nycflyer
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Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:11 pm

Central Illinois has four main airports. Listed by order of traffic from largest to smallest, they include:

BMI (Bloomington-Normal) approximately 275,000 annual enplanements
PIA (Peoria) 250,000 enpls
CMI (Champaign) 86,000 enpls
SPI (Springfield) 61,000 enpls


Why is this the case? SPI has the state capital; CMI has a major university; PIA has the headquarters of Caterpillar - but BMI has no obvious "attraction."

Not only that, but Bloomington-Normal has by far the smallest MSA population of the four cities. Peoria has more than double the population of Bloomington-Normal. Champaign and Springfield are in the middle.

So my question is: what accounts for BMI having the busiest of the four airports? Better marketing?
 
powercube
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:21 pm

Students are very low yield, and the other industries in CMI are pretty well served by AA. That is to say CMI's burgeoning tech centre appreciates CMI-ORD-SJC or CMI-ORD-AUS. There really is not a market for other airlines to serve CMI when the industries are so OneWorld centric. The afternoon flight out of CMI even links up with Etihad's out of ORD. Combined with the daily to Dallas... there's really nothing left for others to capture. I don't have too much hard data to back this up- but I used to fly into CMI all the time and would see a very specific type of traveler on each flight.
 
threeifbyair
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:21 pm

BMI does serve some major employers:

State Farm Insurance (Corporate HQ, 14k employees)
Illinois State University (3k employees, 20k students)
Country Financial (Corporate HQ, 2k employees)
Mitsubishi auto plant

http://www.bloomingtonnormalcvb.org/community-employers.cfm
 
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usxguy
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:24 pm

It started with a guy named Mike Lapier. He was focused on getting new air service, and in the 1990s he landed AirTran to Orlando - once a week, and amazingly Frontier Airlines to Denver with a stop in Omaha. The airport then was one of the first to get Northwest Airlink's ARJ 85s with service to Detroit, and well, from there he got a new terminal, more AirTran, United Express, and Delta.

Mike did a tremendous job of stealing traffic from Champaign, Decatur, Springfield, and to some effect Peoria.
xx
 
BMI727
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:30 pm

Quoting NYCFlyer (Thread starter):
BMI has no obvious "attraction."

State Farm plus being until recently the nicest airport in the area. It's also the most centrally located. Someone from Peoria can drive to the Twin Cities to catch a flight rather easily, but not to Champaign.

Quoting NYCFlyer (Thread starter):
SPI has the state capital; CMI has a major university;

Neither of which is a huge driver of traffic. United's capital-to-capital thing in particular was an abject failure.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
CIDFlyer
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:28 pm

one word: AirTran (or is that 2 words?) For many years AirTran spurred growth at BMI, plus they had a brand new terminal to boot. Now that AirTran is going away it will be interesting to see how things shake out between them and PIA. BMI was able to supplement losing the AirTran by adding G4 to SFB and now F9 to DEN and MCO. PIA though is a larger station for G4 and also has a brand new terminal and recently got DL service back to ATL.
 
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knope2001
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:38 pm

Bloomington is central to all the population / traffic generators – within an hour of Peoria, Champaign and Decatur, and nearly as close to Springfield. None of the other airports is nearly as central to the traffic generating base.

Bloomington was successful in attracting low-fare airline service, and that helped groom people to use BMI. It would have been a notch or two harder for the type of LCC service Bloomington had to succeed elsewhere. For example Peoria is a tougher sell for Springfield, Champaign and Decatur because to drive from those cities to PIA isn’t much different than driving to STL or IND, where more frequent low-fare service is available. Bloomington was well positioned for more service than their local MSA would suggest because of all the traffic it could pull in from a 70 mile radius or so.

Now that AirTran is gone, I think that BMI will only have middling success in attracting traffic from other parts of central Illinois. Decatur has nothing to speak of and Champaign is modestly served, and both those things helps BMI. But I suspect Peoria will overtake Bloomington instantly as the region’s busiest airport in passenger volume. Bloomington will almost certainly remain in the #2 slot, but it will likely have annual enplanements somewhat lower than the past several years.
 
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knope2001
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:16 pm

Here's what capacity looks like for the week of July 22nd departing both airports:

8,644 PIA
5,454 BMI
 
portcolumbus
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:19 pm

Having lived in Champaign, unless someone else was paying, BMI was the airport of choice. Generally lower fares and people despised the $5/day parking at CMI.
 
powercube
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:09 pm

Quoting portcolumbus (Reply 8):

Having lived in Champaign, unless someone else was paying, BMI was the airport of choice. Generally lower fares and people despised the $5/day parking at CMI.

This too, the fares out of CMI are quite a bit higher- and if you get bumped from AA- they'll just put you on a taxi to BMI anyway.
 
kbmiflyer
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:57 am

BMI pulls allot of folks from both CMI and DEC (ADM, etc). We used to pull some CAT traffic from PIA, but losing Airtran and DL adding service from PIA to ATL, that won't happen anymore. Like other have said, PIA will probably go back into the lead in 2012 or 2013.

