Screw USAirways, PIT should woo JetBlue

Over lunch I was reading the latest in the saga of USAirways slow pullout from Pittsburgh International Airport. Apparently, the CEO of USAirways wrote letters to Senators Spector and Casey after Spector made some harsh comments about USAirways on a recent visit here.

Yawn. USAirways is obviously leaving. It’s time to move on.

The article includes some speculation about Southwest Airlines adding some flights here, but so far it’s just that: speculation. Every time I hear about Southwest in Pittsburgh, I think, what about JetBlue? JetBlue’s hub is at New York’s hopelessly overcommitted JFK International. Their terminal is cramped and overcrowded, and JFK can’t handle all the air traffic it gets, causing JetBlue’s evening departures to get bumped down down the queue in favor of big international departures. It’s a mess. I flew in and out of JFK on JetBlue on a summer trip to Europe (connecting to Olympic Air), and I never want to do it again. Both flights were delayed by hours. It’s too bad, because there’s so much to love about JetBlue as an airline: nice, clean comfortable new planes, great in-flight entertainment, free WiFi in their terminal, and a generally “with it” mentality.

PIT’s midfield terminal was designed to be a hub, and is far nicer than JetBlue’s terminal at JFK. For flyers not originating or terminating in New York, who cares where the hub is, as long as it gives easy access to the same general region? JetBlue could improve their service immensely by routing a portion of their flights through Pittsburgh with its relatively uncrowded runways.

The big question is whether local government has the backbone to offer a truly competitive incentive package. My guess is, probably not, but I can dream.


4 Responses to “Screw USAirways, PIT should woo JetBlue”

  1. Filkster Says:

    Why not offer that incentive package to USAirways to maintain service levels in Pittsburgh??? Why run a full service airline out of the city and then go begging JB with corporate welfare to provide some limited air service out of PIT??? I believe the reasons for the pulldown of air service out of PIT by USAirways has more to do with politics over PHL than making money in Pittsburgh..

    p.s. Southwest wanted more gates but balked at paying the same as USAirways.. No welfare no Southwest..

  2. Jefferson Says:

    Gates are a product (or service) offered on the open market. Lowering the price in response to market demand hardly seems to me like “corporate welfare.” Clearly, PIT, at its current price, is not an attractive hub airport for any airline. If the airport wants to rent those gates, it’s going to have to do something to make them more attractive. As with any other market, lowering the price is one option for moving more product.

    Also, my idea was to try to get JetBlue to run a second hub there, rather than limited service. I only said “a portion of their flights” because I assume that they will still want to have a significant presence in NYC. Having flown quite a bit recently, I can hardly see a difference between “full service” airlines and “low cost” airlines these days. Once you factor out the JFK delays, I would say that my flying experience was far better on JetBlue than on any recent flights on USAirways or United.

  3. More Backwards Economic Thinking in Allegheny County « The Q Function Says:

    […] does it that make sense? I recognize that they have a budget shortfall, but their goal should be getting airlines to increase operations at the airport, and that’s obviously not going to happen if they increase their rates. What […]

  4. NIna Says:

    They do but it’s all been in private jet general av

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