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  1. #1

    Default The future of Coleman A. Young airport

    Kevyn Orr made a decision to keep this airport in operation. There is at least one individual who wants to establish a commercial airline with Coleman Young as its hub.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/18/b...=business&_r=0

  2. #2

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    $83M brings back City Airport passenger service

    http://www.detroitnews.com/story/new...udy/110062586/

    Is the $83 million worth the investment? Where would these $83million in funds come from? The article says there are federal and state funds available, and the city would have to find money as well.

    What do you think?

    The mayor favors conversion to an industrial park that would employ at lot more people than a small airport.

  3. #3

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    I think a commercial airport would work. Low cost carriers like Frontier and Southwest could escape Spirit’s grip on the DTW low cost market. Plus, it would be more convenient for east side and east suburb residents.

  4. #4

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    Subject gets kicked around every decade.....bottom line is: runway(s) not long enough for commercial flights & cannot be expanded due to neighboring cemeteries. Along with many other issues.....

    Attachment 35094

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,501

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Smirnoff View Post
    Subject gets kicked around every decade.....bottom line is: runway(s) not long enough for commercial flights & cannot be expanded due to neighboring cemeteries. Along with many other issues.....

    Attachment 35094
    Could it become a regional airport? I'm thinking of airlines which fly say the E-175 or 190 type aircraft.

    Great for trips to the Twin Cities, Chicago, Indy, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, D.C. or Baltimore, etc.

    Would that type of service be profitable for an airline or is it the lesser or least profitable service (compared to say a flight to Seattle [Amazon-land], L.A., Vegas, Phoenix, etc.)?

  6. #6

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    I don't see how $83M is a wise investment unless they can provide some kind of analysis of what a regional airline would bring to the area in terms of investment and jobs. The I-94 industrial park has finally seen some activity in it, but there is still quote a bit of space to fill in there. Do we really need another huge park opening up right now? I understand there may be more potential for jobs/investment/tax revenue if it were converted, but there is no telling how long that may take.

  7. #7

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    I live 10 minutes from city airport, and it would be great to take an uber and catch a flight. That being said, it is in the middle of one of the worst areas of Detroit. Not sure many suburbanites are ready to fly out of there anytime soon.

  8. #8

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    Not an expert, but an industrial park sounds like a better bet to me. If the runway isn't going to be expanded I don't see how it's going to make money, to say nothing of the costs of expansions and modernization.

  9. #9

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    Also not an expert but seems if airlines really wanted to locate there you could get signed contracts for a certain no. of flights with a penalty if they backed out before committing to any investment.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    5,067

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Shai_Hulud View Post
    Not an expert, but an industrial park sounds like a better bet to me. If the runway isn't going to be expanded I don't see how it's going to make money, to say nothing of the costs of expansions and modernization.
    This. The region has too much air capacity anyways. Metro Airport is massively underutilized. Toledo, Flint and Lansing have underutilized airports. Why should taxpayer dollars go towards more uneeded capacity?

    City airport site has good railroad access and is perfect for logistics or warehouse type operations.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by MrMichigan View Post
    I live 10 minutes from city airport, and it would be great to take an uber and catch a flight. That being said, it is in the middle of one of the worst areas of Detroit. Not sure many suburbanites are ready to fly out of there anytime soon.
    Just one of the other BIG obstacles.....

  12. #12

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    Take the $83 Million and put it towards a rail connection from Downtown to the two DTW terminals. Much better use of the funds.

    Why do we need commercial service at city airport? Having all of the commercial airlines operating at DTW creates more competition, and in turn lower prices for the customers. Why would we want to reduce a portion of that competition, when DTW is underutilized and in great shape?

    Build a frequent rail connnection, and DTW (with a lot more flights and destinations) could be just as convenient to downtown as an Uber ride to city airport.

  13. #13

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    The biggest mistake in hindsight was putting Metro in such a decentralized location.

