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eandslee

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1 hour ago, Brent114 said:

Yawn.  The airport is growing.  Every month is a new record. 

If you want more flights then move to Richmond and actually use the airport.  Until then stop kvetching over good news. 

It's not growing fast enough.

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On 5/31/2024 at 7:23 AM, Brent114 said:

Yawn.  The airport is growing.  Every month is a new record. 

If you want more flights then move to Richmond and actually use the airport.  Until then stop kvetching over good news. 

My fat tuchus using RIC ain't gonna make one iota's worth of difference on getting new flights. image.png.72b05b995751155d3c156c6cdc0f4dd4.png 

Mind you, back in 2010 - when I weighed in at 358 pounds - I needed lap-belt extensions to buckle into the seat after I wedged myself in. True story.

Edited by I miss RVA
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On 5/31/2024 at 8:59 AM, Shakman said:

It's not growing fast enough.

image.png.c69ac12b27eed4293574db1e7abdbfd7.png% @Shakman

I was chatting privately last night with one of our community members, and we both were lamenting and kvetching about the situation. We were in lockstep agreement that the airport IS NOT growing fast enough and that it CAN and SHOULD enjoy much more robust growth. The facility is outstanding. The leadership of the CRAC is absolutely outstanding. I hold Perry Miller in the highest regard and have nothing but absolute respect and admiration for the outstanding job he's been doing. He has the EXACT vision necessary to get this airport really moving forward - and I for one am very grateful we have him at the helm of the CRAC.

But we (the RVA/UP community member with whom I was chatting) can't wrap our heads around what the problem is and why the airlines chose NOT to beef up service at RIC. Yes - there have been one or two modest additions - but he pointed out the LITANY of additions that ORF got this year (it's in their marketing materials - they have a BOATLOAD of new service) - and it makes no sense why RIC -- which is breaking records left and right and which serves the fastest-growing market in Virginia as well as THE business hub of the Commonwealth outside of NOVA -- got almost nothing new this year.

Again, he and I are in lockstep agreement that the airport is not the problem. And the people using the airport are not the problem. And even the RVA market and catchment area is not the problem. What we can't wrap our heads around is - what, then, IS the problem?

We should have gotten more service this year, and we didn't. Maybe there are strategies that the airport could employ in terms of their marketing - but the folks running the show there are seasoned professionals and they obviously know what they're doing, given their recent track record, and the fact that RIC is blowing past monthly records each and every month. We're on pace to blow through the 5 million passenger volume barrier this year. And if we could get our growth rate back up to closer to 10%, we could crack 6 million within two or, at worst, three years. And, if I recall the story that ran last year, the powers that be at the airport have said publicly that 6 million would put the facility -- as currently configured -- "at capacity" -- and would trigger (from the master plan) the need for concourse expansion, with the goal to have 44 gates in place between 2030 and 2035.

So my kvetch -- and our other community member's kvetch -- is NOT that the airport isn't doing well or that there's something wrong with the RVA market. It's -- as you said @Shakman -- right now, the airport is not growing fast enough. It's not growing as fast as it could - and should - be growing. And it's reasonable to suggest that it all boils down to the lack of new service this year. Had we gotten the level of new service that ORF got this year -- our growth numbers would likely be double-digit, maybe not the otherworldly 17% figure we got last year - but at least 10% or a tad more.

Anyway - a long answer to say that I agree with you 100%.

Edited by I miss RVA
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@I miss RVA  Wait. So for the "off-vacation-travel-season months" of 2024, RIC has outpaced ORF "by leaps and bounds...?"  So Richmond took to the tracks like a runaway train, while Norfolk has been stuck at the depot? Oh, reallllly now? ?  

OK. Well, let's see. If memory serves, just last month during the certified "off-vacation-travel-season month" of April 2024, RIC exeeded ORF in total passengers by only 14,500 --a mere 3.5 percentage point advantage.  "Leaps and bounds, eh?"

Even more alarming for RIC is the fact that ORF's rate of growh was nearly 36 pct greater than that of RIC, on a y.o.y. basis, for April 2024 vs. April 2023.  And THIS during what should have been (and what still should be) RIC's season of natural advantage over ORF.

But wait. There's more!  For the three (3) "off-vacation-travel-season months" of January 2024 through March 2024, ORF's rate of growth outpaced that of RIC by almost 40 pct.  Now THAT I would call actual "leaps and bonds."

Perhaps you meant "leaps and bounds" as measured in relative terms of the locomotor movement of the inchworm?  

Nevertheless, folks, we have a bonafide horse race here! How exciting! Indeed, I predict that both facilities will exceed 5M passengers this year...and that the  coveted title of "busiest VA airport by passenger count outside of NOVA" will come right down to the wire. A la 2022.  Cheers!

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On 5/31/2024 at 4:07 PM, baobabs727 said:

@I miss RVA  Wait. So for the "off-vacation-travel-season months" of 2024, RIC has outpaced ORF "by leaps and bounds...?"  So Richmond took to the tracks like a runaway train, while Norfolk has been stuck at the depot? Oh, reallllly now? ?  

