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Small airports are struggling. What will 2018 hold for Dayton’s hub?

The Dayton International Airport is at an arduous point in its history — a major air carrier left this year, ticket prices are higher than most Ohio airports and passenger traffic has steadily declined.

Nationally, the declining trend has hit small- and medium-sized airports and forced several dozen to lose air service as they struggle to compete as major airlines pull up stakes and land at larger airports.

Despite the gloomy outlook, Dayton airport officials said they are not throwing in the towel and the hometown hub is not in danger of shutting down.

The airport is honing in on a strategic plan for 2018 that focuses on business travel and improvements to help keep it competitive with airports in cities like Columbus and Cincinnati and keep one of the city’s top economic engines vibrant.

“It’s an integral part of the future success of the region,” said Jeff Hoagland, president and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition.

» WOW air expands in Ohio: What’s really going on?

The airport plan includes major efforts planned to keep passenger traffic steady, increase seat capacity, sell and develop more commercial real estate owned by the airport, and make headway on expansive terminal renovations, according to airport director Terry Slaybaugh.



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