Tag Archives: A320

Frontier Airlines To Denver: Show Me The Money!

8 May

Back at the beginning of my journalism career in the late 1980s, I wrote for the Employment and Training Reporter, a newsletter that covered federal job training programs.  Under that broad umbrella fell welfare reform, education and economic development.

My favorite thing to write about was economic development, because back then, the country was recovering from the Reagan recession and states were throwing around money like drunken sailors to lure new companies to bring in jobs and taxes.  Two of the biggest battles I got to watch was the fight for German luxury automaker BMW’s first U.S. plant (it went to South Carolina) and two United Airlines maintenance bases (Oakland and Indianapolis won, but eventually lost as both plants were closed).  Looking at a more recent example, we recently learned that bankrupt aircraft manufacturer Hawker Beechcraft turned down $500 million in incentives from Louisiana to leave Wichita, Kan., reports the Wichita Business Journal.

States, counties and cities worked hand in hand to offer everything from tax breaks to infrastructure changes to subsidies to bring in companies and jobs.  Some states were so desperate they made deals they knew they could never see a return on their investment.

A Frontier Airlines Airbus A320 at Milwaukee’s General Mitchell Airport. Photo by Benet J. Wilson

So it was with great interest that I read this story in the Denver PostFrontier Airlines wants tax incentives to bring jobs to Colorado — with great interest.  The airline was created in 1994 by executives of the original Frontier, which was bought by Texas Air in 1986 and folded into Continental Airlines.  The idea was to fill the gap left when Continental Airlines decided to shut down its Denver hub.

The carrier filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April 2008, and was bought by Indianapolis-based Republic Airways Holdings in August 2009.  After that purchase, the company moved some of Frontier’s operations to Indianapolis.

Now Frontier executives are asking the city and state to come up with incentives in order for them to stay put.  The company wants to bring back approximately 430 call center, mechanical, dispatcher and headquarters jobs to the state. In exchange, it wants breaks on state and local taxes on jet fuel, parts and software, according to the Post, adding that they wanted “appropriate” incentives to bring in the jobs.

But the state and city, probably seeing what has happened across the country when others have opened the incentives spigot, are in no rush to open its pocketbook to Frontier, not wanting to upset hub carrier United and Southwest Airlines.  Plus they want to ensure that Frontier will stay in the state long enough to see a return on their incentives investment.
So I’ll be watching to see what happens, but what do you think — should the city and state give Frontier what it wants, or is Frontier being greedy and unreasonable?

Random Aviation Photo

15 Mar

In July 2011, I got to attend the celebration of United’s first 10 million mile flyer. My Aviation Week Things With Wings blog post on that event is here. The event was held in a Red Carpet Club lounge at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, but we had time to wander around. Sitting at the gate right across from the party was an Airbus A320 painted in United’s Friendship livery. I just happened to catch the pilot giving the windshield a pre-flight cleaning.  Enjoy!

Random Avation Photo

9 Feb

Back in November 2008, I was working on a story for Aviation Week on the opening of the new fourth runway at Washington Dulles International Airport.  I was there to do an interview and photo shoot with Bobby Sturgell, who was then the acting administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration.  One of the bonuses was that we got to go up in the Dulles tower.  The view up there is grand, and I snapped the photo of a United/TED Airbus A320.  Enjoy!

Top Five Interesting Stories Of The Week

9 Jan

This is always the week I look forward to.  The holidays are completely over, and it’s back to work for everyone, including the airline/aviation industry.  So Happy New Year one last time, and let’s get to it.

