City of Dayton leadership was informed by Southwest Airlines that despite its success in the Dayton market with passenger load factors in the high seventy and low eighty percent range, the airline has decided to leave the market in June 2017.
Southwest's announcement signals a growing trend in the airline industry of concentrating service in larger hub markets.
"Unfortunately the trend has meant smaller to medium-size markets including Dayton have been losing routes," said Terrence Slaybaugh, Dayton's Director of Aviation.
"Although we hate to lose any airline service, especially one that the community has been very supportive of, we realize the volatility of the industry and the current trend of airlines to focus on hubs."
Southwest Airlines entered the Dayton market in 2012 after the acquisition of AirTran. Originally they offered passengers continued service to Baltimore, Denver, Orlando and Tampa seasonally. Last year, Southwest made a major change in service to Dayton passengers by ending service to all of the markets currently served (Baltimore, Denver, Tampa and Orlando) and beginning new service to Chicago through Midway Airport with three trips a day.
This change resulted in Allegiant Airlines announcing service to Orlando and Tampa. Recently Allegiant announced new service to the Ft. Myers area through Punta Gorda.
Southwest's announcement will not affect the number of markets with non-stop service from Dayton, since Chicago is served by American and United with eight to nine flights daily to O'Hare.
The City of Dayton will continue to enjoy strong air service from airline partners American, Allegiant, Delta and United to maintain and grow capacity and air service for our customers. Dayton continues to offer the lowest airport operating cost in the region.