Vision Airlines suspends flights to Florida

Vision Airlines suspends flights to Florida

August 10th, 2011 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

Bill Maloney, right, director of business development for Vision Airlines, talks about service from Chattanooga to Destin/Fort Walton Beach, Fla. in this file photo. At left is Mike Landguth, Chattanooga airport president.

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

John Payne, of Chattanooga, said he wanted to fly to Destin, Fla., for Labor Day, but Vision Airlines is suspending its Lovell Field service on Aug. 19 until next spring.

"You'll never build a client base that way," Payne said, adding that he used the airline recently and the flight was half full.

Bill Maloney, the low-cost airline's director of business development, said the carrier is dropping the Chattanooga flights during the fall and winter, which is the off season for Destin and Fort Walton Beach. The airline plans to restart flights in the spring, he said.

"We look forward to continuing in the market in the future," Maloney said.

According to the Suwanee, Ga.-based carrier, flights also are being suspended in Knoxville; Asheville, N.C.; Lafayette, La.; and Shreveport, La.

Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport spokeswoman Christina Siebold said she is not surprised by Vision's move.

"It was understood this would be a seasonal service," she said about the airline that was to have received $45,000 from the airport in marketing assistance.

Siebold said discount carrier Allegiant Air, which flies to Orlando and Tampa-St. Petersburg from Chattanooga, adjusts its schedule to fit the time of the year.

Vision, which began as a charter line, in April launched commercial service in more than 20 cities. From Chattanooga, it has been flying to Northwest Florida Regional Airport in Eglin.

In June, the airline dropped the 148-seat Boeing 737 jets for 30-seat Dornier turboprops between Chattanooga and the Panhandle and doubled weekly flights to four.

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