Long Beach May Lose in the Brewing Southwest vs JetBlue War

It’s amazing how much news such a little airport like Long Beach can generate. Now of course, since I live in the shadows of the airport, it’s amplified for me. But watching JetBlue and Southwest duke it out over access is something usually reserved for a large, constrained, and desirable airport. JetBlue, the longstanding majority slot-holder, is facing a real challenge here. Most recently Southwest has added pressure by temporarily using JetBlue’s slots that go under-used today. This might sound like a great thing for competition, but it could end badly for Long Beach. It certainly puts a whole lot more pressure on JetBlue, an airline that has stuck with Long Beach despite the airport’s revenue under-performance.

JetBlue and Juice in the LBC

Long Beach Airport is fantastic for travelers, but for airlines not so much. See, being wedged in between LAX and Orange County means that it has a small catchment area. Further while convenience is great, when LAX has nonstops to every destination, it makes it even harder for Long Beach to attract people. And that’s one of the reasons that Long Beach consistently has some of the lowest fares in the nation. Travelers love that, but airlines don’t.

Over the years, JetBlue has tried several different strategies to make the airport more profitable. First it ran up to 8 daily flights to New York, focusing on long-haul. Then it shifted to a short-haul strategy around the west. Finally, it opted to just use slots less and reduce capacity. That balance created a decently profitable operation in Long Beach but one that lagged behind the rest of the airline’s system. Still, it seemed as if JetBlue thought it was good enough. Then all hell broke loose.

One of the unique features in Long Beach is that it has a noise ordinance which had kept big commercial jets operating only 41 flights out every day. But the complex formula for calculating the noise limit meant that as aircraft became quieter, more slots would be added to keep the noise near constant. As MD-80s have disappeared over the years, noise has plummeted. And with noise levels down, the airport just added 9 more slots.

This is when Southwest decided to surprise everyone and launch service in Long Beach. Southwest was able to nab four of the new slots and started flying to Oakland. This service sat right on top of JetBlue, undoubtedly hurting the performance of that route and further weakening JetBlue’s already mild performance in Long Beach.

But Southwest wasn’t done. There is a rule at the airport that airlines have to file their proposed schedules each month looking forward 180 days. That allows the airport to find if there’s going to be slack, and it can let other airlines use those slots on a temporary basis. This has been commonly used in Long Beach for a long time, primarily during the holidays when UPS and FedEx ramp up to meet demand. (Yes, cargo carriers use the same pool of slots.)

After JetBlue gave the airport its schedules through the end of the year, Southwest came in and decided it wanted in on some of the slack. So the airport announced Southwest would get 3 slots to use from October through December. Southwest will use these to fly to Vegas 3 times a day, another JetBlue route.

This sounds great for travelers, but that’s short-term thinking. While we don’t know JetBlue’s attitude toward the long-term future of Long Beach, we do know that Long Beach has under-performed other markets in JetBlue’s system. Piling on this service from Southwest into Oakland and Vegas adds further pressure. And Southwest’s decision to use temporary slots ratchets up the pressure even more.

JetBlue has two options at this point.

  1. Start better utilizing its slots, further hurting profitability, to prevent Southwest from being able to temporarily use those slots.
  2. Let Southwest continue to use those slots, further hurting JetBlue’s performance in its markets.

Either way, JetBlue’s performance is going to get worse in an airport where it was never really all that great. Now, JetBlue may decide it’s worth sticking around until it can finish its effort to get a customs facility at the airport. If that succeeds, then JetBlue will have the ability to shift capacity and better utilize its slots heading south of the border.

It has said it thinks this strategy will work in Long Beach, but this isn’t something that’s going to happen soon. Some of the locals are rising up, treating this as if JetBlue has threatened to murder their children. The city is being very cautious as it approaches this idea. If it does happen, it’s still several years away. Will JetBlue be willing to wait it out for several more years? It seems that JetBlue was happy to do that before Southwest entered the market. But with the additional capacity and fare pressure, I wonder if that changes things. Or maybe it forces JetBlue to pursue a new strategy in Long Beach. That might be the best possible outcome.

