Thursday, June 26, 2008

Blue on Blue

Some days I wonder if there is anything in the world worth blogging. Today for example, is it worth talking about the political Seppuku formerly known as Pittsburgh City Council? What is there to say about yesterday's melodrama? Maybe I will have a comment after it is no longer a free-fire zone on the 5th floor.

While that is going on, the media is catching on that the Majestic Star financing mystery may be reaching its climax. I will just point back to what I said in some previous posts 1) Don Barden and Gary and 2) Where in the (financial) world is the Majestic Star. To me the key question is not whether he gets his financing or not. I wonder whether the interest rates he appears to be forced into at this point make the casino a viable business venture no matter. Nobody has really looked at that in depth.

All in the casino project for Pittsburgh is something on the order of a $800 million dollar project. According to the news accounts of deliberations in city council yesterday, they spent 2.5 hours discussing a $10K legal fee. Looking at that in terms of dollar per minute and using some advanced ratio analysis it means city council should spend the next 22 years (working 24/7) on casino related issues.

There is this news that the Post-Gazette has made a bunch of changes on its web site. I took the time to listen to the video introduction from the Editor in Chief. The problem was, what do you get first but an advertisement you have to sit through. Who has time for that? I am having a problem figuring what all is new on the site I have to admit, it really looks all the same to me... but I am sure I will figure it out.

Lots of symbolism in the news that USAirways is now even cutting back its Pittsburgh-Harrisburg flights. Given long term cutbacks in Amtrak and the potential foreign ownership of the turnpike, I think there is a conspiracy afoot to split the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania into two states.

I have to admit that I have had a hard time calling the bottom for the airline industry in Pittsburgh. Every time I think the bottom has finally come in terms of industry employment here there are ever more cuts. Maybe we are not there even yet, but I am pretty sure we are now below the level of employment that would be average for for a region our size. That is quite a change from what was one of the most concentrated hub (relative to our size) operations in the US at one point. There must be some wisdom in all of that on how fast competitive advantage can change for a region, to the degree there ever really was a competitive advantage for the airline industry here.


Blogger Burgher Jon said...

Wow, now there's a depressing post to see from a thought leader in the Burgh. Hopefully, if government can squeeze it in between squables, we can start hearing some solutions and less problems in the next couple weeks.

Friday, June 27, 2008 11:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Johnny G said...

On airlines: I don't know about employment--the USAirways heavy maintenance and operations center are still here. That probably gives us a leg up on employment.

On the other hand, USA Today reported not too long ago that Indianapolis and Nashville will have more seats available per day beginning Nov. 1 than PIT. And, despite pleas from the airport authority and Dan Onorato, even Southwest is cutting flights from Pittsburgh effective Nov. 1--while continuing to ramp up flights in Denver (zero to 115 in 18 months) and Baltimore.

This evidence strongly suggests that the region's business and leisure travellers are few and far between.

Saturday, June 28, 2008 7:41:00 AM  

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