Business Courier / Chris Wetterich
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport has seen 53 of its 88 airline routes suspended amidst the Covid-19 crisis, according to new data presented to the airport’s board Monday, with the airport anticipated to be smaller, in terms of direct flights, for at least the next 18 months.
Even that number is a bit inflated, with 18 of the non-suspended routes being on Allegiant, which often is canceling flights seven to 10 days in advance, according to the airport.
All of the remaining flights on the legacy airlines – Delta, United and American – are to their hubs across the nation. The airline industry has been devastated by Covid-19, with CVG seeing a 90% reduction in passengers as of Sunday.
Demand will be a key factor in how many nonstop flights return, said Bobby Spann, CVG’s vice president for external affairs. Carriers are projecting a smaller footprint for at least the next 18 months to 24 months, and they already planned to retire aging portions of their fleet.
“It is a very fluid situation. If our corporate travel comes back … we’ll be fine. We will come back smaller for the next 18 to 24 months,” Spann said. After that, “I’m confident we’ll see a network at the same if not better than where we were.”
The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and the Northern Kentucky Chamber are leading an effort to draft a letter from the region’s CEOs to CVG’s incumbent airlines and others it has been attempting to attract assuring them of local business’ demand for broad, frequent air service, airport officials said.
“The best knowledge in the industry is somewhere between 18 and 36 months before we get back to 2019 levels,” said CVG CEO Candace McGraw of the industry’s future.
FULL STORY HERE (subscription-based)