Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'

Fly the Friendly Skies

Tags: , ,

Patrick Smith doesn’t know how to solve the problem with airlines’ clogging major hubs with a flood of small, regional flights introduced over the last two decades as part of an on-going war between carrier.

I may have a suggestion or two. The first, conceptually, is easy:

  • A lot of regional flights in Europe have been dropped entirely in favor of high speed rail.

So build high-speed rail lines in the Boswash megalopolis. Any system that knocks regional jets from hubs and/or eliminating smaller point-airports is a good thing. This should have been a priority for the supposedly forward-thinking folks of our current administration, but apparently only China does large public works projects anymore.

The second has more to do with the parallels between the issues here and, say, the highway system: It’s something like the suburbanization of air travel. Emphasis put on flying by the hour when the market isn’t there means airlines fly the same number of passengers in more flights on smaller planes, expending more fuel, running right up to the runway capacity of large airport hubs, and shooting themselves in the foot with undercutting. Generally speaking, the airports would find it much easier to have the same number of flights as twenty years ago with larger aircraft than with more flights. So,

  • Regulate the number of flights per carrier that go from hub to hub, dependent on market share, with a view towards limiting them.

Government control, to be sure, but then again nobody builds airports or rail lines anymore except government agencies, so in terms of efficiency it would behoove government to prod the airlines to use the capacity properly.

© 2009 Big Smoke. All Rights Reserved.

This blog is powered by Wordpress and Magatheme by Bryan Helmig.