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'Fare war' contributes to Allegiant's decision to axe L.A. to Ogden flights

Tuesday , February 13, 2018 - 10:36 AM8 comments

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 5:30 p.m. 

OGDEN — Allegiant Air has suspended another commercial air service offering at the Ogden-Hinckley Airport.

According to a press release from Ogden City, the budget commercial airline will suspend its nonstop air service to the Los Angeles International Airport on March 5. The service began in October.

The airport’s only remaining commercial flight — twice weekly nonstop service to the Phoenix/Mesa, Arizona area — won’t be affected by the change, according to the release.

The city says changes in the airline industry and the expansion at the Salt Lake International Airport have adversely impacted their commercial aviation operation.

RELATED: Allegiant Air will suspend Ogden service to Las Vegas starting Jan. 5

“It’s disappointing — but there’s a fare war going on for some of these destinations,” said Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell. “When the prices continue to go way down (at the Salt Lake International Airport) for the same destination, Allegiant doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room. One of the great things about living here is the proximity to an international airport. But in this case, for our airport, it can also be a liability.”

In late November, Allegiant abruptly announced it would be suspending its nonstop Ogden service to Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport. That announcement was made just two weeks after the service started and the suspension has been in effect since Jan. 5.

City and Allegiant officials said the suspension was due to poor performance in passenger numbers and didn’t rule out eventually bringing the service back.

When the Las Vegas service was shelved, Allegiant Air spokeswoman Hilarie Grey described the airline as “bullish on demand.” 

After Tuesday’s announcement, Caldwell said the city will be updating their strategic plan for commercial air service, but will continue to focus on bringing in regularly scheduled, regional commercial flights.

“Ogden City will continue to develop relationships with air carriers that will partner with the city and invest in building the region’s market for commercial service,” said the city’s press release.

The mayor also said the city would “double-down” its effort to bring aviation oriented businesses to the airport. 

RELATED: Ogden City hopes to rebuild airport runways with $5M from FAA

The city spends between $500,000 and $750,000 a year subsidizing the airport, a practice that’s been going on for a decade. The subsidy comes from the city's General Fund, but city officials say tapping the fund to keep the airport running isn’t sustainable.

Expanding commercial service has been at the core of the effort to make the airport more profitable.

“Commercial service is an important economic factor to help secure significant additional funding from the (Federal Aviation Administration) and generate revenue for reinvestment in the Ogden Airport,” said Ogden Chief Administrative Officer Mark Johnson.

A 2015 airport feasibility study that evaluated passenger data determined more than 25 percent of the bookings at the Salt Lake City airport originated inside of the service area for the Ogden airport. 

You can reach reporter Mitch Shaw at mishaw@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23 or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/MitchShaw.StandardExaminer.

 

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