No Southwest, no problem at Dayton airport

Traffic holds steady in January despite loss of Southwest Airlines.


With construction underway at its terminal and passenger traffic increasing with its largest airlines, the Dayton International Airport is looking for a comeback in 2018.

Despite losing service from Southwest Airlines last year, the Dayton airport kicked off 2018 strong with steady passenger traffic in the first month of the year. Traffic dipped only slightly compared to the same time last year with 70,361 enplanements in January. That compares to about 70,690 in January 2017, when Southwest still had daily flights from the airport.

The 0.5 percent decrease in traffic year over year was seen as a positive by airport officials. The loss of Southwest was made up by big gains in passengers using three of the legacy carriers that serve the airport: American, Delta and United. Each of those airlines increased passenger traffic in January compared to the same month in 2017 — big increases in the case of two of them.

» TRENDING BUSINESS NEWS: 7 major changes at the Dayton airport in 2017

Additional flights and larger aircraft made up for the deficit caused by Southwest’s departure from the airport last summer — a strategic plan put in motion by airport officials last year. In January 2017, Southwest served 6,901 passengers.

Terry Slaybaugh, director of the Dayton airport, told the Dayton Daily News the airport expects to see an increase in seat capacity offered by airlines like American Airlines, United Airlines and Allegiant Air.

More seats mean increased competition and, eventually, lower average fares, Slaybaugh said. More flight accommodations to markets across the country is critical for growing and retaining local businesses.

““I’m optimistic about [2018], we’ve got a lot going on,” Slaybaugh said in a previous interview.

» CONTINUED COVERAGE: After Southwest departure, what’s next for Dayton airport?

The growth by larger carriers comes as United prepares to add a new nonstop flight from Dayton to Houston. Dayton was one of eight cities chosen by United for the nonstop routes, according to the city. The new flights will begin June 7.

The addition of Houston will be the 17th nonstop destination from the Dayton airport.

Columbus International Airport scrambled to make up traffic after Frontier Airlines dropped flights to Las Vegas and cut back flights to Denver from Columbus. The airport saw just a 1.7 percent for the month, with 530,032 passengers using the John Glenn Airport. Frontier had a 26.3 percent drop year over year in Columbus.

» RELATED NEWS:Small airports are dying out. What will 2018 hold for Dayton’s hub?

Meanwhile, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. CVG continued its air service growth in January, with a 17 percent increase in total enplanements year over year, the airport announced.

The airport served 7.8 million passengers in 2017, a 16 percent increase compared to 2016. Airport officials said the hub won’t slow down this year, introducing service by Icelandic low-cost carrier WOW air. International service begins in early May with flights to Keflavik Airport in Reykjavik, Iceland.

“The response from local travelers for WOW air’s low-cost international service has been extremely positive, and we appreciate WOW air adding a fifth frequency this summer to accommodate the strong demand,” said Candace McGraw, chief executive officer, CVG.

Other new flights include Allegiant’s nonstop service to Charleston, S.C., and Sarasota, Fla., starting in April. Frontier Airlines and Southwest are also adding new nonstop service to various cities this year.

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