Location-neutral business group: Studying air service users

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The Yampa Valley Regional Airport was created as a mechanism for attracting tourists, and as such, Ski Corp. and the Chamber long have been responsible for both air service marketing and airline revenue guarantees. Their focus naturally is on tourists. But our community has evolved considerably in the past decade, with local travelers increasingly relying on the airport each year especially location-neutral business owners and employees. At the same time, we now find taxpayer money going toward the airline revenue guarantees.

We think it’s time for the community to better understand the true demographic of air service users in our area, including:

  1. The total population of travelers, including tourist, business and leisure fliers who use alternate airports like DIA and Eagle County Airport for traveling to/from the Steamboat area.

  2. The travel behaviors of that population, including where they commonly fly to/from and their usual flight schedules.

  3. Intelligence on the cost versus revenue per seat mile for each airline on each route to/from Hayden/YVRA to verify claims made by the airlines requiring the revenue guarantees.

There is a tremendous amount of anecdotal evidence that Hayden/YVRA could capture significantly more travelers, both locals and tourists, at less cost through understanding the issues above and making more precise, data-driven decisions regarding air service at Hayden/YVRA. There are consultants who perform this exact type of analysis. The output clearly would identify demand for additional flights (including summer service), look for optimization opportunities in existing and new flight schedules and give us more leverage for negotiating revenue guarantees with the airlines. Combined, these could make more people choose Hayden/YVRA at less of a cost to our community.

These are not radical concepts. Airports like Branson, Mo., and Montrose have used these same techniques not only to improve air service for the local and tourist traveler but to reduce or even avoid revenue guarantees all together.

Such a study is estimated to cost about $20,000, a worthy return on investment. While we respect and appreciate the analysis that Ski Corp. already does, we also feel that it’s not broad enough in scope and that the taxpayer deserves an independent study that looks at both the tourism and nontourism demographic.

Scott Bideau

Location-neutral business executive living in Steamboat

Mark Satkiewicz

President of Smartwool

Carrie Request

Steamboat-based location-neutral business owner

Alan Rudolph

Location-neutral business executive living in Steamboat

Paul DeCrette

Steamboat-based location-neutral business owner

Emily Beyer

Location-neutral business employee living in Steamboat

Travis Mattern

Location-neutral business employee

Sharon and David Smith

Steamboat-based location-neutral business owners (since 1994)

Tim Walsh

Steamboat-based location-neutral business owner

Kris Stouffer

Location-neutral business employee living in Steamboat

Tim Sittema

Charlotte, N.C. (frequent visitor to Steamboat via HDN and DIA airport)

Eric F. Meyer, M.D.

Yampa Valley Airport Commission

Comments

Michael Bird 6 months, 4 weeks ago

When is $300.00 better than ZERO. Always. Since we subsidize flights to Houston, for example, why don't locals benefit ? Why can't locals buy stand-by tickets for half price which is a zillion times more than the zero revenue gained from an empty seat ? Instead many drive to DIA and spent their $300.00. The benefit is obvious - locals win and the revenue shortages are REDUCED so we pay airlines less of tax $$$$.

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Stuart Orzach 6 months, 4 weeks ago

I agree that taxpayers should understand why their money is being spent on airline revenue guarantees. In order to be held accountable, government officials need to supply empirical data, not anecdotal evidence. However, I am extremely uncomfortable with, and puzzled that most of the signatories on the letter did not identify the companies that they owned or worked for, Why the anonymity? Since I don't know them, their names don't mean anything to me. Please explain. Location neutral businesses have been the beneficiaries of much hype in recent years, but please tell me why taxpayers should subsidize them.

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Scott Ford 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Hi All – I think I may be able to get some data regarding commercial air service in/out of YVRA that may help inform this discussion. The US Bureau of Transportation tracks by commercial airport passenger origination and destination data by carrier on an annual basis for at least 10+ years. I came across this data set when I provided some data to Tom Kern at the Chamber regarding the air service in Branson, MO.