OK. Well, let's see. If memory serves, just last month during the certified "off-vacation-travel-season month" of April 2024, RIC exeeded ORF in total passengers by only 14,500 --a mere 3.5 percentage point advantage.  "Leaps and bounds, eh?"

Even more alarming for RIC is the fact that ORF's rate of growh was nearly 36 pct greater than that of RIC, on a y.o.y. basis, for April 2024 vs. April 2023.  And THIS during what should have been (and what still should be) RIC's season of natural advantage over ORF.

But wait. There's more!  For the three (3) "off-vacation-travel-season months" of January 2024 through March 2024, ORF's rate of growth outpaced that of RIC by almost 40 pct.  Now THAT I would call actual "leaps and bonds."

Perhaps you meant "leaps and bounds" as measured in relative terms of the locomotor movement of the inchworm?  

Nevertheless, folks, we have a bonafide horse race here! How exciting! Indeed, I predict that both facilities will exceed 5M passengers this year...and that the  coveted title of "busiest VA airport by passenger count outside of NOVA" will come right down to the wire. A la 2022.  Cheers!

Cumulatively for the non-vacation-season months in 2023, RIC saw roughly 200K more passengers than did ORF. Now, ORF outperformed RIC -- as to be expected -- during the traditional "travel season" months last year, though I recall one of those months the difference was only about 1,500 passengers - a lot closer than one would have anticipated.

ORF is indeed seeing tremendous growth in 2024 vs 2023 - due in no small part to a significant injection of new service in the form of new destinations and - I believe - increased frequency on some routes. For whatever reason, RIC did NOT receive anything even remotely close to the level of new service that ORF is enjoying this year.

As for how 2024 will end, I agree - both airports will exceed 5 million passengers. Given the level of new service, however, ORF might very well leapfrog RIC this year.

IT SHOULD BE NOTED: YTD through April, RIC has served just shy of 102,000 MORE passengers so far in 2024 than has ORF, including 14,000 more in April. I would definitely anticipate ORF to outperform RIC in June, July, August - and maybe either May or September (or even both) - though I think the margins will be tight between the two airports in May and September. 

Horse race, huh? Hey - maybe we should call it the "Commonwealth Stakes"  image.png.3ef6d042ea2eb2daa5ca5474bdb0478e.png And it is indeed "Virginia's Busiest Airport Outside of NOVA" a very coveted title. Both airports should use it in their marketing pitches in the year in which they hold the title (from the previous year).  (Note: we don't need to include "by passenger volume" in the title. "Busiest" generally is presumed to mean "passenger volume" - and not necessarily number of flight ops.)

BTW - re: the semantics of "leaps and bounds" - I'm guessing you would accept only the following differential as an example of "leaps and bounds":  RIC and ORF each are on pace to exceed 5 million passengers this year. By comparison, CLT AVERAGES roughly 4.5 million passengers PER MONTH.

I'm guessing it needs to be at that level, yeah?

Be well!

Edited by I miss RVA
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On 5/31/2024 at 7:02 PM, I miss RVA said:

Cumulatively for the non-vacation-season months in 2023, RIC saw roughly 200K more passengers than did ORF. Now, ORF outperformed RIC -- as to be expected -- during the traditional "travel season" months last year, though I recall one of those months the difference was only about 1,500 passengers - a lot closer than one would have anticipated.

ORF is indeed seeing tremendous growth in 2024 vs 2023 - due in no small part to a significant injection of new service in the form of new destinations and - I believe - increased frequency on some routes. For whatever reason, RIC did NOT receive anything even remotely close to the level of new service that ORF is enjoying this year.

As for how 2024 will end, I agree - both airports will exceed 5 million passengers. Given the level of new service, however, ORF might very well leapfrog RIC this year.

Horse race, huh? Hey - maybe we should call it the "Commonwealth Stakes"  image.png.3ef6d042ea2eb2daa5ca5474bdb0478e.png And it is indeed "Virginia's Busiest Airport Outside of NOVA" a very coveted title. Both airports should use it in their marketing pitches in the year in which they hold the title (from the previous year).  (Note: we don't need to include "by passenger volume" in the title. "Busiest" generally is presumed to mean "passenger volume" - and not necessarily number of flight ops.)

BTW - re: the semantics of "leaps and bounds" - I'm guessing you would accept only the following differential as an example of "leaps and bounds":  RIC and ORF each are on pace to exceed 5 million passengers this year. By comparison, CLT AVERAGES roughly 4.5 million passengers PER MONTH.

I'm guessing it needs to be at that level, yeah?

Be well!

And you, as well. Mazel. 

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Tomorrow marks the beginning of two new routes for RIC with Southwest!

RIC-BWI & RIC-BNA with Southwest both begin tomorrow, with Nashville being daily, and Baltimore being twice daily.

The Chicago (MDW) & Baltimore flight with Southwest will be replacing the Atlanta early morning flight, and Atlanta will be moved to once daily at around noon, which is down from 3x daily flights.

ALSO: Seasonal service to Islip (ISP) & Jacksonville (JAX) are returning for the summer and fall with Breeze

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11 hours ago, Niccckk said:

Tomorrow marks the beginning of two new routes for RIC with Southwest!

RIC-BWI & RIC-BNA with Southwest both begin tomorrow, with Nashville being daily, and Baltimore being twice daily.

