sept douzièmes complète
Yay! We won.
or 7/12ths won. Like the Pirates, everything is in this nether world these days where anything that can be considered not losing feels great. Still, it's better than if they canceled the flight outright. The question is whether this is going to be a permanent seasonal flight, or if this is more a transition year. We will be back to that question next year I suppose.
So the flight is being extended, except for the winter season. Pittsburghers it seems don't make it very far from home when the snow and ice set in. So we keep the extended summer season (7 months of the year) of direct flights to Paris. I'd be curious what percentage of the seats are filled with folks originating in Pittsburgh, but save that thought for another day.
The newspapers have already asked my question, which is whether or not Delta will be paid for their 2nd year of contract service. They received the maximum subsidy for their first year, which was obvious to me at the time it would be the case. but we have not learned what is, or isn't owed for the 2nd year. Seems like it is taking longer to get that answer this year.
Now they will continue for the summer season without subsidy. A good thing, but not that remarkable. Summer season has a lot more demand than the rest of the year and I suspect their was always enough demand for a summer service out of Pittsburgh. USAir actually started their Frankfurt service as seasonal and remember we once also had Gatwick service during summer as well. TWO international flights simultaneously!! Must have been boom times for the Burgh?!
Does it matter? Less than you think. There is a clear image and pride with the 'international' moniker at the airport meaning something more than flights to Montreal (are there still direct flights to Montreal?). And don't get me wrong, it can be cool arriving in the US and landing in Pittsburgh and being home all at the same time. I think I will earn my own gold star on the flight later in the month. Still, I have to admit it is usually for civic pride that I pick the flight over many other choices. That or it has usually been the cheapest choice as well. The advantage of landing in Pittsburgh is clear, but that is just because the hassle of landing at a port of entry with a single international flight is just so much easier than landing in a place where you could easily find yourself in queue with passengers from a half dozen full 747's. Still, nobody has ever measured meaningful rates of corporate relocations based on changes in regional air service. If I'm wrong on that, I would love to read the cite.
So economically it just is not clear there is any advantage no matter what frequent travellers tell you. As I pointed out long ago, there just isn't any accepted economic research finding increased air service a cause of region-wide economic growth; certainly not for a large metro region such as Pittsburgh, and their are tomes of research trying to find the causes of growth. Causality may go the other way I am sure, but that means something else altogether. That and of course there are sub-regional impacts as airports are big enterprises. This is the whole 'aerotropolis' meme... but that as a regional impact dilutes out for anything beyond small regions.
The airport isn't entirely a dismal story for other reasons as well. The other under-reported news out in Findlay is that Airport Traffic is up for the14th straight month. Good for the airport's finances all around I am sure. Is it up because of the Paris flight? Probably not, unless we are now importing natural gas workers from Marseilles.
Speaking of Delta and regional growth. Cincinnati is feeling its own airport pain. It was once a Delta hub, but as airline mergers continue, they have found their terminal becoming more ghost-like as time goes by. No schadenfreude here, we know that pain.
Which reminds me of a question still bouncing around... who will USAirways merge with next? and what will that mean for the number of flights still at the airport?