Airline Cuts Hurting Small Airports

Airlines have cut flights and replaced big planes with ones that have fewer seats on routes serving small and midsize cities.

The gap seems to be growing -- a Thanksgiving flight from Indianapolis to Atlanta this year will cost $247 while flying out of Fort Wayne will cost $399 -- and pushing more passengers to bigger airports.

'There's no motivation for the airlines to lower their fares,' Holmes said.

Sherman, who was waiting for a connecting flight to Detroit before going on to Providence, looked into flying to Fort Wayne, which was closer to his business meeting. But the price was nearly $1,000, double what he paid for his fare to Toledo.

'I'd rather drive an extra hour,' he said.

Fort Wayne's airport in July began trying to woo carriers to increase capacity on its routes, offering reductions on airport fees to airlines that add new routes.

Manchester Boston Regional Airport is looking into adding free bus service to and from Boston, which is about 50 miles to the south, to bring back travelers.

The airport has had record-setting growth over the last decade, but this year seating capacity was down 16 percent and passengers were down 8 percent, said spokesman Brian O'Neill.

Travelers who had been bypassing Boston's Logan International Airport in favor of the convenience of Manchester are now opting for the bigger airport with more flights. Passenger complaints are up, too, about the lack seats or increased fares.

'They feel they're being forced to go back to Logan,' O'Neill said. 'They're not happy. We hear everyday from people like that.'

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