In many ways, the Transport Scotland scoping study into the future of Dundee Airport did not tell us anything we didn’t already know.
Other airports are more popular because their connections are better and their prices are cheaper, it said.
Lose the link to London Dundee’s one remaining scheduled passenger flight and we may as well close the place down, leaving a city in the throes of massive redevelopment as the largest in the UK without convenient access to what the consultants’ report describes as an “international gateway”.
But it also found that many tens of thousands of additional passengers could be drawn to fly from Dundee if it had the right offer, likely based on desirable regional services and a link to an international hub using smaller planes of up to around 100 seats.
The study (PDF link) also proposes an examination of the likely costs of sharing the existing runway capacity at Leuchars with the MoD.
This is a welcome and common sense approach, but is no silver bullet and would not come free of charge or without its own difficulties.
The future of the Riverside facility is one of those topics which practically guarantees responses from Courier readers.
There are often a host of views, but most correspondents’ starting point is somewhere between disappointment and frustration at Dundee’s under-performance.
To my mind, one of the most interesting points the scoping study makes is that the airport’s costs are largely fixed.
If new regional operators can be attracted on the right terms, it says, monthly passenger totals of around 2,500 could rise to 12,500 before significant new investment is required.
Such an increase would likely boost annual revenues taken by the airport by a seven-figure sum, but would not be enough to entirely remove the site’s reliance on subsidies.
So, in all probability, the question should be over what level of taxpayer support is appropriate for a regional airport rather than whether it will ever wash its own face.
Dundee’s £2.8 million annual cost to the public purse cost may work out at more than £100 per passenger just now, but is tiny when compared to the £305m subsidy taken by train operator ScotRail last year.
And, if passenger numbers can be increased as significantly as the consultants suggest on flat costs, then the site begins to look like much better value.
Against this backdrop, it is baffling to see that the scoping report’s short-term recommendations include a survey of the market and potential demand for services from Dundee Airport, a route development strategy and marketing plan, and prospectus for use as a base for potential offshore renewables support operations.
Dundee’s taxpayers might rightly ask why publicly-owned operator HIAL doesn’t already have these matters in hand, and will be disappointed by a lack of staffing resource and focus on cost-cutting identified by the consultants.
* The latest vision of Dundee’s waterfront gives an impressive view of how the city could look in the years to come.
The sweeping 3D animation is bound to get many excited about the possibilities ahead.
There are sceptics, of course and that is hardly surprising given the number of false dawns and planning horrors Dundee has seen down the years.
Everyone with an interest in the city wants the best for it, and it is understandable if there is a degree of caution in some quarters.
Naturally, the animation is a concept. The buildings should certainly have a little more character about them than the grey boxes seen in the promotional film, while we also expect there will be proper and safe provision for cyclists and pedestrians.
The fly-through is something of a blank canvas, designed to help attract new investors.
City development director Mike Galloway continues to bang the drum for Dundee, but his task may not be an easy one as we continue our climb out of economic turmoil.
Attracting property developers and new external investors including retailers, restaurateurs and other businesses to a string of plots will take more than a smart-looking video.
They will want to know about the support on offer from the city council, likely revenue yields, expected footfall and other hard-nosed business metrics before being persuaded to take a risk on a city which has managed to stay off their radar so far.
More power to Mr Galloway’s elbow.