    I understand why it was done at the time, but it's a PITA to get to for anyone on the east side or in the northern suburbs.

    Compared to other cities, it just feels waaay out there. It's practically the equivalent of DC if it had to rely solely on Dulles.

  14. #14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bham1982 View Post
    This. The region has too much air capacity anyways. Metro Airport is massively underutilized.
    True.

    Metro Detroit has a bad habit of building infrastricture (including road) for these 2-4 million additional people that won't be comimg in the forseeable future.

  15. #15

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    I hear they may turn it into a dragstrip, so people will stop street racing. Might not be a bad idea. Chief Craig is probably on board, since he has a 69 G.T.O.
    Last edited by Cincinnati_Kid; February-07-18 at 11:41 AM.

  16. #16

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    I echo a number of posters here. City Airport is not an asset to the city, and really never could be at this point. Sinking lots of money into it in the hopes of getting more regional business is counterproductive from an economic growth perspective. In addition to the already stated excess airport capacity, the runways will never allow for the big planes that would make it potentially viable. I remember- in the 90's I think- Southwest actually wanted to acquire the long-term lease to the airport and make it a hub, but the lack of runway growability (not really a word, I think) scuttled those plans. The $83M would be better spent on connecting DTW to downtown and the region, and selling or leasing the land to private developers.

  17. #17

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    I find myself, sadly, agreeing with the naysayers here on a practical level. But, damn, it would be nice to have a usable airport somewhere near me that I could get to in 15-20 minutes, instead of having to always drive across the entire city out into the nether regions just to catch a flight.

    Back during the days of ProAir (one of the most misnamed companies ever), it was so great being able to just drive up there and jump on a plane and find myself in NYC in a couple of hours. Even if their service was terrible and amateurish, just the ability to get out quick, without all the extra traffic hassle, was way worth it.

    But, yeah, since CAY/DET is effectively unable to expand, and since Metro has excess capacity, and with transit links to Metro being a much better use of large amounts of money, I think this isn't a great idea and that ol' City's days should probably be, rightly, numbered.

  18. #18

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    Taking a step our of our current circumstances to imagine the near future, I agree with the previous comment it may soon be an enormous asset to have an airport within the city. It won't necessarily need runways capable of landing Dreamliners. Think drones and small aircraft. Autonomous self-piloting hover pods. I'm only kidding a little as I type that. Yeah, not tomorrow, but their day will come.

    And with growing security and border hassles facing international travel, a smaller airport closer to the city center serving domestic flights could become ever more important, a la Laguardia in New York and Congonhas in São Paulo. It would be a big time saver to fly out of there, and not just for east siders. And an air train? There's already a track. If not those specific rails, there's the right of way where more can be built.

    American heavy industry is almost certainly not the future. But if the decision is to create an industrial park, why sell now? The value of that real estate is near historic lows. Let's do our due diligence. Are there companies clamoring for land for factories in Detroit? Let's make sure there's that before going all in on an unproven idea. Is there no other space in the city for industry? Come on.

    I'm making these numbers up, but I doubt you'll disagree: 99% of industrial buildings don't need 260 acres of space. Or even 26. For every gigafactory, how many industrial buildings occupy 2.6 acres or less?

    Small businesses are still what primarily fuels our economy. More convenient air travel to and from city airport would be good for businesses big and small and ordinary citizens too.

    My suggestion is not to rule out other possible uses of the airport. But I want much better research.

    The present is not the future. Of course. Let's make sure we're planning for further ahead.
    Last edited by bust; February-07-18 at 11:26 PM.

  19. #19

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    bust, I do agree with the gist of your argument, except for one thing: opportunity cost. While there would be some utility to a functional, modern airport in the city, is it worth the upfront cost ($83M), ongoing subsidies and not using the land for something else for 20 years in the hopes that someday there might be enough business to warrant keeping it as an airport? I'm a firm "no" on that question. Yes, we lose something if that land becomes something else. But we're losing a whole lot (and not just money) keeping it what it is.

