In his Aug. 24 letter ("Kudos, SRQ, now how about those fares"), John Marini gives appropriate congrats to Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport for paying off its long-term debt.
No doubt SRQ's CEO, Rick Piccolo, deserves the credit for his management of the airport and having paid off its "mortgage" several years before its original due date.
But I take issue with Mr. Marini's statement that "... no one seems to talk about ... ticket costs." On the contrary, for decades the airfares charged by airlines flying from SRQ have been the subject of much public discussion, some of it ill-informed, and SRQ has battled the erroneous perception that it in some way controls the prices that tenant airlines charge for tickets to/from SRQ. It does not.
In today's highly competitive and (relatively) free market, airline fares are based on a multitude of factors that airports do not control, and SRQ and other airports have no real influence on the cost of tickets.
In fact, SRQ's costs to its tenant airlines are much lower than those at Tampa or Regional Southwest (Fort Myers), but many other considerations determine the prices that we pay for tickets at our airport.
The bottom line: SRQ has no control over the prices that airlines charge for their tickets. Really. None.
Of course, travelers should shop wisely for their airline tickets and if they get a much better "deal" flying from Tampa ... or wherever ... they should buy and fly accordingly. I have.
But when we consider all the costs: time, mileage, parking, big-airport hassle and more, ticket prices out of SRQ very often compare favorably with -- or beat -- the ticket prices at not-so-nearby airports.
And if competition clearly favors the out-of-town airport, so be it. Go there. But don't blame SRQ for complex market forces beyond its control.