What about Southwest? Why is it doing this? Well, Southwest wants to cement its status as California’s airline in the face of American and Delta adding service while Alaska/Virgin America combine forces. Southwest thinks that serving all these secondary airports adds to its utility. In other words, if someone in Long Beach needs to go to Oakland, then Southwest is going to have a leg up on that passenger when he flies elsewhere in the country from LAX or Orange County. It helps with loyalty. And because of its presence in secondary markets within California, Southwest thinks it can do better than JetBlue can in Long Beach.

Whether any of this is true remains to be seen, but Southwest appears determined to push forward. If JetBlue were to walk away, then what would that mean? I imagine Southwest would try to make Long Beach look more like Ontario or Burbank. Those airports have plentiful flights to the Bay Area, Sacramento, Vegas, and Phoenix with a sprinkling of Denver, Dallas, and Chicago. Southwest could try that, but it’s likely to find that the catchment areas in Burbank and Ontario are larger than in Long Beach and have less overlap. If it doesn’t work, Southwest might walk away. Who knows?

Maybe I’m wrong, and Southwest proves that its strategy in Long Beach is much more sustainable. But if it’s not, then Long Beach could be left without much of anything in the long run. Or maybe this pushes JetBlue to really examine its strategy in Long Beach and come up with something that works better. This is one big question mark, but Southwest is clearly trying to force JetBlue’s hand to get to an answer.

Update 7/26: Talk about coincidental timing. JetBlue announced this morning it will add 9 flights in Long Beach, details to come soon. That means it has chosen option #1 and will fight. Those Southwest Vegas flights will be short-lived, it seems.

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67 Responses to Long Beach May Lose in the Brewing Southwest vs JetBlue War

  1. Kilroy says:

    How does the car (parking lot) to gate travel time at LGB compare to that of LAX and other area airports? That plus the time to drive to the airport become much more important on the more local/regional flights, like Oakland and Vegas.

    Also, your editing is usually spot on, but you might want to check the second sentence of this article, the one beginning with “Now…”.

    • Ryan says:

      At LGB, you can park and be through security within 5-6 minutes. At LAX, unless you are parking at the short-term lots, it is at least 20-30 minutes. For those of us who live in LB and the surrounding area it is fantastic. I will say I do 90% of my flying out of LAX/SNA but when business calls in Phoenix I jump at the chance to use LGB. So due to loyalty and lack of available destinations, I feel like I am part of the problem in under utilizing the airport.

    • Kilroy – Honestly, by the time you’re at the gate waiting in LGB, you’re probably still stuck in traffic on the LAX access roadway. I live 15 minutes from the terminal at LGB, and I leave home an hour before my flight (not checking bags). I still usually end up sitting at the gate for a few minutes before boarding.

      LAX is painful in a lot of ways, but the traffic getting into the airport has become exponentially worse lately. Some of that is construction-related, but some is just the increase in flights. I went to an event for Etihad yesterday and it took me 20+ minutes to get from the freeway to a parking spot. That shouldn’t take anywhere near that amount of time except for the gridlock.

  2. Kilroy says:

    On a completely unrelated note, today’s LA Times reports that one group of Southern California pilots earn an average of $450k a year, with some topping $600k a year… Probably safe to say that they are among the highest paid (if not THE highest paid) group of pilots in the country.

    That group? Pilots of the Port of Los Angeles (ships, not planes).

  3. MarylandDavid says:

    The Southern California airport situation is very interesting. There are these bygone era airports that in most other regions have been redeveloped into something else. Think about it this way – if where Long Beach airport is was nothing more than an empty field, would it be developed as an airport today? Highly unlikely. That of course begs the question: in the long run is it a better economically to close the airport and redevelop the land ? I would never want that to happen because I find these airports to be quite charming and useful. However, when you add the restrictions to the limited catchment area, it seems that they will always struggle unless they develop some type of niche, or as one commenter has already pointed out, their ease of use makes up for their limited flight options. If all of Long Beach’ Jet Blue flights were replaced by southwest, I think it would still be a viable airport.

    • MarylandDavid – There are still plenty of airports like these around the country but they more often than not tend to be for general aviation. And honestly, that’s mostly what Long Beach is. It’s a huge general aviation airport that has a few commercial flights sprinkled in. The airport is an economic engine for the surrounding community, and not just because of the handful of commercial flights. Would they build it today? No, because nobody ever builds airports in the US today. But it’s a real asset.

