Bruce Evans, a former Cape Breton native, after reading the just released business case for a Cabot Links airport, writes:
“I spent a career evaluating and financing large projects. I am a private pilot who has served on boards concerning themselves with airport viability. So far, the Inverness airport doesn’t even pass a cursory smell test.
It is revealing that the “business case” relies more upon PR people than upon business analysts.
How many private jets, whose principal mission was transporting golfers to the Cabot courses, have landed in Port Hawkesbury each year since the two Inverness golf courses opened. That might provide a reasonable baseline for Inverness airport projections.
How many flights do the Inverness airport promoters expect each year? How much jet-A fuel do they think they will sell? How much catering revenue? What do they think are reasonable landing and ramp fee estimates? That about exhausts direct revenue possibilities.
Is it enough to attract a private FBO (fixed base operator) or will that function need to be subsidized? Six hundred jobs? I have seen too many of these “direct and indirect” estimates, pretty much provided on a made as instructed basis, to believe them for a second.
Commercial airline traffic? I don’t think so. Sydney’s McCurdy airport struggles to keep their peak season total of 14 flights a day and 8 or 10 in winter.
Port Hawkesbury, with a larger population base and industrial as well as tourist draws, hasn’t been able to attract airline traffic.
If anyone wants to study a similar commercial aviation case, look up Mammoth Mountain in California. Mammoth is a world class ski resort and a popular summer destination for outdoors lovers — hiking, golf, soaring, etc. After many years of airline attraction failure, Mammoth now has all of four regional airline flights per day, and they are having a tough time justifying their existence.
And Mammoth has much higher tourism attraction stats than Inverness.
So, beware the commercial aviation excuses. And someone needs to verify the $18 million cost.
Larger private jets (eg. G-550) weigh 75,000 pounds upon landing and touch down at somewhere either side of 130 knots. That sort of impact, repeated many times over years, requires more than a foot of gravel and two layers of asphalt. And a proper runway for corporate jets will need to be a minimum of a mile long. Add in lighting, navigation aids, taxiways, etc..
Someone with experience needs to do the math, not just have a PR person pick a number out of thin air.
And finally, if this airport is such a great economic opportunity, benefiting both the golf course and surrounding region,why aren’t the promoters offering to pick up even a nickel of the cost? The question answers itself.”
Bruce Evans, Arizona