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Flight shortcomings

September 14, 2013

Unfortunately, the Sun- Gazette fails to realize why so few people use the airport – reduction in flights from the 1960s-70s, when usage was at its peak, with 10 or 11 flights to three, and from......

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(20)

z3r0c00l

Sep-15-13 9:01 AM

Francine,

Quite a few businesses are looking to locate in Williamsport. Infrastructure, business index, and talent pool are part of the equation when making the decision to open up shop. Williamsport has much to offer, however we must build, innovate and advance our infrastructure if we want to become competitive and grow. We need to step into different industries and diversify.

What you say "none" - meaning no companies are coming to Williamsport, lets ask ourselves why? When we have the answer, lets fix the problem so that Williamsport becomes attractive to new business.

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Tedeaux

Sep-14-13 7:04 PM

I recently flew one way from Williamsport to Traverse City, Michigan and made the reverse trip in a three quarter ton chevy pick up truck that couldn't seem to pass a gas station. The trip by plane took 13 hours including two layovers in Philly and Chicago. The trip back by truck took 11 hours. The airfare was about $1013 and the gas for the truck was $183 at $3.53 a gallon average. Less time, less expense and I don't have to rent a car when I arrive. I like flying, but the extra cost just don't make it economical.

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Capricorn1

Sep-14-13 1:25 PM

My question is, what industry are they hoping to come to this area? The gas industry has been here along with supporting companies and the airport obviously has not been utilized to it's full potential with the existing terminal. What industry do they hope to attract. Personally I don't see any other major industry coming to this area.

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enigma

Sep-14-13 12:47 PM

The new terminal will not guarantee economic growth, but not having it will guarantee it won't happen. That's just a fact. No business of any consequence will locate here if the closest airport is a two hour drive. With the present terminal, what we have is not an airport in any real sense of the word.

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Alsever

Sep-14-13 11:08 AM

I fly to Latin America 3 or 4 times a year for cheap vacations. Wiliamsport Airport prices are EXTREMELY higher than any of their competitors. Right now I can fly out of state College; Hbg; WB; Altoona; Corning for $365 to either Cancun or Mexico City while to fly out of Wnpt is $700.

Went to Mexico city in Jan out of Philly for $208 Rt --drove there as flight from Wmpt to Philly was $340! It is NOT expensive to park at Philly, Baltimore, Newark, JFK, Wash Dc, in fact, you can park for two weeks for free at some hotels if you stay one night before your flight.

A new terminal is not needed as no one cares what a terminal looks like--we just want to catch our flight. Lots of people sleep in the LaGuardia terminal every night with no comfortable facilities if the flights cost less than JFK.

Anyone who flys out of Wmpt is a fool. It is only a couple hours to other airports with much cheaper flights.

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nobud74

Sep-14-13 10:32 AM

Ladydawg, what you overlooked, and it is common in travel (I did it for years), is the added cost of the flight from BWI vs. IPT. Here are some things to think about. 1. You added 3 1/2 or more hours of car travel before and after your flight. 2. You will pay for parking. 3. It costs about 60 cents or more per mile to run your car and that must be figured into the cost of the flight. 4. You run the risk of being tired driving back from BWI or any other major airport after your trip (I have had to get a hotel on more than one occasion due to fatigue and safe driving concerns.). When you add all this up, the cost of flying out of IPT looks much better. Just my observations over years of travel.

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ToTEXASfromPA

Sep-14-13 10:28 AM

"Up popped all the major airports and the new terminals they built to attract more carriers and business."--CMReeder

++

Very important word "major" airports.

Years ago, Continental airlines held the city of Houston hostage to spend bond money to upgrade IAH and expand it. They did and it worked for four reasons:

1. because IAH was a hub that went many places for Continental.

2. IAH grew as an international hub to Mexico/South America and the Middle East (oil business) with many connections through Europe.

3. The continual growth in the city and surrounding areas provided a larger customer base to travel, including many Asians, South Americans, Indians, Europeans that vacation in their home lands.

4. Increases in discretionary income due to the booming oil industry.

Now that United bought Continental, they want to divert much of the hub traffic to Chicago so it will be interesting to see the impacts.

Williamsport is not a hub.

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ToTEXASfromPA

Sep-14-13 10:11 AM

When we were going to travel to Lyco in May, we compared flights to PHL and BWI using a rental car and flights all the way into Williamsport. I realize that flight prices are constantly changing any day but the cost of the flight all the way into Williamsport was identical to the leg to only PHL, per Travelocity.