      • SEAN says:

        What about the new airport in Denver or the proposed new airport in Atlanta’s suburbs? Yeah, that last one is a stretch.

        • Barry Bynum says:

          I am in Atlanta and the proposed second Atlanta airport is never going to happen. When the Denver airport was planned there was nothing in the area. Sprawl had not reached the airport. Here in Atlanta, all of North Georgia is part of Atlanta’s sprawl. Also, we have the largest number of separate local governments of any state in the union. So many politicians means the NIMBY folks will win.

        • CF says:

          SEAN – The new airport in Denver? That’s over 20 years old now.

  4. Noah says:

    Southwest is certainly going on the offensive. They could enter markets JetBlue doesn’t serve, like Denver, Dallas, Chicago, but instead are choosing to deliberately pressure JetBlue.

    I agree this does not bode well for travelers as the long run likely scenario is reduced capacity by everyone and the short term fare war may not be worth it given the already low prices. Southwest tends to price very high when they have no competition. So if Southwest stays and JetBlue leaves, fares may rise. Additionally, Southwest may realize they cannibalize other airports and reduce service. JetBlue could always go to an e190, Southwest can’t downgauge capacity much. And while a route may be profitable enough to keep around, it may not be profitable enough to resume if suspended or cancelled.

    It is funny, Jetblue has been so great to the LGB community – new jobs, great service, low prices, community service engagement, taxes, new facilities, and all they get back is complaining NIMBYs who would rather see the airline leave. Maybe it’s time JetBlue does.

    How big of a potential boost would an FIS be? If a customer has to connect, then do they really care if it is LGB or LAX or somewhere else? If it is just local traffic, could the revenue premium really boost an underperforming hub?

    Cranky – how much can they expand LAX if they wanted to move most of the LGB operation? Could they effectively compete with the lower frequencies? Would they shift strategies and focus on more transcons / mexico flying?

    • Noah – Well JetBlue isn’t big on connections. It usually prices connections much higher and only goes into markets if there’s enough local traffic to make it worthwhile. So while I’m sure there could be some connections from a customs facility, it would be about serving the locals.

      As for LAX, JetBlue doesn’t have a ton of options there right now. The facility has become gate constrained. It sounds like it wants to focus its growth on Mint and longer haul stuff. I would be very surprised to see JetBlue try to replicate any of the short haul stuff it has in Long Beach over at LAX. It just wouldn’t make sense considering the level of competition already in those markets.

  5. Ted says:

    Buried in JetBlue’s A321 announcement today is a statement that they’re going to add 9 flights a day to LGB starting late this year. So I guess they’re going to double down on it.

    • Noah says:

      these are from the previous slot allocation. Jetblue did ask for more. I guess they believe that more frequencies make the airport more attractive, as well as keeping out competitors given their history of sitting on / underutilizing slots

      • Stuart says:

        Jetblue is apparently just utilizing the slots that have already been allocated to them. Before SW came along, Jetblue was reducing and reducing service, and sitting on the slots they already had. Personally, I’m glad that SW is forcing competition at LGB.

  6. Ron says:

    I don’t get why Southwest chose Vegas as their next destination from Long Beach, I would think another California market would be better (SFO?). Fares to Vegas are dirt cheap ($39). My first thought was connections further east, but then I noticed several cases where a LGB–LAS–East Coast connection on Southwest is priced higher than the same two flights on separate tickets. Go figure.

    Also, I’m not sure what data say that Long Beach is cheap; my personal experience is that I usually pay a premium for using Long Beach over LAX.

    • SEAN says:

      New York has something similar in that you pay a premium if you fly out of HPN or ISP vs the big three NYC airports. That said, Southwest does have a good number of flights to/from Islip.

      • Kilroy says:

        For the NYC area, there is definitely a premium for HPN and ISO, but it comes with the benefit of convenience and lower home-to-gate time for most pax who take those flights.

    • Ron – Pretty much all data says Long Beach is cheap. Now there is nuance, of course. But overall, Long Beach fares are low.

    • L382 says:

      Ron, I think you are right! With OAK and LAS, I believe WN may offer more domestic city pairs than AA or DL! WN has been reluctant to admit it, but places like OAK, PHX, LAS, etc are a hub! Think of all the new destinations offered by WN now…ABQ, DEN, DAL, HOU, SAT, MCI, MDW, BNA, MKE, EWR, DSM, ETC…

  7. Mark says:

    JetBlue announced today that they’ll fly a full 35 flights a day out of LGB starting this winter.

