NCLairport
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Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Wed Mar 09, 2005 5:19 am

Why do all the British charters now fly SFB instead of MCO. I have to say SFB is a joy to fly into as its small and no hussle and bussle like MCO.

BY used to be MCO because i flew with them in 1999 to MCO from NCL. The year after they had changed to SFB. Where they the only charter to ever use MCO?
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Orion737
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Wed Mar 09, 2005 5:22 am

Is it cheaper for the charter airlnes? I guess thats the reason. Landind charges must be lower at SFB than MCO surely?
 
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OzarkD9S
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Wed Mar 09, 2005 5:23 am

Lower landing fees!

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NCLairport
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Wed Mar 09, 2005 5:29 am

yeah i suppose thats the reason! I wonder if the fees will start going up now that everyone is using SFB.
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Crosswind
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Wed Mar 09, 2005 5:37 am


  • Lower landing fees
  • Better passenger experience (no double baggage-handling as at MCO)
  • More space for each airline (desks/offices) than would be available at MCO
  • On airport car hire lots (no coaches)


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Photo © Justin Cederholm


It does come at the expense of longer journeys from the main resorts though. Also, SFB can become very congested at times, it wasn't really designed to handle the volume of International traffic it now handles. Simultaneous B747 arrivals being particularly bad offenders in creating congestion in immigration...

Quite a nice little airport though, on my last visit I was kurbside less than 30 minutes after arrival, but we were the first International arrival of the day, even so I don't think you could ever manage that at MCO...

It isn't really of interest to BA/Virgin beacuse it is a secondary airport, with no other major airline service or interline opportunities. Same reason CO/AA don't fly to Stansted or Luton I suppose!

Regards
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NCLairport
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Wed Mar 09, 2005 5:41 am

I do think its a good airport. Looks like a little house/hut from the outside. I flew in with Monarch in October and we were last flight in behind MyTravel A330 x2, Monarch A330, BY 767 and First Choice 767. Result.... huge wait at Customs and car rental desk. I ctually found it v easy to find my resort/hotel from SFB

Overall 10 out of 10....a pleasure!
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vsfullthrottle
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Wed Mar 09, 2005 5:44 am

It is roughly a third of the cost to land at SFB than it is at MCO.

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bananaboy
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Wed Mar 09, 2005 5:45 am

Quoting Crosswind (reply 4):
# Better passenger experience (no double baggage-handling as at MCO)



That is a dubious one IMHO....

True about the double baggage-handling, but in all seriousness, MCO is a world-class facility, and SFB, though adequate, cannot really compare.

At one point, BY were the only British charter operator going to MCO, and were doing quite nicely, selling seats to the Walt Disney Tour Operation, but post 9/11, understandably, everything had to change.

SFB is purpose built and ideal for the charter market, but any tour op that used Dollar at MCO would surely give SFB a run for its money in terms of total time between aircraft to hotel. If the passenger has to get to an off-site rental depot, then SFB could well offer a shorter "transfer" time.


Mark
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NCLairport
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Wed Mar 09, 2005 5:45 am

anyone know why BY used MCO for a while then?
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bananaboy
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Wed Mar 09, 2005 5:50 am

Quoting NCLairport (reply 8):
anyone know why BY used MCO for a while then?



I vaguely remember them saying in an internal memo that they had sorted out their "issues" with MCO, had assessed the overall passenger experience offered by SFB and MCO and felt that MCO had improved and was worth going back to.

It may have been possible that the Walt Disney contract had something to do with it. Total guess.


Mark
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717-200
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Wed Mar 09, 2005 5:52 am

Looks like there is adequate room for additional terminal and gate
space for expansion. Are there any plans to expand the terminals
at SFB?
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N1120A
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Wed Mar 09, 2005 6:04 am

Quoting Crosswind (reply 4):
Same reason CO/AA don't fly to Stansted or Luton I suppose!


CO flew to STN pre-9/11 with a 757. They have been rumored to be going back. LTN's runway would likely be too short (though perhaps not for a 757).