This is a very robust data set and I think it is likely we will be able to tease out a reasonable estimate of the number of folks originating from YVRA and their destination. If we assume that for folks where YVRA is their airport of origin and at some point in their travel they return to YVRA – I am confident we can isolate them, count them and identify where they were flying to.

I currently wrapping up another data project – and will try and look at this data set next week. It is data I have been curious about for some time and this just gives me an excuse to mine it. Like most data it will not tell us everything we what to know but it may tell us enough to result in a more informed discussion.

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Stuart Orzach 6 months, 4 weeks ago

I agree with Michael Bird. Not all of us are location-neutral, nor do we desire to be so. Some of us invest our time and energy in a specific place, and that is a good thing. Government and business could support citizens with location-specific lifestyles through wise business strategy, not subsidies. There is a point in time, close to flight departure, where the market value of an empty seat becomes zero. It would benefit the airline to sell that worthless seat for a discounted price. Location-specific people whose lifestyles do not require on-demand globe trotting might then choose to risk their time and energy and opportunity cost, (previously non-monetized assets), by going to the airport in the hope of flying standby.

Those with knowledge of airline business models would have to run scenarios and crunch numbers to see what benefits the airlines. But, on its face, this idea is worth considering.

As a location-specific person, I sure like to get something in return when I spend my money, or when government officials spend it for me.

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Scott Wedel 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Maybe instead of spending $20,000 for an out of towner consultant (leakage according to some people) then maybe the signers of the letter could donate at least $5K to a local charity if Scott Ford digs up the data.

And maybe the Chamber could start a program where CMC students and local high school students are paid to process this and also future data. That is ever more becoming what is relevant to businesses and we can create those jobs here.

A simple thing is that the paper's articles on employment numbers are insipid. The articles tend to only mention the unemployment percentage which, of all the numbers, is the least important. Numbers of jobs and size of workforce are the two more important numbers and how they are trending compared to last year gives a very good idea of the state of the local economy and should be part of the Chamber's website and press releases.

There is also a ton of other data out there. CDOT collects vehicles passing by certain spots which is a critical number for anyone considering a business with walk up customers. There is a ton of income data out there which should be used to ground any local affordable housing initiatives in reality.

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Mark Ruckman 6 months, 4 weeks ago

Scott W, I don't think the Scott F data is going to show you leakage (i.e. how many people live near HDN but choose to drive to DEN because of poor service (leakage).

I do applaud Scott F for looking at the data.

We had a friend who flies a lot recent move to Durango and I wondered how he could do this until I saw the flights from Durango a town a little bit larger than Steamboat. This month they have at least 4 United flights a day to Denver, 1 AMR flight to DEN, 1 Frontier flight to DEN, 1 AMR flight to Dallas and 1 US Air flight to Phoenix. I have no idea if Durango provides $ to the airlines, but I know UAL was in town this week telling the town they are sorry for the crappy service and they are fixing it (same planes that fly to SB)

While I think the leakage will be telling, I'm wondering what is the best way to apply the tax. I'm starting to wonder if giving another airline funds to compete against UAL will provide both the locals and visitors a better overall experience from HDN and hopefully reduce the leakage.

FYI - my name is not on Scott's letter but I support his efforts. I'm self employed and I expect if I'm paying an extra $250 - $300 just to fly HDN - DEN - HDN that I should have just as reliable of air service as when I pay $400 to fly DEN - east coast - DEN

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Scott Wedel 6 months, 4 weeks ago

I was talking about the direct leakage of paying an out of towner consultant to do the study instead of using and developing local expertise.

Also, I read the letter as suggesting that locals flying from EGE is a bad thing. I think there should be strong consideration to treat EGE more as a friend than as a competitor. It is much closer than DIA and if our fliers plus Eagle Valley fliers can support more flights to more locations then we all win.