  8. mike says:

    I just received my SWA companion pass yesterday. In August I can fly my wife and I to Oakland from Long Beach for 1666 points.

  9. hoorae1 says:

    Your update on our LGB scenario is accurate, but a bit dramatic with the comment about “locals uprising “as if their first born is being threatened.

    The truth is any city that hosts an airport within their city’s boundaries ( especially one that sits directly in the middle of that city) causes concern to those who are impacted by noise and pollution affecting their families each and every day. They should be on alert and let their elected officials know how they feel about any future development affecting, literally, their own backyards.

    Jet Blue has been appreciated by many Long Beach residents. Over the years they have proven to be good corporate neighbors and successful in providing both Long Beach and the region with flight options from our boutique airport.

    However, they came to Long Beach knowing we are a municipal airport. Their connections to DC, JFK and Boston were appreciated by many. Most of those options are gone, requiring local JB customers to go to LAX for those connections. Jet Blue has stated they are changing their flying model to serve north-south versus east-west. They would like to provide their LB served cities with international flights capturing the ease of our airport as a great marketing tool. That is their corporate right, but attempting to grow services for their financial benefit which “could” put our noise ordinance at additional risk demands the voices of all “locals”.

    This local appreciates hearing your opinions and input!

    Rae Gabelich BIxby Knolls Resident

  10. Michael says:

    I never understood noise complaints, especially in circumstances where the airport was there before housing was. Um…you live by an airport, of course there will be noise. And coming from someone who has lived in Howard Beach, NY (which is a stone’s throw away from JFK’s longer runways), you get used to it.

    • TMartin says:

      Howard Beach….New Park Pizza, my favorite!

    • SEAN says:

      Visiting my GF’s aunt in Long Beach a decade ago, I remember the occasional jet noise over the neighborhood & realizing that if this noise was constant, it would be unbearable. The house was one of those cute bungalows not far from Carson Street, on the east side of the city not far from Lakewood.

      • CF says:

        SEAN – You sure it was the east side? If so, you didn’t hear commercial jet noise. The runway that commercial jets use 99.9% of the time sees them departing over the northwest side of the city and landing on the southeast side. If she was further west on Carson she’d hear it, just as she would have every year for the last several decades when that runway was extended.

  11. It seems like the real loser in this is UPS and FedEx. Were they thinking about using those slots during December? If Southwest has them, I’m guessing they’ll deal and just move to an alternate airport and eat the trucking time and cost?

    • Nick – Well, with only the 3 temporary slots being used, I imagine there will still be enough for FedEx and UPS to squeeze in some extra flights as usual.

  12. David SF eastbay says:

    LGB has always been a nice little airport for quick trips up the coast or to LAS/PHX. It will never be able to get people to all points in the U.S. with nonstop flights, so maybe the airport shouldn’t be expected to do that.

  13. TMartin says:

    CF, Let’s be logical! I know you worked for an airline, let me ask you this. Do you think any airline would add 3 flights at a station for just over 90 days? Think of all the logistics involved from crews, aircraft rotation, maintenance, etc. Except for seasonal flights (and I’m not sure WN has any with their mickey mouse computer system), no airline would go through the expense for three months of service. My guess is, in October, 3 permanent slots will be added.

    JetBlue is shameful for squatting on slots for so long. Now that American has returned to LGB (although, in name only), the City is terrified of being sued for additional slots – remember the AA lawsuit against the City in the 2000s? Southwest carried over 10,000 passengers in June, more the AA or DL. That’s had a huge impact on vendors in the south boarding area!

    Living in the DFW Area, I know people in WN management. As I told you early, I thought it was Southwest applying for the initial slots at the beginning of the year. Fact it, their model has evolved after each merger, Morris, and AirTran. They learned it is possible to operate with only 3 or 4 flights. Also, WN wanted nothing to do with the trailer farm. It’s no question, the world class terminal drew WN to LGB.