I think, by and large, Crosswind's reasonings are quite sound. US major carriers just do not fly into SFB (not even WN, who have a major operation at MCO) making it a charter haven with lots of runway, easy ops and the like. The main reason, however, is given the insanely cheap fares the charters offer as part of consolidated tours, the landing fees at SFB are what really makes the difference
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alcregular
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Wed Mar 09, 2005 6:14 am

I heard a rumour a few years ago that it could take upto 6 hours to clear arrivals and customs, but I don't know if it's true or not. That's the reason they all changed to SFB.
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Crosswind
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Wed Mar 09, 2005 6:28 am

N1120A,
All the UK charter airlines are locked into long-term contracts with TBI to serve Sanford, for example First Choice signed a contract in 2003 for all their Orlando flights to use SFB for 5 years until March 2008. I'm sure Sanford protect their competitive rates and continued business by locking airlines into long-term contracts.

I think if Southwest were looking to start Orlando ops now, then they would certainly look seriously at using SFB as their hub; somewhere with established airline service, that could offer them dedicated facilities and would allow them to "set their own rules" to a large extent. Whereas someone like JetBlue probably wouldn't be too interested in SFB because the image is wrong for them.

Can't really see any established carrier leaving McCoy for the perceived down-market SFB though, however cheap the fees were, plus MCO would fight tooth-and-nail for the likes of Southwest/AirTran. The fact that there are 2 competing airports can only be good for central Florida though and SFB is an excellent reliever for the very seasonal vacation traffic.

Regards
CROSSWIND
 
NCLairport
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Wed Mar 09, 2005 7:02 am

ALCregular I flew to MCO with BY from NCL and it only took 45 minutes to clear customs as there was no other charter traffic. Just a couple of VS and BA planes and then mainly domestic traffic.
SFB feels like its in the middle of nowhere when you drive out of it. You just drive away along this little road in the middle of a field with nothing around for miles. From the aircraft to car rental place is about 500 metres max.
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A340600
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Wed Mar 09, 2005 7:19 am

Ahh, good old SFB. I always remember our AIH330 parked up against a Cessna! Good fun. But to be honest, i'd much rather use MCO. Better drive time, and it can be much less busy than SFB after charter invasion over there,

Sam
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srbmod
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Wed Mar 09, 2005 8:29 am

Well SFB does have a hub operation of sorts. Vacation Express uses SFB as a hub for the charter airlines that fly on their behalf (Currently, only TransMeridian is their partner out of SFB, as they dropped Pace a few months back.).
 
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Wed Mar 09, 2005 8:45 am

I was just out at SFB on Saturday shooting arrivals/departures. I can't ever imagine WN coming to SFB simply because there aren't enough gates. At MCO, WN uses at least 8-10 gates. There are only 6 domestic gates at SFB to begin with, plus some are used regularly for TransMeridian, jetsgo, and any other charters that come in. I love the charter rush at SFB simply because I see airlines that hardly any other US airports get to see. Between Brittania, Air Atlanta Europe, First Choice, My Travel, Monarch, etc, etc, its a blast. I know that sounds dull to many british spotters/photographers but to us Americans, it's pretty cool. Anyway, SFB is a nice airport and I really wish they could see more scheduled service so there wouldn't be 1 hour lulls in between aircraft arrivals. If not for the airport then at least for the spotters. Big grin

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NCLairport
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Wed Mar 09, 2005 8:47 am

why do all charters fly in together? it causes mayhem. why dont they spread out across the day?
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mdl21483
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Wed Mar 09, 2005 9:02 am

Quoting NCLairport (Thread starter):
BY used to be MCO because i flew with them in 1999 to MCO from NCL. The year after they had changed to SFB. Where they the only charter to ever use MCO?

Just what Crosswind said, lower fees, less domestic traffic, & speedy processing. When Monarch started upgrading their services with the A330s, they flew their first 330, G-SMAN, circum-navigating Orlando at roughly 1000-1800ft, which passed right over my home! That was the coolest thing! Every once in a while, I would be out back & see a 727/DC9/737 fly overhead @ FL011-018 northward for the ILS 9 approach, and sometimes just above the trees for the long approach from the west.

I've seen BY go back & forth between MCO & SFB every few months from the times I kept track of Orlando's activities. Glad Condor decided to stick to MCO, last time there was a route to FRA was in the mid 90s through a DL L1011-385-500.

Quoting NCLairport (Reply 14):
SFB feels like its in the middle of nowhere when you drive out of it. You just drive away along this little road in the middle of a field with nothing around for miles.


