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  1. Default Great Plains International Airport

    My frustration with ticket prices, connection delays, and flight availability has me rethinking a subject that comes up on a regular basis on OKCTalk - the creation of regional airport between Tulsa and OKC. After giving it some thought, I think serious consideration should be given to creating a new airport between OKC, Tulsa and Wichita. Doing a quick triangulation of the three cities a good location would be at the junction of I-35 and the Cimarron Turnpike. As the crow flies it is 65 miles to downtown OKC, 76 miles to downtown Tulsa, and 89 miles to downtown Wichita. It would also serve Stillwater and Enid.

    While this location would be easily accessible by automobile, high-speed rail using I-35 and turnpike right of way could connect to stations in downtown OKC, Tulsa, and Wichita. It would be reachable in about 30 minutes from each city. Passengers would check in, check baggage, and go through security at each city station, then be dropped off on the secure side of the terminal at the airport.. Arriving passengers would get baggage claim and rental cars at the city hubs as well. This would prevent people from having to lug their luggage. Of course, people could also drive to the airport if they choose.

    The transit time by train would be more than made up for by eliminating a lot of lay-overs, and since the train trip occurs AFTER check-in that is time when people would be waiting in the terminal anyhow - just in this case the terminal would be moving at 150 mph.

    From a numbers perspective, assume passenger counts wouldn't change, the airport would have 3,847,867 enplanements (2013 figures). This would make it the 46th busiest airport in the US, just between San Antonio and Pittsburgh.

    In addition, the high-speed rail line could also be used to connect OKC, Wichita, and Tulsa with regular passenger service (stopping on the unsecured side of the terminal).

    So how big would this new airport have to be? Really it would just need one runway. Gatwick only has a single runway and handles 38 million people per year. The San Jose airport operated for decades with a single runway and handled over 9 million annual passengers (arriving and departing). Finally, the increased passenger counts would make international flights a possibility and increase direct service to many cities only accessible by connecting through a hub.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Great Plains International Airport

    In one word, NO. It's a nice sounding idea but it would never work as you envision it unless it had been planned 50 years ago. Airlines would have no interest in changing their offered service from this area in the way of nonstop flights. We would still be facing connections just like we do now for multitudes of destinations.

  3. Default Re: Great Plains International Airport

    Why don't you think the number of direct flights would increase? Also, even the hubs would be served on a more frequent basis. And there is no doubt prices would drop drastically.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Great Plains International Airport

    Quote Originally Posted by Just the facts View Post
    Why don't you think the number of direct flights would increase? Also, even the hubs would be served on a more frequent basis.
    Because I know how airlines have operated in the last 20 years. Getting them to operate more direct flights would be difficult, even with monetary incentives. What would be their motivation to do that, unless it was much higher fares, when they have people flying between those cities already and they're making good money with existing connecting routes? I'm sure you're correct about more flights to hubs but it could also be possible those flights might just be with larger aircraft. As I said, the time that something like this could have been built in a way that it could have succeeded has sailed.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Great Plains International Airport

    Lj is right -- the airlines are not going to abandon the hub and spoke model because we built an airport between two cities.

    The airlines would not establish a hub with only 6 million O&D passengers. It would siphon traffic away from TUL and OKC -- we would have less service at all 3 airports. Airlines would still offer service to OKC and TUL for business traffic.

    Look how Dulles is turning out. A huge airport, soon to have direct rail... Yet the airlines are still pushing as many flights as they can into DCA. Business travelers don't want to fly to the remote airport. They want to be close to the business centers.

    It would be a collosal failure, with no benefit to anybody other than the handful of people that live between TUL and OKC.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Great Plains International Airport

    Stop giving Dallas your traffic and airlines will add service to OKC. If you are complaining about lack of service at OKC, yet drive to DFW for cheap flights -- YOU are the problem.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Great Plains International Airport

    Quote Originally Posted by Just the facts View Post
    Why don't you think the number of direct flights would increase? Also, even the hubs would be served on a more frequent basis. And there is no doubt prices would drop drastically.
    OKC has no stop service to almost every single major hub in the U.S. What else do you need? Nonstop to JAX? Will never happen in OKC.

  8. Default Re: Great Plains International Airport

    Well, I would consider it a total success if all we got out of it was larger aircraft serving the same cities with the same frequency at the same price.

  9. Default Re: Great Plains International Airport

    Quote Originally Posted by catch22 View Post
    OKC has no stop service to almost every single major hub in the U.S. What else do you need? Nonstop to JAX? Will never happen in OKC.
    I know it won't happen in OKC - that is the point. As for the other question, more available seats with more frequency.

    BTW - Pittsburgh - the city OKC would pass, has non-stop flights to Jacksonville. Just sayin'.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Great Plains International Airport

    Quote Originally Posted by Just the facts View Post
    Well, I would consider it a total success if all we got out of it was larger aircraft serving the same cities with the same frequency at the same price.
    At the same price? So you would not even use the airport, you'd still drive to Dallas?

  11. #11

    Default Re: Great Plains International Airport

    Quote Originally Posted by Just the facts View Post
    I know it won't happen in OKC - that is the point. As for the other question, more available seats with more frequency.
    It wouldn't happen with the combined airport either.

