Anyone keeping an eye on the fuel crisis and the news knows that fi- nancially strapped airlines are cutting service.
The airlines are primarily targeting commuter and regional flights of less than 100 seats. And the cuts are far from over as jet fuel prices rise, airlines shut down, and companies merge.
Flights seem to be disappearing by the day. Nearly 30 cities nationwide have seen their scheduled service disappear in the last year, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. During the same period, more than 400 airports have seen flight cuts.
Overall, the number of scheduled fl ights in the U.S. dropped by 22,900 fewer flights than in May 2007. Eliminating flights is the latest move by airlines in a wave of cost-cutting. Almost every major carrier is crossing cities off its list, leaving passengers with fewer OR NO choices than a year ago.
For example, cities such as Baltimore no longer offer flights to Washington, D.C. which means air commuters must get to their destinations by car. Is this the leg up we’ve been waiting for?
Airline woes could very well provide a great break for those of us used to servicing rural airports and short-distance commuters. By all accounts, business travelers in a global market have no choice but to get out and interface with customers, even if internal meetings are being pulled in-house. So what other mode of transportation do they have? Not many. What’s more, we have the best available products when stacked up to taxis and van pools. I wrote about ride sharing in May as something we need to examine closely.
We are offering a clinic on capturing corporate van pooling work at the LCT Eastern Conference this September. Now we need to think strategically about fi lling the void left by the airline cutbacks for short-flight business travel.
If we can offer point-to-point ground service, “in style,” we may have an expanded niche for us to service and cash in on.