In its first year of service at Dayton International Airport, Allegiant Air has already tripled its passenger traffic and could add even more flights in the future.
After adding several flights, Allegiant served approximately 3,875 passengers at the Dayton airport in February. That’s up from the 1,472 passengers who flew with Allegiant during its first month of service at Dayton last April.
“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.
When Allegiant began its service in Dayton, the only destination options were Orlando and St. Petersburgh/Clearwater, Fla. Allegiant has since added flights to Myrtle Beach, S.C., along with the Florida destinations of Tampa, Daytona Beach and Punta Gorda. The airline offers some deals like $49 fares for nonstop flights.
Hilarie Grey, director of corporate communications, told this news organization that the flights have been popular, including newer routes like Punta Gorda and Myrtle Beach.
“Dayton has already been a great market for Allegiant thanks in large part to outstanding support from the airport and the community – they are terrific partners,” she said.
Slaybaugh said traffic growth for the airline has been impressive, and he hopes to see continued and increased flight options from the airline in the future.
Twice-weekly flights to Myrtle Beach, a popular vacation destination, begin on May 24. The cheap fare entices travelers, and passenger traffic is expected to increase again next month when new nonstop flights begin. And the airline could expand to even more routes, Grey said.
“With all of this initial success, we’re very excited about prospects for the future and have already been working with the airport to identify potential new routes and opportunities to increase frequency,” she said.
The Las Vegas-based low-cost airline came from humble beginnings in 1999, when it had just one aircraft that served one route. Now, the company has more than 80 aircraft with more than 300 routes across the country.
The Dayton airport has seen a drop in both flights and traffic in recent years, but Slaybaugh says Allegiant’s success could lead to other discount companies coming in. He said he is currently arranging discussions with JetBlue and Spirit Airlines.
Allegiant’s presence in Dayton is important for passenger traffic flow, especially after Southwest Airline’s decision to pull its services from the airport. Southwest’s departure helped drop traffic at the airport to just over 1 million last year — down from 1.3 million in 2012.
Local aviation expert Jay Ratliff said low-cost airlines force the legacy carriers to compete with cheap prices, helping travelers get a bang for their buck. That increased competition and cheap oil prices are making it possible for passengers to get the best deal, he said.
“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.
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