Tuesday, April 01, 2014

United flights begin at Atlantic City International Airport (KACY)


EGG HARBOR TWP. -     South Jersey has been given a new set of wings, as United Airlines launches nonstop flights between Atlantic City International Airport, Chicago and Houston.

Mayor Don Guardian addressed a large crowd Tuesday morning and said, "It's an exciting day as Atlantic City becomes part of the friendly skies of United Airlines!"

Flight 4161 was welcomed into ACY with celebratory water cannons, as the first United Airlines flight from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport set down in South Jersey.

New Jersey Senate President, Steve Sweeney, told NBC40, "We needed to be able to get people from all over the place here."

And with this new service, officials say more people throughout the US will have easier access to Atlantic City.

Anita and Kenyetta Green were one of the firsts to arrive on the new flight, and believe many more will follow their lead. Anita Green said, "We plan on hitting the casinos, entertainment, the boardwalk, and just taking a tour of Atlantic City itself. I’m just happy to be here!"

Officials say United's new service will not only be convenient for customers, but it will drive business, tourism, and economic development to the region.

Atlantic City Mayor, Don Guardian, said, "I think this is a new beginning for Atlantic City. It’s a great way to travel to major hubs that connect you with the rest of the world – now directly from Atlantic City on a daily basis."

Although there has been no formal announcement just yet, Mayor Guardian told NBC40 that within a month there could be another major expansion, adding flights from additional cities into ACY.

Other officials say the sky is the limit for the airport and the region.

Senator Sweeney said, "We expect this to grow and grow and grow. You start someplace, you start with 50 passenger planes and I guarantee you will be flying 737s in a few years out of here – it's just a matter of growing the economy."

Previously, only Spirit Airlines and charter flights were offered at ACY. But now with people flying in from Houston and Chicago, officials hope more conventions are booked, more casinos are filled, and that more dollars are spent in South Jersey.

Story, photos, video and comments/reaction:   http://www.nbc40.net

♥♡ Cessna 421 Golden Eagle 'Love Cloud' ♥♡

Owner Andy Johnson said he got the idea for Love Cloud during college.  

LAS VEGAS -- The skies just got a lot "friendlier" above Las Vegas.

In a company that truly embodies an "Only in Vegas" experience, Love Cloud allows those on-board to hit the sheets while soaring above some of the valley's most famous landmarks.

That's right, a chance for you and your partner to join the uber-elite "Mile High Club." You know, those people who have, shall we say, gotten it on while aboard an aircraft.

While crazy to some, owner Andy Johnson said he got the idea in college. 

"I brought it up in conversation with a few of my buddies of how cool it would be to start a 'Mile High Club,'" he said.

Fast-forward to a year and-a-half ago, and the idea was cleared for departure.

While Johnson admits it's not the first of its kind, he wasn't happy with the professionalism, "romance ambience," or even the size of other aircraft.

"I decided that I was going to go farther and more luxurious than anyone has ever done before."

A 40-minute flight costs $799. A one-hour flight is $999, while 90 minutes goes for $1,299. 
And to prove you're actually a member of this elite group, couples receive 'Mile High VIP' membership cards once they land.

Not that you're paying attention to what's outside, but flights take couples over Red Rock Canyon, Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and, of course, the Strip.

"We have a flight that no couple will ever forget," Johnson said.

Other add-ons are available, like limo service to/from the airport, chocolates and champagne. While you can't get married aboard the plane because of marital laws in Las Vegas, Love Cloud said they're more than happy to help you tie the knot while grounded.

So, what about that one part no one wants to talk about?

"After every flight, Love Cloud has a cleaning service that cleans every part of the aircraft with specific cleaning products to kill any and all germs." That includes sheets, pillow covers and towels being removed and changed.

Johnson says the response has been overwhelming and many have already booked their once-in-a-lifetime plane ride.

"It is a fantasy or bucket list item for many people and Vegas is the best city to start this business in."

For more information about Love Cloud, visit www.lovecloudvegas.com or 702-267-7499.
Watch Video:   http://www.azcentral.com
Story and photos:   http://www.8newsnow.com

Federal Aviation Administration Audit And Implications For The Nigerian Aviation

By Friday this week, whether Nigeria retains or loses its Category 1 rating status in the aviation industry, one thing is certain: the country needs to pay more attention to the safety of its skies and security of its airports. The Category 1 rating by the American Federal Aviation Administration, FAA, is the greatest rating in the world and it has allowed Nigerian registered planes and crew to fly directly to the United States since 2010.

