View Full Version : Will Rogers Airport reaches another milestone

10-14-2004, 10:45 PM
I just love the way our airport boasts about milestones. If they consider reopening the departure driveway a serious milestone, then we have serious problems. I find it quite interesting that while we celebrate the openings of roadways to our airport, other cities celebrate multimillion dollar expansions to their terminals. Anyhow, I guess it's progress for Luther Trent and Company! Whatever! :D
Fire the airport trust! Their expansion project is a joke! $110 million! Come on! That ain't nothing when it comes to airport expansion. The last expansion at DFW was in the billions. Our airport trust really acts like this expansion project is a big deal! Whatever!

"Airport departure roadway opens to traveling public
Posted: Wednesday, October 13, 2004
OKCBusiness NewsWire

Airport departure roadway opens to traveling public

Will Rogers World Airport has reached another milestone in the $110 million terminal expansion project. The departure roadway next to the terminal officially opens for public use today.

The new upper roadway now allows visitors to drop off travelers right next to the building. Travelers will also be able to utilize all skycap services. The skycap stations were moved from their temporary positions in the transportation plaza to the new curbside area.

The roadway had been closed for nearly a year-and-a-half to facilitate expansion of the front of the terminal building and curbside area. Much of the old roadway had to be demolished and new lanes rebuilt to accommodate the expansion.

All passenger pickup and public transportation will remain at the transportation plaza for the time being. The arrival roadway, or lower roadway, is scheduled to open after the first of the year.

In addition to the new roadway, Continental and Northwest airlines will move to new ticket counters, the west escalator becomes operational and a new restroom, ticket lobby space and a new baggage claim area will also open.

The old Continental space will close next and renovation will begin on the future American Airlines ticket counter and baggage areas. At the same time, the south expansion continues. Three new gates for Southwest Airlines, a food court, lounge and additional retail shops are scheduled for operation in the spring of 2005.

As new areas open and other close, several new routes for pedestrians will be put in place. It is important that airport visitors look for signs to help direct them and allow enough time to navigate through construction.

Source: Will Rogers World Airport"

10-15-2004, 08:10 PM
Will Rogers is the smallest "expansion" project of any major airport in the country.

Most are building either entirely new terminals or adding additional terminals. Some, DFW included, are adding light rail systems to connect those terminals. We need more space.

A second terminal is FAR from out of the question. Maybe 500 million for the entire project. THAT would compete.

By the way, Patrick. Have you thought of expressing our views about the airport distrust to the Mayor? Might be a good thing to mention when you see him next. Or ask for an appointment in his office to seperate church and state. He may not realize a lot of people think the city is under estimating what needs to be done.

10-16-2004, 04:06 PM
Yeah, I agree opening a redeveloped departure ramp isn't exactly a milestone in an airport expansion. That's a joke.

Consider the following months though. Delta Connection Chauatqua and ASA will be taking out the 6 dd's to DFW. That will take the DL/DL Conn departure count down to 13 daily from 18 daily (net gain is one more flight to Atlanta).

Southwest will be eliminating 4 dd's, 2 to Kansas City and 2 to Dallas-Love, which will take its dep. count down to 18 from 22 right now.

So we'll be losing 9 departures daily overall. I don't think there's a need for more gates. And given the condition the industry is in right now, do you think any airline's gonna add more departures in a market like Oklahoma City when there are 'sure-fire' markets like all the hubs, including cities like Fort-Lauderdale, Las Vegas, and others? And you can't really compare DFW's projects to ours. DFW is a fortress hub. Let's face it, it's going to continue to suck traffic away from our airport, hopefully, it will become less of an impact when our expansion's finally done.

And where's the demand? Austin got it's nonstops back to Cleveland when people in Austin told Continental that they wanted nonstops to Cleveland. And they did, but even those are with RJ's. Not mainliners. We got the St. Louis flights back when people told AA not to eliminate those flights. And we got 'em back, but with American Connection RJ's. The airline's are going to be very cautious as far as the spoke airports are concerned.

Is our passenger traffic growing by leaps and bounds? No. Is our airport a bustling hub? Even a mid-size one like Nashville? No. Is our passenger traffic anywhere near the 5 million mark it was supposed to be by now? No. Why would we need more gates? Atleast in the short term? Maybe 5-6 years down the road, the industry will stabilize somewhat and by that time, we might be even in the process of getting that east concourse, or it might even be nearing completion.

Look at Austin, it's a city comparable in population to ours. Its airport has 25 gates. Even then, its passenger traffic is 6.7 milllion a year (2003 stats). Ours is less than 3.5 mil. Do you see where I am coming from? Besides, Austin's Hispanic community is much larger than ours is, and there's enough demand for flights to Mexico City. As I've said before, airlines are gonna fly more planes into your airport only if there's demand for it. And I'm pretty sure that people living between Oklahoma City and Tulsa know about our nonstop service by now.

And this is most certainly an expansion. If it were just a remodeling, we wouldn't be getting a brand new concourse, and an expanded central terminal. We would be stuck with the old terminal, and only its exterior and interior would have been spruced up, but it would have been the same terminal with the same concourses.

