Daytona Beach, FL – Over two months after one airline decides flights from the World’s Most Famous Beach to the Big Apple aren’t worth doing, another thinks it is.
American Airlines plans to offer direct seasonal service from Daytona Beach International Airport to Fiorello H. LaGuardia Airport – one of its New York City hubs – starting May 4th. It’s among 18 new American routes which will begin the summer of 2019.
JetBlue Airlines announced in October that it would end service from DBIA to John F. Kennedy International Airport in January, one of a series of route cutbacks for the low-cost airline. DBIA Director Rick Karl says that decision influenced American to give DBIA a try.
“We’re grateful American Airlines recognized the demand for our market and are thrilled they made the decision to expand flight options from Daytona Beach,” Karl added.
The exact flight schedule isn’t clear at this point, according to DBIA Business Development Director Jay Cassens, but he thinks American will offer four total flights on the weekends, with one inbound and the other outbound on Saturdays and Sundays. He hopes it’ll eventually expand to year-round daily service.
“The service may not be new but LaGuardia is new, which I think is of interest because [the feedback] we’ve gotten from the community is ‘LaGuardia, LaGuardia, LaGuardia, when are you going to go there?'” Cassens added.
DBIA is offering American some incentives for beginning this service, including landing fee waivers for the first year and a possible pro-rated terminal rent, but Cassens insists it’s not really comparable to the incentives announced in recent deals to have Silver Airways and Sunwing Airlines start service in Daytona Beach.
“This is a no-brainer,” Cassens added. “[Newark-Liberty International Airport] and LaGuardia are really the two highest-demand airports, at least for locals here, because JFK is so far away from [New York City] itself. Having done both of the airports myself, I can tell you that LaGuardia is way more convenient. It’s in a better spot in the city.”
The recent opening of a new terminal at LaGuardia also influenced American’s decision to add more routes, per Cassens, and he says there’s been some discussion between DBIA and American about opening up direct service to Dallas (Texas) at some point in the future.
American has been a fixture at DBIA for some time, offering multiple directs flights daily to its hub at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport in North Carolina. Once JetBlue leaves, the only other commercial airline offering daily flights out of DBIA will be Delta Airlines to its Atlanta hub at Hartsfield–Jackson International Airport.
Daytona Beach ended up on JetBlue’s chopping block because the airline was able to charge more per ticket for other Florida routes, according to Cassens, but he’s hopeful things will work out better for American, especially with sales revenue.