Our area is simply too small to support many flights and part of our plan should be then figuring out what are the best options given that. Is it shuttle service to Denver to reach connecting flights? Is it working more with EGE to increase the number of nearby flights? Could an EGE HDN shuttle be viable/

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scott bideau 6 months, 4 weeks ago

It's great to see a lively discussion on this topic already. It's always difficult to avoid misinterpretation of a short letter for such complex issue, so let me add some additional context here.

THIS ISN'T JUST LNBS

The location neutral business community seems to be pushing the topic, but the benefit is not solely for us. This letter makes a specific point that we're looking to improve air service for the entire community, both local leisure travel, business travel, and the tourism market. This letter is signed by a tourist who is also frustrated with the situation at HDN. We are looking for ways that all three groups can patronize our local airport rather than DIA.

THIS ISN'T A HANDOUT, IT'S THE SMALL COST OF DATA DRIVEN DECISION MAKING

The data needed for the three points made in the letter is not available through any source other than a proprietary database accessible only by airlines and airline consultants, thus the $20,000 price tag. Yes, the US Transportation Bureau has data on flights out of HDN, but that isn't the point here. We need to understand the demand for those who live near HDN but fly out of a different airport instead. Then we need to go capture and serve that demand.

Airfare price isn't the only reason for not choosing HDN. It could be flight times (including the ability to make/return from a connecting flight), reliability of those flights, or even airport amenities. We also need to understand each airline's cost per seat mile and revenue per seat mile to decide which ones we revenue guarantee and for how much. This study will identify all of this information to not only look for new flight opportunities with optimal schedules, but also improve the schedules of existing flights and reduce the revenue guarantees required.

This isn't a subsidy or a handout. It's analysis required to make more data-driven decisions on existing revenue guarantees and hopefully to attract more and better air service for free in the future. The cost of not having this data is much higher because of the millions we spend in revenue guarantees and airport operating expenses.

(continued on next post)

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scott bideau 6 months, 4 weeks ago

THE CONCEPTS MENTIONED HERE ACTUALLY WORK

Remember, these aren't radically new ideas. The Branson, MO airport is just as much a tourism market as we are and competes with other large and small airports just like HDN does with DIA and Eagle County. But Branson spends $0 on revenue guarantees. Instead, they spend much less money on analyzing potential demand, then they convince airlines to fly there on their own accord. Southwest Airlines just began nonstop service from several different cities. Additionally, the Montrose airport performed similair analysis to capture more traffic away from airports like Telluride and Gunnison with less revenue guarantees.

The "Yes 2 Air" campaign made a lot of claims to get taxpayers to approve spending millions in tax money each year. Very few of those claims came true because they weren't based on factual evidence. With proper analysis, we can be confident in the return on investment we get from both the revenue guarantees and the airport in general.

LNBS VERY MUCH VALUE OUR COMMUNITY

And finally, I want to make the point that most LNBs are very much location specific. It's our business that we can do from anywhere, but we choose Steamboat as the place we want to call home. And it's not just because of the skiing and biking, but because of the people and the community we want to be involved with!

(continued on next post)

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scott bideau 6 months, 4 weeks ago

For me personally, I have spent my own personal time and money making contact with consultants in the industry, other airport management, etc. to truly analyze this issue and try to come up with real solutions that have been successfully implemented elsewhere. I have volunteered to take the data and perform all the analysis and was assuming that would be in conjunction with Scott Ford and anyone else who wants to help.

The fact is our city and county government simply isn't getting the point nor do they respect the magnitude of the issue. Case in point, when I volunteered for the airport commission, submitting my application 5 months in advance and inquiring on status every 3-4 weeks, I wasn't even interviewed for the position. Why? Because a few city and county commissioners making the appointments waited until the very last minute to interview applicants, giving us only a few days notice and insisting on performing the interview while I was on vacation instead of politely pushing mine just a few days until I could return.

