Is CHO in trouble?
The Business Travel Coalition, an advocacy organization that advances the interests of business travelers, seems to think so.
"Charlottesville's air service could become an unwitting victim of high fuel prices, as multiple U.S. airlines are likely to default and fail in the coming months while other airlines retrench," reads a release from the organization today.
"The crisis does not bode well for the economies of communities at risk across the U. S., including Charlottesville."
Not surprisingly, reporters in big cities and small towns everywhere have cranked out stories based on the BTC release, which the organization appears to have personalized for each recipient.
On Monday, the BTC released a report on the supposed crisis called "Beyond the Airlines' $2 Can of Coke: Catastrophic Impact on the U.S. Economy from Oil- price Trauma in the Airline Industry," which argues that the collapse of major U.S. airlines would "paralyze the country and our American way of life."
"Liquidations at major airlines would have catastrophic effects on the economy, drastically reduce service in cities large and small, and impact people in Charlottesville," says BTC chairman Kevin Mitchell in the release. "The fuel crisis is having an impact beyond the gas pump and is now likely to cause irreparable harm to businesses large and small through a significant reduction in air service."
All that might seem alarmist if it weren't for the latest CHO blog post from Director of Air Service and Marketing, Jason Burch, who writes, "It's no secret that this will be a challenging summer for everyone involved in air transportation... the air service industry has become extremely volatile... CHO is no exception to the negative effects of the current fuel crisis."
Indeed, as we have previously reported, CHO faced the same problem last summer, not to mention getting some stiff competition from revamped Richmond International Airport.
"Over the next several months we will be visiting with the airlines that already serve Charlottesville and the surrounding communities, as well as those that may be interested in future air service," writes Burch. "The plan is simple: sell ourselves."
Earlier today, an intern in our office called CHO customer service to get updates on flight schedules for the Hook's upcoming Annual Manual, but was told she would have to wait until Friday, when the "airport would release a statement" regarding the airlines serving it.
A statement? We called for the flight schedule. "We've had a lot of calls from reporters about our flight schedule lately," the airport representative said.
The Hook asked to speak with airport higher-ups, but was told they would not be available until Monday.