Airport ‘stratgey’ & Hamlet’s reprimand

Airport ‘stratgey’ & Hamlet’s reprimand

Whether or not it’s a new strategy to lure airlines to fly in and out of Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) remains to be seen. But it might help if the Allegheny County Airport Authority could get its story straight.

The Post-Gazette reports that the authority has urged community leaders – “stakeholders,” in the parlance of the bureaucrat — to lobby American Airlines for a nonstop flight to Los Angeles.

That would be, we are left to suppose, instead of throwing millions of dollars at the airline to bribe it to fly here.

It’s that business model that has produced numerous embarrassing failures (and conflicts of interest) for the authority and called into question its business acumen.

Pittsburgh now has one daily, no-frills flight to L.A. via Spirit Airlines. American offered the flights from August 2013 to Feb. 14, 2017, when it said they were being dropped for “underperforming.”

Southwest suspended its nonstop L.A. flights on June 8 with the Boeing 737 Max 8 groundings over safety concerns; it later said those flights would formally be scuttled effective Jan. 6.

All this said, an Airport Authority email urging the lobbying effort claimed “American is considering serving PIT nonstop” to L.A. “as early as 2020.”

But, the airline says it does not have “any plans to launch” such flights.

So, what’s the real story?

Just as imprudently throwing public dollars at airlines with sketchy financial wherewithal – think OneJet, think WOW, think some other airline next – backfires, so, too, surely is misrepresenting a prospective business partner’s intentions.

Likewise, any rah-rah-sis-boom-bah lobbying effort must be backed up with real demand – real people spending real money buying real tickets for real seats (and unsubsidized seats at that).

KDKA-TV reports that Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Anthony Hamlet has received a letter of reprimand for that unauthorized trip to Cuba.

Reporter Andy Sheehan says Hamlet was cited for failing to obtain board approval before traveling overseas and failing to file a report on the trip after his return.

“Failing” has become a common denominator for this superintendent. He arrived in Pittsburgh with grand pronouncements and plans that have done little, if anything, to improve academic performance.

In fact, by some metrics, that performance has deteriorated.

Hamlet’s tenure began on a rocky note when it was revealed “his” stated education philosophy had been, in part, lifted from a media source.

The Cuba trip and other controversies, coupled with continued pathetic academic results, have not instilled any semblance of confidence that the lot of Pittsburgh Public Schools will improve any time soon.

Colin McNickle is communications and marketing director at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (cmcnickle@alleghenyinstitute.org).