Four airlines get $3.375M to promote 16 new routes

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In the race to grow airline service and passengers, the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation and the Rhode Island Airport Corporation announced last week four airline carriers would be awarded a total of $3.375 million to promote 16 new routes flying out of Green Airport.

The funds will come from two sources according to Matt Sheaff, Commerce director of communications. He said the state budgeted $1.5 million for the Air Service Development Fund last year and another $500,000 in the current budget with the balance coming from RIAC.

Unlike some incentive programs being used in other parts of the country, the Rhode Island funds are restricted for the advertising and promotion of the new routes and not as a guarantee on airline revenues.

Use of the Air Service Development Fund was disclosed when the airlines announced flights at Green, but not until last week were specifies disclosed on amounts earmarked for each of the four carriers.

In a release Gov. Gina Raimondo justified the allocations on the basis that the airport is an important player in the state’s economy.

“T.F. Green Airport is on the move, bringing in 16 new routes this year alone, and significantly expanding its direct flight offerings. The Air Service Development Fund is key to supporting this progress and keeping our momentum going," she said.

In an effort to further stimulate the economy and open the state to additional business opportunities, representatives from Commerce, Rhode Island businesses, trade and tourism associations and elected officials including Mayor Scott Avedisian will participate in a trade mission to Ireland next week. Business meetings and/or tourism promotion events will be held in the following cities: Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Galway, Clare and Kinsale (Newport’s sister city).

“Given the direct flights out of T.F. Green Airport to multiple destinations in Ireland, this is a perfect time to embark on this mission, foster business opportunities, and showcase our great companies to an international audience,” Stefan Pryor, Secretary of Commerce said in a release issued last week.

The announcement on the allotment of funds to advertise the 16 new flights comes as the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Rhode Island Airport Corporation setting a rate card for incentive disbursements for new service to domestic and international markets. The Air Service Development Council, which was set up to oversee the Fund, approved the agreement last week.

Sheaff said the program is available to all airlines serving Green initiating new service destinations from Rhode Island.

Under the Memorandum of Agreement, the Rhode Island Airport Corporation will administer all air service development marketing expenditures directly with the Carriers using the available air service development funds. Carriers adding new service to domestic markets are eligible for up to $200,000 in marketing funds and new service to international markets are eligible for up to $750,000 in marketing funds.

"We are working hard in connecting Rhode Island to the rest of the world in a meaningful way to serve the interest of our citizens.” Iftikhar Ahmad, President and CEO of Rhode Island Airport Corporation said in a release. "These flight routes are silk roads in the sky that bring peripheral economic activity to foster job growth in our community. These funds will be used to strengthen awareness around these flights so that we can accelerate passenger growth."

The following breakdown of disbursements was provided: Norwegian, six unserved routes (DUB, SNN, ORK, EDI, BFS, BGO) $1,875,000; Norwegian, two unserved routes (Guadeloupe and Martinique) $500,000; Frontier, three unserved routes (DEN, MIA, MSY) $485,714; Frontier, one unserved route (RDU) $200,000; Allegiant, three unserved routes (PIE, PGD, CVG) $171,429 and OneJet, one unserved route (PIT) $142,857.

In a recent interview with the Beacon, former President and CEO of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation and now executive director of the Connecticut Airport Authority, Kevin Dillon, said that through a combination of revenue guarantees, fee waivers and funds for marketing the Irish-based carrier Aer Lingus was enticed to initiate service to Bradley Airport. Dillon put a value of $9 million on the incentive package.

“Unfortunately,” he said of incentives to lure airlines and new service, “it has become the standard.”

Asked Monday what he thought of incentive packages, Mayor Scott Avedisian said, “Unfortunately that’s what it takes. It’s a very competitive market these days.”

Comments

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Justanidiot

Time to renegotiate the contract. get on it mr mayer. the taxpayers are counting on you to do this. plus, get the teachers and the skul committee to agree on a contract. later you can solve the middle east and make sure there is a chicken in every garage MAGA like you promised

Thursday, September 14
RISchadenfreude

'Mayor Scott Avedisian said, “Unfortunately that’s what it takes. It’s a very competitive market these days.”'...unfortunate and counterintuitive; if the airlines thought there was any money in the routes, why do they need to be prodded into providing them with someone else's money?

Boondoggle.

Friday, September 15
richardcorrente

Dear Justanidiot,

Rest assured old friend, I am on it, but the Airport Authority won't even meet with the "Friends Of Warwick Ponds" of which I am a proud member, to talk about how they can become a better neighbor and I agree with you that the Mayor seems to have a hidden "non-agenda", that RISchadenfreude calls "unfortunate and counterintuitive". He calls it "Boondoggle". Couldn't agree with him more.

As far as the teacher-contract issue, please read my comments on the "Toll Gate Filled as Dozens Vent to the School Committee" story. I am cautiously optimistic. Both sides appear to be "talking". That's an important step. They need to be encouraged at this point I believe. What's your opinion?

Rick

Saturday, September 16
DillonYork

Justanidiot STOP the comments about the School contract. The word is 'SCHOOL" Go back if you can not spell it. It seems you are having a problem with it and the fact that you can NOT follow the topic here . Stay with the issue. If your ADD is distracting you see someone for some help.

Regarding the $$$ for the airlines. Keep the business here in Warwick and stop calling it WELCOME TO PROVIDNCE because I am NOT in Providence!

Saturday, September 16
RISchadenfreude

Dillon York,

T.F.Green's location is moot- the airport services the State's Capital, Providence; a little research would show you that is often the case with airports (hint: they aren't located within the city limits for which they're named).

People flying to (or through) T.F. Green don't need to be further confused by being told they're in Warwick- imagine if Green had been closed down instead of expanded and the State Airport was located in Quonset Point-Davisville?

Sunday, September 17
Justanidiot

Sometimes you got have to dumb down comments so that all can understand.

Monday, September 18
Justanidiot

DillonYork -- Don't fly to Cincinnati, you won't even make it to Ohio.

Monday, September 18
latitude41

At Bradley Int'l near Hartford by comparison, $9M was paid out to Aer Lingus Irish for one flight. Paid incentives are the way airlines operate in starting new service though Hartford is an extreme example. Also note that promotional funds are different than subsidizing the actual flight.

Monday, September 18