The Chicago (MDW) & Baltimore flight with Southwest will be replacing the Atlanta early morning flight, and Atlanta will be moved to once daily at around noon, which is down from 3x daily flights.

ALSO: Seasonal service to Islip (ISP) & Jacksonville (JAX) are returning for the summer and fall with Breeze

With ATL service being reduced from 3x daily to 1x daily - one of the BWI flights and MDW replacing them - the 2nd BWI flight constitutes a net gain of one new daily flight. Nashville 1x daily makes the overall net gain with Southwest to 2 new flights per day. 

As I mentioned above, particularly relative to other airports, RIC is getting very little new service in 2024. A net of two additional flights per day is beyond only incremental.

Don't get me wrong - I'm thrilled we're getting these. But these feel akin to the crumbs that fall from the airlines' table while other airports in the region are at the table absolutely feasting. Using ORF as an example, Frontier has introduced three new 3x week routes (Atlanta, San Juan, Philadelphia), Spirit a new 1x daily to Boston, Southwest 1x weekly to St. Louis, Breeze 4x weekly to San Diego.

While the net difference is only seven flights per week, contained in all that math is the difference between new flights to six destinations vs new flights to just two. I SO wish RIC could somehow get Frontier in here and for RIC to somehow snag San Juan, San Diego and St. Louis.

And don't even get me started on BNA and RDU - they're not only getting a plethora of new domestic destinations, they're getting new AIRLINES coming in (particularly RDU) and new INTERNATIONAL destinations. I saw something in my news feed this weekend touting that RDU's 2024 growth so far this year is 22% over 2023. Holy wow... (admittedly, we grew by just under 17% last year - but we also had a much smaller denominator to work with).

But you get my point. YES -- I'M A GREEDY OLD GEEZER - GIVE US MORE MORE MORE!! image.png.bfab18e6cfdbe082eca8e51d2dbc764b.png

Anyhoo - glad to see Southwest adding something - and that Breeze will be cranking up the seasonal goodies soon. Keeping fingers and toes crossed that at SOME point before my soul departs this planet we'll get Alaska Air in here to get that Seattle route (for which we got federal jingle jangle) started -- and that SOMEONE will start flying to a few vacation spots and to Toronto and putting gate B-15 and the FIS facility to good use.

Edited by I miss RVA
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On 5/31/2024 at 12:40 PM, I miss RVA said:

Again, he and I are in lockstep agreement that the airport is not the problem. And the people using the airport is not the problem. And even the RVA market and catchment area is not the problem. What we can't wrap our heads around is - what, then, IS the problem?

Random variance?

Think of it in sports terms. Maybe last year was a hot streak. This year marks regression to the mean. Add both together and the trajectory is where one would normally expect? I don't know; this isn't my area. But I know Karl "Tuffy" Rhodes wasn't going to hit 324 homers just based on one game's results back in the early 1990s nor would Michael Jordan average 15 points per game if that's all he scored in the season's first contest.

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50 minutes ago, Flood Zone said:

Random variance?

Think of it in sports terms. Maybe last year was a hot streak. This year marks regression to the mean. Add both together and the trajectory is where one would normally expect? I don't know; this isn't my area. But I know Karl "Tuffy" Rhodes wasn't going to hit 324 homers just based on one game's results back in the early 1990s nor would Michael Jordan average 15 points per game if that's all he scored in the season's first contest.

As a former AP sports writer, I LOVE the analogy, @Flood Zone. Well said, brother. And yes - I remember Tuffy Rhodes' opening-day homer barrage. He finished with 8 homers that year (1994) and a whopping 13 dingers for his entire major league career.

Edited by I miss RVA
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The rumor mill is up and running:

Was told by an informant today who spoke to a Delta Airlines employee that the RIC-SEA route will likely be served by Delta Airlines instead of Alaska Airlines.  Makes some sense given that Alaska bought Hawaiian Airlines and there may be a shift in their focus.  SEA is a Delta Airlines hub, so I can see the logic in that. No start date mentioned…just waiting for the grant to be funded, probably waiting for official agreement paperwork to be signed, and grant period to begin. The bad part about this change is that RIC wouldn’t gain a new airline, but the good news is that a legacy airline would serve the route. Something I don’t think we’ve seen since United Airlines began serving the RIC-DEN route (IIRC).  So, It’s been a minute. 

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24 minutes ago, eandslee said:

The rumor mill is up and running:

Was told by an informant today who spoke to a Delta Airlines employee that the RIC-SEA route will likely be served by Delta Airlines instead of Alaska Airlines.  Makes some sense given that Alaska bought Hawaiian Airlines and there may be a shift in their focus.  SEA is a Delta Airlines hub, so I can see the logic in that. No start date mentioned…just waiting for the grant to be funded, probably waiting for official agreement paperwork to be signed, and grant period to begin. The bad part about this change is that RIC wouldn’t gain a new airline, but the good news is that a legacy airline would serve the route. Something I don’t think we’ve seen since United Airlines began serving the RIC-DEN route (IIRC).  So, It’s been a minute. 