On Monday, officials from the FAA commenced a five-day audit of the nation aviation industry and will complete the exercise on Friday. The results will only be known in a few weeks.

FAA officials are to determine whether Nigeria can still retain its Category 1 status after two major plane crashes and series of scandals and sacks that have rocked the sector in recent times.

On 23 August 2010, the US. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration, FAA, announced that Nigeria had achieved a Category 1 rating under the FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program. The announcement meant that Nigeria had complied with international safety standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO.

ICAO is the United Nations’ technical agency for aviation which establishes international standards and recommended practices for aircraft operations and maintenance.

The announcement also meant that Nigerian registered aircraft and crew could fly directly to the United States instead of transferring their passengers to other airlines in Europe or Asia.

The IASA Category 1 was based on the results of a July 2010 FAA review of Nigeria’s NCAA.

Back then, the country had not witnessed a major plane crash in more than four years. The last one was in 2006. But since the last audit, safety standards seem to have nosedived in the country.

A Dana plane crashed on 3 June 2012, killing about 163 people, while an Associated Airlines plane went down on 3 October 2013, killing about 16 people. Another Nigerian plane crash-landed in Ghana on 2 June 2012 and killed several people.

Series of scandals and corruption allegations in the sector have also complicated matters and left an impression that the NCAA was no longer independent and money meant for safety was being diverted to buying BMW cars.

The allegations led to the sack of Stella Oduah, the Minister of Aviation, and that of virtually all aviation chiefs recently.

The incidents seem to have eroded the little confidence that remained in the sector since the removal of Harold Demuren, the charismatic Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, during the successful audit in 2010.

In addition, incidents such as the stowaway boy saga and rams found recently on the runway of a Nigerian airport, seem to show that our runways are not properly fenced across the country and security seems to have taken a back seat.

All these incidents are well known to the FAA officials and may count against Nigeria in the audit.

The four man team from the United States will be in Nigeria for five days and will carry out an assessment of how the NCAA is complying with applicable sections ICAO standards.

Specifically, FAA officials will focus on sections critical to safety oversight as described in the ICAO document 9734 A.

If Nigeria loses its coveted rating, the implication is that Arik Air will no longer be able to fly to JFK Airport in New York. It will also mean that safety standards in the country have collapsed in the aviation industry.

Without anticipating the results, we believe that Nigeria needs to pay greater attention to safety. To do this, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, has to be truly independent and money meant for putting safety measures in place should not be diverted to provide comfort for ministers in Abuja.

We also believe that President Goodluck Jonathan must appoint as soon as possible a new minister of aviation whose job will be to rebuild confidence, independence and trust in the crisis-ridden sector.

Source:  http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com

Aviation firm will go ahead with expansion West Star to build paint hangar despite legal troubles at Grand Junction Regional Airport (KGJT)

An FBI investigation into financial wrongdoing at Grand Junction Regional Airport did not prevent West Star Aviation from securing a loan last month to build a long-planned, 40,000-square-foot paint hangar there, company officials announced.

The amount of the loan was not disclosed, but company officials said building costs exceeded by a significant amount the $8 million originally estimated.

Tectonics Design Management of Denver will break ground on the project by May 1, West Star CEO Robert Rasberry said.

“I am going to build it,” Rasberry said. “We just borrowed the money and we’re going to build it. It’s the right thing to do.”

Tectonics said it already solicited bids from local subcontractors for the concrete, excavation and electrical aspects of the job, said Mark Stormberg, Tectonics president.

As much work as possible will go to local trades, Stormberg said.

“We’re happy to be in Grand Junction,” Rasberry said. “We have great people and a great work ethic. I can’t tell you anything bad about Grand Junction.”

West Star did not officially notify the airport authority of its decision, but board chairman Steve Wood said members were aware West Star was working to arrange financing.

“I think I can say with confidence that the board will be unanimously pleased at this development,” Wood said. “We’re all very happy that they’re in Grand Junction and have been for a long time. We think it’s good for the airport and good for the community.”

Rasberry said his company will lose money every day the project is delayed.

“We need it to continue growing,” he said. “It’s a very important piece of our future because so many of the airplanes are so large today, none of us can put them in the small paint hangars.”

There are a few other large paint hangars around the world, but the large hangars “are incredibly expensive to build and very few (aviation maintenance companies) will,” Rasberry said.

“It will drive business and employment in Grand Junction,” he said.

