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Study says area has more fliers than previously thought



Published: Sun, February 24, 2013 @ 12:05 a.m.

An updated study by a consultant working for the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport indicates the number of passengers flying out of the Youngstown-Warren-Sharon area is more than double the number from 2011.

By Ed Runyan

runyan@vindy.com

VIENNA

The number of passengers flying out of the Youngstown-Warren-Sharon area is more than double the number from 2011, an updated study by a consultant working for the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport indicates.

Dan Dickten, aviation director at the airport, says the new data should help persuade an airline to start daily service here.

Tom Reich, of AvPorts Growth Development Services of Dulles, Va., recently gave the airport the data, indicating the “catchment area” for the local airport — the area from which most of an airport’s passengers come — is 519,611 passengers per year.

In 2011, Reich said the figure was 204,036.

The new methodology acknowledges that airline passengers buy tickets on the Internet from companies all around the world, which can make it difficult to determine where the buyer lives, Reich said.

By using additional data from airports that receive customers from the Youngstown-Warren-Sharon “catchment area” and weighing that more heavily than in the past, Reich said he now has a number of passengers that is “closer to the actual market size than previous studies.”

“It shows a lot of people traveling out of this area,” Dickten said, and should “give us a better chance of getting an airline.”

Dickten and Reich have been courting airlines for a couple years. The service they provide would connect local passengers with larger airports in Detroit, Chicago or Washington so they could continue to destinations worldwide.

The airport now provides flights through Allegiant Air and a few smaller airlines to leisure destinations. But to support daily air service, the airport would need to attract business travelers, officials have said.

The airport was awarded a $780,000 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration in August that would help provide a revenue guarantee for an airline taking a chance on starting service here.

An argument against a new United Express service in Youngstown is that it would hurt United’s business at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. But Dickten said Reich’s data shows that only about two passengers per day from the Youngstown-Warren-Sharon catchment area use United flights in Cleveland.

The study says 60 percent of fliers here use Pittsburgh International Airport and only 18 percent use Cleveland, with 12 percent using Detroit Metropolitan Airport, 9 percent using Akron-Canton Airport and 1 percent using others.

The earlier study said 49 percent use Pittsburgh, 35 percent use Cleveland, 9 percent use Detroit and 7 percent use Akron-Canton.

The new study says the top airlines used in the local catchment area are United (19 percent), AirTran (18 percent), US Air (13 percent), Delta (13 percent), Southwest (13 percent), Allegiant (12 percent), American (7 percent), Frontier (2 percent), Spirit (1 percent) and others (2 percent).


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