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30 posts categorized "Air travel"

September 19, 2014

Rochester airport office complex sold for $1.6 million

The Affiliated Group has a new landlord following the $1.6 million sale of their leased office complex by the Rochester International Airport.

D5f521eaa63f4c98a62ea4f7564db20fWest Quad Capital LLC  bought the 12,000-square-foot building at 7381 Airport View Dr. S.W. from LNI Airport LLC on Aug. 29. Merl Groteboer of Re/Max Results handled the deal.

West Capital is owned by a Minneapolis family, who purchased the Rochester building as an investment. LNI Airport is one of the companies that long-time real estate investor Les Nelson of Clear Lake, Iowa uses to acquire properties.

The Affiliated Group, which moved its 100 employees into the office complex in July, has a long-term lease on the building. Affiliated is co-owned by Mark Neeb and Paul Skovbroten.

The 91-year-old debt collection company moved from the six-story building at 3055 41st St. N.W. that is part of what many call "The IBM White Buildings," though IBM no longer has any personnel in them.

The Rochester company moved to the 3055 building in 2006, when it sold its former downtown office at 316 First Ave. S.W. That downtown location was later demolished to make way for the 318 Commons student housing and University of Minnesota Rochester educational complex.

April 09, 2014

Allegiant Air pulling out of Rochester… again

Allegiant Air announced Tuesday that it's pulling out of the Rochester International Airport and will end its weekly nonstop flights to Arizona on May 14.

Allegiant"We are always disappointed to end service in a market," said Eric Fletcher, Allegiant's manager of airports. "We thank the Rochester International Airport for their partnership and apologize to any travelers who are inconvenienced by this decision."

Allegiant began offering offering two weekly nonstop flights to Mesa, Ariz., in November 2012, with an eye to serving as a connection between Rochester and Mayo Clinic's Phoenix campus. The 166 seats flights travel on Thursday and Sunday.

A recent study of the airport activity from July 2012 to June 2013 found that Phoenix/Mesa was the top destination from the airport. Allegiant in Rochester had 15,580 passengers during those 12 months. That accounts for 7.4 percent of the passengers in this market. For the same period, Delta accounted 44.7 percent of the airport's passengers, and American had 41.6 percent.

That same study found that Allegiant tallied about $1.4 million revenue during those 12 months.

This marks the Las Vegas-based airline's second failed attempt to serve the Rochester market. From 2008 to 2010, it offered bargain nonstop flights to Las Vegas. During 2008, 27,854 passengers flew out of Rochester to Las Vegas on Allegiant. Those flights ended in 2010 because of lack of demand.

When Allegiant returned to Rochester with a focus on Arizona, there was no concern about demand with the built-in Mayo Clinic traffic plus vacation trips.

“We’ve had good luck returning to markets that we’ve previously pulled out of. We feel good about coming back to Rochester,” said Allegiant's Fletcher in 2008.

Rochester's airport has long worked at attracting and keeping airlines, although it's hindered by lower cost flights from Minneapolis.

In August 2012, the Rochester International Airport was awarded a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department Transportation to help attract airlines to provide direct flight service to more destinations. The Rochester City Council approved a local match of $225,000, for a total of $750,000.

The airport's application included a letter from Frontier Airlines, saying the Denver-based company would be interested in providing direct flights if Rochester could offer incentives. The airport has not added any new flights or airlines, since that grant was presented.

Mark Sixel, who did the recent study for the airport, concluded his report by saying Rochester has a large enough passenger market to support more flights. However, numbers alone may not be enough in this competitive environment.

"It is likely the Rochester International Airport will have to offer some some kind of risk mitigation program, including waivers, marketing and even ground handling to convince another airline to launch service," he wrote.

Most experts say the bottom line is that the airport likely will need to offer financial enticement of some sort to attract more service. After establishing the relationship, then the passenger numbers need to be there to keep the service.

May 13, 2013

Private Wealth mag: "Mayo Clinic Targets Ultra-Wealthy"

Here's some from an interesting article headlined "Mayo Clinic Targets Ultra-Wealthy" posted a couple of weeks ago by Private Wealth magazine. The piece was written by Raymond Fazzi.

