hawaiian717
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SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:49 am

SeaPort Airlines will begin EAS service to Imperial County, CA (IPL) with five daily weekday flights (fewer on weekends) to San Diego (SAN) on March 1. They are replacing SkyWest/United Express service to LAX, though it's not clear to me if they'll end after February 28 or if there will be some overlap. When I checked United's online schedules into April it still showed the IPL-LAX flights.

http://articles.ivpressonline.com/20...9/imperial-county-airport_36244355

http://seaportreport.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/california-here-we-come/
 
LAXintl
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:33 am

There won't be an overlap. Carriers will jointly coordinate a transition date, but not more than 90-days from the award date (Jan 2nd).

The higher frequency SeaPort 9-seat Caravan proposal to San Diego is about $1mil cheaper over Skywest 30-seater LAX proposal.

While fever flights OO certainly was able to connect El Centro to a global network via UA LAX.

Lets see how things work out for the community.
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Wingtips56
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:01 am

I don't see how this is going to benefit the El Centro traveler. Hugely reduced connecting options; no interlining of tickets, fares and baggage; likely no connections within the sterile concourse; no flight attendant, no chance of a beverage; no lavatory; tiny aircraft; single-engine aircraft; unpressurized aircraft; and not even going to the L.A. area at all. I'm going to guess from my history in the commuter airline business is that EAS still requires a co-pilot, but I don't know if that still holds nowadays.

How did all that work out for Pendleton OR/PDT?
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SANFan
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:17 am

Well I'm sure there is at least some local traffic between IPL and San Diego that will prefer a nonstop flight rather than having to connect at LAX. I don't know how many world travelers there are at El Centro that need to be able to fly to all the overseas destinations available thru LAX. I'd bet that SAN will provide acceptable nonstop connections to many of the destinations that are desired by flyers originating in Imperial County.

I'm personally glad to see a return of service between SAN and IPL!

bb
 
hawaiian717
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:20 am

Sounds like from the news article that SeaPort intends to start service on March 1, so that would be the transition date.

As a SAN local I like seeing a new airline here, but for the IPL traveller I definitely agree that LAX offers much better connectivity to the global airline network. A good portion of my trips start with SAN-LAX flights, and every now and then I just make the drive up. SeaPort included BUR in their original proposal but the Feds dropped that part, keeping just SAN, and BUR provides an even worse connection into the global airline network than SAN.
 
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:33 am

What is the nearest larger airport that people in this aera can get to to take trips to places other than SAN? I'm not familiar with the area, so I don't know.

If I lived in the El Centro area I wouldn't be happy. This is a huge downgrade.
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LAXintl
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:50 am

For info, the communities supported the Seaport bid:

"On October 25, 2012, the City of Imperial supported the selection of SeaPort’s Option 3 with Cessna 208 Caravan service. “This proposal offers a broad level of flight service that connects to national and international destinations with a high level of flexibility and frequency.”

On November 9, 2012, the Government Affairs Committee of the El Centro and Brawley Chambers of Commerce “[a]fter careful consideration and examination of the proposals as written, and consultation with proponents, the Committee recommends adoption of the proposal by Seaport Airlines.”

So with the community onboard, the selection process for the DOT became rather easy to go with the cheaper bid.
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hawaiian717
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:09 am

From IPL, you're looking at a 120 mile drive west to SAN, a 70 mile drive east to YUM (which will just get you to LAX or PHX), or a 100 mile drive northwest to PSP.
 
civetfive
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:25 am

The town is pretty small, and the entire "metro" is something like 175k. But how much travel is actually being generated, and how much wasn't already driving to SAN to catch a flight?
 
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RWA380
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:45 am

Quoting Wingtips56 (Reply 2):
How did all that work out for Pendleton OR/PDT?

Better than it did for SLE, ONP, AST. At least PDT still has air service.

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 6):
So with the community onboard, the selection process for the DOT became rather easy to go with the cheaper bid.