Ahhh - an "informant" eh? We're gonna have to start giving you the nickname of "Woodward & Bernstein" image.png.9f473710eee63ad6ea361331b8fd530b.png

Huhhhh... hmmm... yeah, it would definitely suck to not get Alaska Air in here - I REALLLLLLY want RIC to expand their roster of carriers. HOWEVER - if it means that the RIC-SEA route would be more successful and be more likely to stick by having a legacy carrier fly it might be the more prudent and beneficial way for it to work out.

Curious what kind of flying stock they'd fly on a cross-country route?

Another question: which airline (Alaska or Delta) would tend to give us MORE service on an RIC-SEA route? Meaning - either more-x weekly - or - preferably - 1 x daily?

And yes - I STILL want to get Frontier in here and get SOMETHING set up -- particularly San Juan. Do they fly to Cincinnati?

Man - I still really want to get more carriers here. I can't help but believe that having more carriers might help keep costs down. I can't help but believe that RIC needs not just more direct destinations and greater flight frequencies, but also more CARRIERS. It's a three-pronged approach - increase destinations, number of flights and number of carriers -- keep competition going, give potential travelers a WIDE variety of selections -- and all of it will drive up passenger volume and get those concourses expanded and get us up to 44 gates - which no doubt would do wonders for further increasing service - and particularly getting more carriers here.

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1 hour ago, eandslee said:

The rumor mill is up and running:

Was told by an informant today who spoke to a Delta Airlines employee that the RIC-SEA route will likely be served by Delta Airlines instead of Alaska Airlines.  Makes some sense given that Alaska bought Hawaiian Airlines and there may be a shift in their focus.  SEA is a Delta Airlines hub, so I can see the logic in that. No start date mentioned…just waiting for the grant to be funded, probably waiting for official agreement paperwork to be signed, and grant period to begin. The bad part about this change is that RIC wouldn’t gain a new airline, but the good news is that a legacy airline would serve the route. Something I don’t think we’ve seen since United Airlines began serving the RIC-DEN route (IIRC).  So, It’s been a minute. 

Hope your source is correct. This would be a big add for RIC and boost connectivity not just to the Seattle area, but also to Alaska, Korea, Japan and China by offering lots of 1 stop destinations by way of SeaTac. 
 

My guess is that if this comes to fruition, it would be operated by Delta’s A220-300 aircraft (Breeze and JetBlue also fly this aircraft) which has allowed Delta to open multiple new cross country non stops out of Atlanta (ie. Atlanta to Santa Barbara, Atlanta to Fresno) and would give a better shot at success until the route matures than the 737s that Alaska offers. I guess only time will tell if this route comes to fruition.

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56 minutes ago, blopp1234 said:

Hope your source is correct. This would be a big add for RIC and boost connectivity not just to the Seattle area, but also to Alaska, Korea, Japan and China by offering lots of 1 stop destinations by way of SeaTac. 
 

My guess is that if this comes to fruition, it would be operated by Delta’s A220-300 aircraft (Breeze and JetBlue also fly this aircraft) which has allowed Delta to open multiple new cross country non stops out of Atlanta (ie. Atlanta to Santa Barbara, Atlanta to Fresno) and would give a better shot at success until the route matures than the 737s that Alaska offers. I guess only time will tell if this route comes to fruition.

Wow - okay, then! Hearing it put THAT way, then it certainly sounds like this could be VERY promising!

QUESTIONS:

1.) What's the difference in capacity between the A220-300 and the 737s? If the A220s give the route a greater chance for success during its infancy and until it matures, what are the advantages?

2.) Looking into your crystal ball, what would you guesstimate flight frequency would be? 3 x week? 4 x week? I'm imagining 1x daily would be asking just a bit too much to start with, no?

3.) Do you think getting the RIC-SEA route established and rolling might have a knock-on affect of stimulating any additional service, whether it's new destinations, increased flight frequencies, or - something that's suddenly gotten to be REALLY big on my "gotta have" list - additional carriers starting service here?

4.) I know I keep beating this drum - and I'm gonna keep beating it until the dam breaks and we start getting international service, but what's it gonna take to get B-15 served with some flights to the Caribbean, Cancun, Bermuda, Canada, etc.? And I'd SO like to see us get San Juan (you'd previously mentioned perhaps Frontier could be lured here to set up an RIC-SJU route - hopefully sometime before Father Time slips past my "sell by" date (which I'm hoping won't be for a few decades yet). You KNOW I'm chomping at the bit to get Frontier in here.

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11 hours ago, I miss RVA said:

Wow - okay, then! Hearing it put THAT way, then it certainly sounds like this could be VERY promising!

QUESTIONS:

1.) What's the difference in capacity between the A220-300 and the 737s? If the A220s give the route a greater chance for success during its infancy and until it matures, what are the advantages?

2.) Looking into your crystal ball, what would you guesstimate flight frequency would be? 3 x week? 4 x week? I'm imagining 1x daily would be asking just a bit too much to start with, no?

3.) Do you think getting the RIC-SEA route established and rolling might have a knock-on affect of stimulating any additional service, whether it's new destinations, increased flight frequencies, or - something that's suddenly gotten to be REALLY big on my "gotta have" list - additional carriers starting service here?

