Somethings Wrong With Plane’s Return Schedule … Speak Up Now

Courtesy photo

COUNTY News:

Ridership, load factors, passengers per week for the Los Alamos Commercial Air Service show signs of positive growth although at a slower pace than last month.

This is seasonal and this “slowness” will be countered in August and September when most government employees generally travel “a little extra.” Unfortunately, we are utilizing the grant money faster than hoped. A meeting between County personnel and Lab representatives is schedule in mid-July to discuss this.

The flight schedule was changed four weeks ago to increase ridership on early morning and early afternoon flights out of ABQ. Most importantly, the change was made in response to numerous requests to provide a flight to Los Alamos for those returning from Washington on United Airline’s non-stop flight from Dulles.

Prior to the change, this non-stop arrived in ABQ 90 minutes after the last flight to Los Alamos departed hence, the call for the later flight. It is still too early to know the impact of the schedule change. Presently, it seems like there was little movement. Frustrating the success of our schedule change is the fact that one week after it took effect, United Airlines changed their flight schedule. The United non-stop from Washington now arrives in ABQ 30 minutes after the last flight to Los Alamos departs.

A check with the Lab Travel Office suggests the Lab traveler does not dominate. Less than half the bookings are made via LANL’s in-house travel/reservation system, CONCUR. Unless Lab travelers are booking outside of CONCUR which is unlikely, the Lab is responsible for less than 40 percent of all passengers. Almost half of the people flying to ABQ are not returning to Los Alamos via the airline.

There is obviously a problem with the return flight schedule. Questionnaires have been circulated. The results are providing valuable information as to what our passengers want to see for a return flight time. Unfortunately, as one might imagine, the times are all across the board.

The push is on for freight. To the surprise of many, same-day service to Albuquerque is possible. It’s as simple as putting the package on a flight and having a courier service pick it up at Gate E-1. The courier will take the package to its final destination. According to a recent web-search, there are 152 courier services that handle the greater Albuquerque metropolitan area.

A presentation regarding the new airline service was given at a recent luncheon of one of Los Alamos’ civic organization. The first part of the meeting included announcements of personal events and 10 or 12 of the announcements involved travel. At the end of the air service presentation, the speaker reminded the audience of the travel mentioned earlier and asked how these travelers got to Albuquerque? None flew out of Los Alamos Airport; they all drove to ABQ. The community needs to consciously think about scheduling flights out of Los Alamos. For those that have used it, the new scheduled service is a winner!

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