CVG fares drop again, approach national average

Posted at 12:52 PM, Jan 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-08 13:28:43-05

HEBRON, Ky. – As expected, airfare at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport continues to drop, per a new report released on Friday.

The average roundtrip ticket at CVG cost $436 in the second quarter of 2015, according to the Department of Transportation, which released its latest data after months of delays.

CVG still ranks as the fourth most expensive among comparable airports, like Columbus, Louisville, Milwaukee and Memphis, but its overall position dropped to No. 20. It had held the top spot in that category as recently as 2014.

Ticket price also dropped nearly 17 percent compared to the second quarter of 2014, when average fares topped $523 a ticket. Average fares at CVG have declined in 9 of the last 10 quarters dating back to the first quarter of 2013, airport officials said.

Nationwide, the average domestic fare was $385 for travel in April, May and June. CVG is still higher, by $51, but the gap is closing. During the first quarter of 2015, for example, prices at CVG were $84 higher than the average national fare. CVG is also no longer the most expensive airport in the region. Fares at Dayton and Louisville, for example, increased 5 and 4 percent, respectively, in quarter two.

"We're extremely proud and happy about the improvement," said Bobby Spann, vice president of external affairs at CVG, said. "It just validates what we already knew because our passenger volumes have been up so much."

For months, CVG leaders have touted the possible price drop. And it's a trend they expect to continue in 2016. Allegiant Air opened a new base of operations at CVG on Wednesday, which will allow for future expansion and additional flight options. American Airlines started new service between CVG and New York LaGuardia Tuesday with three daily flights, and Frontier Airlines just announced the addition of four new markets starting in April.

CVG saw fares drop anywhere from 18 percent to 134 percent in markets like Atlanta, Las Vegas, Fort Lauderdale and Dallas, all destinations CVG's low-cost carriers saw growth in 2015.

“We know the key formula for lower fares is providing competitive options for travelers,” said CVG CEO Candace McGraw. “Diversifying our carrier base remains our primary strategic objective. Thanks to the support shown by the region for the new carriers and new route options, we are making progress in that effort.”

The DOT had four times delayed release of second quarter data because of the American/US Airways merger. Data from quarter three should be issued in February.

Regional average airfares (second quarter 2015):

Louisville                           $441

Cincinnati                         $436

Dayton                               $433

Columbus                          $409

Indianapolis                       $387

Cleveland                           $371


Source: Department of Transportation