Airport Remains in Talks with 2 Airlines
VIENNA TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Officials at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport remain in talks with carriers for daily service but no announcement is imminent, the airport aviation director says.
“We’re always discussing things like this with other interested parties,” Dan Dickten said Monday. He said he is in discussions with two carriers but it is “too soon to talk about [that].”
Barely a month and a half after Great Lakes Jet Express began daily service July 1, the Western Reserve Port Authority, which operates the airport, announced last week it would cease subsidizing the carrier’s daily flights to and from O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.
The WRPA board of directors based its decision based on low passenger counts, the speed at which Great Lakes was using startup subsidies and the carrier’s failure to secure interline agreements with connecting airlines.
Ticket sales haven’t remained static since last week’s announcement that WRPA would cut off the subsidy, funded by a $1.2 million revenue guarantee of local and federal funds. “We’re not getting as much activity as we had anticipated in the first place,” Dickten said.
According to a news release last week, bookings had increased steadily last month on the strength of promotional fares, but passenger reports showed only 11% of passengers booking connecting flights through O’Hare. Load factors for the service averaged 28%, far below what is needed to be self-sufficient.
Talks are ongoing between Great Lakes and vendors it has contacts with to end the service sooner than the 90-day notice called for in the agreement. Dickten said he did not have information regarding the status of those discussions.
Representatives of Great Lakes and Winner Aviation, the fixed base operator at the airport, did not respond to requests for comment Monday afternoon.
Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.