Company officials projected last year that the new hangar would allow West Star to expand its operations and eventually create as many as 150 jobs, each paying up to $52,000 a year.

West Star already spent more than $600,000 to get final plans and designs in order, money it probably could have gotten back had the project been canceled, Rasberry said.

The original agreement between West Star and the airport authority called on the authority to purchase the finished building for around $8 million. The authority would then lease the building back in exchange for rent of around $113,000 per month.

That deal is no more, Rasberry said.

The airport authority is not currently able to borrow money because of the FBI investigation, Wood said.

Instead, West Star will build, own and operate the hangar for the next 50 years, the time limit on the ground lease between West Star and the authority. At the end of 50 years, West Star will hand keys to the building over to the airport authority, he said.

Tectonic specializes in the design and construction of corporate flight departments, fixed base operations, aviation completion and maintenance facilities, aviation paint hangars and commercial facilities, Stormberg said.

The company’s design method combines architecture with pre-construction services to facilitate the owner’s goals “on time and on budget,” he said.

“Those buildings last a long time,” Rasberry said. “So, like it or not, that’s still a good deal for them. We’ll take care of it. We’ll keep it in tip-top shape.” 

Source:   http://www.gjsentinel.com

Thieves Take Safe In SkyDive DeLand Break-In

DeLand, FL – Police are looking for clues after someone broke into a skydiving business in DeLand and carried away a safe.

SkyDive DeLand employees reported that someone broke into their office on 1600 Flightline Boulevard sometime between 8pm Sunday night and 7pm Monday morning, taking a 2-foot by 4-foot safe away in the process.

That safe was found later on Monday morning near a DeLand Municipal Airport runway with 1 of its sides completely removed and cash and papers lying on the ground nearby.

The DeLand Police Department was called out to the scene around 7:45am Monday, soon after employees had reported to work.

According to the incident report, there were pry marks on both the doors that led to the main entrance of the business, but the doors themselves were not compromised.

Police think the robber may have got in via an open window on the north side of the building. A door near that window was found damaged and they found the door lock lying on the ground nearby.

A screwdriver was also found near the open window, one that had been taken from a nearby desk. Police think whoever took the safe used that screwdriver to remove the door lock so they could leave via the door. The lock itself could not be opened from the inside any other way, according to the report.

DeLand PD says whoever did this may have also taken the time to remove a flag from a nearby pole and used it to block the view of a security camera which was in position to film the robbery as it was taking place.

An undisclosed amount of cash was taken from the safe, according to police.

SkyDive DeLand managers told DeLand police no one’s been fired or resigned from the job in 2 years and employees claim they don’t know who else would’ve had the knowledge to commit this crime.

Anyone with information is asked to call DeLand police at 386-626-7400 or Crime Stoppers at 888-277-8477 to remain anonymous and possibly qualify for a cash reward.

Source:   http://newsdaytonabeach.com

Safety investigation into airport incident

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has started an investigation into a runway incident at Toowoomba Airport last Friday.

The incident at 8.39 pm involved a Cessna 172 and a Skytrans De Havilland DHC-8.

A bureau spokesman said that when on short final approach for runway 29, the pilot of the Cessna 172 sighted the De Havilland entering the runway.

The pilot landed and stopped short of the Skytrans plane.

The crew of both aircraft reported not hearing radio broadcasts from the other aircraft.

The spokesman said that as part of the investigation, the ATSB would interview the flight crew and gather additional information.

A report will be released within several months.

The Cessna had flown from Redcliffe and the Skytrans plane was on its way to Brisbane. 

Source:   http://www.thechronicle.com.au

Gulfstream G650 private jet of Peter Jackson helping in search for MH370

The personal jet of filmmaker Peter Jackson is involved in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

A spokesman for Jackson confirmed today that the plane had been chartered and was being operated out of Perth.

The Gulfstream jet has not been donated to the search operation but the director has personally approved its use, the New Zealand Herald reported

The spokesman for Jackson, who has a personal fortune of more than $510 million according to BRW, declined to say what payment is being made for for the jet. It is managed by the international aviation charter service Execujet in Wellington.

The spokesman would not comment on why the Gulfstream G650 was being used, except to say it had exceptional range that would be an advantage given the remoteness of the search area. The aircraft was advertised for charter.

‘‘Over the years, all of Peter’s aircraft have been available for charter and been used by a number of private clients,’’ the spokesman said.

The Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre, which is co-ordinating the search, said a civilian jet was being used as a communications relay for military aircraft searching for the Boeing 777. It would not comment further, Radio NZ reported.