    Southwest is the ‘BEST’ thing to happen to LGB. It’s going to force JetBlue to “poop or get off the pot”! I can guarantee should JeBlue do something drastic and leave, Southwest would apply for all of JBs slots the next day. The 3 ‘provisional’ slots will somehow find themselves through 2017! Also, keep in mind, even though provisional, if the flights are taken away, Southwest can file an anti-trust lawsuit regarding the removal of slots preventing them from competing against JetBlue…that’s what happened in 1985 with Alaska! (sort of). The City is terrified of the FAA and any lawsuit, that’s why I believe 3 slots will open up before the end of the year!

    • CF says:

      Spirit FF – Logic says that Southwest was trying to call JetBlue’s bluff.
      And now that JetBlue says it’ll use its slots, then Southwest is likely out of luck. Though we’ll see how the math works out. The airport can’t just add slots for fun. The noise ordinance clearly states when slots can be added. Southwest may very well not be able to continue the Vegas flights beyond December.

      • Rudy says:

        Do you think that if these slots get taken away from WN at the end of the year they might try to stall it with legal action like Delta is doing to them at Love field? Maybe file some lawsuit and get access to the slots until it finally gets resolved in court?

        • CF says:

          Rudy – I would be surprised. That doesn’t seem like something that Southwest would do in a situation like this. It’s hard to imagine the market being important enough to try something like that. And if they did, it would only anger the locals. The city would stop trying to support Southwest in any way. It wouldn’t be a smart move.

      • TMartin says:

        Yes, I’m quite familiar with the Noise Ordinance. My key point/word was ‘October’ which is the annual review for noise. According to my sources, even with the additional slots, the annual noise review will support additional flights again. How many, no one knows. I suspect it will be conservative, perhaps 4-6 slots.

        Rudy is correct, the City also wants to avoid court at any cost. WN will raise ‘anti-trust’ concerns if the slots get taken away. Remember when AA sued for JBs unused slots, they had 8 slots, and ultimately ended up with 7. They may not end up with all three, but I bet WN will have at least 2 additional slots in January carrying over!

        • Carl says:

          It wouldn’t be very friendly to overtly ask the FAA to look at ordinance. However, that door is still open.

          If we all remember back to 2003 when B6/AA/AS came to an agreement re: the 24 month use it or lose allocation to B6, the FAA said this –

          “…it is unnecessary at this time for the FAA to take a position on whether Chapter 16.43 meets Federal requirements for airport access…however, the FAA may be presented with a complaint from a third party under 14 C.F.R. Part 16, or may have reason to review Chapter 16.43 from a compliance standpoint on its own initiative. The FAA thus reserves the right to review the consistency of Chapter 16.43 with Federal law in the future”.

          I don’t think the FAA has evaluated 16.43 since then.

          • TMartin says:

            Exactly! The City is still shaking from the ’03 ruling and does not want to lose local control of the airport – that’s their biggest fear! Awarding additional slots after the ‘annual’ October noise review is the only thing to do. It’s a win-win-win situation. JB gets their slots back, WN is happy with additional slots, and the City keeps the Feds off their backs!

            There is not doubt WN has done their homework in terms of the LGB Noise Ordinance. Of course, they are also used to dealing with the SNA Noise Ordinance which, in some ways, is stricter than LGB’s!

            • CF says:

              Of course, it’s not that simple. LGB can’t just give Southwest the slots.
              It would have to go through the regular slot process. Undoubtedly JetBlue would want them as well. If nobody else does, then the city would need to make 5 or 6 available for Southwest to be able to get 3. But if another airline comes in from left field, then Southwest still might not be able to get the slots it wants.

            • TMartin says:

              I realize that, I’ve been around LGB for over 30 years, I know the Noise Ordinance, and I know what is the process. If you will note, I indicated ‘October Review’ I know slots don’t just appear!!! And yes, I know any slots must be awarded via the ‘allocation process.’

              You never answered my original question! As a former airline manager, would you go through the trouble to operate flights for only three months? The low yields aren’t worth it.

              There is no doubt in my mind the City has some sort of guarantee. Just like the City guaranteed WN a minimum of 3 or 4 flight in the initial award, I’m guessing, they are guaranteeing WN 2-3 flights after the review/allocation process in the 4th quarter.

            • CF says:

              Nobody is attacking your knowledge about the airport. This is a public discussion and not everyone knows how this works.

