Flight Blog

Feb 11 2013 Up We Go! BY sgf-adminTAGS Airlines, How the Airport Works


Our 2012 passenger numbers are in along with those from competing airports. We've double and triple checked our math and the news is good: our passenger numbers were up in 2012 — the upward movement bucks national and regional trends.


Total passenger numbers were up 2.8%. Things weren't so hot at competing airports: Tulsa was down 2%. Kansas City was down 4%. St. Louis was up 1.1%. Northwest Arkansas was up .60%.

In today's airline climate an airport that finishes the year with growth is happy (to say the least). For the past 18 months the airlines have been cutting seat capacity and the number of flights in the air like crazy. They're doing it in reponse to the lingering affects of the recession and high jet fuel prices. The result is that many airports across the country have seen flat or negative passenger growth. The fact that our numbers were up is a reflection of Southwest Missouri’s strong economy.

The current unemployment rate in the Springfield metropolitan area is 5.4%. Compare that to the national rate of 7.8%. There’s an old rule of thumb in the airline industry — more employment means more people fly.

Passenger numbers weren’t the only thing going up at our airport...

Air freight shipments went up 6.6%. On average North American airports saw flat cargo numbers — up just half a percent. The airports in Kansas City and Tulsa were the only competing airports to see freight growth.

Check out the numbers....


Kansas City (MCI) 9,896,821 - 4%
Northwest Arkansas (XNA) 1,109,917 .60%
St. Louis (STL) 12,668,726 1.1%
Springfield (SGF) 752,214 2.8%
Tulsa (TUL) 2,653,765 - 2%


Total Air Freight


Kansas City (MCI) 189,872,059 2.91%
Northwest Arkansas (XNA) 55,333,000 - 6.7%
St. Louis (STL) 152,580,019 - 0.5%
Springfield (SGF) 28,830,104 6.6%
Tulsa (TUL) 56,372,000 1.1%


Feb 07 2013 Wedding Bells? BY sgf-adminTAGS American, US Airways


Dallas media outlets report that a merger of American Airlines and US Airways is a done deal.

WFAA-TV and the Dallas Morning News both quote unnamed sources who say American's board of directors will meet on Monday to consider — and approve — a merger.

US Airways and American Airlines logo

Here in Southwest Missouri everyone wants to know what the apparent merger will mean for Springfield's American service — the airline flies  from here to Chicago O'Hare and Dallas (DFW).

We do not expect any service changes. Bottom line: the service to Chicago and Dallas will remain; we may gain service to Charlotte, which is a major US Airways hub.

Our avaiation analyst, Mike Boyd, recently wrote this to us:

"Effect on SGF: Some Potential Upside. A merger with US Airways would likely be a positive development for SGF, and at the very least neutral. If a merger is consummated, the name of the combined airline would remain American, with the corporate headquarters remaining in the Dallas region.

The current DFW hub would remain the major hub in the combined airline’s system. However, it is likely that some current Phoenix connecting capacity would shift to DFW. A larger DFW hub would be positive for SGF.

Another potential benefit for SGF would be the possibility of the addition of nonstop service to Charlotte (CLT). While CLT does overlap to some extent with the markets served by Delta’s ATL nonstops, the combination of domestic and international connectivity at CLT could be attractive to the combined airline.

Charlotte has strong connectivity not only to the southeast, but also to the northeast and mid-Atlantic region. Furthermore, European and South and Central American connectivity are also available via CLT."

Read a previous post about the possible merger — click here.



We've talked about it for the past year — the expected demise of the small regional jet (50 seats or less). Today we have another sign that bigger jets are on the way: Republic Airways will operate large regional jets for American Airlines. Read the story from the Dallas Morning News.

BTW... That red, white and blue image is the new American Airlines logo.







"What was that loud airplane we heard last night about ten o'clock?"

Sometimes people ask it like a question; other times it's an accusation...

Regardless, we've been getting for years — especially in the dead of winter when the cold air seems to amplify the uproar. Our answer is always the same. "That's the Federal Express 727 cargo plane. It lands every night about ten o'clock."

Image of Federal Express 727 jet

People from all over the Springfield metro ask the question, but it usually comes from those living in southwest Springfield. Have any of you noticed that the punctual ten o'clock roar is no more? That's right. FedEx put the old beast out to pasture about two weeks ago. It's been replaced by a much newer, and much less noisy, 757 (bottom photo).

The top photo shows one of the old 727s on our cargo ramp. They were made between 1963 and 1984. You won't find many in passenger service these days — most were converted to cargo planes long ago.

FedEx started retiring them several years ago for a host of reasons: they're old and expensive to maintain, they guzzle gas, and, oh yes, they make a lot of racket! In contrast 757s are much newer (less expensive to maintain), more fuel efficient, and much less noisy.

I keep on waiting for someone to call and ask why the ten o'clock hour is so quiet!


Jan 09 2013 Glimpse of the Future at SGF BY sgf-adminTAGS Airlines

Image of an Embraer 190 jet


We got our first up-close look at an Embraer 190 yesterday (photo left). The 190 has been in production about 10 years but the airlines haven't used them for Springfield air service — that's probably going to change in the next couple of years — we fully expect to start seeing them on a regular basis. Here's what's going on...

Most of our airport's service is on regional jets. That's "RJ" for short. These small jets typically carry between 44 and 50 passengers. Many of you love to hate them because they're so cramped...

The airlines are retiring RJs like crazy because they're getting old and they're expensive to fly — you can't sell enough seats to pay for the gas. The Embraer 190 will likely end-up replacing many of the RJs.

Aviation Geek alert! The photo on the left shows the Frontier 190 that visited yesterday. The photo on the right is a typical RJ. Notice the differences. The 190's bigger engines are mounted under the wings, while the engines on the RJ are mounted in the rear. Notice the differences in tail configurations. Click the photo of the 190 to see a bigger version.

Some people refer to the 190 as a stretched RJ. That's really not fair. The 190 can carry up to 114 passengers and is considerably more comfortable. It's more powerful and more fuel efficient. Overall, it's a vastly superior airplane. Here's to the future!