Posts Tagged ‘JobsOhio’

CAK Hopes to Lure Delta Back With $1M Incentive Fund

October 24, 2020

Akron-Canton Airport is banking on a $1 million incentive fund to lure Delta Air Lines into reinstating flights to Atlanta.

The fund was started with a grant of $80,000 from JobsOhio. The rest of the money is being provided by local organizations, businesses and units of government.

Federal law prohibits airports from directly subsidizing air service, but they can provide financial support for such things as marketing and waive certain fees normally charged to airlines in return for providing service.

In this case, Akron-Canton would guarantee revenue for Delta should the route not generate a profit on its own, said Lisa Dalpiaz, the airport’s director of marketing and air service development.

Delta suspended its service between Akron-Canton and Atlanta in May and recently indicated that the suspension will remain indefinitely.

Airport officials say getting back service to Atlanta is important because it is the world’s busiest airport and thus offers numerous connections.

The efforts to woo Delta into resuming service come at a time when Akron-Canton has suffered massive losses of passengers due to the CVOID-19 pandemic.

The airport located in Green has also seen its number of flights and non-stop destinations drop significantly.

The latest federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics figures show Akron-Canton handled 16,002 passengers in August, a 76 percent drop from what it handled in August 2019.

“Smaller regional airports are having a more difficult time,” said Ren Camacho, president and CEO of Akron-Canton,

“The airlines are getting smaller, and when they get smaller they tend to focus on their hub activities, those routes that will be as profitable as possible for them.”

In recent months Akron-Canton Airport has averaged seven flights per day this month to Charlotte, Philadelphia and Chicago O’Hare airports.

Spirit Airlines provides twice weekly service to Orlando, although that service was suspended for a few weeks last month.

Airport officials expect United Airlines through its United Express partner to begin service in December to Washington Dulles International Airport.

They also expect Spirit to resume its seasonal service to Fort Myers and Tampa, and to increase the number of weekly Orlando flights.

But no dates have been announced for resumption of service to Washington Reagan National, New York LaGuardia or Houston.

United had announced earlier this year that its service to Dulles would replace the existing service to Newark. Both Dulles and Newark are major hubs for United.

Camacho said service to Atlanta is the route that many in the Akron-Canton region want back the most based on recent surveys of travelers who use the airport.

He said a committee with representatives from JobsOhio and the community are considering approaching Delta later this year to try to persuade it to resume the Atlanta service in spring 2021.

“We understand they have a business decision to make,” Camacho said. “We have an opportunity to try to mitigate some of that risk. We want to see them back.”

A Delta spokesman declined to say whether a financial incentive might lure the carrier into returning service to Akron-Canton.

“At this time, we do not have a date to resume service to Akron-Canton. We are continuously monitoring demand trends and are rebuilding our network as demand resumes,” he said.

At the time that Delta suspended service to Akron-Canton last spring it said the market would be adequately served by flights to Hopkins Airport.

Akron-Canton officials protested that, saying airlines that accepts emergency aid under the CARES Act were banned from dropping service to individual markets.

However, the U.S. Department of Transportation sided with Delta in its contention that Akron-Canton is part of the larger Cleveland air service market.

Camacho still disagrees with that, saying,”our economy, the greater Akron- Canton economy, is separate from Cleveland’s.”

During November, Akron-Canton expects to see 46 flights a week compared with the 152 it hosted in November 2019.

Capacity for the month is projected to be 3,016 seats per week compared with 9.987 in November 2019.

JobsOhio To Fund Quest for New Airline Service

February 15, 2020

An Ohio economic develop agency is earmarking $4 million to help the state’s larger airports attract more airline service.

JobsOhio said the money can be used to attract new flights to unserved or underserved markets, including, transatlantic service from Cleveland and Columbus.

Officials said the funds could also benefit the Akron-Canton Airport, which has seen a decline in service in recent years and the Youngstown-Warren Airport, which lost commercial airline service in early 2018.

Ohio airports have been lobbying the Ohio legislature without success in recent years to create a fund to help attract new air service.

They have said Cleveland and Columbus are at a disadvantage compared with Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, which have used public funding to attract service to Europe.

Pittsburgh used $4 million in public funding to lure British Airways into creating a route to London while Indianapolis landed a Delta Air Lines route to Paris with the help of $5.5 million.

Cleveland Hopkins Airport officials say they believe they have lost out on some service opportunities because they lack funding to entice a carrier to launch new service.

Federal law prohibits direct funding of air service, but airports can waive certain fees, provide revenue guarantees and use public money to help airlines pay marketing costs.

Speaking to the City Club of Cleveland, J.P. Nauseef, president and chief investment officer of JobsOhio, said buying airline service is an economic development issue.

Nauseef said he’s heard business leaders throughout the state say, “If we had better air service, we could attract more people. If we had better air service, we could bring another division here. If we had better air service, Ohio would stay on the list with Texas and Florida for business growth.”

Nauseef said details about how the air service fund will operate are still being written, but there is likely to be some local matching funds requirement, including support from the business community.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership offered an undisclosed amount of financial assistance to Wow Air, which flew for six months in 2018 between Cleveland and Reykjavik, Iceland.

That same year Icelandair also provided service on the same route.

Wow Air is now out of business and Icelandair decided not to continue its service to Cleveland into 2019.

Cleveland and Columbus were said by JobsOhio to be two of the largest air travel markets to be without non-stop airline service to Europe.

JobsOhio is a private, nonprofit economic development group that is funded primarily through revenue from liquor sales in the state.