              If I’m Southwest, I’m scheduling those flights in order to push JetBlue one way or the other. I’m probably betting that JetBlue isn’t going to increase utilization enough to block me from flying 3 flights, but I’m not going to complain if they do. I’ll just quietly sit there while JetBlue bleeds and wait until investors put pressure to stop. Then I’ll swoop in.
              Either way I win, but I’m playing the long game.

              I don’t see how the city could guarantee Southwest slots. There’s no way to know if more airlines are going to apply for slots the next time they come available. And new entrants automatically get 2 if they want them.
              There’s no way to officially guarantee anything.

  14. TMartin says:

    Agreed! They will definitely push JB in one direction or another. TBH, I’m surprised JB has stuck with LGB with all the management changes they’ve had (although, I’m glad they have stuck with LGB). We’ll see!

    How do we get United/SkyWest to get into LGB with IAH flights. The CRJ-700 is a perfect airplane, and proven viable for the route! I’ve flown the CR7 several times DFWLAXDFW on UAX/SkyWest, not a bad ride. There are 23 slots available under 75K lbs. Perhaps with WN’s new service at LGB, UA is looking at LGB options…that would be nice!

    • CF says:

      I’d say the chance of a United flight to Houston is slim to none right now. With the crash of oil prices, Houston has done nothing but shrink. I can’t imagine United would have any interest in that route. Denver and SFO would be more likely if United cared, but I don’t think they really do.
      Denver was disastrous for Frontier (a different story, I know). SFO is a growing market, but it’s one where JetBlue already flies.

      • MK_LKWD says:

        CF – No one has ever been successful to DEN. Going back to 1989 CO claimed the city’s noise ordinance didn’t allow them to fly the ideal airplane (DC-9-30 at the time), so they had to fly 737-300s. Frontier could have been successful, but they had a terrible schedule!

        Not sure why UA couldn’t make it work. But I do believe the CRJ-700 is the plane. I flew UA all the time from LGB to SFO, but most of their SFO traffic is beyond SFO! I connected to MOD, and a lot of people went to ACV, CIC, RDD, SMF, including points in Oregon and Washington, even Hawaii connections. SFO, like with DL and SLC, would offer two different markets for B6 and UA – local, and beyond!

    • John says:

      Why not just wait until October when the new noise calcs are run? If there are additional slots added, then force the issue. Why make JetBlue add 9 flights to protect the airport when in October they might need to have to decide to add 12 or 15 flights to defend it?

  15. stewart.smith says:

    Gee, who would want to try to (profitably) run an airline?

    So complex, so many variables, so much outside of one’s control.

    SSmith3104

  16. d'Artagnan79 says:

    In the last few years, JB management says lgb is making money for them finally. Give JB as much pouting yot want,but as lgb struggled,they figure stop growth there by sitting in slots,and let the routes mature to profitability. Well,today and last several quarterly updates they said lgb is profitable, it took years of work, but the idea og them losing money as of now is no longer true, and hasn’t been for a few years now that lgb station for jb is profitable, they are ready to give it a healthy expansion of new routes which explains the bullish plan for lgb outlayed today. They wouldn’t do it if they were currently not profitable out of lgb.

    • TMartin says:

      There is no doubt JetBlue has changed the face of this airport – for the better. They have a very loyal customer base, and that has certainly helped them as well as LGB.

      The only info about an announcement regarding flights at LGB, was JB would be adding 9 flights – it did not specify where. And it was unclear, but it appeared that Mint would start out of LGB!

    • Noah says:

      dont confuse profitable with profit-maximizing…hypothetically, Jetblue could make $1 per pax flying LGB-SFO, but $5 JFK-SDQ. Where do you allocate capacity?

      Basically, is there better opportunity to make more money elsewhere? JetBlue is profitable at LGB, but that doesnt justify its growth or even existence. Given their size relative to other carriers – their decisions may not mirror Southwest, for instance, who flies to more places and has fewer ripe opportunities.

