Air Service Development
Air service development is the practice of retaining existing service and establishing new air service to a community. The ability to enhance and expand air service is an important component of operating a successful airport. Passengers in the Toledo Region often desire more frequency for existing routes, along with additional nonstop routes, connecting Eugene F. Kranz Toledo Express Airport to their favorite destinations for business and pleasure. But what does it take for airlines to commit additional personnel and equipment to providing additional service at Toledo Express?
Ultimately, airlines choose which airports they serve and over 300 airports nationwide are competing for the same limited resources necessary to provide additional air service. One of the biggest things airlines consider when granting a new route is community support. To secure new air service, airlines seriously consider the success of the current routes at the airport. If community members do not support the current service at the airport, it is an indication of how passengers will support a new route.
Another factor airlines consider when choosing an airport is operational cost. Eugene F. Kranz Toledo Express Airport has a low operating cost and no current operational restrictions preventing a carrier from offering new service. There is ample capacity for existing airlines to expand service and new airlines to commence turnkey operations.
Forging strong relationships and sharing data with airline route planners and other airline personnel is also vital to air service development. In addition to our direct contact with airlines, the Port Authority partners with Ailevon Pacific Aviation Consulting on air service development initiatives. Ailevon Pacific is a well-known and respected best-in-class international firm specializing in air service development by assisting airports in defining an aviation strategy and identifying new markets and business opportunities.
Both the Port Authority and Ailevon Pacific meet with airline representatives from various airlines multiple times per year. In an average year, the Port Authority will attend 5-7 airline conferences and meet face-to-face with 6-9 different airlines per event. These in-person meetings are always a crucial part of developing new air service at an airport.
When meeting with airlines, the Port Authority, along with its aviation consultants, present information pertaining to the business and leisure travel preferences of the community, the airport’s catchment area, demographics of the region, final destination preferences, and information on Northwest Ohio’s largest employers for business travel. When necessary, financial incentives are offered to airlines to help with establishing new service. There are several state and federal programs that provide financial support for such incentives and can be combined with direct financial and in-kind incentives from the airport.
Moving into 2022, the Port Authority has partnered with Bowling Green State University’s Center for Regional Development to conduct an economic impact analysis to better determine what the airport’s impact is on the region. The impact study is especially important so the community will also understand how much the region is impacted economically when a Toledo area resident chooses to fly out of another nearby airport. We anticipate the study will be released in the first half of the year.