Moderators: jsumali2, richierich, ua900, PanAm_DC10, hOMSaR

 
BTVB6Flyer
Topic Author
Posts: 601
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 3:20 am

How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Sun Jun 13, 2021 1:31 am

Saw a users post in the West Coast Florida thread about the debacle at VPS today, see the long bag check line here https://twitter.com/GoingInsane370/stat ... 9939125250 and the airport Tweeting to arrive 2.5hours before flight, https://twitter.com/FlyVPS/status/1403432742096936972

So it got me thinking, how are all these (for all intents and purposes) small US airports, handling their post-COVID boom? Places like VPS, BZN, FCA, PNS, etc. that have had a ton of capacity, flights, airlines add stuff to, while not being able to catch up facility wise. We also know rental cars are having a shortage, can only imagine what the rental car situation is like at these smaller airports.

Curious as to thoughts and if anyone has seen, experienced some of this post-COVID cause and effect?
 
alasizon
Posts: 2983
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2007 8:57 pm

Re: How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Sun Jun 13, 2021 1:43 am

A lot of the backup at the airports are due to TSA baggage and passenger screening capacity, the ticket counter belt only moves as quickly as TSA can screen bags. TSA surprisingly though is actually doing something about it as they've ramped up training in larger airports so as to not put extra work on these already over-extended smaller airports. Going through the checkpoint in PHX this week I met a group of about 15-20 new TSA hires that were destined for BZN (TSA is currently training about 100 new hires in PHX for all over the country).
Airport (noun) - A construction site which airplanes tend to frequent
 
User avatar
FLALEFTY
Posts: 1019
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2006 11:33 am

Re: How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Sun Jun 13, 2021 1:44 am

Let's not forget EYW! The ramp is jam-packed with A319's, E-Jets & ATR's. Delta/Delta Connection, American/American Eagle, United Express, JetBlue, Allegiant and Silver are all jockeying for gate spots. This is a small airport, with one very short runway, no ILS, no jetways, a minuscule terminal and super-expensive fuel prices. I imagine baggage claim and the security checkpoint are mad houses.
 
DLASFlyer
Posts: 313
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 4:06 pm

Re: How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Sun Jun 13, 2021 1:50 am

JAC is doing ok despite a rudiculous number of flights and seats for sale. I think the rental car issue is keeping flights from being too full.

I fly Delta and they are struggling when 3-4 mainline birds are on the ground at once. They unload 2 at a time while the other flights sit and wait.
 
RJNUT
Posts: 1954
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 1999 1:58 am

Re: How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Sun Jun 13, 2021 2:18 am

im curious about HHH with high potential for multiple ops exceeding ramp space
 
BTVB6Flyer
Topic Author
Posts: 601
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 3:20 am

Re: How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Sun Jun 13, 2021 2:27 am

FLALEFTY wrote:
Let's not forget EYW! The ramp is jam-packed with A319's, E-Jets & ATR's. Delta/Delta Connection, American/American Eagle, United Express, JetBlue, Allegiant and Silver are all jockeying for gate spots. This is a small airport, with one very short runway, no ILS, no jetways, a minuscule terminal and super-expensive fuel prices. I imagine baggage claim and the security checkpoint are mad houses.


Forgot about EYW, yea that one is probably pretty tight I would imagine.

Also in VPS and PNS case, summer thunderstorms seem to be creating a big issue to, lots of delayed flights, causing people to re-time their airport arrival and it's mashing with other scheduled flights. I would assume, airlines look at schedules and compare with airport directors/ops to see what it can handle?
 
SonomaFlyer
Posts: 2255
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:47 pm

Re: How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Sun Jun 13, 2021 2:44 am

STS is in the process of building a new terminal building which will likely be too small when its done lol. Flights are full and AA is taking full advantage of UA not returning their DEN flight. AS is adding flights as well to compete with Avelo.
 
User avatar
FLALEFTY
Posts: 1019
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2006 11:33 am

Re: How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Sun Jun 13, 2021 2:53 am

BTVB6Flyer wrote:
FLALEFTY wrote:
Let's not forget EYW! The ramp is jam-packed with A319's, E-Jets & ATR's. Delta/Delta Connection, American/American Eagle, United Express, JetBlue, Allegiant and Silver are all jockeying for gate spots. This is a small airport, with one very short runway, no ILS, no jetways, a minuscule terminal and super-expensive fuel prices. I imagine baggage claim and the security checkpoint are mad houses.


Forgot about EYW, yea that one is probably pretty tight I would imagine.

Also in VPS and PNS case, summer thunderstorms seem to be creating a big issue to, lots of delayed flights, causing people to re-time their airport arrival and it's mashing with other scheduled flights. I would assume, airlines look at schedules and compare with airport directors/ops to see what it can handle?


