Tag Archives: airport

The mayor negotiating direct flight options isn’t that far-fetched — for several reasons

Straßenbahn BremenYesterday’s report about negotiations taking place between Birmingham, AL and the German state of Bremen by Joseph Bryant in AL.com had some scratching their heads. Instead, it probably should have had folks wondering why it had taken so long to get to this point.

An agreement signed in November 2011 between Alabama’s development office and Germany’s tenth largest city could be key in understanding how and why these talks are taking place — plus a reminder that it’s not uncommon for these types of negotiations to take place at all.

Alabama’s secretary of commerce, Greg Canfield, shared the following information with AL.com via a prepared statement back when the pact was announced:

“We have 68 German companies who have invested more than $5.8 billion in Alabama. Since 2000, these companies have been responsible for 10,305 announced jobs in our state.”

This document produced by the U.S. Consulate General’s office in Hamburg (it’s only eight pages) in 2011 spells out most of the reasons why the agreement still makes sense. The most recognizable of those companies has a significant presence in Central Alabama — it’s Mercedes-Benz. The company’s plant in Bremen is producing the same C-series W205 sedans currently under production in Vance, AL. It was the main focus of a follow-up visit made by the Bremen Economic Development agency in 2012.

The recently completed $201.6 million renovation and expansion of Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport gives the facility an opportunity to provide a less-crowded alternative to Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta, It does not serve as a hub (Delta’s main hub is located in Atlanta while Southwest effectively treats Nashville as its gateway to the southeastern United States). That said, as the Birmingham Business Journal recently suggested, incentives will play a key role in whatever ends up happening with regards to international or domestic direct flight service. It also doesn’t hurt that the current expansion project provides for additional gates to be added when and if the need is identified — and that a recently released master plan for Hartsfield still needs to be priced out and receive public input.

While it may seem weird to hear about the mayor being involved in negotiations to secure direct flights, it is not unprecedented. The example most relatable may be what happened in Columbia, MO. Shortly after the announcement that the Tigers would be joining the SEC, then first-term Mayor Bob McDavid was able to secure direct flight service via Delta to and from Atlanta, GA. This service was discontinued shortly after it was announced — but only because Delta thought American Airlines received a better incentive package to provide direct flight service to Chicago, IL (via O’Hare) and Dallas, TX. A more recent example (resulting in direct flight service to the same two cities) is what Bismarck, ND was able to secure from American via incentives.

Whether or not Birmingham is successful, the precedent is there. Time will tell what options will be available to area residents.

Photo: Straßenbahn Bremenkaffeeeinstein/Flickr.


A chance for college students to work at the airport this summer

new BHM concourse under constructionIf you head on over to Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport the back way (maybe to grab some lunch at VJ’s on the Runway), you’ve probably been paying a lot more attention to the facility’s modernization project than most. Well, you and the folks that regularly line that one stretch of fencing along East Lake Boulevard to watch the planes take off and land…

This year’s Summer Internship Program at BHM is going to give a few lucky individuals a chance to probably know a little more about the project. It’ll give students currently enrolled in a college, community college, technical institute, or university who’s planning to return to class in the fall an opportunity to work on various projects at the state’s busiest airport.

Of course, you could always visit the website set up to chronicle the progress of phase one. That phase is scheduled to be completed this coming December. The entire $201 million project is slated to be finished in 2014.

Photo: BHM’s new concourse under construction from East Lake Boulevard.

Holiday music fills the airport terminal

Foxxy Fatts & Company. Courtesy of BHMThe wait to check in at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport‘s been a little easier to deal with this week.

It’s definitely not because it’s seeing a drop off in use; it’s actually seen an increase – at least up through October – according to recent reports.

No, this is because those flying out of The Magic City this holiday season are being greeted with the sounds of beautiful music as they enter the terminal. It’s part of the airport’s Twelve Days of Holiday Music series.

Today “The Connection Band” and Clay Chalkville High School Chamber Choir are scheduled to serenade those starting their journeys from BHM. The performances are being announced on the front page of the airport’s website.

It’s a nice way to take off on your holiday adventure, especially considering the upcoming changes for the airport. Today’s The Birmingham News story talks about some of those plans and the recent sale of $151 million to help start those changes in January.

Photo: Foxxy Fatts & Company. Courtesy of BHM fan page on Facebook.

Parking rates go up today in Birmingham

Folks looking for a parking space around Birmingham today may notice that it will most likely be costing them a little more to do so. Last week The Birmingham News reported that parking rates are going up; city officials hope that new parking meter mechanisms will be installed by the end of the year allowing them to double parking fees at 30 minute, 2-hour and 3-hour meters. Municipal parking deck and lot charges in the city center and at the airport will also be going up starting today. Don’t forget that parking ticket rates went up last year, with last July serving as the first of two months of amnesty for those with unpaid citations.

Photo: André Natta/bhamterminal.com

Seems the airport’s new name’s OK, but the logo

Perhaps today’s announcement that the Birmingham Airport Authority has voted to change the name of our airport to Birmingham Shuttlesworth Interntational Airport will cause many to voice concerns as to whether or not it should have been done (for whatever reason). One man’s thoughts though went to whether or not there was any thought given to the logo proposed by Mayor Langford during the specially called meeting.

So, what do you think? (a.k.a. – blatant plug to go answer today’s Magic City Question)

FYI – next steps include the FAA approving the name change (which shouldn’t be a problem). It has always been reported that our BHM designation would remain unchanged with the new name, as it did with its old one. We’re also a little nervous about the potential jokes that will be made about the shuttle buses promised back in April.

More airport traffic? Maybe, but for the wrong reasons…

I got an email today from the chairman of the Business Travel Coalition directing me to the Save my Airport! website they’ve established to raise awareness about the potential of an airline crisis due to rising fuel prices. The consumer advocacy group has compiled two lists on the site highlighting airports that may lead to a reduction or suspension of service. Interestingly, most of our major large city and regional airports made the list. That would include ours (currently in the news for a completely unrelated reason) and Huntsville‘s.

Dothan and Mobile and Montgomery are the ones included on the regional airport list. Reduction in service from these cities may boost our numbers here, but for the wrong reasons. If you feel compelled to voice your concern to the appropriate elected officials, they’ve made it easy to do that as well – just enter your zip code on this page to get started.

Name change for Birmingham International Airport?

That is what was proposed by Mayor Larry Langford earlier today during the City Council meeting. He said that he would be asking the Birmingham Airport Authority to rename the current facility for civil rights icon the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth.

Aerial of Seibels/Bryan - Birmingham International Airport. Photo: Bob Farley/f8photo.org

Aerial of Seibels/Bryan Birmingham International Airport. Bob Farley/f8photo

The proposal would change the name from the current, seldom used one – Seibels/Bryan – Birmingham International Airport (for former Birmingham mayor George Siebels and Brother Bryan. (No, we didn’t know either until we did the research ourselves…)