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New airport manager believes more flights on the way

Published: Tue, July 27, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.





Passengers wait to check in at the Youngstown Warren Regional Airport. A market survey points out that the top six flight destinations for Mahoning Valley residents are in tourist areas Ñ Orlando, Las Vegas, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, and Nashville..

Dan Dickten, new aviation director for the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, says he thinks it’s likely talks with several airlines will produce additional service at the local airport that will be attractive to local business people.

Among the more promising possibilities are talks with Delta/Northwest that have the potential to produce air service between the local airport and the Detroit Metropolitan Airport four times per weekday and several times on weekends.

Dickten said he has proposed that the service include flights to Detroit at 6:50 and 11:45 a.m. and 3:10 and 6:45 p.m. Delta/Northwest would most likely use a 34-seat jet-prop aircraft for the service, advertised under the name Delta Connection. Such flights can connect local travelers with airports around the world, Dickten said.

“I believe we need four flights each weekday to make it work” for business travelers, he said.

Another possibility would involve United Airlines using a 50- to 70-seat aircraft to fly between Chicago O’Hare, Youngstown and Dulles in Washington, D.C., Dickten said. A meeting in Chicago on that proposal will take place in August or September, Dickten said.

Those talks are in addition to meetings Dickten had with four airlines in San Diego in June. He met with Trans States Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Gulf Stream International and Vision Airlines.

Trans States would potentially offer service between Youngstown and Washington, D.C.; Spirit would potentially provide leisure flights between Youngstown and Fort Lauderdale; Gulf Stream would potentially offer flights between Youngstown and Cleveland; and Vision would potentially offer flights between Youngstown and two business destinations to the east and a leisure destination in the South.

All four airlines have asked for updated market information on the local airport, Dickten said.

The main reason Dickten has hope that an additional airline will join Allegiant, which provides flights to and from Orlando and Myrtle Beach, is because Allegiant has succeeded and grown since it arrived in 2006.

“We think it’s just a matter of who’s coming first,” Dickten said of another airline.

Allegiant has expanded service in two ways this year.

First, it initiated two flights per week to Myrtle Beach.

Second, its suspension of Orlando flights during the fall has been eliminated this year, meaning that two flights will be offered all 52 weeks in 2010.

The industry measurement called “load factor” — indicating how many or few empty seats are on each plane — has been at a good level, and that also encourages other airlines to come here, Dickten said.

Dickten has teamed up with Eric Planey of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber on the project. Planey plans to meet with business officials to seek a commitment that they would use a certain type of air service if it were available, Dickten said.

“That’s what airlines want — what puts butts in the seats,” Dickten said.

A merket survey points out that the top six flight destinations for Mahoning Valley residents are in tourist areas — Orlando, Las Vegas, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers and Nashville.

Destinations that might be classified as business come next — Phoenix, Atlanta, Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles, Chicago Midway, San Antonio, New York, Dallas/Fort Worth, Baltimore, Seattle and Boston.

Though a previous study based on responses from Mahoning Valley business people indicated that flights from Youngstown to Philadelphia International Airport are among the ones business people most desire, the newest study puts Philadelphia at No. 18 on the most-used list.

The newest study, conducted by Air Service Partners of Alexandria Va.. indicates Allegiant has already tapped into the most lucrative market for Valley fliers, taking 25,800 people to Orlando in 2009. The airports in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Akron, among others, provided another 18,564 flights to Orlando in 2009.

Pittsburgh International Airport gathers the largest share of Mahoning Valley fliers — 52 percent, with Cleveland Hopkins second at 40 percent and Akron Canton at 8 percent.

If the local airport attracted two new airlines, Dickton believes the percentage of flights that originated in Youngstown in 2009 — 11 percent (25,800 flights) could be increased to around 40 percent (around 92,300 flights).

In addition to the 25,800 Allegiant flights, around 5,200 flights were provided to Atlantic City and Las Vegas by a couple of small airlines, Dickten said.


1YSUGRAD(134 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

Need a non-stop to/from Burbank

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2muskyharry(1 comment)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

censoredship, Duuh! didn;t you read the article, the number of flights, the number of passengers, Same old Mahoning Valley, Liberal, Negative, Mentality. No wonder I moved to Fl when I retired.Good luck with the negativity.