The surprising thing so far is that PIA hasn't seemed to take advantage of Airtran leaving. BMI has added service to orlando on BOTH Allegiant and Frontier (although I doubt both can last). In addition, Frontier has added 4 times weekly service to DEN, which is apparently doing well. DL pretty much now owns BMI now with 7 to 9 flights a day to 3 destinations, with AA just having 4 flights a day. It will be interesting to see if Frontier can do well here.

PIA, on the other hand, has added 3x service to ATL on CRJ's (BMI gets mostly CR7's, with occasional CRJ's and CR9's), although this seemed to be in the works before the FL announcement. I think the UA PIA-DEN may have increased some capacity also, but otherwise, they haven't gained much. Both AA and UA seem to do well at PIA, while DL and Allegiant seem to struggle a little.

CMI is only AA to ORD and DFW. They get a little more capacity than they should since they RON 4 planes for overnight maintinance. With the AA monopoly, prices can be pretty high.

SPI really doesn't have too much draw, and is too close to STL. I think the twice daily AA flights to DFW are doing ok though, and the UA flights to SPI seem to be doing ok.
 
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usxguy
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Thu Jun 14, 2012 4:37 am

I remember working a few weekends in SPI back in my days @ Lakes.. we had 8 flights a day to O'Hare on a mix of Brasilias and 1900s, along with 4 a day to Meigs (sometimes 2 a day on the weekend).... and we also had TWE with shuttle to St. Louis
xx
 
milesrich
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:32 am

Quoting knope2001 (Reply 7):
Here's what capacity looks like for the week of July 22nd departing both airports:

8,644 PIA
5,454 BMI

AirTran was THE reason for BMI's success vs PIA, CMI, SPI, and DEC. Low fares made the 40-60 drive attractive. Now that AirTran is gone, BMI will struggle.

AirTran's low fares also drove MLI's success, but the Quad Cities has a lot more traffic than Bloomington Normal. Go back to the days of regulation, and BMI had two or three flights a day to ORD and STL and that was it, where as PIA and CMI had ten or more.
 
mli717fan
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:25 pm

Quoting knope2001 (Reply 7):

8,644 PIA
5,454 BMI

Can anyone see what those numbers were last month (or last July), for comparison?

BMI's numbers over the next year are going to be bloody over the next year. FL made up about 40% of their market share, DL made up about the same. With FL gone and DL cutting back significantly, thing aren't going to be pretty. AA hasn't made any moves (adding to CMI, PIA, or BMI) on this shakeup yet, which I think is kind of surprising (they added 2x at MLI).

I think it would help out all of the central Illinois airports if we'd just cut the cord on DEC. EAS is a huge waste of money when they "essential" airport is 47 miles from CMI, 56 miles from BMI, and 44 miles from SPI. (Sorry, I know that's for another thread and has been discussed to death.)

I'm interested to watch what G4 does here. I'd imagine they aren't exactly thrilled that BMI went and gave F9 cash to start service, I know they weren't happy in ICT with FL. On the same page, G4 was not able to maintain CMI or SPI service, and their SFB service from PIA wasn't profitable.

I'm also interested to watch what happens with F9. Some posters here are indicating that they are on death's door. I don't think they are there right now, but I do see them as one of the weaker carriers. Further, It'd be interesting to see the data, but I'd bet a large chunk of people were taking flights to the southeast from BMI, now, unless you are going to Orlando, that's much more difficult. I wonder how much BMI bled to PIA for people flying to LAS and AZA. G4 used to run those routes almost daily at times.
 
FlyPeoria
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:24 pm

Interesting discussion. I pretty much agree with everyone's points about PIA likely overtaking BMI as the dominant Central Illinois airport.

One thing I'll add is that PIA's got an advantage over BMI in that locally-based Caterpillar is generating a rather large (and growing) volume of international business travelers for AA, DL and UA. I also suspect that Caterpillar is making more use of PIA now that the new terminal is open. After attending the early January 2011 open house, I realized how much of an embarrassment the old one was.

It should be mentioned that in 1st Quarter 2012, PIA saw a 10 percent increase in pax. This was before DL resumed 3x daily PIA-ATL (April 9), before UA added a 2nd daily PIA-DEN flight (June 2) and before G4 adds twice-weekly PIA-PGD on June 28. So should present capacity hold the rest of the year, I'd say we could break 2008's record 565,000 pax.

On a related note, PIA saw a 22 percent increase in air cargo volume the 1st Quarter as well (business had been declining). FedEx flies 727-200C MEM-PIA in early morning and PIA-MEM in late evening. Some evenings, an MSN-MEM flight will stop at PIA. UPS runs SDF-PIA-RFD in the pre-dawn hours and RFD-PIA-SDF in late evening using an A-300-600F, 757-200C or (like last night) a 767-300C. Most weekdays, Mountain Air Cargo runs an ATR-42-300 for FedEx on an evening IND-PIA-IND turnaround.

[Edited 2012-06-14 07:25:42]

[Edited 2012-06-14 07:27:16]
 
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mayor
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:01 pm

Quoting NYCFlyer (Thread starter):
SPI has the state capita

Doesn't mean much. Ex-gov Blago lived and worked in Chicago and only went to Springfield to work with the legislature.
"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
 
toltommy
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Thu Jun 14, 2012 4:44 pm

Quoting mayor (Reply 15):
Doesn't mean much. Ex-gov Blago lived and worked in Chicago and only went to Springfield to work with the legislature.

