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  1. #41
    Marc is offline bier dimpfe
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    Politburo's comment from the aforementioned article rings pretty true to me
    Quote Originally Posted by comment from article
    What the article doesn't discuss is that there are other projects going on to alleviate the airspace issue. Obviously you can't add more airspace, but you can upgrade the radar/nav systems to allow closer spacing and redesign routes for more efficiency. This project isn't something you can turn on and off like a light switch. By delaying now, we won't have the capacity when we really need it.
    — Politburo
    I see the city trying to create infrastructure and jobs with other "peoples'" money--not an entirely foolish idea, though I don't know that Rina, et. al. are skilled enough operators to play this level of brinksmanship. The would-be less than willing partners are not necessarily captive.

    The principal stakeholders in this project (airlines, city, ups, labor/trades) have different strategic goals and it doesnot seem like the city has found the common ground necessarily to get buyin all around. I think US et. al. are being slightly disingenuous by simply saying runway expansion won't help (it will with updated ground control).

  2. #42
    phillyaggie is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by raider.adam View Post
    In other words, the City is going to make the airport terminals "month to month".
    my understanding is that airlines tend to plan flights at least 6 months in advance if not longer; that planning allows them to project pricing and revenues on the one hand and fuel use (and thus hedging) on the other, at their major airports. so going "month to month" will hardly change things operationally right away. And my understanding is the Southwest anyway is shifting its airport strategy around and they may not be sure yet about how PHL fits in... didn't they reduce flights/connections at Boston Logan and PHL a few months ago? Basically, airline industry is in a flux. Why should the city allow this project to be held hostage to this with these two airlines at this point?

    Plus, for an airline like US Air, Philly is pretty much the only hub in the Northeast and they would be loath to let it slip away. Unless of course they just want to let go of it (in which case, good riddance!) in some sort of a bargain with the FAA/USDOJ as they try to gobble up the bankrupt American Airlines...and move their HQ to Dallas and double down on DFW airport.
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  3. #43
    phillyaggie is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    Politburo's comment from the aforementioned article rings pretty true to me


    I see the city trying to create infrastructure and jobs with other "peoples'" money--not an entirely foolish idea, though I don't know that Rina, et. al. are skilled enough operators to play this level of brinksmanship. The would-be less than willing partners are not necessarily captive.

    The principal stakeholders in this project (airlines, city, ups, labor/trades) have different strategic goals and it doesnot seem like the city has found the common ground necessarily to get buyin all around. I think US et. al. are being slightly disingenuous by simply saying runway expansion won't help (it will with updated ground control).
    don't think you need everyone on board, just enough to push this project off the drawing board and onto reality.
    "The only difference between the Republican and Democratic parties is the velocities with which their knees hit the floor when corporations knock on their door. That's the only difference."
    - Ralph Nader

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by londoner View Post
    Come on, you're not that naive HG. It's wholly about competition. US Airways has a mini-monopoly here, which means they can charge $600 to fly to Pittsburgh without any competition: $600 hike for US Airways Pittsburgh to Philly flights - Dec. 1, 2011 You add dozens of gates and suddenly US Airway's can't rip customers off anymore, at least to certain destinations.

    And If you think that airlines are going to throw a tantrum and stop flying to the USA's 4th largest media market, 5th largest metro--than you are buying into the airlines' fear argument hook, line and sinker. I actually like what the city is doing here...this is the only way massive projects can get done in East Coast America anymore...by basically some huge powerful force saying **** you, we're building this thing whether you like it or not. At the end of the day, in 100 years, when our world's population is 12 billion, building this now will be a good thing. Wouldn't it be nice today if they had built those subways 100 years ago?

