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Monday, July 18, 2011

Before the pixels were even dry

The City's of Salem's Urban Development Quarterly puffery gazette included this as the top feature story in the most recent issue:

Vol 7, Issue 2, UDQ
Date: July 1, 2011 3:48:47 PM PDT
To: udquarterly@egov.cityofsalem.net
Reply-To: owner-udquarterly@egov.cityofsalem.net

AIR SERVICE RETURNS TO SALEM

SeaPort Airlines began serving Salem on April 25. SeaPort operates eleven weekly round trips between Salem and Portland with connecting flights to Seattle, WA and Pendleton, OR. For more information, go to www.flysalem.org.

But, scant days later, reality insists on breaking through. Ruh-roh!

Report shows SeaPort ticket sales were inadequate

. . . Last week, the airline announced it would not live up to a six-month agree for free use of the Salem Airport and would cancel flights starting July 17.

SeaPort president Rob McKinney said in April that flights would need to average three passengers per flight. The city reports flights averaged just 2.1. . . .

The bottom line is that no airline is or can be set up to cope with the future of energy prices. Air travel is the least efficient mode possible, and mass air travel is an artifact of the cheap energy blowout, recently concluded.

Now, average energy prices will destroy airlines year after year, with sharp volatile swings sometimes concealing and sometimes revealing a general, inexorably rising trend. The best thing to do with Salem's airport is to privatize it. Get the city out of it entirely and let the flight-dependent businesses pay taxes on what is being turned into a private facility for their use.

Instead, the city now proposes squandering of even MORE millions of taxpayer dollars on extending the runway in Salem -- even as downtown Salem is becoming quite noticeably pockmarked with vacant storefronts and more and more homeless haunt the street corners with their signs. Good going, folks! There's nothing quite like a $10 million runway extension or another $5 million poured down a drain to expand passenger and baggage handling capacity to really communicate total cluelessness about what our energy future portends.