Tuesday, August 24, 2010

flying in, flying out

NS peanut gallery sent in a link to some of the latest stats on airport usage across the nation.  What is more interesting is if you dig into the data for Pennsylvania airports you get this:

Percentage Change in Seats on Departing Flights - Aug 09 - Aug 10
Clearly some small number effects there in the percentages.  The much maligned Murtha Airport in Johnstown had a +35% increase, which I presume means they went from 2 puddle jumpers to 3, but it still adds up to a capcity of 116 seats per day on average.  Nonetheless most PA airports had year over year changes in capacity far beyond the 0.3% growth for the US overall.  Sure seems to me that the cause is most likely the demand caused by the new Marcellus Shale workers we keep reading about.   So now go back and read the latest news coverage on usage trends at the airport here.  The short news item pointed out how traffic at the airport was up for a 2nd straight month without much digging into why.  Gotta be some reason for this mostly statewide trend.  

Why could the big Marcellus rush be impacting the airline industry?  With all the activity we know about going on in new Marcellus development, there is clearly a certain lack of local hiring. Those workers would have to be coming from somewhere.  In fact, the latest data on employment in the entire  "mining and logging" industries shows an actual tick downward over the previous month. To be fair, statewide employment in those industries continues to tick up and is now at its highest level since 1991.

Speaking of Marcellus.. if the hope was that we would become a major international exporter of natural gas, then some recent analysis from Europe puts those projections to task. Worth reading.


Anonymous BrianTH said...

I think part of the question is how much energy usage will switch over to gas if it stays persistently lower in price than its oil equivalents. For example, if we see NG personal vehicles take off in Western Europe, Poland or no, they could need a lot of gas. Of course the same logic applies to U.S. domestic demand, so I'm not sure there are many plausible scenarios in which the U.S. becomes a big net exporter of gas.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 8:03:00 AM  
Anonymous n'at said...

Perhaps the landmen and lawyers, but the drillers and support personnel are not flying to and fro.

Where are most of the flights from Murtha International connecting to - D.C.?

Direct relationships to the Marcellus activity could be implied geographically to Bradford, Wilkes Barre and Pittsburgh, but further analysis of flight locations is required for a safer statement, I reckon.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 10:49:00 AM  
Anonymous MH said...

Where are most of the flights from Murtha International connecting to - D.C.?

They are all to D.C. The flights are up because '10 is an election year (with a sort of open seat). There is no non-political reason for that airport.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

further analysis of flight locations is required for a safer statement

I dunno.. We now are up to 5 flights a day to Houston. Not quite sure why else we would be so well connected to Texas these days.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 11:45:00 AM  
Anonymous johnnyg said...

Eh. The article you mention ignores the pan-European security issues surrounding natural gas debates over there. While the British Isles and Northern Europe produce a good amount of nat gas, Eastern and Central Europe are now yoked to Russian supplies. And the Russians, as the last couple of winters have shown, are quite willing to exploit their supply hegemony. Plus, Europe is seriously considering more NGVs. So, you have political and market forces driving European development of shale gas.

Here, I think that the earlier poster hit the nail on the head. The low cost of nat gas--which decoupled from oil a while ago (oil now trades like an investment commodity)--will drive consumption, especially as more and more industrial plants can and will switch between fuels. And burning nat gas avoids many unpleasant environmental costs of burning coal.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 12:02:00 PM  
Anonymous The Wiz said...

I talked to a local worker in the gas field. He works 28 days straight and then gets 14 days off. If the out-of-state workers do the same, or something similar, I imagine they all fly home during their two weeks off. Probably explains the uptick. Plus executives fly home for weekends plus some during the week to give corporate reports and attend various meetings.

BTW, my friend is making $24/hr and then time and a half after 40 hrs...that'
s some good money.

I would also like to see an addendum to the proposed gas excise tax that sets aside some of the money to convert municipal vehicles, especially buses, to NatGas. That would help keep people employed in gas, keep fuel moneys in state, plus clean the air as NatGas burns much cleaner.

And if this gas is supplied by private contractors instead of a facility run by the municipality, it would accelerate the conversion of private and commercial vehicles to NatGas by making it more easily available.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 2:17:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

that sounds like a press release....

I myself would prefer an addendum to the proposed gas excise tax that has a gross tax on industry spending on lobbying and PR...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 2:48:00 PM  
Anonymous The Wiz said...

press release??? You saying I'm an gas industry lacky?

The only connection I have is the 45 acres for which I am trying to get a reasonable lease.

Plus, I spent my life as a builder/remodeller....business will explode once landowners start getting royalties. Maybe even develop my 45 acres.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 4:15:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

I am trying to get a reasonable lease

Holding out till the end? What are you going to do if they implement forced pooling?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010 10:17:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Russell said...

If it is Marcellus Shale affecting the airport numbers, then strange that Williamsport is down. I assume you noticed this:


After reading that article, I'm convinced that most of the labor is flying into PA.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 12:36:00 AM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

Maybe The Wiz read that Motley Fool article about stacked plays, and is wondering whether it is a good idea to finalize negotiations when only the other side has a decent idea of what you are negotiating about.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 8:46:00 AM  

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