I think enough of a track record has to have been documented by now, IMHO, these new cities that entertain SeaPort proposals should be looking at their past track record? Good luck IPL you'll need it.
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Wingtips56
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:10 am

Quoting RWA380 (Reply 9):
Better than it did for SLE, ONP, AST. At least PDT still has air service.

True, but then it is an EAS market, the low SeaPort bid getting the designation away from QX. The others were not EAS, were they? Same with the dearly departed YKM and EAT markets?

I'm just afraid that our pitiful UAx/OO service here at CEC may at some point go to a low-EAS bidder, which would probably be SeaPort for lack of anyone else in the Northwest. The lack of an EMB-120 replacement makes the future look a tad uncertain at retaining an affiliate with a major, and the interlining capability that goes with it. The only possible upside here is that the service might go north to PDX and spare us the ordeal of trying to make schedule through SFO. But that wouldn't do it for me...I'll drive the 2:45 to MFR.
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FlyPNS1
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:07 pm

Nothing against SeaPort or SAN, but this is a total waste. This service has failure written all over it. Another reason to can the EAS program.
 
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:32 pm

Quoting Wingtips56 (Reply 2):
I don't see how this is going to benefit the El Centro traveler. Hugely reduced connecting options; no interlining of tickets, fares and baggage; likely no connections within the sterile concourse; no flight attendant, no chance of a beverage; no lavatory; tiny aircraft; single-engine aircraft; unpressurized aircraft; and not even going to the L.A. area at all. I'm going to guess from my history in the commuter airline business is that EAS still requires a co-pilot, but I don't know if that still holds nowadays.

I agree that the lack of connectivity at SAN vs LAX and the lack of an interlining is stupid - hopefully that's in the works and just hasn't been finalized yet. Because otherwise, this does seem like a total waste. But, as for the rest of what you discussed above, I don't think any of the rest of that is really a big driver one way or another.

Cape Air, for example, has had some impressive success picking up flying to markets in the northeast and midwest (ex-STL) than were previously flown by mainline feeder carriers. Cape Air flies small, unpressurized, single-engine planes with no lavatory or FA and they have really turned around a lot of markets that were previously staring at losing air service altogether.

I don't see why the same couldn't be done out west with these tiny California markets about to lose SkyWest EMB service, but it just has to be done smartly (again, connection to the right hub, in this case LAX or SFO, and with interlining).
 
Jerseyguy
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:10 pm

Can anyone tell me WHY IPL needs EAS service, its 1 hour to YUM and 1:45 to SAN. Sure there are cities in the area that are further but can they be more than a 2:30 drive to SAN and 1:30 to Yuma? If I'm missing something (other than my tax money), please let me know.
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KELPkid
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:16 pm

Wonder how long the service lasts after the EAS subsidies dry up    That has been SeaPort's modus operandi: chase EAS subsidies, abandon the market the second the subsidies dry up.
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:21 pm

Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 11):
Nothing against SeaPort or SAN, but this is a total waste. This service has failure written all over it. Another reason to can the EAS program.

Not at all. All you need to do is look to the Midwest on how EAS can work. Both Cape Air (using 402's) and Eagle (with ERJ's) have been able to make EAS do what it should, grow market, to where hopefully it no longer needs the subsidy.

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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:03 pm

A flight attendant friend lives in Mexicali and commutes to PDX and SEA. He has always said nonrev options are better driving the hour to Yuma (to go through LAX or PHX) than driving the 15 miles up to El Centro. (for LAX only).

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LAXintl
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:05 pm

Quoting Wingtips56 (Reply 10):
I'm just afraid that our pitiful UAx/OO service here at CEC may at some point go to a low-EAS bidder, which would probably be SeaPort for lack of anyone else in the Northwest.

I think its only a matter of time. The Skywest E120 fleet has continued to shrink, so its only natural the number of markets will be cut.

Frankly, I actually have my doubts how interested OO was in this route as their bid was $1mil over Seaport's. Could be they are overbidding to simply have a legitimate means to exit this type of flying.

For CEC specifically - the EAS bid contract is due for renewal in July 2014, so by March or so you will have the DOT put it out to bid.

