Kara Driscoll has the details.

Southwest adds services in Cincinnati after leaving Dayton

Southwest Airlines is pulling services out of Dayton International Airport, according to a company spokesperson.

The airline will continue services through June 3. Southwest operates three daily departures to and from Chicago Midway. The airline announced services are coming to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG).

Southwest will bring eight daily flights to the Cincinnati airport, going to Baltimore and Chicago. CVG served 6.8 million passengers in 2016, an 8 percent increase over 2015.

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“Decisions to leave a city are never an easy decision,” said Dan Landson, spokesman for Southwest Airlines. “We have a responsibility to send our people and our places to where they are needed the most. Our main focus right now is on our impacted employees and assisting them to find positions throughout Southwest’s network so they remain among the 53,000 that make Southwest great. We truly appreciate the support shown by the Dayton community.”

Dayton officials said Southwest’s announcement signals a growing trend in the airline industry of concentrating services in larger hub markets.

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“Unfortunately the trend has meant smaller to medium-size markets including Dayton have been losing routes,” said Terrence Slaybaugh, Dayton’s director of Aviation. “Although we hate to lose any airline service, especially one that the community has been very supportive of, we realize the volatility of the industry and the current trend of airlines to focus on hubs.”

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The city said Southwest’s announcement will not affect the number of markets with non-stop service from Dayton, since Chicago is served by American and United with eight to nine flights daily to O’Hare.

Back in April, Southwest shifted all of its Dayton services to fly to its hub at Chicago Midway International Airport. Prior to that, Southwest had three daily non-stop destinations to Baltimore, Denver and Orlando. Southwest originally started offering services to Dayton in August 2012 with one, daily round-trip flight to Denver.

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Back in 2012, the airline spent more than $1 million at the airport to offer services in Dayton.

Southwest Airlines flights at Dayton International Airport were down more than 16 percent in November compared to the same month in 2015. The airline flew less flights from Dayton airport than American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines.

This isn’t the first airline to pull out of Dayton airport. In May 2013, Frontier Airlines discontinued services at the airport.

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