Plans for some Eppley Airfield projects could stay on shelf awhile -
Published Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 3:18 am
Plans for some Eppley Airfield projects could stay on shelf awhile

With Eppley Airfield's annual passenger counts at about 4 million now, how likely is it that the airport will see 7 million passengers by 2030?

The Omaha Airport Authority Board's newly approved 20-year master plan phases in projects based on a forecast of rising passenger counts, including 4.8 million for the phase one projects, 5.4 million for phase two and 7 million for phase three.

But rising fuel costs, less competition in the industry and decreased passenger demand because of a tough economy all have forced airlines to become more disciplined business operations, decreasing available seats and flights at many medium hub airports like Eppley.

A May report by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's International Center for Air Transportation showed that medium hubs such as Eppley and Kansas City International Airport saw, on average, a 26 percent decrease in scheduled flights and a 21.5 percent decrease in scheduled passenger seats from 2007 through 2012.

However, available seats are up as of last month, said Chris Martin, Eppley's director of operations.

“The available seats have been down for most of the year, picked up in September and they are continuing to rise ... right through the end of the year,” Martin said.

The more seats, the more chances travelers have to score a lower fare, which can translate to increased demand.

The third phase of the master plan is not expected to be needed until about 2030, and even that is an early estimate, said David Roth, Eppley's director of strategic planning and engineering.

“All of those core functions, concessions, restaurants and shopping areas would be built out in (phase two), and (phase three) in a sense just gives us more gate capacity so you can park more aircraft at the gate,” Roth said.

While the plan is meant to project the next 20 years, it's likely to stretch beyond that because it is based on passenger demand.

“I would suspect that this will span out longer than the 20 years,” Roth said, based on recent passenger counts.

Martin said the airport is also talking regularly with airlines that currently serve Omaha and those that do not in an effort to capture more flights, seats and new destinations.

“If they're already here, add flights, and if you're not here yet, we'd love to have you,” he said.

Contact the writer: Paige Yowell    |   402-444-1414    |  

Paige covers commercial development news primarily for the Money section's news blog, Money Talks.

Read more related stories
Vets can compete for start-up cash
Cab ride to airport (or anywhere in Omaha) could soon cost more
Coming to Omaha: fun-focused sports league where every kids gets a trophy, parents promise to keep cool
Beals: Boy offers lessons of service, simplicity
Recalled frozen pasta product has tie to Omaha
Business digest: Lululemon shareholder suit dismissed
Suit challenges a Hollywood pillar: unpaid internships
Nonparents’ resentment grows over impact of companies’ family-friendly focus
Jeff Raikes’ next goal: making philanthropy effective
Restaurants invite customers to dine with their dogs
March unemployment rates up slightly in Nebraska, Iowa
Iowa officials announce plan for Microsoft data center
Lincoln pharmaceutical company wins funding, grant
Fortress Wealth joins Securities America network
USDA orders farms to report pig virus infections
Airbnb event seeks Omaha-area hosts for Berkshire weekend, CWS
Developer wants to transform old Millard Lumber site with housing, commercial buildings
Dip in Nebraska economic index doesn’t reflect outlook
Post Holdings buys Michael Foods
Business digest: Target expands subscription service, adds discount
Rural Mainstreet Index finds slow growth
Earnings roundup: Chipotle says it won’t scare off customers with higher prices
BNSF to add trains to handle fertilizer
Walmart touts lower money transfer fees
In brief: Judge doesn’t make GM take cars off road
Deadline Deal thumbnail
The Jaipur in Rockbrook Village
Half Off Fine Indian Cuisine & Drinks! $15 for Dinner, or $7 for Lunch
Buy Now
< >
Inside Business
To submit an announcement for "Inside Business", click here. For questions call (402) 444-1371 or e-mail
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »