Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Flying Through Cincinnati

Yesterday I flew up the Albany, New York to have lunch with some folks. Yes it was a long way to go for lunch. We ate at the Panera Bread because they have free wifi Internet. The food was good too.

I was unbelievably impressed and disturbed by what I saw at the airport. Parking at my home airport - RDU - was the easiest it has been in my memory. At least half the parking deck between the two terminals was empty. I wasn't there all that early. And the same was true when I got back last night.

But the emptiness at Cincinnati was mind blowing. The place has three terminals - A, B & C. Terminal C has been completely closed. I walked through it and all the stores and restaurants were gone. Lights turned off. Just plain empty.

The gates at terminals A and B weren't all that busy. Plus I saw something I can never recall seeing - a 50% off sale sign on an airport retail store.

I had read earlier this year that air travel was down 30%. I have no current numbers, but based on what I saw yesterday it was 50% or more.

I wondered if the impact on Hubs like Cincinnati - a Delta hub - is worse. Is there some multiplier? I mean if traffic to RDU is off 30% and it is just a destination, would traffic to a hub - which has mostly traffic to change planes as opposed to coming to that destination, be off by a larger percentage. At first it doesn't make sense. But...

Here is the thing in the back of my mind. When retail sales in the US are down 5% it seems manufacturing unemployment in China went up to 30%. Why the multiple?

If you have a formula for this I would love to see it.


1 comment:

Pat Alexander said...

I haven't seen anything quite this bad yet, but was startled last month when I was leaving ABQ. Gardunio's restaurant that has been this airport for years was closing that day. This restaurant has several locations throughout the city and really good New Mexican food. It is sad to see successful business ruined by our economy.

Pat Alexander