4.) I know I keep beating this drum - and I'm gonna keep beating it until the dam breaks and we start getting international service, but what's it gonna take to get B-15 served with some flights to the Caribbean, Cancun, Bermuda, Canada, etc.? And I'd SO like to see us get San Juan (you'd previously mentioned perhaps Frontier could be lured here to set up an RIC-SJU route - hopefully sometime before Father Time slips past my "sell by" date (which I'm hoping won't be for a few decades yet). You KNOW I'm chomping at the bit to get Frontier in here.

1. Delta’s A220-300 has 130 seats vs 160 in the 737-800 or 157 in the A320.

 

2. Likelihood is Delta wouldn’t add the route at any frequency less than Daily, so I’d expect if this route comes to fruition, for it to operate daily. 
 

 

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11 hours ago, I miss RVA said:

Wow - okay, then! Hearing it put THAT way, then it certainly sounds like this could be VERY promising!

QUESTIONS:

1.) What's the difference in capacity between the A220-300 and the 737s? If the A220s give the route a greater chance for success during its infancy and until it matures, what are the advantages?

2.) Looking into your crystal ball, what would you guesstimate flight frequency would be? 3 x week? 4 x week? I'm imagining 1x daily would be asking just a bit too much to start with, no?

1. The A220-300 is meant for "long & thin routes" which is for routes with long distances but lower amount of seats. I believe the A220-300 with Delta seats around 130 passengers, so similar but a little less than a 737. 

2.  I'm typing at the same time as @blopp1234haha, but yeah, I would imagine daily since they are a legacy carrier and that this route would be partially subsidized by the government as I believe this would be an EAS (essential air service) route. 

11 hours ago, I miss RVA said:

3.) Do you think getting the RIC-SEA route established and rolling might have a knock-on affect of stimulating any additional service, whether it's new destinations, increased flight frequencies, or - something that's suddenly gotten to be REALLY big on my "gotta have" list - additional carriers starting service here?

I really hope so. I was hoping this would happen with Breeze, but I think because they are such a new player that legacy airlines are waiting until they keep routes for a good while to see if it is viable for them to compete with Breeze. The main example of this is Spirit launching LAS flights in direct competition with Breeze. I don't think another airline would launch SEA to compete with Delta if this route comes to fruition, but I can see Delta maybe dipping their toes in more transcontinental flights if SEA is viable, perhaps Salt Lake City or something like that. I've said this for a while, but I believe there is 100% demand for Delta to launch some more direct routes out of here. They run like 7-9x daily to Atlanta, and I imagine most of those people are connecting to other destinations, such as MCO, Caribbean, or the west coast... Delta knows with their own data where people are connecting to, I just think they want to feed people into ATL because it means more money for them... but there is 100% demand from RIC for direct routes to other places with Delta (MCO, SLC, etc.)

11 hours ago, I miss RVA said:

4.) I know I keep beating this drum - and I'm gonna keep beating it until the dam breaks and we start getting international service, but what's it gonna take to get B-15 served with some flights to the Caribbean, Cancun, Bermuda, Canada, etc.? And I'd SO like to see us get San Juan (you'd previously mentioned perhaps Frontier could be lured here to set up an RIC-SJU route - hopefully sometime before Father Time slips past my "sell by" date (which I'm hoping won't be for a few decades yet). You KNOW I'm chomping at the bit to get Frontier in here.

Yeah, I think I'm worrying just a tad bit about our international gate because it has been up for quite a bit, and no international service has been announced or even rumored to be announced. I would've guessed we would've had at least ONE route setup for when that route opens... like at the very least Air Canada to Toronto, which was operated in the past... I don't really know why there isn't much traction on the international gate. 

I think if Frontier would to come into Richmond they wouldn't launch with an international flight out of here, and likely start with flights to Denver or ATL... but I just don't know if we have the demand for another airlines on either of those routes. Maybe on flights to Atlanta since Southwest decreased their frequency, but Delta pretty much dominates the market share for that flight so I doubt Frontier would fly that. With Denver, we already have United on 2x daily I believe and Southwest 1x daily, and I think we don't have the demand for another flight to Denver with Frontier. All in all, I don't think at the moment it would be viable for Frontier to go through the hassle of opening ship at RIC if they're just going to get clobbered by the "big 4" although I could be wrong.

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1 hour ago, blopp1234 said:

1. Delta’s A220-300 has 130 seats vs 160 in the 737-800 or 157 in the A320.

 

2. Likelihood is Delta wouldn’t add the route at any frequency less than Daily, so I’d expect if this route comes to fruition, for it to operate daily. 
 

 

Great info. Thanks, @blopp1234. Makes sense to start with the 130-seater then move up if/when the route really takes hold and demand goes up.

Daily - that's very good to hear.

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1 hour ago, Niccckk said:

1. The A220-300 is meant for "long & thin routes" which is for routes with long distances but lower amount of seats. I believe the A220-300 with Delta seats around 130 passengers, so similar but a little less than a 737. 

2.  I'm typing at the same time as @blopp1234haha, but yeah, I would imagine daily since they are a legacy carrier and that this route would be partially subsidized by the government as I believe this would be an EAS (essential air service) route. 