On a broader note - I'm very passionate about opening up opportunities in the location neutral workforce for anyone in town, such as our graduating seniors who don't want to leave or those who have been told by companies like TIC to move to Denver but would rather remain here. Doing so often means having great air service, and again, this doesn't require a large handout or subsidy, but simply requires data-driven decisions about the airport and air service.

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Michael Bird 6 months, 4 weeks ago

The previous detailed letters clearly point out areas of much needed improvement concerning subsidizing HDN air fares and solutions will not be quick. Political remedies take forever.In the interim, I would like to see locals,whose tax $$$$ go to the direct benefit of non-locals (and a few locals) be able to buy the seats that they have already paid for ( tax $$$ ) and pay a low price for the empty seats that are abundant thus lowering any subsidy. Having personally flown on almost empty flights to Houston, I cannot imagine anyone against this concept. It is revenue positive. Would it cause anyone to not buy a $600.00 ticket to wait for a standby $300.00 (or better yet less than $300.00) ticket ? Probably but the amount of those locals who will not buy the highly expensive tickets far outweighs the other in my opinion.

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Scott Wedel 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Well, the symptom of nearly empty flights is a direct result of how our flights program is managed. Our program is managed to have subsidies and suffer large losses. We pick flights based upon how much the airline seeks in revenue guarantees.

In contrast, Vail Resorts manages their winter flights program to break even so they are refunded their flight guarantee money. And thus they make sure they select flights they can fill and they set airline fares along with package deals to fill their flights.

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John Weibel 6 months, 3 weeks ago

So maybe as opposed to simply looking at what is subsidized by the tax payers, maybe looking into gate fees and direct costs that the airlines have to operate in Steamboat Springs. Maybe if the direct costs of operating their airline in Steamboat was decreased then other may jump into the marketplace without subsidy.

To that point, if the residents of the county feel an airport is an important asset maybe the county should not be operating it at an $800,000/year profit center to the county and work it as a lean as possible. When they had an $800,000 profit they decided that it was important to subsidize a restaurant. So maybe, looking at the financial statements of the airport first and foremost should be undertaken. Discuss with the airlines what comparative airports charge and how the airline subsidy could reduce those costs to zero so that the airlines are paying as little fees to operate here as possible.

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scott bideau 6 months, 3 weeks ago

The idea that United would offer low priced last minute fares is not only against the industry model, but specifically at HDN wouldn't provide them any benefit since it's easier to cash the revenue guarantee check than to market seats.

As Scott W said, Vail puts a lot of marketing effort into trying to fill every seat. They do this because it's their money on the hook for the guarantees, not the taxpayers.

Branson started their own airline, contracting directly with the subcontractors like Skywest. This would allow for a unique pricing model like Micheal has suggested. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening at a county owned airport.

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scott bideau 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Also - I can't find any reference supporting that the county makes $800,000/year off the airport.

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Stuart Orzach 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Scott-I appreciate your participation in this active discussion. To my disappointment, letter writers most often abstain from responding to the comments raised by members of the public. As you indicated previously, this is a big topic for a small letter. You elicited a wide-ranging response, and that is good.

If it is truly easier to cash the revenue check than sell empty seats at a discount from list price, then we have created a pernicious, perverse incentive with our policies and we urgently need to reexamine them. What else do we do wrong that causes subsidies to create the need for more subsidies?

Also, could you please respond to the concern I raised earlier about the failure of the signatories to identify their companies. The fact that they identified themselves as location neutral executives, business owners,or employees imparts precious little information. I, for one, am uncomfortable with this level of anonymity. Please further identify yourselves.

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Mark Ruckman 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Stuart why are you uncomfortable not knowing which company someone owns or works for? How would knowing this information change your opinion or beliefs?

These people identified themselves as concerned citizens who live in the area, fly often and support the questions raised by Scott. No different than any other citizen like yourself that comes onto this forum to state concerns or support the position of another.

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John Fielding 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Thank you Stuart for contributing your important perspective to this discussion. I am sure that business owners can identify themselves further if they wish, but employees and even executives may be reluctant to or even discouraged from bringing the company name into any controversy.

