Case Application (Chapter 1) FLIGHT PLAN
With a small year-round population, Branson, Missouri, is in a location not easily accessible by air service. The city, best known for its country music and music variety shows and family-style attractions, also has the kinds of outdoor activities that attracted more than 8 million visitors last year, “earning it the unofficial nickname ‘Vegas without the gambling.’” About 95 percent of those visitors come by car or bus. But now there’s a new show in town—the Branson Airport. The $155 million airport, which opened in May 2009, is an experiment that many people are watching. The airport is generating interest from city governments and the travel industry because it’s the nation’s first commercial airport built and operated as a private, for-profit business with absolutely no government funding. As one expert said, “...unpretentious little Branson Airport could have an outsize effect it if works. It could turn what now is a mostly regional tourist spot into a national destination for tourists.” Steve Peet, the airport’s chief executive, admits that he had no idea where Branson was in 2000. But by 2004, he was convinced there was money to be made flying tourists there. He says, “If you were ever going to think about building a private commercial airport, this would be the place to do it. How many more visitors would come here if we made it easier and affordable for them? It seemed like an incredible opportunity.” So, using private financing, he decided to build a new commercial airport a short distance south of Branson’s popular music shows district. Both Peet and Jeff Bourk, executive director of the airport, continue to tackle the managerial challenges of turning that dream into reality. Construction work on the airport terminal and the 7,140-foot runway (which can accommodate most narrow-body jets) went smoothly. Bourk believed that much of that was due to minimal red tape. Because the airport wasn’t using federal...
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