Travel people in Pennsylvania and elsewhere may soon see references to an air service called Lehigh Valley Air, and they might wonder what theyre seeing. One possible answer: They might be seeing the future.

As described in our news pages today, Lehigh Valley Air is the trade name for an enterprise that will soon be offering charter air service to Florida from the Lehigh Valley Airport, which serves the Pennsylvania communities of Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton. Like many airports in small and midsize communities, ABE, as its known in the airport trade, has a long history of working closely with the local business community to attract and keep air service.

ABE, however, has not had as much success as it would like in attracting and keeping low-fare air service, so it decided to do something about it by helping to establish a public charter operation offering budget service to Florida.

Knowing a little something about marketing, airport officials understood that Freds charters might have trouble winning over the hearts of local travelers, so the air service will the adopt the communitys name as its brand. Hence, Lehigh Valley Air.

This wont be first time that an airline has shared a name with a city, state or region. Many airlines over the years have adopted such names, but this seems to mark one of the few instances we know of where a community has bestowed its name on what is essentially a private-label air service to give it brand recognition.

If this works in Allentown, it will surely be tried elsewhere, and that could lead to a whole new chapter in the recent sad history of airline branding.

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For more details on this article, see Hometown airline emerges in Pa.s Lehigh Valley Airport deal.


Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Colin Veitch finally said it out loud last week: The venerable liner Norway, laid up since a boiler explosion in 2003, may have no place to go but the scrap yard.

Its a sad state of affairs, and like many others in the industry, we would be sorry to see it go. But it would be even sorrier if the ship languished at a dock somewhere and slowly rusted away while lawyers, accountants, history buffs, entrepreneurs and fast-buck artists hatched plan after plan for turning it into a hospital ship, dockside tourist attraction, floating condo, museum or what-have-you.

We get sentimental about our old ships, but at some point we have to face the fact that most old ships are merely that, old ships. With a very few exceptions, notably the historic Queen Mary in Long Beach, Calif., they dont make good condos, hospitals, tourist attractions or libraries and they dont make much money. If the best minds of today cant find a use for this vessel, history has shown theres little point in letting it rust away, waiting for the best minds of tomorrow to come up with something.

If it has to be done, lets salute the grand dame and get it over with.

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