Direct Air beginning new flights to Florida

Thursday, April 28, 2011, 19:53 by Aviation Correspondent

Starting June 24, Direct Air will add direct flights to Florida from Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport. The airline will offer three weekly flights to the Lakeland (Fla.) Linder Regional Airport, using a Boeing 737-400 via Sky King Airlines, seating 12 in first class and 138 in economy.
The flights will depart Springfield at 4.30pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays reaching Lakeland at 8pm. the return flight from Lakeland will leave at 2.15pm and arrive at Springfield on 3.45pm.

Direct Air will be offering inaugural fares till Saturday midnight at $79 one-way. After that the fares will go up to $99 each way. Currently, Direct Air operates seasonal non-stop flights twice a week from Springfield to Punta Gorda, Fla., near Fort Myers, and from May 26, the airline would swap those flights to Myrtle Beach, S.C. Flights to Myrtle Beach had an average of more than 80% capacity, last season.

The Springfield Airport authorities said that Florida had been a priority business and tourist destination from Springfield. The flights to Punta Gorda by Direct Air, with whom the locale shares a good relation had been received well by the public. The flight is averaging more than 90% in load factor.
The demand of the new route was spotted in a poll conducted last fall. The airport officials at Springfield Airport believe that passengers would opt to fly from the airport rather than driving to St. Louis, Peoria or Bloomington for flying to Orlando or Tampa. The belief could turn out to be a strong possibility as this would save travelers on gasoline costs, parking and travel time. The airports at either end are operating smoothly and there’s only one airline to choose from.

Lakeland is near to Orlando, Tampa and 101 miles from Kennedy space centre and 41 miles from Walt Disney World. Hence the place lies in the vicinity of popular tourist spots and locations.

Research and analysis suggest that the Springfield region can uphold flights to both cities in Florida during the winter schedule.

Direct Air is looking to launch an additional flight to Punta Gorda before Christmas. Direct Air also is upgrading the aircraft on the Myrtle Beach flights to a Boeing 737 with 150 seats. Direct Air won’t be getting any subsidies for its new services to Florida.

Direct Air markets domestic charter airline service using the airplanes of Charter carriers. Currently, Direct Air’s flights are being operated by Xtra Airways, Sky King, Vision Airlines, and Dynamic Airways.

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