The Mayo Clinic, one of the nation’s most prominent hospitals, is starting to flex its muscle in the field of medical concierge services for the wealthy.

OB-KS600_NetJet_D_20101104082044The Rochester, Minn.-based hospital this year started to ramp up efforts to market its Preferred Response service—a membership program that provides medical transportation and emergency services all over the world—to business travelers, travel clubs for the wealthy and other segments of the ultra-affluent market. The expansion of Preferred Response comes three years after the hospital launched its Medallion program, a concierge medical service that devotes a team of doctors to its subscribers’ primary medical care needs.

The push comes at a time when some of the nation’s top hospitals are looking to the well-heeled to increase revenues and make greater use of their more expensive, high-tech medical capabilities. Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, for example, has offered a similar concierge transportation service for years.

“Prominent hospitals are looking at any ways they can to leverage expertise to generate revenue streams,” said Dr. Clayton T. Cowl, Preferred Response medical director. “Access [to medical care] is going to be the key.”

The drive to market Mayo Clinic Preferred Response to the wealthy is based heavily on the public’s desire for medical access. The program has been part of the Mayo Clinic for more than a decade, originally as a service for dealing with in-flight medical emergencies. The program has since grown more expansive, with the ability to coordinate care and transportation when members are facing a medical emergency far from home.

“The idea is, we want to create a relationship—not just a doctor visit or two a year—no matter where you are in the world,” Cowl said.

Cutting The Line
As President Barack Obama’s health reforms start to kick in, bringing millions more people into the health system, increased waiting times for appointments and treatments are expected to become larger issues with patients.
The selling point for Preferred Response and other medical concierge services is that they allow those who can pay a premium to basically cut in line, according to industry experts.

“Ultimately, we’re in an era right now where lots more people are going to have insurance and the key I think is going to be access and connectivity,” Cowl said. “In a time of need, you don’t want to be fumbling around asking which of these 14 numbers I need to dial.”

The base membership fee for Preferred Response is $650 per year for individuals and $800 for families. The fee does not include hospital and doctors’ fees, according to a hospital spokesman.

With two around-the-clock medical teams, Preferred Response deals with emergencies throughout the world, ranging from instances where a subscriber fell down a flight of stairs in Turkey to another where a member suffered from a heart attack while vacationing in Cancun, Mexico. In one recent episode, a member suffered a punctured lung while on a bicycle tour in China. Preferred Response arranged for his treatment and transportation a few days later to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Cowl said. 


I remember when Mayo Clinic launched its relationship with NetJets back in 2003.

Mayo Clinic will now provide in-flight medical advice and assistance to people flying NetJets airlines.

The agreement, announced this week, gives NetJets employees and passengers access to Mayo Clinic support all day, every day. People on a NetJets flight can call a dedicated phone number to speak to a critical-care flight nurse or physician.

Additionally, all NetJets flight crews have received instruction in the use of special, Mayo Clinic-designed emergency medical supplies.

NetJets, based in New Jersey, is the largest provider of fractional aircraft ownership offerings in the world. NetJets currently manages 512 aircraft. This year, NetJets fractional aircraft owners will fly more than 250,000 flights to more than 140 different countries.

September 11, 2012

Roch's Transportation Tuesday features planes, buses and cars

Looks like Rochester has a Transportation Tuesday underway this week with two events - Allegiant Air's Vote for Vacation campaign and Kwik Trip's seminar about compressed natural gas as a vehicle fuel - both scheduled.

Allegiant Air's "campaign" bus pulled into downtown Rochester late Monday to park near the Peace Plaza in preparation for a morning of light-hearted Allegiant-bus2voting combined with a serious memorial.

Voting for a favorite vacation destination will put people in the running to win four years of free airfare or a free pair of round trip tickets to any Allegiant destination.

The first 100 voters will be given a $21.60 "tax break" toward their next Allegiant vacation. That's about the equivalent of how much government taxes and fees add to the cost of a round trip flight.