  17. Mike says:

    Fares will rise in LGB to make it more profitable if JB is unable togointernational. If after driving out SW by utilizing those routes and adding 9 flights, JB will raise rates to stay as close to profitable as possible. E190 is a strong possibility to return to LGB as it’s under the noise variance levels and it brings the profit fee seat miles closer to profitable. It lowers overall capacity, but extra frequencies an be added. A little under two years ago this was discussed in a local newspaper. A repair facility was unavailable before, but with the exodus of the C17’s hanger space is now open. Also Bombedier CS100’s are coming into picture.
    JB is on the prowl to create a new base and that becomes a game changer. They won’t abandon LGB and leave it wide open for SW, it will just adjust routes to help new base and route map and stifling SW.
    Locals should act ASAP to approve Customs Center and benefit from their loyal tenant JB and keep other carpetbaggers from raping them in the short term

    • hoorae1 says:

      Mike,

      You are inaccurate when you insinuate that JB may bring the E190 to LGB unless of course you are suggesting that they will use that aircraft to fill the slots they have sat on for the past several years. The E190 does not qualify for commuter slots because of its weight. According to our noise ordinance commuter planes must be under 75K pounds. Jet Blue did attempt to get the city council to adjust those numbers to accommodate the aircraft when they first purchased them. It was clearly explained to JB by our city attorney that this was not possible. He confirmed that any change in the wording of our coveted noise ordinance could invalidate the protection in full.

      Our airport has been appreciated by passengers for years. Jet Blue came to LB in 2001 knowing the strict guidelines that existed and understanding the municipal airport status. They have attempted to push the envelope on several issues related to LGB over the years. Dollars generated within Long Beach Airport do not support in any way our general fund. These monies must remain within the LGB budget and expenditures are guided by the FAA regulations.

      When Jet Blue did fly their full complement of 32 daily flights LGB realized $2-3M additional revenue. They pulled back as they launched their request to acquire permission for an international customs facility. The future success of Long Beach Airport does not rely on allowing a customs facility for an individual corporate request. It does depend on airlines providing appropriate flights to both serve the traveling public and show profits to the carrier.

      The discussion continues…….

      • TomarLB says:

        Rae, I would like to add to your comments. While airport revenues cannot be used for the general fund, concessions, car rentals, hotels, all contribute to the general fund.

        Just to give you an idea, Southwest, with their new service has one aircraft/crew that remains overnight. A standard crew of 5 generates approximately $183,000 in annual revenue for the hotel and tax for the city (based on $100/night). That’s virtually guaranteed and only 5 people. Now, let’s add all the passengers that come into LGB.

        While I no longer live in LB, I fly into LGB all the time. My dollars always go to Long Beach – I rent a car from LGB, and use a Long Beach hotel, plus the restaurants I eat at! I believe I’m typical of most people that fly into LGB. All of those monies help the General Fund.

        JetBlue maybe the ‘individual corporate request’ for customs, however airlines such as Sun Country or Enerjet (Canada) would most likely request to offer weekly charters. In fact, I recall reading, Southwest showed interest in customs as well.

        LGB is a first class facility and has received kudos from world renown publications – this is a testament to you, the city, and the people of Long Beach. Thank you for your support of LGB!

  18. Jaymanlb says:

    I live in/own a business in Long Beach. I LOVE LGB and I see it as a huge quality of life for me and my employees as we are a consulting firm and travel 80% of the time. What jetBlue hasn’t understood is that although Cranky keeps on saying that LGB doesn’t have a large cachement area (we sit midway between LAX and SNA), the fact is that we are MIDWAY between LAX and SNA (which means our cachement area is actually a big swath of Southern California), and there are many business travelers here who would happily and gladly pay a premium to use LGB rather than go to LAX (which as Cranky stated is a third-world airport now with all the traffic). But, because jetBlue has decided that they would focus on the cheap leisure travelers, they decreased frequencies which used to let me do a one day turnaround to places like SLC, SEA, and PDX… forcing me to go to LAX and leaning on AA, etc. If jetBlue also had more frequencies and MINT from LGB, many business people like me would use it and pay for it.

    To the Long Beach people who are anti airport… let me be clear… LGB is a quality of life issue for people who actually use the airport– we love the fact that we can take a cab for $15 and arrive at the airport 40 minutes before departure and not have to go to LAX. I often take a connection in PHX in order to travel from LGB instead of LAX. We love LGB and will support it. I will support a customs facility, not just for jetBlue, but for any airline who will use it.

    • Mike says:

      Agreed. If 19 is brought back, those mid range destinations will be serviced easier.

      • hoorae1 says:

        Most locals I know that are NOT supportive of our council allowing international flying our of LGB are concerned about the value of their homes and the quality of life impacts that would result if LB were to lose our coveted noise ordinance. Sorry about the inconvenience that you experience from having to make that difficult drive to LAX. You could try John Wayne, twenty minutes in the opposite direction.