    I also happen to think that our 2 largest carriers are very collusive. I've been monitoring ticket prices for several months now to a particular destination and both Southwest Airlines and US Airways have been eerily identical in price fluctuations daily. This practice, by the way, being illegal.
    Not being naive at all--in fact, squelching competition was the first thing I thought of and mentioned here. I just don't think that the city is adept at these sorts of maneuvers, at least not without screwing things up royally. But interesting that you're pointing out collusion between two airlines. I wonder if anyone else (think agency) has noticed this?
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  5. #45
    raider.adam is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by phillyaggie View Post
    my understanding is that airlines tend to plan flights at least 6 months in advance if not longer; that planning allows them to project pricing and revenues on the one hand and fuel use (and thus hedging) on the other, at their major airports. so going "month to month" will hardly change things operationally right away. And my understanding is the Southwest anyway is shifting its airport strategy around and they may not be sure yet about how PHL fits in... didn't they reduce flights/connections at Boston Logan and PHL a few months ago? Basically, airline industry is in a flux. Why should the city allow this project to be held hostage to this with these two airlines at this point?
    Philly is giving the airlines two options. Sign a 15 year lease with increased fees that pays for the new runway or have City Council impose the fees by ordinance that the airlines can leave with a 30 day notice (but also City Council can change the rates at whim as well).

    As for "why should it be held hostage". It is not being held hostage. The people that have to pay for it are balking at paying for something they don't think is worth the money. And it isn't two airlines. It is several airlines and UPS.

  6. #46
    phillyaggie is offline Senior Member
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    reading the whole article, I got the feeling that the main tenants at PHL are all in the cheapo business and not looking for expansion... which seems like the very modus operandi of private development in Philly. The whole bit about "we're making less but we have a lower cost"... not sure that is a sustainably profitable business/growth model. our private developers feel the same way... new construction can't attract high enough rent because philly is a low rent city, so we don't get a ton of new construction. (i know, i know, i will get dinged for saying all this and people will nit pick, but that's the big picture view i see...could be totally off base)

    UPS doesn't care because it flies at night, so it threatens to move operations if it's asked to move and pay for this expansion... but where will it move to? Atlantic City airport?!

    Southwest already has expanded operations to traditional hubs and high cost airports, so if it doesn't like Philly's future costs I wonder what it's doing in NYC and Boston.

    US Air...is US Air. Half the time they probably don't know what they want themselves. I wonder whether any of PHL's current runways is long enough and strong enough to be able to land the superjumbos that Boeing is developing... of course that plane would also need a wider berth at the terminal but if it can't even land at PHL, where are the future bigger-but-fewer flights going to land?

    I think the city can call each of their bluffs...
    "The only difference between the Republican and Democratic parties is the velocities with which their knees hit the floor when corporations knock on their door. That's the only difference."
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  7. #47
    3rd&Brown is offline Senior Member
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    I'm with aggie on this one. This is about Philadelphia and our future, not US Airways and Southwest. We need a bigger, more efficient airport to accommodate future growth. This is the call of the city and the FAA. Not US Airways.

    The bit that was funniest to me was the bit about the reason why we don't have flights to Asia and South America is because we have fewer Fortune 500 companies than other cities that do. BULL****. We're a far bigger metro than any number of cities with those direct flights and ironically, some of those cities got those direct flights after massive airport expansions which enabled them to accomodate the growth. Further, our local populace is far more diverse than in some of those metros (especially with respect to Asians and South Asians), which makes me believe that the tourist segment of the market for direct flights to those parts of the world would have a more captive local audience than say, I don't know, ATLANTA.

  8. #48
    eldondre is online now Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by londoner View Post
    Come on, you're not that naive HG. It's wholly about competition. US Airways has a mini-monopoly here, which means they can charge $600 to fly to Pittsburgh without any competition: $600 hike for US Airways Pittsburgh to Philly flights - Dec. 1, 2011 You add dozens of gates and suddenly US Airway's can't rip customers off anymore, at least to certain destinations.
    this doesn't make sense to me. there is plenty of gate capacity since flights have been reduced over the past 6 years, southwest exited the business because of rising costs of serving them and capped revenues. basically, US Airways was able to make more money and carry more passengers on the route at a given price level because of its connecting services. same goes for the other routes southwest pulled out of.


