Letter to the editor
To the Editor,
LVIA wants to spend $5 million to install a U.S. customs station. This will increase LVIA operational costs by more than $1 million a year.
LVIA just lost its flights to Canada because it had only three people per day.
Now the airport is proposing adding international flights to other places like Mexico which, due to ongoing drug violence, has a rapidly declining tourist market. American Express stated there has been a sharp decline in American visitors and Starwood Hotels & Resorts reports drug wars have "decimated leisure travel." Walt Disney, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruse Lines have canceled service to some ports and LVIA wants to promote travel to Mexico.
In a recent newspaper article, LVIA was quoted as saying, "Lehigh Valley residents fill more than 1 million passenger seats a year for foreign travel."
That's pretty amazing considering Lehigh and Northampton counties have a combined population of 647,232, according to the 2010 census. Even if you add Carbon, Berks, Monroe and half of Bucks County, which is really stretching the "Lehigh Valley," you would still have only about 1.5 million residents. Obviously LVIA numbers are bogus.
LVIA hasn't been able to consistently maintain flights to Orlando. Carriers changed a half dozen times in recent years. The airport also has not been able to maintain service to Las Vegas. These are two of the biggest tourist destinations in the world.
The number one problem is LVIA is not competitive with Newark and Philadelphia and it's not because of money. According to the same newspaper article, even in today's economy LVIA is profitable. The new management at LVIA, just like the old, seems more interested in spending money than making it.
Instead of spending money trying to get a few people for international flights at great expense, why doesn't LVIA concentrate on competitive flights to Orlando, Las Vegas and other high-traffic domestic locations?
LVIA profits could be used to lower fees, airfares and parking costs, making the airport more competitive and increasing passenger counts.
LVIA should look at common sense ways to promote growth instead of pie in the sky, like spending a lot of money for a customs station. What nonsense.
Let Newark and Philadelphia fly people to foreign destinations – they do it better and cheaper than LVIA ever could.