To be honest with you, I'm a SeaPort supporter. I have a friend that has used SeaPort more than once to Kansas City, and they love it. They raved about the way they were treated and how nice and easy the whole process was--it was like "being on an executive plane." They can't believe it hasn't caught on in more places. I myself am a frequent traveler & a lover of aviation. I've seen so many misunderstandings about airlines, aircraft, and "connectivity" communicated here, its not even funny...
First....about EAS. Essential Air Service was put in place after airlines deregulated in 1978 to protect air service between rural communities. Under the program, certain airports qualify for federal subsidy in the form of a "contract" (generally 2 years) with one airline, which the community recommends and the DOT approves. When the contract comes up for renewal, multiple airlines can propose to provide service for the next term, and the community again chooses to recommend one to be their EAS carrier. If you want a say in who your air carrier is, give your city officials and airport administration feedback before they make their recommendation.
And now onto....codeshares. Codeshares are always a major discussion point; "connectivity" is the magical key word for any small community. But codeshares aren't always a good thing. Although it may make booking a ticket simple, a codeshare doesn't guarantee that you are getting the best deal, or even a good deal at all. Many of the low-cost carriers don't engage in codeshares (ex: Southwest), and purchasing a ticket from your community on a regional carrier and on a low-cost carrier like Southwest can save you HUNDREDS of dollars. With the internet as advanced as it is now, a couple extra clicks is well worth the money saved. Safety and the lack of transparency have been questioned when it comes to codeshares. Many people don't really know that they aren't always getting "Continental" service or "Continental" safety standards when they book a ticket on Continental and their connecting flight is actually operated by some other regional carrier.
Speaking of safety--myths about single-engine aircraft vs. twin engine aircraft seem to be all over! The Pilatus PC-12 has an incredible safety record--supposedly there are no records of any PC-12 crashing during scheduled commuter service. Colgan Air itself, who I believe flies to this community in a twin-engine now, though it was acquired by Pinnacle, has had a crash as recently as 2009. From what I've seen, with the safety system we have in the US now, safety of passengers isn't dependent upon the number of engines in the aircraft, but by the safety procedures of the company and their requirements for pilots.
I'm sure the community of Victoria is perfectly capable of evaluating their choices and picking what's best for them. I hope this helped clarify confusion about EAS & demystified codeshares and single-engine aircraft.
I think it would be great if another commuter airline would come operate here. Judging from SeaPort's website, it looks like they've been in business since 2008, starting off with flights between Seattle and Portland (thus the name SeaPort Airlines). I get the impression that there will be two pilots and no flight attendant. I think flight attendants are only required on planes with 15 or more passengers, don't know for sure. Also, it seems SeaPort would be exempt from some TSA requirements since their passenger load is so small. From their website they show two regions that they serve, the Washington / Oregon area, and the Mid South region which connects Arkansas / Memphis / Kansas City. If they start a Victoria / Dallas flight, connecting to their Mid South region would seem a natural thing, namely Dallas to their Hot Springs, Arkansas stop. If their fares could make sense, it would sure beat tell hell out of driving to Dallas.
good point www, people do freak out. Pilatus can be configed to carry up to 12, but for taxi 135 faa says 8 px at new weights.
Will...To be clear. I was not questioning the safety or efficiency of the Pilatus airplane. I was questioning whether the people of Victoria (the intended customers) will be willing to fly to Dallas in a single engine airplane. There are people who call ANY airplane with propellers "puddle jumpers" and doubt their safety compared with something like the 737. I shudder to think what those people would call the Pilatus with only one engine. I'll bet that some would be calling it a Piper Cub. There are people in this town who simply do not understand how airplanes work and believe it to be some kind of witchcraft. I checked in a lady for a flight to Houston one afternoon and she was so scared she was shaking. I told her that it might make her feel better if she would just think on the fact that she had just survived the most dangerous part of her trip -- the drive out Hwy. 59 to the airport. I don't think it helped.
I was also wondering just how big the market is for non-stops to Dallas as the final destination. When I worked for CoEx, we used to keep tabs on the Dallas destinations and the numbers were quite small. Granted, because of the change in Houston, the numbers were perhaps skewed somewhat, but I'm not convinced there are enough people in Victoria, or coming to Victoria and returning to support three flights to DAL.
By the way, do you know the capacity of the Pilatus as configured for passenger service? I saw eight seats in the picture but I don't know if there was a row I couldn't see. I doubt there is an inclusion of a potty on the plane. For some, that was an issue when CoEx was flying Beechcraft planes to Houston.
To The www response, the aircraft they use are Pilatus and are one of the safest aircraft built. The stall speed (landing) is about 69 knots. The twins that fly out of victoria stall around 120 knots. If an engine goes out in a light twin the second engine will just get you to the crash scene faster! The pilatus can lose an engine at altitude and coast for two hundred miles. It is so popular of an aircraft that if you had purchased one four years ago and flew everyday you can sell it for more than you paid.If I am going down in a piece of aluminum I would rather hit at 60 knots as oppposed to 120 knots.Fianlly, the attendant you speak of was correct. It is a prop and jet. It is a jet prop, actually it is a jet fan since the prop is not connected to the engine at all and spins freely.
Are there going to be enough passangers to make the 3 flights a day to Dallas viable? Are there that many people that want to go to Dallas from Victoria?
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What would be the cost for the flight?
I wish they would fly one way out of Goliad's Airpark with those embarrassing county commissioners.
Dang! I have to work. I'd like to know how they plan to make the service work with three flights to Dallas Love. It doesn't seem that Seaport has an interline agreement with American or American Eagle (and Southwest doesn't interline with anybody) so simple connections to other domestic destinations won't exist. There are no international flights from DAL, so it would appear the business plan is for enough people from Victoria to want to go only as far as Dallas to use the service and make it profitable. JackDeuce is right; will Seaport attempt to obtain a federal subsidy like Continental Connection flights to Houston have? Does SeaPort believe there are enough people in Victoria who won't mind flying to Dallas on a single engine airplane to make this work? I used to work at Continental Express and Continental Connection to and I've seen lots of people who weren't comfortable on a twin. I've seen a couple simply refuse to fly on a propeller plane. Victoria doesn't have the most sophisticated flyers in the country. (If they ask if the plane is a jet or a prop and the agent says "yes", they are confused. I'm not sure of the capacity of the plane. I only saw eight seats in the picture on the website, but, I suppose, there could be another one or two. I don't know if there is a potty on board, but I rather suspect there is not. This sounds good IF someone wants to go to Dallas, conduct their business there and come back. For anyone who needs to connect to another city, the Continental Connection to IAH is the only reasonable choice if you are flying from VCT. A great many people have opted to drive to Corpus Christi or Austin because of the greater number of flights available. I will wish SeaPort good luck -- I'm afraid you'll need it.