Don't you mean "work the legislature"?  

Most of the important state business takes place in the State of Illinois office tower in Chicago. Springfield is state capital mostly in name only. If it weren't for official travel, there'd really be no need for SPI.
 
mli717fan
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Thu Jun 14, 2012 4:53 pm

Quoting FlyPeoria (Reply 14):
After attending the early January 2011 open house, I realized how much of an embarrassment the old one was.

You can say that again, I had to go pick up a friend there in 2005/2006 and felt like I was thrown back into the 1960s! I think the old MLI terminal (the one that looked like it was temporarily parked there one day) was better looking than that one.

Quoting FlyPeoria (Reply 14):
G4 adds twice-weekly PIA-PGD on June 28

This is seasonal, but I did notice they brought it back for the winter season too. They must be pretty happy with the results so far. There are a lot of people from the midwest who visit people in the Tampa area and south of there. I could see this expanding quite a bit.

Quoting FlyPeoria (Reply 14):
UA added a 2nd daily PIA-DEN flight (June 2)

This will be interesting. If F9 can make BMI work, I think this flight will stick and PIA will be helped out by F9 in BMI for a few reasons:
A: UA will match fares and provide better connecting opportunities and flight times from PIA.
B: A lot of consumers using travel sites could care less what airline they end up on, as long as it's cheap.
C: UA has a long history in PIA, and I'd imagine a fairly large (for its size) frequent flyer customer base.
 
FlyPeoria
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:22 pm

Quoting MLI717fan (Reply 17):
You can say that again, I had to go pick up a friend there in 2005/2006 and felt like I was thrown back into the 1960s! I think the old MLI terminal (the one that looked like it was temporarily parked there one day) was better looking than that one.

If you're talking about the 1985 pre-fab terminal, I know what you mean. At least that one had a somewhat modern appearance. 

PIA's old terminal concourse did receive some re-modeling (and two extensions) in the late 1990s, and again in the early 2000s, offering a more welcoming appearance than the main building.

Quoting MLI717fan (Reply 17):
This is seasonal, but I did notice they brought it back for the winter season too. They must be pretty happy with the results so far. There are a lot of people from the midwest who visit people in the Tampa area and south of there. I could see this expanding quite a bit.

Two or three months before the announcement was made, PIA's airport director hinted G4 would start this service. He said Central Illinois sends "a colony" of people to the Fort Myers area every year. I'd say G4 will be pleased with the loads they get.

Quoting MLI717fan (Reply 17):
This will be interesting. If F9 can make BMI work, I think this flight will stick and PIA will be helped out by F9 in BMI for a few reasons:
A: UA will match fares and provide better connecting opportunities and flight times from PIA.
B: A lot of consumers using travel sites could care less what airline they end up on, as long as it's cheap.
C: UA has a long history in PIA, and I'd imagine a fairly large (for its size) frequent flyer customer base.

While it's possible UA had intended to go from 1x to 2x daily flights on this route regardless, their announcement came after F9's interest in BMI became public. But traditionally, UA had 2x service, from mainline to regional service (April 1984 to April 2003). So if F9 retrenches and drops BMI, 2x daily PIA-DEN should remain.

[Edited 2012-06-14 10:24:05]

[Edited 2012-06-14 10:25:49]
 
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mayor
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:43 pm

Quoting toltommy (Reply 16):

Most of the important state business takes place in the State of Illinois office tower in Chicago. Springfield is state capital mostly in name only. If it weren't for official travel, there'd really be no need for SPI.

And, therein lies the problem, especially for the rest of the population, "downstate" (everywhere except Cook County & Chicago).




Ok.....back to the topic at hand
"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
 
Bobloblaw
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:18 pm

Quoting FlyPeoria (Reply 14):
I'd say we could break 2008's record 565,000 pax.

Did PIA finally break the 1978 record????
 
Bobloblaw
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:21 pm

The big challenge for PIA, CMI and SPI will be what type of airservice do they retain after 50 seat jets go away?
 
FlyPeoria
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:31 pm

Quoting bobloblaw (Reply 20):
Did PIA finally break the 1978 record????

Yep...in 2008. PIA came close in 2005 (about 520,000 pax) and finally beat 1978's 550,000 in 2008.

Quoting bobloblaw (Reply 21):
The big challenge for PIA, CMI and SPI will be what type of airservice do they retain after 50 seat jets go away?

I'd include BMI in that challenge...and I'd contend that PIA is in a better position than the others. That's because AA, DL and UA regional partners offer 21 weekday departures (G4 adds 1 to 3 depending on the day). Compare that to BMI, where AA and DL by mid-August will be down to 10 weekday departures (plus G4 and F9 add 1-2 depending on the day).
 
Bobloblaw
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:39 pm

Quoting FlyPeoria (Reply 22):
Yep...in 2008. PIA came close in 2005 (about 520,000 pax) and finally beat 1978's 550,000 in 2008.