        Just sayin’………………..there are no guarantees that this protection can withstand corporate challenges as they battle each other for the privilege of flying out of our boutique airport.

        • Mike says:

          Not an option as John Wayne is slotted and no available. Noise level of those domestic planes are the same ones flying international. Your point has no credibility or common sense. Again 190 would be used on those routes, more than likely. Also Bombardier CS 100 is a possibility as Jet Blue is talks to be a launch airline. Their power plant would also fall under the noise restrictions.

          • Rae says:

            The Bombardier CS100 weighs 134,000 lbs. That is 59,000 lbs over the allowable weight for commuter planes. They are welcome to use any aircraft that is over 75,000 lbs. for their commercial flight slots.

            And the point is not what the airline destination may be – it is the opening of Pandora’s Box by adding another enticement to LGB that outside carriers may desire. We’ll all know more when the FIS study is released within the next month. Until then, I recommend erring on the side of caution in all decisions!

            • Mike says:

              The range of the CS100 will keep it as well as the 190 extended version out of commuter classification.

            • hoorae1 says:

              Read the LB noise ordinance……weight is what identifies commuter versus commercial aircraft.

              Stay tuned…….

            • Mike says:

              They will be able to handle transcoms

            • TomarLB says:

              No where does anyone say bringing back the E-190 B6 will want to use the commuter slots! It’s a matter of matching frequency with capacity. With B6s A320s seating 150, and the added flights, that’s a lot of extra seats they will have to fill. Replacing the A320 with the E-190, that would reduce capacity by about 30% per flight (the E-190 seats 100).

            • Mike says:

              Which would allow them to use all allotted slots without a multitude of open seats. Seasonally they can switch back to A320 for greater capacity when needed. This would free up A320’s for more profitable and higher capacity flights.

            • hoorae1 says:

              Again…….it is not about what best serves the bottom line for the airline, it is about the definition of commercial versus commuter aircraft within our noise ordinance.

            • Mike says:

              What, you think it’s a philanthropist organization ?? Seems that it’s more of a win for both sides. There are drawbacks in any growth or change, but it seems both gain overall. It’s seems it becomes a case of wanting something, but not here !!! The rich areas want to move it elsewhere.

            • TomarLB says:

              Rae, please READ CAREFULLY the previous posts. It is about what is best for the airline – they are in business to make money (much to the dismay of politicians like yourself). JetBlue, we predict, will match frequency and capacity. No one has ever been successful offering 4 flight or more to on short haul routes out of LGB. We are simply saying they will be moving to an aircraft with less capacity (E190). NO ONE EVER SAID THEY WANT TO USE COMMUTER SLOTS!!! That issue was addressed.

              Please refrain from using hasty generalizations when talking about the airport. Most people realize that the anti-airport gang uses fallacious arguments in supporting their claims.

              I realize Southwest was given ‘provisional’ slots through the end of the year, which they are planning to start Las Vegas service. If their slots are not brought forward into the new year, the City maybe in trouble. We maybe looking at 1985 all over! Southwest has every right to compete with JetBlue, and since the ‘provisional’ slots impact Las Vegas, it falls under Federal Guidelines, not State!

            • hoorae1 says:

              Spirit FF……..sorry if I misunderstood your reference to the E190. I was simply trying to clarify. It appears you are with an airline or other user group at LGB. Also sounds as if you have been around Long Beach for awhile.

              To be clear, I do want LGB to be a successful municipal airport. I worked hard for many years to realize what we share today. I’ve been involved in the community movement to control growth since 1985 when 8th district councilman Edd Tuttle lead the charge. After 30 years the idea of risking what was so long fought to achieve is distressing. Balance in supporting corporations in any sector and defending quality of life issues for Long Beach residents is what should be important.

              I appreciate the dialogue.

        • JJ says:

          John Wayne also has noise restrictions which impede it from growing. Like one of the FA’s commented as the engines quieted down while we were taking off over Newport Beach, “Shhhhh… we’re flying over rich people.”

          Also, the weight classification of airplanes does not reflect how much more quiet planes are nowadays. LGB can handle significantly more flights but the NIMBYS stop it.

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