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Posts tagged: Spokane International Airport

Associated Painters finishes work on second hangar at Spokane airport

Painting airliners is an expanding business at Spokane-based Associated Painters.

The company, which has been at Spokane International Airport for four years, has just completed work on its second painting hangar.

It's the left building in the photo above.

The expansion will allow the Spokane workforce to grow to 110 employees by next summer, up from 70 today.

 The 32,000-square-foot hangar cost roughly $6 million to build. It has one large bay capable of handling a Boeing 757-300 sized aircraft or similar narrow-body planes.

 Associated Painters owns the building and has a 30-year land lease with Spokane airports. It should reach full capacity within two years, a company news release said.

Seattle is still most popular airline destination from Spokane’s airport

So Delta Airlines in Novermber is adding four daily flights from Spokane to Seattle.

Here's the story version:

Delta Air Lines will add four daily flights to Seattle from Spokane starting Nov. 3.

At present only Alaska Airlines flies to and from Seattle from Spokane. In January 2012 Southwest Airlines stopped providing service between the two cities.

The daily flights from Spokane are scheduled to leave at 8:25 a.m., 10 a.m., 3:35 p.m. and 7:05 p.m. Return flights leave Sea-Tac International Airport at 6:50 a.m., 10 a.m., 1:35 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

The flights between Seattle and Spokane will use Bombardier 65-seat CRJ-700 aircraft.

Delta is also adding Seattle to Bozeman flights starting Dec. 20.

In recent years Seattle has been the most frequent destination for Spokane passengers, according to federal transportation

numbers. The next four most frequent connections are Las Vegas, Phoenix, Portland and Denver.

 

Here are the latest data from the Federal Aviation Administration for total passengers from Spokane, based on 2013 flights:

The number shows total ticketed passengers leaving Spokane, by volume:

 

1 Seattle/Tacoma  180,146
2 Las Vegas             88,508
3 Phoenix                76,909
4 Portland                74,170
5 Denver                 64,169 
  

 

Sen. Murray lauded by airport execs for requiring TSA to safeguard exit lanes

Spokane International Airport is saluting Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington) for her commitment to keeping the TSA responsible for manning exit lane security at all major airports.

Over recent months the TSA, a part of Homeland Security, had been pushing to change its responsibility, getting airports to cover the exit-lane security costs. It said the cuts were needed because of budget contraints.

But Murray didn't let that happen. While brokering the Senate's approval of a new budget passed Wednesday, she made sure it required the TSA to monitor exit lanes at the 154 major commercial airports in the U.S.

Spokane's airport directors opposed the TSA request, saying the change would have “resulted in significant costs increases for airports, introduced untold liabilities and would have blurred the roles of TSA and airports for carrying out a national security function that has been assigned to the TSA by Congress since the creation of the agency in 2001.”

Larry Krauter, Spokane airport CEO, issued a statement Wednesday saying: “In this case, not only did (Sen. Murray) help commercial service airports in the state of Washington, but also airports across the country.  We are convinced that Sen. Murray’s actions averted serious negative consequences for the security of our national air transportation system.”

Should Allegiant Air passengers have a right to not receive union literature?

Updated at 1:28 p.m. Feb. 12

Updated to include a statement by Allegiant Air on the issue of new routes and possible cancellation of routes:

Allegiant spokeswoman Jessica Wheeler emailed this comment regarding the issue that the TWU cited for the flyers handed out:

Many of the routes in our system have never been flown before - we have no historical data to look to and forecast demand and costs based on available data.  Allegiant is making every effort to bring new service to underserved communities at affordable prices and in this case, new visitors to the Hawaiian islands, visitors who have never had access to nonstop service to Hawaii before. We do not go into a market unless we believe we will be successful there, but some routes do not work out the way we anticipate.  The vast majority of our new routes are successful.

Is there a guaranteed right of free speech aboard a commercial airliner?

That question was raised last weekend during the first Allegiant Air flight from Spokane's airport to Hawaii.

Last weekend, the TWU sent a representative aboard the first flight, and once on board, the union rep handed out leaflets to passengers

In December Allegiant's flight attendants voted to be represented by a local of the Transport Workers Union. This first-flight event occurred as Allegiant and the union are hammering out their first-ever contract for flight attendants.

 The flyer handed out is what you see here.

The issue isn't union representation. A press release, posted at this link, includes information about the company’s record of abrupt cancellation of service to “underperforming” markets. The leaflet leaves the impression Allegiant dumps its service to some markets without a lot of advance notice. We're not sure how accurate that is.

There were no incidents on the flight, according to reports. A sheriff's deputy, however, interviewed the union worker in Honolulu when the flight arrived. After 10 minutes, the union worker left, having established no disruptions occurred during the flight.

So here's the nub:  If you're in a restaurant with your best friend, is it OK if union workers drop by your table and ask you to sign a petiion against the owner of the business? Or pass out material suggesting the owner is mistreating employees?

Restaurants are public or semi-public locations. An airplane may not be the same kind of workplace.

Or, is free speech basically free speech, provided it doesn't inflame or injure anyone?

Which way should the law tilt?

