Earlier demise of "The Bayer Express"

Old Sep 23, 2004, 6:12 pm
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Originally Posted by GSP flyer
I'd guess that STL and maybe SEA are our primary competition for LH service.
I can't see them going into SEA with their presence in PDX (though PDX only got it over SEA due to incentives).
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Old Sep 23, 2004, 9:05 pm
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Arrow Push afoot to land Lufthansa


Push afoot to land Lufthansa

Thursday, September 23, 2004
By Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A group affiliated with the Allegheny Conference on Community Development is putting together an aggressive campaign to recruit the German carrier Lufthansa to fly from Pittsburgh to Frankfurt after US Airways drops the route next month.

The Regional Air Service Partnership, a 14-member group formed in January, is lobbying the area's businesses to commit their trans-Atlantic travel to Lufthansa and to help raise at least $300,000 to assist the airline with marketing and advertising.

In a Sept. 17 letter to area businesses, Dan Booker, the partnership's chairman, noted that the Allegheny County Airport Authority has already committed $400,000 in reduced landing fees, facility discounts and other incentives to try to land the carrier.

"Our region is not alone in competing for Lufthansa service," Booker wrote. "Other markets, such as Denver, Portland [Ore.] and Phoenix, have offered incentive packages totaling $1 [million] to $2 million in the past."

Booker said Lufthansa airline expects to hear what the region has to offer by Oct. 1.

Airport Authority Executive Director Kent George said the authority's incentive package was available to any carrier interested in starting international service. It was put together in response to the decision by US Airways to end its nonstop service to London and Frankfurt by Nov. 7, since moved up a week early to Oct. 29.

The authority also has been offering for the last 18 months to two years reduced landing fees and other incentives to domestic carriers that expand service here or offer new flights from Pittsburgh, George said.

Ronnie Bryant, president of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, the region's primary economic marketing agency, said the initial response to the Air Service Partnership's campaign had been good.

Letters were sent to hundreds of businesses, asking them to make pledges or commitments by tomorrow. They are being asked to donate to the marketing fund and to write a letter to Lufthansa outlining their trans-Atlantic travel needs to Frankfurt and other European cities and committing that travel to Lufthansa if the airline starts service here.

"We want to show Lufthansa that we have businesses that will use the service," Bryant said.

Lufthansa spokeswoman Jennifer Urbaniak confirmed that Pittsburgh was among the cities the airline is considering for service.

She said it should have a decision by March, and that commitments by businesses in the region to fly Lufthansa could only help in the courting of the airline. "If there's a strong demand for business travel, then we're certainly going to look at that," she said.

Charlotte, N.C., beat out Pittsburgh in March for a Lufthansa flight to Munich by offering to market the new connection and helping to research international flight patterns out of that city. Businesses there also pledged to fly Lufthansa.

Booker said in his letter that the Air Service Partnership was concentrating on the Frankfurt route because it believes it's "our best hope for regaining trans-Atlantic service in the short run."
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Old Sep 23, 2004, 10:10 pm
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Arrow PIT isn't what it used to be...

Originally Posted by chalf
Perhaps someone could run flights akin to what CO is doing on the long thin routes such as EWR-OSL, EWR-EDI and others, with an internationally configured 757. Perhaps ATA should reconfigure a few of its 757-200s for its potential transatlantic low cost service...though if they have the range, based on existing operations a base at IND is probably more likely (even if less O&D).

I unfortunately don't see PIT supporting an O&D only route to Europe, particularly when connectins at EWR, ORD and IAD are easy. A few PIT-JFK flights on AA would significantly improve the competitive environment--AA is barely viable for transatlantic service from PIT currently. One must backtrack to either ORD or DFW (which is significantly longer for flights to Europe). UA at IAD and CO at EWR are the best options, with DL via CVG not bad for convenience (though frequency to London is poor).

I grew up in PIT and know first hand the troubles it is currently experiencing even though I don't live in PIT any more.

Forty years ago, PIT was the third largest corporate headquarter city in the country. US Steel, Gulf Oil, Westinghouse, Koppers, etc, etc.