The commercial aircraft co-ordinating communications is due to be replaced by an Royal Australian Air Force E-7A Wedgetail aircraft.

The airborne early warning and control aircraft can monitor both ships and aircraft at long range, maintaining surveillance over a surface area of 400,000 square kilometres at any given time.

The arrival of the Wedgetail comes as Britain's defence ministry said it was deploying a nuclear submarine, HMS Tireless, and a survey ship, HMS Echo, to the search zone 1850km west of Perth.

The Trafalgar-class submarine will help the search for MH370's black box flight data and cockpits recorders, while HMS Echo will assist in the search for the remnants of the missing passenger jet and is expected to arrive on Wednesday.

The Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre could not be reached for comment on whether an Australian submarine would be deployed, although the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, visited submariners at HMAS Stirling naval base this week.

Jackson bought his Gulfstream G650 in March 2013 for about $80m.

The G650 flies faster and further than any aircraft used by the New Zealand air force.

Its top speed of about 1140kmh is close to the speed of sound (1234kmh), and it has a range of 12,960 kilometres, allowing non-stop flights between Wellington and Los Angeles.

Jackson, 52, has made his fortune directing, producing and writing some of Hollywood’s most successful films, including The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit films.

Source:   http://www.theage.com.au

Sea-Tac airport manager investigated for theft of $113,824

Sea-Tac Airport’s Credential Center manager, Maleaka Carroll-Jones, is being investigated for stealing up to $113,824 in cash.

All of the nearly 15,000 Port of Seattle employees, many of whom work at Sea-Tac Airport, have security badges.  When a badge is lost, the employee responsible must pay a fine of $250 and security violation fines that range from $50 to $500.

According to Port of Seattle police documents, as the Credential Center manager, Jones has been in charge of collecting and depositing those fines since 2007.  Last November, Jones came under suspicion when a Port of Seattle accountant noticed “that the Credential Center was collecting cash that wasn’t being deposited into its Bank of America account,” according to an investigation document.

An investigation revealed that while Jones was manager, cash deposits decreased significantly from $12,500 in 2008 to $653 in 2012.  There were no cash deposits made in 2013, according to police documents.

Did you pay cash after losing your badge? KIRO 7 would like to talk to you. Click here to e-mail us.

 KIRO 7 tried to get Jones' side of the story by visiting her Pierce County home on Tuesday.  No one answered the door, but Jones apparently admitted to the theft.  According to police documents, “she realized that the situation didn’t look good for her” when detectives interviewed her on March 4.

At that meeting, Jones "took full responsibility for the missing money."  That was also the day Jones was placed on unpaid leave.

A source at the airport told KIRO 7 that the issue of whether there have been any security violations by Jones is still being investigated.  At this point, the source said there is no indication of that.

Perry Cooper, a spokesman for Sea-Tac, said he could not comment because the case is still under investigation.

Jones has not been arrested or charged with a crime.  She does have a “history of civil debt judgments” and “is also the subject of two IRS property tax liens,” according to court documents.

Story and photo:   http://www.kirotv.com

Maleaka Carroll-Jones

Black box recording capacity needs to be revised


KUALA LUMPUR: The global aviation industry may need to revise the recording capacity of an aircraft black box or flight data recorder following the Malaysia Airlines MH370 incident, says IATA senior vice-president for safety and flight operations Kevin Hiatt. 
At present, the black box only records two hours of data before it overwrites the original data. That means only the last two hours of aircraft cockpit conversations will be on record if the black box is found after a crash.

“Past accident investigations actually focused on the last few minutes of the conversations between the pilot and the air traffic controller,” he said.

“To have endless hours of nothing being said in the cockpit at any particular time – it has not been relevant to any type of accident investigation.

“There may be a revisit on this. But, because of past history, the cockpit voice recorders basically record over themselves after a certain period of time – two hours,” he said after attending the first session of the IATA Ops Conference here yesterday.

“To draw the conclusion that we need to modify or do not modify it (the black box recording capacity) may be something that we can look at in the future.”

Experts have said that cockpit conversations that took place during the crucial hours when MH370 disappeared from radar screens and made a turnback from its original route may not be available from the black box.

This is because the plane continued to fly for several hours after the turnback was made, and the black box may have recorded over those conversations.

Hiatt said all carriers certified by governments must have certain emergency response protocols established.

“This particular event (MH370), because of the nature of it, may cause us to revisit and see what other protocols could be built in,” he said.

