Comments on: How important are gleaming airports? http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/10/01/how-important-are-gleaming-airports/ A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.5 By: MathieuBCN http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/10/01/how-important-are-gleaming-airports/comment-page-1/#comment-29372 Mon, 08 Aug 2011 08:57:51 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=5593#comment-29372 I completely agree that a gleaming airport for passengers is an attraction that brings in traffic, and therefore allows the airport to function as a money-making venture. My problem is that the government should have little or no part in funding said airports and I’m shocked that they actually do. If an airport can’t afford to cover it’s operating and construction costs why is it being built in the first place?

Mathieu
http://www.cocoonbarcelona.com/

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By: MarshalN http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/10/01/how-important-are-gleaming-airports/comment-page-1/#comment-19102 Wed, 06 Oct 2010 21:13:26 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=5593#comment-19102 Lastone: Point well taken. Gleaming terminals are, I think, a signal that the region is willing to spend money on the infrastructure, and the assumption here is that there’s a correlation between a nice building and good infrastructure behind the facade. They don’t always go hand in hand together, but it’s usually a good start.

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By: Lastone http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/10/01/how-important-are-gleaming-airports/comment-page-1/#comment-19002 Sun, 03 Oct 2010 13:28:50 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=5593#comment-19002 MarshlN – My previous post was too brief to make my point. Lindsay says “Size matters. Speed and efficiency matter.” Salmon then says “So I’m still not convinced that a major investment in airports is the best — or even a modestly good — use of federal infrastructure-investment funds.” But Salmon and other commenters appear to be confusing “gleaming airports” (i.e., terminal buildings, since what else could possibly gleam at an airport?) with airport infrastructure that would actually increase speed and efficiency. An improvement in capacity (speed, efficiency) will take longer runways, more runways, more taxiways, more gates, NextGen, and changes in airspace (the highways in the sky). Note I have not even mentioned building new airports, which is extraordinarily difficult in the U.S. It is actually often easier (but not cheaper) to build new ‘gleaming’ terminals than airside improvements, since the latter typically result in additional real or percieved noise impacts on surrounding communities. Municipalities have done a terrible job in this country controlling land use around airports, which makes every major runway project hugely controversial. All that a gleaming new terminal building really achieves is to slightly ameliorate the unpleasantness of waiting for your inevitably delayed connecting flight…Also, it is the very rare person that makes a decision about which airport to fly out of based on the quality of the terminal building.

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By: MarshalN http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/10/01/how-important-are-gleaming-airports/comment-page-1/#comment-18986 Sat, 02 Oct 2010 15:44:55 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=5593#comment-18986 Lastone: Since the original discussion started with the Summers comment on nice looking airports, yes, we’re talking about the passenger facing side of the airport. By your logic all buildings are no more than just walkways, spaces, plumbing, HVAC, etc. True, but not quite the point.

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By: TFF http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/10/01/how-important-are-gleaming-airports/comment-page-1/#comment-18982 Sat, 02 Oct 2010 12:36:41 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=5593#comment-18982 As DanHess points out, air travel will still make sense even with $200/barrel oil. But long before we reach that point you’ll see people cutting back on OTHER uses of petroleum. More efficient cars, electric cars, CNG buses and trucking, and more.

Also, the “technical reserves” calculated in oil deposits depend on both technology and price. At $200/barrel you’ll see many more reserves come on line, including oil shales in the US and Canada that are presently only marginally profitable to exploit.

I seriously doubt that air travel will die. When we visit family cross-country, I want to leave in the morning and get there in the evening. I’ll pay a substantial premium to avoid spending two full days traveling in a train (with kids).

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By: Lastone http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/10/01/how-important-are-gleaming-airports/comment-page-1/#comment-18973 Sat, 02 Oct 2010 01:16:20 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=5593#comment-18973 You are all confusing terminals with airport infrastructure, which also (and more critically) includes runways, taxiways, instrument landing systems, radar, approach procedures, etc. You are thinking from the point of view of the passenger, as opposed to the efficient operation of the aircraft.

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By: DanHess http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/10/01/how-important-are-gleaming-airports/comment-page-1/#comment-18955 Fri, 01 Oct 2010 16:31:04 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=5593#comment-18955 I think nice airports make a lot of sense. Why? Future fuel prices will necessitate very crowded planes with little personal space. This era is already here.

In this era of higher ticket prices and passenger dissatisfaction, something’s gotta give and its not gonna be the crowded planes.

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By: MarshalN http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/10/01/how-important-are-gleaming-airports/comment-page-1/#comment-18954 Fri, 01 Oct 2010 16:09:39 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=5593#comment-18954 Felix, you’re comparing apples to oranges. I think what you should find out is if HKIA’s cargo terminal is gleaming and nice in comparison with other airport cargo terminals. For a cargo terminal, having the ambiance of Port Authority in NYC might be considered luxurious.

I think of airport’s “gleaming” quality as a sign and symptom of whether or not the place is willing to invest in its infrastructure. Of course there will be waste, but behind every new and shiny airport is going to be a new infrastructure network that supports its operation that is state-of-the-art. Most airports, even if they look like some soaring dragon, are just giant boxes with or without windows. Having been through JetBlue’s terminal in JFK, it’s quite a pleasant place and not a terrible spot to be stuck in, unlike, say, Logan or LAX. Not that Larry Summers will ever fly JetBlue, but I’m pretty sure he’d be less miffed having to go through that than one of those other elderly JFK terminals.

At the end of the day, passengers are the ultimate customer of an airport, even if it’s the airlines that are paying to use the facilities — the cost just gets passed on to the passengers. Given two airports that are identical in every way except that one is new and gleaming, and one is creaky and gloomy, I’m pretty sure most passengers would prefer to fly out of the newer one, and airlines will accordingly schedule more flights out of that one. Presumably, the increased congestion will then start evening the playing field for the older airport, but even then I suspect passengers would prefer the more comfortable choice. A fancy airport is not exactly a zero value investment.

Developer: The 747 has a lot of cargo room. 777 is not too bad either, and that’s what Cathay uses.

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By: DanHess http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/10/01/how-important-are-gleaming-airports/comment-page-1/#comment-18953 Fri, 01 Oct 2010 15:12:56 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=5593#comment-18953 crocodilechuck is right about rail. Railroads are the hot new thing. Long haul trucking is in big trouble.

That said, the per-passenger gas mileage for long haul flights averages 70 miles per gallon at 80% capacity. Not terrible. That makes the current fuel component of a 2500 mile flight about $75, or only $60 if the flight is full.

http://marketing.spiritair.com/howmuchis myfuel.html

That means that even if fuel prices quadrupled, we are looking at $240-$300 of fuel cost for a cross-country flight. Tolerable. Airline flight is alive and kicking! Plus if luggage surcharges are higher, folks will stop carrying their own body weight in luggage!

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By: Petervdb http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/10/01/how-important-are-gleaming-airports/comment-page-1/#comment-18952 Fri, 01 Oct 2010 15:07:47 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=5593#comment-18952 Shiny, new, traveller-friendly airports are definitely a waste, not unlike shiny, new luxurious cars. That’s why the US car industry is on life support, while Audi can’t keep up with demand from China.

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