Ahhh...1978...The year of CO 72S to ORD and MCI with continuing service to LAX. Along with OZ nonstop or same plane to ATL, DEN, MSP, ORD, STL, DTW, LGA, IAD, MKE plua SPI, MLI, SUX, CID, DSM, CMI, ALO.


I was reading an old CAB route case from 1978 (on the eve of deregulation). OZ and NW were fighting it out in court in MLI over PIA-ATL route authority. OZ wanted to fly DSM-PIA-ATL and NW wanted to fly MSP-PIA-ATL-TPA-MIA. Eventually OZ won the route case. But the NW attorneys put the OZ analyst who did the route forecast on the stand and made him defend his profitability forecast.
 
mattya9
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:44 am

Having been around both PIA and BMI I think it was safe to say in the past Caterpillar/business travelers made or broke PIA's numbers while leisure travelers have made or broke BMI. Now with AirTran gone from BMI and Caterpillar making lots of money again it'll be interesting to see what happens. I think it'll be PIA's turn to lead in the pax category for a few years to come since BMI held that status for the last 2 or 3 years. Seems to be the trend; one airport will lead the way then the other makes a move or two and then reclaims the top spot. *Sighs* When is that 'Central' Illinois airport going to be built (near Lincoln) that will serve ALL the airports?  
"You can do anything once."
 
FlyPeoria
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:05 pm

Quoting bobloblaw (Reply 23):
Ahhh...1978...The year of CO 72S to ORD and MCI with continuing service to LAX. Along with OZ nonstop or same plane to ATL, DEN, MSP, ORD, STL, DTW, LGA, IAD, MKE plua SPI, MLI, SUX, CID, DSM, CMI, ALO.

With service like that, no wonder PIA's record would stand for three decades! Interesting that CO actually began reducing service a year after it entered the PIA market. Starting with two roundtrips on an ORD-PIA-MCI-LAX itinerary on February 28, 1977, one of the PIA-ORD flights was cut March 1, 1978. Then on October 1 that year, CO dropped all but one PIA-MCI-LAX roundtrip. But OZ continued to expand, adding DSM-PIA-ATL on December 1.

Quoting bobloblaw (Reply 23):
I was reading an old CAB route case from 1978 (on the eve of deregulation). OZ and NW were fighting it out in court in MLI over PIA-ATL route authority. OZ wanted to fly DSM-PIA-ATL and NW wanted to fly MSP-PIA-ATL-TPA-MIA. Eventually OZ won the route case. But the NW attorneys put the OZ analyst who did the route forecast on the stand and made him defend his profitability forecast.

When I was taking classes there in the 1990s, the Illinois Central College library had the books detailing this case. Fascinating how things were done pre-dereg. I understand though that NW was given backup authority, and with dereg happening shortly after CAB's route award to OZ, NW was actually given permission to start service as well (but never did).

[Edited 2012-06-15 06:16:39]

[Edited 2012-06-15 06:17:26]
 
FlyPeoria
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:15 pm

Quoting mattya9 (Reply 24):
Having been around both PIA and BMI I think it was safe to say in the past Caterpillar/business travelers made or broke PIA's numbers while leisure travelers have made or broke BMI. Now with AirTran gone from BMI and Caterpillar making lots of money again it'll be interesting to see what happens. I think it'll be PIA's turn to lead in the pax category for a few years to come since BMI held that status for the last 2 or 3 years. Seems to be the trend; one airport will lead the way then the other makes a move or two and then reclaims the top spot. *Sighs* When is that 'Central' Illinois airport going to be built (near Lincoln) that will serve ALL the airports?

I'd say if Central Illinois could support a single regional airport, it would be BMI. I believe the terminal there could handle all BMI/CMI/PIA/SPI service combined. But Peoria's size and status as Caterpillar HQ has likely prevented BMI from acheiving its goal.

But who knows, over the next 20 years there'll be changes to the airline industry no one expects. Perhaps fuel prices will drop significantly, obtaining credit will become easier and several successful new entrants will "re-hub" places like MKE, PIT, STL and others abandoned by the legacies.

And maybe BMI is doubling its jetways because officials there have convinced WN to start BMI-BWI/LAS/BNA/PHX 
 
mli717fan
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:40 pm

Quoting bobloblaw (Reply 23):
Ahhh...1978...The year of CO 72S to ORD and MCI with continuing service to LAX. Along with OZ nonstop or same plane to ATL, DEN, MSP, ORD, STL, DTW, LGA, IAD, MKE plua SPI, MLI, SUX, CID, DSM, CMI, ALO.

Wow, I never realized Peoria had that type of service....

MLI has a picture on their facebook page with a UA 733, a UA 732, a TW DC9, and a bunch of other regional aircraft all pulled up to the terminal. Now no downstate airports see (besides G4) anything over 80 seats. I fondly remember flying the UAX 146s and TW MDs.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=137918123760&set=a.137911323760.127746.137877763760&type=3&theater
(In the photo comments they speculate there must have been some diversions)


Another thing to keep in mind is that back in those days, we had Air Illinois and Mississippi Valley Airlines. (MVA was hubbed at MLI!)