Quoting jerseyguy (Reply 13):
Can anyone tell me WHY IPL needs EAS service, its 1 hour to YUM and 1:45 to SAN. Sure there are cities in the area that are further but can they be more than a 2:30 drive to SAN and 1:30 to Yuma? If I'm missing something (other than my tax money), please let me know.

By law, El Centro is eligible for EAS as it is located in excess of 70 miles from a medium or large sized hub airport and has no other scheduled air service.

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 15):
Not at all. All you need to do is look to the Midwest on how EAS can work. Both Cape Air (using 402's) and Eagle (with ERJ's) have been able to make EAS do what it should, grow market, to where hopefully it no longer needs the subsidy.

Unfortunately what you describe it the exception, not the rule. Its rather rare occurrence a community can be weaned off the EAS gravy train.
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:18 pm

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 14):
Wonder how long the service lasts after the EAS subsidies dry up That has been SeaPort's modus operandi: chase EAS subsidies, abandon the market the second the subsidies dry up.

What EAS markets have they abandoned? The airline has tried a variety of at-risk markets and some didn't pan out, how is that a bad thing? Where are you when Allegiant or Southwest dumps a market?

Or are you going to chastise SeaPort for flying extra "at-risk" flights in EAS markets, like they did in Kake, Alaska and already added another flight to PDT.

OTH-PDX service has lasted a year and it seems to be doing ok.

At least SeaPort isn't 80% subsidized like some EAS airlines.
xx
 
Jerseyguy
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:23 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 17):
By law, El Centro is eligible for EAS as it is located in excess of 70 miles from a medium or large sized hub airport and has no other scheduled air service.

I didn't ask if its entitled but why it NEEDS EAS. So if you have to travel more than an hour to an hour and a half your cut off from society??
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:40 am

Quoting usxguy (Reply 18):
The airline has tried a variety of at-risk markets and some didn't pan out, how is that a bad thing?

I think what may being suggested here is that SeaPort has entered into agreements with local communities, SLE & ONP come to mind, where the airline has received subsidies for a specific time period to get established air service for those areas. SeaPort did nothing to market their flights, no interlining, no advertising, nothing to make the flights successful.

In fact all they did was operate service until the day the subsidies ran out, then SeaPort ran out of town. In the case of SLE, they exited a few days early with little to no advance warning. So it may not officially be EAS, but none the less subsidised flying that another carrier may have actually tried to be successful at.

Some think, these SeaPort services didn't pan out because of SeaPort, that these small communities spent their wads on a promise, and got squat, yet SeaPort keeps bleeding Federal, State or Local government entities any chance they get.
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Wingtips56
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Thu Jan 17, 2013 3:03 am

I think EAS and community grants or revenue guarantees can be worthwhile for a region, if it's done right. But there needs to be some "bang for the buck", which the non-interline carriers pulling in on the g.a. ramp don't offer. At least feed a major carrier at one of their spoke stations if not directly serving a hub. Low bid may not always turn out to be the best option. There is greater benefit when the EAS feeder is someone's "Express", "Connection" or [ bird-of-prey ] when extending crucial air service to the remote towns, but at least a reliable service with through-ticketing and through-checking should be a minimum requirement. Our p2p fares from CEC are horrendous, but the fare smooths out when it's part of a longer-haul through fare and I don't have to collect and recheck my bags (paying another round of fees) and taking my shoes off at Security again. Or it's 350 road miles to downtown San Francisco if that is my destination and I don't fly, and much of that is only two-lane highway with big elk standing on the pavement. (Ok, I like drama...)

If presently-unaffiliated ZK replaced UAx/OO here at CEC (up in the very top coastal corner of California), they at least have the interline capacity that a SeaPort doesn't. And facing the 6-8 hours drive to PDX/SFO/SMF from here means I'd take it. But I'd drive the 2:45 hours over the mountain to MFR to take QX or OO for connections to a hub (and connecting again) if we only had the local back-door non-interlining service here. It's not a whole lot better than nothing.

