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Oban Airport to become Highlands and Islands hub?

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Oban Airport to become Highlands and Islands hub?

Old 30th Aug 2001, 22:19
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From the views here I think some have been in aviation all of 5 minutes. Loganair operated very succesfully into Oban in the 70's and early 80's with Tri's and Bandits, not even an NDB in those days.

Huggy, do you even fly into Scotland? Many airports up here do not have an ILS, sheer luxury that is you know! Take SYY, NDB/DME only, and it is a very active Diversion airfield for Transatlantic & military heavy stuff, so it does not trouble them having no 'fancy' ILS! Indeed the 'capital' of the Highlands has only VOR/DME.

Isle of Skye? Anyone remember that NDB approach? Right angles to the blooming runway that one, all due to terrain. Again Yogi operated into there with no great dramas in the past.

Oban has a wee hill at one end, and not much in the way at the other. Weather is just not a factor for the type of aircraft which will use the new facility. Many of the smaller islands like Coll and Colonsay have no aids at all, but it is a very succesful type of operation in the northern isles.

Plans are quite advanced for Oban in anycase. The concept is to use Oban as a 'hub' for a future Inner Hebrides air service, linking the little islands through Oban to either GLA or PIK. Most likely the venerable BN2 will be the aircraft of choice, giving way to the C208 when SETP ops are eventually approved.

Subsidies are available for some parts of the operation, so it will happen!
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Old 30th Aug 2001, 22:22
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Guv, I take back what I said about you on an earlier different thread, you are the only one on here that does know whats happening in Scottish aviation.
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Old 30th Aug 2001, 23:48
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Hope that more pilots use Oban, use it or lose it. There is a big hole on the west coast for fuel and the efforts of Paul Keegan have gone someway to address that. Most rotary wing pilots (HEMS, Military & SAR) flying VFR in some crappy winter weather needing a fuel stop will know what I'm talking about.

Keep up the positive waves for Oban.
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Old 31st Aug 2001, 09:33
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Aye, good luck to Oban, however if The Guvnor is right about the politics involved then I fear that aviation issues over the airfield are the least of the problems, Oban in general suffers greatly under the endevours of its (decidedly dodgy) council. Be interesting to see how this one turns out I think I know of said developer that has his eyes on the field, and I know of the influence of said developer in the area.

Get stuck into them PK!!
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Old 31st Aug 2001, 17:23
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IslandAir, yes, I fly into Scotland very regularly. There aren't many Scottish airports I don't know. I'm pretty familiar with the terrain, having logged quite a collection of Munros and I'm also well acquainted with the climatology. Ditto the scenery, the people, the national dress (I wear Gordon tartan) and the whisky.

I suggest that you remove your head from wherever it's been lately, remove your rose-coloured specs and examine the business opportunities available. What will Oban offer that PIK/EDI/GLA/INV don't? Who will be the customers? What would they be prepared to pay? What sort of service would they require? Is most of the business likely to use an air service rather than ferry/road/bridge?

I have to say that it doesn't sound in the least as if you are a pilot. You don't appear to have the slightest idea of the operational difficulties of offering a scheduled service in and out of somewhere like Oban.

As far as the local politics are concerned, I shall bow to the Guv's apparently intimate knowledge.

There are many very knowledgable people here. You would be well advised to listen to them rather than dismiss their experience and claim that all the objections are irrelevant.
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Old 31st Aug 2001, 20:32
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Took the words right out of my mouth Huggie.

Island Air it's not like you to be so pompous; most out of character! I too remember when Logan ran Tri-Motors out of places like Dornoch on schedules; some of us have been around a while too!

[ 31 August 2001: Message edited by: Kiltie ]
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Old 1st Sep 2001, 00:39
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Maybe a wee bit harsh there Huggy. Oban is indeed unlikely to rival the other major airfields, but it needn't even try to. As veteran of Scottish aviation like yourself, you'll probably agree that passengers in the west have a different set of expectation from their city cousins. LC/BA's etc. operations the aifields in the Islands have long be disrupted by weather, I recall a week at Stornoway when nothing got in or out, Islanders/West Coasters take that in there stride.

My point being that Oban being somewhat isolated in terms of air services might generate traffic in todays market that it didn't years ago when LC and others tried. Further, flights needn't originate in Oban, perhaps a few Island stops on the way might make a route more viable. Given the right support from local authorites/Government, and I don't under estimate the difficulties there as the Guv highlighted for us, it might just work.
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Old 1st Sep 2001, 00:53
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I reckon that if you used a reasonably sized aircraft - eg 146/RJ or F27/F50 - you could get an excellent load down to PIK/GLA especially as the use of aircraft that size would enable you to offer very attractive fares... much better than a two hour drive!
 
Old 1st Sep 2001, 08:46
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If you could fly people from Connel to GLA for between 50 and 70 quid I reckon you would be on to a winner, otherwise the locals would drive, I know I don`t think anything of driving 2hours to Glasgow, but if I could get a flight for not loads more than the cost of the fuel, I would fly. As no sig mentioned its worth considering your average west highlander`s mentality here. (Also worth noting that all other froms of public transport take 3 hours to get to Glasgow)

Just a locals tuppence worth.........
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Old 1st Sep 2001, 14:40
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Good one.

