The Dayton International Airport, while seeing fewer passengers on commercial flights over the last decade, has seen a jump in passengers taking charter flights.
The number of passengers who boarded a charter flight at the Dayton International Airport between January and August has increased nearly 39 percent this year compared to the same period in 2018. The 2,062 passenger that boarded charter flights in Dayton this year is also more than double the 999 through August 2015.
Charter flights are not listed on airlines’ flight schedules and aren’t part of regular service. Instead they’re entire aircraft is booked for a specific departure and arrival location and time.
“It’s reflective or indicative of what we’ve seen across the country,” said Jay Ratliff, a local aviation expert. “We’re seeing businesses more leaning toward the charter-type aircraft or where they’re sharing the aircraft.”
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Since 9/11, the time a traveler has to spend at an airport has only increased, Ratliff said. Some businesses across the country have moved to charter services when employees travel to bypass normal airport procedures that sometimes take three or four extra hours round trip for a short one-day business excursion.
“As a result, the charter side of things really caught on with a lot of people and it continues to be the case,” he said.
Some of the growth came in line with the launch of the Rose Music Center in Huber Heights. The concert venue opened in 2015 with 29 shows, said Rosemarie Moehring, marketing director for the facility.
Each year 10 to 15 percent of the headliners fly by private aircraft. Since 2015, the Rose Music Center has grown to 41 concerts during its May to September season.
Much of this year’s charter growth has come during April, May and June when 139, 86 and 194 more passengers boarded charter flights at the Dayton airport than the same month of 2018 respectively.
In addition to the entertainment industry, charter flights are used for businesses, casinos, sports travel, community groups, politicians, schools and universities, resort and attraction travel, troop transport and veterans group honor flights, according to Sun Country Airlines’ website.
Sun Country Airlines is the largest provider of charters through the Dayton airport, said Linda Hughes, air service manager at the Dayton airport.
“Sun Country’s charter business has seen a higher demand in Dayton over the past six months due to our casino partners in both Laughlin and Gulfport increasing their activity in Ohio,” a spokesperson for Sun Country told the Dayton Daily News.
The spokesperson didn’t reply when asked for additional details, but Sun Country’s website said casinos use charters for special events and high roller appreciation.
Each year about four honor flights for area veterans head to D.C. for a day, each flight able to hold about 187 total passengers. Area universities, including the University of Dayton, also use a small number of charter flights for athletics.
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base does not use charter flights, base spokesman Daryl Mayer said.
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