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MIflyer12
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Sun Oct 30, 2016 9:26 pm

ucdtim17 wrote:
Same in the Bay Area, with SFO setting records year after year while OAK and SJC are still below their historic peaks (10.9 mil in 2002 for SJC, 14.6 mil in 2007 for OAK).


a380787 wrote:
It's fascinating to observe polar opposite dynamics in Nor-Cal vs. SoCal - down south it's more and more LAX, even affecting airports as far as SBA as mentioned above, but up north in the Bay Area, it's increasingly decentralized where airlines start embracing both SJC and OAK instead of leaving it to just WN+AS. Traffic stats from SMF also indicate that the airport is holding its own ground instead of being increasingly cannibalized by OAK.


Those assertions can't both be true.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Sun Oct 30, 2016 9:29 pm

mercure1 wrote:
Quick question.
I was under impression US airports were required to be financially self suffient and aeronautical charges and things like rents had to cover the operating cost.
What happens if airport loses so much activity it cannot cover its expenses even as it tries to raise charges(which itself leads to more activity leaving). Who funds the airport then?


The FAA itself publishes some guidance on that.

https://www.faa.gov/airports/resources/ ... chap17.pdf
 
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KLM11
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Sun Oct 30, 2016 10:20 pm

In regards to other So Cal airports, Carlsbad-Palomar (KCRQ) has experienced a similar, if not worse fate. A new terminal opened in 2009 to replace the portable trailers that housed United Express and Mesa. With the OO E120 retirement there is no longer scheduled airline service, just air taxi and charter services. Quite a shame for us residents of North County San Diego.

Not to detract from the OP's discussion relating to SBA, but still worth bringing up.

KLM11
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ucdtim17
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Sun Oct 30, 2016 10:38 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
ucdtim17 wrote:
Same in the Bay Area, with SFO setting records year after year while OAK and SJC are still below their historic peaks (10.9 mil in 2002 for SJC, 14.6 mil in 2007 for OAK).


a380787 wrote:
It's fascinating to observe polar opposite dynamics in Nor-Cal vs. SoCal - down south it's more and more LAX, even affecting airports as far as SBA as mentioned above, but up north in the Bay Area, it's increasingly decentralized where airlines start embracing both SJC and OAK instead of leaving it to just WN+AS. Traffic stats from SMF also indicate that the airport is holding its own ground instead of being increasingly cannibalized by OAK.


Those assertions can't both be true.


Well the first is definitely true. SFO's pre-recession peak was 37 mil in 2008 and they passed 50 mil in 2015. OAK and SJC lost a lot in the recession and are growing now, but still below previous peaks. Legacy carriers and other like jetblue have consolidated at SFO. Southwest continues to grow at OAK and Alaska at SJC, but it's not close to the growth at SFO.
 
Bald1983
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Sun Oct 30, 2016 10:44 pm

LAXintl wrote:
.
Another one of these national stories about a community left with costly airport facility in face of declining traffic.

Santa Barbara in 2011 opened a new $53 million dollar 60,000sq ft terminal and related improvement projects, but for 5-years running traffic has continued to decline which has pushed the airport in the red.

With a 26% decline in passenger enplanements (similar fate to many smaller US markets) the city has been left trying to close yearly budget gap as the airport revenue no longer makes it self-sufficient financially.

While overall tourism to the Santa Barbara region has increased, the regions air travel has continued to leak primarily to Los Angeles.

Local tourism official say they are trying hard to market to locals and airlines alike, and have had some successes such as recently reestablished air link to Dallas, but they have suffered far longer string of losses as daily airline departure counts have dropped to mere 21 flights.


Image

Often the case when Government decides to build something not needed. Santa Barbara is how far from LAX or other Los Angeles airports?
.

http://www.independent.com/news/2016/oc ... a-airport/

=

Its somewhat akin to a death spiral. As traffic declines, airlines pull flights, which only further reduces air travelers as people opt to drive to L.A.
As story mentions is estimated that half of locals don't even bother with their own airport and simply opt to drive down to L.A. to catch nonstop flights to their destinations.
 
Viscount724
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Sun Oct 30, 2016 10:59 pm

BoeingGuy wrote:
DLSANMan wrote:
So just out of curiosity, do you think there would be enough O/D traffic on a route like SAN to SBA with AS Q400? I keep wishing for SAN SBP, as there is no option to the central coast except to layover in PHX. But no luck... any thoughts?


Remember you have frequent downtown to downtown Amtrak service SAN-SBA, with one or two continuing to SBP.


However SAN-SBA on Amtrak takes almost 6 hours. Average speed roughly 30 mph. A nonstop flight would probably take about 45 minutes gate to gate to cover the 167 nm.
 
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eta unknown
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Mon Oct 31, 2016 12:47 am

Let's take this time to honorably mention Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport (Toowoomba)! A private airport where the owners had more money than sense. "Build it and they will come- not!" There's no transport from the airport to anywhere in the Brisbane metro area and Air North is being subsidized big time with their MEL flights.
 