When that critical mass of corporate power was located in PIT, the ability to attract airlines to provide service would have been easy.

Unfortunately for PIT, at that point, airline regulation was still in place--so the dominant airline there became what is USAIR today.

In retrospect, it may not have mattered if it would have been United or TWA as the dominant carrier in the 1960's given today's airline industry.

But PIT has fallen down the ladder of corporate headquarters through the decline of manufacturing and steel and the impact of mergers.

No more Westinghouse, Gulf Oil, various steel companies, etc.

The brutal fact is that PIT does not generate the level of influence that it might have 40 years ago.

It will be hard to lure carriers to PIT airport to replace what had been there with USAIR
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Old Nov 7, 2004, 3:10 pm
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Thumbs down

Any update on LH, PIT/FRA? The Bayer Express ends TODAY

I came across the letter below.....yes, people do pay a premium to fly non-stop. If we have to connect......that opens up many other avenues to FRA besides PHL.

Letter to the business editor: 11/2/04

Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

US Airways ticketing a mess

Since US Airways has canceled its direct flights from Pittsburgh to Frankfurt, Germany, after the end of this month, they're routing people with existing reservations through Philadelphia.

I thought it only fair, then, that they would credit the difference in the cost of a direct flight, to the cost of the flight with a change of planes -- in my case approximately $300.

But, "No," I was told, "we'll only give a refund of the total ticket."

However, when I told them that for me to purchase the "one stop" ticket at this late date -- the flight departs the day before Thanksgiving -- the price is significantly higher on US Airways as opposed to other airlines such as Delta, their reply was a terse, "So book it on Delta, because we won't credit the difference."

Needless to say, I'm now ticketed with Delta and no longer wondering why US Airways is going out of business.
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Old Nov 9, 2004, 2:15 pm
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I noticed today that my FRA-PHL portion on 11/29 is nearly sold out, with only 3 seats in business class left (Vs 20+ on 11/24) I wonder if this is a result of the cancelled flights
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Old Nov 22, 2004, 7:19 pm
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Will Lufthansa service get off the ground?

By Sam Spatter and Thomas Olson
Friday, November 19, 2004

Lufthansa could decide within 10 to 14 days whether it will begin nonstop service from Pittsburgh to Frankfurt, Germany, a route much missed by area businesses since US Airways dropped it Nov. 7.

"Right now, the airline is doing its due diligence to determine the feasibility of this service," said Ronnie Bryant, president of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, who gave the estimate on when a decision may be made.

Bryant told members of the local chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks on Thursday that one item that could influence Lufthansa's decision is how many passengers for the flight would not only originate in Pittsburgh, but also how many arrive here from other airlines serving the region.

As an added inducement for Lufthansa -- or any other airline to offer direct service to Europe -- nearly 50 area companies affiliated with German firms or with major business in Europe recently pledged to spend up to $10 million annually to fly on any airline providing direct service to Europe.

In addition, Bryant said, $270,000 has been raised to date on a $500,000 fund to market the region to alternate carriers.

A similar business-community effort in Portland, Ore., less than two years ago succeeded in luring Lufthansa to launch nonstop service to Frankfurt in April 2003, said Tom Tripp, a Lufthansa spokesman in New York.

"That was a big deal for us because it took away some of the risk," said Tripp, noting the importance of filling "multimillion-dollar planes" with paying passengers. "We've got to take a close look at (Pittsburgh) before we're convinced it's a good business case."

Lufthansa representatives continue to talk with Pittsburgh business leaders. The airline's decision largely hinges on "whether there is strong business demand," along with the volume of feeder traffic, said Tripp. But he could not say when the German airline would render a decision.

Bayer Corp. spokesman Kit Newton said the Pittsburgh-based U.S. subsidiary of Germany's Bayer AG is now flying its employees from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia and then on to Frankfurt. "That means productivity losses of one-half day each way," he said. Bayer would be happy to work with any airline that picks up the nonstop flight from Pittsburgh to Frankfurt, he added.