I really hope so. I was hoping this would happen with Breeze, but I think because they are such a new player that legacy airlines are waiting until they keep routes for a good while to see if it is viable for them to compete with Breeze. The main example of this is Spirit launching LAS flights in direct competition with Breeze. I don't think another airline would launch SEA to compete with Delta if this route comes to fruition, but I can see Delta maybe dipping their toes in more transcontinental flights if SEA is viable, perhaps Salt Lake City or something like that. I've said this for a while, but I believe there is 100% demand for Delta to launch some more direct routes out of here. They run like 7-9x daily to Atlanta, and I imagine most of those people are connecting to other destinations, such as MCO, Caribbean, or the west coast... Delta knows with their own data where people are connecting to, I just think they want to feed people into ATL because it means more money for them... but there is 100% demand from RIC for direct routes to other places with Delta (MCO, SLC, etc.)

Yeah, I think I'm worrying just a tad bit about our international gate because it has been up for quite a bit, and no international service has been announced or even rumored to be announced. I would've guessed we would've had at least ONE route setup for when that route opens... like at the very least Air Canada to Toronto, which was operated in the past... I don't really know why there isn't much traction on the international gate. 

I think if Frontier would to come into Richmond they wouldn't launch with an international flight out of here, and likely start with flights to Denver or ATL... but I just don't know if we have the demand for another airlines on either of those routes. Maybe on flights to Atlanta since Southwest decreased their frequency, but Delta pretty much dominates the market share for that flight so I doubt Frontier would fly that. With Denver, we already have United on 2x daily I believe and Southwest 1x daily, and I think we don't have the demand for another flight to Denver with Frontier. All in all, I don't think at the moment it would be viable for Frontier to go through the hassle of opening ship at RIC if they're just going to get clobbered by the "big 4" although I could be wrong.

Great info, @Niccckk! Thanks so much!

1.) I'd definitely love to see RIC-SLC, RIC-SAN and RIC-PDX, though I'd imagine that of the three there'd be more limited demand for Portland. Aside from getting Vancouver (and my grandkids, should I actually ever have any, prolly wouldn't live long enough to ever see an RIC-YVR route come to pass image.png.4bba911f1ed06f6dbe85544be10d60bf.png) I'm guessing if we could add Salt Lake City, San Diego and Portland, we'd have every major West Coast destination possible. Would love to see this come to pass eventually.

2.) Frontier - yeah, kinda sad that the options out of RIC might be limited, though I was looking at their service map/listings and I wonder if they could pick up destinations out of RIC currently not served (or maybe only minimally served)? SLC, SAN, MCI, MCO, SJU, CMH, RDU, CVG. I know you'd mentioned Delta perhaps picking up Salt Lake and Orlando, and obviously I have no idea how much demand their might be for any of those other routes. But given some of Frontier's second-tier "hub" (focus city?) airports, it would seem that there would be options other than ATL or DEN, no?

3.) Has Breeze maxed out routes out of RIC? Are they limiting new service to focus cities or other larger airports? Seems like we've not had anything "new" out of Breeze in quite a while - and they do seem to be adding destinations. I know everything comes down to demand, but who knew there was as much demand as their is for routes/destinations being served out of RIC even just a couple of years ago!

4.) International service/FIS/Gate B-15: WOW... if YOU are concerned about it, @Niccckk, that makes me double down - heck, even triple down - on my concern. We're two or three months into the burn and nothing. Crickets. As I've lamented on here numerous times, my biggest fear is that we've had more than a year's lead time over ORF with the international gate - and yet, no service. And mark my words - before ORF's gate opens, there will be announcements of carriers, routes, service, flying internationally.

And folks, LET ME BE CLEAR: I'm NOT interested in WHY ORF will get service (and probably right away) once their facility is operational - that's NOT the point and is outside the parameters of this discussion. What IS the point is that I want to know WHY RIC ISN'T yet getting international service, even through the state and federal governments ponied up a TON of money to get our FIS upgraded to current standards and the airport has a dedicated gate to serve international travelers, and said gate and FIS facility have been open since April. @Niccckk, as you said, you'd think that -- minimally -- Air Canada would wander back in with some direct service to Tornoto.

What the heck gives? What's the hold up? If there aren't even any rumors of forthcoming announcements, much less actual announcements, then clearly there's a problem. I don't understand what's happening (or rather, not happening).

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1 minute ago, eandslee said:

Wish RIC would be just as aggressive as ORF:

 

IMG_7574.jpeg

Yeah - I hear you, @eandslee.

HOWEVER (and I can't believe I'm actually taking THIS view): it's been quite a while since ORF had a major capital improvement project like this, whereas RIC saw Concourse A expanded (and wasn't it something like 5 gates added?) just a couple of years ago. I thought ORF had already started on their FIS facility. As we saw from our own concourse expansion, as well as the FIS upgrade, those projects take some time. It's not like either will be open this year by any stretch.

