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Carlisle

Old 8th Jul 2009, 19:57
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I'm sure Carlisle faces many challenges and will never have a huge catchment.

On the other hand, the Virgin trains service (despite the half truths put out by network rail claiming that the west coast upgrade is 'finished') is still hopelessly unreliable - especially on the services north of Preston.
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Old 9th Jul 2009, 10:49
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I dare say that a Carlisle to London air service may well be a poular alternative to the rail service, but it doesn't matter if it was a Dash 8 Q400 which was 75% full every day, it still wouldn't be economically viable.
The cost of operating into Heathrow, Gatwick or London City is collosall, even if the operator was able to offer interline facilities to attract onward travelling passengers, the profit on tickets from Carlisle to London would be very small and not economically viable.

A service to Stansted or Luton is still outside the realms of low cost travel, a service to Southend would have to be substantially subsidised by both airports for any operator to even discuss it, never mind operate it and would still leave the passenger with an expensive onward rail journey into London.

The protaganists for the expansion of Carlisle Airport conveniently forget to write that the Stobart Group debt is in the region of 180m and although continuing operatingprofits make that perfectly managable, any investment and attracting capital for that investment, is going to be on projects that make a return within the first year or so.
There may well be good grounds for spending money at Southend Airport, but at Carlisle, regardless of papers signed etc, it's going to be on the industrial infrastructure, not any significant facet of the airport.
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Old 9th Jul 2009, 15:15
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So an arrival at SEN would "leave the passenger with an expensive onward rail journey into London." would it?
I suggest you check the facts for the cost of rail fares from London's airports into Central London. The SEN to Liverpool Street fare will be very similar at around 13, and rather cheaper than from STN to Liverpool Street.

Stobart Group net debt at 28.2.09 was 120.7million, representing a gearing of 29.8% which is generally considered as low risk and their share price continues to outperform their competitors in their market sector.

I'm afraid your comments seem to be based more upon bias than fact.
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Old 9th Jul 2009, 18:35
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Not bias at all, I am all for investment in aviation but it's got to be viable.
Stobart's group debt announced at the end of M1y was 180m, as I said the group profit was healthy enough to manage that debt, but insufficient by a long way to fund the m's it will cost to develop the aviation side at Carlisle, especially when they can make a healthy sum just by developing the industrial estate site alone.

I am afraid that it's common sense to anyone who has any aviation business and investment experience.
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Old 9th Jul 2009, 20:10
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I'm sorry to hear that my 30 years of just that experience counts for nothing and I apologise for my obvious lack of common sense.

My Stobart debt figure is from their published accounts for the year ending 28 Feb 2009 so I don't doubt its accuracy.

We'll just have agree to differ and see what happens won't we?
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Old 9th Jul 2009, 22:37
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Why London, well not London but such a place as Southend-on-Sea?

If it's for international connections then why not somewhere like Amsterdam, somewhere that is not economically accessible by train and the added bonus of being a destination for a naughty weekend away?
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Old 10th Jul 2009, 06:59
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I can't quite understand why people are so sniffy about SEN as an airport serving London.

The facts speak for themselves in that an integrated rail station will offer journey times from SEN to London which will be as fast as from the other London area airports bearing in mind a probable quicker transit through immigration and baggage reclaim onto the platform. A few years ago LTN would not have been considered as 'London' and STN was just a strip of concrete in the Essex countryside far from the capital. It is the actual journey times which matter, not some old fashioned image of the town in which the airport is located.

The launch of a CAX-SEN service could provide a through service to AMS, as Phileas Fogg suggests. At a stroke you then have a Carlisle to London day return service and a Carlisle to Amsterdam a.m. arrival with an early evening Amsterdam to Carlisle return service. Add to that the fact it also gives you a twice daily SEN-AMS-SEN and the figures start to make sense. The icing on the cake would be to have AF/KL operate the route and you have full through-booking capability to worldwide destinations.
Stobarts certainly have full details of a workable schedule so it's down to them to convince an appropriate operator of its merits.
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Old 10th Jul 2009, 08:43
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But earlier posts suggests that, quite correctly, many of the passenger would be for international connections.