Air Illinois: http://www.departedflights.com/UX101582.html

MVA: http://www.departedflights.com/XV120184.html
 
FlyPeoria
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:16 pm

Quoting MLI717fan (Reply 27):
Wow, I never realized Peoria had that type of service....

PIA wasn't too happy with its status as the largest city in the country served by just one airline. Except for a few intrastate air taxi services in 1967-1971, it suffered this status from 1962 to 1977. But OZ practically used Peoria as a hub ("focus city" in today's parlance) in the years 1969 to 1981. So PIA had more service thanks to the local service airline's monopoly.

Traditional services to ORD, MCI, MSP and STL plus intineraries involving ALO, CID, CMI, DEC, GBG, DSM, MKE, RFD, SPI, etc. (some added and dropped over the years) were supplemented by LGA and IAD on April 27, 1969. Flights originated/terminated or stopped enroute at ALO, SUX, FSF, SPI and STL.

OZ's 1973 strike made PIA nervous and airport officials began seeking additional carriers. AL proposed routes to CLE, DTW and MCI and CO to ORD, MCI and LAX. So OZ tried to butter up PIA by adding new services. MSP-PIA-IND-SDF began July 1, 1974 and PIA-SUX-DEN began April 1, 1975. AL lost its bid for PIA service; OZ won DTW rights and began STL-SPI-PIA-DTW and OMA-MLI-PIA-DTW on December 15, 1976. A second DEN flight, this time routed IND-PIA-DEN, began on February 1, 1977. CO started twice-daily ORD-PIA-MCI-LAX on February 28, 1977.

It's amazing that PIA had 27 mainline jet departures (4-CO and 23-OZ) for most of 1977. CO would drop all but one flight by fall 1978, but OZ would continue expansion, adding DSM-PIA-ATL on December 1, 1978. The MSP-PIA-IND-SDF route was extended to TPA on January 7, 1979. OZ's strike only temporaily stunted PIA's growth (though BWI replaced IAD on November 15, 1979). On December 15, 1979, a second PIA-ATL flight started as did a DSM-PIA-IND-MIA flight! These last two (incl. both ATL nonstops) were dumped April 27, 1980 then OZ went through its second strike shutdown in a year. At the same time, BNA replaced SDF on the MSP-TPA route.

OZ still had some 21-22 departures (all-jet) at the start of 1981, but cutbacks began in March. DTW service (since cut to one roundtrip) ended April 26, 1981. TWA began on June 4, 1981 to keep Peoria pax OZ used to feed it at ORD and STL. This caused OZ to make further cuts. PIA-DEN went July 1, 1981, the loss of which reduced OZ departures to 13. The PATCO strike ended direct LGA service (temporarily restored via STL in 1982). On August 1, 1982, DSM replaced PIA on the MSP-TPA route. By 1983, OZ was down to 4-5 weekday departures at PIA, which would be the case as when the airline merged with TW in 1986.

Quoting MLI717fan (Reply 27):
MLI has a picture on their facebook page with a UA 733, a UA 732, a TW DC9, and a bunch of other regional aircraft all pulled up to the terminal. Now no downstate airports see (besides G4) anything over 80 seats. I fondly remember flying the UAX 146s and TW MDs.

That is a neat shot! The NW Convair 580 dates it to 1986-1988, and probably 1987 (I don't think we had any rain in '88   Definitely some wx diversions.
 
mattya9
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:35 pm

Quoting FlyPeoria (Reply 26):

I think the biggest thing will be what airlines do with 50-seat RJ's (as someone commented on earlier). G4 must be licking their chops with talk about airlines cutting back/out 50-seat planes to regional airports. I remember talking to the station manager with Delta at BMI (pre Southwest buying AirTran) and they were mentioning possibly having a mainline flight to ATL in the morning Monday-Friday to compete with AirTran. So perhaps the wheels have been turning for a while. However, that's obviously not going to happen now.
"You can do anything once."
 
FlyPeoria
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:26 pm

Quoting mattya9 (Reply 29):
I think the biggest thing will be what airlines do with 50-seat RJ's (as someone commented on earlier). G4 must be licking their chops with talk about airlines cutting back/out 50-seat planes to regional airports. I remember talking to the station manager with Delta at BMI (pre Southwest buying AirTran) and they were mentioning possibly having a mainline flight to ATL in the morning Monday-Friday to compete with AirTran. So perhaps the wheels have been turning for a while. However, that's obviously not going to happen now.

That would have been neat had BMI gotten a mainline jet (an ex-NW 319 perhaps?). I'm surprised DL didn't put an E70 in that market, like they did MLI. I guess the CR9 might have offered the same type of service capacity/though.

In addition to the eventual phaseout of 50-seat RJ's, I wonder if the regional airline industry will return to turboprops on short-haul feeder spokes? I know the RJ's were considered an upgrade from props, which suffered from negative public perception.

Perhaps retirement of 50-seat RJ's will give rise to a new generation of small commuter airlines that affiliate and/or interline with the majors. Of course, small turboprops (Saab 340- and EMB-120-class) would have to be available.
 
mli717fan
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Fri Jun 15, 2012 6:23 pm

Quoting FlyPeoria (Reply 30):
In addition to the eventual phaseout of 50-seat RJ's, I wonder if the regional airline industry will return to turboprops on short-haul feeder spokes? I know the RJ's were considered an upgrade from props, which suffered from negative public perception.