Okay - let's look at a BN2 just as an example.

Assume 100 one-way fare.

Max pax = 9

Therefore max income per sector = 900.

It probably costs around 500 per hour block time to operate a BN2, including leasing costs, maintenance, consumables and a full-time driver (no catering).

Plus landing fees - assume, say, an average of 200 an airport.

Plus handling - is 50 per turnround reasonable for an aircraft that size?

Let's be optimistic and assume you can do the trip Oban-PIK in 30 minutes block time.

Your costs are therefore 500 for the sector.

Therefore, even on the most optimistic cost estimates and a fairly high ticket price, your break-even load factor is 55%.

Add into that office costs (including ground staff), set-up costs (including getting the AOC) which you'd have amortised over, say, 5 years, plus "hidden" costs such as initial and recurrent training and testing, uniforms, blah blah blah...

Add to THAT the fact that maintenance costs are going to be high for any aircraft kept on the West Coast of Scotland (sea breezes do wonders for corrosion) and can anyone see how the sums are going to be made to work?

Change the aircraft to, say, a Twotter and you've trebled your crew costs, approximately doubled your aircraft DOCs and only doubled your carrying capacity.
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Old 1st Sep 2001, 14:51
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Hmmm, Huggy - but here's a thought. Rather work on the 'Ryanair' principle - that if you charge low fares, lots of people will fly.

An F50, for example, will cost around US$2,000 per hour all-in and you've got 50 pax. That's US$40 per hour at 100% loadfactor or say $70 per hour at a 60% loadfactor (allowing for rounding up).

Using your 30 minutes block time (rather more realistic in an F50!) the cost per pax is US$35 each way based on a b/e of 30 seats - that's just over 24 based on current exchange rates.

Using normal yield management formulas, you can charge probably 75 each way for a fully flexible 'business' fare going down to say 30 round trip for weekend specials - and you know that loads would be good both with visitors headed north and residents headed south for shopping, University etc in Glasgow.

It definitely works!
 
Old 1st Sep 2001, 17:27
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Sorry Hugmonster, the BN2 is not 500 per hour to operate. I say again, the idea is to use Oban as a HUB, get the picture? Some of the plans are well under way for the Inner islands to get their air services back again. The idea of a 146 out of Oban is laughable. An old friendship might just do it. There are also plans for a Dash 7 to operate out of Skye, from experience, that would be a nice aeroplane for Oban.
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Old 1st Sep 2001, 19:30
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IslandAir, you don't have the faintest idea what you're talking about.

Oban as a hub - yes. As a hub for where? Where are the spokes? What aircraft can operate competitively out of the destination airports? What makes you say a 146 is "laughable"? Why do you think an F27 would do it, whereas a Dash7 is "nice"? Put simply (just so you can understand), you don't operate an aircraft for an airport. You operate an aircraft for a route.

As for 500 per hour - well, bite me. What's your figure?

You keep coming up with all sorts of nebulous claims, and don't seem prepared to substantiate any. You keep claiming that the views of most people on this thread are nonsense, without putting forward your reasons for thinking so. You appear to have none of the experience of a pilot, none of the analytical powers of a business entrepreneur, and all the skills of a politician. In short, you come across as an idiot.


[ 01 September 2001: Message edited by: HugMonster ]
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Old 1st Sep 2001, 20:18
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Island Air - it was made very clear to me by Tom Keegan that we're talking at least one to two years at best until the CAA certifies Oban as a public transport airport. In addition, the fire equipment needs to be upgraded and even more important a management structure has to be put in place by the local council ... this doesn't exist at present!

Next, how much do you think a DHC7 is going to cost to operate?

As HugMonster said, airlines select aircraft for routes, not airports. So whilst a DHC7 or F50 might be fine for Oban - GLA/PIK it certainly wouldn't be viable for Oban - Mull or Oban - Colonsay, for example! So on those routes you have the much higher operational costs per seat that he came up with - and I'd be interested as well to see your projections for the overall hourly cost of an Islander!

Bottom line here is that Oban may well have a lot of potential - but it's going to take a lot of time, effort and money to realise it.
 
Old 2nd Sep 2001, 00:16
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If it does happen maybe Scot Airways Dornier 328????
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Old 2nd Sep 2001, 00:52
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How about Highland Airways DH89a ?
 
Old 2nd Sep 2001, 01:15
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TOM Keegan?
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Old 2nd Sep 2001, 11:46
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Shurely shome mishtake - he meant Kevin, of course!
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Old 2nd Sep 2001, 12:10
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Whoops! I guess I had PIK on my mind!!

The chap in question is of course Paul Keegan!
 
Old 4th Sep 2001, 22:52
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Did my CRM with a guy from Oban last week (sorry don't remember his name, how rude!). His intention was to run an Islander for charter operations on what seemed to be a fairly limited scale as part of a fairly long term plan(as has been stated).

He came accross as passionate about Oban as oppose to a cut and thrust businessman (not to say he can't be both!!)
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