Regional airport consultant explains Allegiant's departure
The aviation consultant for Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport gave a statistic-laden analysis providing a persuasive explanation for why Allegiant Air is ending its flights here in January after 11 years.
Mike Mooney of Denver, a partner in Volaire Aviation Consulting, gave the presentation today at the Western Reserve Port Authority’s monthly meeting. The port authority runs the local airport.
From 2006, when Allegiant first arrived at the local airport, until 2013, Allegiant was the only ultra-low-cost airline flying to Florida in what Mooney calls the Northeast Ohio/Western Pennsylvania “triangle.” That area takes in the airports in Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Akron-Canton and Cleveland.
Starting in 2014, Frontier Airlines, another ultra-low-cost airline, started offering flights out of Cleveland, and by year’s end it was offering that type of flight to 15 cities, including four in Florida.
By the end of 2015, Allegiant was offering flights at Akron-Canton and Pittsburgh – even more than it had offered in Youngstown.
Spirit – the third of the three big ultra-low-cost airlines – entered Akron-Canton by November 2016, flying to six Florida cities. By May this year, Spirit was also flying from Pittsburgh to two Florida destinations.
Mooney said the profitability of the ultra-low-cost business model changed the Pittsburgh-Youngstown-Akron-Cleveland triangle from a “backwater to full-scale [ultra-low-cost] battleground” between 2013 and this year.
Read more of his remarks in Thursday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.