Washington Business Report: Sept. 21, 2014

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WASHINGTON (WJLA) - This week on Washington Business Report with ABC7 national correspondent Rebecca Cooper:

CEO: No-fee airline saves big by not charging

“Today, there are low fares offered at virtually every airport in the United States. That was not the case up until 2000,” says Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly, citing the launch of low-cost carrier Jet Blue 14 years ago.

Previous to that, “wherever Southwest flew, that made that airport the low-fare airport and it provided a competitive opportunity to draw traffic in, away from other airports. And that has changed dramatically,” he says.

Jim Dinegar, head of the Greater Washington Board of Trade, stepped in with the microphone this week while Rebecca Cooper is off to conduct a One on One interview with Kelly, who enlightened a D.C. business crowd on why his airline is the biggest in the D.C. region.

Kelly explained how being an airline that does not charge bag fees actually saves his company money.

“Our estimate is that if we charge bag fees…we would lose customers. We would have what we call a ‘defection rate’,” he explains, calculating the move would result in a net loss of close to $1 billion.

Kelly says being known as the only no-fee airline is an enviable position for his company to enjoy. He says most companies would do anything to have such a distinctive asset.

Local company third on Inc. 500 list

With 55,000-percent growth in just three years, Reliant Asset Management, LLC is proof that the Roman brothers have learned a thing or two about generating success.

Good things tend to take time in business. Just ask Reliant Asset Management’s CEO and Partner, Barry Roman. Though a worthy player in the modular building industry for over three decades, he was recently able to finally land his pot of gold. After ranking third in Inc. Magazine’s fastest growing companies in 2013, the Arlington, Virginia-based company has been subject to attention Roman isn’t accustomed to.

“There’s been a lot of attention. That’s been kind of fun. We’ve never really done any of that. Our business for the most part is pretty boring,” he told Washington Business Report.

Reliant sells and leases individual and group modular buildings all across the country and into Canada, from oil companies to schools. The head of the holding company hasn’t let the new-found attention impede aspirations of growing even further. Roman is anticipating another appearance on Inc.’s list in the near future.

D.C. Olympic bid

The Nationals win the NL East, the Wizards are once again a team worth watching—many will argue that it may be “our time” here in D.C. Could we be on the heels of hosting our first Olympic Games in 2024?

The Washington 2024 movement has been steadily picking up momentum, with several big names attached and a unique bid to the Olympic committee as potential host.

Washington Business Journal Editor-in-Chief Doug Fruehling tells fill-in host Bruce DePuyt during a roundtable discussion that the Olympics present an opportunity for an economic boom in D.C., and also a rare chance to “redefine what Washington means to the world.”

International stress affects local economy

From Ebola to ISIL, the D.C. region might ironically be seeing a bright spot in the international chaos, the panelists agreed.

Though crisis is generally never a good thing for a business, D.C. is one place that actually tends to benefit during critical situations, says Jim Dinegar, Greater Washington Board of Trade CEO. Businesses in the capital region tend to secure contracts in health and security sectors.

Dinegar did warn that local businesses do need to reexamine their crisis recovery plans to be able to survive crisis periods with the least amount of damage possible.

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