By ED RUNYAN
Despite business setbacks in recent years, the 277 Mahoning Valley business and government workers surveyed in May and June still take 1,350 round-trip business flights per year — or about 3.7 passengers per day.
These people — some of whom spend as much as $75,000 per year on air travel to conferences, sales calls and visits to other offices — would most like to see service from the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport to Philadelphia International Airport.
That is one of the conclusions reached in a market study conducted by Sixel Consulting Group Inc. of Eugene, Ore.
The survey was done to determine what destinations local businesspeople would most like to use, as Dan Dickton, the recently hired director of aviation at the local airport, continues to talk to airlines about bringing their service here.
Dickton released the results of the survey at the monthly meeting of Western Reserve Port Authority on Wednesday at the Youngstown Business Incubator. The port authority runs the local airport.
Philadelphia was ranked the No. 1 business destination, with a demand of 824 round-trip flights per year. Second was Chicago O’Hare International Airport at 818 trips per year. Third was Washington Dulles International Airport with 661. In fourth place was Detroit Metropolitan Airport with 401.
“The results of this survey prove that companies in Youngstown are highly interconnected with the rest of the country — and the rest of the world — driving more business demand for air travel than would normally be seen in a city the size of Youngstown,” Sixel said in the report.
The survey said an additional 958 business people annually use air travel to visit the Mahoning Valley for business for a total of 2,308 business trips per year — or 6.3 business trips per day.
That “represents only a small portion of the overall demand” for air travel from the Mahoning Valley, the survey noted.
The survey said that US Air is the most-often used airline at 22 percent of respondents, followed by Continental at 20 percent, Southwest at 17 percent, Delta/Northwest at 16 percent, United at 12 percent, American at 6 percent, Allegiant at 5 percent and Frontier at 2 percent.
Pittsburgh International Airport is the most-frequently used airport by Mahoning Valley businesspeople, followed by Cleveland Hopkins International, Akron-Canton Regional and Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport.
The survey said nine of 186 respondents spend more than $50,000 per year on air travel; six spend $25,000 to $50,000; 22 spend $10,000 to $25,000; 28 spend $5,000 to $10,000; 68 spend $1,000 to $5,000; and 53 spend less than $1,000.
Respondents indicated the cities in which they have another office, with Washington-Baltimore leading the way with 11, followed by Chicago and New York with 10 and Atlanta with seven.