Ultra Crowded Airports

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October 22nd, 2017 at 9:31:20 AM permalink
Pacomartin
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 763
Posts: 9026
Quote: Nareed
In some cities, it seems about the only way to build a new airport would be for the air force to bomb the old one ;)


Well, I am convinced that the smartest thing to do, outside of spending billions on new airports, is to coax airlines into using bigger planes.

It is unlikely airlines will start flying widebodies to San Diego in large numbers. But if they can reward airlines for flying 175 seat narrowbodies (like B737-800 and Max-8 used by Southwest Airlines) then the runway will get better use.

The cable pulled Tram that goes from Excalibur to Mandalay Bay is a good example of a quiet energy efficient people mover. That same company put in a similar system at Oakland airport that is over 3 miles long.

San Diego Airport is about 2 miles from an old train station which is now a Transit center where the Trolley, the Coaster, and the Amtrak (to Los Angeles). If they can put in a two mile cable pulled people mover that would be much more efficient than a shuttle bus. The airport has limited parking and the roads are bad.

Ideally, if you can check in your bags, get boarding passes, and do other things at the downtown location, that reduces stress on the airport gates. In London there are remote check in places in the city.
October 22nd, 2017 at 9:45:58 AM permalink
Fleastiff
Member since: Oct 27, 2012
Threads: 50
Posts: 5266
Getting a hooker to take on more clients before flying back to St. Paul would be easy but getting casinos to comp gamblers to 4 instead of 3 nights might be difficult. One thing certain: its the casinos that will suffer if the airport becomes too annoying. Vegas no longer offers all that much anyway, the local casino is sufficient for most gamblers as all the older ones die off.
October 22nd, 2017 at 10:09:06 AM permalink
DRich
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 18
Posts: 841
How is maximum capacity calculated? McCarran airport is usually quiet from 11pm til 6am. I think they just need to move more flight to that time frame. The airport authority should subsidize flights during those times. There are a lot of tourists that would accept off hour flights if there was a significant discount. I think that would be cheaper than building a new airport.
October 22nd, 2017 at 11:18:18 AM permalink
Pacomartin
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 763
Posts: 9026
Quote: DRich
How is maximum capacity calculated?


How is any economic variable calculated? You tell the analysis department the answer you want, and then you pay them to come up with a credible argument supporting that number. Sorry to be so cynical, but I've seen it a hundred times.

The San Diego airport Authority has been using the 26 million air passenger figure for about 20-30 years, and Las Vegas has been using 53 to 55 million passengers for a long time. When the vote went down that failed to agree with the SDAA decision to try and force the military to share Miramar, the authority removed the analytical papers that they bought from their web site.

This UCSD professor disagreed with the analysis
http://econweb.ucsd.edu/~rcarson/Airport_6perPage.pdf
In particular the professor found ludicrous the idea that not building a new airport would cost the county $94 billion dollar in gross regional domestic product. Most of this figure was supposedly caused by lack of cargo planes.

Since I read the SDAA paper more than once, I can give you some idea.

(0) The average number of seats per flight used in the 2004 analysis (reviewed by 11 different organizations) was
Year seats - load - passengers/flight
1990 106 63.3% 67
2000 124
2002 120 72.9% 87
2010 125 75.7% 95
2020 128 76.8% 98
2030 130 76.9% 100

As you can see the expensive prediction was way off since the average number of seats is well over 140 in 2016. Also load factors are way over 80% already. There is no wonder that the SDAA removed he paper from their website.

(1) At the time, the analysts said that Southwest would never fly an airplane with more than 143 seats. Indeed they had never exceeded that number from 1971 to April 2012. Even today the average number of seats on plane flying into San Diego is still 149 because they fly a limited number of planes with 175 seats.

