Sep. 20—The Dayton International Airport lost one of its flights to Florida on Monday, but the aviation facility will add service to Denver, Colorado, at the end of the month.
Avelo Airlines this week bid adieu to the local airport after only eight months of operations, citing lower-than-expected demand for its twice-weekly flight to Orlando.
But United Airlines is launching a nonstop, daily flight to the Mile High City on Sept. 29. Airport officials say previous service to the city was popular, and travelers will be glad to see it come back.
"Even without currently having nonstop service to Denver from DAY, Denver is still in our top 20 markets visited by travelers in our catchment area," said Linda Hughes, Dayton's air service manager. "History has shown this to be a very popular market as we once had Southwest, United and Frontier all successfully offering daily service to Denver from Dayton."
Avelo Airlines' last flight from Dayton to Orlando departed Monday night, ending a service to the tourism and amusement park hotspot that began back on Jan. 13.
Avelo was the first new airline to launch service at the Dayton airport in about seven years, with the COVID slowdown coming in the middle of that stretch.
But the company's time in Dayton was short-lived, even though the airline earlier this year extended local flights to Orlando through February.
The extension was made to try to generate higher demand, but Avelo decided to exit the Dayton market when there was no increase in bookings, said Avelo spokesperson Courtney Goff.
"Demand, compounded with rising fuel costs, is the reason for the exit," Goff said.
Goff said all customers who bought tickets to Orlando were refunded if their flights were affected by the airline's withdrawal from the Dayton market.
Dayton airport officials said the Orlando service had good passenger traffic and they believe Avelo could have generated the kind of sales it was hoping for if the company gave the route more time to "mature."
The Dayton airport will welcome back service to Denver, beginning late next week.
The nonstop flight will depart Dayton at 9 a.m. daily and will arrive in Denver at about 10:18 a.m. MST, according to the company.
The return flight will leave Colorado's largest city at 5:45 p.m. MST and arrive in Dayton at 10:28 p.m. EST.
The plane will be an Embraer 175 aircraft, which will have 76 seats. There will be 48 standard economy seats, 16 in economy plus and a dozen in first-class, the company said.
Dayton used to have multiple flights to Denver years ago, but the airport has hadn't service to the Rocky Mountain State since 2020.
This will be the farthest-flying route out of the local aviation facility, and Denver is United Airlines' largest connecting hub.
Hughes said, "Not only is Denver a great destination, but this is a great kickoff point to other westward cities."
United says it has connections to about 150 destinations from its Denver hub.
Hughes said United's inaugural flight to Denver has seen good interest and bookings.
Passenger traffic at the Dayton International Airport was up 1.2% through the end of July, compared to the same period last year.
Avelo's departure will impact enplanements, but United's new service could help offset that loss of traffic.
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