3 Links I Love: The Decline in Short-Haul Flying, All Hail the DC-3, Evacuating an A380

This week’s featured link:
What Caused Short Haul Traffic Decline in the US? – the $34b QuestionLinkedIn
One of the more remarkable changes in the last 15 years has been the huge decline in short haul flying within the US. There are a lot of theories why, and in this article, Courtney Miller from Bombardier takes a look at some of them. He focused on the dramatic drop in Dallas to Houston and has a bunch of drool-worthy graphs, facts, and figures.

Two for the road:
Why the DC-3 is Such a Badass PlanePopular Mechanics
Amen. We just lost our last DC-3 here in Long Beach, the place where many were built. But as a testament to the incredible sturdiness of this airplane, the ones we had aren’t even going to the scrap heap. They’re being refitted to work in Africa.

A380 Evacuation TestYouTube
I wrote about evacuation tests earlier this week. Now you can see one for yourself. Here’s the test they had to do on the A380. All those well-prepared, thin, and determined participants really don’t seem like your average group of passengers. Then again, maybe the idea is that if they can get out in 90 seconds then normal people can get out in 5 minutes and that’s good enough.

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17 Comments on "3 Links I Love: The Decline in Short-Haul Flying, All Hail the DC-3, Evacuating an A380"

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Eric Morris
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I wish the US3 spent more time encouraging the USG to disengage militarily in the ME than complaining about the ME3. I know I drive more often in the under 600 distance than I otherwise would, and choose driving to drive to slightly less desirable locations than flying to further more desirable ones. The terrorists tell us they kill because we meddle and kill over there.

“Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none.” TJ (I do understand the disconsonance since he sent Marines “To the shores of Tripoli”.)

Eric Morris
Guest

To the downvoter and any likeminded, maybe the lost rev on short-haul was more than made-up for by the numerous airline military charters I flew both domestically and to Kuwait to help defend the Emir, that paragon of virtue, and bring freedom to the Iraqis. Those flights often deadheaded back to the Land of the Free.

Randy
Guest
The article on the decline of short haul travel leaves out one huge reason for the shift in passenger trvael lnegths, the Regional Jet. An example could be shown in New England. A lot of the flights from Bangor and Portland, ME, or Burlington, VT used to head to Boston or NYC due to the limited range of propellor aircraft. The rise of the RJ, which started in the mid 90’s and gained speed after 2000, allowed passengers in these cities to instead fly to CLT, ATL, DTW, or ORD (and formerly CVG) instead of connecting through Boston or NYC.… Read more »
steve
Guest
All true and I would add one other thing. The demand is just fundamentally gone. Business travel has always driven the airlines profitability and drive into smaller markets, along with government subsidies. Its my take that there is substantially less fundamental need to travel to BCD county markets, for a couple of reasons: anchor business has departed – we’ve lost and continue to lose manufacturing base, which was often located in low cost non-A county markets. Remote offices or markets are far better connected due to technology. Tons of fat has been cut from companies due to rounds of never… Read more »
Ron
Guest

The problem with choosing the year 2000 as a baseline is that you can’t see if the decline started at that point, or was a continuation of a longer trend.

Also take note of the comments to the article, where people rightly point out additional factors — for example, the abolition of the national 55 mph speed limit made it feasible to drive longer distances.

H.I. McDounah
Guest

DC3:
Great show about Columbian DC3 Badassery. I dont think this was originally produced by Al Jazeera (recall it being PBS or BBC), but this is where I found it. http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/riskingitall/2011/05/201151112305049621.html

Article: https://www.pri.org/stories/2014-01-13/ancient-dc-3s-deliver-hope-colombia-and-seatbelts-are-optional Dont leave without watching the video towards the bottom – you’re welcome!

A
Guest
The Dallas/Houston example of short haul flying is the wrong analysis in my opinion. Sure, they are big cities that are relatively close but I’d say almost too close because yes, there is the hassle factor that can make driving just as easy. As mentioned in the article they are also very car dependent cities. I’d rather look at an analysis of cities in the NE corridor – BOS, NYC, PHL, DC since you have real options of planes, trains and automobile. I do think the CRJ does have a big role in this as well. For example a small… Read more »
stogieguy7
Guest
But the northeast corridor is a very atypical part of the USA in that it is the most dense and is the one section of the country where intercity rail services are a very competitive option. Outside of this corridor, it’s basically driving versus flying. In other words, the NEC not representative enough of the overall US market to be a good example for such a study. Dallas/Houston is actually better. As someone who lives in the Midwest, I can tell you that my calculus changes with each increase in TSA gropage. At this point, my calculus is:driving if the… Read more »
steve
Guest
Now these routes are just uneconomic/too thin for any RJ at this point. Fares aren’t much higher (if at all after adjusting for inflation) from 20-30 years ago, fuel is higher, and there isn’t demand. RJ just too inefficient, the 45-50 seaters will be gone soon and you cant run a jet shuttle with 80-100 seats sna-lax or dfw-hou. Airlines will only pay so much for feed. Now what I would be interested to know, is more about the economics of an advanced prop like the ATR 72. I rode one (a 600) last year on EI, EDI-DUB and was… Read more »
Itami
Guest

Personally, I think regulators should consider more realistic evacuation scenarios. At least three people should be drunk, half the bathrooms should be in use, and every other person should be trying to grab their rollerboard. It might not be ideal, but it’s more reflective of how these situations play out.

grichard
Guest

I think Cranky got it right in one brief line above. Evacuation in 90 seconds under optimal conditions doesn’t *need* to imply a 90-second time in the real world. It just needs to bear some consistent, proportional relation to real-world evacuation times. If all existing configurations pass the 90-second threshold, then we assume that they’ll all post similar, acceptable, real-world times.

Itami
Guest

We aren’t in disagreement. I just think these simulations would be more relevant if they tried to reflect more realistic conditions instead of starting from an ideal scenario and making assumptions downward for what people would actually experience.

Jinxed_K
Guest

First one is definitely an interesting read.
Seeing the Houston-Dallas bullet train project starting to pick up again, wonder if it will drive people away from aircraft between these two cities even more once it starts service.
Their goal seems to be 90min for the trip, which would only be slightly more than what it is currently on an aircraft.

hsano
Member

Between Tokyo and Osaka, there are two camps- those that fly and those that take the Shinkansen (Bullet Train). Each camp has their reasons and approach a religious zeal in why they have chosen their transportation mode. The two cities are about 500 km (around 300 miles) apart. Driving is around seven hours. The fastest Shinkansen service is 2.5 hours. Non-stop flights are one hour. Very few people (relatively speaking) drive the route.

Tory
Member

Another potential factor: the rise of luxury inter-city bus services like Megabus, with low last-minute fares?

gregm
Member

I wonder if the expiration of the Wright Amendment and completion of the Love Field terminal renovations distorted the Houston-Dallas figures. My impression (not backed by statistics) is that WN scaled back activity at HOU when that happened, since DAL is a more direct connecting point for east-west (or northeast-southwest) traffic than HOU. There may well have been Dallas O&D traffic that used to connect through Hobby but is now served directly.

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