John, thank you for your viewpoint, it is the most incisive in my opinion. I too would appreciate a reference link to the source of the revenue information.

Thank you Scott for the substantial and informative contributions. I hope you get on the comission next time.

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scott bideau 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Stuart - I and many of the location neutral employees can't reference our employer because we aren't speaking for them. As John hints, most of us are prohibited from referencing our employer in a personal letter.

Most of the business owners haven't reference their business name because, as Mark mentions, it doesn't really matter and we are not trying to advertise. I did ask to reference Smartwool by name because everyone here understands how many people they employ and the significant impact it would place on our community should they be force to leave. My understanding is that the #1 risk in that happening is the air service issue because they need quick access to VCF HQ, distributors, etc.

What I can tell you about the LNB sector is it generated more personal income in the city of Steamboat in 2010 than the entire lodging and food services sector combined. This is from the city's own tax policy report. And it isn't just business owners making money, it is their employees as well. Some of these employees work for an employer outside of Routt County, others work for LNBs right here!

As always mentioned, I'm not pushing or subsidies for LNBs or for our demographic to be treated special. I'm simply saying that many of the things LNBs need, like air service, broadband, etc. benefit everyone, including tourism and even the local leisure traveler in the case of air service. However, if these challenges can't be solved, we run the risk of loosing a substantial impact by this demographic. The city itself acknowledges this fact, yet fails to do much risk mitigation other than focusing on single businesses (like selling the public safety campus to BAP) rather than the entire sector.

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John Weibel 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Well, I thought that the reference was from the Steamboat Pilot. Maybe the exact figure came from somewhere else. Here is also a link to the airport revenues, indicating a positive revenue stream-

http://www.city-data.com/airports/Yampa-Valley-Airport-Hayden-Colorado.html#b

Mr. Ruple indicated that the restaurant losing money was not an issue because the airport is self sustaining. This would indicate that the airport runs at a profit - how much I can not find the exact reference to.

http://m.steamboattoday.com/news/2012/nov/15/routt-countys-three-wire-bar-and-grill-pace-lose-1/

In defense of the airport running a profit, would be that if the airport has millions in debt to pay off it ought to try and work that off quickly. The primary point was to investigate gate charges and other things that would reduce the overhead of airlines flying into Steamboat or make airport charges zero and let the airlines determine how best to fly in here. If our fees make the cost of air travel that expensive to the valley then what could be done to reduce those fees, utilize some guarantee funds or what.

Durango is not a good comparison as it is so far from a major airport. While we can take an alpine taxi to DIA for very little, or driving a family to DIA quickly covers the additional airfare when you consider the little extra time that it takes to get there from here.

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Mark Ruckman 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I used Durango as an example of similar population with a lot more flights and more competition. It was not used as an alternative drive example.

The people of Durango have choices to fly to Dallas, Denver or Phoenix year around on 4 different airlines. Competition normal makes any business provide better service and fair pricing to customer. That is my point.

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Stuart Orzach 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Mark- The fact that the signatories identified themselves as LNB owners, executives or employees leads me to believe that they are representing a larger group. That is different than when I respond as an individual private citizen. In such cases I like full disclosure. Others may not share my sentiment. My reasons are not germane to the larger discussion.

I'm glad that a group of citizens is interested in delving into this issue.

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Scott Ford 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Hi Mark – I would agree with the comment that Durango and Steamboat Springs share many similar characteristics. I do not know what the primary service area of the Durango airport is but my guess it would be at least La Plata and Montezuma counties. The combined population of those two counties is about 75,000 (50,000 in La Plata and 25,000 in Montezuma. The population in the primary service area of YVRA = 40,000 (25,000 Routt/15,000 Moffat.)

