You've got me on Southwest; I was shocked they took this deal (and more shocked that St Joe offered it) and I'm trying to stay out of it until they go through a winter here. Delta tried it for several years and never could get either the winter or east-west routes to work. I am sure I was right on the fundamentals, but didn't foresee a big subsidy. I have also been surprised that Delta has responded pretty well on price and larger planes. There is always a larger market at lower prices, but ECP is starting from a very modest base and it remains to be seen if all the new seats will be profitable.
Phoenix (and the tiers of consultants) are in the end independent contractors. If the Owner of the project does not manage its contractors, then the contractors will manage as they see fit, and the result is what you see here. Several of the board members are friends or acquantances of mine, and I urged them years ago to hire a "gunslinger" to run a tight ship if they were going to do this.
Re: Sandy Creek
Sandy Creek is short, not instrumented, has no facilities for sophisticated airplanes, and is in the shadow of Tyndall's conventional and drone operations. It is not viable for any but rudimentary recreational pilots. The obvious plan for ECP was the "Ft Myers model" of building a 1-runway airline-centric airport (hopefully in a better location and using better practices) and keeping PFN for its unique value as a large GA airport like Page Field in Ft Myers. Instead they gave PFN away for less than the cost to replace its GA facilities. The only reason I ever saw for this was that consultant Bechtel wanted the largest possible project (and fees).
RE: Getting Over
My interest in this was originally professional curiosity, but after a while it got so curious that I received a broad education in corporate welfare, political intrigue, greed and regulatory capture. I never wanted to kill it but I thought it could be done a lot better and the only way to be heard was in the legal process. It is not personal with me, and I hope it is successful, whatever that means. It cannot fail aviation-wise because the State of Florida is on the hook and it has started with a gift of all previous aviation development in the county. As for the enviro objectives, they are just window dressing and cannot possibly be realized (develop 4000 acres of swamp/scrub pine + surroundings + re-develop 700 acres of waterfront/marina with a "net enviromental benefit"?).
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Getting over myself