Fire up the grill, grab your watermelon and fireworks, and crank up the ol’ ice cream freezer, it’s time to celebrate our independence from Meghan Markle’s ancestors-in-law. Geez, Meg, how quickly we forget!

But before we celebrate the 4th together as a nation, I just wanted to follow up on my column from last week regarding plans to move the airport from Mobile Regional to Brookley. So without further adieu, I am going to “dieu” just that.

Airport Authority exec director answers questions

The Mobile Airport Authority recently released the findings of a study it commissioned to determine if it was feasible to move commercial service from Mobile Regional (MOB) to Brookley (BFM).

The study found it was feasible, and more cost effective, to move the airport to Brookley, in downtown Mobile, rather than building a faster, more accessible roadway to Mobile Regional in WeMo, which carriers have complained is “painful” to get to, especially for those travelers on the Eastern Shore.

In the June 27 issue I posed some questions I still had about this, though. Specifically, if legacy carriers, like Delta and American, would come in and start dumping their prices to put these low-cost carriers out of business, as they have in the past. And if they did that, would we essentially be in the same boat (or plane) — as far as pricing goes — no matter if the terminal was at Regional or Brookley?

Mobile Airport Authority Executive Director Chris Curry called me last week and offered insight into how the airline industry has changed over the last decade and how this would work, so the low-cost carriers (LCCs) and the legacy carriers could happily coexist.

He said Mobile Regional’s location is a huge turnoff to low-cost carriers.

“If I called up and asked them [LLCs] to come to Regional, that phone call would last about a minute,” Curry said.

While I still don’t quite understand why, if it is proven people are willing to drive a little farther/longer for a better price, the LCCs wouldn’t at least give Regional another shot to see if they would work there, Curry says they just won’t. Brookley is the only option because the drive time to it is more predictable and reliable, especially for those in Baldwin County.

So, operating under this premise — that the LCCs are only willing to come to Brookley, — how do they compete with the legacy carriers once they’re all at Brookley?

He said MAA would not even recruit a low-cost airline to come in and compete with a destination the legacy carriers already serve — for example, they would never get a LCC to come in and try to compete with Delta for flights to Atlanta. They would try to get LCCs that offered direct flights to locations the legacy carriers do not.

For example, he hopes they can get LCCs to offer direct flights to Newark, Washington, D.C., and Denver. Those flights would not compete with ones Delta or American currently have flying out of Mobile.

And he said this is sort of the new way these low-cost and legacy carriers are sharing space in markets across the country, which does make more sense.

I still look forward to getting more details in the coming months as they develop their more extensive master plan. Stay tuned!

Happy Fourth of July!

I just wanted to wish everyone a very Happy Fourth of July. In the current political climate we live in, it is easy to lose sight we still live in the greatest country on this planet. While we may be bitterly divided along partisan lines, at least we all have the right to have and express the very opinions we hate each other for (and unfollow people on Facebook over).

Though we have made many mistakes as a nation since our Founding Fathers declared independence, I still believe we are a country that tries to right its wrongs and we end up better for it. It has never been an easy journey to get to those better places, though. Just think of the bitterly divisive issues folks have debated and died for in our country’s history — from slavery to women’s rights to civil rights to fighting in wars we may or may not feel are just. It hasn’t always been pretty, but we eventually find our way. I have faith we will continue to do that.

Happy Birthday, America! You may not be perfect, and you may be a big ol’ hot mess right now — literally and figuratively — but you’re our mess, and we love you from sea to shining sea.