Aug 8, 2017

Airport Director Flies Coop

The director of LVIA is leaving,  and their board of directors issued the standard exit praise about the wonderful job he did.  In my opinion,  neither he or they do a good job.

As often the case,  people appointed to these boards are the same good old boys appointed to multiple boards.  Often they are appointed not because they care and study a situation, but because their cooperation can be counted upon.

The previous ill-advised acquisition of expansion land cost the authority over $26 million in punitive damages.  Factor in that the airport passenger volume has generally deceased,  the wisdom of those previous decisions is apparent.

When the board decided to do away with the previous management company,  they hired the guy who was representing the previous company, expecting better results?  In recent years they have modernized a perfectly modern facility for no useful purpose.  Their current useless project is to do away with the convenience of having the car rentals by the luggage claim area, and building a separate building as a transportation hub.  Again, expanding for expansion sake with no useful purpose.

In the meantime,  they continue to overcharge for parking, and fail to induce more flights to more destinations.

In the past when I questioned a board member about some of these decisions,  he knew little to nothing about them.  Of course that didn't deter him from voting yes.


Scott Armstrong said...

I only go there to return rental cars I have picked up to get home from JFK or Newark .

Jamie Kelton said...

Philadelphia is easier to use with far more fights and less cost

GEORGE said...

I take a bus to Newark.

K Mary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dean N. Browning said...


This is as least the second time you have alluded to an offhand private discussion you had me and labeled that as "questioning a Board member". I let your previous comments on that conversation slide, but I'd like to reply now with my view. Let me point out that our conversation was the result of a chance encounter at a gate while we each were waiting for flights out of ABE. I was on my way to a Board meeting for another organization that I serve as a volunteer. While we casually discussed a number of topics, my focus was on that upcoming meeting as well as wondering if the weather (this was in January) was going to cause problems for departure and/or connections. As a result, my mind did not immediately recall any Board meeting that related to your question about moving the car rental counters. The reason I said I didn't know anything about plans to move the car rental counters was based on the simple fact that no such plans existed. I'm more than willing to explain any votes I have cast. However, I can't defend or address votes that did not happen - i.e. plans to move the car rental counters from their current location.



michael molovinsky said...

dean@11:53, perhaps you assumed that I kept your anonymity on the blog post, but otherwise reveal your identity to the general public, but you would be wrong. (I'm not that sociable)

if I knew about the future plans at our encounter, it was reasonable to expect you to know, even if it was just a concept then, as opposed to an approved plan

sorry that you found this post offensive

michael molovinsky said...

dean @11:53, i have re-read my post and can understand how you found the last line offensive. it was never my intention to imply that dean browning voted yes on something he did not know about. it was however my intention to imply that the board in general has voted for unproductive expansion, such as the new transportation hub

K Mary said...

Just my two cents as someone who has had three large international airports to contend with as departure points. Compared to Baltimore Washington International (Thurgood Marshall) Airport, (John Foster) Dullas International, and National (Ronald Reagan International), little ABE is not only a pleasure to fly out of, it is a wonderful asset to the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton region. TSA lines are two, three and four hours at any of these aforementioned airports and certainly Philadelphia International is at least as bad. Airport guests must use a series of shuttles and buses and trams to navigate any of the large airports from distant satellite parking-adding many minutes extra just to enter the facilities. Those airports are huge and a challenge for those of us who are impaired physically and wheelchair services are difficult to reserve (and usually unavailable). Hartsfield International (Atlanta) requires satellite parking that may as well be located in another state- we have to take a monorail to traverse that airport.
ABE is a tertiary airport that services a second-tier market. Second tier markers do not glean the benefits of volume-based competitive pricing from airlines and often can require numerous connections. However ABE has excellent regional jet service, spotless restrooms, more than adequate snackbars and a supremely easy TSA process. Luggage is swiftly delivered to accessible carousels. Parking is a snap.
You folks who sneer at ABE would whine incessantly if you were forced to travel to Newark, Philadelphia or Baltimore- but you make a choice to use those facilities as is your privilege. Many important businesses would not be here if air service was not available-and due to the lack of consumer support are often forced to use bigger airports. An international airport and it's services can't be sustained on less than a million visits a year. It is a circular issue- support what we do have here or risk losing it completely.
I fly 60% of the time from ABE (when I do travel for business which can be more than 50% of the time). I find it a wonderful convenience and would hate to see it fold.

michael molovinsky said...

k mary@5:46, i agree that it's a wonderful small airport. my only objection is the unnecessary modernization and expansion pushed for by directors, and approved by the board.

perhaps those funds could have been better utilized in reduced landing fees and fuel costs, to encourage more flights and destinations.

JoshLCowen said...

Many good points here. I agree that the super modernization was not needed. The convenience and access of LVIA was plenty good for people withing 40 miles or so of the Valley. I don't know the details of the airline industry, but I do know the Feds have some 'say' in how airports are run, including gate positioning and all that entails. The feds never hesitate to get into every corner of the lives of individuals as well as businesses. If they just 'required' the diversion of a few flights a day from Philly and Newark it would mean a lot to LVIA....not to mention those of us who fly. Sure the costs are higher to fly from LVIA, but the conveniences outweigh the cost least when flying for business or with my wife. But when we take a trip with the kids the added costs just are often too high for the five of us. So that drive to Newark or Philly is justified. Now solvent let's see how the new mangement moves forward. To be fair to the outgoing manager he was brought in to 'salvage' what had been left of LVIA. Nobody expected him to make a career of it. I think he did fine. His biggest challenge is making chicken salad out of the chicken s_ _t that is the Port Authority of NY. He may get a bit lucky in that Pres. Trump is poised to spend a fortune in national infrastructure.