On March 25, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced that MH370, which went off the radar screens while on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, had later gone down in the southern Indian Ocean, west of Perth.

Source:   http://www.thestar.com.my

Pilatus Aircraft Ltd: A conversation with Mike and Sue Raney


Published on Mar 31, 2014 

Mike and Sue Raney

Pilatus Aircraft Ltd: A conversation with John and Theresa Tomasini

Published on Mar 31, 2014
 John and Theresa Tomasini explain why it is so easy to travel with the Pilatus PC-12.

Airline Industry Warms to Costly Real-Time Tracking After Flight 370: WSJ

The Wall Street Journal
By Andy Pasztor And Jon Ostrower
April 1, 2014 7:29 p.m. ET

The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines  Flight 370 is prompting leaders of the global airline industry to warm up to a safety measure they long have resisted as too expensive: real-time satellite tracking of practically all airliners.

With the multinational hunt for the Boeing  777 in its fourth week amid frustratingly little progress, the head of the industry's primary international trade group on Tuesday acknowledged widespread public disbelief about the inability to locate the plane, and said the industry needs to respond.

"In a world where our every move seems to be tracked," said Tony Tyler, chief executive of the International Air Transport Association, "we cannot let another aircraft simply disappear."

In some cases, real-time tracking could cost up to several hundred thousand dollars per plane, just for installation of onboard equipment, industry officials say.

Mr. Tyler, speaking at an industry conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, urged "urgent action and careful analysis" by regulators and carriers to develop and implement world-wide standards for transmitting the position of commercial aircraft regardless of where they fly.

Investigators believe Flight 370, which was carrying 239 people, went down in the southern Indian Ocean on March 8 after flying thousands of miles off course. No wreckage has been found, and in Australia on Tuesday, the former military chief leading the search off the country's western coast, sought to tamp down expectations that any debris from the plane would be found in the coming days.

"We are working from a very uncertain starting point," Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said. Search teams were scouring a poorly mapped swath of sea about the size of Ireland.

Authorities say they likely have as little as a week left before the plane's black boxes stop emitting signals that could help searchers locate them deep underwater.

"We don't know what altitude the aircraft was traveling at," Mr. Houston said. "We don't really know what speed it was going at other than some information that gives us some idea of the speed. It is a very inexact science."

IATA plans to convene a task force of experts, including representatives of the International Civil Aviation Organization, an arm of the United Nations that sets global standards. The group is scheduled to report its conclusions by December—an unusually quick turnaround for such an undertaking.

Full-time tracking from space has been championed for years by air-safety experts as well as by equipment suppliers and commercial-satellite operators that stand to make money providing connectivity. "The airline industry needs to step up" and "somebody needs to assert leadership in this vital area," said Alan Diehl, a former senior commercial-accident investigator and U.S. military safety official.

Such broadband connectivity also could serve as the backbone for related moves to automatically transmit a range of data about aircraft performance, flight commands and cockpit automation in the event of an emergency. The initiative gained momentum after the 2009 crash of an Air France  Airbus A330 in the Atlantic Ocean.

Mr. Tyler said "some progress was made," but now "that must be accelerated" after Flight 370's disappearance.

Mr. Tyler acknowledged the complexity and expense of setting up reliable satellite tracking everywhere, warning against succumbing to "hastily prepared sales pitches or regional solutions." Still, his speech endorsed action, which was unusual because airlines and regulators typically wait until they know broadly what happened in a particular air accident before moving to act on lessons learned.

Pilots, who often have resisted the close tracking of flight information because they fear airlines could use it to punish them, also are backing the need for technology upgrades. "Technology is available that can significantly enhance the ability to locate a missing aircraft, and this technology must become the standard across the industry," the International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations said on Monday.

Boeing Co., which manufactured the Malaysian 777-200ER, also has indicated support. A spokesman said the company "will participate in and support the effort to find effective and efficient ways to enhance global tracking."

The latest generation aircraft, like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, are already set up at delivery to airlines to periodically report the report position, speed and altitude as part of its satellite uplink.

The Flight Safety Foundation, a nonprofit global safety advocacy organization, called for an international symposium of industry officials and regulators to discuss enhanced location tracking and real-time transmission of aircraft-operations data, particularly in emergency situations. "That data can help unlock mysteries, leading to timely safety improvements and more focused search and rescue missions," said David McMillan, chairman of the foundation's board of governors.

Airlines for America, the trade association representing U.S. airlines, said in an email that it is "premature for us to speculate and/or discuss potential changes to safety and security procedures."

