Southeast Airlines has started an agressive expansion plan by starting service to Rickenbacker International Airport in Columbus. Starting July 12, the airline will start nonstop service from Columbus to Allentown and Las Vegas. The flights will operate on Wednesdays and Saturdays and will be a thru-flight from ABE
with a stop in LCK. Southeast will have an opening celebration July 16, where it is expected that they will announce 4 times weekly service to two Florida destinations. This article from the Columbus Dispatch provides a lot more information about the airline and their expansion plans:
From The Columbus Dispatch:
AIRPORT LANDS ITS FIRST FLIGHTS FOR PUBLIC
Southeast Airlines charters 'nice start' for Rickenbacker
Friday, July 4, 2003
By Mark Niquette
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
At a glance
Details about public charter flights that Southeast Airlines is starting at the new Rickenbacker Airport passenger charter terminal July 12, and information about the airline:
* Las Vegas flights: On Wednesdays and Saturdays, depart Columbus at 9:20 a.m. and arrive at 10:30 a.m. Depart Las Vegas at 11:30 a.m. and arrive in Columbus at 6:20 p.m.
* Allentown, Pa., flights: On Wednesdays and Saturdays, depart Columbus at 6:50 p.m. and arrive at 10:05 p.m. Depart Allentown at 7:30 a.m. and arrive at 8:50 a.m.
* Future flights: Starting service to two Florida cities Oct. 9
* Headquarters: Largo, Fla.
* Flights: 130 a week
* Cities served: Allentown, Pa.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Gulfport, Miss.; Newark; Newburgh, N.Y.; Orlando/Sanford, Fla.; St. Petersburg/ Clearwater, Fla.
* Aircraft: Eight DC-9 or MD-80 jets, each with 165 seats
* Employees: 450
* Founded: 1992
* Contact: www.flyseal.com or 1-800-359-7325
Source: Southeast Airlines
Rickenbacker Airport's new charter-passenger terminal has landed Southeast Airlines as its first carrier.
The airline will start public charter flights July 12 from Rickenbacker to Las Vegas and Allentown, Pa. It plans to add flights to two Florida cities in October.
These are the first charter flights out of the new $12.5 million, two-gate terminal at Rickenbacker Airport, which mostly handles cargo.
Airport officials hope the new service from Southeast will spur other charter flights from Rickenbacker, which is pursuing charters to help offset the airport's annual deficits and reduce the need for subsidies from Franklin County. The projected shortfall this year is $4.6 million.
"This is a nice start,'' said David Whitaker of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, which runs Rickenbacker, Bolton Field and Port Columbus.
Southeast will fly every Wednesday and Saturday to Las Vegas and Allentown; Columbus is a stop between those cities. It plans to add flights four days a week to Florida starting Oct. 9, airline spokesman Scott Bacon said.
Details will be announced July 16, he said.
The flights will be on 165-seat aircraft. One-way fares to Las Vegas will start at $89 plus taxes and fees, Bacon said. Flights to Las Vegas from Port Columbus on Southwest or America West have been running about $40 more.
A public charter airline is different from Southwest and other carriers that fly from Port Columbus because it doesn't have flights every day and can't spend ticket money until flights are completed, Bacon said.
But the service caters to the public, unlike private charters, which are booked for specific groups of travelers.
Passengers can buy tickets directly from Southeast or a travel agent. The airline isn't trying to compete with major carriers, Bacon said.
Southeast, which has 130 flights a week to six cities, uses small airports to avoid congestion. It serves leisure travelers, Bacon said.
"We like being a small fish in a big pond,'' he said.
Southeast picked the Columbus market because of the population and amount of travel in the region, he said. Las Vegas is the top destination of Port Columbus travelers, and both Orlando and Tampa in Florida are among the top five.
Airport officials say charter service at Rickenbacker initially could pull some passengers from Port Columbus but eventually could increase traffic. Travel agents expect the new service to help drive down ticket prices to the destinations both airports serve.
It's a wonderful opportunity for Columbus, said Robin and Susan Schneider of Twin Horizons Travel, who are members of a travel-agents advisory council for Rickenbacker.
The airport authority is offering marketing assistance and other incentives to Southeast and likely won't see a windfall initially, Whitaker said. But the hope is the investment will generate solid revenues over time.
If Rickenbacker has at least 10,000 passengers a year, it will become eligible for an additional $850,000 in annual federal funding, Whitaker said.