Things I think are kinda cyclical - they're starting a modest expansion now (similar to what we did) - and I guarantee you, if we can keep piling up record numbers in terms of passenger volume, keep getting more (and new!!) flights - and since our FIS facility is already open for business, some international service started, we'll be up next for a major expansion project. I believe the powers that be at the airport/CRAC have floated 6 million passengers as the "at capacity" mark, and at that point, the airport would start up concourse expansion plans. According to the master plan, the goal was something along the lines of expansion around 2030 to get us to 44 gates in total by 2035. That was based on projections of passenger volume pre-pandemic. We are MILES ahead of those projections even now. We'll blow through 5 million this year - and if we can maintain ANY kind of decent growth (and that's ALLLLLLLLLL gonna depend on the airlines getting us more service and new service -- plus some international service) I could see us closing in on the magical 6 million mark well before 2030 (as opposed to merely BY 2030). Keep in mind, in 2023, we added nearly 800,000 more passengers than in 2022. And through April we're just a bit shy of 100,000 over same period 2023. We could -- theoretically -- finish, say, 300,000 or so higher than last year, which would get us to 5.1 to 5.2 million. And if we could somehow get the airlines to really ramp up service with more routes/destinations, more frequencies, new carriers coming in - that number could grow next year.

All of this to say is - we could very possibly hit 6 million passengers by, say, 2028 (hypothetically) - which would be fully two years ahead of a "projected" time to start expansion (2030). The biggest thing is - we need the doggone airlines to play ball and beef up service here. I don't care who - legacy carriers, budget carriers, Breeze (they'd do well to add some new service out of RIC - it's been a while now...) and if we could get some routes that we've been discussing (particularly if we can get Seattle up and running, not to mention maybe get San Diego, Cincinnati, Kansas City (and I still want San Juan), among others, then we'll get to six million FASTER.

I know it doesn't sound like me - but I'm not fretting over ORF expanding. They're overdue. Just like WE will be overdue by the end of this decade.

We have physical capacity right now. But getting the TSA checkpoint consolidated is a must (and didn't that come up on a list of projects for funding recently?) - and who knows, maybe THAT would solve a major problem regarding having international service. Dunno... 

@blopp1234, @Niccckk - what are your thoughts? Y'all are the gurus. I'm just an armchair first officer on this topic.

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Hey, look at how the tables have turned in this discussion - I’m playing you and you me!  LOL!  You’re right, but my wish is to have RIC be THE airport to use outside of the NCR in Virginia.  Can’t pull away from ORF when the two airports keep mirroring each other.  Although with this expansion ORF will have a few more gates than RIC. I just want to see RIC leadership put the “pedal to the metal” and be super bullish (not reckless) on growth and expansion.  Go for it all, including courting the airlines for some serious expansion…serious cargo facility expansion as well!  Market, market, market…aggressively!   Would love to see an airline take a chance on RIC and invest some serious money and commit to it being a serious home base of some sort.  Man, “if I were King for a day….” Sigh….

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On 6/14/2024 at 6:31 PM, eandslee said:

Hey, look at how the tables have turned in this discussion - I’m playing you and you me!  LOL!  You’re right, but my wish is to have RIC be THE airport to use outside of the NCR in Virginia.  Can’t pull away from ORF when the two airports keep mirroring each other.  Although with this expansion ORF will have a few more gates than RIC. I just want to see RIC leadership put the “pedal to the metal” and be super bullish (not reckless) on growth and expansion.  Go for it all, including courting the airlines for some serious expansion…serious cargo facility expansion as well!  Market, market, market…aggressively!   Would love to see an airline take a chance on RIC and invest some serious money and commit to it being a serious home base of some sort.  Man, “if I were King for a day….” Sigh….

Yeah - the role-reversal here is pretty amazing, all things considered. Even with that said, you and I are in lockstep on this - I also want RIC to be THE airport of prominence outside of the Washington triumvirate of facilities. Unfortunately for us, pulling away from ORF isn't likely to happen - and the two facilities will indeed mirror each other. They're almost like sister airports. And consider, were there only ONE -- larger -- airport between Norfolk and Richmond serving both metropolitan markets, it would have an annual passenger load of about 10 million - just a few notches below RDU (which is at around 15 million) and ahead of quite a few mid-size airports.

But, that ain't the way it is. So both airports will continue to serve very "different" markets in terms of types of passengers (business vs vacation, among other differences). And I've a feeling we're gonna be neck-and-neck for the foreseeable future. Both facilities should blow through the 5 million mark this year. Then we'll see how things go for the next few years.

Yeah - if I were king for a day, it wouldn't be limited to the airport, though. RVA would be a city -- CITY -- of at LEAST 1 million - and a metro area of 6 or 7 million. And the airport would serve as much traffic as DCA and IAD COMBINED. Yes - I realize that's getting into CLT, ORD, DFW and - the king of the hill -- ATL territory. Hey... "King for a Day"...

Aside from that, I agree 100% -- we HAVE to market aggressively, both to the traveling public AND to the airlines. We need to get some of those "big fish" to land here - and bring tens of thousands of jobs to the RVA metro. One of the BEST ways to beef up the airport is to beef up the RVA market and the catchment area. More people equals more travelers. More businesses -- especially large ones -- means more travelers. Thing is, it's a "chicken and egg" kinda thing. If we want to hit the feeder button for some Urban Miracle Grow, we NEED a bigger airport with WAY more service than we have now. HOWEVER - to GET the increased service and build out a bigger airport, we need to grow FASTER than we're growing. It's a real catch-22. The good news is that RVA is growing and, while it's not setting the world on fire, it IS growing at a decent clip (just not nearly as fast as I want her to grow). And the good thing about growth - is that it tends (all things being equal) to snowball. The more RVA grows, the more name recognition it gets, the more businesses take notice, the more businesses come here, the more people come here, the more RVA grows. Wash, rinse, repeat.

