February 8, 2013—Tucson Airport Authority seeks data for flights to Sonora

INSIDE TUCSON BUSINESS
BY: David Hatfield
February 8, 2013

Mar de Cortés International AirportIn its ongoing pursuit of expanded airline service from Tucson International Airport, the Tucson Airport Authority is launching a pair of surveys to try to pinpoint what destinations in Sonora travelers most want to see.

Tucson International has been without international airline service to Mexico since Aeromexico discontinued its flights to Hermosillo in October 2008. Aeromexico had operated at Tucson’s airport for 36 years.

Mary Davis, senior director of business development and marketing, said the airport authority has been approached by the director of the airport at Puerto Peñasco, or Rocky Point, about ways the two airports could work together to attract airlines to fly between the two cities and other destinations in both Mexico and the U.S.

A new international airport, Aeropuerto Internacional Mar de Cortés — Mar de Cortés International Airport-was opened at Rocky Point in September 2011 and although it routinely receives charter flights, it lacks regularly scheduled airline service.

“As with any new program, the importance of market data cannot be overstated,” Davis said, adding that the U.S. Department of Transportation bars sharing of the historical data with foreign airlines and even if it could, market conditions have changed in recent years.

Tucson Airport Sonora SurveyChris Baker, research director and a principal at Strongpoint Marketing, helped the airport authority develop the survey that seeks to identify travel demand between Tucson and destinations in Sonora. There are two surveys: one is focused on business travel and the other leisure and tourist travel. So far only the business survey is underway, though Davis said the leisure survey should start soon. Both will be online through February.

A survey done nearly two years ago by the Southern Arizona Logistics Education Organization (SALEO) found that the top destinations in Mexico were Guaymas, Hermosillo, Ciudad Obregon and Rocky Point.

With the data from the new survey, Davis said the airport authority “can have a better story to share with our airline partners as we meet with them at industry events, one-on-one meetings and at their headquarters.”

New airline service to destinations in Mexico could qualify for incentives, including $75,000 in marketing and waivers of landing fees and customs facilities usage for a year. To qualify, the new air service must be offered daily to a destination that has not had service for the past year. Overnight, or “red eye,” flights do not qualify.

The incentives were approved by the airport authority’s board of directors in September 2011 but so far no airline has qualified for them.

In addition to international destinations, other incentives are available to airlines initiating service to targeted domestic destinations, including the New York and Washington, D.C. areas as well as unserved destinations including those in California and Portland, Ore.

Tucson International has been without international airline service to Mexico since Aeromexico discontinued its flights to Hermosillo in October 2008. Aeromexico had operated at Tucson’s airport for 36 years.

Mary Davis, senior director of business development and marketing, said the airport authority has been approached by the director of the airport at Puerto Peñasco, or Rocky Point, about ways the two airports could work together to attract airlines to fly between the two cities and other destinations in both Mexico and the U.S.

A new international airport, Aeropuerto Internacional Mar de Cortés — Mar de Cortés International Airport-was opened at Rocky Point in September 2011 and although it routinely receives charter flights, it lacks regularly scheduled airline service.

“As with any new program, the importance of market data cannot be overstated,” Davis said, adding that the U.S. Department of Transportation bars sharing of the historical data with foreign airlines and even if it could, market conditions have changed in recent years.

Chris Baker, research director and a principal at Strongpoint Marketing, helped the airport authority develop the survey that seeks to identify travel demand between Tucson and destinations in Sonora. There are two surveys: one is focused on business travel and the other leisure and tourist travel. So far only the business survey is underway, though Davis said the leisure survey should start soon. Both will be online through February.

A survey done nearly two years ago by the Southern Arizona Logistics Education Organization (SALEO) found that the top destinations in Mexico were Guaymas, Hermosillo, Ciudad Obregon and Rocky Point.

With the data from the new survey, Davis said the airport authority “can have a better story to share with our airline partners as we meet with them at industry events, one-on-one meetings and at their headquarters.”

New airline service to destinations in Mexico could qualify for incentives, including $75,000 in marketing and waivers of landing fees and customs facilities usage for a year. To qualify, the new air service must be offered daily to a destination that has not had service for the past year. Overnight, or “red eye,” flights do not qualify.

The incentives were approved by the airport authority’s board of directors in September 2011 but so far no airline has qualified for them.

In addition to international destinations, other incentives are available to airlines initiating service to targeted domestic destinations, including the New York and Washington, D.C. areas as well as unserved destinations including those in California and Portland, Ore.