And we have plenty of space. That's not the problem at all. The land area of our airport is more than 8,000 acres. That's more than what Atlanta's airport covers. Our airport ranks in the top ten when it comes to area. What we need is a heck of a lot more passengers going through the terminal. Just building more gates isn't gonna do that. Build it and they will come just isn't gonna work anymore.

I know this isn't the grandest expansion we'll ever get, but it isn't the worst one either. The airside looks pretty neat in my opinion. And the east concourse will eventually be built.

Just my two cents. :)


10-16-2004, 04:58 PM
"So we'll be losing 9 departures daily overall. I don't think there's a need for more gates. And given the condition the industry is in right now, do you think any airline's gonna add more departures in a market like Oklahoma City when there are 'sure-fire' markets like all the hubs, including cities like Fort-Lauderdale, Las Vegas, and others? And you can't really compare DFW's projects to ours. DFW is a fortress hub. Let's face it, it's going to continue to suck traffic away from our airport, hopefully, it will become less of an impact when our expansion's finally done."

That is the problem. OUman, your comments are symptomatic of apathy. You do not wait until the need arises to expand. You expand early in anticipation of need. Plus, have you seen "Field Of Dreams?" If you have, remember the line that sets the theme of the motion picture. "Build it and they will come." THAT is the key. Did you realize that if we build the gates NOW we can draw the airlines we need to proprely serve Oklahoma City?

Most people fail to look at the investment. Or they do not understand how business investors make their money. They invest on speculation. In other words, They take a risk. They build it then seek the tenants or clientelle. I cite PB Odom. If you have never heard of the man, he is an investor on the southwest side. PB Odom III to be exact. He is the third generaton. His dad developed my neighborhood and made a killing. III bought the former Albertson's location at SW 104 and Western and is building a strip center. He has no current tenants waiting. It is a multi million dollar speculation. His track record shows he will fill it. He did the same thing with Chantanet at SW 104 and Pennsylvania. He had no tenants and now it is fully leased. He is not the only one. Nearly all wealthy investors invest on speculation. The stock market is a similar venture.

The point is simple. If the city does not get off their wahzoo and start speculating, this city is going to go down hill. Tulsa is already smoking us in gaining new major business. My fear is they will soon overtake Oklahoma City as the largest city in the state. Why? Bad investments by the city leaders of Oklahoma City. Namely failure to invest in the city's airline industry.

Nothing personal on any of this. However, one reason I want to move out of Oklahoma City and not look back is the fact I am sick of the negitive attitude about expansion and gaining major league sports. I am sick and tired of hearing people say "we don't need it," or "it won't work here." It will. We just need to go out and do it! I usually have the last laugh and the "I told you so."

10-17-2004, 12:31 AM
mranderson, I will comment more on this later, but I think you bring up some good points here. While OUMan is pointing out the obvious that the airport trust keeps telling us, you are pointing out our deep rooted problems......our city leaders, and many of our citizens, just don't think big when planning new projects in Oklahoma City. That's why the rest of the US still considers us pretty backwards and insignificant!
I'll comment more tomorrow! It's getting late now.

10-17-2004, 10:41 AM
Hmm, I thought about what you said mranderson, and I would be all for building the east concourse right now.

And yes, there's a risk there as you pointed out. But what if the passenger count retains its slow growth? And what if no airline uses that concourse? With the current situation, there would be 17 gates (yeah, a net gain of only one), but three of those are currently empty (Allegiant would get one, unless it decides to share a gate like Champion does).

On the other hand, I do see what you're saying. Maybe in the short term, we'll gain more flights and passengers than the existing facility would allow, and then of course, the airport will need the east concourse. And then again, I also understand that building the east concourse might actually spur growth. Maybe a new airline would be interested in setting up operations there or an existing airline would look into getting gate space there.

And it appears we need better marketing of our airport. If Little Rock's airport can get a nonstop flight to Orlando, I don't know what the problem is with our airport. That's one thing I'll definitely agree on, OKC's probably the only major airport without nonstops to ANY Florida city. We can definitely support a regional jet atleast once everyday.

Isn't there a marketing program the airport already has? I heard something about it in the news back in May or so. Correct me if I'm wrong though.

And the rest of the US doesn't consider us as backwards as it once did. Why would city leaders from other cities, including Ft. Worth come here and give us nothing but compliments about those projects? The image of our city as a 'cow town' is definitely fading away.


10-17-2004, 11:10 AM
"And the rest of the US doesn't consider us as backwards as it once did. Why would city leaders from other cities, including Ft. Worth come here and give us nothing but compliments about those projects? The image of our city as a 'cow town' is definitely fading away."