Without digging too deep into the data below is the airport stats for Durango/La Plata County Airport over the past 5 complete years: Year/passengers/flights/load factor 2008/132,659/4,322/63% 2009/147,992/4,270/69% 2010/163,589/4,203/72% 2011/175,530/4,402/74% 2012/186,512/3,972/78%

Source: US Bureau of Transportation

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John Weibel 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I think that Scott's numbers show that there is almost twice the population in the Durango region. Throw in the proximity to a major Hub, DIA, and much less expensive airfares and the comparison is not that similar, imo.. Excluding that both are a drive to an interstate, though Durango is a lot further.

I guess one really should look at what the goal of the airport is. If it is to have safe reliable air service for the region, then maybe the airport should figure out to have one large plane leave every day with a stop in Denver and then continue on to another destination. Then take those people who work at the airport preform other work functions.

Throw out the box and think of ways that the airport can provide what the community what it is looking for as opposed to the goal of the airport commission to... maximize revenue and customer service at the Yampa Valley Regional Airport and the Steamboat Springs Airport while ensuring safety and value to the community.

"http://www.co.routt.co.us/index.aspx?NID=112

I would guess that people vote with their pocketbook and drive to Denver for that value. A single flight from the valley every morning returning every evening might actually be what the community needs, not the maximization of revenue. A shuttle service can fill in the holes.

If you schedule flights this way, maybe the county could get United, and others if successful, to leave a plane here every day to be serviced benefitting them and the community by creating jobs. The goal should not be to maximize revenue as generally that ends up directly counter to providing value for the community. Operate that as a private enterprise, not a county one so that you encourage people to get creative and think of ways to OPTIMIZE services and they work to control expenses and receive profit sharing from the enterprise.

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Scott Wedel 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I think there is a general misconception on how the airline program operates. The money is not simply given to the airlines. The airlines have a revenue number which makes the flight worth operating. They also have a projected revenue of what they think will be from the natural customer base. If their projected revenues exceeds the required operating revenue then they can profitably operate the flight. They request revenue guarantees in order to operate flights that they project to be operated at a loss. The revenue guarantees can either reimburse the airlines for that loss or the community can meet the higher revenue in which operating that flight was profitable and the revenue guarantees are returned to the community.

SB operates the flight program to pay that projected loss.

I;d argue that the sustainable model is to emulate Vail's operation of revenue guarantees. Which is to use revenue guarantees to bring in selected flights and then use their knowledge of the local market and their marketing power to meet those revenue guarantees.

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John Fielding 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Mr. Wiebel, I bow to you sir. You have once again demonstrated a penetrating power of discernment. As with your suggestions regarding agricultural practices and marketing of local products, you arrive at a practical path forward. Please continue to favor us with your observations.

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John Weibel 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Scott I personally understood how it worked. However, you have an airport that also serves the community the remainder of the year, when flights are not subsidized. What is the best way to serve the local community the remainder of the year - as the airport probably works well during ski season.

John, not sure how long I participate in any fashion at this point in time. I am tired of the system as it exists and have to decide how hard I wish to change it, if at all.

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rhys jones 6 months, 3 weeks ago

John W -- Your point is well-taken. I have become thoroughly jaded too, at the puppet show we see demonstrated at every level of government, Federal to local. They could not care less what we think; our thoughts, time, and words are wasted, as the good ol' boy system survives and prospers, at our expense. We are but cogs on a gear, mice in wheels, to the Powers That Be. Key decisions are made in "executive session," bars, parties, and living rooms; public meetings are scripted morality plays they trot out when they have to. Wasting your time in these forums, in any attempt to influence policy, is akin to banging your head against the wall, as our desires are secondary to their bank accounts.

The ONE forum I care about, John Russell's Fall photography article, is still being held hostage. I hope there is a special Hell for hackers.

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Dan Kuechenmeister 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Rhys, you are spot on, but it is not only the government that doesn't give a you know what. It's the media as well. I attempted to send an email to our new editor Lisa Schlichtman and copied Nicole Miller. Just a simple question regarding editorial page syndicated columnist policy. I received no reply, no response, no acknowledgement. It was a respectful email and just asked for an answer or clarification. No wonder John needs constant maintenance on his hula.

