Will new flight help stabilize Dayton airport? Officials say yes

A new nonstop United Airlines flight added at the Dayton International Airport is among several changes expected in 2018 that could add stabilization to the city's air terminal.

Last year brought a slew of changes for the Dayton airport — from fluctuating passenger traffic to new, discount flight destinations and a change in air carriers, but aviation director Terry Slaybaugh said 2018 could be a year of steady growth for the city’s commercial travel industry.

On Monday, airport and city officials announced United Airlines will add a nonstop, daily flight to Houston from Dayton starting in early June. The air carrier will also add another flight to Chicago, a city it already serves from Dayton. The new route and added flights are a clear sign that United is invested in Dayton, city officials said.

» MUST-READ TRAVEL NEWS: 7 major changes at the Dayton airport in 2017

“United has helped connect Dayton to the world,” said Michael Quiello, United’s vice president of corporate safety. “We are excited to announce another new choice for our customers traveling to Houston and connecting to key destinations in the central and western United States and to business and leisure destinations in Latin America including Mexico City, Cancun, Los Cabos, Leon and Puerto Vallarta.”

The addition of Houston will be the 17th nonstop destination from Dayton airport. Dayton airport is currently served by Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, Allegiant Air and United Airlines. The new flight will give business travelers an easier route out west, where several companies with local connections have headquarters.

Dayton already serves the business community with flights to major hubs like Charlotte, Dallas, Chicago, New York, Detroit and Atlanta.

"(The airport) is an integral part of the future success of the region," said Jeff Hoagland, president and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition.

In addition to the new flight, the airport is spending millions of dollars for its terminal renovations. The next phase of the airport’s terminal modernization project began earlier this month, focusing on the airline ticketing end of the terminal and the outside of the parking garage across from baggage claim. The portion of the project is expected to be finish up in August.

The construction will impact the flow of traffic in front of the terminal, airport officials said.

“This phase begins the dramatic improvements to our passenger’s overall experience,” Slaybaugh said.

During the renovations, the airline ticket counter entrance to the terminal will be closed and traffic will be redirected to the main entrance and the baggage claim entrance. A construction fence will begin along the entrance drive directly after the short-term parking lot entrance and continue to the edge of the second terminal entrance doors, according to airport officials.

Airports across the U.S. will need an infusion of nearly $100 billion in the next five years to accommodate passenger and cargo growth, and to rehabilitate aging hubs, according to a 2017 report from the Airports Council International - North America.

The renovations and new flights come after a tumultuous year of changes for the airport. In June 2016, Southwest Airlines halted service at the Dayton airport in favor of adding flights at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. The move impacted the Dayton airport’s traffic numbers and average fare prices.

Allegiant, after its first full year of service in Dayton, continues its growth with new flights down south to Florida and Myrtle Beach. Allegiant officials told this news organization that the low-cost carrier has seen continued success in the Dayton market since its first flight in April 2016.


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