    Quote Originally Posted by londoner View Post
    And If you think that airlines are going to throw a tantrum and stop flying to the USA's 4th largest media market, 5th largest metro--than you are buying into the airlines' fear argument hook, line and sinker. I actually like what the city is doing here...this is the only way massive projects can get done in East Coast America anymore...by basically some huge powerful force saying **** you, we're building this thing whether you like it or not. At the end of the day, in 100 years, when our world's population is 12 billion, building this now will be a good thing. Wouldn't it be nice today if they had built those subways 100 years ago?
    interesting you bring up the subways as it turned out, it was good for the city, but not necessarily the private company (PTC). as for prices, that's generally the way airline prices work and it's not a secret. one airline raises or cuts prices and sees if the others follow, what is illegal is setting prices behind closed doors.
    it's generally how oligopolies work.

    Quote Originally Posted by phillyaggie View Post
    reading the whole article, I got the feeling that the main tenants at PHL are all in the cheapo business and not looking for expansion... which seems like the very modus operandi of private development in Philly. The whole bit about "we're making less but we have a lower cost"... not sure that is a sustainably profitable business/growth model. our private developers feel the same way... new construction can't attract high enough rent because philly is a low rent city, so we don't get a ton of new construction. (i know, i know, i will get dinged for saying all this and people will nit pick, but that's the big picture view i see...could be totally off base)
    yes, totally off base the private development problem is that the costs often exceeed the demand...otoh it is not a low rent town, it's just often lower than the cost structure will bear.
    Quote Originally Posted by phillyaggie View Post
    US Air...is US Air. Half the time they probably don't know what they want themselves. I wonder whether any of PHL's current runways is long enough and strong enough to be able to land the superjumbos that Boeing is developing... of course that plane would also need a wider berth at the terminal but if it can't even land at PHL, where are the future bigger-but-fewer flights going to land?
    I think the city can call each of their bluffs...
    perhaps you should research what happened in pittsburgh where the airline (US AIr) changed its business model, entered bankruptcy, shed its obligations, and left the county with an enormous debt load for improvements it no longer needed. the fact is there are a lot of uncertainties involved in forecasting demand that far ahead. If the city is willing to shoulder more of the uncertainty then I'd bet the push back might be mitigated. perhaps implied here is that a new FAA system will solve enough of their problems as it is.
    there's a lot of good stuff in that article btw
    US Airways wants to tie airline spending to milestones or benchmarks - such as when takeoffs and landings pick up, the economy improves, and the FAA addresses serious airspace problems.The city says no...Cutler said. The city estimates the total tab for the expansion plan and associated projects at $6.4 billion. Airlines say it could cost $10.5 billion over the next 13 years...including Southwest, Delta Air Lines, and UPS, which would foot much of the bill in rates and charges through debt service on airport revenue bonds, there simply is no cost benefit to building another concrete slab...
    UPS, which owns 212 acres where the runway would go, said it would consider all options if forced to move, including leaving Philadelphia and taking its airfreight hub, 44 nighttime flights, and 3,100 jobs elsewhere.
    The company said a proposed new UPS location, on the airport's west side, is not ideal. It is a smaller parcel smack up against a neighborhood in Tinicum Township. Cargo jets, which fly at night, would have longer taxi times to reach runways and would burn more fuel. Landing fees for all carriers would rise....
    That was another era, when small, 37-seat and 50-seat jets were common. Fuel was a lot cheaper, and planes flew 70 percent full.
    With oil above $100 a barrel, planes today are more than 80 percent filled, often 100 percent. Airlines have cut capacity, flights, and planes, and are packing more passengers into bigger aircraft, thereby operating fewer fights...
    Takeoffs and landings at Philadelphia International declined from a peak of 535,666 a year in 2005 to 460,779 in 2010...
    "When the FAA does planning, they forecast for traffic growth consistent with the 'historical norm,' and whatever the growth rate has always been," aviation "Nowhere is there an assumption about fuel prices...
    "The danger in this plan is it brings Philadelphia up to the cost of a JFK, or a Dulles, without the revenue to go along with it, and that makes it unviable...Brian Mattingly, Delta's regional director of properties and corporate real estate, said that on a sunny day, many aircraft can sit on the ground in Philadelphia waiting for a space to open in the sky so they can take off. "There are days in Philadelphia where you could put 10 runways, and you wouldn't get any more people in the air any faster because it is controlled airspace and it is congested airspace," he said.