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scott bideau 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Unless we start our own airline, we can't make a plane fly here or pick the schedule, and no scheduled maintenance will ever happen at HDN or any other small airport like it.

However, what you can do is give airlines data that makes them want to fly here or shows them how schedule adjustments could capture more passengers. This is what Branson and Montrose did very successfully. They also do what Scott W suggests - a better marketing model that puts butts in seats.

I'm not guaranteeing the data will result in a huge change for the better. But based on anecdotal evidence, I do think it's worth the money for the analysis. And this type of analysis must continue every year to track changes and continue to be used as intelligence during the airline negotiations.

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John Weibel 6 months, 3 weeks ago

If United did not need to fly here several times a day and could only fly once a day, the airport/community negotiated with them to have one flight a day, then maybe there could be some community input on when the flight came in and out.

In Europe where trains operate, many towns simply have one service a day. The plane coming in at the end of the day and dropping passengers off after passengers being channeled into DIA from many locations get on that plane with an outgoing flight first thing in the morning where it goes to DIA, drops off people and then on to a final destination seems like a good idea and from the Economic talk last year with the DIA speaker, seems like a very good idea to me.

Maximizing revenue should not be the goal, operating in a way which benefits the community most, during the shoulder season should be the goal. That would be an optimization of services.

It may not be perfect at the start, however, if the main goal is to facilitate the ability of people to fly in here with reliable air service, then maybe moving away from the puddle jumpers to one flight, trying to economize expenses and provide a much better value to passengers so that flying out of Hayden is not an added $200/300 per ticket but 50-150 so that more people choose to add that small extra charge to airfare and fly out of the airport as opposed to driving to Denver.

To do so requires that you look at gate fees, labor costs and the whole to try and get a realistic fee to fly out of Hayden. I always choose to fly from Denver because the extra $400 for my son and I to fly out for something spontaneous and fun is not worth the minimal amount of time savings that I would see in not driving to DIA. That is the crux of the problem, trying to get more buts in seats. That is going to take figuring out how to reduce costs and in the beginning it might be that one flight a day with a larger airline is the way to go and look at how one can cut labor costs at the airport so that airport fees can be cut for the airlines.

Peace and I am done with the conversation. Also never say never to a small service center here. Something like that might be how one entices the big boys to continue flying to the small airports. They have to be maintained somewhere, and if you have a master mechanic here and at other small airports. Just because it has never been done, does not mean it never will, nor that it is a good idea to help facilitate airlines flying into a small airport. It is simply an idea and without a significant reduction in airfares out of Hayden I generally will drive to DIA to save the money on several tickets.

Done with the conversation as I really do not need to devote brain cells to the issue as I most likely will never fly out of Hayden.

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Melanie Turek 6 months, 3 weeks ago

The biggest issue I have flying out of Hayden is with reliability. More flights in the off season would be nice, but nicer still would be knowing with reasonable confidence that the one flight that IS scheduled will actually take off. Obviously, no one can control the weather, but it appears that the majority of issues have to do with management by Republic Airlines. Until that gets fixed I will continue to drive to DIA. (And for what it's worth, I am an LNB employee who works for a company based in San Antonio.)

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John St Pierre 6 months, 3 weeks ago

be curious to see what the reliability numbers for Eagle,,,, they seem to becoming a much more regional airport.... larger planes and more of them....

How much funding do they get??

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Scott Wedel 6 months, 3 weeks ago

John, Vail Resorts does not release how much money they put at risk to guarantee their winter flights. Their business filings make it clear that they get all of that money back by making sure the flights make the guarantees. I remember reading a 10Q or such that Vail Resorts said that since they make the revenue targets that the airlines don't make Vail put up that much money, but it is a business risk that in a future year they could miss revenue targets and then be required to put up more money.

Vail community also has a summer flights program that spends a million or so on flights that generally don't make revenue targets.

