WE ARE NOT FLINT, MICHIGAN
APPLES TO ORANGES
Suggesting that because Air Tran did wonders for air traffic in Flint that Milwaukee should hop on board is comparing apples to oranges.
I have said in previous blogs, it would be imprudent of me to reveal my personal feelings regarding Air Tran's hostile takeover attempt of Midwest Airlines. I must keep my belief on whether it's a good deal or bad deal for We the People of Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin to myself.
I can however point out that an article in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweaked me, a life-long Wisconsinite. There is debate concerning the legitimacy of Air Tran's claim that it will make Milwaukee air travel better in the long run. To bolster the debate, the article in today's business section titled, "Yes, No... or Maybe?" offers this perspective.
"AirTran, meanwhile, has collected statements praising the airline from airport authorities in 10 other cities where it operates.
Spokeswomen for airports in two of those cities - Akron, Ohio, and Flint, Mich. - said Thursday that AirTran indeed had benefited their communities.
The number of trips from Akron-Canton Airport has tripled because of AirTran's entry to the market, marketing director Kristie Van Auken said.
In Flint, there were 150,000 airplane boardings at Bishop International Airport in 1996, the year before AirTran arrived, marketing director Pat Corfman said. Last year, there were 535,744 boardings."
My congratulations to Akron-Canton and Flint. What did these guys have before Air Tran? Sandpiper Air? Thanks, but we're not you. I imagine the addition of a major discount carrier such as Air Tran greatly improved traffic and overall air travel in those markets.
Let's put it in perspective. Milwaukee is the 22nd largest city in the nation with recent census figures showing a population well over half a million people.
Akron, far less than half that. It's the 89th largest city in the country with a population of close to 211,000.
And then there's Flint. City number 199, with a population slightly larger than that of Green Bay, 118,551.
I will say one more time... I take no public position on whether Air Tran taking over Midwest would indeed be good for us. That said, it would be unwise for supporters to use Flint and Akron to make their case. No offense to those cities whatsoever, but we are in a different class entirely.
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