Plans for some Eppley Airfield projects could stay on shelf awhile - Omaha.com
Published Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 3:18 am
Plans for some Eppley Airfield projects could stay on shelf awhile

With Eppley Airfield's annual passenger counts at about 4 million now, how likely is it that the airport will see 7 million passengers by 2030?

The Omaha Airport Authority Board's newly approved 20-year master plan phases in projects based on a forecast of rising passenger counts, including 4.8 million for the phase one projects, 5.4 million for phase two and 7 million for phase three.

But rising fuel costs, less competition in the industry and decreased passenger demand because of a tough economy all have forced airlines to become more disciplined business operations, decreasing available seats and flights at many medium hub airports like Eppley.

A May report by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's International Center for Air Transportation showed that medium hubs such as Eppley and Kansas City International Airport saw, on average, a 26 percent decrease in scheduled flights and a 21.5 percent decrease in scheduled passenger seats from 2007 through 2012.

However, available seats are up as of last month, said Chris Martin, Eppley's director of operations.

“The available seats have been down for most of the year, picked up in September and they are continuing to rise ... right through the end of the year,” Martin said.

The more seats, the more chances travelers have to score a lower fare, which can translate to increased demand.

The third phase of the master plan is not expected to be needed until about 2030, and even that is an early estimate, said David Roth, Eppley's director of strategic planning and engineering.

“All of those core functions, concessions, restaurants and shopping areas would be built out in (phase two), and (phase three) in a sense just gives us more gate capacity so you can park more aircraft at the gate,” Roth said.

While the plan is meant to project the next 20 years, it's likely to stretch beyond that because it is based on passenger demand.

“I would suspect that this will span out longer than the 20 years,” Roth said, based on recent passenger counts.

Martin said the airport is also talking regularly with airlines that currently serve Omaha and those that do not in an effort to capture more flights, seats and new destinations.

“If they're already here, add flights, and if you're not here yet, we'd love to have you,” he said.

Contact the writer: Paige Yowell

paige.yowell@owh.com    |   402-444-1414    |  

Paige covers commercial development news primarily for the Money section's news blog, Money Talks.

Read more related stories
Omahans start their workday earlier than most, at 7:48 a.m.
Omaha Hall of Fame inductees share stories of their lives in business
Omaha's Eppley Airfield sees increased demand — and that means more fare options for travelers
Warren Buffett says Coca-Cola pay plan 'excessive'
Earnings roundup: Apple plans more stock buybacks, will split stock in June
In brief: Postal workers to protest at Staples stores
OSHA: Union Pacific must reinstate worker who reported injuries suffered on job
Hy-Vee opens its first Omaha Market Cafe
West Corp.'s 1st-quarter profits up 33 percent
Stock market ‘not rigged,’ TD Ameritrade CEO says
No 'bear' qualifies to ask Warren Buffett questions at this year's Berkshire meeting
'Main street' concept takes shape at Sterling Ridge
First lady announcing one-stop job site for vets
Powdered alcohols no longer have label approvals
'We have a serious problem in Nebraska': PSC discusses concerns over Uber, Lyft
Recycle that old computer at free event
Proposed 5% hike in cab fares meets reluctant state transportation official
Secondhand shop-hop is this week
Electrical supplier 3E moves
Family Great Outdoors Day planned at La Vista Cabela’s
New law means no sales tax on coins, bullion
Nebraska banking and finance director to retire
Valmont earnings dip after record 2013 sales
America’s middle class no longer on top of world
Sales of new U.S. homes plunge 14.5 percent in March
Deadline Deal thumbnail
7M Grill
Half Off Delicious Comfort Fusion Food & Drinks!
Buy Now
< >
SPOTLIGHT »
Inside Business
To submit an announcement for "Inside Business", click here. For questions call (402) 444-1371 or e-mail announcements@owh.com.
WORLD-HERALD ALERTS »
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for Omaha.com's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »