Will TOL get any flights going further west then ORD, or will FWA continue to poach more and more people from their catchment area?
First, FWA poaches very little from TOL - maybe some Allegiant traffic from the western catchment area - DTW takes a vast majority of it. Although, CLE seems to be taking more lately. As for going west, only option that has been talked about is DFW, but that has really tapered lately with AA having seen their CLT loads drop dramatically when they brought in CR7s. Of course, the 0500 flight killed a majority of that traffic.
TOL is small but growing. Allegiant, though cutting VPS, is adding frequencies to all of its existing routes heading into summer 2020. Its an interesting little airport and I hope it keeps growing. I’d like to see Allegiant try a few different routes out of there. FLL, SRQ, PBI? There seems to be some low cost leisure demand out there.
I certainly hope the best for them. TOL has seen relatively impressive growth while being unfortunately positioned so close to FWA & DTW.
SRQ would probably be the only other logical candidate from Allegiant. The west side of Florida is where everyone from this area tends to gravitate towards. FLL and PBI are already covered with Delta and Spirit and Allegiant shies away from both of them in this market.
TOL should offer free parking ... they can not possibly be making any money with 15 cars in their lot
No, this is their only real revenue generator for the airline terminal operation. They do not have tax revenue to fund anything other than the salaries of employees. I've argued they should increase the daily rate to $10 a day and make it like a maximum of $60 a week. This, in theory, with the higher concentration of business fliers out of TOL should raise revenues a bit more. I think even the offsite DTW parking sites are now over $10 a day too...
In 2020, it would be nice to see G4 take another crack at a new destination from TOL. Given the success of PIE and PGD, maybe a seasonal route to SRQ could work. I would love to see TOL-FLL, but the competition from DTW must be quite fierce. A route to AZA or LAS from TOL would be quite the coup. On the plus side with an all-Airbus fleet, the route is far more feasible that when the maddogs ruled the skies. However the stage length and competition from DTW are tough roadblocks.
American's schedule appears unchanged so far going into April 2020 with 3x to ORD and 2x to CLT, all on ER4s. It would be nice to see some larger RJs come back for the summer to either or both routes. A 4th frequency to ORD also wouldn't be out of the question. Of course, the addition of DFW back to the route map out of TOL would be phenomenal.
The addition of a 3rd airline to TOL would be an incredible accomplishment as well. While I'm not sure of the feasibility of a new carrier, potential candidates could be:
UA: they have been somewhat tit-for-tat with AA out of ORD in recent years. It would be an opportunity for United to tie things up a bit and tap the most solid city pair from Toledo. Though personally, I would love to see a flight to DEN. United has the regional fleet to make a flight work, and it would open up many new connection opportunities from TOL.
DL: while solidly entrenched in DTW, a 3x daily schedule to ATL mirroring FNT shouldn't be such a monumental task. Understood that the market dynamics in FNT are very different from TOL, particularly that the more affluent metro Detroit suburbs are more convenient to FNT, however TOL should be able to hold its own to the world's largest single-airline hub.
Everyone else: not sure what if any other airlines could potentially enter the TOL market. Spirit could potentially tackle some high density routes such as MCO and RSW, duplicating service at DTW and creating a scenario similar to CLE/CAK and PIT/LBE, but it would likely come at the expense of G4. The same would likely be said of a Frontier entry into the market. Sun Country could be a dark horse candidate to fly weekly service to MSP and vacation destinations from TOL. Alaska and jetBlue are not conversational non-starters, though Moxy could be worth pursuing depending on their yet-to-be-determined route strategy.
All in all, 2020 should be a year of neutral to slight growth at TOL, though the potential does exist for additional service to keep the passenger growth momentum going. Here's hoping for the best.
Great to hear from ya flyCMH! You hit some good points here and have pretty accurate understanding of what's going on here.
