Airline official addresses controversy over airfares
Published: Tuesday, January 27, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 26, 2004 at 10:33 p.m.
In the last couple of days there have been letters to the editor about the lack of competitive airfares at the Gainesville Regional Airport (GNV). In addition, some of the writers have commented about the airport authority's initiative to bring additional carriers to the airport. In the near future we would like to comment about the airport's short-term and long-term plans, but I would like to briefly address the issues of prices and carriers.
Two years ago the authority began a campaign to convince our current carriers that competitive pricing between our airport and the other two major competitors, Jacksonville and Orlando, was in their best interest. The authority does not control the airline prices; this is solely the purview of the airline. The authority was successful in gaining competitive pricing from our carriers for most routes most of the time.
For example, I need to fly to New York City on February 12 and return on the 13th. On U.S. Airways the price (Jan. 25) to and from LaGuardia Airport from Gainesville is $404. I know that this may sound high, but the cost using the same carrier going at the same time to the same airport from Jacksonville is $522, and from Orlando is $526. You can find discount or other carriers who will offer that service for less, which brings me to my second point.
We are working daily to bring new service to Gainesville so that Gainesville Regional Airport can remain competitive and provide additional choices. We believe that additional competition and route networks will bring improvements to equipment, destinations and prices; but that means we must all attempt to use the services at Gainesville.
Before you select Jacksonville, Orlando or another airport, check the prices from Gainesville. Be sure to include the price of driving your vehicle, paying tolls and additional parking and your time . Our region has more than enough air travelers to support other air carriers, I suggest that you try Gainesville first; using the air service that we have is ultimately what will lead to the prices and services you desire.
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