PITTSTON TWP. — Carl Beardsley, executive director at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport, said the recent decision by Allegiant Airlines to halt service from the airport at year’s end will open the door to new opportunities for local travelers.
Allegiant made the announcement last week to end service at the airport that began in 2012.
Beardsley said it has been noted by aviation observers that Allegiant is changing its corporate strategy by placing a greater emphasis on larger markets.
“This appears to be another step in that direction,” Beardsley said Monday. “For example, they have recently entered into business relationships with larger markets like Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Denver. This change in strategy is ongoing and is expected to have an impact on small airports across the country.”
Beardsley said although the airport is disappointed by Allegiant’s decision, he and his team feel it will open the door to new air service opportunities from current long-standing airline partners and other airlines not yet in this market who offer similar services to leisure destinations.
“We recognize that Allegiant is changing its strategy, which requires them to tap into larger population centers,” Beardsley said. “However, our market remains attractive with a strong economy, record-setting enplanements and full flights. As a result, we expect new interest by airlines, especially the airlines who have been long-term partners of AVP.”
Beardsley is confident that long-term partners — American, Delta and United — will continue to provide outstanding daily service to their major hubs, and continue to see the growth potential here.
Beardsley said officials have already reached out to current airline partners, and will be reaching out to airlines that do not currently serve this area.
“This is an inevitable part of our business,” Beardsley said. “We’re already off and running for future announcements, so stay tuned.”
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.