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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, December 16, 2013

Muller to Replace Iannelli on Airport Board

Tony denies he will be going into shit biz with Angle
Lehigh Valley International Airport, plagued by both declining passenger traffic and a $26 million judgment, is going to have to seek a new Chair for its 15-member governing board. Tony Iannelli, the current current captain of this sinking ship, is being replaced.

Lehigh County Executive-elect Tom Muller has advised Commissioners that he plans to replace Iannelli with one of their own, Mike Schware. They must approve this appointment, and I understand the matter has already been listed for January 8.

The airport board has come under fire by Northampton County Council members Bob Werner, Scott Parsons, John Cusick and Peg Ferraro in recent months, especially over plans to sell Braden Airpark in Forks Township. In adopting their most recent budget, Council unanimously rejected a request from the airport for $250,000. Plans to sell Queen City Airport, which have been shelved, angered many in Lehigh County.

But this same Council also recently re-appointed Lehigh Valley Partnership point man, Bert Daday, to the board.


Even though he's 758 years old.

Iannelli is the CEO and President of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, hosts Business Matters on WFMZ-TV69 and was even an ice hockey ref.

Not sure how Tony feels about this, but if I were he, I'd be delighted.

This "international" airport has been little more than a monument to the egos inside the unelected aristocracy known as the Lehigh Valley Partnership. In their latest trick, they've hired a consultant to tell them that the shrinking passenger base is really a good thing.

Don't worry. Be happy.

Imagine if a publicly-held private sector company sent out a press release saying, "Sure, we're shrinking, but we're OK with that." At the very next stockholders' meeting, that management team would be out. Faster than you can say Business Matters.

Maybe, just maybe, they should look at the noncompetitive prices of flights out of ABE, the frequent delays suffered by BE passengers, high parking fees and the lack of marketing to the business traveler. What's the draw?


Anonymous said...

Tony is clearing off his plate due to his upcoming appointment in taking over Musikfest.

Oops, did I just say that

Anonymous said...

That job is to go to Callahan. Unless Casino take Iannelli's old job.

Still think the money is on Johnny Casino taking the Musikfest gig.

Anonymous said...

As much as Ianelli sucked in his position, he only made it things worse!

Anonymous said...

A US DOT study shows that Business vs Leisure air travel is basically split 50/50. I am sure there is a sizeable chunk of that 50% leisure that is heading to Florida and is well served out of ABE. However, ignoring the other 50% has really crippled ABE in the last decade or so. The major positive for ABE is that it is incredibly convenient to use, but they've effectively cancelled that out with high prices and limited destinations. I recognize that some of it is beyond their control as the airlines are more focused on consolidating flights into and out of their main hubs, but they really should start catering more towards the business traveler as they're the more likely to be more frequent/repeat customers than the once a year family trip to Sarasota.

The higher costs of flights and parking automatically direct business travellers to EWR or PHL, let alone the lack of direct flights to anywhere aside from Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit or Charlotte. I am sure they are already operating on a shoe string budget and skeleton staff, but they need to dramatically slash prices there and probably lose more money for awhile to get people back into the habit of using the airport again...

Anonymous said...

This weekend the Pittsburgh Tribune carried a story about the Latrobe Airport and how they are promoting their free parking and small size to greatly increase business. Apparently, they have found an airline to provide direct flights to Dallas, Orlando and several other major cities and some travellers from the Eastern side of the Pittsburgh metro are going there for the convenience now instead of GPIA. I have to believe LVIA can be this kind of airport.

Bernie O'Hare said...

1:16 is apparently unaware that Tony's post is dependent on county government and is unpaid. Ignorance is bliss. But I hate when anons come on this blog and just post lies.

Bernie O'Hare said...

10:16, it appears that Pittsburgh is giving people a reason to use them - free parking. ABE has been reluctant to lose that revenue stream, but needs to give people a reason to go there.

michael molovinsky said...

bernie @ 10:24, not only isn't ABE free parking, it's expensive, probably now about $15 a day. they keep asking their dwindling users, both airlines and passengers, to pay more. they recently completed a $multi-million dollar remodeling, for what purpose? shaking up the board truly can't hurt.

Anonymous said...

Parking - agree they are asking way too much for that, particularly after closing the "Econo-lot".

Maybe they should validate parking for certain return flights...

Anonymous said...

First of all, the only local 'quick' fixes available are the ones LVIA can do on its own. The airline industry, in general, has other concerns and will be much slower to act.

The issue of convenient and cheaper parking is one step LVIA can address on its own. The cheaper, long-term parking lot closure here was not a good idea. The paved land is there already. The only savings I can see was in not having the shuttle, and staffing a second exit gate.

LVIA absolutely MUST present itself as a choice with features not available anywhere else. It needs to stand out.

