of Chicago. This would be a scaled back Southwest Airlines style of operation. Fares at $30/ one way, it would be cheaper than driving in most cases, especially with the new IDOT IPass fees (1.50 per toll for folks without an iPass).
So if you fill 24 seats out of 32 per flight (75% load average), you get
$720/ flight. If you run each airplane on 10 flights per day, thats $7200/ airplane. Say you have 25 airplanes in service on weekdays, thats $180,000 in operating income each week-day. The numbers i have suggested aren't unreasonable for the fares being offered.
Fly to the following 12 cities from MDW
to start off:
Minneapolis, Madison, Milwaukee, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, Moline/Quad Cities, Peoria, Bloomington/Normal, Champaign, Springfield, St. Louis, Indianapolis
All cities with divested economic/social ties to Chicago and vice versa. The closest city (DBQ) is still 158 miles away and a 3 hour drive. My car (1997 Olds Cutlass) takes about a half a tank of gas to get there (same amount for the way back) so that is already around $25 for me, not to mention the money deducted from my iPass account (only 75 cents per toll since I have an iPass). But still that adds up to about $6 round trip. So thats a little less than $35 at least in the drive per round trip, not to mention any food stops or whatever you might have because of the length of the drive.
With service to MDW
, you can be down in the loop within 45 mins of landing, or take the Metra out to the suburbs and be there within 2 hours. Using DBQ as the example city, you do pay a little more for the flight. However you can make Chicago a day trip. Leave at 9am from dbq and getting back on the last flight around 10pm. Have a full day of shopping or relatively seeing or whatever you want to do. Sure beats Eagles $250 and up price for a one way from DBQ-ORD
right now. With driving, you spend around 7 hours on the road depending on the time of day. This cuts the travel time in half (around 3.5 hours including airport experience and flight time). On a saturday and sunday you could offer $20 one way flights to stimulate traffic.
Think of all the colleges in these towns that have kids from Chicago...
- University of Minnesota, all the St. whatever colleges,
- UW Madison, Edgewood
- Marquette, UW Milwaukee, Carthage
DBQ- University of Dubuque, Loras, Clarke, UW Platteville
- University of Iowa (known as University of Chicago - Iowa CIty)
MLI- Augustana, St. Ambrose
- Illinois State University, Illinois Wesleyan
CPI- University of Illinois
- St. Louis University, Washington University
- Butler, IUPUI, Depaux, Indiana State
the college traffic alone would be incredible. Perhaps in Football and basketball season the airline could run special "game planes" on saturdays that run early in the morning for fans from the big 10 schools like Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Northwestern to where their team was playing that day and be able to bring them back the same night. A few other neat marketing ideas involving schools and stuff could probably be worked out.
any thoughts? Comments? Questions? Grievances?