And that growth - absolutely WILL fuel the airport's growth.

To your other point, I'd SO love for RVA to become at least a "focus city" for SOME carrier. Pick a carrier - ANY carrier - just get one to come here and set up a base of operations. That ain't asking too much, right?

Oh - and a corollary to what I posted earlier: I recall the "projections" going forward (based on expanding the airport in that 2030 timeframe) - would be to get to 44 gates in that 2030-35 range - and to 48 gates by 2035-40. Again, if our growth can WAY outpace pre-pandemic projections, get us to that 6 million capacity SOONER than 2028, '29, or '30 - that would prompt the airport to push ahead with concourse and gate expansion a few years sooner. Could you imagine RIC at 48 gates by, say, NO LATER than 2035?

I might be nuts - but I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility. It may be "improbable" - but, hey, what better than making the improbable possible!

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6 hours ago, I miss RVA said:

Oh - and a corollary to what I posted earlier: I recall the "projections" going forward (based on expanding the airport in that 2030 timeframe) - would be to get to 44 gates in that 2030-35 range - and to 48 gates by 2035-40. Again, if our growth can WAY outpace pre-pandemic projections, get us to that 6 million capacity SOONER than 2028, '29, or '30 - that would prompt the airport to push ahead with concourse and gate expansion a few years sooner. Could you imagine RIC at 48 gates by, say, NO LATER than 2035?

 

I'm from Chesterfield, and the western side of the county is absolutely booming right now with housing and apartments. There is multiple "master-plan" communities being built right now (Magnolia Green, Harpers Mill, etc.) which are bringing in loads of people.

We also have the River City Sports Complex which is expanding soon, and the new "The Lake" tourist area which will house the worlds largest surf park, in CHESTERFIELD. It's right off 288 and is already in the process of being built. I think it's slated for completion in a couple of years... but yeah.

There is a lot of growth happening in RIchmond, with travel sports, housing growing, the new LEGO facility... I think we will definitely outpace numbers.. hopefully haha

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5 hours ago, Niccckk said:

There is a lot of growth happening in RIchmond, with travel sports, housing growing, the new LEGO facility... I think we will definitely outpace numbers.. hopefully haha

Definitely agree with you. I also think we're outpace projections and by a pretty strong margin. The question is, then: HOW do we translate that outpacing of projections into significantly increased service, including additional (new) destinations, increased flight frequencies, international routes (even just a few to get the ball rolling) and attracting additional airlines to come to RIC? If we significantly blow past projections (and especially if we do so sooner than expected), what needs to happen to really beef up the airport's offerings?

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4 hours ago, I miss RVA said:

Definitely agree with you. I also think we're outpace projections and by a pretty strong margin. The question is, then: HOW do we translate that outpacing of projections into significantly increased service, including additional (new) destinations, increased flight frequencies, international routes (even just a few to get the ball rolling) and attracting additional airlines to come to RIC? If we significantly blow past projections (and especially if we do so sooner than expected), what needs to happen to really beef up the airport's offerings?

Got to thinking about how to beef up the airport’s offerings:

I recall the success of Port Canaveral from 2011 to present day, which I followed closely as a fan of cruising and the Space Coast of Florida (I know, it’s not an airport, but I still think we can take lessons learned from Port Canaveral and apply them here in the case of RIC).  In 2011 (or there about) the commission of the port hire a man name John Walsh, to whom I attribute Port Canaveral’s HUGE growth success over the past decade and a half.  He was super aggressive and actively courted the cruise lines to get their commitment to homeport their ships at Port Canaveral (PC). During his tenure, the port saw historically high passenger numbers and more ships calling PC their home port than ever before. With all the growth and anticipated growth, the port built more terminals than any time in previous history (the port went from 3 cruise terminals to 7 in about 10 or so years!  The port moved up in rank until it became the second busiest cruise port in the world (Miami was #1) in the 2010s.  Today, PC is the busiest cruise port in the world due to the vision of aggressive growth of its leadership, who with the commission, set a goal to make PC the #1 cruise port in the world!  To help sweeten the deal for the CEO, the CEO was (and still is) paid a base salary, but also receives performance incentives.  More growth = more pay on top of his/her salary.  
 

Now, can we apply this model to RIC and its CEO?  Does the CRAC even have this level of vision or growth goal?  If not, why?  I don’t know - just “spit balling” here, but could this work at RIC?  Where is the vision/goal (needed first) and then the incentive to grow and achieve the goal (not just a master plan, which seems a bit more passive)?  Not even sure the same model works for airports (there’s a lot I don’t know).  I just know that it has worked in other industries.
 

The CRAC has to have the vision and goal to seriously grow first though. Is the community (Richmond and the entire catchment area) committed?  With the right vision, leadership, growth model plan, a commitment from the airport and the community, maybe it could work. Thoughts?

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