Maybe a year with a FREE PARKING promotion would turn things around. Some savings will come from not staffing any exit gates. Such a promotion is not only easy to establish, it is simple to understand, and STUNNING. Travelers within a one hour radius WILL notice!

I'm told this idea already has been considered. Maybe time for another look.

As important as a strong local airport is, I would encourage the counties to kick-in additional monies for a Free Parking effort. Money better spent, in my eyes, than some other local support.

I would also ask local advertising designers and media to contribute help at no charge during this year, and work a deal with a local college marketing department to spread the word through student intern participation.

Fred Windish

Anonymous said...

Free would be awesome, but probably unrealistic. Maybe make it free for the first 3 days, then something nominal, say $5 a day for the next week, to encourage business travel since those types of trips are usually shorter in duration that the week long family vacation.

Anonymous said...

Are board members positions paid or unpaid?

Bernie O'Hare said...


Anonymous said...

I travel frequently on business, on my employer's dime, but I cannot pay LVIA fares anymore in good conscience. Today I checked fares for a trip to Chicago in January. Nonstop ABE to ORD was $960 round trip. Nonstop PHL to ORD was $300 roundtrip for the same dates. I used to fly out of ABE for probably 8 out of 10 trips, now it's down to about 1 of 10.

Parking is now almost double what some of the PHL offsite lots are charging. I could understand doing away with the shuttle and the cashier, but they should have left the long term lot open to credit card users only and had you pay with a credit card.

Oh, and I agree that Bert Daday is a fossil. Part of that "who's who in 1980s Lehigh Valley business" crowd that has had a hold on boards like these forever and needs to move on.

Anonymous said...

He has! he spends a lot of the year in Florida, Arizona and other places. The guy is still a useful cheerleader of the power elite of the L.V.

Anonymous said...

1:51 -

You lost me at having county taxpayers pay for the parking that users don't want to pay for

Anonymous said...

4:24 - County tax payers are already dumping $ into ABE as it is and are seeing negative results. Nobody will go without government cheese if they were to waive or substantially decrease parking rates. They need to attract business and leisure travellers to the airport and have limited options to do so.

Since they arent realiztically going to shut the airport down in the next 3-5 years, you are going to be throwing money away over there anyway, might as well throw some away in an attempt to get more people to use it.

Anonymous said...

My point was to emphasize how important a viable jetport is to this region. Be it the county, or other entities public and private, keeping the airport viable is something to fight for. Far more important to support than sports venues, for example.

I was dismayed a few days ago on this very blog, when it was reported a Northampton County official was reluctant to support the airport until he saw what Lehigh County would be doing! Such nonsense.

If any entity believes this airport is worth saving, it should provide that support regardless what anyone else is doing. How can anything ever happen if each party hangs back to see what the other party is doing?

Fred Windish

Bernie O'Hare said...

Hi Fred, I don't think anyone on Northampton County Council believes the airport is properly managed. I agree they should have just said No, and that is what they ultimately did.

Is the airport worth saving? I can think of many places where public dollars should go before throwing it at that monument to LVP egos.

I would completely scrap the airport if I were King. But I realize this is a minority view. Maybe even a nutjob view.

michael molovinsky said...

Bernie @11:00, i believe the airport is an important asset for the valley. as i written before, sometimes i think that it has been purposefully sabotaged by one poor decision after another. i would favor a complete change of people on the board.

Bernie O'Hare said...

What? No community garden?

Anonymous said...

ABE is the equivalent of a beer distributor in Nazareth selling a case of Coor's for $35.99, when the same case is sold at distributors in Easton and Bethlehem for $18.99. Sure there may be a few folks who wander in out of convenience or ignorance and buy that beer in Nazareth, but folks who buy that beer regularly are going to make the extra effort and drive further to save $17. Worse for the Nazareth store is that its only selling 6 different brands of beer, where the Easton & Bethlehem locations offer a much wider array of choices because they have bigger square footage and large walk in refrigerators.

I wish the Nazareth store had more of a selection and better prices, because the Easton and Bethlehem stores are always crowded, the traffic sucks and its always hard to find a decent parking spot nearby.


Anonymous said...

Ron Angle and Tony Iannelli, two yummy bears.


Anonymous said...

You need to remove everyone on that board and ditch Everett. You don't kill cancer by removing just a little bit of it.

Clean sweep it or it didn't happen.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm, firstly I wonder what the frequency of air travel is for the Board members? Seems that a board slot should be dedicated to a Lehigh Valley stakeholder that is a very frequent flyer. This person would provide a unique persepective on pros and cons of LVIA/ABE compared to other airports.

In the last year, have any board members utilized other airports for thier business or personal travel? If so, Why (price, connections, flight times)?