Can Toledo support an Airtran or Southwest or JetBlue?....a secondary airline marketing to secondary airports? AkronCanton thrives with these, no farther from Cleveland Hopkins than Detroit Metro.
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It's not the location or proximity to another major airport - it's the market of users that will determine if a secondary airline can thrive.
Airtran already had a stint at Toledo - they pulled out in 2001:
The primary target of airlines is the business traveler. From a financial perspective, it doesn't make sense to fly someone out of Toledo to Detroit or Minneapolis/St. Paul and then to a final destination. Time is money and the longer you're on a plane, the more money it costs. So even if a ticket from Toledo Exp. is say, $100 less than out of DTW, it might not be worth the extra 2-3 hours needed for the connection.
There is also the issue of bad weather or other types of delays. The rules require the airline to be able to re-route you to your original final destination so if they can get you back to Detroit, for instance, but there are no flights back to Toledo, they won't issue the ticket. Stupid rule, imho, but one they have to follow. So it's another inconvenience to account for if you choose to fly out of Toledo.
There are advantages to flying from Toledo Express. Unfortunately for Toledo Express, they don't seem to outweigh the disadvantages (at least, not for the primary customer) nor the advantages of flying out of DTW or, sometimes, even Cleveland.
My concern today is that so many different companies have attempted to make a go out of Toledo Express, but not succeeded (at least, not as all had hoped). Does the airport now have a reputation that must be overcome before other airlines will consider it?
Toledo Express is convenient, but there are few flight options anymore. Last time I flew out of Tol Exp, on a Saturday, could not even get an adult beverage (Beer was avail). The bar was closed and we were told there was not enough customers to justify opening it.
It is nice to be able to park right outside the terminal, breeze through a full body cavity search, and not pay $21 per day for parking.
What they would need to do is make it more convenient than Detroit and then niche the crap out of it. Direct flights to Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix etc. The goal - someone in Ann Arbor says "I am flying out of Toledo because it's easier".
Problem is, you are asking an airline to roll the dice on Toledo Express.
From my house in west Toledo, the driving difference between Toledo Express and DTW is a total of, at worst, maybe 15-20 minutes. Frankly, with Detroit's terminal redesign and additional south entrance, there is no downside -- it's well-planned from the standpoint of passenger convenience.
Parking costs are more, true, but to me that's no deal-breaker when weighed against the far superior flight schedules and ease of airport use.
I fail to understand why Toledo doesn't capitalize on DTW's proximity, and focus instead on developing Toledo Express as a cargo hub. Is it that we can't get beyond the vain and erroneous viewpoint that having no passenger terminal is a "failure," when in fact DTW is close enough to be easily considered a "local" passenger hub?
I'm guessing it would be more prudent to divert the marketing dollars used now to lure passenger traffic to Toledo -- which will never fully develop unless there's a reasonable cost-benefit advantage; no airport can survive if it continues to plead for its use as essentially a charitable act -- and use those dollars instead to establish a well-scheduled shuttle service to DTW.
Then again, no one asked me....
All good points luvtoledo. DTW at times can be overbearing, although I do love the new terminal. I just remember a time (pre 9/11) when I flew out of Toledo and forgot my sun glasses in my car. Standing at the gate I had time to go back and get them and still get on the plane. Ha! Never again.
I appreciate having the direct inexpensive flights to and from Florida from here.
The airport here is underrated.
The problem, IMO, is this place is really cheap. They want the cheapest flight no matter what. They continue to flock to airlines like Spirit who I think is just the bottom of the barrel in travel. Passengers won't pay $5 more round trip to fly out of Toledo...it's a proven fact.
To answer the original question, yes, Northwest Ohio could support a low fare carrier based on passengers alone. The Northwest Ohio market is around 1.5M travellers a year. But the airline wouldn't be able to make as much money as they can in Detroit since passengers want nonstop flights ONLY and the lowest fare each time. The airlines know this, so they don't fly to Toledo unless it's the likes of Allegiant and Direct Air. Even then, it's limited because they can only offer so many bottom basement fares.
The reason why Toledo needs an airport is Identity for businesses. Say you're an international company in Japan and you hear there's a great place in Toledo and want to visit...and there are no flights. They won't know any better to check Detroit. Business is lost. First Solar has specifically said they aren't headquartered here because of the lack of flights. Why do you think this area sucks in white collar/professional jobs?
Luvtoledo - the reason why passengers are needed is for funding for the airport. Cargo is fine and dandy but it only brings in 1/4 the amount of funding that passengers bring in. Say an upgrade is needed for those cargo flights (which is going on now), where do you get the funding from? Can't do the upgrade, you lose business.
