Why PTI should become a short commuter hop airport

the-way-to-fly-from-pti.jpg In the last two weeks, I’ve had business trips out to Richmond and Knoxville. And in both instances, I’ve had to have connecting flights at major airports. The first was in DC, and the second was in Atlanta. Amusingly, that should give you an idea as to which airlines I flew.
In any case, even outside of fuel costs, I found it absolutely crazy that it took over six hours including all the prep time to get on a plane for a “connection” to a destination that only takes about four to five hours to drive. But when the corporation pays for the ticket, I’d rather sleep on the planes or bum around the airport using wifi and having concessions at my disposal than spending my energies driving.
But besides the point. Having grown up in Seattle, and in going to college I flew off the $90-120 commuter flights that took you across the Cascades, I thought… why couldn’t PTI set up for that type of flying? Basically an air taxi sort of thing that a lot of larger airports do. Here’s the reasoning for it:

  • Most of the planes are already smaller (Canadair, Embraer, etc).
  • Adding gates (A-E) where it’s multiple smaller jets/props parked at gate shouldn’t be difficult considering.
  • Greensboro to Knoxville, Richmond, or even Wilmington or Asheville, shouldn’t be disregarded for flights since they’re actually shorter hops there on a plane. When I came back from Knoxville, the flight was booked solid as was going there. Same with Richmond, which tells me that there’s enough traffic flow.

I won’t claim to know everything about flight patterns since I do not, nor passenger patterns since I’m basing this on my experiences as a business traveler, but I have to say that it’s interesting why this hasn’t been proposed to some of the airlines. I’d be actively seeking out RyanAir, JetBlue, and other smaller carriers that do smaller hops to more regional airports. Maybe it’s just me, but the fact that there are absolutely no nonstops to Richmond and Knoxville? No wonder people fly from Raleigh and Charlotte.