Wilkes-Barre/Scranton airport welcomes American Airlines; 85% of passengers connecting via major hubs to/from AVP
The US state of Pennsylvania is home to one of America’s busiest airports (Philadelphia which handled 30.6 million passengers in 2009) and another, Pittsburgh, which saw over eight million people use it last year. Just over 100 miles (160 kilometres) north-west of Philadelphia lie the towns of Scranton (currently best known as the setting for the US TV version of the British sitcom ‘The Office’) and Wilkes-Barre. The two towns share an airport, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport, located just off the highway that connects them.
Traffic stable for a decade
Since 2000 the airport has handled between 360,000 and 450,000 passengers annually. A smart new terminal building was opened in 2006 but this has failed to stimulate demand.
The airport’s entire scheduled network consists of legacy carriers connecting to some of their major hubs. Most recently American Airlines began twice-daily flights to Chicago O’Hare in June, providing competition with United which also serves its O’Hare hub with two daily flights. According to the airport around 85% of its passengers are connecting via these major hubs to other destinations, either in the US or abroad.
|Destinations August 2008||Destination August 2010||Comments|
|Atlanta (Delta, 2 daily flights)||Ended 17 August 2009|
|Charlotte (US Airways, 1)||Charlotte (US Airways, 1)|
|Chicago O’Hare (American, 2)||Started 10 June 2010|
|Chicago O’Hare (United, 2)||Chicago O’Hare (United, 2)|
|Cincinnati (Delta, 2)||Ended 5 January 2009|
|Cleveland (Continental, 2)||Ended 1 August 2008|
|Detroit (Northwest, 2)||Detroit (Delta, 3)|
|New York Newark (Continental, 4)||Started 2 October 2008|
|Philadelphia (US Airways, 6)||Philadelphia (US Airways, 6)|
|Source: OAG Max Online for August 2008 and August 2010 and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport|
In the last two years Continental has dropped connections to its Cleveland hub in favour of a higher frequency service (four times daily) to New York Newark, which is only 90 miles (150 kilometres) away. During this period Delta has dropped connections to Atlanta and Cincinnati. As a result Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport now has non-stop flights to just five US airports compared with seven in 2008. All of the routes are currently served by regional jets or turboprops.
New American service boosts traffic in June
During the first five months of this year traffic was below levels reported in 2009, but in June passenger numbers were up 3.4%, in part thanks to the launch of the new American Airlines service, even though Chicago O’Hare was already served by United.
With no direct flights to Florida the airport would appear to be a prime candidate for an airline like Allegiant to start its low-cost low-frequency non-stop flights to the sunshine state.