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LAXintl
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Mon Oct 31, 2016 1:50 am

slcdeltarumd11 wrote:
Allegiant is a great idea but I think they are too concentrated on lax. Frontier I think Is the LCCo would go after. They might be willing to try less then daily to LAS,PHX somewhere else even
.


Allegiant years ago has set up shop in SMX and covers Santa Barbara County that way. I dont see Frontier or LCC really helping much. SBA does not really need random low frequency point to point flights, it needs access to more national hubs.

mercure1 wrote:
Quick question.
I was under impression US airports were required to be financially self suffient and aeronautical charges and things like rents had to cover the operating cost.
What happens if airport loses so much activity it cannot cover its expenses even as it tries to raise charges(which itself leads to more activity leaving). Who funds the airport then?


Yes airports are supposed to be self suffient in that airport revenue cannot be diverted to non-aeronautical uses outside the airport, but that does not stop a city or county from funding their airports from non airport general revenue funds.

As article explains SBA has run through its financial reserves and is now basically at the point where the city must use its own money to backfill the revenue hole the airport found itself in.

At the end of the day an airport can generate virtually zero dollars in revenue and still happily remain in business so long as the government entity involved(and voters) are happy to continue funding the operation.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
globalcabotage
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Mon Oct 31, 2016 2:07 am

If SBA can't get ORD or ATL, ...
 
ericm2031
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Mon Oct 31, 2016 4:52 am

globalcabotage wrote:
If SBA can't get ORD or ATL, ...



UA has been running some OO E75's PSP-ORD but SBA is a tad farther and the runway is shorter. I could see an A319 or 73G on the route in the future. UA has always been the dominant carrier at SBA and if they want to keep their pricing power and market share, they're going to need to keep up with the AS and AA adds. If the LAX flights do indeed go away, this would be a great way to absorb those 200 seats per day pretty easily while offering more than what LAX offers on the UA route map.
 
seat38a
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Mon Oct 31, 2016 5:33 am

Lets also remember, that Amtrak runs multiple (5) affordable trains between Goleta / LAX / San Diego and 6 trains a day between Santa Barbara and LAUS. All these trains also stop at the Burbank Airport Station plus Santa Barbara also has the Airbus Bus Service to LAX.

Amtrak's Full Fare Coach to LAUS is $32.00 each way, Burbank Airport is $29.00 each way and to San Diego is $43.00 each way. LAUS also has FlyAway bus service to LAX which runs on the 110/105 Bus/HOV lanes and gets to LAX in under an hour during rush hour.

If the flights out of SBA are trying to compete in the SoCAL costal market, then I think they are really SOL at the prices they are charging. I live in Orange County and do day trips to Santa Barbara frequently. Driving is out of the question, unless I want to loose my mind and flying is not practical at the price and total time it takes, so I take Amtrak and can do a round trip in a single day.

With flights at SBA pretty much all concentrated flying to 1 or 2 hubs of the airlines, not sure how much more flights can be squeezed out of the airlines.
 
seat38a
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Mon Oct 31, 2016 5:39 am

Viscount724 wrote:
BoeingGuy wrote:
DLSANMan wrote:
So just out of curiosity, do you think there would be enough O/D traffic on a route like SAN to SBA with AS Q400? I keep wishing for SAN SBP, as there is no option to the central coast except to layover in PHX. But no luck... any thoughts?


Remember you have frequent downtown to downtown Amtrak service SAN-SBA, with one or two continuing to SBP.


However SAN-SBA on Amtrak takes almost 6 hours. Average speed roughly 30 mph. A nonstop flight would probably take about 45 minutes gate to gate to cover the 167 nm.


Best price 2 months out between SAN - SBA is $447.00 and it still takes 4+ hours total time. That is not including getting to the airport early.
 
blacksoviet
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Mon Oct 31, 2016 6:07 am

How many gates does the new terminal have?
 
blacksoviet
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Mon Oct 31, 2016 6:10 am

Viscount724 wrote:
BoeingGuy wrote:
DLSANMan wrote:
So just out of curiosity, do you think there would be enough O/D traffic on a route like SAN to SBA with AS Q400? I keep wishing for SAN SBP, as there is no option to the central coast except to layover in PHX. But no luck... any thoughts?


Remember you have frequent downtown to downtown Amtrak service SAN-SBA, with one or two continuing to SBP.


However SAN-SBA on Amtrak takes almost 6 hours. Average speed roughly 30 mph. A nonstop flight would probably take about 45 minutes gate to gate to cover the 167 nm.


Will the future high speed railroad stop near SBA?
 
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LAX772LR
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Mon Oct 31, 2016 8:07 am

mcogator wrote:
Check out flights to Orlando. $250 nonstop from LAX, or $550 1 stop from SBA. For a family of 4, that is quite the significant saving.

