Dayton airport lags behind during busy travel season


Passenger traffic at the Dayton International Airport remains stagnant as other Ohio airports see increased growth driven by cheaper ticket prices and more flight opportunities.

The Dayton airport saw a slight gain in the number of passengers passing through the airport in July compared to the previous year, but that was because Southwest Airline flights ended in June 2017 and are no longer calculated into the comparison.

“Obviously we would like to see the same kind of gains that are taking place at Columbus and Cincinnati,” said Terry Slaybaugh, director of aviation for the city of Dayton. “But the current model being used by air carriers is to concentrate capacity in medium and large hub markets. So I think as a small hub market we’re about where we are expect to be.”

While the 78,226 passengers that boarded a Dayton flight in July is up 0.8 percent from July 2017, it’s not the big gain other airports saw during the busiest summer for travel yet, said local aviation expert Jay Ratliff.

“There’s more people flying now than we’ve ever seen before,” he said. “We’endure travel now, we’re no longer enjoying it.”

A record 246 million people flew this summer, with 20 of the 25 most traveled days on record occurring this year.

RELATED: Elder-Beerman hints at comeback following bankruptcy

At the same time, Dayton’s airport passenger traffic has decreased 6.5 percent in 2018 compared to the previous year. Dayton’s last small gain of 0.2 percent was in May 2017.

At the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport, passenger traffic increased more than 11 percent in July compared to June and more than 16 percent for the year. The airport about 80 miles south of Dayton recently hit a new three-month record of 1.2 million local passengers taking advantage of its dropping airfare.

»BIZ BEAT: Southwest adding two nonstop flights to warmer climates from Cincinnati

“Right now, unfortunately the airlines are pushing a lot of our passengers into their vehicles and driving to get air service,” Slaybaugh said. “That’s what we would like to see a change in —bringing some of that service back to Dayton where the passengers, the customer, actually lives.”

Cincinnati’s airport was traditionally the most expensive in the country, with the average ticket costing $557 in the beginning of 2013. But everything changed for the airport when Frontier came aboard that year, followed by other low-cost carriers that brought the average ticket cost down to $328 in the first quarter of 2018.

“That additional low-cost service has been driving down airfares; we’ve been adding more flights,” said Mindy Kershner, spokeswoman for the Cincinnati airport. “All that is pulling in more passengers from our local communities choosing CVG over surrounding airports.”

That’s a major point of jealousy for other airports in the region, Ratliff said, because in the 1980s the Cincinnati airport was a busy hub, and the passenger counts now are exceeding even those numbers as the airport grows faster than any other in the country.

»RELATED: Kings Island owner hits record revenues

“It’s much more impressive when you see people driving to the airport,” he said. Those local flyers will buy gas, pay to park and eat in the city, furthering the local economy.

Some of the 13 percent increased capacity in Cincinnati this year is through new destinations; the airport recently announced seasonal nonstop service to Orlando and Phoenix, and there have been eight other nonstop domestic destinations and three international locations added this year.

Dayton has also added one new destination this year. The nonstop Houston flight serviced by United Airlines came back for the first time since 2011, a much healthier time for the Dayton airport when more than 120,000 flyers boarded planes during the busy June and July months, according to airport data.

The airport also recorded gains several months in 2011 through 2013, when neighboring Cincinnati residents would drive to Dayton to avoid the higher fares at their home airport.

»BIZ BEAT: Dayton city’s housing market lags behind rest of region

Slaybaugh said he’s still optimistic about the Dayton airport’s future.

“The airlines are going to continue to get equipment for the foreseeable future,” he said. “As long as they’re continuing to take aircraft deliveries and they’re growing capacity, then that’s always an opportunity for us to get more capacity.”

FIVE FAST READS

Women-owned businesses becoming top earners

Kroger partners with area college to ramp up tech in grocery industry

Walmart to test new delivery method

Temperature abuse caused Chipotle outbreak: 3 things to know about it

Former Homearama luxury home listed for nearly $1M



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in News

Lawmakers: More to be done in addressing opioid crisis
Lawmakers: More to be done in addressing opioid crisis

Ohio is arguably one of the hardest-hit states in the country when it comes to the opioid crisis, and Butler County is one of the hardest-hit in Ohio. The state is second only to West Virginia when it comes to drug overdose rates, and Butler County has the fifth-most number of unintentional overdose deaths in the state, according to the Ohio Department...
15-month-old dies after choking on toy at day care, parents say
15-month-old dies after choking on toy at day care, parents say

The parents of a 15-month old baby who died after choking on a toy at day care said they're devastated. >> Read more trending news  The facility where the incident allegedly happened was closed Friday and the Department of Children and Families is investigating the incident. Little Malik was left fighting for his life. His father, Earl Baker...
Nearly 2 dozen communities on display at Springfield’s annual CultureFest
Nearly 2 dozen communities on display at Springfield’s annual CultureFest

The Xclusive Dance Crew spent three days a week rehearsing over a six-month period in preparation for the annual CultureFest event in downtown Springfield. The hip-hop dance group was an example of the commitment shown by many who were part of the Saturday event showcasing nearly two dozen cultures. “It’s the love and support from the community...
Champaign County economic group creates new position to link students to local manufacturing jobs
Champaign County economic group creates new position to link students to local manufacturing jobs

The Champaign Economic Partnership has created a new, part-time position to better connect students in Champaign County with opportunities at area businesses. Ashley Cook will serve as a business liaison as part of a larger effort to identify potential workers for the county’s manufacturing industry. The CEP is a nonprofit focused on economic...
STAFFORD: Springfield author chronicles history of Ohio agriculture; will discuss at library event
STAFFORD: Springfield author chronicles history of Ohio agriculture; will discuss at library event

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, Springfielder Timothy Thoresen will be in the Gaier Room of the Clark County Public Library to discuss how the family farm fits into the larger history of Ohio agriculture. The scholarly knowledge he brings to the subject was learned in the 14 years it took him to research and write “River, Reaper, Rail,” released this...
More Stories