So if they departed CAX in the morning, arrive SEN later in the morning, fart around with a train into a London station, then on the underground to another London station, then on an under or overground train to a London airport, well they'll, by then, already have missed many of the departures that day.

Alternatively, from CAX, they could nip across to NCL and do things the simple way with a flight to AMS or LHR etc. and a minimal connection time before contiuing their journey.

Need to convince people that CAX offers an alternative to NCL and that wouldn't be achieved by services to SEN.
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Old 10th Jul 2009, 10:18
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"But earlier posts suggest that, quite correctly, many of the passengers would be for international connections."

Exactly so Phileas, which is why the through flight to AMS would be important. Who is seriously suggesting that many people would fly internally into STN or LTN and then go by train to LHR, say, for onward international connections so why single out SEN for that criticism?

Simpler to "nip across to NCL" is it?

Let's look at the facts. There are departures from NCL to AMS at 0600 and 0940, arriving AMS 0820 and 1205. The NCL website quotes a journey time from Carlisle to NCL by road of 75 minutes, so to catch the 0600 departure means setting out from home in the small hours.
From CAX you could depart at 0700 and arrive AMS at 1030 via SEN. That doesn't seem much of a contest to me.
BA from NCL to LHR offers greater felxibility of departure times, but many people would prefer to use AMS rather than LHR for their onward international connections I would suggest.

By all means let's discuss the pro and cons of the viability of scheduled services ex CAX but please stick to the facts and don't suggest the existing alternatives are entirely satisfactory when they clearly have drawbacks compared to potential routes from CAX.
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Old 10th Jul 2009, 15:53
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Expressflight,

You seem to be 'protecting' SEN insinuating that I am singling SEN out for critism when I am not, indeed over my career I have often recommended SEN as a London alternate and indeed I recommended a friend his start an operation utilising SEN because of it's aids, H24 and very good weather record, just don't try and put a wide body in there though, 'we' had to get a CAA dispensation to put an A300 in there one day due to the runway width, not the length!

So, rather than direct flights from NCL to AMS or LHR or CDG or wherever CAX's alternative is to offer flights CAX-SEN-AMS, that wouldn't be able to compete on the price of direct flights, the travelling public simply wouldn't understand any logic in travelling south, and then north again, to reach their destination and why fly for more hours than is necessary, the travelling public want direct, as is possible, flights.

It simply wouldn't be a financially viable alternative and it's nothing against SEN, I'd be saying the same were it Bishops Stortford International, Vauxhall Motors airstrip on the hill, not so RAF Manston or anywhere of a similar scenario.

CAX would need direct flights to a major hub international airport.
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Old 10th Jul 2009, 16:42
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Don't forget the Dubai alternative from NCL which wouldn't involve an unreasonably early start from Carlisle.
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Old 11th Jul 2009, 06:56
  #132 (permalink)  
 
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Phileas Fogg

I would say that I am 'promoting' SEN rather than 'protecting' it and I did rather take your phrase "well not London but such a place as Southend-on-Sea" as dismissing SEN's potential to effectively serve London once the train station is in place.

I'm pleased to see you appreciate some of its good points, although I don't quite see the relevance of your story regarding Heavylift's A300 landing there once - it's only ever going to be a Code 3C runway but that won't be a limiting factor on its aspirations.

Getting back on topic, I don't agree with your view that the travelling public will only accept non-stop flights, as there are many routes within the UK currently which offer one-stop through flights to destination. For example Air Southwest flies to both LGW and LCY with one-stop through flights from Plymouth and Newquay respectively. I agree that, ideally, services should be non-stop but if traffic levels are unlikely initially to make that viable then the one-stop option should be considered whereby two prime destinations can be served at appropraite frequencies. AMS is, incidentally, east of SEN so the travelling public won't need to consider the point you make. I don't accept either that a one-stop routing need be uncompetitive on price.

