Branson and Its Fancy New Airport
USA Today follows up on the recent New York Times story about the new private airport in Branson. It is the first commercial airport in the United States financed entirely with private funding. (Branson will pay the airport $8 for every tourist it brings in, however, so you could say that some public money is involved in the operations.)
This will be a grand experiment for Missouri and the entire country. If it works, it may open up a range of new possibilities, and perhaps once again encourage Kansas City to consider privatizing its airport. If the Branson airport fails, it will do so without taxpayer dollars being involved — only the investors would lose their money. (Remember when companies sometimes used to fail without the federal government bailing them out? Those were the good old days. …)
In my opinion, the best thing the airport has going for it, businesswise, is that it is starting small:
Peet also has set expectations low. Reno gets about 2.5 million air travelers a year, or nearly 68,500 travelers a day, he notes. Discount king Southwest Airlines has 38 flights a day there. But to reach Peet’s goal of 250,000 passengers a year, Branson Airport needs only 685 passengers — five to six planeloads a day.
Branson is not an easy drive from St. Louis or Kansas City. My family went to Branson for a weekend last year, and we drove. I would love to have the option to fly there on a discount airline. If I could knock two hours off the trip each way by flying, that would be worth a little extra money to me. For people who live farther away, this airport opens up Branson to a lot more people — not to sound like a chamber booster for them, or anything. …
This line in the article immediately reminded me of The Simpsons:
“Reno’s got beautiful scenery. Branson’s got beautiful scenery. They’ve got a lake. We’ve got three lakes. They’ve got lots of hotel rooms. Branson’s got lots of hotel rooms. They’re pretty isolated. Branson’s pretty isolated. The only thing they’ve got that we don’t are the casinos, and a lot of people don’t want to be around gambling.”
Because we all know that Branson is what Las Vegas would be like if it were run by Ned Flanders.