The United States' "open skies" treaty with Germany would allow Lufthansa to begin Pittsburgh-Frankfurt service, said U.S. Department of Transportation spokesman William Mosley. As the airline already serves the United States, it need only apply to the Federal Aviation Administration and certify that its planes and crew members are air worthy.

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Old Nov 23, 2004, 6:37 am
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I'm in the process of booking flights to Europe, for the first time without the nonstop into FRA. Not only is it quite inconvenient to fly US through PHL, it is much more expensvie since I need a connection out of FRA to reach my final destination.

If Lufthansa re-establishes the Bayer Express..........I'll keep my FF allegiance with *A. Of course this may be UA versus US.
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Old Nov 23, 2004, 8:57 am
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I keep reading that Bayer is so gung-ho about having this nonstop service. How many employess, on average, were they sending per day/week that they feel they can influence an airline to resume/initiate service?

Well, if they are so dependent on nonstop service, why don't they just chater or lease a Boeing Business Jet or G5 to shuttle those employees back and forth when they need it?
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Old Nov 23, 2004, 9:02 am
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I think that if LH does it, they will set it up as Privatair.
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Old Dec 22, 2004, 8:40 pm
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anyone hear what happened with this?
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Old Dec 22, 2004, 9:07 pm
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Originally Posted by NeoOfTheCRS
I think that if LH does it, they will set it up as Privatair.
Not necessarily - Pittsburgh is still a large city. People travel. They would be the only n/s to Europe thus getting business far and beyond Bayer. LH seems ot use awfully large planes on T/A routes - what about a 767? Seems like a more moderate way to start. Not to mention, the PIT hub isn't eliminated. With 229 daily flights there would still be available US connections. I could see people in cities like BNA (which is gaining PIT flights believe or not) prefering to connect to LH in PIT vs. US or LH in PHL. PIT is just a better hub.
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Old Jan 5, 2005, 2:24 pm
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Originally Posted by NeoOfTheCRS
I think that if LH does it, they will set it up as Privatair.
People are tending to overestimate this BBJ shuttle tremendously.

Right now it is working, because we are talking about the airport with the third biggest catchment area in Europe in DUS, third only to London and Paris.In addition to that DUS has one of the biggest fair grounds in Europe, is home to 25 % of all Dax noted companies and has no direct transatlantic flight.On the other side of the pond we are talking about the No.1 and 2 markets with Chicago and New York.Right now it is also working ex MUC, being a LH hub, close to a market with significantly higher fares ( Austria ) and again to a huge US market.The Swiss GVA-NYC attempt is more pure desperation, but will work , because of local industry and political circles in Geneve...

IMO there is no way to make it work on FRA-PIT, especially cause Bayer is strong in Leverkusen, Dormagen and Uerdingen, all factories within 25 miles of DUS, so FRA-PIT would very likely involve a connecting flight from DUS or CGN, maybe the train from QKL...

If they do it, they will announce it months in advance and will use mainline equipment, either A 330 or A 340.Don`t know, if the Lauda leased 767 is still flying for LH ...
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Old Jan 25, 2005, 11:58 am
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LH in March?

During my rerouting and sojourn this past week, I spoke with a German passenger (Bayer employee) who also was rerouted to MUC when our PIT-PHL flight took 6 hours to get us across the state, missing the FRA flight. He told me that LH would pick up the PIT/FRA route in March. He later indicated that he was a Bayer employee living in PIT.

With the terrible state of inefficiency that the PHL facility is in, and the gross inconvenience that is consistently imposed on passengers, LH picking up at gate at PIT would be a godsend to people in this area......especially those with business in Europe/India.

I hope that this rumour is correct! PIT-PHL-Europe has been a great source of frustration for those of us who head in that direction frequently.
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Old Jan 25, 2005, 12:13 pm
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Originally Posted by HPTunco
I hope that this rumour is correct! PIT-PHL-Europe has been a great source of frustration for those of us who head in that direction frequently.
PIT-CLT-FRA might be a more reliable way to get to Europe considering the infamous "Philly factor" and the possibility for misconnects all over the place.
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Old Jan 25, 2005, 12:32 pm
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Wouldn't the route be announced by now if it was to start up in March?
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