Airport speed dating

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If Nashville or San Antonio must hustle like mad for air service, and both do, where does that leave a town like Lansing, Mich.?

“I’m at the mercy of these airlines,” says Sheri Taylor, program manager for air service development at the Wyoming Department of Transportation, which coordinates among 10 state airports.

Sheridan and Riverton use contractors to manage the flights, including pricing. Four behemoths control roughly 86 percent of the domestic market.

Beyond the pilot shortage, which is likely to resolve over time as carriers improve wages and other benefits, the larger issue confronting airports is the radical consolidation of the U. The industry’s concentration means each airline now has its own well-defended turf and can deploy airplanes to where they earn the most money.

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In these contracts, the buyer is responsible for revenue management, sales, marketing—and financial risk—while the airline merely operates the flights.

“We know every airline out there, and there are no secret airlines you’re going to come to one of these and find out about,” he says.

Still, airport officials show up, conference after conference, date after date, hoping to get lucky.

The state, which has the country’s highest average fares, has been forced to innovate to attract air service.

One of the newest efforts is a program in which Wyoming buys aircraft capacity on 30-seat jets for flights to Denver from two cities, Sheridan and Riverton.

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