    Airlines that now fly nonstop to China, Japan, and Brazil have flights in cities with more Fortune 500 companies than Philadelphia has and larger populations from which to draw from...
    US Airways has asked the airport to proceed with those initiatives, including a high-speed turnoff from the primary landing runway, which would permit more landings per hour. ..
    In addition to building a fifth runway, the plan calls for lengthening two other runways, building a new commuter terminal, and adding gates, parking, an automated "people mover," and a ground-transportation hub for rental cars.

    Read more: US Airways opposes Philadelphia International Airport expansion plan | Philadelphia Inquirer | 01/09/2012
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    interestingly, UPS would be flying AT NIGHT closer to people's homes. perhaps the project itself is misguided. it sounds to me that access to markets is actually a bigger problem than runways...and that the short distance market may or may not be profitable. they are building a people mover, for what purpose? the airport has a rail line, it jsut doesn't run often nor particularly fast. would it not be wiser to improve this service with, perhaps, non-stop service to midtown manhattan?
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  9. #49
    phillyaggie is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3rd&Brown View Post
    I'm with aggie on this one. This is about Philadelphia and our future, not US Airways and Southwest. We need a bigger, more efficient airport to accommodate future growth. This is the call of the city and the FAA. Not US Airways.

    The bit that was funniest to me was the bit about the reason why we don't have flights to Asia and South America is because we have fewer Fortune 500 companies than other cities that do. BULL****. We're a far bigger metro than any number of cities with those direct flights and ironically, some of those cities got those direct flights after massive airport expansions which enabled them to accomodate the growth. Further, our local populace is far more diverse than in some of those metros (especially with respect to Asians and South Asians), which makes me believe that the tourist segment of the market for direct flights to those parts of the world would have a more captive local audience than say, I don't know, ATLANTA.
    When Ft Worth and Dallas came together to ditch their individual airports in order to build a new giant one in the middle of the metroplex (DFW) in the early 1970s, Big D was the moniker for Detroit, not Dallas. Point being that, indeed, the giant new airport has led to growth in companies, jobs, and thus passengers and international and domestic flights. American operates one of the biggest airline hubs there with hundreds of flights each day to dozens of local and international destinations. Who could have possibly imagined AT&T, Nokia, RIM, etc moving to Dallas area back in 1970s when all that expanse was just some ranch land and Dallas metro population was less than a million...now it's the 4th largest metro, and largest inland metro. Basically, they used the airport as their engine of growth. PHL can't do the same, but the least it can do is expand to meet future capacity, or forever be left behind to serve some niche market. Same deal with the sea port and dredging... when ports up and down the eastern seaboard are deepening their channels, Philly is getting left behind even though there is political will to move along.
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  10. #50
    phillyaggie is offline Senior Member
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    el, Philly is hemmed in and its lot in a lot of ways is tied to the traffic jam in the air over NYC/NJ and D.C/Baltimore. But both of those have multiple airports with scheduled passenger services, so perhaps Philly is one of the few (only?) airports where there can be some physical expansion... in that sense, this is a much larger metro and if we have bigger and newer facilities with better connecting rail service, this airport could provide better competition/service and take some load off of NYC area airports at least. With high speed rail, businessmen in Trenton area or Princeton's biotech minihub who want to fly out to Brazil or Europe or India could find PHL much easier and friendlier to navigate in 2025 rather than deal with JFK's problems.