  12. Default Re: Great Plains International Airport

    Quote Originally Posted by catch22 View Post
    It wouldn't happen with the combined airport either.
    Maybe it wouldn't, but if it increased flights and/or seats to Atlanta that would be good enough for me; there are hourly flights from Atl to Jax.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Great Plains International Airport

    OKC-ATL is ALL mainline jets as it is on Delta and Southwest. 6 a day each way.

  14. Default Re: Great Plains International Airport

    As an alternative, I would also be completely happy closing WRWA and just building HSR directly to DFW.

  15. Default Re: Great Plains International Airport

    Quote Originally Posted by catch22 View Post
    OKC-ATL is ALL mainline jets as it is on Delta and Southwest. 6 a day each way.
    Yep, but at crappy times and crazy expensive.

    Also, I am thinking the airline would actually like this idea; they could reduce staff, gate costs, and aircraft. Instead of 3 gates at ATL they could just have 1.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Great Plains International Airport

    You have gone off the rails...

  17. #17

    Default Re: Great Plains International Airport

    Quote Originally Posted by Just the facts View Post
    Yep, but at crappy times and crazy expensive.
    But you said you'd be happy if the prices were the same it would be a success?

    We have two flights at 6am, a 10am, 12pm, 3pm, and a 530pm. Those seem pretty good for eastbound connectivity.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Great Plains International Airport

    Quote Originally Posted by Just the facts View Post
    Yep, but at crappy times and crazy expensive.

    Also, I am thinking the airline would actually like this idea; they could reduce staff, gate costs, and aircraft. Instead of 3 gates at ATL they could just have 1.
    Delta has around 125 gates at ATL...

  19. Default Re: Great Plains International Airport

    Quote Originally Posted by catch22 View Post
    Delta has around 125 gates at ATL...
    Well, yes...but 3 of them could be reduced to 1, opening 2 up for other cities.

    Anyhow - score wise it goes Industry Insiders 2 - Traveling Public 1.

    Gotta go to work in the morning so talk to you guys later.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Great Plains International Airport

    Quote Originally Posted by catch22 View Post
    Look how Dulles is turning out. A huge airport, soon to have direct rail... Yet the airlines are still pushing as many flights as they can into DCA. Business travelers don't want to fly to the remote airport. They want to be close to the business centers.
    You're absolutely correct about that. I deal with people going to Washington every day. No one wants to go to IAD unless it's to change planes. And that's mainly for international travel.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Great Plains International Airport

    I don't think a new airport would be successful. As others have stated, it would simply decrease service at all three airports and would only really benefit a few people who live in between the three cities. Businesses aren't going to want to shuttle their people 70+ miles from the airport to their destination city.

    There is nothing wrong with OKC's airport other than how much it costs to fly. A direct flight from OKC to Charlotte would cost me $427. I could drive to Dallas and it would only cost me $243. The difference in cost is absolutely ridiculous. For comparison the same flight is $294 out of Wichita, $319 from Memphis, and $344 from XNA. I don't understand why it is so expensive to fly out of OKC.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Great Plains International Airport

    Quote Originally Posted by bchris02 View Post
    I don't think a new airport would be successful. As others have stated, it would simply decrease service at all three airports and would only really benefit a few people who live in between the three cities. Businesses aren't going to want to shuttle their people 70+ miles from the airport to their destination city.

    There is nothing wrong with OKC's airport other than how much it costs to fly. A direct flight from OKC to Charlotte would cost me $427. I could drive to Dallas and it would only cost me $243. The difference in cost is absolutely ridiculous. For comparison the same flight is $294 out of Wichita, $319 from Memphis, and $344 from XNA. I don't understand why it is so expensive to fly out of OKC.
    You must be looking at specific dates. I found prices from OKC to CLT as low as $326.70 on direct flights with very little problem just picking some random dates in July. When I looked at the same dates from Wichita the best fare was $311.70. Dallas was about $50.00 less and XNA was about $40.00 less. The difference is insignificant and certainly not worth driving to another airport.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Great Plains International Airport

    Quote Originally Posted by ljbab728 View Post
    You must be looking at specific dates. I found prices from OKC to CLT as low as $326.70 on direct flights with very little problem just picking some random dates in July. When I looked at the same dates from Wichita the best fare was $311.70. Dallas was about $50.00 less and XNA was about $40.00 less. The difference is insignificant and certainly not worth driving to another airport.
    Yeah it must have been the date I was looking at. I was looking at a round trip leaving tomorrow and coming back Friday.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Great Plains International Airport

    Quote Originally Posted by bchris02 View Post
    Yeah it must have been the date I was looking at. I was looking at a round trip leaving tomorrow and coming back Friday.
    You just can't judge comparative prices by looking at last minute flights. There are just too many variables that go into that.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Great Plains International Airport

    Quote Originally Posted by ljbab728 View Post
    You just can't judge comparative prices by looking at last minute flights. There are just too many variables that go into that.
    Exactly. Last minute flights are often quite expensive and very much connected to actual availability. Fare buckets further out in time are more reflective of the true price airlines are seeking.

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