Since the year 2000, I have traveled to every state in this nation except Alaska and Hawaii. When I would tell someone I was from Oklahoma, I would get a lot of strange looks. Occasionally someone would say something like "funny, you don't talk or act like someone from Oklahoma. You are articulate and quite intellegent." I would thank them, then advise them that Oklahoma, although the home to more than our share of hicks, is quite modern. I would tell them about the changes we have made and some of the ideas this fourm (or our past fourms) have created. I got raves for the forward thinking and asked why these had not been done already. I also was asked why airline routes were difficult to come by to Oklahoma City. I would be required at that point to tell these people that our city leaders were not risk takers. They would not see the potential for expansion at Will Rogers. In fact, on occasion, they let airlines leave. Example. Trans Meridian. They did not even give us a fair chance. Occasionally someone would say they would like to see airlines like JetBlue and America West enter our market because they would be more likely to visit us if they could get that non stop. You see, most people are not like me. I like layovers. I enjoy looking at airports and watching the pre flight activities, and the take off and landing procedures.

I do not know how much travel any of you have done since MAPS or how much you have observed in other cities, however, take it from an experienced traveler. The rest of the country with the possible exception of hillbilly country thinks we are the Skol chewing, Coors guzzeling, lasso twirling, southern drawl and backward expression speaking hicks that "dun gradiated the sixth grade" with Jethro Bodine who was validictorian of the class. Yes. They DO think we are backward. Had we built THE Will Rogers World Airport with between 30 and 50 gates, I bet the NHL or NBA would already be here and those mega corporations that look and say "ok, now we can use this cow town as a bargining chip," would have said "say, this IS a nice place. This is our new home."

I hate to say this however, for quite some time I have really been embarrased and ashamed to say I am from Oklahoma. THAT could change but this "won't work" attitude HAS to stop first.

10-17-2004, 04:35 PM
Well said mranderson.

10-19-2004, 12:00 AM
OUMan, maybe our airport could be divided up differently to make better use of the East Concourse. The West Concourse is the largest....I say use it for the major carriers, along with the main terminal.......American, SW, NW, Delta, United, Continental, etc. Use the 8 gates at the East Concourse for low cost airlines like Allegiant, Champion, Frontier, etc., and for smaller regional planes like American Eagle, ASA, ComAir, etc.

mranderson, you are right on the money. People still do have a certain opinion of Okies, and unfortunately, our latest slip with our state's annual event guides only helps fuel that fire. We aren't willing to take the risks, so other cities are. Take Salt Lake for instance, when they decided to host the Olympics. That was a huge risk for a city their size. Anyways, from what I've seen we build nice things around here, but we're not forward nough thinkers to plan ahead. What we build is always a small replica of what our neighbor in Big D or San Antonio has. Our canal is half the length San Antonio's is. Our ballpark is only a small replica of what Arlington's is. I guess about the only thing we actually think big on is the University of Oklahoma football team! Maybe our city leaders need to take some note from David Boren! He's a forward thinker.

I firmly believe in the statement, "You build it, and they will come."

10-19-2004, 02:10 PM
Dividing the concourse and main terminal gates would be fine, but there are two roadblocks to that plan.

First off, airports can't really dictate terms to the airline. It works the other way around. Airlines say how many gates they'll need, and which gates they want, etc. When Southwest opened its station at Philadelphia International, the airline's executives chose the gates closest to the runways there, the airport really didn't have any control. At best, the airport can only make some
suggestions, but ultimately, the airline controls which gates it wants.

Secondly, in airport terminals like Will Rogers', ticket counters and and gates often 'match up' sides if you will. By that, I mean they are positioned to minimize the walking distance between the counter and the gate. In the expanded ticket lobby, Northwest and NW Airlink already have their new ticket counter on the west side, near the west concourse. Now we don't have NW mainline service currently, but in the future when we will (again), if you put all the commuter lines of the majors in the east concourse passngers flying NW Airlink will have to trek all the way to the east concourse. Now that may not be much of a deal to you and me, but for the majority, that would be a long walk.

Besides, 99% of the time, the majors prefer having the mainline and commuter operations in a close bunch of gates, rather than having them spread apart.

And why has Mid America Airport failed if "build it and they will come" really works?

Sure, the distance factor maybe one reason, but that shouldn't deter airlines from setting up shop at that airport.


10-19-2004, 02:36 PM
"And why has Mid America Airport failed if "build it and they will come" really works?"

Can you say small, commuter airport similar to Wiley Post that gets little, if no promotion?

10-19-2004, 08:24 PM
Mid America Airport's no small airport. It's not a general aviation field like Wiley Post. It has a 10,000 ft runway, and another 8,000 ft parallel runway. The terminal has four gates and plenty of room for expansion. An AFB is located on the north side of the field. The city of St. Louis and the sorrounding counties had extensively promoted the airport as an alternative to the congested Lambert Int'l well before 9/11 happened.

10-19-2004, 11:47 PM
I think the situation with Mid America is a little different than that with Will Rogers.
St. Louis already had a major airport, and a new one was trying to be built to compete with the older one. In OKC it isn't a matter of building another airport to compete with Will Rogers. Our real competition is an entire state away.

10-20-2004, 08:29 AM
Plus. With all the time I have spent in the St. Louis area, the only time I heard of Mid America other than when I was in the travel industry, was the Great Plains mistake.