    That's the sort of real opportunity which can likely only be realized by investing up front and getting it right. No doubt there are risks involved. I'm not sure why the city must still have PHL on its books...can't it be hived off? Or is it actually a profit center for the city govt? And perhaps the project plan needs to be reworked...although I don't see where UPS will go if they leave Philly. The other airports are either more crowded and have no room or they're even more expensive or not ideally located like Philly is.
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  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by phillyaggie View Post
    el, Philly is hemmed in and its lot in a lot of ways is tied to the traffic jam in the air over NYC/NJ and D.C/Baltimore. But both of those have multiple airports with scheduled passenger services, so perhaps Philly is one of the few (only?) airports where there can be some physical expansion... in that sense, this is a much larger metro and if we have bigger and newer facilities with better connecting rail service, this airport could provide better competition/service and take some load off of NYC area airports at least. With high speed rail, businessmen in Trenton area or Princeton's biotech minihub who want to fly out to Brazil or Europe or India could find PHL much easier and friendlier to navigate in 2025 rather than deal with JFK's problems.

    That's the sort of real opportunity which can likely only be realized by investing up front and getting it right. No doubt there are risks involved. I'm not sure why the city must still have PHL on its books...can't it be hived off? Or is it actually a profit center for the city govt? And perhaps the project plan needs to be reworked...although I don't see where UPS will go if they leave Philly. The other airports are either more crowded and have no room or they're even more expensive or not ideally located like Philly is.
    But...isn't the reason for the delays the massively congested airways in this corridor?
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  12. #52
    eldondre is online now Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by phillyaggie View Post
    When Ft Worth and Dallas came together to ditch their individual airports in order to build a new giant one in the middle of the metroplex (DFW) in the early 1970s, Big D was the moniker for Detroit, not Dallas. Point being that, indeed, the giant new airport has led to growth in companies, jobs, and thus passengers and international and domestic flights. Basically, they used the airport as their engine of growth. PHL can't do the same, but the least it can do is expand to meet future capacity, or forever be left behind to serve some niche market. Same deal with the sea port and dredging... when ports up and down the eastern seaboard are deepening their channels, Philly is getting left behind even though there is political will to move along.
    [/quote]
    and yet the other Big D also had a major airport program and still went into decline. PHL is now a respectable airport largely because it has improved at a measured pace. the point here is that the current airport can handle more than it needs at the moment, but it's airspace is restricted. I'd also point out that ALL of TEXAS has been on the right end of trends, not just dallas. and you're forgetting the money in dallas as a result of oil which allowed them to keep taxes low. as for capacity, the airlines are arguing that physical infrastructure isn't the problem. the FAA's growth model simply takes past trends and applies them to the future not accounting for fuel prices or even passengers per plane. traffic is down, passenger counts are up.

