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35 posts categorized "Air travel"

May 13, 2015

Rochester hotel purchased for $2.5 million

The financial details of a Rochester hotel sale in April became public this week.

32482210On April 16, the AmericInn Hotel & Suites Rochester, at 7320 Airport View Drive SW was sold to Cary and Laurie Turner's CLT Investments of Prairie Du Chien, Wis. Rochester's Titan Development & Investments sold the hotel, which was built by Titan CEO Andy Chafoulias in 2001.

Olmsted County has now completed the formal processing of the sale. That means the sale price is now available to the public.

CLT Investments paid $2.5 million for the 72-room hotel. 

April 17, 2015

Wisconsin couple buys AmericInn hotel

The only hotel near the Rochester International Airport changed hands Thursday, though the original developer didn't completely check out of the business.

The AmericInn Hotel & Suites Rochester, at 7320 Airport View Driuve SW, was purchased by Cary and Laurie Turner's CLT Investments of Prairie Du Chien, Wis. The couple also owns hotels in Prairie Du Chien, La Crosse, Wis., and elsewhere in the region.

352_americinnrochesterairportexteriorThe seller, Rochester's Titan Development & Investments, said it will remain partially invested as a partner in the 16-year-old hotel. However, Titan no longer will be involved in the management of the 72-room hotel.

Financial details of the sale were not released by Titan.

Titan CEO Andy Chafoulias originally built the hotel in 2001 and opened it under the Sleep Inn & Suites brand. The hotel is built on land Chafoulias leased from the city of Rochester.

In 2010, the hotel parted ways with the Sleep Inn name and temporarily became the independent Airport Event Center Hotel.

The hotel joined the AmericInn brand in 2010. While Chafoulias remained an owner, Joe Powers, of the nearby Rochester International Events Center and Ground Round restaurant, and well-known Rochester hotelier Myron Salz, of the Centerstone Plaza Hotel, stepped in as managing investors to run the hotel operations. It employed a staff of about 17 at the time.

Chafoulias said in Thursday's announcement of the sale that selling to the Turners was a good opportunity for Titan, which is busy with many other developments, such as the recently completed H3 Plaza tower in downtown Rochester.

“With the numerous focuses that we have around Rochester and across the country, we felt that it was a good time to sell the AmericInn," Chafoulias stated in the news release. "It’s a great hotel with consistently solid numbers, and we foresee a very successful future for it.”

The new owners have "immediate plans of enhancing the hotel’s exterior and interior," according to Titan.

March 06, 2015

10 years of blogging Rochester

On March 4, 2005, I wrote my first blog post. Kiger's Notebook blogo 2x

It was my sixth year at the Post-Bulletin. I created the "Heard on the Street" column about three years before the blog began. 

More  than 6,200 posts, stacks of columns, mountains of tweets and many gray hairs later, I'm still here writing about business and things vaguely related to businesPhoto on 2015-03-03 at 18.11s in southeastern Minnesota.

It'syou, the readers, who make this career such a fulfilling and entertaining one. Thank you everyone for your feedback, criticism and support over these past 10 years. 

10 years of blogging Rochester

On March 4, 2005, I wrote my first blog post.Kiger's Notebook blogo 2x

It was my siPhoto on 2015-03-03 at 18.11xth year at the Post-Bulletin. I created the "Heard on the Street" column about three years before the blog began. 

More than 6,200 posts, stacks of columns, mountains of tweets and many gray hairs later, I'm still here writing about business and things vaguely related to business in southeastern Minnesota.

It's you, the readers, who make this career such a fulfilling and entertaining one. Thank you everyone for your feedback, criticism and support over these past 10 years.  

February 23, 2015

Delta to end Rochester-Detroit flights in April

Despite their popularity, nonstop flights to Detroit will soon end for passengers using the Rochester International Airport, after only a few months.

5403bad42fa22.imageAfter about six months, Delta Air Lines has notified the airport that it will be pulling the plug on the daily nonstop flights to Detroit on April 9, according the new Airport Director John Reed.

Reed says he received notification from Delta on Feb. 17, his second day on the job. Delta launched the Detroit and Atlanta flights in September with great fanfare with many saying it was needed for the anticipated increase in air travel expected due to Mayo Clinic's Destination Medical Center initiative.

While the City of Rochester owns the airport, Mayo Clinic is contracted to manage it via its Rochester Airport Co.

Delta confirmed Monday that the flights will end with a short statement that said it "has made the decision to indefinitely suspend Rochester service to Detroit to ensure we’re matching capacity with demand."

This is not the first time Delta has ended flights from Rochester to Detroit. It killed a similar flight back in 2011.

While the Detroit will come to an end, Delta did stress that its daily flights to Atlanta and Minneapolis will continue. In fact, Delta intends add another Minneapolis flight as the Detroit one ends, according to Reed.

"Essentially, our seat capacity will remain the same," he said.

Numbers from the airport shows that the new flights did bump up its Rochester passenger numbers in 2014 by 20 percent over 2013. Rochester Airport Co. President Steve McNeill, who works for Mayo Clinic, recently reported that Delta had 120,474 passengers here in 2014. From September through December, the months of service to all three of its hubs, the count was 41,854, an 18 percent or 6,500 increase over the similar period in 2013.

"We're certainly happy with the new, expanded service," said McNeill earlier this month, "and I'm sure Delta is, too." Flight payloads, or occupancy levels, were slightly above expectations, with flights to Atlanta averaging at about the mid-80s percent, and to Detroit slightly lower, he added.

Reed says data shows that the Detroit flights ran about 75 percent filled, most of the time.

"It wasn't that the community wasn't supporting us, because they were," he said.

Mayor Ardell Brede hadn't been notified yet about the change on Monday. He said, if true, it would a loss for Rochester.

"I liked that flight," he said. Brede added that it was full when he recently used it.

Reed and Brede both said that they had heard that a shortage of pilots was one reason that Delta ended the flight.

Another possible factor could be a $950,000 "risk mitigation fund set up to guarantee Delta a profit on the new flights during the first year. The rub is that the fund, made up of federal grants, a city match and private donations, doesn't cover the Detroit flight. It only guarantees a profit for Delta's Atlanta fight.

A Delta media representative didn't know about the fund or if it could have played a part in this change.

The ending of the Detroit flights does cast a pall on the airport's future requirement of airlines, to add flights, like ones to Denver.

In May, a national air service consultant said in a Rochester Area Chamber-sponsored forum that, "Adding Atlanta and Detroit is a game changer."

He followed that by saying that many other airlines will be watching how those flights fare.

"This is an important test case to prove that you can fill the larger airplanes. If they (Delta) have to pull it, it would be a big red flag," Joseph Pickering told the crowd of local business leaders.

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.
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“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.”