In all honesty. MLI, PIA, BMI, CMI, SPI to ORD flights would make a lot more sense on props. Those flights are so short, the FAs don't even have time to pass out sodas. It seems they spend more time taxiing than they do in the air. A cramped CRJ/ERJ is not any more comfortable than the Q I flew SCE-PHL last year. The RJs might not vibrate as much as a prop, but if it meant lower fares or more seats, I think the right advertising plan can overcome it.
 
Bobloblaw
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:11 pm

MLI had pretty good UA service. I have a 1973 OAG and it has UA 737-200/727-100 to ORD 5x daily plus 2 OZ, 1 FH227 and one D9S. Two other FH227s made stops in RFD. DEN has one nonstop 727-100 and one 727-100 via DSM. Then one 727-100 MLI-OMA-LAX. 8 United mainliners per day.

Someone told me that TWA sold so so many tickets in PIA despite the fact they didnt serve the city. There was actually an office at the airport.

Quoting MLI717fan (Reply 31):
In all honesty. MLI, PIA, BMI, CMI, SPI to ORD flights would make a lot more sense on props.

I can tell you as an insider that AA's ATR-72s to PIA were the highest profit margin Eagle flights in the entire Eagle system. This would have been back in 1996-99 or so.

I never realized OZ had so many strikes. I remember the 79 strike, that was actually the beginning of the end for OZ's ORD "hub". Since deregulation had taken hold, other airlines were free to move into OZ's ORD markets. Namely Britt and MVA.


1986 was another banner year for PIA. If not in pax, in total daily movements. RC began 2 or 3 daily DC9s to DTW in April. Also Air Chicago or Chicago Air began flying F27s to MDW. TW went from 2 to 3 daily STL using M80s and 72S. I think American Eagle began PIA in April 86 also on a SPI-PIA-ORD routings using SH6s.

BTW UA 585 that crashed in COS in April 1991 began the day in PIA as an am flight to DEN. It was a 737-200. No Peorians were on the flight when it crashed.
 
Bobloblaw
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:12 pm

I'd be curious to know what TWA flew to PIA until 1960. Was it the Martin 404? I know AA flew STL-SPI-PIA-MDW with the Convair 240. When AA dropped the route in 1962, OZ bought CV-240s to replacate AA's level of service.
 
Beardown91737
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:14 pm

Quoting MLI717fan (Reply 31):
In all honesty. MLI, PIA, BMI, CMI, SPI to ORD flights would make a lot more sense on props. Those flights are so short, the FAs don't even have time to pass out sodas.

OO served bottled water and cookies on a ONT-LAX leg.
135 hrs PIC (mostly PA-28) - not current. Landings at MDW, PIA, JAN.
 
BMI727
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:44 pm

Quoting MLI717fan (Reply 31):
In all honesty. MLI, PIA, BMI, CMI, SPI to ORD flights would make a lot more sense on props.

Of course it also makes a lot of sense in a car too. Same thing going to Indianapolis or St. Louis.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
FlyPeoria
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:53 am

Quoting bobloblaw (Reply 32):
1986 was another banner year for PIA. If not in pax, in total daily movements. RC began 2 or 3 daily DC9s to DTW in April. Also Air Chicago or Chicago Air began flying F27s to MDW. TW went from 2 to 3 daily STL using M80s and 72S. I think American Eagle began PIA in April 86 also on a SPI-PIA-ORD routings using SH6s.

Boy was it! I was 12 years old then at the time. It was exciting to keep hearing of new airline service. Cheap oil prices and new competition really stimulated PIA traffic. The trend started in late 1985 or early 1986 when Viza Airlines announced its intent to fly to several downstate cities from Chicago (both MDW and CGX, IIRC) using Gulfstream 1C's. This never happened, but TW Express (Resort Air) and American Eagle (Simmons Airlines) started service to PIA April 27 and May 1, respectively. Chicago Air started in late May and on June 1, Republic Airlines started 3x PIA-DTW on DC-9s. By July, Ozark Midwest was running a couple flights (one replaced an OZ flight added earlier in 1986) to STL.

The influx of airlines increased weekday departures from 30 to 50 between April 27 and July 1! Naturally, the terminal became crowded and airlines had to share gates (OZ and RC, for example).

Quoting bobloblaw (Reply 33):
I'd be curious to know what TWA flew to PIA until 1960. Was it the Martin 404? I know AA flew STL-SPI-PIA-MDW with the Convair 240. When AA dropped the route in 1962, OZ bought CV-240s to replacate AA's level of service.

They used a Martin 404. The PIA-Kansas City route was dropped in 1959 and PIA-ORD endured until April 24, 1960. Supposedly, OZ's introduction of PIA-MDW F-27 service January 4, 1960 prompted them to drop PIA. Interestingly, it was a "two-year suspension." A Peoria Journal Star newspaper article dated April 19, 1964 is entitled "TWA Asks CAB to 'delete' Peoria." Yet a month later (May 14), there was talk of TWA resuming service (because they were selling more tickets than when they served PIA). But on June 24, 1965, CAB made final its decision to delete PIA from TWA's certificate.

