Monday, April 23, 2012

Opinion/Letter: New reasons to try Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (KAVP), Pennsylvania

Published: April 23, 2012 

Orlando, Fla., long has been the leading destination for leisure travelers using the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport. But the airport long has had trouble attracting, and then sustaining, direct service.

Last week, the airport announced that a long-sought discount carrier, Allegiant Air, will offer twice-weekly direct flights from AVP to Orlando, beginning June 21.

That service is the latest in a series of reasons for local travelers to take a fresh look at the region's airport when considering air travel, rather than looking first to airports in the Lehigh Valley, the New York area and Philadelphia.

Decisions to use other airports are driven, of course, primarily by cost. As a discount carrier, Allegiant's service to Orlando promises to be highly competitive. Ideally, its presence also will place downward pressure on fares charged by other carries that offer one-stop Orlando service through various hubs.

The new service also was announced at the dawn of the summer travel season. Several factors also should prompt local travelers to look at the AVP option in terms of total cost, rather than in terms of airfare alone.

At nearly $4 a gallon, the cost of gasoline alone could eliminate the airfare savings to be gained by driving past AVP to more distant airports. The cost of long-term parking at the big metropolitan airports also is substantially higher than at AVP.

In some cases, the service and prices available at AVP still do not match up with the competing airports, but that truly is on a route-by-route, fare-by-fare basis.

The success of AVP is a key element in the long-term economic success of Northeast Pennsylvania. Local travelers can contribute to that success by giving AVP a first look when they plan to travel.

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