Lime but not sour

Work is nearly complete on the low-cost terminal at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

The lime green facility opens on the south end of the airport in time for Mexican budget carrier VivaAerobus to launch transborder service between the Texas capital and Monterrey and Cancun tomorrow.

Once used by the National Guard, the terminal was originally a kaki color meant to blend with other buildings on the former military base. It was painted green so that it is easier to locate.

And the “vibrant color is similar to the destinations we hope to offer and do offer,” says Laurie Doran, terminal manager for Austin AIB One, an affiliate of GE Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS).

GECAS leased up to 40 acres from the City of Austin Aviation Department to construct, operate and maintain the terminal for 30 years.

While the terminal is lacking in amenities such as jetways, the facility boasts the airport’s only Duty Free shop (picture below) and a periodicals stand. A full- service restaurant and bar, with meals to go, is forthcoming, as well as food and beverage kiosks. There are three rental car companies at the terminal and the waiting area seats around 100 people.


Busy busy at Austin

I will be touring the new low-cost terminal at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Wednesday. The terminal opens Thursday with the arrival of Mexican budget startup VivaAeroBus.

VivaAeroBus will link the Live Music Capitol of the World with Monterrey and Cancun.

On the same day, Air Canada will begin nonstop service to Toronto; JetBlue Airways will connect Austin with Ft. Lauderdale, San Francisco, Orlando and Long Beach.

Northwest Airlines will add nonstop flights to Indianapolis on Friday.

And if that weren't enough, Southwest Airlines will compete with JetBlue on flights to Ft. Lauderdale starting May 10. On the same day, Southwest will add Oakland flights at Austin.

Say that five times fast.


The sound of music

Forget Lollapalooza. Chicago O'Hare International Airport is where it's at for live music in the Windy City. At least for the day.

To kick off its new overhead music program at O’Hare and Midway, the Chicago Department of Aviation sponsored a slew of live performances by Chicago-area musicians today.

Polka artist Eddie Blazonczyk Jr., singer-songwriter Kelly Hogan, classical violinist Rachel Barton-Pine and blues singer and guitarist Lonnie Brooks did what they do best, presumably not all at the same time.

If only the airport had live performances daily, similar to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Next time detholz! should play at O'Hare.


Celeb unhappy at airport

You know something has to give when fashion blogs are chiding the aviation industry.



Hawaiian Airlines inaugurated service from Manila to Honolulu yesterday.

Of course there was a party at Honolulu International Airport to celebrate the Boeing 767-300ER operator's expansion into Asia.

No party would be complete without hula and Hawaiian music ....

... or without Hawaiian CEO Mark Dunkerley, right. Eddie Flores, founder of L&L Drive-In, is on the left.

Pics courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines.


Destination Nowhere

A handful of airlines have closed shop in recent weeks. While this is a difficult time for airline employees and passengers, airports lose out as well.

New Hampshire’s Portsmouth International Airport lost its only commercial carrier when Skybus Airlines shuttered operations after April 4. Gone are flights to Columbus, Ohio and Greensboro, North Carolina, as well as Florida destinations St Augustine and Punta Gorda.

Portsmouth International airport manager Bill Hopper tells me the Skybus shutdown “came as a complete shock” noting the carrier had 80% load factors on Columbus flights between May 2007 and October 2007. Loads to Florida, which launched from Portsmouth in January 2008, were also around 80% he says.

Airport operator Pease Development Authority is now thinking about downsizing a recently awarded $3.9-million contract to upgrade the airport.

This podcast has more about the impact of airline bankruptcy on airports.


I pity the fool

Insert the obligatory April Fool's joke here.

Or just watch this silly montage of airport bloopers.

My apologies. I won't stoop that low again. Promise.

The blooper video is below. Full disclosure: I made no attempt to verify the truth of any of the footage below.