Yep, weather in FL, especially in the Summer thunderstorm season, makes ops from all of our airports dicey. Tonight is a good example:

https://flightaware.com/live/airport/KVPS

As for VPS, since it is a military co-use airport, with the Air Force having dibs on operational priorities, it limits the ability to expand the civilian terminal, or add flight ops. Also, commercial flights have to be routed away from the huge restricted areas in Eglin AFB.
 
DLPMMM
Posts: 2292
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2005 12:34 am

Re: How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Sun Jun 13, 2021 3:18 am

RJNUT wrote:
im curious about HHH with high potential for multiple ops exceeding ramp space


Flew out last Saturday at about 10:00 am. busy and no available passenger parking, lines a bit longer than normal for TSA, otherwise nothing dramatic.
 
bigb
Posts: 1350
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2003 4:30 pm

Re: How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Sun Jun 13, 2021 3:20 am

United only had 2 ticket agents working at ORF this morning and had long lines.
 
JohanTally
Posts: 334
Joined: Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:44 am

Re: How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Sun Jun 13, 2021 4:02 am

FLALEFTY wrote:
Let's not forget EYW! The ramp is jam-packed with A319's, E-Jets & ATR's. Delta/Delta Connection, American/American Eagle, United Express, JetBlue, Allegiant and Silver are all jockeying for gate spots. This is a small airport, with one very short runway, no ILS, no jetways, a minuscule terminal and super-expensive fuel prices. I imagine baggage claim and the security checkpoint are mad houses.

I noticed AA just upgauged CLT-EYW to LAA 319s this month which adds another 200-300 seat daily capacity at such a small airport. It's always been only E-Jets for 8-10 years out of CLT
 
FlyingElvii
Posts: 1404
Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:53 pm

Re: How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Sun Jun 13, 2021 4:14 am

4,5, and SEVEN hour delays for Allegiant in VPS tonight.
Ouch.... That had to hurt.
 
wedgetail737
Posts: 5681
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2003 8:44 am

Re: How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Sun Jun 13, 2021 4:16 am

In my most recent experience, not all airports are seeing a boom in travel. I recent traveled through OAK (a small-ish airport...sort of), and about 1/3 of T1's gates are shut down still.
 
BTVB6Flyer
Topic Author
Posts: 601
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 3:20 am

Re: How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Sun Jun 13, 2021 4:20 am

wedgetail737 wrote:
In my most recent experience, not all airports are seeing a boom in travel. I recent traveled through OAK (a small-ish airport...sort of), and about 1/3 of T1's gates are shut down still.


I wouldn't classify OAK as a post-COVID 'boom'...

It's for those towns/areas/regions, mainly leisure and National Park oriented, that have seen a massive influx of service.

OAK, while close to those California NP's MOL, California as whole, has not seen much service added, outside of Avelo really and some of their other established airports.
 
slcdeltarumd11
Posts: 5160
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2004 7:30 am

Re: How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Sun Jun 13, 2021 4:35 am

There is definitely a staffing shortage at some of these smaller airports especially in tourist markets. Hard to find people to work part time jobs at not the most competitive pay in some tourist areas. summer jobs like bar tender or valet parker or anything with a tip can net you way more money then working part time for an airline these days.

I think rental cars are the bigger issue at these smaller airport at the moment. Theres a real shortage and insane prices this summer. I've seen some insane issues with rental cars already.
 
freakyrat
Posts: 2301
Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2008 1:04 pm

Re: How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Sun Jun 13, 2021 11:57 am

FLALEFTY wrote:
BTVB6Flyer wrote:
FLALEFTY wrote:

Also in VPS and PNS case, summer thunderstorms seem to be creating a big issue to, lots of delayed flights, causing people to re-time their airport arrival and it's mashing with other scheduled flights. I would assume, airlines look at schedules and compare with airport directors/ops to see what it can handle?


Yep, weather in FL, especially in the Summer thunderstorm season, makes ops from all of our airports dicey. Tonight is a good example:

https://flightaware.com/live/airport/KVPS

As for VPS, since it is a military co-use airport, with the Air Force having dibs on operational priorities, it limits the ability to expand the civilian terminal, or add flight ops. Also, commercial flights have to be routed away from the huge restricted areas in Eglin AFB.


