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This article by Kirsti Marohn raises questions about St. Cloud’s ability to attract regional air service to the airport. At this point, it’s difficult to see St. Cloud attracting another air carrier to the airport:

Boyd said St. Cloud should pat itself on the back for securing the United service, even if it only lasted 10 months. “That’s an achievement,” he said. “You attracted the best regional airline … You don’t do any better than that.”

The problem is, experts say, the odds are stacked against a city this size to find another airline interested in providing service. St. Cloud is not alone. “When smaller airports lie in the shadow of a much larger airport, they’re finding it increasingly difficult to attract and retain air service, and St. Cloud certainly fits that mold,” said William Swelbar, research engineer in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s International Center for Air Transportation and an airline industry analyst.

At this point, it’s difficult to picture another airline coming to St. Cloud for anything other than for the guaranteed money, then leaving the minute the money runs out. It’s probably best to take King Banaian’s advice:

It’s time to do a deep think before raising a few more million dollars to approach another airline, said King Banaian, economics professor at St. Cloud State University. “I think you pause and assess what happened,” Banaian said. “We thought we had the success.”

Albert Einstein famously said that doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. That’s the cycle St. Cloud is repeating. I know Mayor Kleis wants to attract another airline to St. Cloud. He’s fighting a valiant fight. He’s expended tons of energy trying to make that a reality.

Unfortunately, the verdict is in:

“I don’t know of any community in America that has tried harder and had more civic commitment to make this work,” said Michael Boyd, president of Colorado-based aviation consulting firm Boyd Group International. “You did the best you can, and now you’ve learned. There is no other airline.” For St. Cloud residents seeking access to the rest of the world, “your airport is Minneapolis. That’s not going to change,” Boyd said.

Mayor Kleis is trying to get the legislature to loan the City $2,000,000 to attract another airline. There’s little enthusiasm on either side of the aisle for that type of loan. Even if there was, it would be a terrible deal for Minnesota taxpayers and St. Cloud taxpayers.

There’s virtually no chance that a different airline will come to St. Cloud. If one came, the odds that they’d stay after the loan dried up would be tiny, if not officially nonexistent. What Mayor Kleis hasn’t admitted yet is that there isn’t a market for what he’s pushing.

The question Mayor Kleis needs to ask himself is why he thinks thing would be different this time. If he won’t ask that question before asking for $2,000,000 that he’d need to repay, then perhaps it’s time that the legislature simply said no.

It’s time to admit that this priority won’t become a reality.

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5 Responses to “Kleis’s unanswered questions”

  • Nick says:

    Rochester used to have 5+ flights a day with NWA/Delta to Minneapolis, now they are down to just 2 to Minneapolis, and just 4 overall. NWA/Delta used to have 8-10 total flights a day.

  • Nick says:

    8-10 flights from Rochester.

  • RexN says:

    Reality bites sometimes. Boyd is right, MSP is now your airport, 90 minute drive.

  • Jarrett says:

    THIS WAS MY REPLY ON THE TIME WEBSITE/FACEBOOK THAT I WILL SHARE HERE

    ITS MORE THAN JUST AIR SERVICE THATS LOST

    I live in Naples,FL and have a home in St Cloud ( that will be for sale this Summer)
    1.The Times brilliant staff compares Naples, Fl to St Cloud? You’re kidding me, right? Naples is one of the busiest Airports in the country with high net worth folks who either have their own aircraft or jet cards. Its paradise. Really wonder why people go there? Not sure the jets will be lining up to fly in for the Wednesday concert at Lake George in the most acceptable time of the year.
    2. Pull back the curtain and see if the mess at SCSU (now run by a total boob) 25% declining enrollment, deficits of between 10-19 million (depending on who you believe),who’s answer is “right sizing”
    3 80% of the lunches are “assisted” ( free) at District 742 but bring home the lowest test scores in the State.
    4. A worthless newspaper who’s liberal agenda and Minnesota nice brainwashing wants to make you believe that the explosion of resettled refugees ( not to be confused with IMMIGRANTS) is GOOD for St Cloud. They back a Somali candidate for Ward 1, Support building a Mosque in the middle of a neighborhood and then call the neighbors (like me) who defend it for the right reasons that were backed by the City Council… racists?
    5. Exodus of retail and Mom and Pop stores replaced by Goat Markets.
    6. Senior housing and money for its programs are swallowed up by large Refugee families

    And NOW, the Mayor asked for 4 or 5 million last Fall for Airport expansion when it was known THEN that Air Service was going to be a total failure.

    WAKE UP……., St Cloud USED to be a very cool college town built on honesty, hard work, Christian conservative values. It didn’t NEED Air service. It didn’t NEED diversity ( it grew up and was built on it)

    Guess what, it still doesn’t. The focus needs to be elsewhere…if its not already too late.

    Its very sad actually because nobody seems to care or ask questions or demand answers.

    Just continue to let the Times be your guide.
    St Cloud as you know it will be gone, replaced by ……………….take a look around.

    And wait, lets NOW combine the Tri county area and throw MORE money away to an Airline that has crummy service, weather issues, scheduling issues. PLEASE!!!!!!!

  • walter hanson says:

    Where is Danny Devito’s character from “Other’s People Money” to explain for the mayor how the business environment has changed, won’t work, and spending money on that loan will be a waste of money?

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

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