2013 Year In Review

Discussing Great Lakes Aviation

2013 Year In Review

As we close out the year, I have always reflected on what has happened in the past 12 months of the year.  2013 will be no different as there actually has been a lot to reflect on.  2014 is setting up to be yet another interesting year of aviation in Toledo, but that will be a separate blog post early next week.

First, I will start off with my predictions from last year and see how accurate I was.  These were posted in the forums before they were archived in favor of Facebook.

Allegiant Air/Travel

I expect Allegiant to bring in somewhere around a 30% increase in seats this year with the addition of PGD and the increase in seats in the MD 80 aircraft to 166 up from 150. I believe PGD will be the best destination from TOL as Southwest Florida is the most popular destination from this area. They plan on running it full year with a Monday/Friday schedule going forward after April. I’m not impressed with the schedule that much, but they are running it. I would prefer a Wednesday/Saturday or Thursday/Sunday schedule, but the one they are running worked before. They have ordered A319 and A320 aircraft but I really don’t expect to see them here. I have a feeling the A320s will be either for long range LAS flights or them to open up CUN flights. I’m just not sure where they will be flying CUN flights from as they won’t base aircraft down there, they would be from up here…We shall see, going to get interesting. I would highly doubt we will see any LAS flying. In the end…we will see a 25+% increase in passengers this year based on the addition of PGD.

So far, year to date, Allegiant Air has offered a total of 25,684 seats more in 2013 than they did the same period in 2012, or a 47.8% increase.  Total passengers flying on Allegiant are at 71,916 year to date or 22,712 more than in 2012, or a 46.2% increase.  PGD has been a very good addition to our destination offering and has been popular.  The only knock against the service at the moment, the average fare is below expectations right now at $77 one way which is at least $10 below other markets of similar distance.

American Airlines operated by American Eagle (Connection)

Boy…it’s tough to really predict what they are going to do. They kept the 4th flight even when the subsidy ran out back in September. I think they realize they need a minimum of 4 flights to stay competitive with DTW. What is going to be interesting is what new aircraft American decides to order in terms of 76 seat aircraft. I bet they go with E175s which is a good move for them. Right now, their schedule is set through spring at the same capacity. There is talk of a network shift in their strategy which could be good for us as they could connect two hubs. I honestly think they are going to look hard at DFW this year with this change in thinking. With the SCASD grant still out there, I can see it happening. It would bode very well for TOL. If it happens, expect maybe a late August/Early September or a mid October start up.

American was difficult to predict.  I mentioned in other threads I expected somewhere around a 5% decrease in passengers in 2013.  Year to date, American has offered 1,164, or 1.1%, less seats over 2012.  Passenger traffic is currently 4,996, or 6.8% lower than 2012.  December of 2013 will actually be substantially better than 2012 so the number should come in just over a 5% decrease in passenger traffic.

Overall, passenger traffic has currently increased 8.1% to 142,765 passengers through Toledo Express.  December should push the total passenger increase to somewhere around 10%.

While that is great news, the biggest news of the year has broke at the end of the year – the proposal to take over management of Toledo Express and Toledo Executive by a private firm.  While others are jumping to conclusions, I will continue to reserve my comments until the plan is finalized and published.  The idea of private management is very intriguing as it is outside of the box thinking and is a change, which it seems as the Port Authority is resisting (change).  If anything else, it has kicked the Port’s butt into gear to show their worth.  Stay tuned for more of this in 2014.

Other good things that happened in 2013 at Toledo Express:

– Runway 7/25 was resurfaced from end to end

– New centerline lighting for runway 7/25

– Sierra West Airlines opened an operation in hangars at TOL

If there is anything else, please feel free to comment.  As stated earlier, I will post my 2014 prediction by early next week.