I worked ATC at Hurlburt Field in the 70's When Eglin's Restricted Areas are active there is a narrow corridor between the Crestview Vortac and the beach to fit everyone in going to Eglin or Destin.
 
freakyrat
Posts: 2301
Joined: Fri Aug 22, 2008 1:04 pm

Re: How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Sun Jun 13, 2021 12:04 pm

At my former hometown airport SBN with AA, DL, UA and G4, boardings are up and very close to 2019 Pre-pandemic levels. The airport was lucky as even though traffic was down when it did rebound G4 led the way as leisure flying rebounded first. Word is that local businesses are starting to want to fly their employees places so the airport anticipates business flying to start to improve. The airport will not hit the 2019 record year but 2022 most likely will or exceed that.
 
User avatar
chunhimlai
Posts: 699
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2015 11:03 am

Re: How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Sun Jun 13, 2021 12:34 pm

Either close the airport or expand to a large airport
 
FlyPNS1
Posts: 5545
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 1999 7:12 am

Re: How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Sun Jun 13, 2021 4:03 pm

So far, I think PNS has been handling it ok. TSA lines are longer and parking has been limited…that’s also a function of locals taking advantage of the cheap fares. June will be interesting with NK’s ramp up. Though some of the NK flights are off peak when the airport isn’t so busy.

VPS put out their traffic numbers for May. Traffic in May 2021 was up 25% compared with May 2019! The interesting part was some carriers were up big compared with 2019 (AA and UA), plus all new WN service. However, G4 was actually down (about 6%) in 2021 compared with 2019 despite operating more flights in 2021. Early signs that all the new WN and AA service might eat into G4 (particularly the competitive routes like BNA-VPS).
 
User avatar
FLALEFTY
Posts: 1019
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2006 11:33 am

Re: How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Sun Jun 13, 2021 4:59 pm

Here is an excellent white paper detailing potential changes to and expansion of ECP (Panama City). Passenger traffic has exceeded 2019 levels (cumulative to date) so far this year. The proposed plans call for a crosswind runway, taxiway improvements and terminal expansion.

https://marketing.chacompanies.com/ecp/ ... -Draft.pdf
 
mcg
Posts: 1156
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2003 11:49 am

Re: How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Sun Jun 13, 2021 6:04 pm

Departed MSO pn June 5. Six airplanes on the ground was pretty stunning, I've been using MSO for many years and have never seen more than (very rarely) 4 on the ground. All seemed to be under control till airplane 7 turned up, it had to wait 15-ish minutes for the gate. The terminal seemed to be well under control, no really long lines, everything seemed to move along just fine. MSO is in the process of a major terminal rebuild which created some construction issues, but again, everything seemed to be under control.

I know someone who arrived at GPI from ORD 40 minutes early, which was great, but she had to wait 35 minutes for her plane to get a gate. In that case the fact the aircraft was a 738 probably extended the wait as there are only two gates at GPI that can handle a 737 or A320 sized airplane.

And yes, rental cars in Montana in July and August are pretty much impossible to find. My observation at MSO is that the rental car lot was being fully used (i.e. my car was way in the back of the lot), more than I've seen before. I'd guess the rental car companies actually have more cars than they've had the past, but it's nowhere near enough to meet demand.
 
MIflyer12
Posts: 9621
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:58 pm

Re: How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Sun Jun 13, 2021 8:49 pm

BTVB6Flyer wrote:
So it got me thinking, how are all these (for all intents and purposes) small US airports, handling their post-COVID boom? Places like VPS, BZN, FCA, PNS, etc. that have had a ton of capacity, flights, airlines add stuff to, while not being able to catch up facility wise. We also know rental cars are having a shortage, can only imagine what the rental car situation is like at these smaller airports.


This is an odd question since airports aren't actually responsible for much of the passenger experience:

- carriers are responsible for check-in, gate, baggage claim, and most of the on-time departure/arrival experience

- TSA is on the hook for security

- concessionaires (restaurants, retail, car rentals) do their thing

- airports need to make sure the bathrooms are clean and functioning, and maybe the on-site parking is operating efficiently to capacity.

It's not 1960s Soviet Union with an airport commissar.
 
MIflyer12
Posts: 9621
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:58 pm

Re: How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Sun Jun 13, 2021 8:55 pm

FlyingElvii wrote:
4,5, and SEVEN hour delays for Allegiant in VPS tonight.
Ouch.... That had to hurt.


Bust Allegiant if you want. Jan-March '21 it had a better on-time rate than B6. It had a lower cancellation rate than UA or WN.

https://www.transportation.gov/sites/do ... 20ATCR.pdf
 
alasizon
Posts: 2983
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2007 8:57 pm

Re: How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Sun Jun 13, 2021 9:22 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:

This is an odd question since airports aren't actually responsible for much of the passenger experience:

- carriers are responsible for check-in, gate, baggage claim, and most of the on-time departure/arrival experience

- TSA is on the hook for security

- concessionaires (restaurants, retail, car rentals) do their thing

- airports need to make sure the bathrooms are clean and functioning, and maybe the on-site parking is operating efficiently to capacity.