  20. #20

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by emu steve View Post
    Could it become a regional airport? I'm thinking of airlines which fly say the E-175 or 190 type aircraft.

    Great for trips to the Twin Cities, Chicago, Indy, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, D.C. or Baltimore, etc.

    Would that type of service be profitable for an airline or is it the lesser or least profitable service (compared to say a flight to Seattle [Amazon-land], L.A., Vegas, Phoenix, etc.)?
    There was an airline talking about doing that but with smaller 10 to 15 passenger planes,like the Hondas,or battery/fuel which would have brought the cost of fuel down to pennies compared to what is flying today,and that airport was mentioned as a hub.

    More so geared to shorter runs,Chicago for the day and back etc.

    Kinda like a uber plane.

    But it is also a part of the bigger picture areo park thing,so it is not going anywhere soon,the same guy that owns the bridge owns the land needed for the runway expansion.

    Off course but he now kinda controls,air,port,land and border crossing transportation,and the future of.
    Last edited by Richard; February-07-18 at 02:39 PM.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeyinBrooklyn View Post
    bust, I do agree with the gist of your argument, except for one thing: opportunity cost.
    Do we know how much it costs the city to run CAY?

    I seem to remember during bankruptcy that the amount was not insubstantial.

  22. #22

    Default

    Mikey, I agree the expense required to keep City Airport open is a liability. That's it's biggest problem. (It's Coleman Young Jr. official name is another, whether that's deserved or not.)

    But what a coincidence you mentioned opportunity cost. I almost included a discussion of opportunity cost in my previous post. I guess now I should.

    Opportunity cost is the cost of potential gains from alternatives when a particular direction is chosen. In this case, what is the cost of the lost opportunity to have a closely situated airport that offers much more convenient travel than DTW? Of a very central regional base for drone and small aircraft logistics? How do those costs compare with the cost of the lost opportunity to have an industrial park there instead?

    Estimating those costs requires thoughtful speculation. But I suggest the benefits of the airport are potentially greater, if harder to estimate. The benefits of an industrial park can be estimated by assessing interest industry has demonstrated situating there that wouldn't otherwise situate somewhere else in Detroit, and projecting the benefits they'd bring into the future. Thus far that seems to be zilch.

    If there are industries ready to occupy that land, let's hear about them. How long are they ready to commit, and what benefits they will bring? And this is important: would they otherwise not locate in Detroit? Choosing this location instead of some other in Detroit doesn't help Detroit.

    I'm open to pursuing that path if those benefits merit the opportunity cost of losing the airport.

    But it would be a foolish decision to jump down that path, or any other, without first estimating opportunity costs. And not just for today, but tomorrow, and the future as best as we can imagine it.
    Last edited by bust; February-07-18 at 11:29 PM.

  23. #23

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    ^ well put,investors do not care about the Detroit Of yesterday,they look at it with the same view,where is the city going to be 5-10-20 years down the road.

    You guys are really in a unique situation,you are making decisions today that is going to effect the future of your city for generations to come,you are actually in control of building an American city on a scale that this country has probably not seen in the last 100 years.
    Last edited by Richard; February-07-18 at 03:20 PM.

  24. #24

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    There used to be scheduled airline service at Coleman Young Airport and it was a convenient alternative to Detroit Metro. I remember picking my wife up there after she flew in from Indianapolis during the early 1990s. I also remember being shocked at the extent of the blight as I drove up Gratiot from I-94.

  25. #25

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Pat001 View Post
    There used to be scheduled airline service at Coleman Young Airport and it was a convenient alternative to Detroit Metro. I remember picking my wife up there after she flew in from Indianapolis during the early 1990s. I also remember being shocked at the extent of the blight as I drove up Gratiot from I-94.
    And it's gotten worse since then.

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