What makes an airport an important or even vital part of the community? There are lots of ways to measure an airport’s impact- jobs, access to domestic and international networks, nonstop flights, international access, intermodal connectivity and in our case, lots of low fares.
For the past 15 years, we have guessed at the level of air fare savings generated by AirTran and Frontier from CAK. We knew it would be a big number but we had no idea we had saved travelers in Northeast Ohio just shy of a billion dollars since 1997 (the year AirTran Airways began flying from CAK).
The airport hired air service consultancy, Ailevon Air Service Consulting, to take a detailed look at the airport’s low fare impact since the arrival of low cost service at CAK. The study was based on available flight data collected by the U.S. Department of Transportation, giving us a true apple- to- apples comparison. Prior to 1997, CAK’s average fares were 22 percent above the national average. Today our average fare is 10 percent below the national average and the lowest in a five state region including Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Kentucky.
Annually, our low fare carriers save travelers $90 million. Those savings are then spent on other goods and services in the region; creating an even larger impact. At CAK, we are all about being a better way to go for air travelers in the region. That means providing low fares and a relaxing airport experience. The Ailevon findings prove that we are doing our job.
What about the future you might ask? Well, we feel pretty good about it. Southwest Airlines is committed to serving our community and is actually adding flights to Chicago Midway and Denver on August 12, 2012. Their commitment to low fares and customer care align perfectly with what we care about most. Frontier continues to offer exceptional service and low fares to Denver and the west also. So, CAK will continue to do what we do best- deliver air fare savings and a great airport experience- which has widespread benefit to the region.