Since the Allegiant stop in Rochester falls on Sept. 11, Mayor Ardell Brede will speak and lead the crowd in a moment of silence at 7:46 a.m. as the Bell of Honor tolls for those who lost their lives in the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

Kwik Trip's free seminar about compressed natural gas is then scheduled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m at the Ramada Inn Hotel & Conference Center, 1517 16th St. S.W., Rochester.

Kwik Trip will introduce compressed natural gas, or CNG, as a fueling option in Rochester at the new station being built along 19th Street Northwest by CostCo's new store.

August 14, 2012

Allegiant to offer nonstop flights to Ariz.

Allegiant is coming back to the Rochester International
Airport to offer flights west once again, but the destination is not a gamble this time.

Tailx-large[1]The regional airline and travel company will offer two weekly
non-stop flights with 166 seats each to Phoenix, Ariz.

Starting on Nov. 1., Allegiant flights will leave Rochester generally on Thursdays and Sundays to make the less than three hour trip to Arizona.

To help the new flights take off, the Las Vegas-based airline is offering the Arizona flights for $99 one way.

Allegiant had previously offered non-stop flights from Rochester to Las Vegas for more than two years until it pulled out in 2010 due to lack of demand.  During 2008, 27,854 passengers flew out of Rochester on Allegiant.

With Mayo Clinic having campuses in Arizona and Rochester as
well quite a bit of tourism traffic, Allegiant is not worried about demand this time, says Eric Fletcher, the airline’s airports manager.

“We’ve had good luck returning to markets that we’ve previously
pulled out of. We feel good about coming back to Rochester,” he says.

Could Allegiant bring back non-stop flights to Vegas or add
flights to its other major vacation destination of Orlando, Florida?

“That always a good possibility,” Fletcher says. “We like to
have more than just two flights w eek going out of an airport. But we believe
Phoenix is a good destination to start with right now.”

August 06, 2012

The story behind the helicopters this morning

Windows were rattling in Rochester's Country Club Manor Monday morning as military helicopters flew over the northwest neighborhood.

The Minnesota National Guard says the four CH-47 Chinook helicopters were flying over on their way to Florida. They came through this area at about 10:30 a.m. residents felt the helicopters came in low over the neighborhood, but they were flying at the standard altitude of  2,500 feet.

"They weren't flying low, but they are much louder than usual aircraft. You always hear the Chinook before you see it," says Master Sgt. Daniel Ewer of the Minnesota National Guard. "When you have four of them flying together, they can be very loud and seem to be right overhead."

The Chinook is a large twin-engine heavy-lift helicopter with tandem rotors.

Rochester residents don't need to worry about them flying over again, according to Ewer.

"They are on a one-way trip to Florida, so they won't be coming back," he says.

June 08, 2012

Will ex-311 be Ground-ed?

It looks like the rumors may be true.

Since 331 Bar and Grill closed its doors in March, there has been buzz about Ground Round rolling back into Rochester into that space.

06082012groundround:331This morning I spotted the Snappy Sign's clown standing in front of the 331 Bar and Grill at 7386 Airport View Drive S.W. with this message:

"Ground Round is Coming Soon."

While that sounds pretty definite, I'll check this out today.

If true, this is the latest plot development in the story of the Rochester's airport restaurant.

When it closed three months ago, it was owned by two brothers from Chicago, Tom and Jimmy Karabatsos

The Karabatsos duo originally bought the main restaurant at the start of 2009 from local developer Andy Chafoulias.

The restaurant was originally launched as The Hangar by a group of local developers led by Chafoulias in 2002. He later sold it in 2006.

The Hangar did not make it under the new ownership. Chafoulias bought it back in early 2008 and relaunched it as 331.

Chafoulias developed most of the businesses surrounding the airport, including the Rochester International Event Center and the 72-room hotel now under the AmericInn brand.

When I talked to him in March after the 331 closure, he wouldn't say yes or no to the idea of taking the controls of the restaurant for a third time. However, he was seriously considering the possibility.

May 14, 2012

Plane maker unveils new jet in Rochester

Here's some from an interesting tidbit by Candace Renalls of the Duluth News Tribune. This new plane has its own parachute, which makes a lot more sense 

Duluth-based Cirrus rolled out the latest model of its Vision jet last week at an invitiation-only event at the Rochester Internation Airport.

