Albany, NY (June 28, 2012) – – – David E. Langdon, Chairman of the Albany County Airport Authority today released results of a comprehensive Airport Passenger Preference Survey launched in cooperation with the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce, Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce, Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Schenectady County and the Center for Economic Growth (CEG). The survey was conducted by Sixel Consulting Group Inc.
“The survey was designed to provide the Airport Authority with essential information on where our future air service development efforts should be focused,” said Mr. Langdon. “The survey results will also provide airlines with additional analysis of the region’s air service needs and serve to supplement our Air Service Incentive Program which offers financial support and marketing assistance to air carriers that choose to provide new air service from Albany.”
More than 1,500 individuals responded to the survey which included 13 multiple-choice questions. The questions sought to determine passenger preferences and attitudes toward airline fares, new destinations, new airlines and passenger willingness to utilize service to new destinations.
When asked about their preference for a new service, travelers overwhelmingly called for direct flights from Albany to the San Francisco Bay area and Los Angeles for long-haul destinations and JFK in New York City for a short-haul destination. Currently San Francisco, Los Angles and JFK are not served by direct Albany flights.
The survey also showed that 57% of those that completed the survey would pay up to a $60 premium for a non-stop flight to the West Coast, and 63% of the respondents said they would be willing to use the new non-stop service and forego frequent flier benefits afforded by their preferred carrier.
When asked about their key decision-making factors when purchasing an airline ticket, passengers ranked their responses in the following order: 1. Cost of ticket 2. Availability of non-stop flight 3. Total travel time 4. Departure/arrival time 5. Airline or frequent flier preference.
The survey showed that 70% of Albany’s travelers live within a 30-minute drive of the Airport, and 90% live within a 45-minute drive.
The results confirmed the Airport’s belief that Albany International Airport was seeing a significant amount of “leakage” to other airports. Thirty-seven percent of those surveyed indicated they had taken flights from airports other than Albany during the past year. Passengers said they chose to fly from airports other than Albany seeking lower available fares, the availability of non-stop flights and access to a specific airline.
Respondents were asked to rank their preference for each of the following three airlines that currently do not serve Albany International Airport: American or American Eagle, Frontier, JetBlue. The results were as follows:
#2 Frontier Airlines
#3 American Airlines or American Eagle
The Airport Authority in cooperation with the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce, Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce, Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Schenectady County and the Center for Economic Growth (CEG), have been working in concert to bring a new airline and additional air service to Albany International Airport. Together area business leaders and media outlets have contributed over $500,000 in additional financial incentives to attract new airlines or to entice existing airlines to launch non-stop service to a new destination.
“Tech Valley is a region on the rise, and this collaboration between CEG, our Chambers and the Airport Authority to pursue more robust and competitive air service to the region is yet another strong example of our continued commitment to working together to create a thriving region for residents and businesses alike,” said F. Michael Tucker, President and CEO of the Center for Economic Growth.
“Businesses and residents alike recognize the vital role of the Albany International Airport and know that it’s essential for it has a mix of convenient and competitively priced flights to hub airports to support the continued growth of Tech Valley’s economy,” said Mark Eagan, President of the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“Our goal has always been to maintain the high-quality of transportation services Tech Valley residents, visitors and professionals need,” said Linda Hillman, President of the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce. “These survey results provide us with the information and direction we need to ensure that Albany International Airport has the resources to provide the services our members and community members need to do business on a national and international level.”
“We applaud the Albany International Airport for inviting local consumers and the members of our chambers to share their destination preferences and interest in new non-stop flights through this survey,” said Todd Shimkus, President of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce. “The respondents have clearly indicated a desire for new non-stop flights to the West Coast and JFK. Our hope is that this data will help the Airport, CEG, our Chambers and the community to entice and convince the airlines to work with us to meet this demand. The airport is a significant engine for economic growth and air service must keep pace with the emerging needs of our job creators if we are to continue to grow local jobs. ”
“The future growth of Tech Valley is directly Linked to the availability of convenient, affordable transportation,” said Chamber of Schenectady County President Chuck Steiner. “We commend the Airport Authority for spearheading this partnership, which has produced valuable data we can use to tailor service to our region’s needs.”