[Edited 2012-06-15 23:00:03]

[Edited 2012-06-15 23:01:14]

[Edited 2012-06-15 23:01:58]
 
milesrich
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Sat Jun 16, 2012 11:29 am

Quoting bobloblaw (Reply 32):
MLI had pretty good UA service. I have a 1973 OAG and it has UA 737-200/727-100 to ORD 5x daily plus 2 OZ, 1 FH227 and one D9S. Two other FH227s made stops in RFD. DEN has one nonstop 727-100 and one 727-100 via DSM. Then one 727-100 MLI-OMA-LAX. 8 United mainliners per day.

Someone told me that TWA sold so so many tickets in PIA despite the fact they didnt serve the city. There was actually an office at the airport.

By 1975, the LAX-OMA-MLI flight no longer went on to ORD but turned in MLI and was a 727-222. The two OZ flights to Chicago that made a stop, OZ 871 and 873 stopped in SQI, not RFD. These flights were around for about 15 years, beginning withe DC-3's, then in 1965 being upgraded to Martin 404's and then the FH-227B. They went on from MLI to CID-OTM-MKC/MCI. You also left out the three MLI-DEN flights daily with 727's, two of which were nonstop.
 
Bobloblaw
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Sat Jun 16, 2012 12:50 pm

Quoting milesrich (Reply 37):
You also left out the three MLI-DEN flights daily with 727's, two of which were nonstop.

Maybe by 75, but my OAG is Feb 73 and there is one nonstop and one onestop to DEN.

Quoting FlyPeoria (Reply 36):
A Peoria Journal Star newspaper article dated April 19, 1964 is entitled "TWA Asks CAB to 'delete' Peoria." Yet a month later (May 14), there was talk of TWA resuming service (because they were selling more tickets than when they served PIA).

What would they have flown to PIA is 1965? There was no really appropriate plane in TW's fleet for PIA by then. At least AA had BAC-111s

I never knew that AL filed for PIA service. What was the routing they were proposing?
 
FlyPeoria
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:59 pm

Quoting bobloblaw (Reply 38):
What would they have flown to PIA is 1965? There was no really appropriate plane in TW's fleet for PIA by then. At least AA had BAC-111s

That's a good question. Restoration of TWA service may have been based on the possibility CAB might order the airline to resume PIA service. I'd say they'd have had to lease a smaller aicraft (like UA did to serve Elko and Ely, Nevada), use a Constellation (like at Terre Haute) or wait for DC-9 deliveries in early 1966.

Quoting bobloblaw (Reply 38):
I never knew that AL filed for PIA service. What was the routing they were proposing?

Something like CLE-DTW-PIA-MCI or CLE/DTW-PIA-MCI. OZ believed this was merely AL's scheme to get MCI on their route map (and probably was).
 
Viscount724
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Sat Jun 16, 2012 11:34 pm

Quoting bobloblaw (Reply 38):
Quoting FlyPeoria (Reply 36):
A Peoria Journal Star newspaper article dated April 19, 1964 is entitled "TWA Asks CAB to 'delete' Peoria." Yet a month later (May 14), there was talk of TWA resuming service (because they were selling more tickets than when they served PIA).

What would they have flown to PIA is 1965? There was no really appropriate plane in TW's fleet for PIA by then. At least AA had BAC-111s

Looks like TWA dropped PIA sometime between 1959 and 1960. From the TW timetables on the timetableimages.com site, the last one showing any PIA service is dated January 12, 1959. At that time there was one daily multi-stop Martin 404 in each direction through PIA.

Westbound flight operated BOS-BDL-PIT-DAY-ORD-PIA-MKC.
Eastbound flight operated MKC-PIA-ORD-SBN-FWA-DAY-CMH-DCA-BAL (BWI's code then was BAL).

In a 1960 timetable PIA still appears on the route map and in the schedule pages but there are no flights.


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[Edited 2012-06-16 16:37:10]
 
FlyPeoria
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:09 am

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 40):
Looks like TWA dropped PIA sometime between 1959 and 1960. From the TW timetables on the timetableimages.com site, the last one showing any PIA service is dated January 12, 1959. At that time there was one daily multi-stop Martin 404 in each direction through PIA.

Westbound flight operated BOS-BDL-PIT-DAY-ORD-PIA-MKC.
Eastbound flight operated MKC-PIA-ORD-SBN-FWA-DAY-CMH-DCA-BAL (BWI's code then was BAL).

In a 1960 timetable PIA still appears on the route map and in the schedule pages but there are no flights.

That is odd. The Peoria Journal Star covered TWA's exit, first mentioning May 16, 1959 the airline's plans to withdraw from the PIA-K. C. market (which they did shortly) and on January 14, 1960 their plans to drop ORD-PIA. The paper mentioned February 12, 1960 the Peoria Association of Commerce would not fight TWA's withdrawal. Then on March 6, 1960 it noted the CAB's decision (two days prior) to allow TWA to suspend service for two years. Flight times mentioned were: 9:00am arrival from ORD and departure to ORD at 10:00am. On April 6, 1960, the paper gave the date TWA would withdraw from PIA: April 24, 1960.
 