 Michael Marto does a lot of traveling for his businesses.


725CirrusVisionSF50andSR22_1024“We see clients all over the country for entertainment events,” said Marton, president and CEO of Executive Visions, Inc., in Atlanta. “We fly all the time.”


That’s why he’s buying Cirrus’ new light Vision Jet that’s designed for regional business and personal use and with a price tag that jumps from $1.72 million to $1.96 million on July 1.

“We’re position holder 141,” Marto said proudly at a Cirrus invitation-only event in Rochester last week where Cirrus executives gave a presentation and the jet was flown. That’s holder No. 141 of 515 buyers who have first dibs on the Vision SR-50 Jet that — if all goes as planned — will roll off the Cirrus production line beginning in 2015.

In the meantime, Marto is buying an SR-22T, Cirrus’ top-of-the-line single-engine piston plane that starts at $550,000 brand new.


About 45 Cirrus owners and prospective buyers turned out for the jet showing, which included a flight demonstration that wowed observers with its fast and slow flybys and steep climb.

The event, Cirrus’ only one in the region this year, was held at the Rochester International Airport because Rochester is a big jet market. 

March 03, 2011

Friday business bustle - two morning events

Friday morning could be a busy one for Rochester's movers and shakers in the business world.

121609downtownrochesterjk Two monthly events sponsored by the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce — its Transportation Forum and the AM Espresso networking breakfast — kick off early.

  Usually, the Transportation Forum that starts at 7 a.m. in the Rochester City Centre Hotel (formerly the Holiday Inn Express) draws a small crowd of regulars for the specialized topic.

However, Julie Fiesel, the Chamber's government affairs director, says this Friday's meeting is expected to be of wider interest.

Jeffrey Hamiel, executive director of the Metropolitan Airport Commission, will discuss the air traffic system that consists of Minneapolis-St. Paul International and six reliever airports. He'll also address the future for his system, the third largest in the United States.

Anyone interested in attending should contact Fiesel at or 424-5665 for details.

For those who opt for the jet-fueled coffee Friday, it will be possible to catch the end of the AM Espresso networking at the Premier Bank branch at 3145 Wellner Drive N.E.

It begins at 7:30 a.m and will run until 9 a.m.

November 24, 2010

A happier landing this time

Here's some from piece about the Rochester International Airport and what happened when more than 300 Sun Country passengers were stranded there after midnight Saturday.

The scene was similar to one in 2009 that turned into a national horror story. But this year's tarmac tale had a very different ending.

More than 300 passengers on four Sun County flights landed in Rochester about midnight on Saturday, after being diverted from the Twin Cities because of bad weather.

  In 2009, an Continental flight was forced to land in Rochester about midnight. That flight became a national news story after its 47 passengers were kept cooped up in the plane for more than five hours as a variety of airline employees debated what to do.

The lesson was not lost on the staff at the airport.
"Historically, it is airlines that take care of diverted planes. After that (incident in 2009), we got together and said we're not going to let that happen again," said Kurt Claussen, Rochester's assistant airport manager. "We decided to be proactive. We decided we'll take care of the passengers, and then we'll sort out who pays for what later."

The unexpected landing of four planes Saturday night put the new plan into action.

An airport employee called Claussen, and he was on the scene by about 1 a.m. Airport Manager Steve Leqve, local Transportation Security Administration director Ken Rowe, other airport staff and American Airlines workers also helped deal with the situation.

The 310 passengers, who had been sitting in the airplanes for about an hour, were helped across the runways into the airport terminal. All of the terminal bridge connections were tied up.

With hundreds of stranded travelers milling about the terminal, airport staff members started working on how to feed them.

Claussen thought pizza might be the answer, and he called Papa John's in south Rochester — 10 minutes before the pizza place's 2 a.m. closing time and the end of a 10-hour shift for Shannon Burshem.

"I asked if they could stay open and help us out, and the guy there, Shannon, made an executive decision and said 'sure.' He was great," said Claussen, who ordered 46 pizzas. They were delivered to the airport in several trips over the next couple hours.