Madison Airport “Leaking Passengers”

I’ve written a bit about Madison’s air service. Marv Balousek writes today about Madison “leaking” passengers to Milwaukee and Chicago. Leaking means passengers driving to other airports in an effort to obain lower fares. Airport Director Brad Livingston cited one example, Orlando:
115,142 people flew to Orlando, Fla., last year from the Dane County Airport’s market area, just 59,024 or 51.3 percent flew from the Madison airport. Orlando was the airport’s most popular destination.
This is not a big surprise. Visit to and search a number of city pairs from Madison to Orlando, Austin, San Francisco, Boise, Denver and other major markets.
In some cases, fares are attractive from Madison, others they are not. (Madison to Minneapolis is a great example): on June 2, 2004 a typical business roundtrip (fly up at 7:00a.m. and return around 6:00p.m.> Northwest has a nonstop fare of $403 plus taxes and fees. Interestingly, on the same day, Southwest flies from Dallas to Houston (a similar distance) for a roundtrip fare of $197.20 (planning ahead will save money).
There are a couple of reasons for this discrepency: Northwest has no competition on Madison-Minneapolis flights; while Southwest does from Dallas to Houston. There’s also a philosophical difference between Northwest’s business approach (charge the highest prices possible) and Southwest’s (let’s grow traffic by charging low, friendly fares).
Finally, the only time major airlines reduce fares and increase frequency is when they are faced with low fare competition.
Southwest is the only game changer for Madison…

Milwaukee Sewage Dump: A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words

A sailboat makes its way along Lake Michigan on Friday in this aerial photo from Chopper Four with power zoom. The discolored water extended past the breakwater; the contents are unknown.
Mary Rohde & Steve Schultze write about the Milwaukee Metro Sewage District’s massive sewage dumping this past week:

The sewerage district dumped an unprecedented 4.6 billion gallons of raw sewage this month – exceeding any annual dumping tally since the deep tunnel system opened in late 1993.
To visualize how much sewage was dumped by the district, consider these calculations: The 4.6 billion gallons would fill Miller Park 15 times over, from its base to its retractable roof. The sewage spill would also fill the U.S. Bank office tower on the lakefront 41 times.
“That’s more than any sewage treatment system in the country could handle,” said Kevin Shafer, the district’s executive director. The dumping “is something we have to do if we want to minimize and prevent basement backups,” he said.

Background: Google | Teoma | Yahoo | Alltheweb
The Lake Michigan Federation has a useful web site on the impact of raw sewage dumping.

Allen-Edmonds Stays in America

Aaron Nathans writes about Port Washington’s Allen Edmonds Shoe Company, and their ongoing efforts to continue making shoes, competitively, in Wisconsin (rather than China):

The rumble, hum and clack of the Allen-Edmonds shoe factory went quiet in late December. Many of the machines that helped workers pack insoles, trim the leather and buff the finished men’s dress shoes were gone by New Year’s Day.
But John Stollenwerk, the president of the company, was not preparing to send his operations overseas. Instead, Mr. Stollenwerk gambled on staying put and reconfiguring his factory floor, which reopened on Jan. 5, with a new manufacturing method that could increase production and cut down on mistakes. The moves required an investment of $1 million, or 1.1 percent of the company’s 2003 sales.
Mr. Stollenwerk is resisting a tide that has decimated the American shoe manufacturing industry: About 98.5 percent of shoes sold in the United States are now made abroad, according to the American Apparel and Footwear Association, which is based in Arlington, Va.