Sunday, February 20, 2005

Let Me Get This Straight

You supplant the entrenched union establishment, with a new, consumer friendly business model and business booms?


A decade ago, experienced travelers avoided Philadelphia International Airport like a middle seat on a crowded flight. The food was terrible, the rest rooms were unkempt, construction dust was a constant companion, and, most annoying, airfares were among the nation's highest.

Today, practically everything has changed. The airport not only looks better, but ticket prices have plunged, and the place is bulging with business.

The airport accommodated a record 28.5 million passengers last year, a 15.5 percent increase over 2003, and sales in its shops, bars and restaurants were up 23 percent at $108 million.

The airport's sudden popularity is a direct result of the arrival in May of discount king Southwest Airlines, and the response that its lower fares forced on US Airways, the airline with almost two-thirds of the airport's traffic.

In last year's third quarter, Philadelphia had the largest drop in average ticket prices - 27.4 percent - of any airport in the nation, compared with the year before, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.


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