    Quote Originally Posted by phillyaggie View Post
    el, Philly is hemmed in and its lot in a lot of ways is tied to the traffic jam in the air over NYC/NJ and D.C/Baltimore. But both of those have multiple airports with scheduled passenger services, so perhaps Philly is one of the few (only?) airports where there can be some physical expansion... in that sense, this is a much larger metro and if we have bigger and newer facilities with better connecting rail service, this airport could provide better competition/service and take some load off of NYC area airports at least. With high speed rail, businessmen in Trenton area or Princeton's biotech minihub who want to fly out to Brazil or Europe or India could find PHL much easier and friendlier to navigate in 2025 rather than deal with JFK's problems.
    and so maybe the city is looking at the problem backwards. rather than build a bigger airport, maybe beefing up the rail connections to the ny market should come first. unlike atlanta, I can also flight out of newark fairly easily or bwi. it's JFK that's a real PITA. if PHL had a one seat ride to penn station it would have something that even JFK does not.
    "It has shown me that everything is illuminated in the light of the past"
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  13. #53
    phillyaggie is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hospitalitygirl View Post
    But...isn't the reason for the delays the massively congested airways in this corridor?
    with the new FAA flight routing software, realigned routes, updates to all-weather operations, and resultant reducing spacing between planes in the air, you can gain efficiencies in the flight operations and squeeze more traffic in at the least. but if PHL doesn't have more landing and take-off capacity, a lot of that gained efficiency will likely be absorbed by the incumbent leading airports... which actually wouldn't serve the overall FAA-managed airspace goals as such... we should be playing for gaining those efficiencies at PHL in order to shift some of the capacity burden away from NYC. But if we stand still, can we take advantage of those efficiency gains? FAA doesn't think so.
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  14. #54
    eldondre is online now Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by phillyaggie View Post
    with the new FAA flight routing software, realigned routes, updates to all-weather operations, and resultant reducing spacing between planes in the air, you can gain efficiencies in the flight operations and squeeze more traffic in at the least. but if PHL doesn't have more landing and take-off capacity, a lot of that gained efficiency will likely be absorbed by the incumbent leading airports... which actually wouldn't serve the overall FAA-managed airspace goals as such... we should be playing for gaining those efficiencies at PHL in order to shift some of the capacity burden away from NYC. But if we stand still, can we take advantage of those efficiency gains? FAA doesn't think so.
    I'm left wondering if you read the article.
    I don't know if I'd put much weight in the FAA's analysis honestly, what kind of forecast doesn't take into account fuel prices? If the FAA is going to foot the bill that's one thing, but we're asking users to foot the bill, and then trying to shut them out of the decision making process.
    as someone pointed out many moons ago, when was the last time anyone put $5bn into SEPTA?
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  15. #55
    phillyaggie is offline Senior Member
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    Houston's IAH airport has sucked big time in terms of design and operations so the lower taxes aren't the factor there. And in PHL's case, I thought the airport and FAA (and even the airlines) are saying that the taxiways and other aspects of the airport need improvement in order to gain better productivity. If we can have simultaneous parallel take offs and/or landings I bet the airplane waiting line on the tarmac doesn't grow as long in the future as it does some days at present... is that really all due to busy traffic at EWR and JFK? There certainly is some bottlenecking going on at PHL on the ground itself...US Air and UPS just don't want to pay for it... so long as US Air pushes off from the gate, that's the time that counts on its timely departure sheet.
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  16. #56
    eldondre is online now Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by phillyaggie View Post
    Houston's IAH airport has sucked big time in terms of design and operations so the lower taxes aren't the factor there. And in PHL's case, I thought the airport and FAA (and even the airlines) are saying that the taxiways and other aspects of the airport need improvement in order to gain better productivity. If we can have simultaneous parallel take offs and/or landings I bet the airplane waiting line on the tarmac doesn't grow as long in the future as it does some days at present... is that really all due to busy traffic at EWR and JFK? There certainly is some bottlenecking going on at PHL on the ground itself...US Air and UPS just don't want to pay for it... so long as US Air pushes off from the gate, that's the time that counts on its timely departure sheet.
    yes, they're saying the costs outweigh the benefits and you're saying the benefits are worth it no matter the costs
    There are days in Philadelphia where you could put 10 runways, and you wouldn't get any more people in the air any faster because it is controlled airspace and it is congested airspace," he said.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hospitalitygirl View Post
    But...isn't the reason for the delays the massively congested airways in this corridor?
    That and the jacked arrangement of runways at the airport.

  18. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by eldondre View Post
    I'm left wondering if you read the article.
    I wondered the same thing.
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  19. #59
    phillyaggie is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by eldondre View Post
    yes, they're saying the costs outweigh the benefits and you're saying the benefits are worth it no matter the costs
    so you're taking them at their word on all those counts, I see.
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  20. #60
    phillyaggie is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hospitalitygirl View Post
    I wondered the same thing.
    I'm just not taking the airlines at their word.
    "The only difference between the Republican and Democratic parties is the velocities with which their knees hit the floor when corporations knock on their door. That's the only difference."
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