  1. Normally, this pair of stories would have gone straight to Strange But True Aviation News on a Friday, but I thought it warranted being an interesting story.  California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-Twin Peaks), a strong opponent of gun control, says he “forgot” he had a loaded .45 caliber pistol in his carry-on bag, which was discovered by Transportation Security Administration (TSA), reports NBC Los Angeles.  The TV station followed up with a blog post: The Guns of Tim: Five Lessons, including: Donnelly was allowed to board his flight while others were detained and even arrested.
  2. During my time as Aviation Daily’s airports and security editor, I wrote about — and saw — my fair share of airport scanning machines.  So I found this story from Pro Publica comparing millimeter and backscatter machines.
  3. Speaking of security, this story in Aviation International News talks about how TSA Administrator John Pistole is starting to respond to critics, including House Transportation Committee Chairman Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), over his agency’s policies and way of doing business.  “[To] those who say that we’re inefficient or bloated, I’d be glad to sit down and go through the books and say, ‘OK, how would you staff this differently?’” Pistole said in an interview with Bloomberg News last month.
  4. I’m one of those aviation geeks that could spend my life visiting aviation museums.  I didn’t know about the Carolinas Aviation Museum until I heard it was receiving US Airways’ “Miracle on the Hudson” Airbus A320 for its permanent display. Which is why I really enjoyed this blog post over at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer — complete with pictures — about the museum.
  5. I’m old enough to remember the mini controversy that ensued when United Airlines paid for the rights to use George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” in its branding and advertising campaigns.  But now the song has become so closely affiliated to United that my daughter knows it as the UAL theme song!  So I was happy to hear from our friends at the Chicago Tribune that the Chicago-based carrier will continue to use the song.

Let’s end this post with one of my personal favorite commercials United Airlines used with “Rhapsody in Blue.”  It’s called “Dragon,” and it was created for the Beijing Olympics.  Enjoy!

Random Aviation Photo

3 Oct

Back in the day I spent a lot of time traveling in and out of US Airways’ Charlotte hub. I just love those rocking chairs that offer great views from the big picture windows in the center concourse across from the food court. But I digress.

I took this shot of Airbus A320 a Boeing 737-400 (ok, I’m going to the eye doctor) after I got off, staggering, from a red-eye flight from San Francisco. You can still see a bit of the morning light off the fuselage. Enjoy!

Random Aviation Photo

22 Aug

I’m still sorting through all my photos from this year’s EAA AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wisc.  On Wednesday, July 27, JetBlue flew in a planeload of crewmembers and guests in its “I Love New York” Airbus A320.

It was a rainy day, but I was on the tarmac with Dan Webb — both of us wearing our Embraer rain ponchos — waiting for the plane to arrive.  I got the shot below as they were bringing over the air stairs.  Enjoy!

Random Aviation Photo – The Oskkosh Edition

1 Aug

It’s been a week since I was at the EAA AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wis., and I’m still floating on air.  I was in aviation geek heaven last week, and I’m still going through all my photos.  But below are two I want to share now.

The first photo is the tail of the I Heart NY JetBlue Airbus A320 that came into Oshkosh last Wednesday.  The flight was full with JetBlue employees and interns there to enjoy a day of the show.

The second photo is a shout out to my friend and Airplane Geek David Vanderhoof, who is my military expert.  It’s the military version of the DC-9, the C9. It was in a combi configuration-cargo in the front, a few rows of passenger seats in the back.  Enjoy them both!

Random Aviation Photo

18 Jul

On Saturday, July 9, I had the pleasure of spending a day at Chicago O’Hare International Airport for a great party to congratulate United Airlines Tom Stuker on reaching 10 million (yes, million) Mileage Plus miles.  You can see my blog post on the event at Aviation Week’s Things With Wings blog.

We got a special treat when a United Airlines Airbus A320 with the retro Friendship livery parked at the gate across from the Red Carpet Club where the festivities were being held.  I just love this livery.  When I tweeted about it, I called it the livery of my childhood.  Enjoy!

Photo by Benet J. Wilson


Random Aviation Photo – The EBACE 2011 Edition

16 May

For the uninitiated, this week is the annual European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva, Switzerland.  The show is a who’s who in business/private aviation, and it includes a 60+ aircraft static display at Geneva International Airport.

The cool thing about this is that there’s a great mix of business and commercial aircraft that really taps the inner plane spotting geek.  Below is a great shot I got at last year’s EBACE.  For the hard-core aviation geeks, you can follow Aviation Week’s coverage here.  Enjoy!

Random Aviation Photo

28 Feb

I was in San Francisco to attend the 50th birthday party of a friend last April, and I landed at SFO Airport.  It’s rare I land there without a child in tow, so I took full advantage, snapping away at the birds parked at gates.  I really like this one of two Virgin America tails.  Enjoy!


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