Southwest gives up Spokane-Portland flights starting in January

Southwest Airlines will shut down its Spokane to Portland flights in January, the airline announced.

The decision follows Southwest’s move to drop service to Seattle at the start of this year.

Southwest flies two flights to and from Portland daily.

In terms of total passengers, Portland is the second most-frequent destination from Spokane, according to federal transportation numbers.

Seattle ranks ahead of Portland.

With six flights daily, Alaska Airlines flies more passengers to and from Portland than Southwest does, the data show.

For a full description of the impact, go to this story on Spokesman.com.

Allegiant dropping flights to LA from Billings and Pasco

Allegiant Air, based in Las Vegas, is already shuffling some of its small-city routes.

An Associated Press story today noted that Allegiant is cancelling flights between Sioux Falls, S.D., and LA, citing lack of space at LA International Airprot.

Also being shut down are Allegiant flights to LA from Billings and Pasco.

An Allegiant spokesman said the airline lacks adequate gate and ticket counters at LAX.

The low-cost airline announced this week it's launching flights in January between Spokane and Honolulu.

$180 fares by Allegiant are low indeed, until the other fees and options kick in

So we decided to look more closely at how Allegiant Air makes its money while being a low-fare airline.

It's all in the details.

SR staffer Rich Landers jumped on Allegiant.com and looked at the actual costs for a round trip to Honolulu in February.  Here's his take:

The advertised price was $179 one-way. Which is significantly lower than other carriers to that destination.

Here's his summary of the final bill:

Despite a low advertised fare, costs add up quickly when booking fares … from Spokane to Hawaii. Here are the costs for two people, round-trip.

— The round trip fare for TWO people comes out to $655.20. Taxes and fees total $116.80.

—A seat selection fee of about $21 is charged if you want to select a seat in advance to be assured you can sit with your partner or family.  Total roundtrip cost for two: $82. (Seats coming back were $20 each, instead of the $21 going to Hawaii.)

—The airline gives a range of costs for carry-on bags.  The only choice you have for the Spokane-Honolulu flight is $50 for a carry-on bag that can't exceed 25 pounds, limited to 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches. It does not say round trip, but I assume it is: Total for two: $100.

—If you need to check a bag, the cost is a minimum of $70.   Let's say you can do without it.  $0 added cost.

That makes the total roundtrip price for two: $954, or $938 if you pay with a debit card.
That's still better than the current advertised price on competing airlines that require a stop between Spokane and Honolulu, but it's a long shot from the advertized special of $180 that caught my eye. 

For contrast, OfficeHours ran a booking test on Alaska Air via Priceline and came up with two round trips coming to about $1,290.  So yeah, there are some advantages with Allegiant.

We got an explanation on those seat and luggage fees from Allegiant spokeswoman Jessica Wheeler:

We charge a fee to choose your seat assignment – each seat has a different value based on demand for the seat. If you do not purchase a seat assignment you will be randomly assigned a seat at check-in.

Carry-on and checked baggage fees vary by route. Hawaii routes are most expensive because it is our longest flight. For many of our optional products the cost to customer vary by airport and route, a reflection of how our costs vary. The less it cost us, the less our customers


  

Allegiant comes to Spokane, but you might want to read the fine print

So it's now official that Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air will start flying weekly flights from Spokane to Oahu.

The story appeared on Spokesman.com earlier today. Some notable and not well-known facts about low-fare Allegiant. It flies into and out of 80 cities, including Bellingham, Wash. Which tells you how competive Allegiant has to be, if they choose to set up flights in and out of places like Missoula and Bellingham. 

Also notable is some of its operating philosophy.  It chooses about a dozen destination locations and then forms routes from smaller cities to those destinations. Yes, Allegiant.com lists Bellingham as a little gem of a getaway.

Here's another key part of their approach:  The airline uses the Ryanair model of looking for secondary revenue through sales of food, beverages, and souvenirs on board as well as charges for checking luggage and advance seat assignments.   Which means, the current discount rate of $180 one-way to Oahu doesn't stay that low when you start adding in other costs, like luggage. The St. Petersburg Times reported that the airline's average “extra”  revenues came to $33.35 per passenger in 2011.

And a Wikipedia entry added this nugget of insight: “Allegiant CEO Maurice Gallagher stated in an article that appeared September 2009 issue of Fast Company that the advantages of this pricing structure was psychological. He went on to say, 'We collect $110 from you at the end of your trip. If I tried to charge you $110 up front, you wouldn't pay it. But if I sell you a $75 ticket and you self-select the rest, you will.' ”

Spokane airport offers free Wi-Fi, luggage carts

Spokane International Airport said today that it will offer travelers 20 minutes of free Wi-Fi inside the terminal and free luggage carts, both in response to customer demand.

Lawrence Krauter, airport CEO, said in a news release that the airport's Wi-Fi access fee has been “another source of aggravation to our customers” who are already steamed over airplane pricing models and declines in customer service.

The change in Wi-Fi access will take effect on Aug. 22, the release said. Luggage carts will be available for use at no charge in early September.

