The success of the newly added United Airlines route from the Dayton International Airport to Houston airport is expected to result in a larger aircraft next month.
The 2.5-hour, nonstop flight was offered on June 8 at the Dayton International Airport for the first time since 2011. It was one of eight airports to receive the nonstop flight recently, including the Akron/Canton airport.
» RELATED: 5 amazing flight deals we found at local airports for summer travel
“We already know that the flight is successful because the first flight had over 70 percent load factor, which is very good for a first flight,” said Terrence Slaybaugh, director of aviation for Dayton and the airport.
Slaybaugh and United Airlines did not provide specific ticket sales for the flight, but Slaybaugh said United Airlines has an automated system that increases the size of aircraft if they see the sales support it, and the company has already scheduled a larger aircraft for July. That plane could double the seats available from roughly 50 to 100.
United Airlines spokesman Jonathan Guerin confirmed that there is a larger aircraft scheduled for July and October because demand is expected to be high during those months.
The flight is currently departing and arriving to the airport once a day, but Slaybaugh expects that to change.
» RELATED: Family Video closing 2 area stores, selling movies for as low as $1
“We expect it to go to two flights pretty quickly,” he said. “They’ll do it if they think it would work.”
He said since the flight leaves in the morning and arrives at night, a flight in the middle of the day would serve the airport best, and it’s his job to keep Dayton in the running for another flight since the other seven airports will also want a second flight.
“We will continue to review performance and determine opportunities for growth,” Guerin said.
Dayton Airport served a nonstop flight to Houston until 2011 via Continental Airlines before the company merged with United Airlines.
“We’ve been asking for (the flight) for five years,” Slaybaugh said. “The reason we didn’t get it sooner is that all the carriers have a shortage of aircrafts.”
One of the keys to the flight’s success is the connection it gives Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to Lackland Air Force base in San Antonio, Texas. Slaybaugh said Houston also serves as a gateway in connecting the rich aerospace activity due to Wright Patterson and manufacturing in southwest Ohio to that of the west coast.
“Customers are now able to make convenient connections to key destinations in the central and western United States via Houston,” Guerin said. “Additionally, our Houston hub is United’s gateway to Latin America and these new nonstop flights will connect to key business and leisure destinations such as Mexico City, Cancun, Los Cabos, Leon, and Puerto Vallarta.”
The nonstop Houston flight leaves Dayton at 7:08 a.m. and arrives in Houston at 8:46 a.m. The return flight leaves Houston at 7:53 p.m., returning to Dayton Airport at 11:29 p.m., according to Dayton airport’s website.
It’s been a year of changes for the Dayton International Airport with fluctuating passenger traffic and the loss of service from Southwest Airlines in June 2017, which negatively affected Dayton’s traffic numbers and average fare prices.
The Dayton airport now offers a total 17 nonstop destinations served by United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and Allegiant Air.
FIVE FAST READS
• Retail sales increase in May, expected to continue growing this year
• Order online from Walmart, pick up items at a vending machine in under a minute
• Ohio public university presidents fight for more funding at Statehouse
• Algae plaguing Ohio lakes could force Kasich to take executive action
• PHOTOS: Retail tycoon’s former Ohio mansion on sale for $3.95 million