Airline Turbulence Continues at Akron-Canton

The churn of airline service at Akron-Canton Airport continued this week with the news that Allegiant Air will leave the airport early next year and that Spirit Airlines will increase the number of destinations that it plans to serve from CAK.

Akron-Canton AirportAkron-Canton will also see an increase in service by American Eagle in early October.

Allegiant, which began service to Akron-Canton in spring 2015, plans to move it flights from CAK to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

The discount carrier, which specializes in selling travel packages as well as air fares, will cease serving Akron-Canton on Feb. 15.

For its part, Spirit plans to begin service at Akron-Canton on Nov. 10, serving many of the same destinations that Allegiant now serves.

From Akron-Canton, Allegiant serves St. Petersburg, Florida; Punta Gorda, Florida; Orlando (Sanford); Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and Savannah, Georgia.

Many of those destinations are seasonal and none are served daily.

Allegiant said it would link Cleveland with all of those destinations as well as launch routes between Cleveland and Jacksonville, Florida.; Austin, Texas; New Orleans; and Phoenix.

Spirit will offer service from Akron-Canton to Orlando International Airport and to Fort Lauderdale. Allegiant’s Orlando flights actually go to Sanford.

Spirit also plans to provide winter seasonal service several times a week to Tampa and Fort Myers, Florida. Summer seasonal service to Myrtle Beach will begin next April 27.

This week Spirit announced that it will begin flying between Akron-Canton and Las Vegas on April 27, providing the first service between those cities since Southwest Airlines ended its flights on the route earlier this year.

American Eagle plans to institute twice daily service on Oct. 6 between Akron-Canton and Chicago O’Hare International Airport, and to increase its service between Akron-Canton and New York LaGuardia Airport to twice daily.

United Express currently flies between Akron and O’Hare.

Airport officials said Allegiant told them its flights to Akron-Canton had performed well.

But Allegiant chief operating officer and senior vice president of planning Jude Bricker told attendees of the International Aviation Forecast Summit this month that service between smaller airports and destination cities such as Orlando and Las Vegas has just about played itself out.

Bricker said Allegiant did well in those markets, saying the carrier now has 350 served markets in 109 cities.

“We serve more cities than Southwest Airlines, though we’re much thinner on peak days,” he said.

Allegiant recently began service to Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport and plans to begin serving Newark Liberty International Airport.

In Ohio, Allegiant has service to Columbus, Toledo, Youngstown, Dayton and Cincinnati. It has never served Cleveland directly.

Akron-Canton Airport President and Chief Executive Officer Rick McQueen said Allegiant had an 88 percent load factor at CAK.

“It’s always disappointing to lose air service,” he said. “It’s a very precious commodity to the community. The Akron and Canton community really supported that service.”

Within the past year, Akron-Canton has lost service provided by Southwest Airlines. At one time, Southwest flew to Atlanta, Chicago Midway, LaGuardia, Washington Reagan National, Denver, Las Vegas and Orlando.

Today, Southwest continues to fly to Atlanta three times a day and has Saturday-only service to Orlando.

In a statement, Bricker said moving Allegiant’s flights to Cleveland “will allow Allegiant to have a stronger presence in Northeast Ohio and allow us to offer our low fares and convenient travel to even more travelers.”

Spirit also serves Cleveland and although it has said it expects to do well in Cleveland and Akron-Canton, there has been speculation that some Cleveland flights might migrate to Akron-Canton if the load factors out of Cleveland drop off.

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