Or they could spend the $50 in gas to keep driving for another 45min to DisneyLand, thus saving an additional $950 on top of that. ;)

...which is probably a big part of why those flights cost what they do:
If these families can justify the cost of flying to the other side of the country, to get slightly more than what's just down the Interstate, then they can likely justify the premium too.
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
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AerolineasAR343
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Mon Oct 31, 2016 9:47 am

Would it be possible for them to market themselves as a LAX alternative, like Charleroi, Hahn or Beauvais in Europe?
 
seat38a
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:13 am

AerolineasAR343 wrote:
Would it be possible for them to market themselves as a LAX alternative, like Charleroi, Hahn or Beauvais in Europe?


Getting to SBA from Los Angeles is not easy and the traffic is terrible all day on 101 freeway.
 
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mercure1
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Mon Oct 31, 2016 3:30 pm

Its interesting many here complain about drive and traffic, though it seems part of the entire problems with the airport is that too many people have found option of driving as viable option.

As article mentions airport bleeds 50 percent of its potential enplanement including from the local residents to cars headed to another airport.
mercure f-wtcc
 
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TVNWZ
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Mon Oct 31, 2016 3:45 pm

LAX772LR wrote:

If these families can justify the cost of flying to the other side of the country, to get slightly more than what's just down the Interstate, then they can likely justify the premium too.


Haven't been to Orlando much have you? No comparison. Orlando a weeks worth. Disneyland is a day.
 
slcdeltarumd11
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Mon Oct 31, 2016 3:57 pm

alasizon wrote:
slcdeltarumd11 wrote:
The lesson here is they spent too much on the terminal easy to be a Monday morning quarterback but at this point I think they have to increase competition to bring fares down.

They have to minimum be able to offer Incentives to get southwest/Delta back for SLC. They need another carrier and large connection city.

Allegiant is a great idea but I think they are too concentrated on lax. Frontier I think Is the LCCo would go after. They might be willing to try less then daily to LAS,PHX somewhere else even


F9 used to serve SBA but I think that it ended before the transition to the ULCC model



Yeah i think it was Denver back in their old hub everything to DEN model. The new frontier ULCC route would be LAS. There is demand for LAS on o&d. To spend some time in Vegas is annoying to need to drive to LAX with all the traffic etc. almost easier to just drive. A LAS flight would be well recived i bet. I say Mon,Wen, Friday, Sat, Sun 5x a week would be very successful. Would be a good route for them if they can get some gurantees. LAS is a such a huge market you woudl pull people from driving. LAS would be a total hit.

SLC is badly needed for connections and to lower overall fees, but a LAS flight would bring in badly needed fees and more users. If frontier just got advertising money so people knew, i know LAS would be a total hit.
 
ericm2031
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Mon Oct 31, 2016 4:42 pm

blacksoviet wrote:
How many gates does the new terminal have?


3 boarding bridges (2 UA and 1 AA). There is a spot for a 4th boarding bridge but it was not built out during construction to save costs...the door and footing are already in place. 2 other gates are used for access to the hard stands.
 
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LAX772LR
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Mon Oct 31, 2016 5:14 pm

TVNWZ wrote:
LAX772LR wrote:
If these families can justify the cost of flying to the other side of the country, to get slightly more than what's just down the Interstate, then they can likely justify the premium too.

Haven't been to Orlando much have you? No comparison. Orlando a weeks worth. Disneyland is a day.

Well aware thanks, just as you should be that the offshoots of (or in this case, the original) Disney/Universal/etc exist for a reason.... and it's often the one described above.

Many families can't justify the cost of schlepping all the way to MCO when they can do a local Disney for a tiny fraction of the cost.
Obviously, there's others who can.
Last edited by LAX772LR on Mon Oct 31, 2016 5:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I myself, suspect a more prosaic motive... ~Thranduil
 
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WALmsp
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Mon Oct 31, 2016 5:18 pm

Allegiant was here for a while in addition to Santa Maria. After a couple of months, all flights were concentrated up north. F9 flew in a pair of E170s, but after they dropped that aircraft, switch to a single A319, and now they are gone altogether as well.
In memory of my Dad, Robert "Bob" Fenrich, WAL 1964-1979, MSP ONT LAX
 
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temperance
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Wed Nov 02, 2016 1:37 pm

Well of course people would be the ones paying those taxes. That's why I prefer cars to airplanes. I rent a car, then watch mileage tracking and go wherever I need. If it's in the country of course. Hate those lines at the airport
 
freakyrat
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Wed Nov 02, 2016 2:34 pm

They need a larger runway.
 
freakyrat
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Wed Nov 02, 2016 2:38 pm

Economics of RJ's SBA-LAX should not make a difference. UA has been running SBN-ORD fa distance of 75nm for years with 50 and 76 seaters. They seem to be making money on that.
 
freakyrat
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Wed Nov 02, 2016 2:43 pm

iahcsr wrote:
On a somewhat different scale, ONT has much the same problem. Old terminal was pathetically obsolete. New larger terminals were built in anticipation of major passenger increases which never materialized.