Viscount724
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Sun Jun 17, 2012 10:44 pm

Quoting FlyPeoria (Reply 41):
Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 40):
Looks like TWA dropped PIA sometime between 1959 and 1960. From the TW timetables on the timetableimages.com site, the last one showing any PIA service is dated January 12, 1959. At that time there was one daily multi-stop Martin 404 in each direction through PIA.

Westbound flight operated BOS-BDL-PIT-DAY-ORD-PIA-MKC.
Eastbound flight operated MKC-PIA-ORD-SBN-FWA-DAY-CMH-DCA-BAL (BWI's code then was BAL).

In a 1960 timetable PIA still appears on the route map and in the schedule pages but there are no flights.

That is odd. The Peoria Journal Star covered TWA's exit, first mentioning May 16, 1959 the airline's plans to withdraw from the PIA-K. C. market (which they did shortly) and on January 14, 1960 their plans to drop ORD-PIA. The paper mentioned February 12, 1960 the Peoria Association of Commerce would not fight TWA's withdrawal. Then on March 6, 1960 it noted the CAB's decision (two days prior) to allow TWA to suspend service for two years. Flight times mentioned were: 9:00am arrival from ORD and departure to ORD at 10:00am. On April 6, 1960, the paper gave the date TWA would withdraw from PIA: April 24, 1960.

That could well be the case as the only available timetables from 1959 and 1960 are January 12, 1959 and April 24, 1960. PIA still had service as mentioned earlier in January 1959 but in the April 24, 1960 timetable PIA is gone. Seems to match your date for withdrawal from PIA.
 
Bobloblaw
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Sun Jun 17, 2012 10:48 pm

Anyone know when:

AA dropped PIA and SPI?
OZ dropped BMI?
 
FlyPeoria
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:47 am

Quoting bobloblaw (Reply 43):
Anyone know when:

AA dropped PIA and SPI?
OZ dropped BMI?

AA flew Fokker 100's PIA-ORD from December 4, 1991* to January 5, 1994; SPI-ORD ran December 2, 1991 until January 5, 1994. Both started and ended with a single daily roundtrip (PM arrival/AM departure). From May 1, 1992 until July 1, 1993, AA ran a second-daily roundtrip.

*Delayed two days due to fog

Ozark dropped BMI on February 1, 1980.
 
Bobloblaw
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:48 pm

Quoting FlyPeoria (Reply 44):
AA flew Fokker 100's PIA-ORD from December 4, 1991* to January 5, 1994; SPI-ORD ran December 2, 1991 until January 5, 1994. Both started and ended with a single daily roundtrip (PM arrival/AM departure). From May 1, 1992 until July 1, 1993, AA ran a second-daily roundtrip.

Oops Im sorry. I meant the first time AA served PIA when they flew a CVR-240 from MDW-PIA-SPI-STL.
 
FlyPeoria
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Mon Jun 18, 2012 1:16 pm

Quoting bobloblaw (Reply 45):
Quoting FlyPeoria (Reply 44):
AA flew Fokker 100's PIA-ORD from December 4, 1991* to January 5, 1994; SPI-ORD ran December 2, 1991 until January 5, 1994. Both started and ended with a single daily roundtrip (PM arrival/AM departure). From May 1, 1992 until July 1, 1993, AA ran a second-daily roundtrip.


Oops Im sorry. I meant the first time AA served PIA when they flew a CVR-240 from MDW-PIA-SPI-STL.

First AA switched from MDW to ORD on the day TWA dropped PIA - April 24, 1960. I believe the route was dropped on August 13, 1962. I'm 100% sure on the month and year.
 
stlgph
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Mon Jun 18, 2012 1:49 pm

Being from central Illinois, and going back to the original roots of this thread, I can tell you that a lot of passengers/people would choose Bloomington-Normal over airports like Peoria, Champaign, etc, for the simple fact that Bloomington had free parking.

Traffic from east central Illinois along the state line areas would skip driving over to Indianapolis for the convenience of going out of Bloomington and getting free parking.

Yep. $5 a day made that much difference.
if assumptions could fly, airliners.net would be the world's busiest airport
 
FlyPeoria
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:31 pm

Quoting stlgph (Reply 47):
Being from central Illinois, and going back to the original roots of this thread, I can tell you that a lot of passengers/people would choose Bloomington-Normal over airports like Peoria, Champaign, etc, for the simple fact that Bloomington had free parking.

Peoria adopted free parking in August 2000. I believe Springfield did the same shortly afterward.
 
User avatar
mayor
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RE: Central Illinois Airports - Why BMI The Biggest?

Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:37 pm

Quoting stlgph (Reply 47):
Being from central Illinois, and going back to the original roots of this thread, I can tell you that a lot of passengers/people would choose Bloomington-Normal over airports like Peoria, Champaign, etc, for the simple fact that Bloomington had free parking.

Traffic from east central Illinois along the state line areas would skip driving over to Indianapolis for the convenience of going out of Bloomington and getting free parking.

Yep. $5 a day made that much difference.

Even with gas at $3+ per gallon?
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