(2) They didn't expect a big change in the number of widebodies. British Airways had stopped flying to San Diego in October 2003. It was a popular planespotter flight since it was the only B747 to land at the airport at the time. There was no flight to Tokyo. There was no flight to Honolulu. There was limited widebody domestic flights, mostly with B767s at busy times to places like Atlanta

(3) More controversial they didn't see a change in the regional turboprops with 30-40 seats that were flying to LAX at roughly 15 minute intervals during the busiest part of the day.

The future growth in number of passengers is largely based on past history. One of the criticism of the UCSD professor is the study relied to much on the 7.7% growth rate in the 1980s after airline deregulation as the norm. Of course when the SDAA was formed in 2001, 9-11 or the economic crash had not happened, so they took the downturn after 9-11 as an aberration that would eventually correct itself.

Per year average growth in passengers
16.34% decade ending 1960
14.29% decade ending 1970
4.55% decade ending 1980
7.69% decade ending 1990
3.71% decade ending 2000
1.73% 2000 to 2016

Ten years later, the mistakes are easy to see. Southwest flew larger planes at higher load factors. Nearly all of the tiny commuter planes have vanished, and the ones left are 69-76 seats, and the military flights have decreased. They built out the terminals to be much larger. It helps that some people do everything including boarding passes on line, so the only line they must wait in is for security.

If the Bombardier CS100 with only 125 seats becomes popular, the runway could be in trouble again. Even the CS300 only has 145 seats.
Until Bombardier started selling these new planes, it was assumed that the trend would be towards 175-200 seat narrow bodies.

To be fair to the analysts, for many years the number of passengers per flight was fairly steady. They did not address measure to force the airlines to fly larger planes as it is considered "constraining" the flights. Dr Carson, said the airlines would naturally begin flying bigger planes, and he was correct. Shortly after the 2006 vote to reject the proposal, the airlines naturally introduced larger planes.

Part of economic downturn is that airlines began retiring semi old planes in large numbers. The newer planes tended to be bigger.

Year Psgrs/flight at San Diego
2002 90
2003 88
2004 91
2005 92
2006 92
2007 91
2008 93
2009 98
2010 104
2011 106
2012 107
2013 108
2014 111
2015 118
2016 120

Looking at airlines individually for April 2017

Daily round trip - Average number of seats per trip
25 175 American Airlines Inc.
20 167 Delta Air Lines Inc.
19 167 Alaska Airlines Inc.
24 163 United Air Lines Inc.
94 149 Southwest Airlines Co.

Hypothetically Southwest could fly the same number of seats on 80 daily round trips using only their 175 seat aircraft, instead of flying most of them on the 143 seat aircraft. But the airport cannot tell airlines what to do.
October 22nd, 2017 at 11:49:38 AM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 332
Posts: 11962
Quote: Pacomartin
Well, I am convinced that the smartest thing to do, outside of spending billions on new airports, is to coax airlines into using bigger planes.


I doubt you could persuade the air force to shoot down that many jets.
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
October 22nd, 2017 at 1:36:57 PM permalink
Pacomartin
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 763
Posts: 9026
I dug up the final presentation dated June 7, 2004 for the San Diego. The SDAA paid millions of dollars for this analysis, and it was reviewed by 11 government agencies.

The bottom line was that they predicted that the airport would go from 87 passengers per flight in 2002 to 100 passenger per flight in 2030

According to their calculation, at 300,000 Annual Operations—Occurring Between 2021 and 2030—Runway Congestion will Eliminate Further Growth.

So since they were at 100 passengers per flight that would be 30 million passengers.

In reality after the economic crash of 2008, the airlines retired most of the smaller jets, and at San Diego were averaging 100 passengers per operation already by 2010, and have increased to nearly 120 in the last 7 years.
October 22nd, 2017 at 3:23:35 PM permalink
Fleastiff
Member since: Oct 27, 2012
Threads: 50
Posts: 5266
How much additional money do those extra twenty passengers bring to Vegas? Extra hookers? Extra brats? Extra pornslappers?
October 24th, 2017 at 7:37:46 AM permalink
Pacomartin
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 763
Posts: 9026
Just to rehash what I thought was wrong with 2003 study that said San Diego airport would hit saturation is the prediction was that the average number of passengers per flight would expand from 87 in 2002 to 100 in 2030 (or 0.5% per year).

