Philadelphia International Airport’s future as a Transatlantic Gateway

There’s been a lot of anxiety in Philadelphia ever since the announcement of the US Airways/American Airlines merger.  Can the new American Airlines find a place in its network and its business strategy for a hub 90 miles away from New York, where it also has substantial operations?  The answer, so far, has been yes, at least so far as to maintain the status quo.  But with few signs that AA is even paying much attention, the anxiety –in a city where an inferiority complex is part of the cultural identity — remains.

Even for someone who dislikes flying like I do, there are good reasons to want a better selection of destinations from PHL.  As much as flying today is an inconvenient nuisance of modern life, it is still the best option for transcontinental travel, and is the only option for crossing oceans.  Businesses decide where to locate offices based in part on the availability of convenient flights.  A good airport with a broad range of destinations is an important regional asset.  Which makes it all the more frustrating that America’s #5 city has to make do with America’s #19 airport.  It’s mostly due to geographic circumstances and not our fault.  Our domestic air market is missing two of the most lucrative markets, New York and Washington, because you can get most of the way to either city, either on the train or driving, in the time it takes to get to the airport and clear security.  International airlines are slow to add us to their route networks, because serving a different part of the country (like Chicago, or Florida, or Texas), has a greater potential profit than doubling (or tripling) down on the Northeast.  And it wasn’t that long ago that our hometown airline, US Airways, was the seventh-largest of seven legacy airlines in the United States. Continue reading Philadelphia International Airport’s future as a Transatlantic Gateway


I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things.

I have tried, over the life of this blog, to strip away as much of my own personal political views, to present a non-partisan view of the topics I cover here.  Most of them are technical or mathematical in nature to begin with, and many others are the subjects of broad left-right consensus, so this has not been a large handicap.  Where my center-leftism has crept in, it is the inevitable result of America’s main political fissure: the Republican Party is (broadly) the party that opposes cities and the people who live in them, and the Democratic Party is (broadly) the party of the urban archipelago.  This makes some forms of judgment on political affiliation inescapable.  I didn’t turn my Twitter avatar into an “I’m With Her” button, but I highly doubt anyone would have been shocked if I had.

The present circumstances are not normal.  The broad threat to the rule of law and American political and social norms ought to transcend partisan affiliation (but has only done so to a small extent so far).  It is without precedent in American history, at least since 1865.   Continue reading I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things.