ONT also had the takeover by LAX Airports Authority which kind of screwed them along with the numerous airline mergers.
 
commavia
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Wed Nov 02, 2016 6:44 pm

freakyrat wrote:
Economics of RJ's SBA-LAX should not make a difference. UA has been running SBN-ORD fa distance of 75nm for years with 50 and 76 seaters. They seem to be making money on that.


Every market is different - it's not a "if it works here then it necessarily must and will work there" sort of situation. Personally, given the economic and competitive dynamics and the ongoing network evolution at United, I continue to expect that United will at some point exit SBA-LAX and consolidate SBA on SFO and DEN which - generally speaking - offering all the same connectivity with what I would expect to be more favorable economics. Time will tell.
 
slcdeltarumd11
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Wed Nov 02, 2016 7:42 pm

SBA and ONT suffer from the same problems of airline mergers, higher fares which reduces passenger numbers, and so many airports in So Cal offering low fares to compete with. LGB, SNA, LAX, BUR all compete with SBA and ONT and are often worth the drive for how much you save and often non-stop.

ONT suffers additionally from an area that suffered horribly with the housing crises and overall economy that crumbled.

both cases of airports that need more competition to lower airfares and to also lower the per passenger costs.
 
commavia
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Wed Nov 02, 2016 7:46 pm

slcdeltarumd11 wrote:
SBA and ONT suffer from the same problems of airline mergers, higher fares which reduces passenger numbers, and so many airports in So Cal offering low fares to compete with. LGB, SNA, LAX, BUR all compete with SBA and ONT and are often worth the drive for how much you save and often non-stop.

ONT suffers additionally from an area that suffered horribly with the housing crises and overall economy that crumbled.

both cases of airports that need more competition to lower airfares and to also lower the per passenger costs.


I don't think that what is happening at SBA or ONT has much, if anything, to do with airline mergers. It has much more to do with demographics and economics. Specifically, the demographic distribution and macroeconomic conditions in Southern California heavily favor LAX over virtually all other regional airports, and the economics of smaller jets is continuing to have a negative effect on many small and mid-size markets that can't support larger (mainline-size) aircraft.

As already said - lower fares would actually like exacerbate, rather than help, the declining air service problem in small markets like SBA. These airports, because of their size and/or geography, will naturally always be reliant - to at least some degree - on smaller aircraft. And as the unit cost of those smaller aircraft continue to rise, fares will have to rise as well to support air service. And as many quarters - perhaps most vocally Boyd Group - has been saying, small and mid-size markets that are smart will recognize that the long-term economic and geopolitical interests of their communities are probably better served by RJs connecting to large, global hubs as opposed to a few MD80s or A319s a week to LAS.
 
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diverdave
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Wed Nov 02, 2016 8:20 pm

commavia wrote:
I don't think that what is happening at SBA or ONT has much, if anything, to do with airline mergers.


I agree with much of what you say, but I do think the AA/US merger definitely did impact SBA. AA dropped LAX-SBA after the merger in preference to the legacy US PHX-SBA flights.

David
 
commavia
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Wed Nov 02, 2016 8:29 pm

diverdave wrote:
commavia wrote:
I don't think that what is happening at SBA or ONT has much, if anything, to do with airline mergers.


I agree with much of what you say, but I do think the AA/US merger definitely did impact SBA. AA dropped LAX-SBA after the merger in preference to the legacy US PHX-SBA flights.

David


And I would submit that this likely would have happened anyway. It's my personal belief that the biggest driver of AA exiting LAX-SBA was not the introduction of an alternative connecting point in PHX, but rather the deteriorating economics of a small jet on such a short sector. The advent of an alternative connecting hub in PHX was certainly convenient for the merged airline, and likely helped hasten the decision, but I suspect that even absent a merger, AA would not be flying LAX-SBA today.

In fact, I would actually submit that - if anything - mergers have likely been a net positive for small and mid-size markets. Absent the network synergies and revenue-generating potential of larger, combined networks, I suspect that even more small and mid-size markets likely would have lost their network airline service by now.
 
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LAXintl
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Wed Nov 02, 2016 8:40 pm

freakyrat wrote:

ONT also had the takeover by LAX Airports Authority which kind of screwed them along with the numerous airline mergers.


That "takeover" happened in 1967 at the request of Ontario which could no longer afford to run the airport. The airport was about to have its operating license pulled by the Feds. Matter of fact City of Los Angeles did not want to run ONT, but only at behest of the federal govt finally agreed.

In the years since, the City of LA did much for ONT. They were the ones that radically redeveloped the airport including additional runway, new terminals, cargo facilities etc.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
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bluefltspecial
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Thu Nov 03, 2016 12:41 am

alasizon wrote:
slcdeltarumd11 wrote:
The lesson here is they spent too much on the terminal easy to be a Monday morning quarterback but at this point I think they have to increase competition to bring fares down.

