Port Authority weighs options after Allegiant departure

VIENNA, Ohio (WYTV) – Allegiant Airlines, the only regular service commercial airline at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport, will be leaving the area in a matter of months. But a consultant for the Western Reserve Port Authority is urging the board to be patient in finding a replacement.

Mike Mooney with Voltaire Aviation, an airline consulting firm based in the state of Washington, gave the board an overview Wednesday of the region’s air service. He said Allegiant started service at the airport in Vienna 11 years ago and it was the only “ultra-low carrier” serving the area, but the market changed dramatically over the last five years with rivals Frontier and Spirit airlines offering low-priced tickets.

Read: Voltaire Aviation’s presentation 

“Youngstown’s service just got overwhelmed by all three carriers competing with each other at Cleveland and Pittsburgh,” Mooney said.

While Mooney says competition will make it very difficult to attract other carriers to the Youngtown-Warren Regional Airport, at least in the short-term, airports directors with the port authority say they have three meetings with other companies over the next month, including Memphis-based “Southern Airways.”

“We are going to talk to them all. We are going to try to bring another airline to this airport,” said John Moliterno, executive director of the Western Reserve Port Authority.

Mooney cautions against making any decision too soon about commercial service, saying “we don’t want to have any kind of situation that doesn’t work – that has issues immediately up front.”

Although Moliterno claims commercial service accounts for less than ten percent of the airport’s overall business, he says an empty terminal create a perception.

“Which is the other reason it is very important for us to get that service back,” Moliterno said.