Looks like Western New York is about to lose a major low-fare carrier. Vanguard has run a 3-4 daily bank of flights from Buffalo Niagara to Chicago Midway since early 1999. According to the Buffalo News the flights were running about 90 percent full in the summer (very good) and 60 percent full (mediocre-poor) in winter. The average BUF-Chicago fare dropped from an average $220 on UA and AA before Vanguard's arrival, to $58 after. Let's hear it for airfare justice in Western New York!
Vanguard, however, just decided to close its little Chicago Midway hub and concentrate operations at its home-base Kansas City hub. So Buffalo Niagara will now have two daily flights to Kansas City instead, as of January 7. Vanguard says they had trouble getting enough gates at MDW, but MDW is being expanded (that's why they moved the terminal building across Cicero Avenue, to open more gate space). They're two small to maintain two hubs, no shame there, and decided to concentrate on their hometown where they're not going up against ATA and WN hubs.
I predict that Vanguard will leave Buffalo within a year. Chicago is a major route from Western New York, a great O&D destination to anchor the Vanguard flights. Connections at MCI will be similar to what they were at MDW (DFW, LAX, MSY, DEN, MSP and now AUS). But a small low-fare carrier like that needs connecting traffic to maintain a medium-size spoke like BUF.
Too bad. Now Rochester and Buffalo both need to get on the horn to ATA. WN says they've arrived in BUF too recently to consider adding MDW flights (now have BWI, LAX, PHX, MCO).