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3lizhill2(7 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

I'd love to see more flights from Youngstown regional. But it would also be great to have Amtrak stop here again. I know business people like to fly but trains make sense too for ordinary people.

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4valleyred(1103 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

I will admit, I really liked when the flights went to Orlando Sanford, but I believe MANY people in this community frowned upon the flights going to Sanford originally over Orlando International.

I for one love what Dan Dickten is doing up at the airport and hope we see many more flights and become competitive with CAK for the low cost segment of the NEOHIO and Western PA population.

Get flights to FT. MYER'S!

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5HaydenThomas(208 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

The Youngstown airport as a commercial enterprise simply does not have the population base to draw from and it continues to shrink. Factor in Akron Canton, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland all within an hours drive and you have a recipe for failure and economic drain on resources that could better be used on projects that make sense.

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6commoncents(53 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

Thank you, Tom, for injecting a good dose of reality and clear thinking into this issue. I wish more people would think a little more and ask more of the right questions. Questions like:
- Who owns the land around the airport? (Regional Chamber? Vindicator?)
- What happens when the Air Reserve base is closed in the next round of federal base closings?
- With our location, would high-speed rail connect us to more business while being cheaper and more sustainable?

I think Dan Dickton is a talented professional and a very good hire. My problem is not with him, but with the shallow minds who gave him a fool's errand as a job. Let's get their names out there and hear them try to explain their rationale. That would be a real display of missing brainpower!

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7One_Who_Stayed(240 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

I'm wondering where commoncents gets the assumption that the Air Force will be closing the 110th Airlift wing?

Do you think that the Air Force is going to magically stop shipping stuff around the world as the current wars wind down?

Fact is that there is no evidence what-so-ever that this is going to happen and if there's going to be an air base there anyhow, why should we blow off a resource like an airport that costs us just about nothing? If they were simply trying to keep a stand-alone airport open, I'd say - sure - close it - by all means. But that's not the case.

There will be a working airport there for the foreseeable future with or without commercial traffic. Why not use the resource to the fullest?

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8walter_sobchak(2672 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

With all of the empty land around the airport, why not offer one of the airlines the ability to own the parking rights at the airport? This way, they can offer flights from Youngstown with parking included in the ticket to subsidize the flight cost. I mean, the land is vacant now and not generating any revenue. Parking costs at PGH and CLE are ridiculous.

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9Owlguin(50 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

Last time my son flew from Orlando, a guard told me Allegiant was moving back to Sanford in the fall. I'd love to see Spirit fly from Youngstown to Ft. Lauderdale. Pittsburgh has very few non stops into Ft. Lauderdale these days.

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10valleyred(1103 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

Spirit would be a great add to YNG as long as it does not endanger our service with Allegiant, because it may since that is one of Allegiant's focus cities/hubs down in Florida.

If we could get something like this going, I like our shots of seeing that place busy on a daily basis:

Orlando: 2 x weekly, 4 x weekly during busy period.
St. Pete: 2 x weekly, 4 x weekly during busy period.
Myrtle Beach: 2 x weekly on a seasonal basis.
Ft. Myers: 2 x weekly on a seasonal basis (November-May)
Ft. Lauderdale: 2 x weekly
Chicago or DC: 2 x daily.

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11paulydel(1598 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

To all you nay sayers out there that is part the very reason the Mahoning Valley is suffering. I say if Dan has done his homework and it looks like he has then if he draws other airlines there then good for him. This airport has potential and should be run by somebody that can bring these companies here. It will be needed if we are going to attract other businesses here.

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12bobhogue(102 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

@valleyred: I think your recommendations are very good. I'd also like to see Delta have a flight or two to Cincinnati (a Delta hub), and maybe a USAirways flight to Philadelphia (one of their hubs).

Too much to hope for? Maybe, but I'd sure like to see a local alternative to 1+ hour drives to Cleveland, Akron/Canton, and Pittsburgh.

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13valleyred(1103 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

I wrote an article on this news here:

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14lucky(2 comments)posted 5 years, 11 months ago

sotired you crack me up!! obviously you dont get the mission of TSA. 15-20? that is quite an exaggeration. GOOD JOB TSA. I know you look and EVERY BAG and I have nothing to hide. I can only speak for myself and not for angry, unstable and stupid people. Keep up the good work, would love to see more flights from Youngstown to ANYWHERE.

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