Thread: Cape Air
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Old 06-18-2009, 05:56 PM   #17  
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Default Cape Air won't be picking up any KPIT flying

Cape Air spurns airport's courtship
Saturday, June 13, 2009
By Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A regional airline being courted by Pittsburgh International Airport to provide service from smaller cities in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia has declined the advances.

Massachusetts-based Cape Air is not interested in pursuing the flights at this time, spokeswoman Michelle Haynes said yesterday.

"It's just a question of geography and a few other factors that didn't work for us at this time," she said.

Airport officials had been talking to Cape Air about the potential for offering service from Latrobe, Franklin, Erie, Harrisburg, Charleston, W.Va., and other cities into Pittsburgh International as a means of boosting traffic and providing more connecting service.

Service from many of those cities was routine when Pittsburgh was a hub for US Airways. Virtually all of it has been eliminated in recent years with the cutbacks by the region's dominant airline.

"We're disappointed, but we're still trying to pursue other airlines and other opportunities," airport spokeswoman JoAnn Jenny said of Cape Air's decision. "We're still trying to forge ahead."

Ms. Haynes said one major factor that worked against Pittsburgh was a good highway system that allows people to get to the airport easily from some of the cities targeted for air service.

"When people can get there really easily on the roads, they tend not to go for the higher priced [air] option," she said.

"The good roads made it not a good alternative for us."

The airport also has been in discussions with Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Gulfstream International Airlines about a potential for providing the flights as part of the Pittsburgh Connector project.

While the airline has confirmed that it was looking for opportunities in Pittsburgh, its president said the airport's high fees were a big obstacle to a deal. Ms. Jenny said the airport was still talking to Gulfstream.

The Cape Air decision came even as the airport posted another decline in passenger volume. Traffic fell 11 percent in May, compared with the same month in 2008. It also is down 10.9 percent through the first five months of 2009 versus that period last year.

On the positive side, American Airlines, one of the few airlines recording an increase in traffic in May, yesterday started using larger 140-seat MD-80 jets with 16 first-class seats on two of its four daily flights to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The airline had been using all regional jets for the flights.

Mark Belko can be reached at [email protected] or 412-263-1262.
First published on June 13, 2009 at 12:00 am

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