Clearly the average number of passengers per flight is well above 100 for all categories of planes (except regional jets). It zoomed above 100 by the year 2010, only four years after the airport vote.

San Diego breakdown April 2017
Flights Seats Load Plane Type
1.5% 252 90.6% Wide Body
38.3% 149 78.5% Southwest Airlines
43.8% 163 85.1% Other Narrow Body
14.8% 72 75.7% Regional
1.6% - - Other
100.0% 143 81.9% Total

Las Vegas breakdown April 2017
Flights Seats Load Plane Type
2.7% 272 86.0% Wide Body
42.6% 151 82.7% Southwest Airlines
50.6% 168 87.6% Other Narrow Body
3.4% 70 75.7% Regional
0.6% - - Other
100.0% 159 85.4% Total


JFK breakdown April 2017 (highest passengers per operation in nation)
Flights Seats Load Plane Type
25.7% 284 79.7% Wide Body
57.2% 151 83.5%Narrow Body
15.2% 66 80.1% Regional
1.9% - - Other
100.0% 170 81.7% Total


Las Vegas flies larger planes than San Diego (more widebodies from overseas and fewer regional jets )
The average plane is 159 seats with -23 empty in April 2017
Southwest is 151 seats -26 empty so their load factor is higher than in SAN.

We note that 28 years (2002-2030) is a very long time compared to the time that Air Travel was competitive (1978-2002) is only 24 years. If plane size kept up with passenger growth (87 passengers in 2002 to 174 passengers in 2030) then the number of operations would remain the same.

Is there any chance that Bombardier jets with Airbus funding will change the landscape? Perhaps the smaller jets will become popular again given their low cost.

The 76 seat upper limit negotiated by the pilots of the major airlines puts an artificial upper limit on the size of the regional aircraft

SkyWest Airlines founded in 1972 in Utah flies contract flights as as American Eagle, as Delta Connection, as United Express, and as Alaska Airlines. Their fleet is currently over 451 regional jets but may catch Southwest Airlines. They fly to 238 destinations. None of their planes is over 76 seats in keeping with the pilot negotiation.

But periodically SkyWest aspires to be the new Southwest Airlines and fly their own routes independent of the major airlines. They could build a new network based on the smaller Bombardier planes.

What should overcrowded airport do if the planes chosen by the free market start getting smaller again?

What if there is a public vote about building Ivanpah airport (like there was in San Diego)? Which way would you vote?
October 27th, 2017 at 3:51:02 AM permalink
Pacomartin
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 763
Posts: 9026
San Diego Airport with it's single runway flies over 30% of it's daily flights to five nearby airports.

20 per day with 148 seats on average to SFO 447 miles away
16 per day with 150 seats on average to PHX 304 miles
16 per day with 77 seats on average to LAX 109 miles
14 per day with 136 seats on average to LAS 258 miles
13 per day with 128 seats on average to SJC 417 miles


I wonder if it is possible that a B797 will fly one of these routes in the next decade?
October 27th, 2017 at 8:40:53 AM permalink
Fleastiff
Member since: Oct 27, 2012
Threads: 50
Posts: 5266
Quote: Pacomartin
How is any economic variable calculated? You tell the analysis department the answer you want, and then you pay them to come up with a credible argument supporting that number. Sorry to be so cynical, but I've seen it a hundred times.
Of course. These are all advocacy documents.

Airport usage? IF electric/hybrid flight improves night time use of airports will soar as will use of inner city single runway airports.

Larger planes? By the time Larger Planes are adopted an airport will need Even Larger Planes. Its the price of the tickets that is relevant and the duration/comfort issues, not the size of the plane that matters.
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