And with apologies to SeaPort, I don't intend this to be a bashing but just pointing out the product differences in these markets. To the original post, just how many people are going to be flying only to SAN, when they can drive there in under two hours and not have to rent a car. I'm sure going to LAX would be cost-prohibitive for SeaPort, hence their bid for SAN instead, but that's a lot to do with why OO's bid was so much higher. That and the "big" airplane with a flight attendant bearing a quick cocktail.
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usxguy
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:09 am

RWA, with all due respect, but we are obviously talking about a different "SeaPort". The SeaPort that flew to Astoria & Newport spent thousands in marketing in both communities, sponsored the Relay for Life, took part in food-drives, donated TONS of tickets, and even had some billboards and other marketing in Portland. Salem provided some marketing funds and the airline did try, however the bookings didn't materialize in SLE.

I think the PC-12 was a bit overkill for those markets and they would have done better with the Caravans, but who knows. SeaPort was a client and I'm actually the one that lined up the interline agreements.

  
xx
 
Wingtips56
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:12 am

Quoting usxguy (Reply 22):
I think the PC-12 was a bit overkill for those markets and they would have done better with the Caravans, but who knows.

Isn't the capacity the same, or close enough not to matter?
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Jerseyguy
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:01 am

No wonder the UAX service isn't working out.

IPL-EWR Feb 13-19 $546 round trip
YUM-EWR Feb 13-19 $386 round trip

Why would I pay $160 more for the IPL flight? So I don't have to travel the hour to YUM??

IPL-SEA Feb 13-19 $340 UAX 2 STOPS (LAX,SFO)
YUM-SEA Feb 13-19 $282 USAirways 1 stop (PHX)

Why would I pay $62 more and connect twice? So I don't have to travel the hour to YUM?

Nope, if I lived in El Centro, I'd be driving to Yuma for flights.
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hatbutton
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:33 pm

Quoting Wingtips56 (Reply 23):
Isn't the capacity the same, or close enough not to matter?

The capacity is the same. Operating costs however...not so much. The PC-12 is almost twice as expensive to operate per hour. If SeaPort maybe had started with a cheaper airplane like the Caravan, their break even load factor wouldn't have been so high and maybe those markets would have been successful. The fact that they chose any at risk flying in a PC-12 shows me they didn't really know what they were doing. At least they've finally figured it out with the Caravan, but they're a little late to the game on that one.
 
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usxguy
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:33 pm

Hatbutton - sometimes you have to figure out how to make your equipment work. The airline was previously focused on the Boeing Field - Portland market, where the PC-12 was marketed as a luxury aircraft and service. Then of course EAS came up and the Oregon state air fund.

The PC-12 is good for higher yielding, longer flying. IPL - PHX, for instance, is a nice PC-12 route -- just if the plane had a place for checked (sterile) luggage then it would be perfect...
xx
 
hatbutton
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:30 pm

Quoting usxguy (Reply 26):
Hatbutton - sometimes you have to figure out how to make your equipment work. The airline was previously focused on the Boeing Field - Portland market, where the PC-12 was marketed as a luxury aircraft and service. Then of course EAS came up and the Oregon state air fund.

The PC-12 is good for higher yielding, longer flying. IPL - PHX, for instance, is a nice PC-12 route -- just if the plane had a place for checked (sterile) luggage then it would be perfect...

I have to disagree. I don't know many markets if any where the PC-12 would ever work. It really has only been suitable in places like Canada where you have to fly into short runways and you can charge customers nearly whatever you want. Even SeaPort switched to the Caravan on their PDT route which shows me that it's just not the right plane. Perhaps it made sense in the BFI-PDX market, but the fact that they pulled the plug even there shows me it wasn't going to work. A pressurized aircraft with a powerful turbine engine that can only hold 9 passengers is way too much airplane for commuter service. Cape Air has always said they don't want to fly turbine if they can help it and they certainly wouldn't want a pressurized plane. I think eventually SeaPort will drop all their PC-12s even on their EAS routes.

