New airline brings cheaper flights to Dayton

Airport leaders say the announcement Thursday that low-cost carrier Allegiant Air is coming to Dayton International Airport will give people more options for flights and could save the region millions in ticket costs.

Allegiant Air will start with nonstop service next year from the Dayton airport to Orlando and to Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida.

The flights to Orlando begin April 14 and the flights to Tampa begin April 15. Allegiant currently flies out of Cincinnati, its closest airport to Dayton. The airline’s business model is largely flights from U.S. cities to vacation destinations such as Florida, Hawaii and Las Vegas.

The Dayton airport has seen a traffic decline overall of 7.5 percent for the first nine months of the year compared to the previous year. The airport has had 24 consecutive months of traffic declines amid a larger shift in the airline industry. Aviation director Terry Slaybaugh said he thinks traffic in Dayton will bounce back with the new Allegiant flights.

“We’ll see a lot more travel with people looking for flights to Florida. There are only two or three discount airlines in this country, and now that we have one, we’ll see a lot more traffic at this airport. This is huge for us,” Slaybaugh said.

To keep ticket prices low, flights don’t include on-board entertainment or frequent-flier promotions. To celebrate the announcement, Allegiant will be offering promotional fares on the routes for as low as $51.

“The price is always going to fluctuate. But last quarter our average one-way fare was $79,” said Brandon Meyers of Allegiant Air.

Passengers said the new airline will entice them to fly out of Dayton more often.

“A hundred bucks would be amazing if I could get that kind of deal,” said Tracy Givens of Cincinnati. “A hundred bucks to go anywhere is a great one-way flight.”

Airport officials hope the Allegiant flights will entice other airlines.

“It’s literally going to save this whole region millions of dollars of airfare costs because it’s going to create a more competitive environment,” Slaybaugh said.