Eagle airport has a nice service area. I70 to at least Glenwood Springs is considered part of their service area. Though,it is not such a bad drive to DIA so that shuttle flight is probably less important to them.

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John Fielding 6 months, 3 weeks ago

John W. thank you again for your valuable participation. We must never give up trying to improve the system, even if it is only at the personal level, extended only to our families and closest associates.

Who was it that said, "we must be the change we wish to see in the world"?

I am trying once again to work for change beyond my family with my candidacy for council. it takes a lot of time (see yesterday's post on the "candidate" thread) and I have a dismal feeling that it all will come to naught. But I will try once more, and make myself believe that it is not impossible. There are enough who would support reform that it could be possible it they could make themselves heard. That is the area I intend to focus on, creating a substantial venue for listening to the people and using that input.

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rhys jones 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Dan -- When the time came to choose, I dropped media for Valley View. That was the summer they cut it, I worked on the Silver Bullet, and the Ski Corp TV gig the previous winter was seasonal. I had an offer to go to Wichita to be a news photog for $7/hr, but I had to decline, looking up at Valley View and licking my chops. Since then I have discovered I prefer the Daze anyway. But the damage was done. Luckily I found a programming gig the next fall.

I was jaded with media by then, for several reasons. One, it was all about ratings (or circulation) which determined their ad rates, hence revenue -- so they would attempt to appeal to the widest audience -- conservatives, here, apparently -- often using gonzo tactics -- if I didn't catch flames at the fire, my footage never saw the air. Dead folks were great.

Two, there were a lot of egos. Everybody was a star -- or Ted Koppel. This was just a stop on their way to Hollywood. Or New York. The insecurities ran stronger in the smaller markets; by Phoenix, most of the wanna-be's had been weeded out. But the gonzo remained. I didn't mind leaving those aspects behind.

Three, was the agenda-setting function. The Pilot tells us what's important around here. Sometimes I think they're the mouthpiece for the Chamber. Everything is squeaky clean.

Four, they will compromise the reader's (or viewer's) experience for the sake of revenue, with popup ads, screen crawls, logos in the corner, any trick for a buck.

[sour grapes: I LOVED driving around, shooting and editing, just hated politics and egos.]

Back on subject, sort of, I've got to say John F sounds credible and maybe immune to undue influence, not your typical politician...

And the Pilot's web guru Tyler was responsive to my email inquiry, when they got hacked yesterday, depriving me of my Russell article, said they were working on it, had a handle on it... though when it finally did come back, now ALL comments were gone, and disallowed, so I couldn't see John's hula if it was there; somebody said something besides me. Hackers 1, Pilot 0.

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John Fielding 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Thanks Rhys, I owe you a compliment, hmmmmmm, I'll get back to you on that. =)

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John Fielding 6 months, 3 weeks ago

By the way, this may be blowing my ultra-cool image, but what in Hades is a hula?

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rhys jones 6 months, 3 weeks ago

I dunno, but I think it's ultra-cool. What is Hades?

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john bailey 6 months, 3 weeks ago

jezz, John just how old are you? I guess as soon as my backordered part arrives you'll be the first to get a lesson.....`;0).. hows the campaign coming? I'm really liking your ideas and input, sorry us folks out here can't vote on big xitty issues.......now where the heck is my snow shovel?

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John Fielding 6 months, 3 weeks ago

'ell Rhys. As in:

"So I'll see 'im later on,

at the place where 'e 'as gone,

Where it's always double drill and no canteen.

'e'll be squatting on the coals,

servin' drink to poor damned souls.

And I'll get a swig in 'ell from Gunga Din".

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John Fielding 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Hi John. In this life? Only sixty so far but with very high mileage.

Campaigning has been good, lots of research and listening to people, going to forums and posting statements here. But I have to say I'm worried now. i just saw Tony has taken out a big ad in the Pilot and has his website advertised on this forum. I have tried to commit to no donations or expenditures, mostly for the principal. But big money definitely goes far to winning elections.

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