Akron-Canton Airport President Rick McQueen says CAK has saved local travelers nearly a billion dollars over the past 15 years.
1997 marked the start of AirTran's service as a low-cost alternative anchor, in a speech McQueen delivered to the Akron Roundtable. The financial impact numbers come from a study commissioned by the airport from travel consultant Ailevon Air Service Consulting.
McQueen says in 2011 alone AirTran saved air consumers $70 million, and western-based Frontier added another $20 million. He says savings since CAK started AirTran service totaled more than $958 million dollars for travelers using Akron-Canton Airport.
Average fares, he says, remain 10 percent below the national average and lowest in the five-state region including Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Kentucky. Those states are critical with airline hubs for Delta located in the greater Cincinnati area and Detroit and U.S. Air operations in Pittsburgh.
McQueen doesn't trumpet the savings as active competition to Cleveland Hopkins, which still carries more passengers, but as a low fare compliment which is good for the region. He says keeping prices lower at CAK will continue with Southwest's commitment to expand with new routes to Chicago's Midway Airport and Denver.