Popular Allegiant Destination Flight Shuttled in August Set to Return as Airport Passenger Numbers Good

By Jeff Toquinto on September 21, 2023 via

While things are going well for the North Central West Virginia Airport when it comes to passenger numbers, things beyond the control of the local facility recently have kept it from being even better.
NCWV Airport Director Rick Rock talked at Tuesday’s Benedum Airport Authority meeting about passenger numbers for 2023. When talking to the airport’s governing body, he noted that the airport would likely fall short of the record number of passengers set in 2022 of 47,084. However, the airport is still on pace for roughly 45,000 passengers this year, Rock said.
A key reason? Along with a few West Virginia University charter that did not happen in August as it did before, Rock said the airport’s year-round flight service by Allegiant to Tampa-St. Pete Clearwater International Airport was interrupted in mid-August.
The good news? The flight service is to resume Oct. 6 with weekly flights on Fridays and Mondays.
“The flight was meant to be year-round, but Allegiant is trying to be strategic with their resources as they’re dealing with the same things most airlines are dealing with right now, in particular a decreasing number of pilots,” said Rock. “They’re working things to get the most return on their assets because of that.”
Rock said the interruption took place despite big numbers. In fact, he said the load factors for those flights – and all others under the Allegiant banner – were well over 95 percent this year. The Tampa-St. Pete flight has consistently had the highest load factor.
Even with those factors, the airport has had 31,875 passengers through August. The bulk of those are through the destination flights by Allegiant at 23,566. The daily flight service by Contour to Charlotte Douglass International Airport is 6,793 with a load factor exceeding 50 percent, Rock said.
“People are utilizing the daily service and we’re seeing more consistent numbers, but we hope to see those increase. It was nice to see people flying in from Charlotte to go to the Pitt game,” said Rock. “I think people would be surprised to know that a successful WVU football program has an impact on so many things economically, including this airport.”
Rock said the short-term goal remains getting to 50,000. He also believes that once the new terminal is built, and if the airline industry can handle the pilot issue, the stated goal of 100,000 passengers is attainable.

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