Friday, August 25, 2017

Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport (KYNG), Vienna, Trumbull County, Ohio: Allegiant Air says it will make final departure January 4th

VIENNA — Allegiant Air, the only airline to offer commercial service at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, will make its final departure from the local runway early next year.

The Las Vegas-based company, which has been offering nonstop, discount leisure flights from the Vienna airport for more than a decade, said its service here will end Jan. 4.

“Demand in the area was simply not high enough to continue service at this time,” Krysta Levy, an Allegiant spokesperson, stated in an email to the Tribune Chronicle on Thursday.

Levy said passengers who booked travel in or out of Youngstown after that date will be contacted individually by the airline and be refunded or re-accommodated.

She said travelers will still be able to fly with Allegiant at nearby airports, including Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and Pittsburgh International Airport.

John Moliterno, executive director of the Western Reserve Port Authority, which runs the local airport, said the airport has been accommodating to Allegiant’s needs and the community has been receptive to the service.

“Why they determined the need to pull out of Youngstown is still something we are waiting to hear,” said Moliterno, who added the airport will continue to work with Allegiant and not “burn any bridges,” because “that’s not how we operate.”

Dan Dickten, aviation director, declined to comment on Allegiant’s leaving, but did say there are discussions happening “with several airlines” to provide service at the airport. Moliterno said because of the news of Allegiant, the port authority and airport will “step up” efforts to land another airline.

Marty Loney, port authority board chairman, said he was not aware of Allegiant’s decision until contacted by a Tribune Chronicle reporter. He said he could not comment until he was able to look into the matter further.

Allegiant’s first flight took off from Youngstown on May 19, 2006, after both Northwest Airlines and USAir ceased operations at the airport. Beginning with flights to Orlando, the airport later added other nonstop flights to Myrtle Beach, S.C.; St. Petersburg, Fla.; Fort Myers, Fla.; and Punta Gorda, Fla.

In 2016, when Allegiant and the local airport celebrated the 10th anniversary of their partnership, Dickten said the airline wasn’t going anywhere and he expected their business at the airport to continue to flourish. He also hoped the airline would add additional destinations to its local roster.

Early on, the local airport was the airline’s fastest-growing service area. Lately, however, flights have been down. In June, Dickten reported a 35 percent drop in flights from the local airport compared to last year.

Meanwhile, the port authority has been facing off with Aerodynamics Inc., which briefly offered daily passenger flights from the Vienna airport to Chicago O’Hare International Airport last summer.

Board members on Wednesday agreed to pay legal counsel up to $2,500 per day to represent it at an October arbitration hearing dealing with its lawsuit against Aerodynamics, commonly referred to as ADI.

Earlier this year, the port authority sued ADI and three of its entities, including Great Lakes JetExpress, accusing the airline of fraud, breach of contract, fraudulent inducement and negligent misrepresentation. The port authority is looking to recoup $361,714 the board says it paid ADI for the service launched July 1, 2016, but abruptly grounded weeks later after the port authority notified ADI in writing in AUgust 2016 it would no longer financially support its Great Lakes JetExpress service, effectively grounding the flight plan. ADI stopped the service abruptly Aug. 24.

The lawsuit claims the port authority was “fraudulently induced by ADI” to enter into an air service agreement based on the carrier’s’s claim that it had interline agreements with American Airlines and United Airlines. That means the carriers would help passengers traveling from Youngstown to Chicago make connecting flights from O’Hare to other destinations without having to gather their bags or check in multiple times.

ADI countersued claiming it did never misled the port authority. The airline is seeking nearly $300,000 in damages.

Original article can be found here ➤

Allegiant denies airport officials blindsided by service cut

VIENNA — Confusion about who knew what – and when – is surrounding today's surprise announcement that Allegiant Airlines is pulling out of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport.

While officials at first claimed they were blindsided by media accounts that the airport's only commercial airliner was leaving, that story is not bearing up under scrutiny.

The Vindicator has learned that officials at the airport and the Western Reserve Port Authority have known Allegiant was leaving since last week after an Allegiant employee called and told the airport's aviation director of the airline's plans.

"As far as when the airport found out, I can tell you they 100 percent knew well in advance of today," said Krysta Levy, Allegiant spokeswoman.

"Demand in the area was simply not high enough to continue service at this time," Levy said. "Any passengers [who] have booked travel in or out of Youngstown after that date will be reached out to individually to be refunded or reaccommodated."

Original article can be found here ➤

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