3 Links I Love: Inside Spirit’s Meltdown, Port Authority Revolt, A New Fifth Freedom Flight

LGA - New York/La Guardia, Links I Love, Singapore Airlines, Spirit

This Week’s Featured Link

7 hours at Spirit’s biggest hub on 7th day of meltdown: The good, the bad and the uglyUSA Today
Long-time airline report Dawn Gilbertson is either a true journalist or she’s insane. She decided to anonymously buy a ticket from Phoenix to Fort Lauderdale on Spirit with three stops. Then she spent the full day talking to passengers at Fort Lauderdale, getting an understanding of what exactly is happening during this meltdown. For this, she deserves a medal.

Image of the Week

It looks like this livery won’t be flying until next year after a delay, but you better enjoy it while you can. As we said in Cranky Daily earlier this week, it looks “sharp and will be relatively easy to cover up when its fleet of 15 aircraft are sold at a discount to a new carrier when this one goes under.”

Two for the Road

Cuomo’s departure leads Port Authority staffers to demand agency halt his LaGuardia AirTrain planNew York Daily News
It’s amazing how much power a governor can wield over an airport’s plans. Glad to see at least some at the Port Authority are trying to push back, though I still doubt it will change the outcome.

Singapore Airlines Announces Launch Of Los Angeles (Lax) – Taipei (Tpe) FlightsSingapore Press Release
It seems like a very odd time to launch a fifth freedom route, especially one that it tried and left more than a decade ago. But, well, here we are. The release does mention that this will improve freight capacity, so maybe that’s the angle for the timing on this launch.

7 comments on “3 Links I Love: Inside Spirit’s Meltdown, Port Authority Revolt, A New Fifth Freedom Flight

  1. Re: SQ launching LAX-TPE. United has an almost daily LAX-TPE cargo run on a 77W when they were doing cargo only flights. Not sure how profitable it was but there must be some significant cargo demand there for UA to do daily TPE out of both SFO and LAX.

  2. The LAX-TPE route is pretty busy already with China Airlines and EVA Air already in the market. While SQ offers a somewhat more premium experience, the competition isn’t bad (I’ve heard EVA is quite good) and does offer reasonable fares. Also, isn’t STARLUX looking to fly that route as well? Seems like an odd choice for a fifth freedom flight on the part of SQ. They must know something, but I can’t guess what it is.

  3. RE: the re-launch of TPE-LAX – to take advantage of vaccine tourism? There are some anecdotal reports of increase number of passengers from Taiwan to the US due to lack of COVID vaccine availability, especially when US visas are not required.

  4. Without knowing the New York area intimately, I’m guessing Cuomo’s proposal is probably the cheapest alternative. In looking at a map, it seems a bit roundabout. I’m not sure how many travelers use public transit to reach airports. But I’m guessing it varies. I understand that here in Phoenix, most of those who ride the AirTrain are those who work at the airport, not passengers. If I’m wrong in any aspect of this comment, please let me know. I may simply be showing my lack of knowledge.

    1. Not cheapest, but least disruptive.

      The cheap and obvious thing is to stripe some bus lanes on the route between the roads between the Roosevelt Ave subway station (which already has a “LaGuardia Link” bus run by the MTA). The bus is already pretty great if it doesn’t get snagged in terminal traffic, and that’s a totally avoidable situation. It’s a no-go because drivers would complain about losing the lanes (even though every person on the bus would be one less car on those roads…)

      If you’re doing rail, the right way to do it would be to extend the N/W train up Ditmars Ave, which is a much more direct route, has better connections to people’s destinations in Midtown, and would have the side benefit of serving an actual neighborhood of people. That’s a no-go because NIMBY’s would throw a fit about the constructions particularly because the train would likely have to be elevated, which many consider an eyesore.

      Cost is a 3rd-order consideration at best. NYC is now basically incapable of building in neighborhoods where people already live. All the construction happens in formerly industrial areas (Hudson Yards, Long Island City, Atlantic Yards, Navy Yard, etc.) with no existing residents who can throw a fit at community board meetings.

  5. The LGA airtrain, while initially well intentioned, morphed into a hideous, multibillion dollar vanity project that will actually remove few, if any, cars from freeways or city streets and INCREASE the travel time to Manhattan over the currently available options!

    Not to mention that it began life as a $450 million dollar project to build 2.2 miles of track to a station that is actually beyond the airport when traveling from Manhattan. Now it’s estimated to cost $2.2 billion.

    Not to mention part 2 that a connection to Jackson Heights / Woodside would connect LGA to 5 subway lines and all 4 LIRR lines that travel into Manhattan. The Airtrain will connect to 1 subway and 1 LIRR line. Proof that Jackson Heights / Woodside is the correct answer is that the popular Q70 LaGuardia link bus service runs to these stations.

    To further add insult to this $2.2 billion injury (remember the exact same project started at $450 million but I’m sure it won’t increase anymore hahaha), the Airtrain will actually INCREASE the travel time from Manhattan to LGA relative to the EXISTING options available today for getting to Jackson Heights / Woodside via the subway or LIRR and using the Q70 bus from there. But, but, but, it looks pretty!

    https://www.vice.com/en/article/88nkx4/congrats-to-andrew-cuomo-on-his-useless-laguardia-airtrain

    https://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2015/01/21/for-laguardia-an-airtrain-that-will-save-almost-no-one-any-time/

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