2020 is going to face some pretty stiff headwinds for TOL. First, the main guy who was leading charge for building and developing commercial air service left at the end of last month to take the air service development job at PIT. This has left no one in charge of trying to sell TOL or the area to airlines or hell any aviation company. I've been told the Port is hiring or increasing the responsibilities of their consultant but I can't even figure out who that is. Quite honestly, being involved (and trying to get more involved) over the past 10 years, I have no confidence things are going to improve. There's not much of a desire for the place from the BOD and there is really little aviation experience leading there and the experience they had there has now left. 2020 Capacity is so far looking flat over 2019, although this spring on Allegiant seems a bit better offset by 50 seaters on AA to CLT.
OK, off my soap box and looking towards opportunities. First, I'm not a fan of how Allegiant has looked at TOL. TOL seems to get, for the most part, the leftovers when scheduling. I really blame them for the reasons why MYR and VPS failed. They were both Mondays and Fridays and VPS had flights that departed out of TOL at like 10:00pm. If they wanted to make things work, more of a Wednesday/Saturday or Thursday/Sunday schedule would be much better. Even look at the summer schedule for SFB - they added more capacity, but it's Monday, Wednesday, Friday....VPS is actually a very popular place to vacation from in this area, but major complaints about the flight times that really doomed it. Their opportunities they could fly are LAS, AZA, BNA, SAV, and SRQ. LAS / AZA both have a ton of traffic from the area and actually perform really well out of DTW (at least I've been told) but they are still gun shy on going up against DTW. BNA and SAV don't have NK but healthy traffic flows. SRQ is located on the west side of Florida and would compliment PGD and PIE which flip flop between the top revenue performer out of TOL.
For American, I would really like to see them fortify their current routes before going to DFW, even though I think DFW would be a good fit here. I would like to see a mid afternoon departure to ORD (2:00pm time frame) and I would like to see an evening departure to CLT. Both of these I would like to see them start out on a 4x weekly basis (Sunday/Monday/Thursday/Friday). Incremental increases during the peak times would alleviate empty seats on the days that business travelers aren't traveling. I would love to see DFW on a 2x basis with CR7s (not just personally as work has taken me down there quite a bit lately), as I know business ties down that direction and passenger flows should keep it sustainable. I just don't know if they would be able to keep the F cabin full. Every time I flew a CLT flight, they only had a seat or two open...but then again I was complimentary upgraded too as a lowly Gold. Of course to fill all of this - AA has to price match DTW which they are very inconsistent at doing. Much the reason why AA has a year of full airplanes followed by a year of empty ones...
Something must have happened 30+ years ago when United up and left TOL. They have had no desire to come back to this airport at all. Quite honestly, a lot of their hubs make sense for traffic flows of this area and business ties including both DEN and IAH (even though DAY is losing IAH - wonder if they lost the Marathon contract?). DEN has always been a big destination from here. I would like to see them try 2x ORD and 2x IAD to test the waters here. This would give them good directional flows and give some potential international connections from here. I would really like to see them try DEN instead of ORD, but let's face it, they wouldn't overfly ORD just jumping into this market.
Delta, I don't think will be back as they can easily funnel all of their skymilers through DTW. Volume would be there to sustain ATL at 3x CR7s (or even 2x) but others on here have proclaimed Delta never made money at TOL, so I would just say we won't see them back unless a ULCC runs 3x daily A320s to ATL....(not gonna happen)
The only airline I would really want to hitch my wagon to is Sun Country. They wouldn't be already established in DTW and could easily run (operationally) weekly flights from RSW(2x), MCO(3x), MIA(2x). Run the planes MSP-XXX-TOL-XXX-MSP and overnight crews here. Get the Port to cover the overnight cost which I think could be covered by the increase in passenger revenue. Other then that, I don't see much hope for this area. Slow and steady growth would be nice, but it's been pulling teeth from both the airlines and buy in from the BOD to invest in anything for the airport...So what you see is what you get, not much will change, in my opinion...