They have to minimum be able to offer Incentives to get southwest/Delta back for SLC. They need another carrier and large connection city.

Allegiant is a great idea but I think they are too concentrated on lax. Frontier I think Is the LCCo would go after. They might be willing to try less then daily to LAS,PHX somewhere else even


F9 used to serve SBA but I think that it ended before the transition to the ULCC model


Correct.

F9 started with E190 service operated by (YX). Later as the E190s were replaced by E170s and then finally replaced by A319 service before it was discontinued.
Save a horse, ride a Fly-boy....
 
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usxguy
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Thu Nov 03, 2016 12:50 am

Wasn't SBA-DEN one of the Air Wisconsin "grandfathered" routes operated with the BAe 146-200/300 for many, many years?
xx
 
MSPNWA
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Thu Nov 03, 2016 2:26 am

commavia wrote:
I don't think that what is happening at SBA or ONT has much, if anything, to do with airline mergers. It has much more to do with demographics and economics. Specifically, the demographic distribution and macroeconomic conditions in Southern California heavily favor LAX over virtually all other regional airports, and the economics of smaller jets is continuing to have a negative effect on many small and mid-size markets that can't support larger (mainline-size) aircraft.

As already said - lower fares would actually like exacerbate, rather than help, the declining air service problem in small markets like SBA. These airports, because of their size and/or geography, will naturally always be reliant - to at least some degree - on smaller aircraft. And as the unit cost of those smaller aircraft continue to rise, fares will have to rise as well to support air service. And as many quarters - perhaps most vocally Boyd Group - has been saying, small and mid-size markets that are smart will recognize that the long-term economic and geopolitical interests of their communities are probably better served by RJs connecting to large, global hubs as opposed to a few MD80s or A319s a week to LAS.


It absolutely is significantly caused by airline mergers. The only question is by how much. These sad stories from smaller airports all across the country are what happens when you allow airlines to consolidate and not have to fight for traffic. Small airports are in a self-defeating spiral largely caused by the airlines. The airlines are content with raising fares and picking off only the cream at the top. This causes more people to flee the small airports and commute to a larger station, repeating the cycle and making the situation worse.

Excuses in the past were that these routes and airports were not economical. Well, the correct answer is that they weren't AS economical. Airlines didn't have to fight for untapped and underserved traffic. They learned that they can force the demand to cater to their desires - a flight at the mega station with a low CASM jet - instead of vice versa. Oil has now been at a sustained low. Many of those routes are surely "economical" again. Are they coming back? Mostly not, more and more are leaving, exposing previous reasons as largely excuses. It's sad. The flying public loses. The big wigs win.

Lower fares there are the ONLY way these airports will see a rebound in traffic, and that means more airlines and more competition fighting for every thin revenue stream they can find. You have this market completely backwards.
 
syvjeff
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Thu Nov 03, 2016 2:29 am

usxguy wrote:
Wasn't SBA-DEN one of the Air Wisconsin "grandfathered" routes operated with the BAe 146-200/300 for many, many years?


I took that flight once - Exactly one week prior to 9/11 for a 1 week business trip. Was not able to fly back for obvious reasons ended up traveling Greyhound for the return trip.

On a similar note in my previous post I made something unclear. I live 30 minutes North of SBA and 30 minutes south of SMX.
 
commavia
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Thu Nov 03, 2016 2:57 am

MSPNWA wrote:
It absolutely is significantly caused by airline mergers. The only question is by how much. These sad stories from smaller airports all across the country are what happens when you allow airlines to consolidate and not have to fight for traffic. Small airports are in a self-defeating spiral largely caused by the airlines. The airlines are content with raising fares and picking off only the cream at the top. This causes more people to flee the small airports and commute to a larger station, repeating the cycle and making the situation worse.

Excuses in the past were that these routes and airports were not economical. Well, the correct answer is that they weren't AS economical. Airlines didn't have to fight for untapped and underserved traffic. They learned that they can force the demand to cater to their desires - a flight at the mega station with a low CASM jet - instead of vice versa. Oil has now been at a sustained low. Many of those routes are surely "economical" again. Are they coming back? Mostly not, more and more are leaving, exposing previous reasons as largely excuses. It's sad. The flying public loses. The big wigs win.

Lower fares there are the ONLY way these airports will see a rebound in traffic, and that means more airlines and more competition fighting for every thin revenue stream they can find. You have this market completely backwards.


All I can say is that, respectfully, I completely disagree and think the above is nearly 100% false.

The very real and very unavoidable dynamics that are causing network airline service to decline at smaller U.S. airports have virtually nothing to do with consolidation - they have virtually everything to do with economic reality.