I-4/434 can't be that bad! Try driving out to an airport in Kansas, say Johnsen County Executive or MCI - smack dab in the middle of a big farm field.
All of Kansas practically IS a bif farm. lol

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N1120A
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Wed Mar 09, 2005 1:03 pm

Quoting Crosswind (Reply 13):
I think if Southwest were looking to start Orlando ops now, then they would certainly look seriously at using SFB as their hub; somewhere with established airline service, that could offer them dedicated facilities and would allow them to "set their own rules" to a large extent.


WN actually is not as much of a far-flung airport operator as most europeans seems to think. They almost always go into the larger airports, unless operations there get delayed often (see NYC airports, DEN and BOS). B6, on the otherhand, has their west coast base at LGB, which is for a large part of the LA area, to LAX what HHN in to FRA
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INTENSS
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Wed Mar 09, 2005 2:44 pm

Quoting 717-200 (Reply 10):
Looks like there is adequate room for additional terminal and gate
space for expansion. Are there any plans to expand the terminals
at SFB?


Yes. I believe the plan is to expand the international terminal east through the current employee parking lot (towards the tower) and create a parking garage immediately behind the current domestic terminal. That was the plan about 6 months ago, don't know if it still is.

The Customs line does get EXTREMELY backed up on Thurs/FRI/SAT charter rush afternoons. That and the fact that there are not adequate baggage carousels makes SFB kind of tedious for arriving international passengers.

-Rich
 
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Thu Mar 10, 2005 12:31 am

Quoting N1120A (Reply 20):
B6, on the otherhand, has their west coast base at LGB, which is for a large part of the LA area, to LAX what HHN in to FRA


To equate LGB with HHN isn't really accurate. HHN is (according to Ryanair's website) 68 miles from the city of Frankfurt, and (according to people I've asked in our Frankfurt office - I work for a German company) not anywhere near being considered part of the Frankfurt metro area.

On the other hand, Long Beach is part of greater LA (the "Southland", in LA-speak) itself, and LGB and LAX are only 21 miles apart. For much of the Southland, LGB is just as convenient, if not more so, than LAX.

From the San Fernando Valley, LGB is a pain compared to LAX, thus B6 is going into Burbank. From the Inland Empire both LGB and LAX are inconvenient...that's why B6 flies into ONT.

(In fairness, metropolitan LA is a hell of a lot larger than Frankfurt, but the point remains that calling Hahn "Frankfurt" isn't entirely accurate. Most Americans know that LA sprawls so widely that it has multiple airports, and we commonly refer to the entire metro area (or at least Los Angeles County) generically as "LA.")
 
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Thu Mar 10, 2005 4:58 am

Sorry if this post is not appropriate for this thread, but I've wondered for a long time why MLB does not receive any charters from the UK. I lived in Melbourne during 1992-1995 and the big talk was that the airport expansion (including an area for US customs)was being done to accomodate international flights from Canada and Europe. However, I've haven't heard anything of it since leaving. Any input?

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LV
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Thu Mar 10, 2005 9:44 am

I've always wondered why Comair or ASA don't bring a few CRJ's into SFB or maybe even a mainline MD88 from DL. DL is practically the state bird of Florida and from what I have seen when I used to drive from Hilton Head to Orlando it looks like retirement communities are just springing in the SFB area...a DL presence would be perfect for Grandpa and Grandma to zip up back north for a weekend for the little ones birthday.
 
INTENSS
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Thu Mar 10, 2005 3:48 pm



Quoting LV (Reply 24):
I've always wondered why Comair or ASA don't bring a few CRJ's into SFB or maybe even a mainline MD88 from DL. DL is practically the state bird of Florida and from what I have seen when I used to drive from Hilton Head to Orlando it looks like retirement communities are just springing in the SFB area...a DL presence would be perfect for Grandpa and Grandma to zip up back north for a weekend for the little ones birthday.

The actual "SFB area" is kind of crappy while the overall Orlando area is indeed growing dramatically with new home communities.

Ever since DAB lost LTU service, it too has had no international traffic. I would put it as a better alternative than MLB with the proximity of Daytona to both Orlando and Jacksonville with the fastest growing part of the state Palm Coast just up I95.

-Rich
 
timetables
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Fri Mar 11, 2005 4:06 am

Yup, it is cheaper and more convenient as well. Less air traffic to deal with. Much easier for the charter companies to get in and out with ground transportation as well.