What about the jobs that are not in this area because people won't pay an extra $5 to fly out of Toledo? I think I read for every airline that flies out of Toledo on a regular basis, it creates 25 to 30 jobs from baggage handler/ticket agent/fueler/concessions/car rental.
Maggie - it may be the case, but the airport needs to show an airline why it can make more money here then out of Detroit...and they can't because of the lack of support from the region. The only airline that is reasonable to come into Toledo and making a big splash is jetBlue. The problem with jetBlue is they would fly to Boston, New York-JFK, or Fort Lauderdale. Would the market really take just a couple of flights to either of those destinations? No because they would want the amount of flights that Detroit has. They know that so they won't fly here. Southwest is purchasing AirTran so they are out of the mix. Frontier could possibly work, but they are are also in Detroit. Again, we're talking the cheapo airlines here so profits will be minimal.
I need to fly to Miami for a brief weekend visit next month (sadly, it's only a weekend visit, not a week!). Here are the fares.
From DETROIT: Spirit Air (non-stop to Fort Lauderdale): $202.40
From DETROIT: Delta Air (non-stop to Miami Intl.): $305.00
From TOLEDO: American Air (one stop--ORD--then Miami Intl.): $474.80
Hometown pride, support local, whatever you wanna call it--it's not worth an extra $170-$270 onto an airfare...especially one that includes a layover in Chicago (notorious for flight delays).
I saw Delta has just cut back service to MSP to one round trip per day. That airline will be gone within the year, mark my words...leaving American to Chicago the only game in town, aside from the Allegiant Airlines direct-to-Punta-Gorda/Naples route.
The airport needs to be spun away from the Port Authority and made into its own entity. The PA knows about cargo--it has not one friggin' clue about passenger operations or why airlines would fly into Toledo. The airport is very nice on the inside and convenient, but something in the way the PA is handling business is not enticing airlines to come here.
The proximity thing is not a killer. Dayton has a thriving airport less than an hour away from Cincinnati/N. Kentucky Intl. In fact, it looks like Toledo Express--except it has flights going places.
AV--just read your post. Read mine about the airfares I just looked at 1/2 hour ago. It's more than $5.
Old - It's a lot more complicated then that and I don't want to bore you with the intracies(sp?).
Basically, what has happened, American is holding out that seat for a higher paying customer. Why put someone on it at $100 if they can hold out till a few days before the flight can sell it for say $250? In Detroit, they still have a lot of seats to fill so they do fireside sales.
What I was referring to was the passengers who book months out when generally fares are (were back 5 or 10 years ago when Toledo had the carriers and the competition) pretty similar. I was told an airline that currently flies out of Toledo to warm destinations can see a huge dropoff in sales when they raise fares just $5.
I won't disagree with you about the airport being spun off...something hasn't worked for 10-15 years now.
luvtoledo has the exact answer why Toledo Express won't thrive. Inconvenience.
Now, back when this site was discussing the possibility of a metro-line, if something like that came to fruition an express line to Toledo Express would definitely improve the airport's chances. The reason is why pay for parking? Why get a ride up to Detroit Metro? Take a ride on the E-train and save yourself the hassle.
Until the area around the airport ans west as well as south of it becomes populated the Toledo's airport will never be a viable portal for the area, Detroit metro is just too close and too large for it to compete. It great as a cargo location because of the same reasons, they need to maybe focus on that aspect of it. While I'm sure the folks that live out that way think its better because its closer those of us who live in this half of Toledo will just go to Detroit, its just about as fast to get to and the cost/convienence just don't add up. You have to ask yourself why wont a company stay there or multiple companies, along with competition, number 1 reason, no money to be made. The airport isn't gonna go anywhere I don't think unless they shut down the Airforce portion or the cargo carriers leave.
"The airport isn't gonna go anywhere I don't think unless they shut down the Airforce portion or the cargo carriers leave."
I certainly hope that wasn't meant to come accross as arrogant. The feeling I'm getting from your comment is just leave it the way it is. Well, if improvements aren't made, they will leave because they would be able to do things better in another location. Remember, the more passengers (and cargo) equals more federal dollars and more improvements/jobs. I never realized how many jobs were involved with just paving a runway...
"...the reason why passengers are needed is for funding for the airport. Cargo is fine and dandy but it only brings in 1/4 the amount of funding that passengers bring in. Say an upgrade is needed for those cargo flights (which is going on now), where do you get the funding from? Can't do the upgrade, you lose business."
Is that funding determined by passenger load or just the fact we "have" passenger service?
Seems like if its the latter, then Toledo Express is walking away with tons of funding (sorry, "creative financing") for an airport with barely any passenger activity.
I'm old enough to remember when Toledo was a viable small airport that handled a good amount of plane traffic. Between the corporate jobs that have left and the downgrading to puddle-jumper planes (which many people detest flying in), Toledo Express is really in a bind.