The cost - both direct operating costs and opportunity cost - of flying small jets to small cities keeps rising. It is certainly true that fuel cost has abated, and that's definitely been a reprieve for markets dependent on small jets, but this has been offset in no small part - if not entirely overwhelmed - by rising maintenance and labor costs in the sector. The smallest commercial aircraft branded in U.S. network airline colors in the U.S. are aging rapidly - most are now over a decade old and some are nearing two or more decades old. This means their day-to-day maintenance costs are rising, and the incremental cost of the next overhaul is becoming progressively larger relative to the value associated with the remaining useful life of the assets. Translation: when an RJ and/or its engines approaches its next heavy overhaul, increasingly it's just parked.

On top of that, labor costs in the U.S. airline industry are rising steadily, and nowhere is this more pronounced or more severe than at small jet operators who are losing pilots left and right as regulatory restrictions on hiring and retirements begin to have their full effect. The market is responding precisely as would be expected - the demand for pilot labor in the U.S. is steadily rising because of secular growth and a tidal wave of retirements, and yet supply is nowhere near enough to keep up. As such, all airlines - and especially traditionally-low-paying small jet operators - are having to increase compensation to attract and retain whatever pilots they can.

And, needless to say, both of these cost elements - maintenance and labor - are having a relatively outsized effect on small jets precisely, and particularly, because the jets are small. It's less of an issue to spread higher maintenance and labor costs over a 150-seat 737 compared with spreading these costs over a 50-seat jet. And so, naturally, airlines are having to retreat from markets that can no longer support the higher direct operating costs and opportunity costs of said small jets.

And, as said, none of this has virtually anything to do with consolidation. The way we know this is that even the airlines that have smaller aircraft and haven't merged are steadily upgauging. JetBlue stopped taking E190s. Spirit is trading out A319s for A321s. Frontier entirely exited its sub-mainline business. And on and on. There are obviously unique factors in these and all other cases, but in general this trend is affecting all airlines - network and non-network, consolidation or no consolidation. Indeed, I stand by my earlier assertion that, if anything, consolidation has likely been a savior - net-net - for at least some incremental small jet capacity into small and mid-size U.S. markets. Absent the revenue-generating and revenue-concentrating potential of the larger networks and hubs of AA, Delta and United, I suspect that the draw-down in small jet capacity by the network carriers to date would have been even more rapid and more severe.
 
flyfresno
Posts: 1081
Joined: Tue May 02, 2006 6:18 am

Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Nov 15, 2016 1:49 am

This story is all too common, not only among airports, but with many capital public projects. Many municipalities have been overly-ambitious when choosing to build a terminal/stadium/arena etc, usually because of wishful passenger/attendance figures, and never made the money back. Sure, they got a really nice looking facility (that terminal is beautiful, both inside and out), but was it worth the red ink? Speaking specifically about the airline field, the demise of small airports has been looming ominously for a few years now. Regional airlines are struggling to staff flights, all airlines are up-sizing airplanes and getting rid of smaller ones at an unprecedented rate (PC-12 and Caravan "EAS" flights notwithstanding), and major airlines are focusing not just on load factors but also total yields. These three things are combining to doom small airports and hurt many medium airports. Santa Barbara is not alone: just in California, many small airports have lost some or all of their commercial service over the last few years. Make no mistake, SBA will always have airline service: there will always be passengers willing to pay top dollar to avoid driving from the LA Basin. But aside from those high-yield passengers, most people would rather drive a couple hours to get a significantly lower fare and a non-stop flight (or, at the very least, better connection and time options). And, based on economies of scale, most airlines are happy to oblige them. If you could figure out how to reverse this trend, you would stand to make a lot of money as a consultant.
 
flyfresno
Posts: 1081
Joined: Tue May 02, 2006 6:18 am

Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Nov 15, 2016 1:58 am

commavia wrote:
MSPNWA wrote:
It absolutely is significantly caused by airline mergers. The only question is by how much. These sad stories from smaller airports all across the country are what happens when you allow airlines to consolidate and not have to fight for traffic. Small airports are in a self-defeating spiral largely caused by the airlines. The airlines are content with raising fares and picking off only the cream at the top. This causes more people to flee the small airports and commute to a larger station, repeating the cycle and making the situation worse.

Excuses in the past were that these routes and airports were not economical. Well, the correct answer is that they weren't AS economical. Airlines didn't have to fight for untapped and underserved traffic. They learned that they can force the demand to cater to their desires - a flight at the mega station with a low CASM jet - instead of vice versa. Oil has now been at a sustained low. Many of those routes are surely "economical" again. Are they coming back? Mostly not, more and more are leaving, exposing previous reasons as largely excuses. It's sad. The flying public loses. The big wigs win.

Lower fares there are the ONLY way these airports will see a rebound in traffic, and that means more airlines and more competition fighting for every thin revenue stream they can find. You have this market completely backwards.


All I can say is that, respectfully, I completely disagree and think the above is nearly 100% false.

The very real and very unavoidable dynamics that are causing network airline service to decline at smaller U.S. airports have virtually nothing to do with consolidation - they have virtually everything to do with economic reality.