I'm not just clutching ideas out of thin air on this as I do have something of an inside track on the SEN/CAX/Stobart situation and the thinking at present certainly includes the possibility of a CAX service 'linking to London Southend Airport and beyond' to quote from their latest annual report.

The necessary airport infrastructure at CAX to enable any scheduled services to start, runway and navaid improvements mainly, is reckoned to be about a year away so it will be some time before we shall see the outcome.

Last edited by Expressflight; 11th Jul 2009 at 09:31.
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Old 11th Jul 2009, 09:13
  #133 (permalink)  
 
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CAX will attract passengers and you will find that there will be more pax traveling from CAX than enyone on here would have thought, people on here must stop thinking pax would use NCL over CAX, what people are forgeting is that it wont just be Carlisle residents who will use CAX, there are many 1000's of peple who live in large towns such as Workington and Whitehaven who are crying out for CAX to open up for passenger flights, the people who live in these two towns alone have to travel 2.5+ to get to any Airport at the moment but when CAX is up and running this will be reduced to around one hour...

I do think that CAX would be better off attracting airlines such as Ryanair, Easyjet or Jet2, there will not be so much demand for CAX-LON unless the LON Airport is LHR, STN or LTN. I have nothing against SEN but the destinations at this time are just not there, unless somthing like CAX-PMI via SEN is put in place.

I could see people traveling for eg, CAX-STN then on to Ryanair, Easyjet, Airberlin ... just think of the 100's of "connecting" destinations that would be available ... But only time will tell...
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Old 11th Jul 2009, 09:39
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Agree the point about West Cumbria - Workington to Newcastle is not an easy drive.

However, I thought that even when 're-developed' CAX won't be able to accept regular operations by 737/319 so rather than Easy/Ryanair/Jet2, the most likely operators would be in the Flybe/Aer Arran/VLM category.

SEN seems the most obvious destination with Stobarts owning both airports.
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Old 11th Jul 2009, 09:51
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SWBKCB

If what you say is true re 737/319, CAX is dead in the water .
I seem to remember that some 737 holiday charters ran out of CAX a few years ago so would have thought after the re-developed CAX would be able to take regular flight by these A/C type...

Workington to Newcastle not an easy drive you want to try Stansted to workington it is hell. and dont get me started about the train with 4 changes or the 11 hr it takes on the coach .
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Old 11th Jul 2009, 10:57
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I think that the largest aircraft ever to use Carlisle was a PanAm B727 in the aftermath of the Lockerbie disaster.
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Old 11th Jul 2009, 12:06
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Expressflight,

Southend-on-Sea is not, and never will be, in London, neither will STN or LGW or LTN or Biggin Hill or Lydd or indeed any others, outside of greater London, that like to call themselves a London airport.

You talk about Air South West operating NQY via PLH, well I just happen to have an inside knowledge of the history of the NQY route and at one time, for a long time, there was a direct NQY-LHR service operated by British Midland, then Brymon, utilising an HP7 'dinosaur' aircraft.

When Brymon sold the HP7 to part finance the purchase of the DHC-7's the service then became operated by a DHC-7, in one direction but not both directions, via PLH, an HP7 couldn't have operated in/out PLH but a DHC-7 could, and there was an uproar amongst the NQY 'regulars'.

Had there been another airport, offering direct LHR services, from another airport within striking distance of NQY then Brymon would have lost these passengers business, and all for the sake of a 15 minute transit in PLH, in one direction only, that added some 30 minutes to their journey time.

But there is/was no alternative within striking distance of NQY, the next airport up the road was PLH, a 2,500ft runway, a 600ft decision height, a 1500m minimum RVR (despite the runway being less than 1500m in length) and with an appalling weather record with the only aid being an NDB and even then, to fly from PLH to LHR would have been via NQY in one direction.