Technology already exists for periodic satellite tracking. Airlines such as Air France and Deutsche Lufthansa AG transmit position, speed and altitude data every 10 minutes through an automated reporting system known as Acars. Flight 370 was capable of transmitting Acars messages, but investigators believe the system was disabled or deactivated.before disappearing from civilian radar

Around 10,000 aircraft, or 90% of widebody jets flying long routes, are capable of reporting position with the same technology that was fitted to the missing Malaysian 777-200ER, said Chris McLaughlin, senior vice president at Inmarsat PLC, and another 5,000 have the latest generation system that could potentially be used to stream data about the aircraft.

New technology designed to improve air-traffic management will likely make tracking even easier, enabling world-wide coverage including remote oceans and other swaths of the globe that have no radar coverage.

Next year, Aireon LLC, a joint venture between Iridium Communications Inc. and air traffic control providers from four countries, plan to launch the first of 72 satellites to enable the new air traffic technology, known as ADS-B, said Ashley Eames, spokeswoman for Virginia-based Aireon said. The ADS-B data streamed to orbiting satellites will provide detailed GPS, altitude and speed data. The system is expected to be fully operational in 2017, she said.

—Robert Wall and Rachel Pannett  contributed to this article.

Source:   http://online.wsj.com

Little hope for small airports to lure service - Mergers cut out most smaller cities from new routes

By JOE SHARKEY New York Times News Service
Publication: The Day
Published 04/01/2014 12:00 AM
Updated 03/31/2014 09:45 PM

Air travel has a lot of new realities: On a cheap coach fare, if you want a seat that isn't in the middle of a cramped row back by the toilets, you are probably going to have to pay extra. Your frequent flier mileage programs are losing value, especially at the lower elite levels. If you're flying internationally, you're probably flying an airline alliance and not a particular airline.

And most basically, if you live in a small or midsize city, your air service choices have been diminishing - and that is not going to change. If your local news outlets assure you that the city airport and municipal officials are spending money on studies to attract new air service, they are probably chasing ghosts.

"I don't know of any time in this racket when there have been more charlatans out there trying to sell snake oil to airports," said Michael Boyd, president of Boyd Group International, an airline forecasting and consulting company. "It's like these airports are saying, 'We want to hope there's hope.' They can hire consultants, do studies, dangle money in front of airlines, try human sacrifice-whatever. It's all well-meaning, but you have got to tell them the truth upfront."

The truth is that with bankruptcies, mergers and consolidations, we are now down in the United States to four network airlines - American, Delta, United and Southwest - and five carriers with more limited route systems: Alaska, JetBlue, Spirit, Frontier and Virgin America.

Here and there, some communities can claim success in attracting a new route or two, usually by paying an airline to operate it for a specified period. JetBlue and Southwest are often sought out by local airports hoping to lure a carrier with incentives in the hope that the route will start proving itself financially.

Tucson International Airport in Tucson, Ariz., is also hoping to provide incentives that will persuade an airline to fill holes in nonstop long-haul routes left when airlines-invoking what they all call "capacity discipline" - started reducing flights and routes about four years ago.

"The nation's small and medium-sized airports have been disproportionately affected by these reductions in service, and recent airline behavior appears to signal a trend toward consolidation of service at the largest airports, with fewer direct flights available from smaller airports," according to a report on market forces shaping community air service by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology International Center for Air Transportation. Between 2007 and 2012, the 29 largest airports in the United States lost 8.8 percent of flights, while the rest, the smaller airports, lost 21.3 percent, according to the report.

Declining competition accounts for some of that disparity. Airlines also have been retiring their fleets of 50-seat regional jets, the backbone of service at midsize airports, in favor of larger, more fuel-efficient aircraft that enhance the industry's most profitable form of flying: international long-haul service. That, of course, is concentrated at big city hubs.

"Almost 30 percent of all people getting on and off airplanes today at airports across the country, on average, are directly or indirectly the result of international access," Boyd said. The indirect part, he explains, "means the man who flies over from Shanghai and gets off the airplane in Detroit - often he's connecting to another domestic flight. Then, bingo, he's a domestic passenger."

While passengers still routinely connect from smaller airports to big hubs to connect again to long-haul domestic nonstops or international flights, declining local service often means that a traveler will drive for an hour or two to a larger airport for more choices and greater convenience.

That's a trend local airports try to challenge, but Boyd says he thinks it will prevail.

Source:   http://www.theday.com