The cost - both direct operating costs and opportunity cost - of flying small jets to small cities keeps rising. It is certainly true that fuel cost has abated, and that's definitely been a reprieve for markets dependent on small jets, but this has been offset in no small part - if not entirely overwhelmed - by rising maintenance and labor costs in the sector. The smallest commercial aircraft branded in U.S. network airline colors in the U.S. are aging rapidly - most are now over a decade old and some are nearing two or more decades old. This means their day-to-day maintenance costs are rising, and the incremental cost of the next overhaul is becoming progressively larger relative to the value associated with the remaining useful life of the assets. Translation: when an RJ and/or its engines approaches its next heavy overhaul, increasingly it's just parked.

On top of that, labor costs in the U.S. airline industry are rising steadily, and nowhere is this more pronounced or more severe than at small jet operators who are losing pilots left and right as regulatory restrictions on hiring and retirements begin to have their full effect. The market is responding precisely as would be expected - the demand for pilot labor in the U.S. is steadily rising because of secular growth and a tidal wave of retirements, and yet supply is nowhere near enough to keep up. As such, all airlines - and especially traditionally-low-paying small jet operators - are having to increase compensation to attract and retain whatever pilots they can.

And, needless to say, both of these cost elements - maintenance and labor - are having a relatively outsized effect on small jets precisely, and particularly, because the jets are small. It's less of an issue to spread higher maintenance and labor costs over a 150-seat 737 compared with spreading these costs over a 50-seat jet. And so, naturally, airlines are having to retreat from markets that can no longer support the higher direct operating costs and opportunity costs of said small jets.

And, as said, none of this has virtually anything to do with consolidation. The way we know this is that even the airlines that have smaller aircraft and haven't merged are steadily upgauging. JetBlue stopped taking E190s. Spirit is trading out A319s for A321s. Frontier entirely exited its sub-mainline business. And on and on. There are obviously unique factors in these and all other cases, but in general this trend is affecting all airlines - network and non-network, consolidation or no consolidation. Indeed, I stand by my earlier assertion that, if anything, consolidation has likely been a savior - net-net - for at least some incremental small jet capacity into small and mid-size U.S. markets. Absent the revenue-generating and revenue-concentrating potential of the larger networks and hubs of AA, Delta and United, I suspect that the draw-down in small jet capacity by the network carriers to date would have been even more rapid and more severe.


Agreed. SBA isn't alone here, there has been a rash of newspaper articles/opinion pieces/letters about the high airfares in Fresno lately. Every one of them says that competition is the answer to lower prices. While competition might drive fares down, airlines are now looking at yields above load factors, and lower fares might not produce an equation that gives them a strong enough yield. Oakland has lost many non-stop flights over the last few years not because they couldn't fill the planes, but because the passengers on those planes didn't pay enough. I also agree with you that consolidation has saved some cities; without the broad route networks and economies of scale that consolidation has created, some cities might not have continued to make financial sense...
 
dc10lover
Posts: 1594
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Nov 15, 2016 3:50 am

Can airlines charge the same fare for the "same" distance? Like a Crj 900 lax - slc / sba - slc. It is hard to have diecent service at smaller airports
Why endure the nightmare and congestion of LAX when BUR, LGB, ONT & SNA is so much easier to fly in and out of. Same with OAK & SJC when it comes to SFO.
 
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diverdave
Posts: 704
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Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Mar 28, 2017 5:03 pm

http://www.independent.com/news/2017/mar/27/airport-adding-seats-flights-san-francisco-denver-/

Some good news for SBA. 8-) Mainline service is returning to the airport with AA's daily direct flight to DFW being upgauged to the A319.

And UA is upgauging some of the SFO flights to larger regional jets, and looking into June one flight daily is operated with an A320.

I don't think SBA has had mainline service since Frontier closed the station in 2014.
 
User avatar
WALmsp
Posts: 292
Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2010 4:39 pm

Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Mar 28, 2017 5:18 pm

Excellent! Of course, I would not have minded if that AA A319 had been available two weeks ago!
In memory of my Dad, Robert "Bob" Fenrich, WAL 1964-1979, MSP ONT LAX
 
Flighty
Posts: 9963
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 3:07 am

Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Mar 28, 2017 5:18 pm

I went to the SBA old terminal in 2010. It was very small and quaint... needed to be expanded but probably not to the level they did it.

Whereas the SBP terminal just needed to be bulldozed IMO and apparently a new one will open there in 2017...
 
ikramerica
Posts: 15100
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:33 am

Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Mar 28, 2017 5:50 pm

Well it's obvious what SBA needs to do. It needs to open restaurants with names containing: fresh; green; real; earth or some combination of the former. Then the hipsters will come and save the day.

They could also give the airport a new pretentious name like "onward" or "destinations" maybe with an umlaut somewhere.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
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diverdave
Posts: 704
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 1:00 am

Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Mar 28, 2017 5:51 pm

More details on the SBA airport web site:

http://www.santabarbaraca.gov/gov/depts/flysba/about/newsfacts/details.asp?NewsID=1196&TargetID=48

UA also is upgauging the morning DEN flight to an A319.