Next up the road was EXT but Exeter only had services, sometimes, to LGW, next up the road BRS, no services to London and then they might as well drive or train it to London.

But had there been a 'NCL' within an hour (ish) of NQY, offering a variety of direct flights to major hub international airports, then Brymon would have needed to think again, as Air South West would, and compete by offering direct services.

So AMS is not to the north of SEN? A direct flight from CAX to AMS would route out over Ottringham and in, more or less, a straight line between the two, you suggest that from CAX it take a southerly route, around the London area one way systems etc. into SEN for a 30 (ish) minute turnround to then route north-east from SEN to AMS.

Now I would presume that it would be a maximum of a 50 (ish) seat aircraft out of Carlisle, passengers will invariably always opt for a jet rather than a prop and smaller airliners, per seat price, are more expensive to operate than larger airliners.

From NCL there are B737's and those larger Embraer things, however many seats they may have, so straight away, even on a direct CAX-AMS service, the costs per seat, to the operator, are going to be higher than from NCL. But then you're suggesting that they further inflate this cost, per seat, by adding flight time, associated maintenance costs, overflight charges, fuel costs, an additional landing and navigation fee in each direction etc. etc. etc. and you still belive this can effectively compete with a Dutch B737 out of NCL with all the connections, on that same carrier's network, whereas the NCL-AMS fare is incorporated, and reduced, in to an overall fare rather than two seperate fares?

You chose to previously cite the scenario of an early morning departure out of CAX/NCL but neglected to think that the pax need to come back again perhaps arriving in AMS mid afternoon. They could have a direct flight to NCL and then a 1 hour (ish) travel home or they could f@rt around travelling, at a higher fare, south west to SEN to then travel north west to CAX before perhaps a 30 minute travel home, I know which option I and many would take.

A round trip CAX-SEN-AMS-SEN-CAX would take circa 7 hours, out at 0700 in the morning, back at 1400 and if it takes 7 hours for a round trip an 'evening' service would need to depart CAX by no later than 1530 to be back in CAX around 2230.

No aircraft down time to operate other routes during the middle of the day, one aircraft solely utilised operating 2 rotations a day makes for very high utilisation costs.
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Old 11th Jul 2009, 13:13
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Workington, Whitehaven etc. have been mentioned as a catchment area for CAX.

But of all the people in CAX's catchment area how many of those would be prepared to pay 'premium' air fares to fly from a nearer regional airport or would cheaper air fares and more choices of travel and destinations served from the likes of NCL, MAN, PIK etc. still persuade then to travel a little further to save themselves money whilst allowing them a wider choice of destinations?

In my experiences locals like to shout that they prefer to fly from their local airports ..... until they realise it may be more expensive for them to do so!
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Old 11th Jul 2009, 13:17
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You'll obviously shoot down this suggested schedule Phileas, but what the heck.....

0700 CAX-SEN-AMS-SEN-???-SEN-AMS-SEN-CAX 2015

Otherwise I think we've pretty well argued this to death so a pause is due I think. Let's just see what actually happens eh?
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Old 11th Jul 2009, 15:48
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Expressflight,

So anyone that wants to fly on your air service CAX to SEN etc, let us say they are from Workington or Whitehaven etc, has to get up in the middle of the night to fly at 0700 in the morning when they'd much prefer to be in bed?

And, likewise, anyone that wants to fly on your service to CAX can only travel during an evening, hotel check-out times are circa 1200 hours thus were they coming out of an AMS hotel they would need to kick their heels for some 6 hours whilst waiting for the privilige of flying to CAX via a STOL strip by the Essex seaside?

And you believe this to be realistic alternative to several direct services to/from NCL daily?

You're flogging a dead horse Expressflight, this would be comparible to a 'TBI' owned airport taking all the catering out of the airport, restocking it with Peter's Pies, and telling the pax that these pies are the only food available for them so they much eat it because the airport owner also own Peter's Pies!!!
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