Free flight into/out of Williamsport from Philly. Maybe the locals that decide to fly out paid for my leg!!!!! Maybe it just costs money to escape. :-)

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richardson

Sep-14-13 10:00 AM

Oink, oink. Enough. From Harrisburg one must fly to Philidelphia for connections to where ever. It is not uncommon then for your flight to be cancelled for lack of passengers requiring staying in a hotel for a possible flight the next day. Gee. Maybe I could have enjoyed an extra night at home until I drove to Philly on the assurance my scheduled flight would indeed take off. The airlines are destroying themselves.

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underwood

Sep-14-13 9:55 AM

Ladydawg hit the nail on the head. Air travel in and out the area has more to do with market forces than the condition of the terminal.

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enigma

Sep-14-13 9:52 AM

Mr. Tabor's idea is like waiting to see if you have enough visitors to your museum before you build it. If you have no visitors, you don't build it. Nothing would ever get built if that was the criteria. Now, we can't go ahead and build this thing just hoping it will work, but there are also no iron clad guarantees. I will admit that I don't know whether building the terminal is a good idea or not, but I can tell you that this letter and few of these comments are of any help at all in making the decision.

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CMReeder

Sep-14-13 9:41 AM

"new airline terminal was built to attract new carriers and flights"

I took part of your questioned and used Google. Up popped all the major airports and the new terminals they built to attract more carriers and business. They were JFK, Dallas/Fort Worth and so on and so on.

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z3r0c00l

Sep-14-13 8:28 AM

I fully agree with Mr. Reeder. Companies look for a positive business index. A component of the business index includes accessibility to a convenient airport. Want more jobs? Build Williamsport's infrastructure.

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ToTEXASfromPA

Sep-14-13 8:26 AM

The roads today are far superior to those in the 60's and it is easier, and cheaper in many instances to get places so more people drive.

Remember when I-180 was complete from Williamsport to Muncy. And before that the section of I-180 was complete from Muncy to I80. And after that the section of I-80 west from Milton to Loganton or Milesburg and beyond. And before the section of I-80 from Milton to the PA NE Extension Turnpike. And more recently the section of Rt 15 upgraded and expanded to Harrisburg. The Williamsport area was isloated and it was easier to fly somewhere.

Competition from roads has hurt the airport.

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Capricorn1

Sep-14-13 8:08 AM

It has to do with private company planes/jets. -Reeder

Chuck, I disagree. You don't need a new terminal for private planes and jets. They have direct access to those planes. I agree that airport infrastructure is important for attracting industry, but unless there is expanded flight service to accommodate business travel, a new terminal is not going to make one bit of difference.

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CMReeder

Sep-14-13 7:55 AM

It has to do with private company planes/jets. We need to make the airport more compatible with businesses and their needs in order to attract more businesses to the area. It isn't about general population consumer usage as it was in the 60s.

Businesses are not going to wait for good reliable infrastructure they are looking for where it already is and areas willing to invest in it.

Airports are in fact infrastructures that businesses rely on.

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eriklatranyi

Sep-14-13 7:30 AM

I understand the current terminal building is in horrible condition.

Most can't see it because of the interior renovations. The structure itself is in poor condition.

But, that does not justify building a new terminal.

They should not only have contracts with other airlines ready, but these airlines should not be receiving any subsidies for serving Williamsport.

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Capricorn1

Sep-14-13 7:00 AM

If contracts are in place with the airlines to provide additional flights and that's the justification for this expansion, then that's one thing. But to gamble millions of tax payer dollars in hopes that this expansion MAY result in more flights, is bad business in my book.

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ladydawg4

Sep-14-13 6:47 AM

I think one of the reasons the airport is not used is the fact they are expensive to fly out of. I'm going to AZ at the end of the month and looked into catching a flight out of our local airport but was shocked to find that it would cost me $120 more a ticket and I would be flying into BWI anyways to catch a connecting flight. I ended up buying a ticket to fly out of BWI and spent much less per ticket. I would love to use our local airport but also don't want to give up my first born, arm, and leg to do it.

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DavidBross

Sep-14-13 6:27 AM

I think that the existing terminal can handle additional passenger traffic. However, comparing current conditions to the 60s and 70s does overlook the additional space now required for security reasons.

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