Here are some pics:
http://www.cruisinaltitude.com/airports/sfbflus.htm
http://www.cruisinaltitude.com/photos/byb763sfb.htm
http://www.cruisinaltitude.com/photos/kgdc1030sfb.htm
http://www.cruisinaltitude.com/photos/mvb763sfb.htm
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hawaiian717
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Fri Mar 11, 2005 12:30 pm

Quoting Crosswind (Reply 4):
On airport car hire lots (no coaches)

Many, but not all of the major car rental companies are on the airport at MCO. Alamo, National, and Budget come immediately to mind. Hertz is the notable exception, they are off site.

Another reason that many charter airlines go to SFB is that the airport can provide all ground services to the airlines, they don't have to have their own staff there or contract with some other company.

David / ABQ
 
timetables
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Fri Mar 11, 2005 2:47 pm

Quoting NCLairport (Reply 18):

'cause there are optimum times to leave London and arrive in the U.S. There is a mass exit between 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. I see them all the time when I'm leaving Gatwick.
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flyibaby
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Fri Mar 11, 2005 2:53 pm

Quoting Hawaiian717 (Reply 27):
Another reason that many charter airlines go to SFB is that the airport can provide all ground services to the airlines, they don't have to have their own staff there or contract with some other company.

I didn't realize this until yesterday when I was there and saw Swissport handles all below wing activity and apparently Prime Flight handles all airport above wing activity. I didn't see alot of professionalism among the above wing contractors, even less so than those at MCO, but you get what you pay for I guess. Very impressive small terminal though in SFB.
 
airgeek12
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Fri Mar 11, 2005 3:16 pm

There are lower landing/arriving fees. And since they are charter and transport pax don't need to make connections, it would only make sence.

geek
 
INTENSS
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Fri Mar 11, 2005 4:03 pm

Quoting Flyibaby (Reply 29):
I didn't realize this until yesterday when I was there and saw Swissport handles all below wing activity and apparently Prime Flight handles all airport above wing activity. I didn't see alot of professionalism among the above wing contractors, even less so than those at MCO, but you get what you pay for I guess. Very impressive small terminal though in SFB.

Up until a couple of months ago, Swissport handled all of the international ground handling while AGI handled all of the domestic (except for Pan Am which had their own personnel). But since Southeast took a dump, Swissport has since taken over TMA's handling....leaving AGI with squat. They were the most horrible ground handlers I've ever seen anyhow - no big loss.

-Rich
 
N1120A
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Fri Mar 11, 2005 4:08 pm

Quoting NCLairport (Reply 18):
why do all charters fly in together? it causes mayhem. why dont they spread out across the day?

Limited time window in which they can operate and not annoy people

Quoting ExFATboy (Reply 22):
On the other hand, Long Beach is part of greater LA (the "Southland", in LA-speak) itself, and LGB and LAX are only 21 miles apart. For much of the Southland, LGB is just as convenient, if not more so, than LAX.

I realize this, as I am a native Angeleno. From a large part of the MSA, LGB is actually farther than HHN is from FRA. It was mostly a joke anyway
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exFATboy
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Sat Mar 12, 2005 1:20 am

Quoting N1120A (Reply 32):
I realize this, as I am a native Angeleno. From a large part of the MSA, LGB is actually farther than HHN is from FRA. It was mostly a joke anyway

Ah, sorry...just thought you might be one of those folks who feel some need to bash JetBlue and/or Long Beach for some reason I've never understood.  Smile
 
A340600
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Sat Mar 12, 2005 1:30 am

Timetables,

Looking at those photos brings back the memories!

Sam Smile
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timetables
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:21 pm

Thanks; I have to make another trip to get some new ones.
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ConcordeBoy
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Wed Mar 23, 2005 4:03 am

Quoting Crosswind (Reply 4):
Same reason CO/AA don't fly to Stansted or Luton I suppose!

Funny that you should say that:

CO did fly to STN shortly before September 11th.... and now both CO and AA are actively being courted for service to STN (from NYC and QSF respectively).
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ClearedDirect
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RE: Why SFB Instead Of MCO

Wed Mar 23, 2005 6:58 am

SFB is doing some renovation/construction. Currently they are building a new 4 story parking garage as well as a new rental car facility. They have completed a new entrance and an extensive road widening project.
Additionally they are doing some taxiway extensions to help facilitate the movement of the bigger planes.

They were named the fastest growing airport in North America two years in a row recently.

CD