So, SBA goes from no mainline service to three mainline flights per day in a short period of time. Well done. :bigthumbsup:

All of this makes the already faint rumors of Delta returning to SBA even less likely. :eek:

ikramerica wrote:
Well it's obvious what SBA needs to do. It needs to open restaurants with names containing: fresh; green; real; earth or some combination of the former. Then the hipsters will come and save the day.

They could also give the airport a new pretentious name like "onward" or "destinations" maybe with an umlaut somewhere.


You had me at umlauts. :D

Also apologies, for overlooking this thread:

https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1353775
Last edited by diverdave on Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
 
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SANFan
Posts: 5433
Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2006 10:10 am

Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Mar 28, 2017 5:52 pm

And I continue to hope that AAG might still be looking at another intra-California connection -- SAN-SBA -- to further grow their California network!

As was discussed a bit in this thread months ago, I believe a daily Q r/t would be as successful as the carrier's other short-haul intra-state runs from SAN: MRY, STS, FAT & the seasonal MMH. (Plus, there are the recently added higher-frequency markets of SAN-SJC and SAN-SMF.)

I think SBA would be another 'hidden' market, like FAT when QX started it a few years ago, that shows no traffic until decent air service is offered. Then all those who drive, take the train or bus, or connect thru LA as part surface/part air, start using the nonstop flight and, voila!, a market develops.

There seems to be quite a bit of slack in the Q service at SAN these days and it probably wouldn't take too much tweaking to work a r/t to SBA into the schedule.

bb
 
oosnowrat
Posts: 213
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:55 pm

Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:16 pm

commavia wrote:
freakyrat wrote:
Economics of RJ's SBA-LAX should not make a difference. UA has been running SBN-ORD fa distance of 75nm for years with 50 and 76 seaters. They seem to be making money on that.


Every market is different - it's not a "if it works here then it necessarily must and will work there" sort of situation. Personally, given the economic and competitive dynamics and the ongoing network evolution at United, I continue to expect that United will at some point exit SBA-LAX and consolidate SBA on SFO and DEN which - generally speaking - offering all the same connectivity with what I would expect to be more favorable economics. Time will tell.


Interesting side note: SBA-LAX on UA is a OO prorate route.
 
grbauc
Posts: 1469
Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2015 9:05 pm

Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:48 pm

MSPNWA wrote:
commavia wrote:
I don't think that what is happening at SBA or ONT has much, if anything, to do with airline mergers. It has much more to do with demographics and economics. Specifically, the demographic distribution and macroeconomic conditions in Southern California heavily favor LAX over virtually all other regional airports, and the economics of smaller jets is continuing to have a negative effect on many small and mid-size markets that can't support larger (mainline-size) aircraft.

As already said - lower fares would actually like exacerbate, rather than help, the declining air service problem in small markets like SBA. These airports, because of their size and/or geography, will naturally always be reliant - to at least some degree - on smaller aircraft. And as the unit cost of those smaller aircraft continue to rise, fares will have to rise as well to support air service. And as many quarters - perhaps most vocally Boyd Group - has been saying, small and mid-size markets that are smart will recognize that the long-term economic and geopolitical interests of their communities are probably better served by RJs connecting to large, global hubs as opposed to a few MD80s or A319s a week to LAS.


It absolutely is significantly caused by airline mergers. The only question is by how much. These sad stories from smaller airports all across the country are what happens when you allow airlines to consolidate and not have to fight for traffic. Small airports are in a self-defeating spiral largely caused by the airlines. The airlines are content with raising fares and picking off only the cream at the top. This causes more people to flee the small airports and commute to a larger station, repeating the cycle and making the situation worse.

Excuses in the past were that these routes and airports were not economical. Well, the correct answer is that they weren't AS economical. Airlines didn't have to fight for untapped and underserved traffic. They learned that they can force the demand to cater to their desires - a flight at the mega station with a low CASM jet - instead of vice versa. Oil has now been at a sustained low. Many of those routes are surely "economical" again. Are they coming back? Mostly not, more and more are leaving, exposing previous reasons as largely excuses. It's sad. The flying public loses. The big wigs win.

Lower fares there are the ONLY way these airports will see a rebound in traffic, and that means more airlines and more competition fighting for every thin revenue stream they can find. You have this market completely backwards.


AA would of dropped service to SBA most likely.
 
slcdeltarumd11
Posts: 4851
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2004 7:30 am

Re: Santa Barbara: They built new terminal, but traffic did not come

Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:15 pm

Just another example to show a new building does not bring in new service. Airlines really don't care about facilities at spoke locations (unless its so bad it inter-fears with service)

The new terminals usually do the opposite as expenses and costs go way up then you deter airlines. Bakersfield, Santa Barbara, ONT, SWF there have been many cases of the redesigns doing the opposite of what they envisioned.

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