Low cost airline adds flights at Dayton airport

Airfare from the Dayton International Airport has been among the highest in the U.S. in recent years, but new flights from Allegiant Air could help drive down ticket prices.

Allegiant announced today it is adding another nonstop flight to Punta Gorda, Fla., from the Dayton airport. Known for its “ultra-low” fares, the airline will offer one-ways fares on the route for as low as $51.

The service is set to begin Nov. 17, and details including varying fares are available on Allegiant’s website.

>>> RELATED: See how Dayton airfare prices compare to other cities

“We’re looking forward to providing the Dayton community with their only low cost, nonstop flight option to visit southwest Florida via Punta Gorda,” said Jude Bricker, Allegiant chief operating officer. “With this new flight, area travelers will now be able to fly nonstop to three sunny Florida destinations on Allegiant.”

The service will operate twice weekly from Dayton to the Punta Gorda Airport. The introductory fare deals are one-way and not available on all flights. The tickets must be purchased by Sept. 2 for travel by May 16, 2017.

“Since Allegiant began flying out of Dayton earlier this year, the flights have been extremely popular with regional travelers,” said Terrence Slaybaugh, director of the Dayton International Airport. “We are excited the airline has seen the positive reaction our travelers have had to their low-cost options and will be adding service to another popular vacation destination this fall.”

>>> SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow the Dayton business page for more flight news

Allegiant started flying out of Dayton in April, with stops to Orlando and St. Peter/Clearwater, Fla. Allegiant Air had 1,472 passengers fly out of the Dayton International Airport in April, the first month of local operation for the discount airline, according to airport officials.

The company has more than 80 aircraft and more than 300 routes across the country.

Dayton International Airport saw a drop in prices in the first quarter of 2016 — averaging about $427, compared to $431 in the first quarter of 2015 — but airfare from Dayton flights remain among the highest in the nation.

Dayton’s average airfare price has increased $113 since 2010. It is the second most expensive Ohio airport in terms of average airfare, right behind Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. Cincinnati’s airport had an average fare of $430 in the first quarter of 2016, down from $468 during the same time in 2015.

Cincinnati’s airport is the 16th most expensive of the top 100 airports in the nation, with Dayton just behind it.

Airfare prices at the Dayton airport have consistently been above average nationwide in recent years. In 2014, the Dayton airport had the largest average airfare increase among the top 100 airports in the U.S.

Aviation expert Jay Ratliff told the Dayton Daily News in July that Allegiant Air and JetBlue Airways offer cheap seat tickets for travelers, forcing major carriers to lower prices to compete.

“These larger airlines are being forced to compete, and as consumers we love it,” Ratliff said.

Slaybaugh said he expects Allegiant’s presence to impact the airport’s average ticket prices

Ratliff said in addition to increased competition, cheaper oil prices have contributed to decreases in ticket prices. He said prices could stay around for a while.

“To be able to jump on a plane and fly from Dayton or Cincinnati to Florida for $80 round-trip, or whatever it may be — that’s just an incredible, incredible opportunity for people,” Ratliff said. “And more people are taking advantage of it.”

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