I am in Seattle and have followed them closely since their first days of serving the BFI-PDX route. I just didn't see how it was going to work then and I'm not surprised that they are nearly gone from the Northwest apart from OTH and their EAS PDT route. Switching to the Caravan I think is the only thing keeping OTH around.
 
Wingtips56
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:45 pm

I didn't know the PC-12 doesn't have a secure baggage hold. Does the Caravan put everything in the pod, or is there unscreened baggage inside the cabin too?

That makes all the difference on them going to main terminals... they can't off-load within the secure area if passengers could have had access to unscreened baggage. Back in my early days, the Apollo Airways HP-137 Jetstreams baggage compartment was netted in the open rear of the cabin, so they could not disembark inside the sterile area. At SFO, if the plane took a mechanical after boarding, they had to tow/taxi over to Butler Aviation to unload and transport passengers & bags back to the front door of the terminal. With WestAir, our C402/BNI/BNT flights at SMF could operate to and from the north (CEC, ACV, RDD, CIC) with unscreened passengers, but any arrivals continuing on to SFO had to come off and go through Security (with our local-boards) before reboarding at SMF, so that they could go into the SFO terminal. At the beginning, that meant sending them over to another terminal as we didn't have security in the Commuter Terminal. Royal pain in the .....
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usxguy
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:09 am

The Caravan's pod can hold 1,250 #s and most normal sized suitcases will fit fine - because it is separate from the cabin TSA considers it OK for sterile bags. The PC-12 luggage is stored behind the passenger cabin by a net. TSA hasn't quite signed off on any way of segregating passengers and bags yet - which I still don't get, since passengers get screened and bags too...

And to backtrack, the PC-12 and Caravan can both seat 9, however the range of the PC-12 is what makes the plane more attractive... shorter flights are definitely better with the Caravan, however it can also be a henderance in bad weather when you need to climb ABOVE the weather (ie - turbulence, snow/ice).
xx
 
Wingtips56
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Fri Jan 18, 2013 1:00 am

I assume the passenger Caravans are air conditioned, which will be absolutely essential down in the desert. Back in my old days, we occasionally had to cancel the C402 flights in the Central Valley when it was too hot aloft, so there was no chance to ever cool the plane, and it was an issue of survival, never mind passenger discomfort. Only one of them was air conditioned, but that took up more than half a wing locker and impacted our baggage capacity. And naturally I had that aircraft for my afternoon rotation on a 110F day... with the A/C out of service  

The checked bags at the back of the cabin are likely not screened. Apollo eventually got locks for the netting, but it was wide enough to get your hand through and reach into a bag if you tried hard enough, so I can see TSA may not buy into it. The later Jetstreams had a solid locking door for the rear compartment. But some fleets also had a lavatory, so most added the pod underneath .... ruined the aesthetics, but did the job.
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:29 am

SeaPort seems to favor SAN and BUR as destinations for Southern California EAS flights for some reason. I wonder if it is cost or incentive driven.

The SeaPort proposal for EAS at VIS and MCE also called for flights from those cities to SAN and BUR rather than to LAX. (It also proposed flights into OAK in the north) VIS and MCE chose to support Great Lakes to LAX and LAS instead.

If SeaPort does bid on CEC in the next year I wouldn't be surprised to see OAK service proposed based on that previous proposal above.
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Wingtips56
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RE: SeaPort To Replace SkyWest At Imperial, CA (IPL)

Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:14 am

Quoting FATFlyer (Reply 31):
If SeaPort does bid on CEC in the next year I wouldn't be surprised to see OAK service proposed based on that previous proposal above.

If that's what they want, fine, but they'd never see me. OAK wouldn't do any good for connections. I've given up trying to go through SFO as it is hopeless for connections the way ATC gives the commuter flights last priority. I have to keep holding out hope that Eagle or UAx will start ACV-LAX non-stop service, as Eagle almost did last year. (The RJ's can't reliably make it to CEC with the current runway configuration. Mountains from the S.E. ) Otherwise I'll continue driving to MFR.
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