Airport master plan open house Tuesday

Spokane International Airport will unveil its master plan Tuesday at a three-hour open house that begins at 4 p.m. in the Double Tree Hotel, Spokane City Center.

 

Airport officials and consultants will be on hand to explain displays, maps and other information on short-, medium-, and long-terms plans that take development at the 5,400-acre West Plains site and associated structures out 30 years.

 

Passenger traffic is expected to double from three million in 2010 to six million by 2030. The plan considers how the airport will manage more passengers traveling longer distances, the timeline for new development, and potential funding sources.

 

The information will also be posted online at www.spokaneairports.net
 
Validated parking will be available at the Spokane Convention Center Garage. A second open house is scheduled for Aug. 9. A venue has not been selected.

Former Spokane airport official named new Salem airport manager

SALEM, Ore. — A former deputy director at Spokane International Airport has been named the new Salem airport manager in Oregon.

The Statesman Journal reports the city of Salem’s Urban Development Department recently named Mark Jucht the new airport manager.

Salem’s 751-acre airport serves general-aviation aircraft and the Oregon Army National Guard’s Army Aviation Support Facility.

Jucht is responsible for coordinating and maintaining the development and growth of the Salem Municipal Airport as well as managing day-to-day operations.

Spokane International Airport traffic increases

Spokane International Airport handled almost 3.2 million passengers last year, an increase of 4 percent from 2009, which had the lowest total since 2004.

December traffic also rose about 4 percent, to 137,820.

Freight and mail rose more than 10 percent for the month, to 5.4 million tons, and 1.76 percent for the year, to 46,863 tons.

At Felts Field, operations fell 5 percent for the year, to 63,496, and 38.3 percent for December, to 2,372. But freight tonnage was up for the month, to 36.6 percent to 3.6 tons, and for the year, 8.1 percent to 44.7 tons.

Felts Field to get more services

A long-time tenant of Felts Field will take over responsibility for fueling planes, and plans to add other services under a contract approved today by the Spokane International Airport board of directors.

The five-year agreement with Western Avionics Inc., doing business as Western Aviation, will bring continuity to Felts operations, which have been hampered by inconsistent service, said Interim airport Director Skp Davis.

Owner Tim Gump said Western has been located at Felts for 35 years. He bought the company  after moving his aircraft electronics business to Spokane from California in 1997, he said.

Besides fueling, Gump said he will provide maintenance, tie-down and other pilot services, possibly including the construction of a new building if another agreeement can be negotiated.

“He’s adamant about customer service,” Davis said, who added that visiting pilots have been put off by the lack of a fixed-base operator at Felts they can turn to for help.

    

Airport sets $60 million budget

Spokane International Airport directors today unanimously voted to pass a $60.3 million 2011 budget along to Spokane County and the City of Spokane for approval.

The budget, split $28 million for operations and $32.3 million for capital expenditures, is five percent higher than the 2010 budget, but does not call for any fee increases to either the airlines or the public, airport Finance Manager Dave Armstrong said.

Spokane International is among the few airports with boardings and revenues tracking ahead of 2009 levels, he said.

The city and county own the airport.

 

 

Airport runway extension completed

Spokane International Airport will reopen its main, newly expanded runway Thursday at 8 a.m.

The two-year, $30.7 million project increased the runway length to 11,002 feet, an additional 2,000 feet. The parallel taxiway was also extended 2,000 feet.

New navigational aids were installed. The Federal Aviation Administration will complete testing of all the new equipment in November, following 1,000 hours of continuous operation.

Electric Ave. was moved to allow for the additional length.

Funds for the project came from a $4.50 passenger fee and federal stimulus money.

  

Former hospital CEO to manage airport

Spokane International Airport directors today nominated former Providence Health Care chief executive Ryland “Skip” Davis to be interim manager.

If approved by the Spokane City Council and County Commissioners, he would replace Neal Sealock, who is retiring after five years in the position to pursue a Ph.D.

The board accepted Sealock’s resignation today.

Davis retired as head of Providence in 2008. A pilot who owns an airplane hangared at Felts Field, he said he has monitored aviation issues for years. 

Davis said he will serve while the board conducts a national search for a permanent replacement, but added “I don’t intend this to be a caretaker kind of period.”

He said he wants to draw more attention to the airport’s potential as an economic driver for the region.

Airport director resigns

Spokane International Airport Director Neal Sealock has submitted his resignation, effective July 21.

Sealock, who became director in December 2005 after 31 years in the U.S. Army, said he wants to spend more time with his family, and pursue a doctorate.

Dave Brukardt, head of the airport board of director’s personnel Committee, noted the improvements made while Sealock was in charge, including remodeling of the concessions area and main runway extension.

Brukardt said the board would begin the search for a replacement at its July 21 meeting.

Airport traffic off slightly in February

Boardings at Spokane International Airport declined slightly in February, but numbers for the first two months of 2010 remain above 2009 totals.

In February, 106,314 passengers embarked at SIA, off 2.71 percent from February 2009. The total for January and February was 441,092, up less than 1,000 from 2009.

Freight tonnage at SIA and Felts Field decreased for the month, and the year so far.

Other Felts Field operatons increased more than 16 percent for February, and so far in 2010

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