It's not 1960s Soviet Union with an airport commissar.


I know you know this, but the airport itself (particularly smaller sub-10 gate airports) also has a lot of control over passenger flow and is typically the ones saddled with handling large crowds above and beyond what the existing ticket counter or security areas can handle.
Airport (noun) - A construction site which airplanes tend to frequent
 
FlyPNS1
Posts: 5545
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 1999 7:12 am

Re: How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Mon Jun 14, 2021 12:15 am

MIflyer12 wrote:
BTVB6Flyer wrote:
So it got me thinking, how are all these (for all intents and purposes) small US airports, handling their post-COVID boom? Places like VPS, BZN, FCA, PNS, etc. that have had a ton of capacity, flights, airlines add stuff to, while not being able to catch up facility wise. We also know rental cars are having a shortage, can only imagine what the rental car situation is like at these smaller airports.


This is an odd question since airports aren't actually responsible for much of the passenger experience:

- carriers are responsible for check-in, gate, baggage claim, and most of the on-time departure/arrival experience

- TSA is on the hook for security

- concessionaires (restaurants, retail, car rentals) do their thing

- airports need to make sure the bathrooms are clean and functioning, and maybe the on-site parking is operating efficiently to capacity.

It's not 1960s Soviet Union with an airport commissar.


While true, the airports are responsible for building gates, security areas, bag claim belts and parking facilities. In the case of VPS, they’ve been behind on this even before the surge this year. Granted, VPS is working on new gates and it’s not easy to build for demand given the volatile nature of the airline industry. That said, VPS has known for years that six gates was never going to be adequate.

Even PNS at 10 gates will likely need a small expansion to add 2-4 gates. Granted some of the near term growth might fade away ( UA won’t keep flying routes like PNS-PIT), but long term the airport has to plan for growth.
 
BTVB6Flyer
Topic Author
Posts: 601
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 3:20 am

Re: How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Mon Jun 14, 2021 12:34 am

MIflyer12 wrote:
BTVB6Flyer wrote:
So it got me thinking, how are all these (for all intents and purposes) small US airports, handling their post-COVID boom? Places like VPS, BZN, FCA, PNS, etc. that have had a ton of capacity, flights, airlines add stuff to, while not being able to catch up facility wise. We also know rental cars are having a shortage, can only imagine what the rental car situation is like at these smaller airports.


This is an odd question since airports aren't actually responsible for much of the passenger experience:

- carriers are responsible for check-in, gate, baggage claim, and most of the on-time departure/arrival experience

- TSA is on the hook for security

- concessionaires (restaurants, retail, car rentals) do their thing

- airports need to make sure the bathrooms are clean and functioning, and maybe the on-site parking is operating efficiently to capacity.

It's not 1960s Soviet Union with an airport commissar.



While the above is to some extent true, at the end of the day, the experience at the airport, whether positive or negative, goes a long way in what customers remember. Regardless of it being TSA, the airline, a concession. And what the airport does have control over, in these cases, control of the passengers. If people have have bad experience maybe they second guess going back or using said airport. In the case of VPS, maybe they choose ECP or PNS next time etc.

Airport management should be working with all parties to make sure hiring is at necessary levels and operational needs is on par with said demand.
 
DLASFlyer
Posts: 313
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 4:06 pm

Re: How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Mon Jun 14, 2021 2:35 am

BZN apparently not well.
 
airlineworker
Posts: 345
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2019 1:20 am

Re: How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Mon Jun 14, 2021 2:56 am

HVN is embarking on a large upgrade project starting with Avelo airlines basing three 737-700's for it's east coast operation. Avports will build a new 4 gate terminal and add 1000 feet to the runway. The airport will serve New Haven and Bridgeport as the commercial airport for the shoreline. The shoreline is the most populated area in the state and will provide HVN with a large catchment area.
https://www.nhregister.com/news/article ... 156862.php
 
BTVB6Flyer
Topic Author
Posts: 601
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 3:20 am

Re: How Are Small Airports Managing Their Post-COVID Boom?

Mon Jun 14, 2021 2:58 am

^^

Any context? Flew there in 2019, summer and airport seemed to have plenty of terminal and was pretty open, even garage/rental seemed capable of handling more.

Thankfully BTV hasn't seen the mass flights being added (although I would like them to be) no way BTV could handle it. Granted F9 and UA are back up to 3x weekly total to DEN, AA starting DFW (Sat. Only) and some others. Just the mainline capacity hasn't returned . BTV is a airport that is very constrained and extra will be mess at this current time.

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos