New London Service For Nashville, Tennessee

nashvilleThe Challenge
As a result of amendments to the U.S.-UK aviation agreement, three new routes between the United States and London were available to the U.S. Government to be awarded to U.S. airlines.  Nashville wanted one of those routes.  The competition among U.S. airlines and U.S. airports was intense. Garfinkle was asked to develop a strategy to secure one of those London routes for Nashville.

The Strategy
Garfinkle developed a very public, multi-faceted strategy.  The first order of business was to build grassroots support. He developed an outreach campaign to inform the community, its business and tourism interests and its local politicians about this opportunity and what it would mean for their city.  He also engaged the state’s U.S. Senators and Congresspeople, securing their active participation and support.  He reached out to the Administration and the various U.S. agencies that would have indirect input in the decision.  At the same time, he ensured that the airline that would fly that route was actively supportive of Nashville’s efforts.  He also engaged the local and national media to promote nonstop service between London and Nashville. 

The Advocacy
Position papers, tailored to meet the needs of each stakeholder, were developed to demonstrate why Nashville’s home airline should be awarded a London route. Garfinkle met regularly to brief Congressional officials and staff on the progress of the project.  He developed a comprehensive and complete packet to support the carrier’s application to the U.S. Department of Transportation, replete with statistics, demographics and charts as to why this city should be selected.

But Garfinkle believed that this might not be sufficient.  Nashville needed to do something “out of the box” to show its deep interest in and commitment to a London route.  So, when the Department of Transportation started the proceeding to award the new London routes and invited applications, Garfinkle devised a plan to submit an application to DOT on behalf of the city, not an airline, to fund and be awarded a route.  Never before had a community attempted to “own” a route.  Of course, the city’s application was not accepted, but it achieved its dual purpose: enormous national publicity and demonstration of the community’s commitment to London air service.

The Result
The carrier was awarded a route between Nashville and London and Nashville reaped the economic benefits of this route for many years.

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