Cincinnati Business Courier / Liz Engel / November 17, 2020
A handful of carriers at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport are adding back routes just in time for the upcoming holiday travel season – a bit of good news as CVG celebrates its best month since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, although overall volume is down roughly 60% year-to-date.
Bobby Spann, CVG’s vice president for external affairs, said Delta, Frontier and American, among others, are restarting nonstop routes that had been previously been paused. And Allegiant is now operating three markets it didn’t serve at this point last year.
CVG, Spann said, is coming off its best month in October in terms of passenger traffic since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has devastated the aviation industry nationwide. Industry analysts believe passenger traffic will not fully rebound until 2024, although CVG CEO Candace McGraw said in a Courier cover story last week she is optimistic for 2023 return for CVG.
There are several small signs of progress.
Delta, CVG’s largest legacy carrier, is restarting nonstop flights to Ft. Lauderdale this week, and in December, routes to Denver and Cancun will return, Spann said. Delta also resumed service to Newark, Las Vegas, Washington-Reagan International Airport, Boston and Los Angeles in October, giving the airline a total of 16 active nonstop destinations at CVG – nearly half its normal load. Seventeen markets remain suspended.
Additionally, Frontier, which is currently operating five markets at CVG, is bringing back service to Miami over the Christmas holiday, Spann said. Southwest launched service to Houston’s William P. Lobby Airport in November, and American will increase its service to Phoenix from four days a week to daily for a roughly two-week stretch over Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks.
Allegiant, which has served the CVG market since 2014, is fairing best among the airport’s current carrier base. It will be flying 10% more seats in December than it did during the same period last year, Spann said, “which is great news.” As of October, Allegiant was operating 17 markets at CVG, including three it did not fly in 2019: Palm Beach, Myrtle Beach and Austin.
December routes are largely set at this point, so Spann is setting his sights on January. There are small positives there. He’s expecting a roughly 3-4% boost in terms of capacity so far.
“Slowly but surely we’re growing our way out of this, but it’s still going to be a pretty long haul,” Spann said.
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